Readers Write (May 20): Police chief, Star Tribune's ideology, oil discovery, U research

  • Updated: May 19, 2013 - 4:03 PM
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POLICE CHIEF

In this position, toughness is job one

You can’t please everyone. In a May 17 letter, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau was criticized for not showing more remorse for motorcyclist Ivan Romero. What would the headlines have been if she had? Another emotional woman!

DIANNE CORDER, Eden Prairie

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MINNESOTA POLITICS

Paper snubs readers, imagines centrists

Regarding Star Tribune Chairman Michael T.P. Sweeney's commentary about the supposed overreach of the DFL-controlled Legislature ("DFL snubs the middle as it swings by,” May 17): exactly what sort of constituency does he think he’s addressing? We’re a blue state and have been longer than any other state in the union (thanks to Walter Mondale in 1984). The congressional district in which the Star Tribune resides voted for Obama by nearly 75 percent both in 2012 and 2008.

This is all to say that suggesting the Legislature that we elected has gone too far raises the question: Why would the large majority of the Star Tribune’s constituents be happy with a DFL-lite agenda? For example, a 50 percent raise in the minimum wage isn’t an overreach when our minimum wage is well below the federal minimum wage (we’re not Arkansas, for Pete’s sake) and is in line with what President Obama (a Democratic centrist) wants for the whole country. It’s a big step that addresses what has been a stagnant wage for years for those in the lowest income brackets. But an overreach? Nah.

In general, the Star Tribune's right-leaning tendencies lately remain puzzling. (Why so many political cartoons reprinted by cartoonist Dana Summers from the conservative Orlando Sentinel anyway?) Despite some noisy dissenters, we are a progressive state and darned proud of it. It would be nice if our metropolitan newspaper advocated for those values instead of the tired, banal policies of some sort of imagined middle.

STEVE BESTE, Falcon Heights

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Warming yields oil riches. One problem …

See? Those worrywart environmentalists were way out of line. First, we find enough new oil under North Dakota to keep the pumps going for, like, decades. Farther north is a bunch more in the Canadian tar sands, if they’d only let us drape that pipeline to the refineries across the country. And we know the Alaskan wilderness is just dripping with fossil fuel — why won’t they let us at it?

But while we’re waiting for that, here’s the best news of all: There’s all kinds of new oil becoming accessible within the Arctic Circle! Why? Because the ice blocking it from us is melting, thanks to all the petroleum we burn! Again, the environmentalists were so silly. We could have told them: The more fuel we use, the more we’ll find. We just have to keep moving the drills.

Jeff Naylor, Minneapolis

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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Defense fails test on research controversy

In an attempt to shift focus away from a growing international scandal and toward its most outspoken critic, University of Minnesota Medical School dean Dr. Aaron Friedman falls beneath the dignity of an academic center dedicated to open and free inquiry (“U research case has been given a close look,” May 17). Was it really necessary to mention Dr. Carl Elliot by name eight times in nine paragraphs? Was it not possible for Dr. Friedman to address any of the many troubling facts of the case of a research subject who died while enrolled in a University of Minnesota study? Is the university’s standard defense that the case has been investigated — a defense that falls apart once one looks into the superficial nature of those reviews — the best his office can provide?

Given its sinking reputation in the eyes of the scores of prominent academics who have signed a petition urging Gov. Mark Dayton to order an independent investigation of the matter, the U deserves a better defense than the same dark recitation of the claim that “there’s nothing to see here, people. Move along.”

PAUL SCOTT, Rochester

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