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It’s outrageous that Minneapolis required owners of damaged buildings to jump through hoops to get their buildings torn down (“City removes tax demand that was blocking rebuilding of riot-torn Minneapolis,”, Aug. 13). The city and county should have some provision for assistance when owners’ buildings are damaged or destroyed due to civil unrest.

I live about eight blocks from the 27th Avenue and Lake Street intersection and there are still buildings that need to be torn down. The post office and Arby’s come to mind. There’s still wreckage to be removed where the Town Talk Diner once stood. A replacement building cannot be started until the wreckage is removed!

Our taxes are high enough for the city and county to have some emergency program to help building owners remove the wreckage in a timely fashion. Our area still looks like a war zone months after the unrest. It’s depressing.

Barry Margolis, Minneapolis


Set ideological purity aside

Who was it who stated, “The perfect is the enemy of the good”?

The article in Thursday’s paper highlights a conundrum within the Democratic Party (“Biden, Harris, draw a path out of crisis,” front page).

Those who have panned Sen. Kamala Harris as a “halfway” choice miss a vital point. None of the progressive ideals they champion are remotely possible without a presidential victory in November. Harris’ history as a prosecutor may disturb some, and the younger activists may find her too “establishment,” but Harris is an essential component to ridding us of the Trump abomination.

Resist the temptation to require ideological purity and embrace Harris as a true transformative candidate. Failure to do so and show up to vote (no matter how), will relegate the progressive movement to the fringes of political discourse for four more terribly long years.

Joe Carr, Eden Prairie

• • •

After reading the commentary by Jeffrey Taylor about the pros and cons of Joe Biden picking Harris, I believe that the unclear campaigning that Harris brings outweighs her experience with campaigning (“The pros and cons of Kamala Harris,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 13). This is because it doesn’t matter how much experience someone has if they can’t convey their ideology to the people they will represent. When running for president or vice president the candidate must be able to articulate and point to certain things that they and their partner stand for.

Next, her history of criminal justice. While she has co-authored a bill to ban chokeholds, among other measures, her alarming history as a prosecutor still must be called into question. “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Tulsi Gabbard said in the Democratic debates. This leads to a very mixed feeling among Black voters. Many ought to ask: Will she put them over herself?

Sam Brumbaugh, Edina

• • •

It would be just as much of an error to vote for Harris because she is a woman of color as it would be to vote for Biden because he is a white male. Such identity politics pander to an electorate who supports their home team, possibly at the cost of the better team. This is democracy gone awry.

Harris should be supported because she is a fierce contender and supporter of civic liberties.

She should be proud of her history as California’s tough attorney general who took violent offenders off the streets and her sincerity to control the pandemic and rejuvenate the economy.

She must make every American citizen feel that by electing her, he or she has skin in the game. Otherwise, she runs the risk of presenting herself as a champion of people of color only. This would not be much different from the tactics taken by our president, who is unambiguous in his representation of white people.

The candidates who can represent all Americans are the ones who will be most successful in bringing us together, regardless of their race or gender.

Irving Thorne, St. Louis Park

• • •

It has been two days as I write this since the Biden campaign announced Harris as his running mate. In those mere 48 hours, I have already heard the beginnings of the “But is she too X?” or “But is she not enough Y?” questions from reporters on NPR and in the Star Tribune.

Every female candidate is subjected to a goldilocks standard she just can’t seem to meet. She is always too this or not enough that. In Harris’ case, she was too tough on crime in the early 2000s, just like every viable Democratic and Republican candidate would have been in that time.

I am very excited to hear all the other ways that she just doesn’t measure up. Will she be too smart? Too tough on her opponents? Or maybe the opposite? All we know for sure is that she won’t be right, somehow. But as my husband jokingly suggested as I complained about this over the paper and coffee this morning, maybe I am too worried about this and I should just smile more.

Mary Voigt, St. Paul


My farm needs some certainty

Nearly six years to replace aging infrastructure is too long.

My family has farmed in Clearwater County for 85 years. As farmers, we take pride in our land and work hard to take care of the soil and water around us. We also take very seriously planning our farming operations, including rotating our crops and maintaining our equipment.

For 48 years, we’ve hosted six pipelines on our property and have always had a good relationship with the company. In 2014, we received a letter from Enbridge about the company’s intention to replace its Line 3 pipeline. Since that initial letter, we’ve worked with Enbridge on the easement for the replacement pipe and have considered our farming plans to accommodate construction.

That was nearly six years ago. And still no replacement project. When we have equipment in need of maintenance on our farm, we take care of it promptly so there are no future issues. I would think that the state of Minnesota would appreciate an energy company wanting to replace aging infrastructure and invest in local communities. Instead, Enbridge has been subject to years of regulatory scrutiny, tons of public meetings and seemingly exhaustive reviews. One state agency has even questioned the need for a project while another approved it.

As a farmer trying to plan my operation, I’d sure appreciate knowing when construction will actually come through my fields, instead of spending years planning with no execution. The state of Minnesota needs to appreciate the burden it has put on landowners across the right-of way due to this process.

Right now, I’m planning for construction later this year and spring of 2021, based on yet another approval from the Public Utilities Commission and an expected Pollution Control Agency decision this fall. Let’s hope Gov. Tim Walz does the right thing and finally lets this project move forward, giving landowners some certainty to plan.

Brian Emmel, Clearbrook, Minn.

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