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Readers Write: (Sept. 30): Racism, Southwest LRT, ranked-choice voting, MNsure, generational burdens

  • September 29, 2013 - 6:54 PM

ACHIEVEMENT GAP

It’s a misdirection to blame racism

Vina Kay looks at the educational achievement gap in the Minneapolis public schools and makes the tired and trite assessment that the cause is racism (“What causes gaps? let’s face the truth,” Sept. 26). The obvious implication should be that those in charge of and responsible for the Minneapolis schools are either racists or are coddling racism, both of which are absurd.

I don’t know if Kay has ever spent extended time as a teacher, but if she has, she should know that the greatest factor in educational achievement is not race but family health and value on education. Until inner-city families become more stable and place more value on education, the gap will stubbornly persist.

One of the most overlooked contributors to family health and stability is active participation in a church. If Kay wants to reduce the educational gap, she would do better to form alliances with inner-city pastors to strengthen families than to rail against racist strawpersons!

STAN WEESE, Brooklyn Park

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Southwest LRT

Hennepin County bears sole blame for this mess

Hennepin County spent years “planning” the Southwest corridor light-rail line. We’re now a month past the Met Council’s original light rail/freight route decision date, and two weeks away from the second delayed decision date, and members of the County Board act as though they are shocked, shocked to learn that federal interstate commerce laws give railroads veto power over freight routes (“Lack of options sets up battle on Southwest LRT,” Sept. 26).

Metro leaders may “complain bitterly,” but the legal rights and operating needs of the railroads were never hidden. Hennepin County is responsible for this mess, no one else.

JOSEPH LAPRAY, St. Louis Park

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RANKED-CHOICE VOTING

It’s an easier method than you may think

Some people feel that ranked-choice voting is confusing. Or, perhaps, some people benefit from trying to frame it as confusing. The fact is, RCV couldn’t be easier for voters. All you do is list your first, second and third choices for an office. That’s it. There’s no rocket science or even math involved. You’re not even required to list a second or third choice if you don’t have one.

STEVE SCOFIELD, Minneapolis

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MNsure’s LAUNCH

Senators should work on solving problems

While I do agree with state Sens. Michelle Benson and Sean Nienow that there are issues with MNsure, a larger perspective is warranted (“Are you worried about MNsure? We sure are,” Sept. 21).

As members of the Minnesota Senate, both individuals have access to a generous benefits package that includes health care. I purchase health insurance through the National Association of Realtors, but my wife cannot for various reasons.

For us, the cost of the premiums and deductibles in the “last resort” represent a choice between her health insurance and our ability to pay our mortgage. So we enthusiastically welcome the advent of MNsure as part of the Affordable Care Act.

I do understand that there are problems, but I trust our elected representatives to iron these out.

CHARLES KRUMRIE, Minneapolis

• • •

Benson and Nienow are worried, but I’m not. In fact, I can’t wait to enroll in the MNsure exchange. Our family will save hundreds of dollars a month on health insurance premiums and still enjoy the coverage we need. The senators seem to want the public to worry when they should be more optimistic about the future. I am.

MARK GUNDERSON, Wayzata

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GENERATIONAL BURDENS

Young people can right the wrongs of elders

I’m responding to the 28-year-old man who feels his generation is having to pay for the mistakes of those before him (Letter of the Day, Sept. 21). As a 60-year-old, all I can say is, “I’m sorry.” No, you were not asked beforehand if you were willing to cover the cost of affordable care, a poor economy, unnecessary wars and so on.

I cannot speak for my entire generation, but I think we as a whole did the best we could. We stopped the Vietnam War when our elders wanted to continue. We helped to pass laws giving equal rights to all people. We passed laws to clean our environment.

Future generations are always left with the greatness and the stupidity of the older generation. What’s my suggestion? Do better than we did. Do the right thing for the generations following yours. Learn from our mistakes.

MARSHA BARD, Edina

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I can only agree with the fact that the letter writer’s generation was not responsible for the current situations in today’s world. However, as a young person making his way into this world, it’s important that he remember that the older generations could have or did blame the previous generation in a similar way.

Historically, the younger generation has never been left with an ideal situation. As each generation moves into its own, a mess is left for someone else to clean up. If your generation can take away one thing from what is going on in this country today, don’t play the blame game. Rise above it. In doing so, you will help to make this a better world for the generation behind you (our grandchildren) and then yours will truly be the greatest generation.

VIRGINIA PETERSON, Inver Grove Heights

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