Your view may depend on your perspective
While I wholeheartedly agree with Doug Champeau’s conclusion that we must raise the minimum wage, I’ve had very different experiences of those struggling with poverty (“I wish I could be truly poor,” March 8).
Champeau implies that those who are living in poverty are living well — steak fillets, televisions at tax time and more. While I’m sure he is speaking of what he sees at his retail job, it is important to be mindful that he is only seeing one piece of a very complex puzzle.
I work at a nonprofit that provides low-cost car repair for low-income Minnesotans who are struggling to keep aging cars running in order to get to work, medical appointments and school. I have had experiences with customers with TVs and prepaid-tax-return debit cards, too, except in my case it was a woman who pawned her old TV set so she could afford to get her 1995 vehicle towed to us, and the debit cards were used by grateful women who could finally pay off the bills they owed us.
I would invite Champeau to spend a day at our shop to see a very different side of poverty. I’m guessing his desire to be “truly poor” would evaporate quickly.
Cathy Heying, Minneapolis
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A March 8 letter writer doesn’t think the minimum wage should be raised because “it’s no secret” that tips pay the bills. Apparently, he’s got some idea that Minneapolis is not just the center of the universe, but that there is nowhere else to even consider. I would love to have him come out to the smaller towns. He wouldn’t last a week if he had to rely on tips.
I’ve never thought that my wages should depend on customers when I know that by just coming in for drinks or food they’re helping the business and town. Many people outside of the Twin Cities area have to work more than an hour just to buy a gallon of milk and a gallon of gas. Many people can’t leave tips — a few manage to leave a couple of quarters, but it’s certainly not enough to make a dent in the rent payment. It’s hard enough for people to try to cope and survive without hearing from someone who acts like no one else in the state even exists.
Robin Ritter, Lake Benton, Minn.
PARKING AND TRAFFIC
Well, if you’re going to put it that way …
I live in southwest Minneapolis. Like everyone else who frequents 50th & France, I know the area’s 951 ramp parking spaces are in high demand (“50th & France parking to get revamped,” March 8). Employee parking costs $60 annually and could be increased to $120.
Consider a part-time employee who works four days a week, 48 weeks a year. Today, parking costs that person about 30 cents a day. Doubling it would still only be 60 cents. Quite a bargain. Aren’t those valuable parking spots worth at least a buck or two a day?
David Aquilina, Minneapolis
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Instead of large type stating that motorists wasted 24.5 hours per year in traffic in 2013 (March 7), why not state that Minnesotans chose to drive an extra 24.5 hours on congested roads? This would recognize the trade-offs stemming from choices of where to live, work and play.
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.