Readers Write: (Oct. 10): Federal showdown, teacher contracts and mediation

  • Updated: October 9, 2013 - 6:22 PM

We could go back and forth on this, but know that someone, somewhere is feeling it more.

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TEACHER CONTRACTS

Mediation is best done in private

On the same day that columnist Gail Rosenblum wrote that mediation could resolve very difficult disputes (“Want to resolve conflicts? Start listening to the other side,” Oct. 8) the Star Tribune Editorial Board suggested mediation was a way to escape public scrutiny (“Keep teacher talks open to the public”). The editorial both misunderstood mediation and used a bully approach with the innuendo “if neither side has anything to hide …”

Good for the school districts for turning to mediation when they reach an impasse. The Minnesota Orchestra did not, and look where its gotten.

As for having mediation open to scrutiny by outside parties, the Minnesota Supreme Court said that public interest is served by conducting these sessions in private. And notice how nothing has come of firing salvos through the press regarding the orchestra (or our national political scene).

I’m participating in another example of the potential power of mediation. Child custody after divorce is a subject fraught with strong emotions and deep concerns, and it has been a political football for a decade. Now we are trying something different, and the agreement to not discuss any of our work publicly has been absolutely crucial.

Mediation is a different process than negotiation and needs to be protected from public scrutiny. More important, mediation can help where negotiation fails. Let’s learn this lesson — and quickly!

State Rep. CAROLYN LAINE, DFL-Columbia Heights

 

FEDERAL SHOWDOWN

We could go back and forth on this …

In response to the Oct. 9 article “Many in GOP doubt default warnings”: So it seems that, once again, the Republican Party has found its policies to be at odds with the conclusions of experts. Time to check the official playbook: Aha! Just claim that the “so-called experts” are wrong! They’re probably involved in the same conspiracy as the world’s climate scientists.

I really wish the media would grow a backbone and force these politicians to explain why they think they know better than the people that actually study this type of thing for a living, especially when the stakes are so high.

SCOTT HANSEN, St. Louis Park

• • •

Halloween is just around the corner. President Obama, our frightener-in-chief, is on the job and, thank goodness, is doing a splendid job of scaring us.

In his news conference on Tuesday, Obama said: “If Congress refuses to raise what’s called the debt ceiling, America would not be able to meet all of our financial obligations for the first time in 225 years” — that if we don’t raise the ceiling, we will default on our debt. With debt meaning paying interest.

I don’t think so.

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