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I will confess, I am not a dedicated sports fan, but this morning I carefully read every word of the Aug. 27 paper’s top article: “Ticket slide alarms Gophers.” What I was looking for, I did not see: the price of a ticket. Is it possible that the slide is due to inflated and unrealistic pricing? When I do hear what ticket prices are, for both professional and college sports, I am aghast. It seems that sports used to be for “the people.” Now it seems they are not.

Robert Reilly, Minneapolis

• • •

Interesting read on the slumping University of Minnesota athletic ticket sales, but the failure to lure or keep season-ticket holders lies with the athletic department, not with the loyal maroon-and-gold supporters.

I was a hockey season-ticket holder for years. There were sellout crowds at the old arena on a nightly basis. Perhaps the biggest reason was that ticket prices were extremely reasonable, be it single game or season, not to mention the fact that parking was cheap. And, yes, the fact that the Gophers were contenders added to that mix.

Then came the new arena, and, for the first years, the same atmosphere moved from one side of the street to the other. But changes were in the wind. Preferred seating, preferred parking, the separation of those who have and those who have not. Corporate sponsorship entered the picture. They got the perks, and as long as the money flowed, no one gave a damn about the empty seats. You cannot price loyal fans out of their seats and expect them to bleed maroon-and-gold.

The other big change: leaving the WCHA for the Big Ten Network and its money. That’s what it’s come down to — always has and always will.

Secondary in all of this are two things: putting a competitive team on the football field, hiring a coach who knows about the game rather than about rowing a boat, and winning. Likely the same scenario applies to hockey and basketball. Scandals galore haven’t helped, either, but that’s another story.

What will sway people the other way? It’s hard to tell. Ditching corporate sponsors is highly unlikely. Reducing the cost of a ticket? Also unlikely, considering that overblown contracts have to be fulfilled. It’s a mess, and the athletic department caused it.

Dan Ondich, Canyonville, Ore.

GOVERNOR’S RACE

Jeff Johnson supports Trump?

Here are a few questions for him

Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, given your public affirmation of your support for President Donald Trump, please tell Minnesota voters what aspects of Trump you think will benefit our state and how you will emulate them as governor.

• Will you be passing massive tax reform that will put the state into incredible debt?

• Will you abandon health care reform and leave people without affordable options?

• Will you alienate neighboring states and governments?

• Will you abandon our state parks, sell state land and deregulate environmental protections?

• Will you attack minorities and people who don’t share your specific religious interpretations?

• Will you ignore the reality of gun violence rather than find resolutions?

• Will you ignore global warming and promote businesses that contribute significantly to it?

• Will you attack as “fake news” any news that you don’t agree with?

• Will you eschew leadership, governance, law and bipartisan agreements to try to accomplish unpopular solutions?

Jeff Miller, Shakopee

• • •

After reading “Johnson affirms support for Trump” (Aug. 28), one question came to mind:

Will Tim Walz’s campaign need to pay for this advertising piece?

Mike McLean, Richfield

CRIME AND IMMIGRATION

Both sides of debate invoke statistics; that’s a mistake

In light of the Mollie Tibbetts murder, both sides are making the mistake of getting bogged down in citing opposing statistics regarding crime rates among those here illegally. This is a mistake for two reasons.

1. It’s very hard to get accurate information on these kinds of statistics. Many jurisdictions don’t even keep records of the relevant details necessary to obtain accurate numbers.

2. It’s completely irrelevant. Immigration law should be enforced for its own sake and the sake of preserving our sovereignty and the integrity of the law, even if the violent crime rate were zero. But any level above that exposes a hole that needs to be plugged, because the people committing those crimes shouldn’t have been here in the first place. A similar analogy is unjustified police violence. It doesn’t matter that the “rate” of blacks being killed unjustifiably by police is considerably lower than that of blacks being killed by other blacks. Here, too, anything above zero exposes a problem. (There can be other problems with how this is approached — i.e., grouping justified shootings in with unjustified ones with no interest in the differing facts of each case. But the point is that unjustified police violence is still an issue.)

Alexander Adams-Leytes, Minneapolis

• • •

Sadly, a young woman from Iowa was murdered, allegedly by an “illegal alien.” Last weekend, a white man allegedly killed two people at a gamers convention. In 2017, a white man killed 58 people and injured hundreds in Las Vegas. “Illegal aliens” as a group are vilified, but the vast majority of white men walk the streets without suspicion every day.

When white men kill, it is almost always attributed to “mental health issues” or a troubled childhood. When nonwhites kill, mental illness is seldom discussed, but rather their act is a stain on their entire ethnicity or socioeconomic class.

I am so, so weary of the hypocrisy.

Lydia Kihm, Minnetonka

• • •

To paraphrase Josef Stalin: One person killed by an illegal immigrant is a tragedy; tens of thousands of people killed by guns or lack of affordable health care is a statistic.

Patrick McCauley, Edina

WALLS

Ancient structure has tale to tell

Reading “Everything I know about walls” by Timothy Taylor (Aug. 26) reminded me of my recent hike following part of Hadrian’s Wall in England. In the year 122, the Roman occupiers of Britain built a fort complex with a massive wall (10 feet wide, 20 feet high) stretching from coast to coast. Named after the Emperor Hadrian, the wall was intended to keep the unruly northern Britons from the lands to the south. However, multiple successful invasions ensued, due to the wall being poorly manned. The wall was then abandoned because its troops were needed to put down skirmishes elsewhere in the empire.

Now, this wall, once thought to be impenetrable, stands shoulder high, its stones removed centuries ago by the very people the Romans tried to keep out. Local farmers helped themselves to the brick-like rocks in the construction of homes, churches and field partitions. Ironically, walls always have within them a future life far from their original intent.

Sandra Urgo, Stillwater

STATE FAIR

A welcome break

After months of stories that make me sad and frustrated every day over national politics, what a real joy to read about the Minnesota State Fair. It is truly a “feel-good” story that is both uplifting and joyful. I have not gone to the fair in years, but the story makes me want to go and experience the same “feel-good” in person. We as Minnesotans are blessed with many things that are missing in other states. We have wonderful outdoor sites with our lakes and the Boundary Waters. We have very sensible political leadership, and we have one of the nation’s best state fairs. Hurray for Minnesota!

Marjorie Williams, Lake Elmo