Yet another highhanded jeremiad from Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison on the Opinion Exchange page ("Conventional wisdom has produced chaos," Dec. 3). He is always ready to distinguish himself, together with his subgroup of council colleagues — from the mayor, from the chief of police, often from the dissenting majority of the council. He is always ready to pontificate about getting beyond "conventional wisdom."
How disheartening. As usual, he points the finger at the mayor and the chief, singling out their remarks at a recent community forum. I have just a few questions for Mr. Ellison:
1) How do your vanguard visions for community-based public safety address the immediate, concrete problem of the current crime wave?
2) Why can't you and your colleagues work together behind the scenes — with your fellow council members, with the mayor, and with the chief — to find common ground on these issues? Why can't you seek some unity, so as to move forward with reforms on a practical basis? Why the continual divisive grandstanding, playing the blame game, alienating those you should be working with?
It begins to seem more like a case of personal political ambition, rather than genuine public service. These attitudes are not going to solve the deep problems of the city.
Henry Gould, Minneapolis
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The news article regarding the Minneapolis policing ("Hundreds call for change to Minneapolis policing," front page, Dec. 3) and the commentary piece by Ellison illustrate the problem with the Democratic left: Facts don't matter!
Regarding Minneapolis policing, data about the number of police or the quality of their work isn't in evidence. How does the Minneapolis police force compare to other large cities or suburban police forces? Number of police per thousand residents? Per hundred square miles? Per miles of streets? Per number of visitors/out-of-city workers? Percent of cases solved? Budget as a percent of revenue? As a percent of taxable base? I'm sure there are other metrics that would be helpful in assessing the current status and formulating plans for the future. This is the work of effective management — something that seems clearly lacking now.
As further evidence of my premise, the commentary piece "New agenda favors well-off, well-educated" by Ramesh Ponnuru (Opinion Exchange, Dec. 3) cites numerous facts that demonstrate why forgiving student debt might be bad public policy. Yet, Democrat leadership continues to advocate for forgiveness, even promoting such action as part of COVID-19 relief measures. Do you see any such data supporting debt forgiveness? I haven't.
I am a big fan of the economist Thomas Sowell. He advocates asking three questions: 1) Compared to what? 2) At what cost? 3) What evidence do you have?
Minneapolis should address these questions before adopting a public safety plan.
I've aimed my criticism at Democrats but Republicans aren't without blame. The public would be well served by another stimulus bill supported by 100% of Democrats and 100% of Republicans. I'm not holding my breath.
Nicholas LaFontaine, Richfield
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Like many people across the nation who deliberately choose Minneapolis as a place to put down roots, my family moved here from the East Coast in 2015. Our decision was informed by the city's investment in parks, schools and social services; its reputation for innovation and the arts; and its leadership around racial, social and environmental justice.
So we were appalled to learn — just a few months after moving here — that just beneath this thin veneer of progressivism lay a history of segregation, racism, police brutality and one of the worst opportunity gaps in the nation. That November, the unarmed Jamar Clark was brutally killed at the hands of police, and less than a year later, Philando Castile.
This summer, after the Minneapolis Police Department killed George Floyd, the community's response and the City Council's commitment made me prouder than I've ever been to be a Minneapolitan. We came together as a community to reclaim what was best about our city to solve the very worst of our problems.
Let's continue to make Minneapolis a city we can be proud of. Let's trust in the community and City Council members who have since hatched creative solutions like "The People's Budget" and the first two items in the "Safety for All" amendment to the mayor's proposed budget. These innovative plans do away with police brutality while increasing public safety, all while addressing crime at its root: poverty and the unequal distribution of resources.
Let's put our city back on the map, for good.
Cynthia sarver, Minneapolis
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What is Council Member Ellison's point? He appears to be saying that Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo have no plan! Ellison is saying this — he who has been and is part of the "no plan" solution for violence in Minneapolis since the City Council decided our best city safety option is to defund the police.
Please provide the plan proposed by council President Lisa Bender and members Steve Fletcher and Phillipe Cunningham and, evidently, Ellison, the ghost contributor.
The issue is and continues to be an implementation plan: time needed, people to be hired/enlisted, and how Minneapolis will get to the utopia envisioned. The mayor and chief are realists and not "how we have always done things" people. The reality is we first need qualified persons to train, then a training and implementation plan. Nothing happens overnight.
Yes, Mr. Ellison, our community does deserve better, beginning with a better City Council willing to work with the mayor and chief of police, not being the obstacle it is, while the city we love is torn with crime and divisiveness as well as being a laughingstock nationally.
Romell White, Minneapolis
THE 'CHOSIN FEW'
They fought and froze. Honor them.
George Will's tribute last week to the Chosin Few, those Marines who survived the ill-fated 1950 fight in North Korea by the 1st Marine Division brought back bitter memories ("Remembering the 'Chosin Few,' " Opinion Exchange, Nov. 27).
I was 16 years old that October morning when I watched Company B of the Marine Reserves march bravely down Duluth's Superior Street on the way to war.
My brother, Douglas B. Michaud, was in the ranks of that body of men. A few weeks later he was among those who landed at Inchon and were ordered to fight their way to the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. They were stopped there by hordes of Chinese Communist troops who had come to aid Korean Communists' efforts to occupy all of the country.
The Duluth Marines and others turned around in 30-degree-below weather, fought their way south and carried their dead and wounded comrades back to safety and eventually home. A few of these men are still alive and remain in the area.
My brother survived, but like many others who experienced that horrific winter in Korea, he was wounded by the experience. He often was fearful of perceived threats, startled at night by noises in the campground our families shared.
This is an appropriate time to remember and be thankful for the sacrifices that our Minnesota men made in the late fall of 1950. They were brave and not suckers or fools. They are the legendary Chosin Few.
Elaine Hanna, Edina
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