To the Editor: Citizens, stand up and speak out


To the Editor:

In the Aug. 31 edition of the Pine Journal, a letter writer asked if the Teamsters union should be held responsible for the more than $100,000 incurred for unfounded charges brought by the union against former Police Chief Steve Stracek."

In my opinion, the simple answer to the writer's question is "yes." But I have a few things I want to add.

We the people are the government in this city and country. We, the people, hold the power in our hand; we have been asleep at the wheel and we need to wake up because we have a job to do the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at City Hall and it isn't going to get done sitting on our couches watching the fire.

There is going to be a local election in 2018. GET INFORMED. VOTE.

The financial cost to taxpayers can't be closed out just yet. We still need a chief of police which leads to a few questions.

• Will our Council hire the current interim chief of police? Will our council hire within or will they do another nationwide search? Why did the past council NOT hire within? Is there a good internal candidate who could lead the PD and be fiscally responsible who wouldn't receive a "vote of no confidence" by his employees?

• Why would an honorable man who was exonerated NOT be willing to go back to his job and instead retire?

• Is the "retired" chief of police retirement age? Is he collecting a full retirement benefit check?

• Has this community expressed its sympathies to this family? We placed this council in their positions.

Some citizens believe those of us standing up and speaking out are "grinding an ax" or have "a personal vendetta." You could say I am grinding an ax but it isn't personal. The ax I grind is one of truth, justice and integrity. It is the duty of every citizen to stand up, speak out and hold elected officials accountable, especially if you cast a vote FOR them.

I often think about our founders, those who declared and signed the Declaration of Independence and then lost everything they owned in the years to come because of standing up and speaking out. They steered the ship of America and framed the greatest form of government this world has ever seen. They didn't do it by sittin' by the fire after a hard day's work. They stood up and spoke out. What shall we do Cloquet?

Brian Smith