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The University of Minnesota campus.

David Denney • Star Tribune file, 2010,

Readers Write: (July 12): Kaler's contract, immigration, distracted driving, Jesse Ventura, All-Star events, soccer

  • July 11, 2014 - 6:05 PM

In the eyes of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, praise is warranted for President Eric Kaler (“U leader gets 5-year extension and a raise,” July 10). But you have to ask: What are the standards for doing a good job? Tuition increases have continued during Kaler’s tenure in all but the most recent academic year.

The article states the Kaler is getting his first raise in three years and that his compensation ranks sixth among the leaders of Big Ten schools. First, it is offensive to parents who are paying for a child’s education at the U that Kaler needs more than $700,000 to live on (not including all the perks). In the last three years, many of these parents have taken pay cuts or other concessions, and many have just plain lost their jobs. Second, Minnesota is no Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois or Northwestern. The argument that we need to compensate Kaler so that we don’t lose his services to another institution has no merit.

Am I to believe that this country has no other qualified administrator to do Kaler’s job at the prior compensation or less?

Ty Yasukawa, Burnsville

DISTRACTED DRIVING

Asking nicely won’t help. A law will.

If the Minnesota commissioners of transportation, public safety and health are so concerned about distracted driving, why don’t they advocate for real change? They highlight the high number of related crashes and fatalities, the recent death of the young mother in Rock County and the steady increase in citations issued. They also characterize distracted driving as “a growing problem” and “unacceptable.” Yet they fail to address the obvious — Minnesota law is too narrowly focused on texting, web access and cellphone use by drivers under 18 (“Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel,” July 11).

Suggesting that we can rely on pledges or other voluntary actions by adult drivers to lessen the use of these weapons of mass distraction is nonsensical. Our state officials and legislators need to follow the lead of the 13 other states where it’s now illegal to use any handheld devices while driving.

Gregg Larson, Arden Hills

 

IMMIGRATION

No, the southern border is not secure

A July 11 letter writer claims that the capture of 50,000 unaccompanied minors at the Rio Grande sector proves that the border is sealed. Webster’s defines the word “capture” as apprehending with force. Folks, these children (as well as some family units) are not being captured but are turning themselves in to the first border official they encounter after crossing the border. Border agents are now being asked to perform duties associated with the processing of these immigrants. This takes them away from their normal duties and provides additional openings on the border for some very bad people.

The southern border is thousands of miles long. The writer might do well to consider this before making a blanket statement about border security and “hot language” from right-wingers.

Gary Dreyer, Bloomington

• • •

The wave of child migration from Central America demonstrates that when our southern neighbors are in crisis, so are we. This will not be resolved by trying to accommodate everyone who wants to come to the United States, nor by border security alone. It is going to take a sustained investment in development in Central American countries. We’ve spent more than a trillion dollars on war in the Middle East. Time to consider redirecting a portion of that stream to improving lives of our southern neighbors, as well as working through international bodies like the Organization of American States to improve governance in those countries.

Les Everett, St. Paul

 

JESSE VENTURA

Attention-seeking shouldn’t be rewarded

Our former governor is doing something that makes many people squirm, at the very least: At taxpayer’s expense, suing a deceased person’s estate for allegedly being called names and, perhaps, being described as a bully. If he wins, he gets money for this “bold” action. If he loses, well, this is where I get confused. It seems that the end result is pretty much the same no matter the verdict. Throw the case out, please.

Paul Waytz, Minneapolis

 

ALL-STAR EVENTS

I rather feel like I’m getting ripped off

Major League Baseball has some gall. First, the ticket order website for Sunday’s Future Stars game states that tickets are $20, but when you go to the next page to actually buy your tickets, the price jumps to $25. Then, on top of that, they charge a $13.50 per order “seat fee” and a $3.50 per order “fee” (yes, just a plain old ordinary fee). Two tickets originally advertised at $40 cost $66.50 when all is said and done.

The fees are outrageous for an online purchasing process in which computers do all the work. In addition, I have a bad feeling that MLB and many other entertainment venues use these fees to avoid taxes on tickets. It seems the Minnesota Department of Revenue should be paying some attention to this.

J. H. Fonkert, Roseville

 

SOCCER

Its play in the paper reflects the interest

A July 11 letter writer complained about the Star Tribune’s placement of World Cup coverage on latter pages of the sports section, beyond the front page. I’m going to defend the newspaper on this one. Granted, soccer may be the most popular sport in the world, but, in my opinion, it ranks considerably lower in this area. Assuming this is accurate, why would the Star Tribune choose to elevate its status any higher than what our collective sports interest justifies? There’s no need to force-feed us something that our sports appetite isn’t ready for. We’re not there yet. We may never be. But if the time comes when we do, as a collective population of sports enthusiasts, consider soccer to be of major importance, then the local papers will obviously sense this and elevate its status accordingly.

I have nothing against soccer — it’s a great game. However, it ranks relatively low on my list of sporting interests that I like to follow. Even though soccer may only be moderately popular in this area, we have no shortage of great sports to follow around here.

Patrick Bloomfield, Chisholm

• • •

In reply to why soccer gets third-page coverage: Boring.

Ed Shourds, Granite Falls, Minn.

 

CLARIFICATION

Several readers have complained that a July 9 commentary about positive and negative rights reversed the basic definitions of those labels. It appears that different scholars in different disciplines have applied those labels in different ways over the years. The author stands by his use of the terms.

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