Readers Write: (Nov. 7): Ranked-choice voting, Cam Winton, Mark Ritchie, John Nienstedt, praying bus driver

  • Updated: November 6, 2013 - 6:32 PM

RCV really gets hard to follow in races with multiple winners.

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RANKED-CHOICE VOTING

Multiple-seat races especially hard to grasp

I’m still not convinced that it is entirely clear to the ordinary voter who gets elected ultimately in ranked-choice voting.

The RCV results can be most understood when there is only “one to be elected” for each seat or office to be filled, but less so in the case of “three to be elected” (park commissioners) or “two to be elected” (Board of Estimate and Taxation). It amounts to a three-dimensional ballot, not a flat, two-dimensional ballot that can be laid on the voting booth table and simply marked with a pencil.

Three-dimensional ballots might be a move into modern four- to six-dimensional times, but it doesn’t seem transparent to me yet. With doubts like that, I get uneasy about political or mathematical conspiracy. If it proves to be honest and democratic, I would probably trust the pure mathematicians further than politicians. And in the end, as for drawing lots, a democracy should trust the voters more than their gods.

JOHN BISPALA, Minneapolis

 

ELECTION RESULTS

Minneapolis needs more like Cam Winton

On election night, the people of Minneapolis did not elect Cam Winton, the independent candidate for mayor, to run City Hall. It’s no surprise; Democrats have controlled the mayor’s office of Minnesota’s largest city since the 1970s.

But we rare breed of Minneapolitans who are not members of the Democratic Party owe Cam a debt of gratitude. Even though he knew his chances of victory were slim and has a family and impressive private-sector career to look after, he was by far the hardest-working candidate in this race. He fought relentlessly to expose the bureaucracy and red tape that runs rampant at City Hall, the wasteful spending that punishes Minneapolis taxpayers and the all-too-powerful role union thuggery plays in our state’s politics.

Cam is the kind of politician we need more of — an energetic, common-sense fiscal conservative with bold, free-market based ideas to make Minneapolis a better place and brave enough to take on the DFL establishment. I hope his days in our city’s politics are not over.

ANDY BREHM, Minneapolis

 

VOTER REGISTRATION

Ritchie’s maligned process? Public service.

All the ink spilled over the decision by Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to implement online voter registration could mislead readers to the false conclusion that something illegal and nefarious was executed in the middle of the night by unknown agents of a malevolent, shadowy cabal bent on destroying the beating heart of American democracy.

The ridiculous lawsuit filed by Republicans simply reinforces the perception that they would rather limit voting to wealthy landowners, while the feeble reasoning offered by the Nov. 6 editorial in this paper complains about process. The point is that online voter registration is an efficient method of enfranchising voters that broadens the electorate and improves the outcome of elections. State residents should expect government to implement common-sense cost savings technologies wherever possible. The real story that has been overlooked here is that this online registration system actually works and produces measurable results. Ritchie should be applauded for his innovative and competent work. It’s another legacy of Minnesota’s tradition of excellent public service.

GEORGE HUTCHINSON, Minneapolis

 

CATHOLIC CHURCH

Parishioners left in a bind over donations

As news reports continue almost daily about efforts by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to keep the sexual-abuse scandal under wraps, significant numbers of laity and clergy are giving serious attention and action to the painful task of coming to grips with facts of ongoing abuse and coverup, egregiously complemented by an absence of outrage from the archbishop.

As these scandals came to light, some of the faithful refused to contribute to the annual Archdiocesan Catholic Services Appeal to avoid risking dubious use of their funds. As information evolved, they also elected to avoid the cut that the archdiocese takes from contributions to individual parishes by designating their dollars for such specific programs as parish outreach funds. But Archbishop John Nienstedt craftily sidestepped this loss of capital by mandating his tariff on every dollar coming into every parish. Sadly, some parishioners now refuse to contribute to their own parishes, as they cannot, on principle, close their eyes to unethical use of their money, and they are seeking ways and means to support their cherished spiritual homes without implicitly condoning what is being done at the archdiocesan level.

Nienstedt and his peers are priests of the New Testament, self-described representatives of the prophet Jesus who gave us the gift of trust when he said, “Let the little ones come to me, and do not keep them away: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Because we believed, our children were sacrificed, and we cannot stand by silently.

SHAWN GILBERT, Bloomington

 

BUS DRIVER FIRED

Leading prayers is not in the job description

Regarding “Bus driver led students in prayer and lost in job” (Nov. 6): Would the community have been OK with the bus driver’s leading the children in Islamic or Wiccan prayers? The BurnsvilleEagan-­Savage school district made the right decision.

STEVE HOFFMANN, Anoka

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