Letter to the editor:
Rep. Quam Should Not be Working Against Strong Local Control
Most people in Dodge County will be surprised to know that one of the first bills taken up at the State Capitol this year would weaken township local control. What is worse is that my legislator, Rep. Duane Quam, is a co-author of the bill.
House File 389 would give outside corporate interests the upper hand when they want to push unexpected and harmful developments into our communities. It weakens the right of townships, counties and cities to say no to projects that could harm the community.
As a lifelong Dodge County resident I know that my community is better off with strong local control. When a New Jersey investor wanted to build an industrial mega-dairy in Ripley Township my neighbors and I were concerned. We knew it would be bad for the community. Because we had strong local control our township had a say. We put an interim ordinance in place and then enacted a common sense limit on how large a feedlot can be in our township.
But Rep. Quam's bill would have prevented our townships from having a say. His bill says if a project submits a permit application then it is exempt from the interim ordinance. The problem is neighbors and township officials often don't even learn about a project until the permit is submitted. So if Rep. Quam's bill passes by time the community learns about a project it will be too late to do anything. That is wrong! Minnesotans value strong local democracy that favors community rights over corporate rights.
We didn't send legislators up to the Capitol to weaken local control and push legislation for corporate special interests. The issue is simple. Minnesotans value strong township rights and Rep. Quam should too. He should drop his support of House File 389.