To the editor:
For the past four years, Rose Thelen has served as my county commissioner.
Before Rose was elected in 2008, Wright County and Corinna Township were locked in costly and unnecessary litigation because Wright County refused to recognize the township’s statutory right to do its own planning and zoning. By the time Rose was on the Board, Corinna had won the first round in court, and the Board voted to appeal. Rose spoke against it on the grounds that “the county should be spending their money on reaching agreement and developing a collaboration” She further said that “it was a waste of time, money, and energy, not just to the county and Corinna, but also to the state.” In 2010, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Corinna.
At this point, Rose formed a committee with county and township representatives to resolve the conflict. I was a member of that group. We met regularly for 3 ½ months, with Rose facilitating a process where she mostly listened, working to find common ground and compromise. She worked hard between meetings to get clarification on issues for both sides.
The end result was a joint powers agreement where the Corinna Planning Commission makes decisions on variances and conditional use permits and the township contracts the county to administer building and sewer permits. Neither side got everything it wanted but we were all able to live with the agreement. Since January 2011, the township and county staffs have worked well together and most of the conflict has dissipated.
Rose worked for the residents of Corinna Township. She did her homework, rolled up her sleeves and brought contentious parties together to find a solution. The only cost was our time. Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars previously spent by the county (and its insurer), the township, the state and the courts, just so that the county could protect its turf.
When people say that “Rose listens,” and that “Rose works for you,” they mean it. Since 2009, Rose has listened to me and has worked for me; she has done the same for many other people. I wish that I could vote for Rose again, but due to redistricting, I won’t have that opportunity. But people living in the new District 2 do. If you vote for Rose, she will listen to you and work for you.