The "take it or leave it" proposal that the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis' negotiators presented to our city at the most recent union contract negotiating session (as reported in the Sept. 28 article "Mpls. police seek one-year 'bridge' deal to increase wages, attract new recruits") is a deep disappointment and a clear disservice both to our residents and to the federation's own members. The federation is essentially holding a badly needed and well-deserved increase in compensation hostage until our city abandons virtually all of the accountability enhancements in the city's initial contract proposal. Increased compensation and accountability enhancements are among the hand-in-hand components of the overall package of reforms to MPD policies, training and wellness programs that are being brought together — with the backing of our state and federal courts — to transform public safety for the benefit of our entire community, which includes both our residents and our police officers.
One of the federation's stated goals is "working toward a safer, more livable city," and all of us (including members of the federation) should urge federation negotiators to pull back from their "take it or leave it" demands and start working with our city to implement the essential reforms designed to achieve that outcome.
John Satorius, Minneapolis
The writer is a co-chair of Plymouth Church Re-imagining Community Safety Group.
Please stop all micromanaging of cops and school resource officers ("Moriarty gives own guidance on SROs," Sept. 29).
Many high schools have become very dangerous. Cops are necessary. All students, employees, teachers and visitors have the right to personal safety and should not have to fear being assaulted.
Cops must be allowed to use all necessary and reasonable force to protect everyone in the school. Period.
Police officers are trained professionals. Schools need them more than ever, and we need to trust them to be reasonable and use only necessary force. Having politicians micromanaging their enforcement techniques and methods is nonsense. How many brawls, fights and assaults have been broken up and stopped by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty?
The Legislature needs to repeal immediately all unreasonable and unnecessary legislation restricting the actions of school resource officers, adopting the reasonable and necessary standard instead.
George Eck, Mound
People in prison can't harm you
On Thursday, a letter writer indicated that "harsher punishments do not deter crime or reduce recidivism." He's probably correct. However, harsher punishments may save the lives of innocent people. After all, a person in prison cannot drive drunk, speed recklessly or use illegally obtained weapons. Over and over, I see prison sentences of three years or less for someone who has repeatedly violated the law. That person made a conscious decision to act in an unlawful manner and has taken the life of an innocent person and permanently altered a family of loved ones.
The purpose of the government is to protect the citizenry. If judges are handcuffed by legislation, then the laws need to be changed. If prosecutors are unwilling to take a case to trial, then new prosecutors must be hired. And we, as voters, must voice our concerns to our elected officials.
Elizabeth Cantrell, Burnsville
The real thing
During morning rush hour, I was waiting for the light to change on Snelling Avenue so I could turn onto the Interstate 94 entrance ramp.
As is often the case, there was a gentleman on the corner with a sign hoping for a passerby to offer cash, or a wave, or whatever.
The light was red. I rolled down my window to offer cash that I keep in my car for such encounters (the topic of this letter is not whether this is the "correct" thing to do, a complex and entirely different discussion). As he approached my car, he greeted my dog and perhaps lost his focus. He certainly lost his balance and tumbled off the median into the street. He could not get up.
I reached out but could not hoist him up from my car. So, I put on my flashers, got out of the car and worked to help him up. It became readily apparent that he had both physical and cognitive challenges. He continued to tell me that he was fine, that I should leave and move through the now green light.
I was not about to leave this gentleman literally in the gutter. I helped him grab onto my open car window and hoist himself up and out of the road.
This took several minutes. Not a single car in the long line behind me made it through the green light. And even so, no one — not a single person — honked or sped around me in the other lane. It was rush hour.
To everyone who waited, even those who could not see what was going on, thank you.
I wanted to share this small experience as counterpoint to all we read and hear about rudeness, crassness and selfish behavior on the road.
This was Minnesota nice. The real kind. You know, the kind kind.
And now, as winter approaches, I hope we can find our way to a bit more for our neighbors on the corners and in the corners. There must be more that I, and we, can do besides keep cash, warm socks and hand warmers in the car to hand out through an open window. I'm open to suggestions.
And in the meantime, keep kind.
Jill Manske, St. Paul
All stories welcome
Dear Hennepin County History Museum,
Thanks so much for what you do! I certainly know the important role that history can play in our lives.
I truly appreciate the way you are incorporating more history of underserved populations, and more recent history ("In 92 voices, she captured heart of Minneapolis," Sept. 14). At the same time, I feel it is critically important that the earlier history of our area, including that of settlers as well as Indigenous people, also needs to be brought forward in a significant way. As your mission states: "We preserve and explore history, creating spaces where our communities' stories can be told." All communities, all stories.
It was very disconcerting to me to read in that Star Tribune article what your executive director reportedly said: "The well-worn tales of the territorial pioneers are 'increasingly less relevant to people today, unless you're a real history nut,' said John Crippen, the museum's executive director. 'But telling the stories of the last 50, 60, 70 years, that's what gets people going because they can see that immediate impact on their daily life.'"
In my view, it is your job to show people how the history of territorial pioneers, for instance, impacts our daily lives. Their stories are full of experience, insights, perspectives and values that we would do well to engage with and perhaps carry forward or revise — but we need to know their stories first. And they were immigrants, dislocated from their places of origin. Is that not relevant to today's immigrants, who well understand what it's like to be dislocated? It's your job, it seems to me, to make those connections, to bring them to life, for the betterment of us all as a diverse community. If people see the "well-worn tales of territorial pioneers" as irrelevant, it means you have work to do.
You are a history museum, after all, and our history did not begin 70 years ago. It is both/and, I think. Capture the stories of diverse populations today and recent history, but also bring forward the territorial history as well as ancient history of the land and its peoples. Please do not be dismissive of segments of our history. It is all relevant.
Thank you for your consideration of my concern, and best wishes in the vitally important work that you do!
Jean Greenwood, Minneapolis