Off Beat

A Piece of Tom's Mind

PERUSING MIKE MOSEDALE'S September 27 City Beat story "In the Name of the Children," political activist Ian Kimmer was struck by the views espoused by Rep. Tom Rukavina, who has proposed to generate revenue for Minnesota public schools by swapping land in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (where logging is not permitted) for a chunk of land in the Superior National Forest (where logging is allowed). Kimmer, a native of Minneapolis and a student at the University of Minnesota, composed an e-mail to the Iron Range DFLer, taking issue with Rukavina's line of argument. "While...the actions following the laws passed for the endowment fund have not met the original intent of the law, it is not because those actions were flawed, it is because the law is flawed," he opined. "Workforce development that looks to the future markets is the only way to truly help the Range," Kimmer maintained. "Telecom and 'wiring' the Range should be a priority, not holding onto the thread of past industries...." He theorized that Rukavina's stance on the issue amounts to "buying votes," and he wondered whether political contributors might have influenced the legislator. "I would hope that the names you called those who disagree with you won't be thrown at me as well," Kimmer stated in closing. "Though I expect they will."

Below, reproduced verbatim, is Representative Rukavina's reply:


"Dear Ian,

"I'm glad you could see the frustration in my response. I'm sick of whackos like SWAN [Superior Wilderness Action Network] using 'environmental redlining' tactics that let the huge timber corporations rape the environment in AFRICA, Asia, S. America, etc while they stop my neighbors and friends from making a decent living. Do you live in a plastic house and use plastic toilet paper? Why don't you concentrate on stopping all that urban sprawl I see every time I drive to the Cities.

"No, you just stop us hardworking Rangers from making a living, you keep on consuming, and then bitch about the environmental degredation going on when you live in one of the areas causing it; and you continue to use the products that come out of the earth. Ian, you must have a computer to email me, right? How many metals are in a computer? I'll tell you, 26. Gold Platinum, Zinc, Copper ETC.ETC. Many of these could be mined right here in Mn. in an environmentally safe way.

"But, no, SWAN and Freinds of the BWCA etc. will say 'you can't mine these here. Go to Asia or somewhere and rape the shit out of the earth and we won't see it so it's ok.' That is such hypocracy it stinks. And that was my point. We've been miming and logging up here for over a hundred years and you know what? We didn't screw up our little part of the world like you folks did.

"So, Ian, I frankly don't give a shit what you thought of my response, because I know I am right. I know this BWCA school trust fund issue as well as any one in the state legislature and with all the bull that's gone on over the years, I'm ready to continue to do battle and do what is right for the school children of this state and that isn't to give away land that is worth 300,000,000 to 500,000,000 dollars for 30 or 40 million cause some whackos don't like to cut down trees. By the way, give me one job in the timber indutry for every 10 jobs you proposed.

"Have a nice day, save your world frist and then come and work on ours up here, OK?"

Justice for One

LAST WEEK OFF Beat presented the plight of ex-Star Tribune subscriber Chuck Strinz, who, in the course of a dispute over a $51.10 bill, discovered that the paper's customer service department had been sending him letters signed by a nonexistent person, one Jesse Alden. Strinz demanded a formal apology, both for wrongly reporting him to a collection agency and for using a fake name in a real credit dispute. Well, chalk one up for the little guy! The day after Off Beat hit the streets, Strinz received a letter from Steven H. Alexander, senior vice president of the Strib's circulation department, apologizing for the billing hassle and admitting the paper was at fault. Alexander also promised that the Newspaper of the Twin Cities would revisit its policy of using a bogus name in correspondence, in order to "ensure that it does not violate any consumer laws." Strinz promptly posted Alexander's letter on his own Web site (, where he declares, "I am content."

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