MACY'S CLOSES HQ

Get ready for more

Let me offer my sympathy to the families who will be affected by the layoffs of the Macy's "consolidation." The slowing sales in recent months are blamed for the layoffs. Reductions of this size haven't been noted since the layoffs at the Ford plant in St. Paul. Actually, the union I have the honor of representing is currently trying to reemploy over 700 electrical workers, some who have been unemployed for over a year.

The construction industry has been experiencing layoffs for years. If the construction workers (union and nonunion) were working, they'd spend -- and pay taxes -- contributing to the economic well-being of the businesses in the state. Many of those workers would have jobs if the jobs bills had not been vetoed by the governor.

If more jobs were created in this state, maybe more people could purchase goods at Macy's and other stores. If I remember correctly, if people are working, they spend money. If people aren't working, the economy doesn't move. If unemployment continues to rise, and revenues fall, then tax increases will be felt on the employed. How else will the state raise revenues?

If you are employed or unemployed, consider expressing your thoughts to the Legislature as it convenes next week. Jobs drive the economy, which drives business. If the governor and Legislature can't agree, then the construction industry, Macy's and Ford won't be the only industries or businesses making headlines.

STEVE CLAYPATCH, MINNEAPOLIS;

BUSINESS MANAGER, IBEW LOCAL UNION 292

subprime loans

Played for suckers

The Feb. 5 letter "Blame the borrowers" is rife with arrogance and ignorance. I've been the recipient of a subprime loan, and I'm proud to say that I've kept my end of the bargain. But I could talk for hours about the personal abuses my wife and I endured through the process, not the least of which was a detestable bait-and-switch at closing. But in the end we had no choice but to take the loan; the "switch" still represented a step up from the ARM terms we had with our previous loan.

From my perspective, "subprime loan applicant" is really code language for "sucker" in the mortgage-lending industry.

TOBY STEVENS, ST. MICHAEL, MINN.

KERSTEN ON CIRCUSES

Ankus like mom's trunk?

Tim Davison, the cochairman of the Minneapolis Shrine Circus, equated the bullhook or ankus used to control circus elephants with the mother elephant's trunk. I beg to differ. The mother's trunk does not have a hook that can cause pain and bleeding and wounding in her baby elephant.

DIANE PEDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS

Tool of pain

Instead of talking to people who have a vested interest in making money on the backs of elephants, Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten ("Cop's insight on elephants makes council forget bad idea," Feb. 6) would do well to check out the real facts about the ankus or bullhook.

The ankus is a sharp, pointed hook specifically designed to jab the elephant in her most sensitive areas to get her to perform. It is also carried by the trainer to remind the elephant of what will happen to her if she doesn't perform. Any elephant expert will attest to this.

The statements made to the contrary in Kersten's column fly in the face of reason and common sense and come right off the PR desk of the circus industry.

EILEEN D. ADAMEC, MINNEAPOLIS

CLIMATE VS. WEATHER

Two different things

The author of the Feb. 7 letter "A message for Tim" should himself wake up and learn the difference between weather and climate before calling global warming a "liberal fantasy." A cold winter does not lessen the threat of global warming, nor does it refute the fact that man-made climate change is for real. Agreeing with this fact has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative. It has to do with science!

I applaud Gov. Tim Pawlenty for accepting what an overwhelming majority of scientists have already observed worldwide.

SUSAN LARSON, ELK RIVER

CHURCH CAN BAN GUNS

False feeling of safety

So churches can legally ban guns (Star Tribune, Feb. 6). Who cares? This is just evidence of a lack of common sense. Bans and signs only make the innocent more vulnerable. Evidently, the occasional criminal tends to ignore these bans and signs, again and again.

BRIAN SILUS, WAYZATA