As a "soft" supporter of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (meaning he is currently somewhere among my top three choices for mayor), I feel I am aware of his shortcomings. As such, I understand why some voters may not wish to rank him in this year's election for mayor.
As a longtime proponent of ranked-choice voting (RCV), however, I was saddened by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar's recent decision to hold a news conference for the sole purpose of encouraging the residents of Minneapolis not to rank him ("Divided left field agrees: Don't rank Frey," Oct. 19).
One of RCV's many strengths is that it also provides an opportunity for candidates to emphasize policy areas where they are in agreement or at least closely aligned with their opponents.
I would have been much more impressed with Omar if the congresswoman would have used the news conference to try to persuade voters like me to rank her candidates by highlighting some areas where they are in general agreement with Frey.
For, regardless of who wins the race, the next mayor will need to be a coalition-builder. Omar, unfortunately, missed an opportunity to leverage RCV to jump-start the bridge-building process.
Jack Uldrich, Minneapolis
The front-page headline "Divided left field agrees: Don't rank Frey" was disappointing and misleading. Democrats — the left field — do not agree on ranking Frey. This is evidenced by the summary under the headline and the last paragraph of the story that cites several Democrats, including Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who all support Mayor Frey. Also disappointing is the Star Tribune's choice to primarily showcase certain DFL lawmakers who advocate not ranking Frey but oddly have no statement on endorsing any other mayoral candidate — except for Omar, who endorses not one but two challengers. The story only mentions in the final paragraph on page A3 the DFL lawmakers who do support Mayor Frey. How about getting a story on the front-page about the Democratic leaders who do support Mayor Frey using the headline "Divided left field agrees: Rank Frey first"?
Brian Murray, Minneapolis
Minneapolis is lucky.
OK, I know it doesn't feel like a lucky time right now. In the past year, Minneapolis became the international symbol of rotten relations between police and people of color in the U.S. Three charter amendments have been offered to help "fix" things. Hard to figure if any of them will pass. Also, hard to figure if they really would fix things.
So, what makes Minneapolis lucky? There's a candidate running for mayor who has the skills, knowledge and experience to begin steering the city in a positive direction.
I've been participating in, writing, talking and teaching about Minnesota politics for 69 years. All that experience clearly tells me that Kate Knuth is the candidate who is best prepared intellectually, temperamentally and experientially to handle the job of mayor. She's the rare candidate who understands the process of governance and where she wants to go.
That there's someone waiting in the wings who can do the job is part of Minneapolis' luck. The other part of the city's luck: Minneapolis uses ranked-choice voting to elect its mayor. In a ranked-choice system, it's possible for the best qualified candidate to win, even if she doesn't have lots of money and even if she isn't the best-known candidate.
Lucky Minneapolis. Lots of turmoil now but a hopeful and positive tomorrow with Kate Knuth as mayor. Rank Kate No. 1.
Wy Spano, St. Paul
Metals must come from somewhere
Many are celebrating the newest setback for copper-nickel mining in Minnesota, and heralding as well the resumption of a study of environmental risks ("A win for stewardship of Boundary Waters," editorial, Oct. 25). But as study results are awaited, with the likelihood that identification of potential risks will shelve local mining prospects — perhaps permanently — it is worth considering what the latest study will not delve into.
Whereas mining proposals in Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. require extensive examination of potential risks to ground and surface water, air, wildlife, rare and endangered species, outdoor recreation, tourism, aesthetics, historic artifacts and more, such studies never consider what the impacts are likely to be in those regions from which needed resources will come instead. There is, moreover, zero consideration of domestic consumption of the resources in question.
It is worth noting that tucked into the latest House version of the infrastructure package reconciliation bill is a provision, backed by some of Minnesota's congressional representatives, that would halt development of a proposed large copper mine in Arizona, again based on environmental concerns. Similar actions can be expected in the future since there is organized opposition to virtually all proposals for new or expanded copper mining in the U.S.
Meanwhile there is broad support within Congress and the environmental community generally for aggressive transition to alternative energy and electric vehicles, developments that will substantially increase consumption of copper, nickel, lithium, cobalt and other minerals — all of which are on the U.S. net import list.
The fact of the matter is that people and environments all over the world are impacted by our consumption, and very often negatively. So as glasses are raised to toast another "win for the environment," let's maybe pause for just a second or two to think about environments elsewhere that we are willfully putting at risk by our steadfast resistance to shouldering any of the risks ourselves.
Jim Bowyer, North Oaks
I was inspired by Dennis Anderson's piece about the reclamation of Tiger Lake in Carver County ("How a lost wild place was reclaimed," Oct. 22). A partnership of many who care reclaimed a threatened lake for the benefit of songbirds, animals, pollinators, ducks and humans. The world is a better place because of their efforts.
One of the reasons primatologist Jane Goodall has hope for our world as it faces an existential challenge is what she calls "the resilience of nature." A chapter in her new book, "The Book of Hope," is named exactly that. In it, she cites many examples of nature bouncing back, sometimes with the help of humans. One powerful example is the "Survivor Tree" at ground zero, blooming and growing after it was crushed between blocks of cement on 9/11.
I started thinking: If humans don't mess up the environment in the first place, there is no need for heroic reclamation projects. Why on earth would we allow copper mining or oil pipelines anywhere near pristine wilderness areas, watersheds or sacred Indigenous lands? Of course, this is exactly the question that water protectors ask over and over again.
On many occasions, I have visited the site of a gold mine in Guatemala, owned by a transnational corporation. The company is gone now; the poisonous tailings pond and the gigantic hole where there used to be a mountain remain. The Indigenous water protectors there are astounded as to why anyone would pollute water to get gold. As they say, "You can't eat gold; you can't drink gold. Water is life!"
Why, indeed, would we tear up the land and pollute the water only to be faced with a very expensive reclamation project that may or may not even be possible? I'm very grateful to those who expend massive amounts of time and money on reclamation, but I'm wondering if maybe it would be better to not give them so much work to do.
Thom Haines, Eden Prairie
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