Readers Write: (Oct. 26): Voter registration, JPMorgan Chase, Metro Transit, surveillance, Shakopee High, smoking

  • Updated: October 25, 2013 - 6:23 PM

Let’s ponder a list of the things that can be done online.

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VOTER REGISTRATION

Sure are a lot of things done online these days

Let’s see. What can I do online without filling out complicated registration forms in person? My federal income tax. My Minnesota income tax. My airline tickets. My Amazon purchases. My rental car contract. View my medical records. Deposit a check into my bank account. Shift money in my Vanguard account. Buy Treasury bills. Pay my Visa bill.

But register to vote — heavens, no! (“Beware of online voter registration,” Oct. 18.) Although I can, for about $500, buy the entire database of Minnesota voters, including address and voting history, with no privacy complaints.

We want people to vote, but getting citizens to register is hard work. I have done voter registration for years, so I know that the simpler and faster and safer and cheaper it is made, the better the system. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie wants Minnesotans to vote. Do his critics?

PAT DAVIES, Minneapolis

 

JPMORGAN SETTLEMENT

Comparatively, JPM will hardly feel a thing

Lee Schafer’s Oct. 23 column (“Big penalties shouldn’t be a surprise after a boom”) cites a couple of “responsible people” who think the reported $13 billion in penalties that JPMorgan Chase is likely to pay over its conduct during our late financial “boom” is too much.

Schafer might have consulted Andrew Haldane, director of Financial Stability for the Bank of England, who estimated in 2010 that the orgies of fraud committed by JPMorgan and its too-big-to-fail cronies cost the world economy $60 trillion to $200 trillion in lost output. The “boom” might be characterized more accurately as a nuclear blast ignited by financial terrorists.

At the lower end, the latest bite on JPM represents two-hundredths of 1 percent of the damages. I’d classify that as a mosquito bite, but it’s less than that; some mosquito bites can actually kill you.

Schafer dutifully checked in with a couple of local bankers who can’t be bothered to see any lessons that might be learned from the whole mess. Here’s one: Crime pays, and the bigger and richer you are, the more handsomely it pays.

WILLIAM BEYER, St. Louis Park

 

METRO TRANSIT

My Trip Planner experience is good

I read the disparaging letter on Oct. 24 about Metro Transit’s Trip Planner website and felt compelled to write. I have ridden area buses since I was a kid in the 1960s, and Metro Transit has been my main mode of transportation for the last 16 years. I have seen a tremendous improvement in punctuality over the years.

I have used the Trip Planner since the website launched, with only an occasional minor glitch. In the thousands of trips to and from work in the last 16 years, I have been late exactly three times because of issues with Metro Transit. This includes days when the snow was so bad that most of my driving coworkers were late. Twice I was late because a car was stalled on the light-rail tracks, and the third time due to another light-rail issue. I have never had a bus that left more than a couple of minutes ahead of schedule, and even that is a rare occurrence. More often, but still rare, are the times the bus is late — but never “extremely late,” as the letter writer complains. I have been using the mobile site for two years and have never had a problem getting on it when I had cellphone service. I say kudos to Metro Transit for doing such a great job!

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