Commentary: Straight talk about the veterans roadWhat a day it was, March 31, 2010 – and then I looked in the paper and saw the article written by Randolph T. Brown concerning “that road.”
By: Dan Schilling, Vietnam era veteran, Long Prairie, MN, The Osakis Review
What a day it was, March 31, 2010 – and then I looked in the paper and saw the article written by Randolph T. Brown concerning “that road.” Mr. Brown did a very good job of masking the issue and building a case to lay blame for all the wrong reasons. Mr. Brown is a lawyer and that’s what lawyers do so let’s have some straight talk for a change and let’s address the real issues.
First, let’s ask the question: Why is it so darn important to include County Road 55 in every attempt to honor the vets? Second, why is one commissioner so intent on doing everything he can to get the “vets” name on County Road 55? Third, why did one commissioner make such a blatant statement on the record at the commissioners’ meeting to say he was sorry for failing to get County Road 55 approved to honor the vets? I agree we really should do what we can to honor the vets, because of what our vets have done that we have all the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.
For just one minute, think about this before you scream and holler about honoring the veterans. Those of us who served during the Vietnam War remember all too well what it was like coming home from service to our country. We remember the name calling, the spitting, the disgrace and the mistreatment the vets got from the people because of the baggage of the Vietnam War and the protesters who were able to protest because of the freedoms the vets fought and died to make sure they had. We remember being labeled murderers and baby killers and we remember losing friends and some of us family to that war and that time. That baggage hangs heavy, drags hard and it doesn’t go away real easy or fast. Now, all this hoopla about “honoring” the veterans, which I believe is long over due, and you want to hang the baggage of County Road 55 on the heads of the vets and call it “honoring the vets.” Vietnam is over so let’s clean up our act.
I said we needed to have some straight talk and here it is: The biggest reason the people are pushing to put the vets name on road #55 is to have the vets save the road for them. That road, #55, has so much bad baggage tied to it; it makes Vietnam look like a cakewalk so as a vet I will say this, “knock it off already.” If you really want to honor the vets, do it with a clean road and stop wasting our tax dollars and wasting our time.
The commissioners requested our county Veterans Service Officer bring them the “will of the veterans,” and he did just that. It was presented to the board but again, some members wanted road #55 included so the “will of the veterans” has been ignored again. As Chub Hensley stated, the vote was only 11 to 7 and 11 to 7 is not a majority so the board should consider what the group from Osakis wants instead. If 11 to 7 is not a majority, then why do we have the five members seated as commissioners? Majority doesn’t count for the “will of the veterans,” so let’s just let anybody sit in the commissioners’ chairs, maybe do it on a first-come, first-served basis and that way we can have people camping out on the street so they will get in first and be commissioner for that day.
Sorry, Mr. Brown, even though I respect you, if you really want to honor the vets, honor them with straight talk and “clean” roads, and tell Randy Neumann if he wants to speak for the vets, maybe he should be one and if he is, let him be open and above board about it instead of hiding it like it’s some sort of bad, road #55 baggage!
Mr. Brown, all of us respect all the work you and others have done to help Todd County. We also know how important economic development is for this county. But I can’t help wonder how much economic development will need to happen to offset the $125,000 Todd County paid in March, 2009 because of that bribe thing, especially when the settlement agreement states: “It is agreed that no attempted bribe was ever communicated by Dennis Larson.” And yes Mr. Brown, after reading Court File No. 77-CV-08-755, I would have to agree that we urgently need a different commissioner to represent District 5 and I believe if more people opened their eyes, Mr. Neumann would be well advised to resign before the next commissioners meeting. How many of the people in District 5 know that Todd County paid $125,000 plus half of a mediator’s fee and the cost of investigating this bribe thing? I’m sure the total cost of everything is well over a quarter million dollars. Can any of us afford to allow Mr. Neumann to remain a commissioner any longer? It’s time for honorable representation in District 5 and we need a change now. Mr. Neumann must resign now.