Readers Write: (Aug. 8): Keystone, psychiatric patient's release, hip replacements, airport gambling, property taxes

  • Updated: August 7, 2013 - 6:34 PM

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No, this is nothing like a ‘Rosa Parks’ moment

In an Aug. 5 commentary, James Lenfestey contends that the Keystone XL permit presents President Obama with “a Rosa Parks moment.” The comparison is offensive and ill-informed.

Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat was a courageous defense of human dignity. In showing that she’d rather be arrested than abide by a hateful, immoral system, Parks inspired millions to reject institutional racism. Mr. Lenfestey trades on Parks’ heroism to advance a disingenuous argument about energy policy. This is crass and minimizes Parks’ extraordinary action.

Further, if the president were to take Lenfestey’s advice and reject Keystone XL, he’d be squandering a chance to create more than 42,000 jobs annually. Lenfestey never mentions this fact.

Ignoring reasonable arguments in favor of dogma and rhetoric is bad enough. Using a fearless truth-teller like Rosa Parks to do it is repugnant.

HARRY C. ALFORD, Washington, D.C.


The writer is president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

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Release was deliberate, but it was mishandled

A psychiatric patient discharged from the Minnesota Security Hospital last month had been committed for mental illness, not sex offenses, as the Star Tribune implied (“State dumps sex offender on street,” Aug. 6). Preparations were already underway to discharge this patient, because our clinical staff believed he was ready to return to the community. It is never appropriate to discharge someone to a homeless shelter, and the mistakes that led to this cannot and will not be tolerated. However, it is important to remember that people with mental illness do recover and become ready to live in the community.

LUCINDA JESSON; commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Services

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