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Readers Write: (Feb. 13): Obama, de Blasio, Inslee and the law; school lunches, addiction and disease

  • February 12, 2014 - 6:02 PM

LEADERSHIP

People in high places are flouting the law

America, we have a problem. In the past few days, our president, the mayor of New York City and the governor of the state of Washington each have announced that they will not enforce a settled state or federal law. Mr. Obama decided that he will delay yet another provision of the Affordable Care Act, in this instance the employer insurance mandate. Mayor Bill de Blasio decided unilaterally that the city of New York will issue identity papers to illegal aliens in direct contravention of federal immigration law. Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he is placing a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty in his state.

True, each of these involves an elected Democrat. However, what is to prevent a future Republican president, mayor or governor from choosing the laws they won’t enforce? Article II of the U.S. Constitution requires the president to “take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Whenever an elected official at even the local level behaves with such arrogant disregard for their responsibilities, all of us suffer a clear diminution of our rights as free citizens.

Mark H. Reed, Plymouth

 

SCHOOL LUNCHES

Whose responsibility? And at what cost?

Articles in the Star Tribune attack schools and educators for not providing lunches to children whose parents do not send in lunch money and for students who do not pass reading and math goals. In both instances, a great deal of the responsibility lies with the families. Send a sandwich or money with your child or call and ask for help. Emphasize the importance of education and require that your children study. Easy? Of course not. But it is your job. And your joy to see your children succeed.

Chris Schonning, Andover

• • •

You’ve got to be kidding. At what point have I become responsible for feeding the neighbor kid? Children need to be taught that if they don’t have any money, they can’t eat. Now, if parents are unable to supply the minimum money for their children to eat lunch, they most likely are unable to supply their children with any type of parenting, and shouldn’t have children, or their children should be removed from them.

If you disagree, I hope that you will pay for my McDonald’s the next time I walk in without any cash.

Bret Collier, Big Lake

• • •

“The state could expand the free lunch program to all students who now receive reduced-price lunch for an estimated $3.35 million.” That statement was included the Star Tribune’s Feb. 11 article about the lunch issue.

Minnesota’s population was 5,303,925 during the official 2010 census. Divide that number into the $3.35 million. The result is 63 cents per person. That’s how much it would cost per year to change reduced lunch to free.

Of course, we wouldn’t all pay just 63 cents. Some people don’t have to pay income tax, and others make up for that. Most households contain more than one person, so the figure is not just 63 cents per household. But if your household has enough money to pay direct taxes, are you not willing and able to put out a few dollars at most a year to help out?

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park

• • •

I’m proud to report that in Bloomington we “always provide a full menu-of-the-day hot lunch” to our students, even if the child is unable to pay. Many groups work together to make that possible, including the Education Foundation of Bloomington (EFB), a nonprofit organization. The EFB has a vital program, Children’s Food for Thought, that partners with the Bloomington public schools and families to help provide those meals. Bloomington parent Ann Tillotson founded this program informally in 2004-05 when she learned that (besides the students who qualified for the federal free/reduced lunch program) a significant number of students in her son’s school couldn’t pay for their hot lunches. Ann and the CFT program became part of the EFB in 2006.

Money comes from individuals, organizations, the faith community and corporate donations (the Mosaic Co., in particular, provides a generous grant) to allow the CFT program to meet the ever increasing demand for student meals. For some, it may be the only meal they get all day.

Mary K. Udseth; president, Education Foundation of Bloomington

 

ADDICTION

It hurts to see it likened to an illness like mine

I have Stage 4 inoperable lung cancer, am in my mid-40s, have never smoked and have no risk factors. I have a beautiful wife and 4-year-old daughter I love dearly, and it saddened me to be told when I was diagnosed that I have a 1 percent chance to see my daughter’s 8th birthday. I underwent six courses of the hardest chemotherapy one can undergo, and I still go for maintenance treatment every week. I changed my diet and keep a strict regimen of exercise that has given my body the best possible chance to fight this illness. I want to grow old with my wife and walk my daughter down the aisle someday. Those dreams are what sustain me. It is a daily fight. And I am beating the odds so far.

To compare what I am going through to someone who shoots heroin in their veins is not right (“Let’s treat addiction as the illness it is,” Feb. 12). I didn’t do something to myself to cause this, and if all I had to do to beat this illness was to not inject myself with something, I would do it and be thrilled beyond measure. I can understand how hard addiction must be, but addicts are not innocent victims. Be thankful for every day you’ve been given.

Mike Hendel, Coon Rapids

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