Readers Write: (Nov. 20): Gettysburg, Washington Avenue, Dayton's giving, crowdsourcing movies

  • Updated: November 19, 2013 - 5:27 PM

Sense of equality is lost in government dominated by the rich and powerful

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GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

Focus on equality is lost in today’s government

As I was reading the Gettysburg Address this morning in your newspaper, I was particularly struck by the final 18 words: ”and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” Somehow those words ring hollow in today’s context. Sadly, as our Republic has devolved into a plutocracy, more appropriate words come to mind: “and that government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich … ” Hopefully this perversion will perish and the government that President Lincoln envisioned will once again take root and enrich us all.

JOHN EVANS, Minneapolis

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

A flawed database is the least of the problems

Really, Star Tribune Editorial Board? Our ship of state is sinking under the ever-increasing amounts of money being poured into our elections and the best you can offer is to recommend that campaign finance data be accurate (“Database flaws are ‘slap at Minnesotans,’ ” Nov. 18)? It’s like being handed a can to bail a swamped aircraft carrier. Why not be bold and call on every single member of the Minnesota House to pass the We the People Act next session? (The act was passed by the Minnesota Senate this year.) Minnesota would join the 16 states in deciding that “money is not speech” and that local, state and federal governments shall regulate, limit or prohibit contributions and expenditures so we all have an equal “voice” in our democracy. The act further requires the disclosure of all permissible contributions. The We the People Act has more power to re-right our ship of state than your proposal to keep bailing.

PHYLLIS RODEN, Minneapolis

• • •

Your story and subsequent opinion on the errors in campaign reporting talk about the budget constraints that the system is operating under. Seems to me that the organizations benefiting from the contributions should have to pay the cost of reporting. The same argument could perhaps be made for having the contributor pay a small percentage to cover the cost of the database, but that is more complicated and raises constitutional issues. Levying a small percentage of the contributions to the organizations would be simple and have little impact on campaigns. There are fees involved in many of the records maintained by government, why not use them in this situation?

RAY SCHMITZ, Rochester, Minn.

WASHINGTON AVENUE

Friendlier streets will make city more livable

I am very pleased to see that the Star Tribune has endorsed the creation of a landscaped, pedestrian-friendly, resident-friendly, calmer Washington Avenue in Minneapolis that includes the installation of a protected bike lane (“Making the most of Washington Avenue,” Nov. 19). As someone who for a long time wondered why no one was building residential properties on all the parking lots along Washington, I’ve been delighted to see that change. Now, the next step in making Washington Avenue an artery of city life instead of a highway is to move ahead with this plan.

The value of cycling infrastructure to local businesses has been getting ever more attention, and combining a protected bike lane with a pleasant street that people want to stroll down will surely help boost small businesses along the corridor. That means more jobs, more tax revenues and an overall more livable city. It also will make residential development all the more attractive. I hope the Hennepin County Board approves this proposal.

JEREMY BERGERSON, Minneapolis

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