Guess I was right
To the Editor:
Mayor and council members:
On Oct. 24, 2016, my letter published in the Sentinel Readers’ Views pointed out the ambiguity in the wording on the ballot concerning the half-percent sales tax.
Now I see my suspicions were well-founded, and I am wondering about the legality of the outcome in the first place, and whether all these proceedings must be revisited.
To the Editor:
There have been several letters to the editor relative to the construction of a community center in Fairmont. The recent letter from Craig Nelson questioning the impact that the proposed facility will have on local non-profit organizations prompted this letter.
I am a member of the Knights of Columbus and in 2003, after eight years of meetings and fundraising efforts, we opened our facility located at 920 East 10th St. The intent of this facility was, and continues to be, our desire to help make Fairmont a little better place in which to live.
During these past 15 years, our council has operated its facility completely with volunteer help. This allowed funds available to be donated rather than being paid to our members. Using this mentality has proven to be very effective. During this past year, our council has been able to donate in excess of $70,000 back to our community. These funds were not only donated to our church and our school, but also to many local non-profits organizations.
In addition to the funds donated, our council also paid in excess of $1,000 per month in real estate taxes. These tax dollars not only helped to support our community, but more specifically helped to support three non-profit organizations that compete with our facility and pay nothing in real estate taxes. These three organizations also have paid managers/directors while our manager donates his time.
The proposed community center has a banquet facility with seating for 300, duplicating the present seating capacity for our Knights of Columbus Hall. If/when the community center is built, this will result in four local tax subsidized businesses our council will be asked to support via our real estate taxes. This is being done, once again, while each has paid employee/s while competing with our organization and paying nothing in real estate taxes. We, as members of the Knights of Columbus, do not mind competition if it is on a level playing field. Competition by tax-subsidized competitors is not meeting this requirement.
In conversations with city officials, I have been told that the proposed city commitment to the community center will be $14 million, with the community center committee being required to come up with the remaining $10 million. The city will be “bonding” for these funds and therefore “no citizen voting” will take place, only approval by our City Council will be required. If a referendum was used for financing, as was the case in previous years regarding this issue, citizen approval would have been required.
I certainly want what is best for the city of Fairmont, but with this initiative it appears as if the Knights could be paying a very high price.
Please contact your mayor and council members with any questions, concerns or comments that you might have. Your input is needed.
Trump donates salary
To the Editor:
The Trump administration recently released its annual report to Congress on White House office personnel. It includes the name, status, salary and position title of all 377 White House employees.
The report also said that Trump decided not to take a dime of his salary, instead he donated it to an amazing cause. (See below)
The report also showed that President Trump is far better at saving money than Obama was. The annual White House salaries under Trump are $35.8 million vs. $60.9 million under Obama, a savings of $25.1 million. Here are some other key findings:
There are 140 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.
Thirty-nine fewer staffers are also dedicated to the First Lady of the United States. Currently, there are only five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 44 staffers who served Michelle Obama.
However, it’s what the report said Trump did with this salary that has everyone talking.
Instead of taking his salary, Trump donated all $400,000 to the Department of the Interior, where it will be used for construction and repair needs at military cemeteries. Amazing! It’s so great to have a president who loves our brave military men and women so much.
Oh, and where’s the media coverage of this? That’s right, they don’t cover anything decent the President does …
Whitewash of abuse
To the Editor:
A number of articles have appeared in the press about Keith Ellison’s alleged abuses of women. The following is an attempt to consolidate some of those articles.
Voters should be aware that the attorney, Susan Ellingstad, who “cleared” Ellison is a partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., the law firm that was picked by the DFL Party to “investigate” the domestic abuse allegations made against Ellison, in this instance, by Karen Monahan, Ellison’s ex-live-in-girlfriend. The law firm has a political fund that has donated more than $500,000 to various Democratic candidates since 1998. This same fund has contributed nearly $50,000 to Ellison’s various campaigns over the period from 2004, and Ellingstad herself contributed nearly $46,000 to the fund since 2005. She also made a $500 contribution to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
The primary reason cited by Ellingstad for refusing to substantiate Ms. Monahan’s allegations was that Monahan refused to turn over a video taken by her during one of the instances in which Ellison was physically abusing her. Monahan claimed the video contained pictures of her in the nude and did not want them made public. Monahan probably observed the manner in which Dianne Feinstein made a political circus out of Dr. Ford and her letter during the Kavanaugh hearings, despite Dr. Ford’s repeated requests for privacy, recognized that the Democrat elites really don’t care about a woman’s rights if there’s an opportunity for political grandstanding, and decided she wanted none of that. That, and the possible (probable?) blackmail that might arise from being threatened with release of the photos. Subsequently, Ellingstad, despite being given at least two medical reports listing Ellison as the abuser causing physical harm to Monahan, said that Monahan’s allegations “could not be substantiated.”
Then, further continuing the charade (and you can’t even make this stuff up), DFL chairman Ken Martin made the statement to NBC News that, “The investigation report, which was released today without our knowledge by someone outside of our organization, was unable to substantiate the claim of physical abuse made by Ms. Monahan.” How could he keep a straight face while making that statement is beyond comprehension?
The attempt to whitewash Keith Ellison’s actions is a failure. The so-called “investigative report” apparently aroused enough attention that it was turned over to law enforcement personnel for further action. However, the Minneapolis Police Department won’t act until someone files a complaint. Minneapolis city prosecutors won’t touch it because Ellison’s son sits on the City Council.
So it looks like there is a real opportunity for voters to at least partially resolve this situation by keeping Ellison out of the state attorney general’s office. It isn’t likely that he would prosecute himself.