In the story "Trans prisoner sues DOC over safety" (June 11), we learn that transgender woman Christina Lusk is suing the Minnesota Department of Corrections to be transferred from a men's facility to a women's prison. Transgender women such as Lusk share a problem with biological women in the form of violent and predatory men, but sharing prison space with biological women cannot be the solution.
The Women's Liberation Front (WoLF), a feminist organization, is currently suing the state of California on behalf of biologically female inmates to overturn the Transgender Respect Agency and Dignity Act (S.B. 132) which allows inmates to choose placement in a male or female correctional facility based on self-declared identities. The plaintiffs in the suit are seeking no monetary damages, only safety.
Lusk's attorneys argue that inmate placements should not be based on genitalia. WoLF's legal complaint summarizes well the problems with and unfairness of this stance: "By requiring women's correctional facilities to become mixed-sex facilities, S.B. 132 places incarcerated women in significantly increased danger of physical and sexual violence, consequences of consensual or nonconsensual sex with men (such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease), infringes upon the dignity of women to bodily security and privacy, and removes the rehabilitative benefits that accrue to women in an exclusively-female correctional facility. However, these negative consequences do not also fall upon men in men's correctional facilities because few incarcerated women (even women who claim a transgender or nonbinary identity) desire to be housed in a men's facility, and because women (regardless of any claimed identity) do not pose a threat of violence (or the consequence of pregnancy following sex) to men."
Christina Lusk and other transgender women need correctional placements that provide them dignity and safety, but this should not be accomplished by compromising the dignity and safety of biological females. An alternative solution must be found.
Susan Illg, St. Paul
The writer is a WoLF member.
Face it, dealers: EV transition is nigh
The Minnesota Auto Dealers Association and its president, Scott Lambert, hate the idea of having to stock more electric vehicles, but not for the excess inventory excuse he stated ("Car dealers try again to halt 'clean car' rules," June 9).
Interest in EVs has never been higher, with most cars sold before they hit the dealer lots. The new F-150 Lighting truck is now sold out for the next two years, with long wait lists for most other EV brands. This makes sense, given high gas prices, very low maintenance requirements for EVs and the excessive health burdens from antiquated internal combustion engine exhaust. I am now saving over $2,200 per year driving our Nissan Leaf — the equivalent of a gallon of gas costs less than $0.80. And EV drivers don't contribute to the American Lung Association's estimated $14.9 billion in public health costs and 1,350 premature deaths due to car exhaust and pollution in Minnesota.
Most important to Lambert's position is the fact that EVs, including our Leaf, have only 20 moving parts in their drivetrains vs. 2,000 in a dirty fossil fuel engine. With no oil, transmission fluid or belts to change, a return trip to a dealer is rare.
A recent Sierra Club study found that three-fourths of U.S. dealerships weren't offering EVs for purchase at all, and most of the rest that weren't displaying them prominently or offering much sales support. Unfortunately for consumers, dealers make most of their profit on service and see EVs as a threat. The National Automobile Dealers Association determined that 50% of an auto dealer's profits come from service and parts. EVs require far less ongoing maintenance than internal-combustion vehicles, which erodes their most profitable revenue stream.
Maybe the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association should focus on retraining their service technicians to install EV charging stations rather than fight a desperately needed policy. Adopting Gov. Tim Walz's clean car standards will provide many more electric car, SUV and truck choices for Minnesota consumers, and will be critical to meeting our climate goals for our beautiful state.
Mark Andersen, Wayzata
The Biden administration keeps telling people that they can solve the high gas prices by buying electric cars. But at the present, electric cars are not the solution to our soaring gas prices. Electricity does not come out of thin air. It takes fossil fuels to produce electricity. It's great to plan for greener energy sources, but right now, windmills and solar panels contribute very little in that regard. A vast majority of us cannot afford electric cars. And these cars have to be charged, and there are not enough of these stations around the country at present.
And our fossil fuel dependency is more than just about gasoline. Seniors like me, on a fixed income, saw our home heating bill double this last winter, with propane and fuel oil skyrocketing.
The Biden administration is not taking this crisis very seriously when they shrug everything off with simple, unrealistic solutions like all Americans switching to electric cars. And Biden and his crew should take some responsibility instead of constantly pointing the finger at Vladimir Putin and Russia and the large oil companies.
Tom R. Kovach, Nevis, Minn.
The dinosaurs at the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association are at it again — trying to kill the Walz administration's "clean car" rules. The goal of the rules is to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles and improve air quality. One effect of the rules will be to require manufacturers and dealers to offer more electrically powered vehicles. As a consumer who has been shopping for an EV for several years, I can attest to the challenge of finding a wide selection of EVs from which to choose.
The dealers complain that they "will get stuck with unsold inventory" of EVs. Really! Consumers currently have to wait months or years to get EVs, and some dealers charge more than list price to buy one.
From my perspective, the only problem with the "clean car" rules is that they don't require a conversion to emission free vehicles soon enough. The European Union is proposing a rule to ban internal combustion engines for new cars by 2035. Norway intends to meet that goal by 2025. General Motors has said it will stop producing internal combustion vehicles by 2035.
I have a policy proposal. Let's change auto dealer franchise laws so we can buy our EVs directly from the manufacturers or from online dealers, and skip having to deal with the dinosaur dealers.
Eric W. Forsberg, Golden Valley
As we slog into another political campaign season, we will be bombarded with a slew of really stupid ideas proposed by candidates seeking elected office. One such idea getting ink right now is a tax holiday on gasoline.
Stupid, you say? I'm afraid so. Look at the facts. At the heart of this price inflation is that sticky little economic principle known as the supply and demand curve. Two years ago, in the midst of COVID lockdowns, demand cratered and crude oil prices actually reached negative numbers. Now as the effects of COVID wane, ginning up demand, while a war in Europe and Iranian oil sanctions disrupt world oil supplies, prices have skyrocketed. The public, according to the media, is outraged and demands action.
So enter a simple political solution. Eliminate state and federal taxes on gasoline to reduce the cost to the consumer. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, by reducing the cost, you will naturally increase demand, which will cause prices to rebound. Within weeks the effects of that tax holiday will be a distant memory and you will be left with angry consumers and an unfunded highway construction and maintenance account.
Like what the erudite purveyor of 20th century political follies, H.L. Mencken, once said, for every complex problem there is answer that is clear, simple and wrong.
A gas tax holiday is just one more example of that principle.
Tom Baumann, Isanti, Minn.