Guv#039;s mansion is for the people

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Ailene Dawson/Austin Daily Herald

I have been diligent about paying my light and heating bills (taxes) -- about paying to keep 'the place' scrubbed and polished. It has been in the family for generations. My kids have walked the halls and I can invite out-of-towners to see a house that is a part of my Minnesota heritage.

Gov. Jesse Ventura is closing my house -- the governor's mansion.

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Ventura's newest tantrum is about his allowance being cut. He won't be able to spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

My choice to cut spending is -- no more bodyguards, or airplane rides, or limousines, or room service, or meals at the fanciest restaurants, or entertaining people to further his career while freelancing as a football commentator, on tour to promote his books or making special appearances at Summer Slam and David Letterman.

I just want to see the mansion, part of the state's heritage which by the way he has full access to, maintained.

Lawmakers enacted a budget, over Ventura's veto, which will cut $1.3 million from the governor's $9.3 million office and security budgets. Yes, I said $9.3 million. And, that's only the office and security budgets. In retaliation, he is closing the mansion rather than give up his lavish lifestyle.

Though Attorney General Mike Hatch issued his opinion saying that the 92-year-old mansion must remain open for "ceremonial purposes," Ventura said it was 'just an opinion' and he intended to go ahead with the closing.

Obviously, Ventura believes he's above the law.

Cuts must be made in all areas of government. Excesses are criminal when the state is looking at a $2 billion shortfall. Ventura needs to look at tightening his own belt, not at taking our money and using it for his whims. The only one who benefits from closing the mansion is him. He gets to maintain his well-healed lifestyle at the expense of letting the mansion sit and deteriorate. We won't have access to our heritage. It's our mansion and we want it kept up.

We want it ready for the next hardworking governor who will take the taxpayer's offer to live in comfort as a benefit of the job.