Readers Write: (April 16): Sixth District, the schools, women in the workforce, war spending, fire safety, justice

  • Updated: April 16, 2014 - 10:55 AM

Tom Emmer got the endorsement because he worked the hardest as a campaigner.

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SIXTH DISTRICT

Emmer was endorsed because he earned it

I was disappointed to see congressional candidates Rhonda Sivarajah and Phil Krinkie make statements claiming that the endorsement process in the Sixth District was not representative of the voters (“GOP endorses Emmer in Sixth District,” April 14). As an elected delegate in Senate District 37 and an alternate for the congressional district, my observations were completely different. Business owners, retirees, young adults and parents all participated in this process, and all of our caucus events were held in public — the only people who I recognized not to be there were the apathetic.

Regarding the statement that there were no grass roots: Only one candidate contacted me throughout the process, and he made contact often. That same person hosted multiple events, made introductions and facilitated networking of people within our party. His wife and daughter were right there with him, too. Tom Emmer did not get our endorsement because of some failure within the caucus; he received our overwhelming endorsement because he worked his butt off to get it.

Joseph Reiter, Blaine

 

THE SCHOOLS

Janitors and engineers play a crucial role

Teachers are important, but who really keeps a school going? Manipulated like puppets within school districts and kept out of the public’s eye are the janitors and engineers.

Each task they do is for us, the students, to help us learn better by keeping our learning environment a clean, comfortable and safe place. They shovel the snow, man the boiler, change the air filters, mop the spilled milk and much more.

With recent budget planning underway in the Minneapolis School District, these janitors and engineers are about to receive significant pay cuts. The district sees the engineers union as the weakest, making it the first target. Many of these dedicated and noble workers are already struggling to keep their families afloat financially.

Most of us have never thought about it, because attention has been directed toward new budgets being voted on by teachers and issues like the new stadium. But we are all affected by the quality of our environment, which is directly correlated to the quality of the building maintenance staff. We all take them for granted, and now it is time to give them the respect they deserve.

Stephanie Daub, Minneapolis

 

WOMEN IN THE WORKFORCE

What job interests you? Openings may await

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Women’s Economic Security Act on April 9. The Minnesota Senate will get its chance to weigh in next week. There are many facets to this bill, especially job-segregation remedies. There is grant money for programs to move more women into high-wage, high-demand jobs, which according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development are: plumbers, pipe fitters, masons, electricians, computer-controlled machine tool operators, carpenters, painters, truck drivers, construction managers and laborers, software developers, welders, machinists.

Many women would and could move into these jobs if given the chance and if the build sites became more woman-friendly. For those women who love their jobs as teachers, nurses, clerical workers, health care aides, we salute you, too. It is my hope that the Women’s Economic Security Act is the first step of many to begin valuing and paying for the work that women already do and love. No worries — we don’t all have to become plumbers. But if you would like to, there’s a job waiting for you.

Patricia Tanji, St. Paul

 

The writer is president of the Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota.

 

WAR SPENDING

Adam Smith knew how to limit it: Pay up front

I’m a veteran, and when I came back moderately intact in 1972, it was hard to get a job, just like today. A couple of years ago, I was supporting veterans facing, I think, unjust foreclosure. Out of curiosity, I googled “banks and war profits” and found a quote from Adam Smith, so far from anything I’d ever heard that I finally went and read “The Wealth of Nations” to make sure the guru of free enterprise really said it. He did. Toward the end of the 1,000-page classic, Smith says, “If a war is imminent, citizens should be taxed up front to pay for it, so they won’t let it happen needlessly, or carry it on endlessly.” He also has a long section on how nations are more prosperous during peacetime, due to building roads, bridges and buildings, not blowing them up.

A few years ago, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution saying that it was time to bring the war dollars home to deal with domestic issues like housing, jobs and health care. I support this over welfare programs for corporations that make weapons even the generals don’t want.

Larry Johnson, Golden Valley

 

FIRE SAFETY

Is the proposed solution chasing the problem?

Bill Mund, president of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, claims that sprinkler systems in homes of more than 4,500 square feet will greatly reduce fire deaths (“Why we need sprinklers in new homes,” April 14). How many of the 20 fire-related deaths this year in Minnesota, or the 305 deaths in the past 10 years, occurred in homes of that size?

Rhonda Kuehl, Minneapolis

 

JUSTICE?

In Anoka County, charges but no charges

Airline seat upgrade for boyfriend: $29. Rental car: $800. Avoiding felony theft charges for charging over $2,500 in personal expenses to a government credit card: Priceless!

So, a former court administrator in Anoka County won’t be prosecuted for allegedly misusing her authority in what should be considered out-and-out theft (“District Court’s administrator quits after investigation,” April 11). Can my clients of color and poverty expect similar compassion and indulgence? Don’t make me laugh.

Bryan J. Leary, Anoka

 

The writer is a public defender.

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