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Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.

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A June 28 letter to the editor contends that the use of "coaching" to conceal police discipline records is not an issue for the police contract ("Problem isn't coaching itself but how it's been misused," Readers Write). If so, it should be a no-brainer to remove new language in the proposed contract that for the first time excludes a verbal warning, which is tantamount to coaching, from the definition of discipline. Until recently both the union contract and the Minneapolis Police Department's Policy and Procedure Manual made it clear that all findings of "just cause" that police misconduct has occurred, including those resulting in verbal warnings, require discipline and should therefore be public.

During the presentation by the mayor's administration to the City Council, this major change in the contract was not even mentioned by city leadership. That same presentation made clear that this contract was negotiated exclusively by the mayor's team. Given that many council members have publicly opposed the abuse of coaching to conceal misconduct, the administration's agreement to this Trojan horse provision was contemptuous of both a majority of the City Council and of all citizens who believe that transparency is a core obligation of city government.

The Star Tribune Editorial Board has stated its opposition to the abuse of coaching. In a more recent opinion endorsing the proposed contract, the Editorial Board rightly emphasized that the coaching issue must be addressed ("Approve Minneapolis police contract," June 13). My question for the mayor, council and even the Editorial Board is, if not now, when?

The City Council should reject any proposed contract that contains this poison pill.

Paul Ostrow, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired prosecutor and former Minneapolis City Council member.


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Thank you for providing a comprehensive view of the public hearings regarding the tentative contract with the police union ("Residents divided on MPD contract," July 9). I would like to add a few points for clarification.

• Community members who came to the events overwhelmingly support the new contract. In the first meeting, I counted 30 out of 34 who spoke in favor. On Monday's meeting, I counted six opposed, and at least 20 for the contract.

• At both meetings, two activist groups were allotted 30 minutes to attack the contract. People giving public comments were given two minutes.

• Some of the most powerful testimony came from anti-violence leaders Lisa Clemons, Monique Flowers and Jerry McAfee (Clemons and McAfee have a history of fighting discrimination and brutality at the MPD). They sent two messages: 1) Their anti-violence work would be impossible without the support of police officers; 2) There has been progress in police-community relations.

• Whether they agreed with the contract or not, almost all speakers said we need more police. I hope the City Council heard this message. Several council members ran on platforms declaring there would be no more money for cops.

Stuart Henry, Minneapolis


PRESIDENTIAL RACE

No participation trophies here

In Friday's interview, President Joe Biden was asked how he would react if he stayed in the race and Donald Trump won.

He responded that he would know he'd "gave it my all," implying that he would be comfortable with Trump having won.

As much as I admire Biden for his long public-service career and value his accomplishments as president, his staying in the race and that comment suggest that he's driven partially if not mostly by ego. That is hardly justification for his refusal to step aside, and I would have expected more of him.

He also denied polls, saying they did not reflect how Americans really feel. He offered no evidence for that.

We have to keep Trump out office, no matter what it takes. Every indication is that this goal will not be achieved if Biden stays in the race. His legacy will not be his accomplishments; rather, it will be how his ego enabled Trump to win a second term.

Nic Baker, Roseville


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Excellent reprinted editorial in Monday's paper! ("Know who should really step aside?" reprinted from the Philadelphia Inquirer.) True, Biden did not have a good night at the debate, but neither did Trump. Trump's performance, in my opinion, was far scarier than Biden's. We learned nothing from him. All we heard, as the editorial so aptly pointed out, were lies, mistruths and questions dodged. He made outrageous claims (such as that we're a third-world country) without providing any evidence whatsoever. Sadly, the CNN moderators did nothing to try to extract any real information or ideas from him. So thank you for printing this editorial, which dared to speak the truth about Trump and why he should be the one exiting the stage from the race for president. Now, how about some above-the-fold headlines and articles that focus on Trump's continuing outrageous words and behavior so that readers get a daily dose, like we're getting on Biden, of why Trump is unfit to be our next president?

Valerie Koens, Excelsior


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I get it — Biden is old. What I don't objectively know, however, is what "old" means in this instance. Not everyone ages the same. For all I know Biden has a 47-year-old mind stuck with an 80-year-old body and tongue. And the mind is what counts here. (Not to mention that the country's big decisions aren't made in an essentially moderator-less, free-for-all debate catering to a TV audience with short attention spans. What did that debate really show? But I digress.)

What I did not hear from that 80-year-old was a declaration that he would be a tyrant — just for a day — in his next term. I didn't hear him say that women like to be grabbed by the [censored]. I didn't hear a phone call of him blackmailing Volodymyr Zelenskyy or strong-arming the Georgia secretary of state, and I didn't see him fall asleep during his own trial for hush money payments for which he was convicted 34 times. I didn't hear him tell people to inject bleach or that the pandemic would be over by Easter of 2020.

That was all the other guy — the one the polls now say is better fit to lead the country?! Lead us where, and to what end? To the end of democracy, if the majority of the Supreme Courts gets its wish. Will the press please spill as much ink on that story and Trump's incessant lies as Biden's age, so at least posterity knows we went down with a fight?

Biden has righted our economy, gotten the pandemic under control, invested in infrastructure and renewed many people's faith in the morality and ethics of the Oval Office, among countless other things he won't get credit for.

Do I wish Biden weren't so old? Yes. But I'll take old with ethics, morality, a good heart and smart and compassionate policies over whatever it is the Republicans think their candidate represents.

Carla Steen, St. Paul


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Let me add my observations about aging to the discussion about why Joe Biden should not run for re-election. I've noted how aging has affected friends, classmates, neighbors and associates as we've aged. I've noted many common signs from retirement to our mid-80s. In our 70s, many of us were vital and active, still driving, traveling, moving our bodies fairly freely, socializing and communicating. This vitality continued for most into our early 80s but was starting to decline and by our mid-80s, fewer could drive and more had hearing and vision loss, dementia, balance problems, falling, injuries, physical ailments. A few people stayed almost as active and alert as in former years, but they too noticed some decline.

Joe Biden is currently in this age group where I noted the most obvious decline among my associates. He cannot escape whatever aging his body experiences via his strong will, determination or brave words. Do voters want to put their trust in the future of our democracy in the hands of a man facing these inevitable effects?

Lois Willand, Minneapolis