Readers Write (Sept. 11): Campaign politics, Michele Bachmann, bikes, pedestrians

  • Updated: September 10, 2012 - 8:09 PM

Nearly all of the conservatives I've ever known, even extreme right-wingers, have been generous.

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THE CAMPAIGN

No wonder the right distrusts Romney

The persistence of Minnesota GOP delegates to support of Ron Paul for fear of Mitt Romney's "severely conservative" positions took only two weeks to prove accurate. The promise to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office has been tossed aside in favor of keeping the most popular parts of the program ("Romney: Keep part of health care law," Sept. 10). It's like a promise to stop eating ice cream cones by ordering your next one without the sprinkles.

TODD EMBURY, RAMSEY

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Recent letters to the Star Tribune have commented on the heartlessness of Republicans. The latest target is Mitt Romney and family. Since the mid 1960s, I've heard fabrications and deceptions regarding the lack of compassion by Republicans toward children, the elderly, those with disabilities and those living below the poverty level. Those on the left speak of themselves as being compassionate and caring toward the most vulnerable in our society.

This self-righteousness and sanctimonious show of superiority is nauseating at the least and is in fact an attempt to set themselves above those on the right. The notion that one cannot be compassionate and a Republican is insulting and quite literally hate speech. Day after day, this type of speech occurs across the media. It is the liberals who should be ashamed of spreading lies and creating fear on those very people they say they are trying to protect.

NANCY SOLBERG, APPLE VALLEY

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On Saturday, a reader wrote negatively about Ann Romney's therapy horse and stated that Mitt Romney "was able to deduct the $77,000 he paid for that horse from his taxes that year, which means taxpayers also helped pay." The fact that Romney took a legal deduction for the therapy horse does not mean that taxpayers helped pay for it.

Here's another, less liberal take on the issue. Romney's purchase of the horse created work for a groom with a family to support. It created income for a veterinarian and a farrier with families to support. It created demand for feedstuffs that farmers produced and for sweet feed that a feed company manufactured. All of these people are taxpayers.

This country needs more economic activity, not less. It needs more people spending money and creating jobs. The current administration has had four years to make positive change, and it has not happened. The deficit is up, as is the true jobless rate. Four years ago, all we heard was "hope and change." It is time for change.

CHAD HAGEN, SLEEPY EYE, MINN.

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Speeches at the Democratic National Convention earned heaps of praise from the talking heads. Even right-leaning pundits spoke of them in glowing terms. However, while not wanting to take anything away from, say, the heartfelt eloquence of Michelle Obama's address or Bill Clinton's instructive yet engaging words, could it be possible that the Democratic core values that have been articulated -- economic fairness, cooperation and opportunity for all -- not only ignite an orator's passion but appeal to America's better side as well? Simply put, these ideas sell themselves.

MARY LAMPE SCHIESEL, MINNEAPOLIS

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MICHELE BACHMANN

The true test: Kindness in policymaking

In "The queen of nice" (Sept. 7), Robert P. Dickson used a personal encounter with Michele Bachmann to contend that the Minnesota congresswoman is not the personification of rage some have portrayed her as being -- that in fact, as evidenced by her treatment of an importuning fan with Down syndrome, she is a paragon of kindness and "character."

I have not the slightest doubt that Dickson is right about Bachmann's friendliness to the fans she encounters. Nearly all of the conservatives I've ever known, even extreme right-wingers, have been generous and kind to the individuals they know or meet face to face.

All of which makes it more frustrating, and often maddening, that these same folks can be so callous and insensitive to people they don't know personally. Virtually without exception, the laws and governmental policies they advocate make life immeasurably harder for the downtrodden, the disabled and the poor. Bachmann may well be the best friend or neighbor one could imagine, in sum, but when it comes to a congressperson, I'll take an off-putting snob who votes for such benefits as universal health care and better public education for the nation's children over her kind of "character" and leadership every day.

KENT COWGILL, HOUSTON, MINN.

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BICYCLES

Lanes are year-round, but peak use is seasonal

Who came up with the idea of repaving and restriping some streets from three lanes to two and widening the bike lane? Statistics indicate the presence of 25,000 vehicles and 1,200 bikes per day. The bike count sounds really high; I've biked such a route for 20 years, and since the bike lanes were added in 1997, I've never seen that type of traffic, even atpeak hours.

But let's say that on July 15, there were 1,200 bikes. How many will there be on Jan. 15, when it may be 15 below? We'll still have only two lanes for cars, even thought peak biking is seasonal.

JEROME STURGELESKI, MINNEAPOLIS

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PEDESTRIANS

It's taken too long, but safety gets attention

I kept a copy of a letter I wrote to Gov. Rudy Perpich in the 1970s, in which I asked him to crack down on Minnesota motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians. I wrote it after talking with local police.

As a young mother, I would often stand at the crosswalk at 40th and Noble in Robbinsdale, trying to cross over to Triangle Park, while both northbound and southbound drivers ignored the playground sign, the stripes in the road, and a mother with a baby in a stroller.

The police listened, but failed to follow up, and the governor replied that he planned to begin a public awareness campaign for pedestrians.

It's good to know that a third of a century later, Robbinsdale set up its "first ever crosswalk sting," Edina and Minneapolis are following suit, and that statewide media is starting to pay attention ("Pedestrian deaths rise sharply," Sept. 10). The problem is rampant throughout the state. I hope Minnesota drivers wake up and realize that braking for pedestrians, whether or not they are in a crosswalk, is a law, not just a suggestion.

JOAN CLAIRE GRAHAM, ALBERT LEA, MINN.

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CORRECTION

A reference in a Sept. 8 commentary about football's impacts to players misstated the name of a 20th-century clinical study conducted on patients who were unaware of its true nature. It was the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, and was unrelated to the Tuskegee airmen.

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