To the editor:

Are you retired, and looking for a way to spend your free time? Are you a work-at-home or work-from-home person? Do you have an interest in knowing how your local government works, or finding out where your tax dollars are spent?

Why not explore becoming a citizen observer, as I have done as a retiree?

You may recognize my name from local politics — I’ve been a candidate, a campaign activist, a party chair. I’m still active in District 35 and at the Anoka County level.

But I’ve joined the League of Women Voters, and have gotten involved in their nonpartisan election efforts, too. I’ve helped with candidate forums and attended interesting presentations, ranging from the 2020 Census to red-headed woodpecker protection.

My niche for the League is observing the County Board — its regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays, and its eight to 10 monthly committee meetings, where the real decisions are made.

I have created an independent-of-the-League Facebook site, named “Eye on Anoka County” where we track County Board news — and other news from around Anoka County. I try to keep the site both impartial and nonpartisan. I invite UnionHerald readers to check it out.

But I’m often the only citizen who attends committee meetings, and one of the few to go to board meetings in person. I’d like to see more folks get involved. Even Board Chair Scott Schulte has invited residents to attend the meetings.

We can’t comment at regular board meetings — but we can work to change that with more citizens engaged. We can ask questions and make comments in committee meetings, and I try to use that opportunity in the meetings I attend, because I offer a different perspective than the county commissioners and staff.

So, join me at Anoka County meetings — I post the dates and agendas in the “Eye on Anoka County” group. Or check out when your city council meets, or the school board, or the conservation district, or the watershed board. Take this time, ahead of this fall’s and next year’s elections, to become a citizen observer.

Wes Volkenant


(1) comment


I am a citizen and observer. The city of Coon Rapids recently "stole" a family's mortgage-free home of 53 years. The city coordinated with the police department to harass and pile baseless citations on this family over a stretch of several years. They had no right whatsoever to even step foot on this property on this particular day but that did not stop them from coming and stealing thousands of dollars worth of our property. I am the distraught female in these videos. You have to copy and paste the url into the browser window to watch these they are only a couple minutes long.

After racking up nearly $30,000 in bogus debt on our home they finally stole it. I came across disturbing info during these abuses of the mayor quoted saying to the housing and redevelopment authority that they needed to be conscious about how they share the tax forfeits. Be sure to watch the local news in coming months for what is sure to be a huge case against the city, one that is long overdue.

(Edited by staff.)

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