LF Council says ‘no’ to signing MN ASAP resolution against military spending

Deems it a federal or state issue, not a city issue

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

Resident Robin Hensel requested the Little Falls City Council sign a resolution to shift federal spending priorities from war to essential needs.

The resolution she presented came through Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP). It is a non-partisan citizen organization with a goal to “Build sufficient political power and influence statewide from representatives at all levels of government and from non-governmental organizations and civic groups to effectively demand a shift in priorities from war spending to meeting essential needs.”

The Council said “no” during its work session Monday, citing the issue of war spending was a federal issue, not a city issue.

“We are elected to do the work of the city,” said Council President Don Klinker.

Hensel, who sent the resolution in an e-mail to the mayor the week before, said the resolution was a call from the ground level up to the higher level that military spending is unreasonable and unsustainable.

She asked the Council to “give it some serious consideration.”

“I’m against it,” said Klinker. “We’re elected to do the work of the city, not these political parties.”

Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem said she read the e-mail and the resolution.

“I don’t know what the community as a whole feels about this and I work for the community,” she said.

“I would like to hear more before making a decision,” said Council Member Frank Gosiak, who felt it would be irresponsible to support it without first checking into the issue. “There are a lot of people quoted in here that I don’t know anything about,” he said.

Hensel asked that the Council research the MN ASAP resolution and put the issue on the Council’s regular agenda, not just the work session agenda. She said when she talked to Dan Voigt, the city’s interim city administrator, he said in Brainerd, where he was city administrator for 23 years, the issue would have been put on the regular agenda.

“If local citizens have a problem with military spending, they should get in touch with Al Franken (U.S. Senator) or Paul Gazelka (state Senator),” said VanRisseghem. “We’re working for city government. For us to start working on this on a local level, tell the citizens of this community. They can tell us they want us to spend time on this.”

Hensel argued that military spending was a fiscal issue and the Council dealt with fiscal issues.

Klinker said it “will never fly and so we won’t put it on the agenda.”

At the conclusion of the regular Council meeting, Hensel expressed her displeasure at the Council’s unwillingness to sign the resolution or to put it on a regular meeting agenda.