Readers Write: (Oct. 29): Minneapolis election, U.S. surveillance policies, the Sochi Olympics, the environment, death

  • Updated: October 28, 2013 - 6:15 PM

Do DFL policies really help the disadvantaged? Does labor really deserve demerits?

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2013 ELECTION

Minneapolis may need a philosophical shift

The Star Tribune Editorial Board argues that its preferred DFL Minneapolis mayoral candidate will pursue an agenda that will improve the lives of the city’s most disadvantaged citizens (“Betsy Hodges for Minneapolis mayor,” Oct. 27). Perhaps. But, take a moment to reflect on some ugly realities.

The Economic Times reports that the average net worth of black American families is $4,955 — less than 5 percent of the white household average of $110,729. Even during the darkest days of apartheid South Africa, black net worth was 6.8 percent that of white families. While that despicable regime did nothing to alleviate black poverty, we have spent more than $5 trillion to help needy Americans of every color since the advent of our War on Poverty half a century ago.

The sad fact is that the highest concentrations of poverty among black Americans remain in major urban centers that have been largely under Democratic government control for decades, including Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans. Wherever it has been tried, the Democrats’ expansion of the numbers of citizens dependent on government has proven disastrous for our most economically and socially challenged. A conservative agenda focused on limited free markets, competitive tax rates, schools demanding superior performance from both teachers and students, and robust private support for families in need might not be more effective. But, given the lifelong hardships many of these folks may endure, perhaps it is time that we try a different approach here.

MARK H. REED, Plymouth

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The Star Tribune Editorial Board cited Mark Andrew’s “close affiliations with unions representing teachers, police and firefighters” as the main reason it didn’t include him among its top three candidates for Minneapolis mayor. Does the board think that to be supported by unions representing some of our most dedicated public servants means that the candidate in question is “owned” by the unions in question? Does it likewise think that Betsy Hodges is “owned” by the Sierra Club, which has endorsed her? I certainly hope not.

It is extremely troubling that the Star Tribune views union support as such a black mark against a candidate. I do not know who I am voting for yet, but I certainly consider the endorsement of public-sector labor unions as a reason to vote for, not against, Mark Andrew. I wonder if the Editorial Board would think that Hubert Humphrey, perhaps the greatest mayor our city ever had, similarly compromised his integrity and independence when he gained the support of labor unions?

REBECCA HAMBLIN, Minneapolis

 

U.S. SURVEILLANCE POLICIES

Alienating the world long before Obama

In claiming the world is turning against us because of President Obama’s policies, an Oct. 28 letter writer was evidently unaware that the monitoring of foreign leaders was begun years ago (Angela Merkel in 2002) and that despite howls and protestations, all nations practice surveillance to the extent they are able. To better understand why many countries mistrust or even hate us, search “CIA atrocity timeline.” Start reading at about 1953. You won’t have to read very far before you’ll begin to understand why that worldwide apology tour President Obama was falsely accused of undertaking might be a good idea after all. There has hardly been a country in whose internal affairs we haven’t meddled, in many cases causing great harm.

“My country, right or wrong” jingoism is just wrongheaded. We need to stop being so full of ourselves and get a decent mirror. Then maybe we can fix things.

JAMES WALLACE, Eden Prairie

 

2014 OLYMPICS

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