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Bullying in politics

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Fri, Aug 1st, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

By Stan Gudmundson

There has been a huge fuss about bullying in schools but people seldom are concerned about other menacing bullies. Bullying is a tactic often used by people holding “certain” political views.

Though liberals tell us they are in favor of democracy what they really mean is that they are for voter’s decisions if the answer is correct. For example, let us imagine that voters had the temerity to vote to define marriage as the union of a man and woman only. But that is the wrong answer for some.

They then do anything they can to change or make illegal what the citizens choose to do or define for themselves. Off the perpetually-outraged run to the nearest friendly (e.g. in California, to an activist homosexual) judge who will decide that the citizens voted for something “unconstitutional”. That is, the voters provided the “wrong” answer.

Who has given judges the authority to overrule the decision of the people? What’s sacrosanct here? A democratic decision or an abstract loyalty to a concept that preempts the decision of the people in favor of a decision by a single biased judge? Or five biased judges sitting on the Supreme Court? But the bullying doesn’t end here.

The case of Rushford-Peterson and the school and school board’s efforts to build a new school is another example of bullies at work. Since I returned to the area in 2000 the citizens of the district have overwhelmingly voted down two new school referendums. But to the “powers that be” here, voters gave the wrong answer. And so they are trying for a third time.

The first time a new school was voted down, opponents thought that the superintendent and his followers would get the message. The second time, we thought surely this time they would understand. We could even excuse them and allow an “A” for effort. But when they push this around for the third time that goes above and beyond reason. It is motivated by vanity and hubris and, is, in short, just flat bullying. They push and push and hope opponents give up.

They don’t seem to understand that many of us, even those who didn’t graduate from Rushford, really do like and appreciate the old school buildings. In England there is the little timber-framed village called Lavenham. Its buildings go back to the 14th and 15th centuries. The vast majority don’t have single straight wall, window, doorframe, or roof.

A song was even written about it. I don’t remember the title but it is about a crooked little man who had a crooked little dog who lived in a crooked little town in a crooked little house on a crooked little street. Lavenham is quaint, it is beautiful, and those crooked old buildings work just fine. Just as the current Rushford School buildings do or should.

As always I will be accused of not caring for the children. That’s not true. Were the Rushford-Peterson District to decide that its graduate’s knowledge and test scores would be competitive with say, the scores of the students from the top five countries in the world, I’d be happy to support a new school. That is if the district were to first demonstrate that they would do it.

But this isn’t about education. It is about a very, very expensive cotton-pickin’ building for goodness sake.

Recently, an area attorney (not from Rushford) and I were commiserating about the cost of doing business in small towns. Having experience working with small communities he finds that most small towns face similar problems. Moreover, their response to financing projects is similar. That is, city councils and mayors do as much as they can to limit financial burdens for the citizens themselves and instead, push off increased costs to city commercial enterprises. They seem to erroneously assume that businesses and farmers will be able to easily absorb added costs.

Moreover, tax burdens for businesses and farms are disproportionally large. An expensive new building project will, of course, exacerbate that. And will also require increased individual taxes in an area that is not hugely prosperous.

I’ve pointed this out before, but it’s worth doing again. I pay less for natural gas, electricity, and garbage collection in California than I do in Rushford. And of all things, less for sewer and water. That is bad enough in and of itself but it gets worse.

Twenty-nine percent of last year’s gross income on our California rental property went to fixed costs and taxes. On our Rushford rental property we paid 48 percent of our gross income on fixed costs and taxes. Finally, Minnesota real estate taxes are more than double those of California for property of equivalent value. Without even considering the huge differential between California’s much lower heating and cooling coasts and that of Minnesota, it’s already much more expensive to live in Rushford then it should be.

Small town school boards and city councils in Minnesota need an awakening call. You are to serve us. We are not here to serve you. Quit bullying us.


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9:34:33, Aug 5th 2014

Justthefacts says:
Lifetime fed govt worker,
You haven't had an ounce of credibility since you were busted for plagiarism by an RP Tenth grader.


1:25:19, Aug 11th 2014

NCLoon says:
Would Mr. Gudmonson please share with us where he gathered all of the data regarding cost of living comparisons between Rushford and "California"? Is this simply his observations, or can he provide verifiable proof?

I've conducted a search on cost of living comparisons and, while I could not find one that specifically targets Rushford, I was unable to find ANY study that showed it cost more to live in CA than Rushford.

Sorry, but your selectively cherry-picking of a certain taxes and expenses does not accurately represent the true costs.


8:24:44, Oct 3rd 2014

in support of Stan says:
Justthefacts response is an example of bulling.
NCLoon asks for verification of Mr. Gudmundson's personal property tax information. I did find information on the site where one can compare any two cities in the U.S. The property Tax rate is the amount of taxes one must pay on every $1000 of property. This information was updated June 2014. Property Tax Rate of Rushford, MN is $10.26 and Redding California it is $8.24. Therefore, it does cost more for people to own property in Rushford MN! Our businesses, rental property owners, and farmers are being taxed at a higher rate then those in California. LCLoon;s final comment is another example of bulling. Mr. Gudmundson is not comparing the cost of living but the tax rate on his personal rental properties. When one compares the tax rate of Rushford to Wells we find that Wells is now paying $10.34 after there referendum. Ours is before!!! They were being taxed at much lower rate to begin with!!! Please take a look at this web site! I was unable to put Pine Island in, not sure why. Let me know if you get that comparison. We are already being taxed to the limit! Please help our business to survive! Without our businesses we have nothing. Please vote NO

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