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Readers Write: (Aug. 12): The Wilfs, Minneapolis utilities, employee pay, sex trafficking, Southwest light rail, Russia

  • August 12, 2013 - 6:36 AM

THE WILFS

Minnesotans have been placed on notice

Regarding the Wilfs: Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior (“Governor questions Wilfs’ dealings,” Aug. 9). There are exceptions; however, why do the citizens of Minnesota have to bear the risk? For some, contracts are meant to be broken … temporary inconveniences to achieve a goal.

David Gair, Minneapolis

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ELECTRICITY

City-owned utility is wishful thinking

I don’t understand why the assumption is that the only way to cleaner, more affordable, more reliant local energy is through ousting Xcel Energy (“Beyond Xcel, the city would really excel,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 9). In fact, that assumption seems to me outrageous in view of the lack of appreciation for the quantity of electrical energy required to sustain the quality of life Americans demand.

Imagine a day without air conditioning for the old, the disabled and the employed — those who work in buildings larger than, say, 100,000 square feet, where air conditioning is imperative. Imagine a week without refrigeration ­— no milk, no vegetables, no fruit, no meat. Imagine a month without manufacturing — industry survives only because of energy that powers the tools workers use.

The above is not an inclusive list of high-power consumers. The list goes on, and by far exceeds the electrical generation capacity of wind farms and solar panels. To assume new developments in renewable-energy sources will arise in the future to meet the demand is to believe the sales pitch of peddlers of the same equipment.

Following municipalization, skimming profits from energy sales to city residents to meet current and future financial obligations may be necessary, and the creation of appointed administrative positions will provide jobs for unemployed politicians, the children of politicians and the favorites of politicians. Other than that, I fail to see how Minneapolis residents will gain if the Xcel contract is not renewed.

Bruce A. Lundeen, Minneapolis

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EMPLOYEE PAY

The domino effect of stingy companies

In the argument about executive pay, there is one more point that is important. If a company does not pay a living wage to its employees, it is raising taxes for all of us. After all, taxpayers must subsidize programs that help people have at least a minimal standard of living. Shouldn’t we charge/fine companies that have extremely high executive compensation but do not adequately provide for their employees?

Joan Felice, Roseville

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U.S-RUSSIA RELATIONS

Criticism of Obama is a narrow perspective

President Obama was going to be damned if he didn’t cancel his Russia trip, and, sure enough, he’s been damned (by one letter writer anyway) because he did.

The fact is, Edward Snowden was only part of the reason. Relations with Russia have been deteriorating over military support for Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s massacres of his own people and over crackdowns on human rights, including Russia’s new antigay law that has U.S. Olympic officials questioning whether or not our winter athletes will be arrested next February.

Besides, the president will be in St. Petersburg this fall for the G-20 summit. He can publicly and privately rebuke Vladimir Putin then, because rebuke is all Putin deserves. Retribution for crimes already committed is only a matter of satisfying one’s desire for revenge. Bringing pressure on a major world power to accept all human beings’ rights, including sexual preference, and slamming Putin for his ongoing support of Assad are far more important actions for Obama to take.

Kevin Driscoll, St. Paul

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SEX TRAFFICKING

Prevention starts with attention to offenders

In “Taking a new tack against sex trade” (Aug. 9), there is a single quote about keeping kids away from traffickers under the heading “A tool to protect children.” Let’s be honest. The best way to protect children, considering that we are talking about a business, is (a) to ensure that there is less demand for child sex and (b) to inform the public about what leads to that demand. In that sense, trying to keep kids away from traffickers or traffickers away from kids is like putting a Band-Aid on a severe laceration.

Sex offenses are primarily a mental-health issue: Offenders believe that they are not doing harm with their behavior, among other factors, and those beliefs are formed over a long period. Sex offenses do not happen by someone suddenly deciding to hurt a child; they happen by justifying, lying, ignoring feelings and altering thoughts to the point where offenders are convinced that spending time with children is a good thing, without being aware of how they’re deceiving themselves. The hard truth, the ugliness of the laceration of sex offenses, is that they are preventable with more mental-health interventions and sending the message to people with unwanted attractions that they can get help and that help is effective.

Jeff White, St. Paul

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SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL

An underground stadium, without fans

In 2012, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill requiring that the state provide $350 million and that Minneapolis provide $148 million for the construction of a new Vikings stadium. Whether you were for or against these contributions, the Vikings are a big part of Minnesota and Minneapolis, and hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans favored a stadium.

Today, a very, very small number of Minneapolis residents are demanding that the Southwest Corridor light-rail line be buried in a tunnel so that they won’t lose their “cherished” parkland, at a cost of up to $420 million.

This small number of residents live in the lakes area of Minneapolis, one of the most desirable areas of the city and perhaps the entire metro area. They have their parkland with the lakes. That’s why they live there. But they want the taxpayers to spend enough for another Vikings stadium so that they, very few of whom can even see the Kenilworth corridor from their property, will not have light-rail trains in their area. Where is the outrage we saw with the similar amount proposed for the stadium?

The bike trail can easily be rerouted. The Southwest light-rail line is an important regional addition to our transit future. Start it now.

George Carlson, Minneapolis

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