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Readers Write (April 4): Child protection, guns, bike safety, CEO pay, billboard

  • April 3, 2013 - 7:02 PM

FAMILY MATTERS

Sometimes, larger issues are at stake

The Schaffhausen murder case and the Slaven child protection case, both featured on the April 3 front page, shed light on each other. The Slavens may be upset that their parenting was called into question, but clearly child protection services were simply ensuring that the children were safe.

It is never an easy decision for anyone to decide that it isn’t safe for a parent to have contact with their children. Shawn Slaven said, “We’re talking about the relationship you have with your own flesh and blood.” True. And sometimes our own flesh and blood presents the greatest threat to our safety.

Sarah Rodems, Minneapolis

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I do not understand the insistence of the NRA and its supporters that any firearm background check allow for the easy transfer of a gun to a friend or family member. This loophole would have allowed Nancy Lanza to give an assault weapon to her son, Adam, even if he had a diagnosed mental illness. Does the NRA believe that a close relationship precludes a mental illness? It is an unfortunate and reckless position.

Susan Barrett, South St. Paul

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SHARING THE ROAD

Not all the sacrifices should be on bikers

I disagree with the writer of the April 2 Letter of the Day (“Bicyclists, be safe …”) that I don’t need to ride on roads like Lake Street or Hennepin Avenue. I shop at businesses on those roads, eat at restaurants on those roads, and frequently get to those places by bicycle. Bicyclists have every right to use busy streets, and the driving public has every obligation to share the streets with cyclists, whose presence is just one of the factors to which a driver must adjust (think buses, pedestrians, and clueless people behind the wheels of other vehicles). Why should we bicyclists be marginalized more than we already are?

Larry Bruce Kaatz, Minneapolis

• • •

Andreas Aarsvold’s thoughts on being a victimized bicyclist (“Of bicycling, same-sex relationships and getting along,” March 30) were spot-on. But he missed one thing: Andreas, it’s pure and simple. You’re a victim of bullying.

First, you’re vulnerable on your bike. You can’t retaliate against someone sealed in their SUV (or, yes, even a Prius). Second, the bully-driver knows you probably can’t pull out your camera phone and snap a shot of their actions. In addition, in your “dorky” (your word) biking outfit, you look different, and that often freaks out bullies. They hate different.

Bullies come in all shapes and genders, whether it is a woman in an SUV, a beer-can-tossing homophobe, or anyone with a self-esteem issue. Just hang in there. Obey the rules of the road when you bike, be watchful, and keep using your eloquent words as you did to subdue the SUV bully: Words can be, in fact, mightier than the sword.

Dick Schwartz, Minneapolis

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CEO PAY WATCH

More data, please, to empower shareholders

An April 1 letter writer said: “Please stop reporting the CEO Pay Watch in your business section.” Considering the rest of his fine letter, it is unlikely that he meant it. And I insist that the Star Tribune continue the column. By now, the newspaper must have collected a great database of relevant information. Someone should do research analysis and publish it. Executive larceny at corporations deserves much more airing than it gets.

Bruce Kittilson, Golden Valley

• • •

Although I share the April 1 letter writer’s weariness/anger/disgust with the numbers reported in Pay Watch, allow me to encourage the Star Tribune to expand its coverage of this issue rather than doing away with it. Please include the pay scales of the workforce at large for these same companies right next to the compensation of their CEOs.

But as noted in a neighboring letter the same day (“Reality may not be what ‘average’ implies”), statistics can be tricky things. So, at the very least, use the mean, median and mode when showing this data.

I’m sure the resulting comparison and contrast would be much more informative than just executive pay standing by itself.

Bruce Downing, St. Cloud

• • •

I ask that the Star Tribune also publish the names of the sycophants who are on the executive compensation committees, and the names of consulting firms that make pay recommendations.

My previous experience as a compensation professional has shown me that greed and ego leads CEOs to believe they are never paid too much. They also maintain that they have no say in setting their own compensation, despite the fact that they personally select and approve these committee members and consultants and pay them very generously for their servility.

If the Star Tribune published these names, shareholders could then contact these toadies to demand change.

James Senden, New Brighton

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BILLBOARDS

Health Department hits bottom with ad

Recently, each time I drive south on Hwy. 169 near Plymouth Road, I see my tax dollars mooning me. I have two questions for our Minnesota Department of Health: First, did you really think treating me to 200 square feet of bare butt would get me to go get a colonoscopy? Second, how much did the model get paid?

Bruce Odegaard, Crystal

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