Readers Write (May 17): Drunken driving, University of Minnesota, gas prices, President Obama

  • Updated: May 16, 2013 - 6:22 PM

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Why put a fine point on impaired driving?

Several recent headline articles of late I find bewildering. For example, regarding fracking compromises, well, they just seem an awful lot like having a smoking area in an airplane (everyone still gets the effect of the smoke) or an area in a swimming pool where urinating is OK. Bewildering also is the furor over tampering with the .08 blood alcohol content limit for driving a vehicle on public highways. It is thought in some circles that making the figure .05 would never pass legislative efforts. The implication here is that there actually is an acceptable level of impairment for motorists. This just seems bizarre. Driving is challenging enough, let alone doing it with any level of impairment, even an “acceptable” one.

Kenneth A. Harris, Hugo

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Drunken driving is bad, agreed. But the National Transportation Safety Board did not offer data to support their recommendation to lower the legal alcohol limit to .05 percent. The NTSB should publish blood alcohol levels of all drivers in fatalities and in DWI arrests. It would then be clear how many drivers fell between the current level, .08 percent, and the recommended .05 percent. This targeted group may or may not be a significant problem, and maybe other targeted strategies would be more productive. The NTSB has the data available to give us a clear answer.

Dr. James Bukstein, New Hope

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Money management is not a strong suit

Is anyone awake at the University of Minnesota? After reading about its net operating loss from selling beer at The Bank, it is mind-boggling to consider the number of financial blunders by the U at Minnesota taxpayers’ expense in just the past year. After losing money in year one, the U wisely raised its share of the beer sales, but still at a level (35 percent, up to $475,000) below its previous contract with the same vendor (Aramark) at much-smaller Northrop Auditorium (40 percent). And when questioned, Board of Regents member Clyde Allen stated that making money is not the top priority — that keeping underage drinkers from buying alcohol is the main objective. What? He would fail Logic 101 with that type of thinking. Then just don’t sell it.

The Athletic Department paid a mediocre-at-best football team (North Carolina) $800,000 to avoid playing it. Goldy Gopher also paid a failed basketball coach more than $3 million to stop coaching here. And now there is talk about giving the football coach a raise, after he has accomplished so little in his short tenure. Will someone please wake up the administration?

Financial times must be good at the U. Does this mean we can expect no tuition increase and no request for additional funding from the Legislature in 2013-14?

Kyle Korzenowski, Victoria

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