Looking at the results of the mayoral elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul, I am struck by the lack of interest demonstrated by the electorate. “Voter turnout surprises metro poll watchers” (Nov. 8) states that 43 percent of the registered voters in Minneapolis and 27 percent of the registered voters in St. Paul took part in this election cycle. It is shocking to me that so many citizens are disrespecting the flag, the Constitution, and all the brave men and women who gave everything to provide a country where we are all free to express our political opinions.
It is your duty as a citizen to vote. We hear excuses such as “I forgot,” “I was too busy” or — my favorite — “they’re all the same” (anyone paying attention can see from the results of the last presidential election that this is not true). When people complain that professional athletes are disrespecting our country by taking a knee during the national anthem, remember that at least they are showing up and taking part in the process. I’ll be waiting for the uproar.
Michael Kowski, St. Paul
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Minneapolis voters made major changes Tuesday, electing a new mayor and remaking the City Council and the Park and Recreation Board. However, we still have some unfinished business: the Minneapolis school board.
I hope our thirst for change lasts long enough to reform the most dysfunctional municipal government, the Minneapolis Public Schools.
John Mehring, Minneapolis
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Jacob Frey won the election and will be the new mayor of Minneapolis! Now it’s time for the Star Tribune to examine his fashion sense, just like it did for Betsy Hodges (“Leading lady of fashion,” April 20, 2014).
Ellen L. Glatstein, Minnetonka
Are procedures after a report serving the purpose they must?
Years ago, I represented a client at the Legislature. The chair of a subcommittee through which my bills had to pass was pressing me to have dinner with him, and I routinely demurred because my family needed me home. It also seemed wise to avoid meeting with any male colleague in the evening, ahem. But I had to meet with him to get my bill scheduled for hearing, and he knew it. I finally agreed to an evening meeting at a restaurant, and we arrived simultaneously. After checking coats, while following the host to our table, the legislator put his hands on my hips and began directing me from behind.
I removed his hands, retrieved my coat and left without a word. Then I reported it to the chair of the full committee, who referred me to a woman administrator in the building who kept a file on every legislator reported for inappropriate or harassing conduct. She wrote it all down.
I later learned that there had been another similar report on this same legislator, so my report was validated. From then on, I was allowed to submit bills directly to the chair and did not have to go through the lecherous legislator’s subcommittee. He was told that there were two such reports against him, but our identities were concealed. The legislator claimed utter surprise when informed of these reports; I don’t know whether there were further consequences for him.
The system worked for me, as the second woman who reported someone in power, but what of the first? Why was this reporting system not common knowledge, and why did I do nothing to spread the word? What about his behavior — was it corrected?
I should have told the clients in advance (not to seek permission, but to prepare them), and then explained to that legislator why his behavior was over the line and completely unacceptable. (Technically, his action also constituted assault and battery, since it was an “unwanted touching.”) I also wish I had told him directly how it made me feel: dirty, guilty, vulnerable and victimized. I deserved none of that.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
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Regarding the allegations of improper sexual advances against a state senator and others, I will concede that they are probably guilty. The question, though, is: Whatever happened to due process? A complaint is not a guilty verdict.
Richard T. Mengelkoch, Bemidji, Minn.
If warned about a slippery slope of tolerance, beware the intent
Charles P. Morgan, CEO of Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities, concludes his Nov. 8 commentary about the Texas massacre (“What tragedy tells us about our crumbling morals”) by asking how can “we find our way back to collectively being our brother’s keeper.” That might not be the right question. Rather, we need to ask how to find a way forward to being our brother’s keeper. The election of 2016 has illustrated what happens when we look backward.
Patricia Calvert, Rochester
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The Union Gospel Mission works to succor the homeless, surely following Jesus. But when the gentleman talks about unspecified morals, and finds tolerance problematic, he could mean a lot of things.
Is he talking about social mores — how people have relationships and with whom? How exactly does that devolve into hopeless, angry white men committing massacres?
When he talks about our overflowing prisons, is he talking about how we have re-enslaved people of color with selective law enforcement?
And when he talks about tolerance, he really worries me. Which kinds of tolerance does he find harmful? Tolerance of people who have different religions or none? That way lies sharia law. Tolerance of nontraditional relationships? If we take our relationship rules from the Old Testament, we should be selling our daughters and raping our wives’ slaves.
If he talks about the gospel imperative to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and minister to the sick, I am all for it, but he gives no specifics at all, and his generalities sound way too much like narrow puritanism.
Mia McDavid, Roseville
MALL OF AMERICA
App allowing reserved parking at a premium: Another injustice
Oh, sure — now the “affluent” have access to all the close and best parking when shopping at the Mall of America (“The Drive: App allows premium parking at MOA,” Nov. 6). Come on — what happened to “first come, first served”? Keep those spaces open for everyone. Lots of people shop the MOA because of the free parking, but now you have to park in the back. No advantage to go early to get a good spot.
Joan Haapanen, Spring Lake Park