Extra! Extra! Letters on the Kron-Dahlberg St. Louis County commissioner race.
Dahlberg an out-of-the-box thinker Chris Dahlberg is running to be one of the newest members on the St. Louis County Board. We need more leaders like Dahlberg running who not only question authority but think outside the box. One example is Dulut...
Dahlberg an out-of-the-box thinker
Chris Dahlberg is running to be one of the newest members on the St. Louis County Board. We need more leaders like Dahlberg running who not only question authority but think outside the box.
One example is Duluth's inflow/infiltration issue. This is not a new problem. The Duluth City Council was addressing the matter back in the 1990s. Then, as now, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was threatening the city to come up with a solution. The answer: Every home was to be required to put a sump pump in the basement. Dahlberg asked during a council meeting if the measure was passed whether the problem would be solved. The answer was, "We are not sure." Dahlberg voted against the measure, but it passed. Luckily, because of citizen pressure the measure was later reintroduced and voted down.
Another place where his out-of-the-box thinking came was in suggesting the creation of natural, wildlife-rich holding ponds that could serve not only as a solution to the water issue but add a natural beauty attraction. While the measure was never carried out, and while perhaps it would ultimately not have been feasible, Dahlberg did demonstrate an ability to think creatively.
Kron keeping costs in check
County Commissioner Bill Kron is being challenged by attorney Chris Dahlberg. Reviewing both candidates' literature, I found Kron's straightforward and factual and Dahlberg's misleading, with vague innuendo. That included a picture of the Blatnik Bridge with a statement inferring (falsely) that county infrastructure in Kron's district is in poor repair, playing on readers' recall of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse. Dahlberg also implied (falsely) that county costs are out of control.
Data and charts in the budget show that despite soaring fuel and health costs the county has limited its budget increase to 4.8 percent -- while inflation is at 5.6 percent. The budget may be whittled further by December. Kron and the other commissioners can be proud.
Dahlberg stated county personnel makes up 48 percent of the budget, inferring that costs are out of control. He failed to mention the county has trimmed its workforce by more than 300 positions since 2002. Personnel costs are up 8 percent. However, much of that is due to a 12.5 percent increase in health-insurance costs.
Operating costs are up 9.9 percent next year, due mainly to rapidly rising fuel costs. Considering that fuel rose by 42 percent, this again shows the county is in firm control of finances. Of 87 counties, St. Louis County is among the lowest in budget growth for 2008.
Many may not realize the county is under strict legal mandates to provide services formerly funded through federal and state taxes. This funding has been greatly reduced, causing a burden on property taxpayers. Shame on the state.
I'm on a fixed income and don't like to see any increases; but I do like to see sound financial management, and that's what I've found in analyzing the county's budget. Beware of negative and misleading campaigns. My vote goes to Kron.
J. WILLIAM TUSKEN
New vision for St. Louis County
The race for St. Louis County commissioner, in my opinion, is a no-brainer. Challenger Chris Dahlberg has everything the people have been looking for and haven't gotten from Bill Kron in the 32 years he has served. St. Louis County needs Dahlberg's strengths and knowledge. He has proven that with experience and strength anything is possible.
Dahlberg has served others in many different capacities. He has been on the Duluth City Council, he has and continues to serve our country in the Army Reserves, and he is a lawyer in our community. He believes the people in his community need a leader who is not invisible. Kron has not been a visible leader for many years. I feel Kron has been resting on the job. The real issues are the community, not the controversy created in the boardroom. The turmoil the board created (including the Melanie Ford vs. Alan Mitchell county attorney issue) was totally unfair to the people of the county who voted.
We in St. Louis County need to elect change. The board is not allowing the change the people asked for when they cast their votes. To me, it's absurd anyone would reelect someone who isn't completely devoted to their community and who helps create the chaos we call public service.