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What a relief to read that Minnesota is once again expressing the values and beliefs that Minnesotans are historically known to possess ("Minnesota poised to outlaw banning books," May 17).

As an author, and as someone who grew up in and lives just across the border from Minnesota, I couldn't help cheering and send thanks that I'm not living in Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis happily restricts that state's citizens of their rights to read some books that are deemed unfit.

I say, if you don't like the content, don't read the book.

Parents have always had the right to restrict books they don't want their children to read. But I recall sneaking "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" from the shelf and sitting in the far corner in our public library, reading it to discover what was so shocking that my auntie said I couldn't check it out. Those were the ancient 1960s, and although times have changed, some things remain. Thankfully Minnesota is still a state where authors like me feel welcome to write and publish books and tell the stories we wish to share.

Sharon Durken, Port Wing, Wis.


When school boards decide to remove a book from a public school library because it's too explicit for young children, it is not book banning ("Minnesota poised to outlaw banning books"). The book is probably available or can be ordered from Amazon and the local bookstore. The Legislature should focus instead on helping schools address deteriorating reading scores in Minnesota. According to the August 2023 report from the Minnesota Department of Education, less than half of Minnesota's students and only 31% of Black and Hispanic students are reading at or above grade level. That is the real problem.

Nat Robbins, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired teacher.


So the Legislature has outlawed book banning. It needs to think again. Public schools have been under attack for years, which has resulted in marked reductions in enrollment. More students are going to private schools or being home-schooled. Ask parents why they are home-schooling, and in one way or another, they will say they don't like what their children are exposed to in public schools. Taking away the opportunity for the public to take part in deciding what students are to be exposed to is another step distancing public schools from the very people they need for support. The legislators are playing right into the hands of those attacking public schools.

John D. Sens, Savage


Reflect, then open your wallet

Few topics for discussion bore me the way government budgetary matters do. But I almost gagged on my breakfast Cheerios when I read Tuesday's headline! ("$21.6M shortfall looms for Mpls.," front page, May 21.) The city faces some sobering financial realities.

Well, you don't have to be an economist or a CPA here. Sugar Daddy Washington stopped pandemic funding. Pandemic-induced inflation made it harder for marginal earners to put food on the table. Realities of policing in today's world means we switch from "defunding the police" to "superfunding the police." After years of assuming a tight civil servant workforce would just work harder without fair wage increases or could deliver despite worker shortages, we're seeing things more clearly. It ain't pretty.

What to do? Well, those of us who are enjoying the good life here, and who can afford to do so, need to recognize our obligation to pay back the community. That may mean accepting higher taxes. Next, we need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that "there's so much wastage in government spending." There is some, of course, but not enough to solve this budget challenge — not even close. These civil servants are dedicated, upright folks. The programs they run bring us our quality of city life. After that? We have to accept, with compassion, that there are members of our community who need our help — through tax-funded services. And, we have to recognize that the vast, vast majority of these people are not loafers who are scamming the system.

So, in summary, this budgetary shortfall is an opportunity for each of us to do some introspection. If we can't "donate" millions of dollars to the Minneapolis coffers, we can at least accept the reality of our city's financial situation and deal with it.

Richard Masur, Minneapolis


While we're being warned of large deficits and stiff property tax increases for residential property, the City Council is proposing to increase its staff, including more personally selected aides. Given the recent charter amendment giving full executive power to the mayor, with the City Council as a purely legislative body, why does the City Council need yet more staff? And why is the Charter Commission not looking into reducing the size of the council and making council members, who are paid more than $100,000 per year, part time? A part-time, seven-member City Council works just fine in St. Paul.

Louis Hoffman, Minneapolis


Swings and misses

According to the headlines in the Saturday Star Tribune, former President Donald Trump came out "swinging" during his visit to Minnesota, but these headlines failed to note his unhinged swings missed the truth ("Trump comes out swinging," front page, May 18).

President Joe Biden is bringing "massive numbers of Gazans from the Middle East and resettle them in our communities." Lie. Trump carried Minnesota in the 2020 election. Lie. Democrats "cheat" at elections. Lie. The evidence is that MAGA Republicans seek to cheat, led by Trump, who called the Georgia Republican secretary of state after the 2020 election and was recorded asking him to "find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have."

Trump claimed in an interview that, if not for him, Minneapolis would have "burned to the ground" in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder. This coming from a then-president who didn't even attempt to protect our national Capitol when a MAGA mob stormed it on Jan. 6, 2021, seeking to quell our democracy and kill members of Congress and his own vice president.

Trump told his donors multiple times that "I will keep men out of women's sports." But he has failed, as he proclaimed in the Access Hollywood tape, to keep himself out of women's shorts, failed to keep himself out of women's department store dressing rooms in the E. Jean Carroll sexual abuse case and proudly failed to keep men (and state governments) out of women's health decisions.

Congressman Tom Emmer, in his remarks preceding those of Trump, stated that if his congressional colleague Ilhan Omar is unhappy in our country, she should move elsewhere. Trump later expressed his own unhappiness in our country, saying we are "a nation that has lost" its way. Perhaps he should move to Russia or Hungary.

Brad Engdahl, Golden Valley


To those who attended the Trump event on May 17, I would appreciate a word from you to read in this newspaper about the specific reasons for your support of the former president. I was surprised to read that at the Lincoln Reagan dinner, "The crowd erupted into the loudest applause of the night and a standing ovation" for the indicted former president, someone who's a legally established sexual abuser. Up to this point, the opinion pages have lacked (or have not published) your views on the attributes of the former president. We need to hear from you.

From the photo accompanying the article (featuring Emmer), numerous women attended this event in support of Trump. You in particular, his female supporters, could help me and a portion of the readership understand the moral basis of your support and whether during this gala event you were mindful of his female victims. While your silence is your right, be of good courage. Please write.

Steve Watson, Minneapolis