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Readers Write: (April 8): Legislative privilege, workplace equality, military spending, book awards, ride sharing, pedestrian safety

  • April 7, 2014 - 5:56 PM

LEGISLATOR PRIVILEGE

Does the original motivation still matter?

I applaud Concordia University Prof. Jayne Jones and her political science students and the Star Tribune for highlighting the Legislature’s “privilege from arrest” card. It should not be used for getting out of DWI arrests. That just doesn’t pass the red-face test.

However, I am of the opinion that they are not going far enough in their efforts. I see no reason that legislators should be privileged from any arrest during the session. Surely the threat of English monarchs abusing their authority is no longer an issue. If our government is so corrupt that legislators are being thrown in jail to prevent them from voting on a particular issue, then a whole bunch of people need to be thrown out of office and into jail.

Tom Eyre, St. Paul

• • •

Jon Tevlin and his crusade against legislators opposing the anti-DWI waiver bill (“Legislators should not be exempt from getting DWIs,” March 23, and “These legislators won’t let go of DWI exemption,” April 6) is completely missing the mark. If you can be repeatedly audited by the IRS and even fired as the CEO from Mozilla, simply for disagreeing with left-wing ideology, is it really a stretch to think a legislator could be unnecessarily detained to prevent a vote or even imprisoned for retribution for a previous vote? Sadly, no.

Carter Anderson, Orono

 

WORKPLACE EQUALITY

Women as a workplace bargain? Perpetuation.

Today — April 8 — is Equal Pay Day, an event intended to raise public awareness of the gap between men’s and women’s wages.

Catherine Rampell’s April 7 article “Good employees at good prices” states that in 1983, Alan Greenspan expressed his own hiring preferences. “Hiring women,” he said, “does two things: It gives us better-quality work for less money, and it raises the market value of women.” Rampell does encourage employers to hire women, but she reinforces Greenspan’s statement by prefacing the quote by saying: “[T]he fact that women’s pay is lower does mean they’re a better deal for employers.” For those who think alike, these words shamelessly summarize why this gap exists.

Yolanda Dewar, Cottage Grove

 

PENTAGON PRIORITIES

World isn’t forgiving of military slack

The April 6 Letter of the Day (“Pentagon directs some money toward people, where it belongs”) by a legislator from Rochester was an attack on the U.S. Department of Defense while at the same time seeking money for a pet project (“Mayo Clinic aims for more Pentagon funding,” March 27). The Defense Department spends billions on military health care and R&D, which arguably is not enough. But calling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter wasteful in order to get leverage for $30 million from the department really shows a lack of understanding of national defense and the political environment in Washington.

I am not going to try to rationalize the many problems of the F-35, but if you Google “Chinese J-20,” you will see that the Chinese are developing a fighter aircraft that closely resembles the F-35. Most U.S. military analysts predict that China could be on equal military footing with the United States in as few as 10 years. The impact of Mayo’s $30 million will be minimal compared with the military realities of keeping Russia and China in check.

David Frenkel, Edina

 

MINNESOTA BOOK AWARDS

No award for diversity in children’s literature

I am a bitter loser. Once again the Minnesota Book Awards have overlooked several multicultural-book nominees in children’s literature, including me, instead honoring “Moo!” by David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka. Although “Moo!” is truly a literary gem — because who doesn’t love a white cow driving a car — I wish Minnesota would look again at the Asian-themed, black-themed or Hispanic-themed books for children written by Minnesota authors for other-than-white children.

Susanne Aspley, Excelsior

 

RIDE SHARING

A little competition for taxi service is good

There’s been debate regarding ride sharing in the Twin Cities lately, with Uber and Lyft offering frustrated passengers a cleaner, friendlier and more reliable option than traditional Minneapolis taxicabs.

While I understand the need to regulate these new programs, the majority of the complaints are coming from the taxi companies.

I took a Lyft ride yesterday. It was fast and convenient. I set my pickup spot, and within minutes a new Toyota Camry was at my door. I saw the driver’s photo and user ratings before I even got in. We had a great conversation, and I was able to pay through the application on my phone at my destination.

Perhaps if the taxis in this city were better regulated and held to higher standards, ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft wouldn’t need to exist. Until then, I’ll keep Lyfting, and I would encourage the city of Minneapolis to embrace these new platforms.

The taxi companies would rather use the city as their bully to fine the competition for “stealing” their customers. But I’d like to remind them that customers aren’t property — and competition isn’t theft.

Mike Obradovich, Minneapolis

 

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

Honor right of way, but know it’s not enough

Regarding pedestrian safety (“Proceed with caution,” March 30), I think the following, attributed to many cultures, is the final word: “If the stone fall upon the egg, alas for the egg. If the egg fall upon the stone, alas for the egg.”

When I was young, I was taught to maintain my own safety and not allow a moving vehicle to hit me. I was taught by Tommy Turtle to keep my toes on the curb. I was taught to give consideration to those out walking in the Minnesota winter but not to take advantage of that consideration and move quickly out of the way. All of this was cemented in my psyche by the sight of a neighbor boy lying unconscious in the street. Now what I see are people of all ages, whether on foot or bicycle, relying on the right of way to protect them from severe or even fatal injuries. I also see drivers with a lack of regard for those people they might injure. However, people should remember it was the boy, and not the car, waiting for the ambulance.

John Norblom, Minneapolis

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