I just read your prominent article about Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff and it certainly informed me about a person I previously knew little about ("Council's Schiff: 'Not one to sit on a fence,'" June 19).
I've lived in Minneapolis for 20 years now. It has concerned me over the years that the council always seems to be filled with people who have very little experience in doing anything but being a political activist.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not against being politically active or aggressively asserting one's political opinion. But serving in a position where it's your responsibility to ensure the ward and city you live in works and functions efficiently and effectively would seem to warrant a better background.
All I see in Mr. Schiff's background is someone who has been a student and a political activist, period. Because elective positions in our state continue to be filled with more people like this than not, we continue to see a government focused on political extremism and division, rather than a government focused on solutions and compromise.
JIM ROWADER, MINNEAPOLIS
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I have a compromise for the motorcycle helmet issue ("Death spotlights lax motorcycle laws," June 18). Under my compromise motorcyclists who do not want the state telling them to wear a helmet would be free to go without a helmet.
The state, allowing full freedom of choice, would not be responsible for a single penny of medical costs incurred should a motorcyclist without a helmet be involved in an accident. The state does not tell the motorcyclist what to do, nor does the state insult the motorcyclist by paying for the outcome of the decision.
The motorcyclist, if still alive, would have the satisfaction of taking full, financial responsibility for their actions.
SARA LEIGH, EDEN PRAIRIE
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Here we go again: The liberal Star Tribune wants another law passed, this time requiring helmets for every motorcycle rider. Doesn't the Editorial Board realize you can't pass laws to protect people from every hazard?
Our national anthem calls our country the "land of the free." So how come every time a governing body meets, we seem to lose more of our freedoms in the name of protecting us from something?
I do wear a helmet 99 percent of the time, but I want that freedom to take it off. Plus, a helmet does obscure your vision to the side, and a helmet can cause you not to see a hazard in that direction, and thus cause an accident. Yes, wear a helmet when you ride, but don't take another freedom away.
TED STORCK, MORRIS, MINN.
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President Obama has just divided the country into those who believe in the rule of law and those who don't ("A humane reprieve for young immigrants," June 19). This will not end amicably. Everyone should prepare for the worst. Start reading American history, pay particular attention to the years between 1803 and 1861. It will not end well.
LOREN PILLER, MINNEAPOLIS
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I always enjoy the chest pounding and self-righteousness in warnings against "gay marriage," as though a gay couple's marriage is going to ruin their own. Statistics show that 50 percent of them will be ruined without any help. These opponents of same-sex marriage seem to be the same folks who protest against Planned Parenthood and abortion, though once the children are born they treat them as someone else's problem.
At the same time, I'm not proud of General Mills or the ministers calling this amendment an outrage. What I'm outraged about is how the majority can prevent a minority from having rights given to all by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The line in the Pledge of Allegiance about "liberty and justice for all" doesn't say "except if you're gay or lesbian."
It will be a sad day if this amendment passes in our wonderful state.
KEITH SONDRALL, MINNEAPOLIS
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What a day brightener it was to read Neal St. Anthony's column on the economy ("Case for economic optimism," June 18). In addition to listing many positives about the economy, he told us about three entrepreneurs who have kept positive attitudes throughout the tough times.
As St. Anthony stated, they were "too busy running their firms to brood over headlines." Those entrepreneurs -- David Hartwell, Brad Arthur and Richard Murphy -- are true businessmen.
I have no respect for the CEO who whines about the bad economy and the uncertainty, and whose easiest reaction is to kick employees out the door. Isn't running a business partially about taking risks in an uncertain climate?
And frankly, there's always uncertainty. I wish these three gentlemen all the success that they deserve.
JOHN ZIMMERMAN, LAKEVILLE
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I'm sure that some will dispute the opening facts cited in St. Anthony's column. Facts that supported optimism about the economy. But I doubt they could dispute the success of the three entrepreneurs he covered.
Despite the recession, these companies are thriving. Why? Because their leaders made the tough decisions required.
They took short-term steps to position for the future. They focused on their businesses. I'd be surprised to learn that they spent any money on lobbying or much time whining about "uncertainties." Bravo to these real job creators.
MARY MCFETRIDGE, NEW HOPE
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I'm born here. I'm a Vietnam vet. I have an MBA. I pay taxes! I'm disenfranchised and not happy paying for anyone who can't get a legal government approved ID. Period.
JOHN KELLY, MINNEAPOLIS
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.