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Hey, Gov. Paw-lentil, get it right

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty during a presidential campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., Feb. 13, 2011...

"...And if you don't believe me when I tell you that I am a fiscal conservative who will cut wasteful government spending and make sure your hard-earned tax dollars are spent wisely, just ask the people of Minnesota.

"Better yet, ask the people of Chatsford — a small, wasteful community in my state.

A couple of years ago, Chatsburg wanted state money for a music blending library, and I said: 'Not on my watch will allow taxpayer money to be spent by so-called musicians blending, or remixing or whatever they do to desecrate music these days.' So, I vetoed the blenders into outer space.

Then, a year later the people of Chatford wanted tax dollars to build a home for a pottery commune in an old school there. Well, again I said NO to Chatsville and its expensive kilns and colored mud and all those people in Birkenstocks and bandanas.


I have nothing against the arts. Some of my best friends draw stuff, and I like to doodle myself. Nor do I have anything against small towns. I grew up in the small community of South St. Paul and now reside in the tiny little farming town of Eagan. But I cannot and will not sit by idly while lawmakers attempt to spend money on frivolous projects that do not benefit the public good."

All right, maybe I'm going a little overboard with this. But what in the name of Western Days does our governor have against Chatfield? Twice now, he's singled out Chatfield as the object of his bonding bill ire.

I have to admit that I think the annual state spending binge we call a bonding bill has gotten out of control. I believe lawmakers should take a long, hard look at what is or isn't an infrastructure project and what will or will not have statewide impact.

Be that as it may, though, why the governor continues to single out one small town as an example of excessive spending is beyond me. And if you're going take shots at a community, governor, at least get your facts straight.


Speaking of the governor, remember that column I wrote just before the Minnesota Legislature convened, about how it's time for the two sides to put partisan bickering aside and just do what's right for their constituents?

Well, never mind. That horse is already out of the barn.

A day or two after that column appeared, I received an e-mail from the governor's office stating that Pawlenty would veto any legislation from the DFL that sought to diminish the governor's "unallotment" authority.


Predictably, a day after that I received a notice from a couple of DFL lawmakers announcing a news conference to discuss — you guessed it — a proposal to restrict the governor's "unallotment" authority.


The e-mails and phone calls have been coming fast and furious in reaction to recent columns about senior citizens. I'm still hearing from seniors who say they're as happy as can be without computers, and from other seniors, some in their 90s, who absolutely love being able to communicate with friends and family via e-mail.

Some of those same people said they could relate to my column last week about AARP's continual effort to recruit me.

"Your dismay at receiving correspondence from AARP was similar to mine upon my one and only letter from them, when I was a mere pup in my 30s," wrote a reader named Judy, from Owatonna. "After recovering from my initial indignation, I realized that I never wanted to hear from them again. ... A brief note in their return-postage envelope, indicating that I had no desire to be part of a group whose sole purpose was to suck money out of the government was all it took. I never got another letter from them, not a single one. So, maybe you're getting my share. Last month, I turned 48, and nothing yet. My name and address are probably on the bulletin board in their break room."

I also got a call from a woman who scolded me for writing that I throw my AARP notices in the trash and mix them in under orange peelings and tea bags.

The caller said that I shouldn't throw them in the trash. Instead, I should recycle them. She's right. Sometimes it's just so hard to do the right thing.

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