May 23, 2003 at 10:23 a.m.
I don’t know about you, but when I read that the compromise would include about $300 million more than the governor’s original proposal, I sort of thought that was a rather major amount of money. Of course, when you are dealing with billions, $300 million is probably chump change. Every year about this time I try to come up with a different way to reinvent the legislature and I think this one could work.
Instead of filling the halls of the Capitol with legislators and their staffs, consider this––have two DFLers and two IRs, one each for the House and one each for the Senate. Because we watch them traditionally vote along party lines, this system would work the same. The parties would raise their own money to fund their caucuses where they would decide their positions and they would not be on the state’s payroll. We would still have elections and these folks would be paid $1 per session and do all their work from home, meeting in their caucus whenever they want at their own or their party’s expense. The four people would then cast the parties votes and we save millions. We would have as much to say in the process as we do now and we could probably bank on the sessions being completed on time. It’s not perfect, but with some fine tuning, it could grow legs.
I’m ready for the rebuttals that will follow this column and my pat answer will be––If you are really such a dedicated public servant, why wouldn’t you be just as dedicated for $1 per session as you are for thousands of dollars. You know, I might have a better approach if I took on the remaking of the legislature project before the session starts, it might give me a better prospective. And you know that no matter how bad our system sometimes appears, it is still the best system in the world and there really are many down in St. Paul that are trying to do the right things.
This coming weekend kicks off the official summer season as we celebrate the Memorial Day holiday or Decoration Day as all of us old-timers remember it from the old days. Most are preparing for some type of fun outing or tackling that long list of house projects that has accumulated during the long winter months. As we head off in whatever direction we are headed for, we need to take some time to remember the real reason for the Memorial Day holiday. Memorial Day is more than just a day to fly your flag, it is a day to pay tribute to all of the people who have left this earth, especially those who served in our military.
Please take a few moments out of your busy weekend schedules to visit area cemeteries, especially those with Memorial Day services. Elsewhere in this Press there are listings of area Memorial Day services. Memorial Day is an opportunity to have a short, moving history lesson and it’s darn nice to see people show up and pay their respects. It’s a great family tradition to start in your family.
If you are driving or boating this holiday weekend, please do it sober and have a very happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.
This Saturday, May 24 the Lakes Region EMS will hold an open house at their facility next to Fairview Chisago Lakes Clinic in Chisago City. Included in this Press is a blue colored flyer with all of the details, except for the day and date. So, mark it down now––Saturday, May 24, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and plan to get over and take in this event and thank those involved as they celebrate EMS week.
On the subject of upcoming events, the Chisago lakes FFA Chapter will be sponsoring the first ever FFA Farm City Day Saturday, May 31, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at St. Bridget’s Church parking lot. There will be demonstrations, animals, kids’ games, farm equipment and concessions. A great chance to support the area’s young farmers and their activities. Admission is free.
Graduation time is upon us and as we prepare to celebrate the accomplishments of area young people, we need to show them that their hard work will bring rewards. And as we send them off into the “real world” full of hopes and dreams it is my wish that those dreams become attainable to all of you and let you know that I feel pretty darn good about the future of our world with bright young people like you all coming along to take over the leadership roles. Be proud of what you have accomplished and continue to do good things that will make the world a better place for all of us.