Readers Write: (Aug. 9): Wilf family, Washburn High, health care costs, Obama vs. Putin

  • Updated: August 8, 2013 - 6:53 PM
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VIKINGS STADIUM

Given Wilf news, let’s review who looks bad

Now that the tide has gone out on the Vikings stadium deal, it is time to examine what has been exposed:

1) The state of Minnesota has entered into an agreement with an organization that used “organized crime” tactics (in the words of plaintiffs who sued members of the Wilf family) in its business dealings (“N.J. judge says Wilf cheated partners,” Aug. 7.)

2) In the New Jersey case, the Wilf organization reneged on a previous real-estate agreement because the individuals involved — according to Zygi Wilf in court testimony — got “too good” of a deal. Locally, the city of Blaine was stiffed for constructing improvements at a site several years ago where it was thought the stadium would be built.

3) Minnesota selected an unproven and untested method (electronic pulltabs) as its primary revenue source to fund its portion of the stadium.

4) Foremost among local media, the Star Tribune has provided recklessly rah-rah, chamber of commerce/brotherhood, self-serving coverage on the stadium issue. The virtual noncoverage of the pending court case against the Wilfs in New Jersey is only the latest in a series of failures in this regard. The newspaper’s record in covering the story is a scandal in its own right.

ALLEN WILSON, Maplewood

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WASHBURN HIGH

Distractions continue, and who’s at fault?

With its highly touted new principal, Patrick Exner, facing allegations involving his former charter school’s test scores (“Allegations land new principal on leave,” Aug. 8) please add my name to what is, I am sure, a growing list of readers incensed about the struggle of Washburn High School. Misstep after misstep has served to muddy the reputation of this school — once thought to be among the very best in the nation.

As a proud graduate of the Class of 1954, I am both saddened and disgusted with the turn of events.

The Minneapolis Public Schools leadership team ought to quit trying to bring in people from the outside to lead what used to be a great school. Try promoting the best from within the district for a change.

BETH WELBAUM DHENNIN, Coon Rapids

• • •

Because of unknown allegations, Washburn is now without both former athletic director Dan Pratt and former principal Carol Markham-Cousins, and the Washburn community is suffering as a result.

Carol Cousins transformed Washburn. Under her direction, the IB program was implemented; the neighborhood embraced the school; new turf went into the field, making it usable for more sports (kudos to Pratt); 2013 grads will attend Yale and Johns Hopkins, and a substantially larger percentage will attend college. The irony, of course, is that with these changes came more demands from a few vocal parents primarily concerned for the best outcomes for their own kids rather than the welfare of the Washburn community.

At Washburn, my sons have learned how to live in a diverse world — how to rely on relationships they build rather than the accident of their birth as white males. The way that the Washburn student body processed the doll-hanging incident (vs. the way it was portrayed in the media) was a tribute to the community that Carol built.

Now she is no longer there, and the attempts to replace her have been a bad joke. Whatever went wrong, surely there was a better solution than to punish students by removing these two leaders.

When people admit mistakes, they are far more likely to be forgiven and respected, whether they are principals, athletic directors, school board members or superintendents.

KATHRYN QUAINTANCE, Minneapolis

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HEALTH CARE

Concerns about costs are not assuaged

An Aug. 8 letter to the editor concerning hip replacement surgery stated that the “average Medicare payment to a surgeon is $1,400, which includes surgery, a hospital stay and follow-up care for 90 days after surgery.”

That surprises me, because I just got a bill from a local orthopedic clinic. It charged me $824 just for an office visit to assess an elbow fracture.

My everyday doctor had referred me after an exam and X-ray (which had been forwarded to the orthopedic clinic). No surgery — nothing other than a sling for me! At more than half the cost of a hip replacement?

Yes, my insurance payment to the local orthopedic doctor covered most of the bill. Nevertheless, something seems awry.

MARLYCE HELM, Minneapolis

• • •

 

U.S. AND RUSSIA

Oh, Obama, now you’ve really gone and done it

President Obama, by flexing his political muscle instead of his brain and showing Putin who’s boss by canceling his trip to Russia, has lost any chance of seeing Edward Snowden on American soil ever again.

The stage was set for Obama and Putin to bargain face to face over Snowden’s release. Obama could have marched off Air Force One with Snowden in tow, and it would have been a PR moment for the ages.

But no.

Now, Snowden may settle in Russia or use his time there to find safe haven in another country.

In short, Obama, to use a basketball term, “choked.”

WILLARD B. SHAPIRA, Roseville

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