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Readers Write: (March 31): Catholic Church, climate change, school Facebook lawsuit, airport security

  • March 28, 2014 - 6:35 PM


After 40 years, the files ought to be ready

It’s difficult to avoid seeing the irony in the reason for the request by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for more time to turn over its files (Twin Cities + Region, March 26) — “an exhaustive, time consuming, and extremely expensive and burdensome process.” The “burden” is the archdiocese’s own doing. It is precisely because the archdiocese has relentlessly spent its time and money on legal pursuits to keep its files secret for the last 40 years — not merely 40 years ago, but continuing — that it now finds itself requiring more time to conduct an internal review of files that should long ago have been turned over to authorities.

I had thought my opinion of the archdiocese’s handling of its pattern of sexual abuse could not be any lower until I read in this article of its attempt to depose John Doe 1’s “friend’s, family, co-workers and employers.” If this is the way the archdiocese treats those claiming to be abuse victims — as adversaries to be given the full force of intimidating legal strategies — it seems to have lost its way as a religious organization true to its own teachings and purpose.

John Thoma, Woodbury



Progress, but with two feet stuck in the past

James Lenfestey (Opinion Exchange, March 27) strikes a cautiously optimistic note about the battle against fossil-fuel-generated climate change. Yet global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unabated. Without major cuts in these emissions, on the order of 5 percent a year starting now, we face a future of extreme heat; accelerating wildfires and massive storms; unprecedented floods and droughts; coastal inundations; freshwater shortages, and the extinction of sea life that billions depend upon for food.

Perhaps we can take comfort that the reality of human-caused climate disruption is now accepted (despite talk-radio chatter) by national and corporate leaders; by international political, economic and scientific organizations, and by most academic institutions.

Partisan politics have slowed U.S. efforts to control climate disruption. Historically, the United States has been the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and even now our per-capita emissions far exceed those of China — and considering that emissions from China are largely driven by our demand for products, we have simply exported our industrial production and waste.

Bruce Snyder, Mendota Heights

• • •

In response to the March 28 letter from a landowner who has no problem with an Enbridge oil pipeline on his land, we all likely agree that Enbridge employees are good people. One of the many problems a lot of us have with this pipeline is that there seems to be no comprehensive plan regarding energy in this state. We are letting a corporation call the shots when we should be calling a timeout. We’ve all been addicted to oil for a long time, and we need to start to use cleaner sources of energy. The recent approval for a solar panel project by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is a step in the right direction.

Remember, landowner: Once the Sandpiper corridor is approved, you won’t have seen the last of Enbridge. It’ll be back to tear up your land five or six more times until the Sandpiper corridor is full of pipelines, too. The chances of an oil spill increase with each pipeline, and Enbridge’s record of safety is not good — no matter how reassuring its employees may be.

Janet Hill, McGregor, Minn.



Student gets rich quick for an inconvenience

So Riley Stratton was “in tears” and “was embarrassed” about having to share her Facebook page with administrators in the Minnewaska Area Schools when they made her give them her password (“Facebook suit costs district $70,000,” March 26). This could have been a great teaching moment — for Ms. Riley, for the other students in the school, and for the teachers and administrators — but instead it turned into a fiasco that is beyond words. Really? Something like this is worth a $70,000 settlement? Really!?

A sense of entitlement, it seems like to me. I nearly got killed in a car accident in 1995 (I had a green light and happened to be in the way when someone else ran a red light), spent two years recuperating from serious head and neck injuries, and walked with a cane for nearly two years. I ended up with an $18,000 settlement (of which my attorney took a third) and my medical bills paid.

Compared with Stratton’s settlement, it seems a little out of whack, don’t you think? Oh, yeah — the driver who ran the red light got a $72 ticket for failing to yield.

Mike Udermann, Rosemount



Who suffers the strain? Always the passengers

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan offers solutions to security delays like spreading flights, increasing staff, reconfiguring checkpoints or all three to justify the decision of adding half an hour to the recommended airport arrival cushion for departing travelers (“Hurry up, then wait,” March 27).

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lorie Dankers rightfully defends her turf by citing increased staff efficiency.

What about the cumulative loss of productivity worth many thousands of hours each day by travelers?

My family and I travel from MSP numerous times every year and have hardly ever found TSA staff helpful, efficient, polite and courteous. There are many of them just standing around who, if they worked in the private sector, would be relieved of their duties without delay.

It is perhaps a good idea to enroll in TSA’s PreCheck program at an added cost, but that is no substitute for the increased efficiency and accountability of TSA and airline staff. For many travelers, particularly those from economically disadvantaged families, the hefty taxes for TSA-provided security on every ticket and the baggage fee imposed by most airlines already have become burdensome. It is incumbent on airport officials, airlines and the TSA to further review work ethics and make the security lines move faster.

Vijendra Agarwal, Inver Grove Heights

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