I am appalled that extremists are threatening to protest at legislator's houses ("Taking fight over policing to lawmakers," front page, July 6). That type of behavior is more akin to dictatorship than democracy. They are going to disrupt people's lives until they get their way because they believe they are right and anyone with a different opinion is wrong. If the compromises that democratic lawmaking requires result in laws that don't suit them, they will make life uncomfortable for those lawmakers just like they have made life uncomfortable for the rest of us by shutting down airports, train stations, malls, streets and interstate highways.
What they fail to realize is that, in a democracy, many different opinions exist simultaneously. Our elected representatives have to consider all the people they are representing, not just the extremists.
I hope all the cities in the metro area pass bills making it a crime to protest at private residences. If people don't like the laws, they should let their legislators know what changes they would like to see. Their legislators will then consider their inputs, along with inputs from the rest of us.
James Brandt, New Brighton
It has been more than a year since George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin. During that time there have been some of the largest protests and destructive riots in Minnesota history. And there has been a constant deluge of stories claiming there is an epidemic of police killings (especially of Black men) and demanding reform. As the dust slowly begins to settle, I am hoping that there can be an honest and productive discussion about police killings and policing in general.
Every day thousands of police officers respond to tens of thousands of calls, many of which are fraught with danger. In the vast majority of these, the police use restraint as they resolve encounters in a peaceful manner. And when an incident results in the police killing someone, the public has a right to know the circumstances, and there should be a proper accounting of the behavior of all involved. But we should be honest in the discussions regarding these events.
There is not and has not been an "epidemic" of police killings or of police killings of Black people in America or Minnesota. In 2013, according to Mapping Police Violence, police killed 1,087 people across the country, and in 2020, they killed 1,126. In 2013, police killed 11 people in Minnesota, according to a Star Tribune database, and in 2020, police killed 10. Of the 11 killed in 2013, three were Black, and of the 10 in 2020, two were Black. These numbers clearly depict that there has not been a major increase and there is no epidemic of police killings in the country or in Minnesota.
The purpose of this letter is not to suggest that we should not take a careful look at how we police and debate if there are better ways that would provide better outcomes. However, we need to do so without the false narratives that are often being put forward for purely political reasons.
Gary Shelton, Prior Lake
The Minnesota House and Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove proposed a $150 million loan fund to help rebuild damaged businesses on Lake Street, W. Broadway and University Avenue, but Senate Republicans blocked the plan and said it was a bailout for liberal cities ("Compromise dilutes Lake St. rebuild," July 5). The compromise was a statewide fund for "Main Street" economic recovery. Again, this is a conservative rural plan to punish "city folk" for bad behavior.
The state has provided immediate relief for other areas of the state when disaster hits. When bird flu swept across the chicken and turkey factory farms in rural Minnesota, the Legislature quickly pushed through a multimillion dollar relief package. Minnesota has provided many other relief packages around outstate Minnesota but the diverse residents of the Twin Cities are left out.
As an owner of a small farm in southern Minnesota, I receive many Minnesota tax relief benefits that are not available to homes and businesses. When school districts vote to increase property taxes for bond issues to build school facilities, my farm gets a 40% rebate on these tax levies. My wife's house near Lake Street in Minneapolis gets none of these tax breaks.
The protest damage suffered by urban businesses needs specific and immediate relief. Let's allot Minnesota disaster relief to urban businesses, not just turkey farms.
Ed Andersen, Minneapolis
Doing your job well? At theCapitol, that's a deal-breaker
I as a Minnesotan am fed up with our Legislature, especially our state Senate. The Senate has pushed our Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioner to resign ("GOP forces MPCA head to resign," front page, July 7). What was its reasoning? Well, she was doing her job working to protect our environment. Imagine, someone encouraging us to use electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases from fossil fuels. Every day we see signs of Earth's warming. Our scientists and environmental experts tell us that this is due to greenhouse gases from multiple sources, but especially from use of fossil fuels. But why would we want to believe the experts when we can listen to those who are telling us what we want to hear?
What irritates me the most is the Senate, which has proven itself unable to get its job done on time, is pushing out a government employee who was doing hers. The Legislature this year could not complete its work on schedule and was just barely able to finish in overtime and down to the wire of a government shutdown. It commonly goes into special sessions. The reason for failing to finish on schedule is that the legislators are too busy playing political games to make the other side look bad rather than serving the people. It is like watching a group of preschoolers.
The Senate is the group we should be firing, not the MPCA commissioner who was doing her job.
Jim Weygand, Carver
May the GOP come to rue the day its members forced the resignation of MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop. Once again the party has chosen to savage courage, ethics and vision in government. It has had many opportunities in the past few years to turn away from its cynical, uncouth ways and return to the hard work of saying that sacrifices (curbing our energy glut) are needed now to ensure a solid foundation for future generations to build on. Thanks to Gov. Tim Walz and to Bishop for their courageous vision. May Bishop return to leadership in our state in an even stronger capacity than she was as MPCA commissioner.
Donald Hauge, St. Paul
The writer is retired from the MPCA.
Three headlines on Wednesday's front page encapsulate the festering state of the Republican Party: First, the GOP has forced the MPCA commissioner to resign because, despite a globally scorching summer and all scientific evidence to the contrary, it doesn't believe in climate change. We also see that the search goes on for those responsible for violence in the Jan. 6 insurrection, while the GOP tries to minimize what happened and block proper investigations. And perhaps most disconcerting, a profile on a nurse in Appalachia reveals the depths of distrust for science among conservatives and the abuse heaped upon our front line medical workers trying to save COVID patients' lives ("Lifesaving care dismissed as a hoax," front page, July 7).
Republicans, please help me here. I want to know where you're coming from, but you seem to not believe in science or truth. So what do you stand for? A gun in every home? Demonizing immigrants and minimizing the value of anyone who isn't a white, god-fearing heterosexual? Rugged, misinformed individualism at the cost of public health? Seriously, what do you stand for? And dear lord, please do not say "family values" after the deification of our former president.
Travis Anderson, Minneapolis
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