LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Copy-paste agenda item called into question


I write today not to quarrel with Beltrami County Board Chairman Craig Gaasvig’s politics, but with his governing process. Tuesday’s County Board meeting featured a late entry, copy-paste resolution that had not been included in either the board packet or agenda. The resolution was brought by the chairman alone, who argued that it was essential to act on and adopt in short order to send an urgent message to St. Paul.

This statement urged a reversal of Gov. Walz’s executive “stay-at-home” order. Even before considering the merit of this position I really only had one thought: “Who wrote it?”

Nearly identical language is going before other Minnesota county boards, routed through a political action process best described as an “ALEC” type maneuver. For those not familiar with this model, the American Legislative Exchange Council and well-funded groups like Freedom Works crank out position papers and produce draft resolution language on hot button political issues for state and local units to introduce.

Plagiarism software like the kind teachers use can trace the near identical legislative language from state to state and county to county. The idea of local elected officials who handle our county business and are beholden to their constituents is radically undermined by this nakedly partisan political tool, making our local officials little more than a conduit for someone else’s strategy.

I do not approve of this method whether it comes from either the left or from the right. Commissioner Gaasvig, you can do better than last-minute copy-paste jobs like you introduced Tuesday night.

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