Letter: City should not be prosecuting for Walz’s orders
Over the last year, we have seen changes in society that most of us never envisioned in our lifetimes due to COVID-19. Nothing during this pandemic has presented us with clear right and wrong paths, such as masks, quarantines, vaccines, testing, etc. For every study that showed masks work, there was another study that found them ineffective. For every state that claims they fared better based on their response, another set of numbers shows them at the bottom.
Gov. Walz enacted one of the strictest responses in the country, while maintaining his hold on his emergency powers, and Attorney General Ellison prosecuting those who challenged his edicts. We can argue all day whether Walz’s actions saved lives compared to other response models, but I hope we can agree on one thing.
Government should take the least restrictive means possible while responding to a crisis. A government big and powerful enough to shut down businesses for months and restrict our travel, gatherings, business actions, livelihoods and more is big enough to use that force for much more nefarious ends. Once given power, government rarely gives that power up easily. Rarely does government, once given a budget, staffing and resources for an agenda, give up those resources, even when the objective is complete. This is not conspiracy theory. History is filled with example, after example, after example. You might trust Walz. I do not. And I surely do not trust every politician who will come after Walz and use his precedent as justification for their actions.
As a citizen of this community, I am appalled at the resources that the city is expending toward prosecuting based on the executive orders, as the business in question is trying to stay afloat.
We have a beautiful and vibrant city with law enforcement that diligently investigates and prosecutes real crime, but with the advent of COVID-19, more and more crimes like burglary, theft, vandalism and other crimes that directly impact us are seeing those cases get dropped because of resources and the court’s responses to the pandemic. Why is the city taking a stance against a local business when real criminals are not prosecuted? The city should step back from prosecuting on behalf of Walz’s emergency power orders. The Attorney General’s Office is already prosecuting. While I disagree with the governor and attorney general’s actions, the focus of this letter is the city’s response. This is needlessly pitting community members against each other, leveraging valuable community and court resources, and furthering the reputation Albert Lea has for being unfriendly towards business.
Many non-business owners find it easy to chime in with “it’s only money,” “they should just pivot,” or “they can just take loans.” Pollyannish views like that simply do not reflect the realities of running a business, where employees rely upon you for income, where owners frequently have their life savings (and home, cars and other assets) tied to a business and the loans are guaranteed by the owner of the business.
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