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LTE – Crystal Booth – 10-9-2013

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the questions you publicly posed in this week’s Tribune Editorial to me. I appreciate your openness. You seem to be asking me to explain myself when you asked “Crystal, what were you thinking?” because I “missed an opportunity” to talk with Vista Sands.

To answer your question, I had an opportunity to ask questions of Vista Sands at one of the open meetings of the mining ordinance committee earlier this year, at which most, if not all, of the City Council members were present, as were concerned citizens. As you know, I was elected to represent the people of Glenwood City, and asked questions, to the best of my ability, that were in their best interest at that meeting. I also had another opportunity to talk with Vista Sands when they invited me out for coffee for a private chat, but I declined because I was uncertain of the legality of it. Also, as you know, members who attend a closed session are bound not to discuss proceedings from closed meetings. You publicly asked me what I was thinking as I left. I was quite sad when I left, and what I was thinking about may expose the proceedings.

Advice that Thomas Jefferson wrote to his nephew, Peter Carr, in 1787 was to “Question with boldness, even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.” Closer to my heart, my grandfather, who was a farmer in rural Glenwood, worked for St. Croix County for many years, and for many years was the Town of Glenwood Treasurer, was a one-room school teacher in North Dakota after graduating from Glenwood City High School in 1921. He taught his children and grandchildren a very important thing, which he lived by and which his son, my father Bruce, also instilled in me, and which much of our community believes in – to always ask Why? Reflect, ask why, and think. Openness, honesty, the “Whys” are what make our country and local community great. What I could have gleaned at the meeting you refer to, and the Why’s, in my view, shouldn’t be secrets. Again, thank you for your open and honest questions, displayed publicly, and I hope I answered them satisfactorily for you, within the restrictions that meeting imposes.

You also asked if I remember that I was one who “spear-headed” the recall effort against Mayor Mark DeBehnke, which is not completely accurate in my view. I don’t remember seeing anything in your paper at the time indicating this, but perhaps it’s there. I remember the Eau Claire Leader interviewed the person who took out the recall papers. I do wonder what does this have to do with the recall petitions of today? You seem to imply a link, or am I mistaken? Perhaps you could clue me in, because I cannot make the connection to that.

From the past, that you brought up from 2006/07, I remember some council meetings being held, at which large groups of concerned citizens questioned the council and mayor, asking them to listen to their concerns. Many felt, at that time, that they weren’t being listened to. I remember helping a local resident when she called me and asked if I would be the second signature on recall papers, because she could not just sign alone (it takes two signatures to begin a recall). I was not a council member at the time. Jim Kuehl, who is gone now, also ran for mayor in that recall process, which was one of the very few successful mayoral recalls in Wisconsin history.

Finally, I get long winded and love to write. Perhaps I could have simply responded to your questions of me and “what am I thinking” in a much simpler way, a single sentence even, which would be this: I am just representing the constituency who elected me and who continue to express concerns, to the best of my ability, as anyone else would do.

Thank you,
Crystal L. Booth