At no small expense, we came from New Orleans to watch the season opener against the Vikings. As a fan, I enjoy rooting for my team. Before the start of the game, my husband and I explained to our neighbors on either side that I would be enthusiastically cheering for the Saints.
My cheers were met with taunts and jeers from several of our neighbors. A “lady” who sat one row behind my husband was particularly nasty and heckled me for cheering. Her behavior was so poor that the man sitting next to my husband explained that she’s horrific throughout the season.
Vikings fans, you do realize that I was unbelievably outnumbered? You are free to cheer for your team. Because mine was the only voice screaming for the Saints, one, then several, of our neighbors harassed my husband and me for cheering. Yet when I vociferously joined in Vikings’ fans cheers for our U.S. military, no one objected.
If you came to New Orleans, which I hope you do one day, I’m confident that our city and our fans would treat you much better. Please try to get your act together before you host the Super Bowl next year.
To our other neighbors at the game, we truly appreciated your good-natured banter.
Alice Cibilich, New Orleans
LICENSE PLATES, TABS
Delays after upgrade? Seems like poor IT project management
Having spent nearly 40 years of my working career in the IT field (software development and support), I was somewhat surprised to hear that the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) upgrade has been worked on for nine years and has cost $90 million (“Delays drag on for tabs, plates,” Aug. 31). But even more surprising was the fact that the upgrade was brought online before being 100 percent tested and certified.
In my career, we upgraded our MRP system (material requirements planning, including financials, inventory, purchasing, production planning, receiving and so on) maybe eight or nine times. We would thoroughly test our upgrades, and since we were a global manufacturing company, we would do them on three-day weekends to minimize the impact. We would shut down our global manufacturing on Friday afternoon and start our conversions. Once our conversions were complete, we could not take the new systems online until we could tie our old system financials to the new system financials down to the last penny.
The MNLARS problems sound like poor planning and poor project management.
They also sound similar to the recent MNsure problems. Any common threads?
Mike McLean, Richfield
AMAZON’S SECOND HQ
An opportunity for Twin Cities to address a nagging problem
The bid for Amazon’s second headquarters presents an eye-popping opportunity to address one of Minneapolis’ most enduring and ugly problems: racial disparity.
How? By requiring that the campus be built in north Minneapolis and that Amazon hire a certain number of local workers of color in order to receive a public-benefits package. The Bottineau/Blue Line extension will travel along Hwy. 55 in the Near North neighborhood by the early 2020s, and a campus along that corridor opens north Minneapolis to the kind of development that can change its residents’ futures while still being accessible to the rest of the metro’s workers.
“But gentrification! But all lives matter!” yell the haters and naysayers. Well, I’m sick of the Twin Cities having the greatest racial disparity in the country (Politico has the proof at http://politi.co/29L3scE), and we can’t fix the problem without bold steps to incorporate poor, black people into the economy. We can overcome the gentrification of north Minneapolis and the inner-ring suburbs by making sure enough of their current residents get started on a modern, service-sector career path at Amazon.
We already know that we have enough money in the city’s and state’s coffers and a huge comparative advantage in quality of life to attract Amazon (the latest: “Gov. Mark Dayton says state of Minnesota’s Amazon HQ bid to be ‘restrained,’ ” StarTribune.com, Sept. 12). Using the bid as a driver for minority hiring is not only socially just, but a durable boost for the regional economy. It’s good for all of us.
David Muench Huebert, Minneapolis
The utility (or the lack thereof) of studying the humanities
Judith K. Healey’s defense of English majors (“University of Minnesota: Key to a stronger capital campaign: Humanities,” Sept. 12) is another shot in the long shadow war against the utilitarians, those who think the purpose of education is to get a job. The purpose of education, especially in the humanities, has no purpose or justification other than itself. Yes, of course, we want graduates to be able to think, communicate (whatever that means) and analyze, but those skills are not the sole purview of the humanities. We don’t need to justify education; we need to embrace its lack of purpose. Therein lies enlightenment.
Charles Neerland, Minneapolis
A wealth tax might not be limited to letter writer’s ‘rich’
In another misguided tax proposal aimed at taxing the rich, a Sept. 11 letter writer proposes a wealth tax of 2 or 3 percent and claims that for the middle class, “such a federal tax will not change your obligation.” He obviously has a problem with his math. Let’s take an example of a farming couple whose farm has been in the family for generations. Assuming the farm is worth $3 million and it generates an income of $100,000 per year, then under the current federal tax the effective rate would be approximately 30 percent (including self-employment taxes), or $30,000. If the farm comprises the couple’s only savings/assets, then the tax liability would be $60,000 for a 2 percent wealth tax and a whopping $90,000 for a 3 percent rate. Any additional assets and savings would increase these even further. These tax burdens would make savings and reinvestment in their farm impossible and most likely would drive the couple from their farm.
A wealth tax most certainly sticks it to the ultrarich and would give the writer some sense of satisfaction that such people have been forced to “redeem themselves.” It would, however, cause irreparable harm to most small-business owners, as well as anyone who has worked hard their whole life to save, effectively stripping their wealth away on a yearly basis.
Mark Plooster, Plymouth
Shaping character and minds? Yes, but let’s not go overboard.
I would have found the Sept. 11 letter “Teaching is really pretty cool” a bit scary if I hadn’t been a teacher for 32 years.
The writer states that teachers “shape” the characters and minds of their students, but fortunately that’s not true. Parents are almost always the primary influence on the development of a person’s mind and character. We teachers are only some of the many people contributing to the complexity of each individual.
I loved teaching and saw my position as one of great responsibility and importance, but I know that I was just one of many to influence each child.
Jincy Vaitkunas, Apple Valley