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Readers Write: (Nov. 1): City governance, election endorsements, ranked-choice voting, online habits, orchestra
- October 31, 2013 - 6:56 PM
What Democrats do for urban areas
An Oct. 29 letter writer blames Democratic government control of large cities for the high poverty rate among urban black Americans. I think we can all agree that the reasons for poverty among Americans, no matter their race, are varied and complex. I think we can all agree, too, that black Americans aren’t stupid. Then isn’t the concentration of poverty in urban areas a testimony to the greater access to jobs, community, amenities and services provided in areas largely under Democratic control? Isn’t that what draws anyone to urban areas? If we were to allow facts to enter into this conversation, it would be beyond dispute that the states with the highest overall poverty rates are under control of Republicans.
CHRISTOPHER EGAN, Minneapolis
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There’s more to be said to challenge the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s position that a mayoral candidate’s support for teachers, police and firefighters unions would impede progress (“Betsy Hodges for Minneapolis mayor,” Oct. 27, and Readers Write, Oct. 29.)
For good reasons, there is plenty of room for both progress and workers’ rights. In fact, there is no progress if workers have less pay, rights and power for self-advocacy in the workplace. Without collective bargaining through unions, workers are left to the mercies of the higher-ups, as anyone who works in corporate America knows all to well. Top-down decisions without workers’ input almost always leads to inefficient and stupid things happening. When workers have the ability to pushback that a union provides, they have the ability to demand respect and decent pay for their contribution.
PAUL ROZYCKI, Minneapolis
Ty Moore is better in Minneapolis Ninth
The Star Tribune got it wrong in the Ninth Ward (editorial endorsement, Oct. 30). As residents and business owners in the Corcoran neighborhood of Minneapolis, we have seen the wide base of support that Ty Moore has brought together among working people, immigrants, people of color, business owners, labor and our other neighbors. The pragmatism of Alondra Cano hailed by the Editorial Board means more of the same: more subsidies for big development projects, more one-party rule by the DFL and more city inaction on the foreclosure crisis. Despite Cano’s being hailed as the Hispanic candidate, it is actually Moore who enjoys support from grass-roots Latino organizers and leaders in the ward.
Moore is not a protest candidate. He has sophisticated policy proposals and a proven record of organizing for progressive change in our schools and community. It is time to expand the range of voices heard in City Hall by making sure that those who suffer most under the status quo are able to shape policy.
SUSANA DE LEON and BRUCE D. NESTOR, Minneapolis
Just stick to your favorites, in order
An Oct. 30 letter writer claims that giving your second- and third-choice votes to the weakest candidates (and encouraging others to do the same) may help your first choice win — but if your first-choice candidate is strong enough to win, your second and third choices will never be considered and will not affect the outcome of the election. If your first choice is eliminated, you would rather have your other votes go to your preferred candidates, not those most likely to lose (or govern poorly if they win).
The ranked-choice voting system allows each of us to vote for those we truly prefer without fear of “wasting” our votes or having our two preferred candidates split the vote, allowing a lesser candidate to win. Take advantage of these benefits by ranking your votes in order of preference.
ANDREW FLAMM, St. Paul
Students’ cellphones aren’t just for frivolity
In response to the Oct. 30 letter that talked about limiting high school students’ screen time and how students should leave their phones at home, I disagree. I am a high school student myself. At my school and others, students are provided iPads by the school for educational purposes. If iPads are being used for education, why would it make sense to not allow students to bring their phones to school? Many students I know have iPhones and use them in school to be productive, not just to text. I think that phones and tablets are valuable tools and should be used more, not less, for educational purposes
SIMON RONALD, Minneapolis
The danger of drawing down the endowment
The demise of the New York City Opera should be a lesson for us about governance of nonprofits and instruct us on governance of the Minnesota Orchestra. The venerable New York institution went bankrupt because its directors raided the endowment to pay for the salaries and other ongoing costs. As the New York Times reported, one expert on fiduciary duties for nonprofit directors said “endowments should never be invaded.” Yet that is precisely what would happen under the last proposal made by the orchestra’s musicians. That would ultimately send the orchestra down the same path as the New York City Opera and some other nonprofits.
It is the fiduciary duty of the directors to preserve the institution for the future. The most recent proposal from the orchestra, which is at least as favorable as the contracts recently agreed to in Atlanta, Indianapolis and by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, would not require the significant endowment draws the musicians’ proposal would require.
KEN CUTLER, Edina
The writer is a member of the Minnesota Orchestra board.
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