Management and the postal unions want reforms. Where’s Congress?
Congress is sitting on needed reforms
Many Americans of various philosophical backgrounds have been troubled and angered by our representatives and senators in Washington and their apparent ability to accomplish next to nothing. Among the various items that were supposed to be at the top of the congressional agenda this year was postal reform. As we end 2013, we are forced to recognize the fact that Congress has done nothing to help the U.S. Postal Service modernize itself.
The Postal Service is burdened by legislation from 2006 that requires it to prefund health benefits for future retirees 75 years into the future. No other governmental agency or private entity is forced to do this. The Postal Service is paying for future employees who have not even been born. Does this make any sense?
Both Postal Service management and postal unions agree that changes need to take place. Please urge your representatives and senators to bring about true and meaningful postal reform. The Postal Service is ready to revolutionize itself in a number of ways, if only Congress would let it.
TIMOTHY FRANKLAND, Minneapolis
A park particular: Paved paths draw users
The path/no path issue for Lebanon Hills Regional Park (Readers Write, Dec. 23) is a familiar topic for park development. The fact is, however, that hard paths promote and enhance usability of a recreational area. One great feature of a hard path is that it allows an area to be used year-round and especially by older people with mobility issues and with disabilities. Simple observation will show that hard paths draw park users to the area, and this is the point of recreational areas — that they should be utilized and enjoyed.
A prime example for comparison is Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis. From Lake Harriet east to the River Road, there are hard paths along the creek and many users of the paths year-round. Going west along the creek from Lake Harriet, there are no paths save for the little “cow paths” created by the few who plod through the area. On behalf of our older population (me included), I applaud the progressive efforts of Dakota County planners to enhance the ability of disabled and mobility challenged people to enjoy the Lebanon Hills.
JAKE WERNER, St. Louis Park
Costs of drinking while pregnant are huge
Excellent article from the Economist on the back page of the Dec. 24 Business section (“Alcohol pricing can help curb bingeing”), outlining costs of alcohol consumption in Europe and the United States. One staggering omission: the cost — financial, social and emotional — of children born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. This umbrella term describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. The effects may include physical, mental, behavioral and/or learning disabilities with lifelong implications. In Minnesota each year, approximately 8,500 babies are born with a FASD. The cost of that aspect of alcohol use is staggering in its impact on society, families and individuals who had no say in it whatsoever — the children.
For more information and to learn what you can do, go to www.mofas.org, the website of the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
WENDYLEE RAUN, St. Louis Park
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.