August 22nd, 2006


Sometimes folks do read letters to the editor

Last Tuesday, the Fairmont Sentinel ran a story on how one county commissioner voted against a resolution to accept a $17,000 grant for drunk driving enforcement. The story will probably disappear from their web site in the next couple of days, but the key paragraph says:

“I’m voting no on this to say enough is enough,” [Martin County Commissioner Steve] Pierce announced. “Martin County is number one per capita for drunk-driving arrests in the state. We’ve gained a reputation and it’s tarnishing our hospitality.”

This prompted me to write the following letter to the editor:

I read Commissioner Steve Pierce's comments opposing the grant for drunk driving enforcement in stunned disbelief. I cannot understand why anyone, especially someone elected to public office, would oppose doing more to get drunk drivers off of the road, especially when they're getting money from someone else to do it.

Before coming to Minnesota, I was a volunteer paramedic. I spent 17 years cleaning up the results of drunk driving. Paramedics have a saying: "If you respond to an accident after midnight and haven't found a drunk, keep looking. You've missed someone." This is more true than anyone would like.

If Martin County and Fairmont law enforcement officers are citing drunk drivers at a higher rate per capita than the rest of the state, that just means that they're paying more attention to the problem than others. That's worthy of commendation, not censure.

I'm sorry Commissioner Pierce doesn't represent my part of Fairmont. That means I won't have the pleasure of voting against him in a few months.

I'd been meaning to get by the library to check the past week's Sentinels to see if they published the letter. Well, I know now they did, because Fairmont Police Chief Greg Brolsma sent me a card with the following note:

Mr. Maynard

On behalf of the Fairmont Police Department, I want to thank you for the well written letter to the editor. I thought your note really made an impact.

We believe that we're doing what most of the law abiding citizens want us to do, so your letter means a lot!

I've heard many comments similar to yours. Thanks for your willingness to take a stand. I think many people are thankful for your thoughts.

Thanks again, Chief Brolsma

Thank you, Chief Brolsma. Maybe, if enough people point out just how far out in left field Commissioner Pierce is, he'll either change his tune or get replaced by someone who does support enforcing drunk driving laws.
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