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The commentary by Jay Ambrose (“So much potential fraud; so little heed,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 11) brings to mind Mark Twain’s phrase “lies, damned lies and statistics.” The 28 million mail-in votes that went “poof” between 2012 and 2016 are voters who chose not to vote.

On a good year, roughly 60% of Americans cast a ballot. By the same logic, roughly 250 million in-person votes went “poof” over the same time period. This “statistic” is in no way indicative of mail-in voter fraud.

David Hoplin, Mendota Heights

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As I run into people like Ambrose decrying voter fraud, I have a question: If voter fraud is so rife, and since voter fraud is a crime, why is virtually no one prosecuted even in those states with Republican governors, secretaries of state and/or attorneys general? Are all those officials incompetent, corrupt or derelict?

John Sherman, Moorhead, Minn.

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I sent a relatively important piece of mail from my home in Minneapolis to a business in Excelsior. What ordinarily would arrive in two or three days took nine. This does not bode well for our upcoming election. Our Postal Service is only one of the many government services that have been diminished over the last several years. Joni Mitchell, among others, had it right: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

William Pederson, Minneapolis

SCHOOL

Kids may not catch up so quickly

As a teacher trying to prepare for classes this fall, one thing has not changed. I know that the students who will enter my classroom or Zoom room will not all be the same. Building relationships with those students allows me to see and respond to their individual social, emotional and academic strengths and needs. I try, as best I can, to meet each child where she is. The pandemic has amplified the structural advantages some students have already because those students with the greatest resources and supports were able to learn more effectively last spring. Learning pods will accelerate that process. However, learning pods won’t be the only cause of inequity. How many of my students will continue to choose work to help their families put food on the table instead of hybrid instruction? How many siblings will be called upon to provide child care instead of tutoring?

Today, it is hard to see what life on the other side of the pandemic might look like, but we need to start planning now. Minnesota can emerge as a national leader if we lead with compassion and understanding by recognizing that we all need to meet our students where they are. We need to acknowledge that many students will not “catch up” in a year or two; a commitment to the kids and to the future of our state needs to be a plan for investment for years.

We can shortchange students and families and push them through the system to make sure our on-time graduation rates stay high, or we can really support families and give students the time and resources they need to ultimately access and succeed in postsecondary education, enabling our state to thrive in the post-COVID world.

Richard Rosivach, New Brighton

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This school year the United States will use millions of its residents in the most dangerous experiment in human history.

The reopening of the education system will subject students, teachers and support staff to the unknown and uncontrollable dangers of SARS-CoV-2.

As you consider your options, ask yourself the following questions and consider the possible answers.

1. What would actually be lost to our students if they just sat out a year from school? Relatively speaking, nothing. They would all be in the same position with regard to one other in 2021. In the meantime, those who wish to pursue independent study could do that. Those old enough to work could save some money and avoid more debt. Everyone would be a year older, more mature and, hopefully, more relaxed.

2. As a parent, what relief will you actually get from the demands of the in-home education and child care you’ve been providing? With your children sometimes being at home and sometimes not, with differing travel schedules for all of this, your actual peace of mind and time to work or do things around the house will not likely be increased.

3. What is the educational value of the completely untested approach of some in-person, some online, and some mix of the two forms of instruction? It is totally unknown. Further, whether all your children’s education is financed by taxes or you pay tuition, it is not possible to determine the cost/benefit ratio for this.

4. Reflecting on your own experience as a student, how would masking and social distancing have worked for you?

5. How will the essential socialization provided by prekindergarten and early elementary school occur? It won’t.

Why don’t we just take a deep breath and call a time out. Thinking strategically and for the long term, why are we subjecting ourselves to this?

Take a step back, and then suggest to your school administration that more time is needed to think this thing through.

John Ammerman, Edina

LIGHT RAIL

A win for the actual riders

Thank you, BNSF Railway, for killing the proposed light-rail line for birds and squirrels through the north end of Theodore Wirth Park! (“N. Mpls. gets 2nd chance at light rail,” front page, Aug. 10.)

Perhaps now, the current incarnation of elected and appointed public officials will craft a route to serve humans.

My suggestion: out of downtown on N. 7th Street to Emerson Avenue; north on Emerson to W. Broadway Avenue; northwest on Broadway.

Into downtown: West Broadway to N. Fremont Avenue to N. 7th Street.

Meanwhile, former Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin’s folly unfortunately proceeds, using “free federal money” to create chaos in the chain of lakes. It’s not too late, commissioners. “The Trench” and Nicollet Avenue still cry out for a line that would serve the tens of thousands of residents in Uptown — and leave the birds and squirrels in peace.

Darryl G. Carter, Minneapolis

POLARIZATION

It’s not either/or. It’s both.

As society has become increasingly polarized, this tendency to “either or” has become especially prevalent in people’s reactions to the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests.

If you support the protests and the belief that our system of justice needs an overhaul, must you also believe that the riots, attacks, arson and looting across the cities are, if not justified, at least understandable — and acceptable, if not inevitable?

Many people do support the need for systemic change and see arson and looting as crimes against the community that should be investigated and charged. “These are just buildings”? These are not just buildings. These are somebody’s livelihood; somebody’s life work; somebody’s way to support their families and their community. These are, or were, important sources of jobs and education and even recreation. Vital resources for residents. Part of the neighborhood. Not part of the problem.

An equitable system of justice means justice for these people as well. Our systems of government spend far too much time changing the universe to fit the equation. And that is part of the problem.

Where are the results of the investigations into these crimes? Where is the media coverage?

Change doesn’t come without cost. But we need to make sure that the right people are paying.

Galynn Nordstrom, Minneapolis

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