Arnie Carlson | Mayor's response
I read Leif Bjornson’s letter to the editor in last week’s paper. Allow me to point out a few details that Leif may have overlooked.
1 - When Leif talks about the city “leadership” he is talking about the city council. The city council must approve all actions that take place in the city. Nothing happens unless the council authorizes it. The only power the Mayor has is the power of the veto which the Council overrode three times in the past year.
2 - For the record, I have served on the city council, off and on, since 2007, 13 years. In all that time I cannot recall that any of those Mayors’ ever vetoed any action of their councils. Three mayors, 13 city councils and at least 40 different aldermen. Since I became mayor, I have found it necessary to veto FIVE (5) council actions, two in my first year which the council accepted. Three vetoes were overridden by a three-member council, including council president, Kirk Anderson. In all five cases, my veto was based on a violation of a Federal or State statute, a legal contract with a supplier or a city ordinance.
3 - One of this mayor's vetoes could have resulted in some of the CDA/TIF money ($2,621,475) being used for the benefit of the downtown businesses and fixing some of our deteriorating infrastructure, in addition to renovating the Civic Auditorium. That would have required the Council to be willing to change the directions given to the CDA by the existing documents. That was, obviously, not something this Council wanted to do. They are not focused on the city resident’s wellbeing. Instead, they abolished the CDA.
4 - With regard to the “noose” incident: Leif, and quite a few others, seem to have forgotten the right of free speech given to us by the First Amendment of our Constitution. We may not like what people say or do but, they have every right to say or do it. “Hate Speech” is not a crime. The noose is not a symbol of racism. The hangman is a current method for capital punishment available in two States. It is blind to race, color, creed or sexual orientation. For the city to attempt to punish our residents smacks of actions attributable to someone like Adolph Hitler or any number of other dictators.
5 - Regarding the apparent lack of action on the city’s deteriorating infrastructure, the city has a list of items that need attention, known as the Capital Improvement Plan. This plan must be approved for implementation by the Board of Public Works, made up of three Aldermen (chaired by the council president) and the public works director. The mayor is not a member. The CIP has been in place, with minor additions, for the better part of four years. In spite of the public works director's hard work (and virtually pleading), no action has been taken by the Board.Respectfully,
Arnie Carlson, Mayor
City of St. Croix Falls
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