A June 26 letter writer, at the conclusion of her letter about history and statues, asks, "What is that old saying about those who cannot remember the past?" ("History, as always, is complicated.")
An updated response is, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to retweet it."
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
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In regard to a letter writer's comments about the Roosevelt statue at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I don't believe he sees the whole picture as it relates to the scene in the statue ("Watch what you call 'troubling,' " June 25). The statue depicts Theodore Roosevelt leading subjugated people out of the bleak future afforded them in American society — when it was our society that put them there in the first place.
My personal preference would be to show the subjugated people in front, leading Roosevelt and his horse out of ignorance from the past.
James Kujawa, Brooklyn Park
The law applies to presidents, too. Biden would be able to show it.
The commentary by Robert Moilanen on whether Joe Biden should or should not pardon President Donald Trump if Biden gets elected was the most irresponsible article I have read in a while, even more so coming from an attorney ("Biden should reconsider promise not to pardon Trump," June 24). After laying out a compelling reason why Trump should be prosecuted, Moilanen then falls on the tired reasoning behind Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon. If a president has flagrantly abused his office and broken laws that compromise the security of this country, not pardoning is not a move for revenge but a move toward justice.
Pardoning presidents instantly puts them not just above the law but completely outside of it. It tells an outgoing president that he got away with it, and it leaves a very clear message to future presidents that they, too, can side step the law, especially if they have a compliant Congress willing to overlook even willful lawlessness.
If justice is to be applied evenly and meaningfully, it is most important that it starts with the president. If the law fails to do its job, it eventually ripples through the whole system of justice and by its nature the very government charged with upholding those laws — which brings us to Attorney General William Barr, who has literally become the president's single largest enabler. If the president is a crook, how does giving him a pardon heal the nation, much less assure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity?
Thomas Jesberg, East Bethel
Density does help solve this problem
Before we listen to Fritz Knaak, a lawyer in North Oaks, lecture us about affordable housing, let's get the facts ("Yes, the Twin Cities are harmfully segregated," Opinion Exchange, June 26). His belief that we can have "more affordable single-family construction in the suburbs and exurbs" leaves out the additional cost to tax- and ratepayers of infrastructure and municipal services, never fully covered by development fees and often subsidized by those living in denser areas, where costs are lower.
A 2013 study showed that compact development, on average, costs 38% less in infrastructure installation, 10% less in service delivery and generates 10 times more tax revenue per acre than single-family suburban development. Knaak is also disingenuous in claiming that rising real estate values in Minneapolis limit less-expensive housing choices. Zoning does that, with height restrictions, minimum lot and unit sizes, and parking requirements that Minneapolis has led in changing or eliminating.
The "cult of densification" that Knaak attributes to the Metropolitan Council is really a concern for equitable development and a diversity of housing options, something Knaak claims to want.
Thomas Fisher, St. Paul
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The commentary by Cathy ten Broeke, et al., certainly let us know that many important people with the title of "commissioner" are on the job, asking for more taxpayer dollars to deal with what they call the " unprecedented" situation with homeless encampments ("All policy levers must be used to meet needs," Opinion Exchange, June 25). Oh, wait, there was the Wall of Forgotten Natives encampment before this. And many others for years.
What is unprecedented is that housed people, serving as the true and honest advocates for homeless persons (unpaid, by the way), are holding ten Broeke and her enablers in public office to account.
That destroys the classic narrative used by this bunch: "The public does not care." She and the rest have gotten away with their high-paid jobs and clueless approach because they could count on the isolation of the powerless people they claim to care about.
Did these commissioners think that unsheltered people just ceased to exist? How did these experts fail to know that encampments have existed and been growing for years?
Over time, and after analyzing the failure of the 10-year plan to end homelessness, one pattern I pinpointed was the excuses they use for their incompetence: the tornadoes that hit north Minneapolis, the Great Recession, COVID-19.
And their continued request for more money, which they waste, is their main solution. But, they have not been held accountable for how the money is spent.
The recent commentary states more money is needed for outreach workers. Truly a bridge to nowhere — outreach workers faced with no resources to connect people with. And an ad for the Walz administration is also tucked into the commentary.
Until these incompetent and overpaid commissioners and their army of sycophants are removed from the debacle they have largely created, all the money we have will not address homelessness.
Margaret Hastings, Minneapolis
Time for baseball to step up on race
It's been a tough year for baseball fans, but another great year for Minnesota Twins fans. Since George Floyd's death, the Twins have listened to baseball fans who didn't see themselves among the "good, hard working white people" Calvin Griffith's Twins came to play for in 1961. These fans include the black Minnesotans that Griffith certainly didn't come to play for, by Nick Coleman's account from 1978.
But when, exactly, did the Twins start to reach out and actively cultivate a black fan base? Recent actions and commitments are admirable, but what do black baseball fans think? Were the '87 and '91 teams their World Champions, too?
A smiling white Minnie and a smiling white Paul still shake hands over center field, raising the question: Are these finally Minnesota's Twins?
Rod Carew urged us to learn from history, and the Pohlad statue at the ballpark appears to promise continued leadership, transparency and commitment to honor the public resources invested in the franchise.
So let's go big and expect big things from the Minnesota Twins and our sportswriters. How have players past and present experienced discrimination within Twins baseball and the MLB? Where else has structural racism influenced the business and the game of baseball? Let's ask the players and the fans, but especially those who've been left out of the game.
Eric John Gustafson, Minneapolis
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