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We should follow the money when projects that threaten our environment are allowed to proceed ("State accused of being lenient with polluters," June 11).

The city officials in Elko New Market think it is just fine to provide $3 million in tax subsidies to a California company to build a plant to produce millions of plastic bottles of water for sale to Walmart and Costco while drawing over 300 million gallons of water each year from the aquifer ("Elko New Market's test of aquifer stirs up well water," June 5).

The payoff for the city is an increase in revenue from taxes. Meanwhile, the residents of the surrounding township have to shell out thousands of dollars to protect their well water.

The state agencies with the mandate to protect our environment turn a blind eye. Here is one more example of our state failing to protect our waters, one of our most precious resources.

Michael W. McNabb, New Market Township


Nothing wrong with motorized help

My wife and I are senior citizens who enjoy the outdoors. Two years ago, we purchased e-bikes in anticipation of a vacation with friends, biking in the Rioja region of Spain. We had never taken such a vacation in the past. We have balance issues and arthritis and hadn't ridden an upright bike in years. For us, the e-bikes were a godsend.

A letter writer who complained about e-bikes on trails in the June 10 Star Tribune had it all wrong ("No need to support this market," Readers Write). E-bike speed is limited at 20 mph. I have been passed by people on trails riding road bikes at speeds faster than that. I agree with the letter writer that the state rebate program is not necessary, given the popularity of e-bikes. Many retirees, who are the people who would benefit most from the state help to buy these expensive machines, won't qualify. Why complain if a little electric help makes people like us get healthier and a little more fit?

Robert Wetherille, Eden Prairie


Rare is good, but rarer is better

I was very troubled when I read the article on the front page "Avoidable errors at hospitals rise" (May 30). The article reads in part that "the 610 adverse events in the 12 months ending last October remain rare, considering that Minnesota hospitals perform roughly 567,000 surgeries and procedures each year." Rare is relative if it doesn't happen to you or one of your loved ones! A door falling off an airplane in flight is a rare event, but that doesn't mean we can't and won't expect better quality-control efforts to avoid similar events in the future.

Not long ago, the Minnesota Nurses Association asked for legislation that would allow them more say in the care and safety of their patients and themselves. After one large private hospital system stated they were opposed to the legislation and that this could affect their future investments in our cities and state, the legislation failed (and has since not been brought back up). Imagine airplane management thumbing their noses at the flying public and stating that they know what's best for air travel and don't require more regulatory oversight.

Most people at one time or another have required hospitalization for either elective or required surgical procedures. Most want to know when they are admitted to one of our many hospital systems that everything possible will be done to ensure they receive the best care in the most safe and efficient manner. I believe we are blessed in Minnesota to have some of the best health care in the nation, but if we hope to remain there, our hospital administrators and all health care personnel need to work together to negate reporting that states the trend of preventable errors "have nearly doubled over the past decade in Minnesota hospitals."

Kevin Raun, Cottage Grove


Picking privacy above all

As the Minnesota Legislature mulled over another bill to protect the safety of minors online this session (HF 5452), I wish to bring to the attention of parents another law that was passed two years ago called the Student Data Privacy Act and its unintended consequences.

The law was passed to prevent big tech from tracking student activities online via school-issued devices, a sensible and bipartisan notion that passed unanimously. As a parent of a St. Paul Public Schools student I can tell you this: Districts have come to interpret and enact the law in a way that school devices have become a black box for students where schools, teachers and parents don't have access or rights to viewing online activity.

While some apps were available in the past for parents to see online history, now all students have the ability to private browse with zero history or accountability for what they are doing with their device and for how long. In current SPPS policy, the only thing standing between students and wherever they wander on the internet are some filters that flag explicit violence, pornography or depictions of self-harm (social media is blocked, too).

This lack of accountability and constraints on school devices is developmentally and educationally detrimental to our children. Students are free to wander about the online world with faith in a few district-issued filters to protect them.

While it's important to prioritize student privacy, we have entered a world where it has somehow become more important than the overall well-being of our children.

Jeff Zupfer, St. Paul

The writer is an elementary educator.


For results, stick with Ilhan

Don Samuels claims to stand with U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar on the issues in his recent commentary ("An exhausted electorate deserves leaders who work to solve problems," Opinion Exchange, June 3). But that's not true. Samuels says he supports public education, but when he ran for school board, he was backed by a pro-charter school fund to the tune of nearly $300,000.

Samuels says he supports "bold climate action," but in practice, he says we should start with personal responsibility as opposed to holding his corporate friends accountable. Meanwhile, Omar has introduced the Zero Waste Act and the End Polluter Welfare Act, and she worked closely with President Joe Biden to pass the most ambitious climate bill in the history of the United States — the Inflation Reduction Act.

Samuels calls Omar too divisive and extreme for the Fifth District. While Omar is one of the most successful legislators in our state's congressional delegation, Samuels gives interviews where he says she's "not cute enough." He attacks her appearance and personal life. Is that who we want representing us in Congress?

Samuels says that a majority of people are exhausted, and he's right. I am exhausted. I'm exhausted by him. I'm exhausted by the vitriol, the divisiveness, the cynicism that runs through his campaign. But I'm also hopeful. I'm hopeful because Omar fed nearly 30 million children with her MEALS Act. She's brought back $54 million to the Fifth District in local projects. She makes us proud everywhere she goes.

Omar is our champion. Let's keep it that way.

Ann Tobin, Minneapolis

The writer is a volunteer for the Omar campaign.


A joke, or a new slogan?

Former President Donald Trump told those who attended his most recent rally in Las Vegas: "I don't care about you. I just want your vote." It seems to me that Trump couldn't ask for a better campaign motto. It's short. It's catchy. And it lets us know exactly what to expect if he were elected again.

Alan Bray, St. Peter, Minn.