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Tom Corbett, Stillwater
It’s a bit uncanny how ‘un-Minnesotan’ it is
When Gov. Mark Dayton recently lambasted Sen. Tom Bakk’s proposed $90 million Senate office building, he did not use snide terms such as “Bakk’s boondoggle” or “Taj-Ma Bakk.” Instead he rolled out the nuclear weapon of Minnesota political discourse, the infamous “U word,” calling the proposed building’s luxury “un-Minnesotan.” This seems to be a uniquely Minnesota usage; I’ve lived in other states and cannot recall a politician calling an idea “un-Illinoisan” or “un-Indianan” or “un-Massachusettsian.”
Usually, however, the “U word” is used by Minnesota liberals to denounce conservative ideas that are so outrageous that they cannot be categorized by the liberals’ second-favorite derisive term: “mean-spirited.”
So, in a strange way, to have the “U word” used by a liberal governor to denounce the proposal of a liberal state senator must be a sign of hope.
George Woytanowitz, Minneapolis
Panhandlers, taxes are repelling factors
The concept of spending to revitalize Nicollet Mall is interesting but misses a big point (“Nicollet Mall rehab would boost downtown, study says,” March 20). If the attempt has anything to do with getting casual diners to come downtown outside of the opportunities associated with major evening entertainment events, the issue is panhandlers. My wife and I enjoy an outside summer dining venue, but we have had unpleasant experiences with panhandlers interrupting the ambience of a streetside table on the Mall. Dining is also more expensive (sales taxes) downtown. It’s a no-brainer to pay less and have a more pleasant environment in other venues such as the Warehouse District or the burbs.
Jim Bracke, Eden Prairie
I’ll see your attack and raise you $400 billion
The Star Tribune displays a well-developed sense of what one might charitably call “irony” by making its March 19 Letter of the Day an argument for antibullying legislation based on an ad hominem attack against former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. During Mr. Welch’s tenure, the market capitalization of GE increased by nearly $400 billion. Not bad for a “sociopath.” Meanwhile, since taking over the reins at GE, Obama sycophant Jeffrey Immelt has presided over a 37 percent decline (about $150 billion) even as the S&P 500 has risen 72 percent. Crony capitalism seems to make about as much sense as using scurrilous attacks (what some might call “bullying”) as an argument for anything.
B. Robert Smith, Minneapolis
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.