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Readers Write (March 17): Driverless cars, DNR, pope, TSA, taxes, injustice

  • March 16, 2013 - 5:32 PM

DRIVERLESS CARS

George Jetson didn’t face pollution problems

Timothy Taylor imagines a future with driverless cars but makes no mention of the elephant in the room, namely that the age of cheap, abundant fossil fuels is coming to an end (“Not even George Jetson had this,” March 17). That means the age of automobile transport is also coming to an end.

Rather than wasting time and energy on schemes that would prolong our reliance on cars and trucks and the enormous infrastructure they depend upon, we should be investing in mass transit, walkable and bikeable cities, and new technologies that don’t require massive inputs of nonrenewable energy.

KURT SEABERG, Minneapolis

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Driverless cars? Do you mean where you are just a passenger? That’s called the bus.

GREG REYNOLDS, Delano

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We already have a large number of driverless cars in use today. The drivers are texting.

JOHN KONRATH, Waverly, Minn.

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DAYTON’S BUDGET

State wouldn’t lose its edge with higher taxes

I am so sick of the argument included in the editorial opposing Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal for a tax increase on married couples with $250,000 in taxable income (“State still needs sales tax reform,” March 15). The Editorial Board claims that such a policy would diminish the state’s competitive advantage, but there is no evidence to support that.

What can be documented is that all businesses would benefit from the public infrastructure that needs to be upgraded and paid for. That’s what the governor is trying to do with increased investments in education, health care, transportation and other needs that have been neglected for so long. States that make these investments will attract businesses in the future. It’s time to move ahead and support the governor’s proposal.

GENE MARTINEZ, Inver Grove Heights

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NATURAL RESOURCES

A slow, but welcome change in state agency

It’s about time that the state Department of Natural Resources takes a position that reflects views beyond those of hunters, anglers and other consumptive users of resources (“Shift underway in managing resources,” March 10).

Dennis Anderson reported that Minnesota and Wisconsin are slow to change and are still rooted in the traditional model, while other states are using a more ecology-based model. He also wrote about the great amount of money hunters have paid into the system, resulting in cleaner air and water.

He made it sound like there were no tax dollars involved in operating the DNR and that it was solely supported by those who consume resources. He should have told readers the exact breakdown.

COLLEEN MEYER, Minneapolis

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NEW POPE

Does age matter? How about news placement?

With due respect to Catholics (which I am not): When the cardinals go into a huddle to pray and discuss, do they really believe God told them, both this time and last time, to pick a pope in his late 70s? I’m sure Pope Francis is a lovely person, but surely God might know of a qualified person who is at least in his 60s.

Paula Erickson, Brooklyn Park

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I think it is hilarious that the Star Tribune’s coverage of the new pope jumped to a page with a huge ad for bras. I was reading about the pope’s humility, but that life-sized, lacy bra was hard to ignore.

Trisha Downey, Elk River

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AIRPORT SCREENING

A simple way to address privacy concerns

I’m not surprised that civil-­liberties groups have privacy concerns with the proposed risk-based system of passenger screening at airports (“ ‘Risk-based’ aviation security screenings gain ground amid worry over misuse,” March 12). Many companies today allow their customers to opt out (or opt in) to the sharing and use of their information for marketing or product awareness purposes. To alleviate privacy concerns, my suggestion is that passengers who care to opt in to sharing information in order to use the new streamlined, risk-based process should go through a separate line at airport security. Those who choose to opt out would have their privacy concerns respected but would go through the kind of process used today.

MARK LASSWELL, Eagan

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TURBO TAX

State fumbled by refusing filed returns

It should be, and probably is, illegal for the Minnesota Department of Revenue to refuse to process my TurboTax paper tax return (“TurboTax safe to use again, state says,” March 12). If I filed a return, made out with no assistance, the state would have to process it. There might be errors, but there should not be a categorical refusal to process it.

THOMAS HOFFMANN, Edina

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JUSTICE IS BLIND

Case of 85-year-old reveals broken system

Let me get this straight: A woman with Parkinson’s disease and dementia “accidentally” votes twice and is charged with a felony (“86-year-old St. Peter woman charged with voter fraud,” March 7). A boy “accidentally” shoots an arrow that kills another child and there are no charges filed (“No charges filed in Chaska case,” March 7.) Somebody please fix this system.

HEATHER HENDRIX, Baldwin, Wis.

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