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In response to the letter "Teach agency, not victimhood":Slavs, Italians, Catholics, Jews, etc., etc., etc., did not come to this country in chains, they were not classified as 3/5ths of a person, they were not treated as animals in every sense of the word.Black folks worked hard (not as heck, but most often to death) when we were in chains, and we continue to work hard, but the oppressor continues to make it difficult to just "overcome it" until something concrete is done about systemic racism and the oppression of people of color and Black people in particular.

Sylvia Amos, Minneapolis

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The letter writer of "Teach agency, not victimhood" conveniently forgets that unlike the Irish, Poles, Slavs, Italians, Catholics, Jews, etc., who came to this country voluntarily, African Americans were stolen from their native lands.A completely different narrative.

Mike McDonald, St. Paul

POLICING

Yes 4 Minneapolis won't help

I cannot vote for a mayoral candidate who endorses the Yes 4 Minneapolis public safety charter amendment proposal.

This amendment to the city charter would diminish the Minneapolis Police Department, remove a requirement for it from the charter and have it answer to 15 bosses. It lacks the normal check and balance on government. Other city departments that currently report to both the mayor and council find it to be ineffective and inefficient. The public safety proposal would have no impact on the police contract, state and federal police protection laws, binding arbitration or qualified immunity. It is a terrible idea.

We have already gotten a look at the effects of a greatly depleted and demoralized police department. Violent crime is up substantially across the city. Another child was recently shot in north Minneapolis. The police should be focused on taking guns off the street and bringing violent offenders to justice. Instead they can barely keep up with only the most important 911 calls. In addition to violent crime, general lawlessness has gone unaddressed. What began as protest on Lake Street has morphed into adolescent destructive behavior but with guns and automobiles. It is decimating business in Uptown as rampant violence in north Minneapolis is crushing the recovery of West Broadway.

I spent 40 years protecting and serving this city. I also spent those years building partnerships between the police department and the community — my family's community. It is not either/or. That can happen again. Chief Medaria Arradondo knows what must be done because it is his community, too. It will take several years to rebuild the Police Department, but under Arradondo's leadership, we can hire new officers with the right service orientation and still support those good officers who have remained. Reform? Unquestionably, I can cite a number of things about the culture and practices that must change. Having humility and protecting, serving and respecting everyone is a good start.

Gregory Hestness, Minneapolis

The writer is retired chief of the University of Minnesota Police Department and retired deputy chief of the Minneapolis Police Department.

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If Mayor Jacob Frey wants to be re-elected, I'm afraid he's going to have to consider replacing Chief Arradondo.I cannot believe that the police chief is totally blameless for the lack of police protection during the George Floyd riots, didn't know about the destruction of evidence at the Second Precinct and has not done enough to restore the population of our police force.I think new blood is very much indicated.

There has been little talk about the rebuilding of the Third Precinct, either.Although I'm quite a liberal guy, I think the chief as well as the City Council need to be replaced with people who are going to consider the goodness of Minneapolis first, in light of the halfheartedness of the post-riot atmosphere here in Minneapolis.Crime is up and there's little reconstruction on East Lake Street.

I find the whole situation depressing, and some new blood seems to be the way to go.

Barry Margolis, Minneapolis

SPACE

Taking the rocket out for a spin

Rich guys have always liked joy riding. All that's changed is the technology ("Jeff Bezos blasts into space on own rocket: 'Best day ever!'" July 20). If only we could get rich guys to pay their share of taxes.

Duane Cady, Shoreview

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I'm delighted by Richard Branson's recent flight. Why? Oh, come on. I believe in free enterprise and believe the next great leap into space will be made by businesses that realize there's money to be made doing this. (If only people realized the amount of precious metals in a "small" asteroid, you'd build your own rocket company yourself.) Seriously ...

Robert Chadfield, Hopkins

COVID RESPONSE

Cite your sources, please

Kevin Roche's "Learn the right lessons from the COVID response" (Opinion Exchange, July 19), states, "The most recent [regular technical bulletin of the Public Health England, the United Kingdom's public health authority] shows that delta has a lower hospitalization and death rate than did the prior predominant strain, alpha or B117, and that its transmissibility is roughly the same as alpha." I can find no such report.

In fact, Sajid Javid, UK secretary of state for health and social care, told Parliament on July 12 that "although the Delta variant is more transmissible than the Alpha variant, the evidence showing two doses of the vaccine appears to be just as effective against hospitaliaation." This statement matches American scientists' assessments.

The Star Tribune's credibility rests on accuracy. Please ask Mr. Roche and other contributors to provide sources, with dates, for their scientifically questionable assertions. Thank you.

Ellen Archibald, Minneapolis

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I'm always amused by those like Kevin Roche who pose as experts only to tell us not to trust experts. I would have thought he'd be busy enough designing his own spaceship or removing his own appendix to worry about what the experts thought anyway. How does he sell himself as a consultant if he leads with, "Don't trust expertise"? Isn't that what consultants claim to have?

David C. Smith, Minneapolis

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If someone uses excessive adverbs to advance an argument, they are trying to obfuscate the facts.At the least, those adverbs weaken the argument.In Kevin Roche's opinion piece, he peppers his writing with such phrases as "largely futile," "supposedly followed," "roughly the same," "slavishly kowtow," "universally found," "almost universally finds," "literally a generation," "horrendously affected," and on and on.None of these lead to an actual presentation of fact nor do they advance any rational argument.Perhaps Mr. Roche should pay attention to William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, who said it best in their "Elements of Style":"Do not dress words up by adding ly to them, as though putting a hat on a horse."

Richard Young, Minneapolis

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