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Mark Mattern • MCT,

Readers Write: (July 19): Home alarms, tax inversions, Mideast conflict, roads vs. transit, Sen. Al Franken

  • July 18, 2014 - 6:15 PM

I am a homeowner with an alarm monitoring system that I have had for over 25 years. About a year and a half ago, my alarm was tripped while I was away, and my alarm company called the Minneapolis police to respond. They determined it was a false alarm and sent me a bill for $30 (“Big bills touch off debate on alarm fee,” July 17). Because I found it incredulous that they would send me a bill for doing their job — to “protect and serve” — I ignored it. Several months later, my alarm was tripped again. When I did not respond to my alarm company’s call, the company called the Minneapolis police. The response was that police would not respond to my alarm because I had not paid my previous bill.

I ask you: Are the Minneapolis police here to protect and serve someone like me — a 65-year-old, law-abiding, taxpaying, 45-year citizen of north Minneapolis? Would it really hurt them to stop by my home perhaps once a year just for, perhaps, a “wellness check”? Maybe get to know me? Don’t tell me they don’t have time.

So I continue to pay my monthly alarm-monitoring fee for medical and fire emergencies only. I have no Minneapolis police protection.

Barbara Caruthers, Minneapolis

• • •

The article pointed out that the alarm company “must try calling the key holder, often the home or business owner, twice before they ask for police response.”

If this person can’t be bothered to answer the phone, or carry a cellphone, how is it unreasonable for the police to recoup their expenses for this waste of public resources?

Steve Hoffmann, Anoka

TAX INVERSIONS

More government obstacles? Oh, joy.

The White House is looking to Congress to pass legislation that makes it more difficult for companies like Medtronic to relocate outside of the United States (“Medtronic deal has new hurdle,” July 17.) The United States tax rate on corporations is 35 percent. The corporate tax rate in Ireland, where Medtronic is proposing to shift its headquarters, is less than half that of the United States. If a goal of the Affordable Care Act is to reduce the cost of health care, why isn’t the White House thrilled at the prospect of Medtronic finding a way to reduce costs that can be passed on to the consumer?

Chris Lund, Hamburg

• • •

The same Jack Lew who once oversaw Citigroup subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas — notorious corporate tax havens — is now, as Treasury secretary, calling for a law to block tax inversion deals such as that being pursued by Medtronic? Why, that’s not hypocritical at all.

Instead of pushing for meaningful corporate tax reform, Lew is proposing a politically charged law that treats a symptom and not the cause of a complex and overly draconian U.S. corporate tax system fraught with loopholes.

John Grimes, Hopkins

• • •

In reference to the Medtronic deal with the Irish-based company Covidien, the company states that the deal is not about paying less in taxes.

This message comes from the company’s vice president of corporate taxes. Seriously? A vice president of corporate taxes? Tells me all I need to know.

Steven Williams, Minneapolis

 

MIDEAST CONFLICT

Hamas actions must not be rationalized

In response to the Star Tribune’s strong editorial supporting Israel’s right of self-defense, three July 18 letter writers disturbingly rationalize Hamas terrorism.

Though Hamas is democratically elected, its charter still calls for the obliteration of Israel.

As for occupation and Hamas, every single Israeli left Gaza in 2005. Sadly, rather than using this opportunity to better the lives of Palestinians, Hamas has used Gaza as a launchpad for its ongoing war against Israel.

As for intransigence and Israel, see the memoirs of President Bill Clinton, in which he lamented Yassar Arafat’s rejection of a Palestinian state in 2000.

As for the “root cause” of the “situation,” we agree with Canadian Minister of State Pierre Poilievre, who once noted that the “root cause of terrorism is terrorists.”

Steve Hunegs, St. Louis Park

 

The writer is executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

 

ROADS VS. TRANSIT

‘Subsidy’ complainers take the narrow lane

To the July 18 letter writer who wondered how happy transit riders would be if they had to pay the real cost of building and operating the system: If we were to take the entire cost of building and maintaining our road system, and if we charged drivers a percentage based on the miles they drove, I wonder just how happy he would be. At least then maybe he would realize just how much he is subsidized for his daily commute.

In 2013, Metro Transit had a ridership of 81.4 million. Now imagine the gridlock if each of those rides were by car. Large public works are not done solely for the benefit of those who use them. They are done to make an entire area better for all.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could remember that — instead of thinking “I’ve got mine; you’re on your own.”

Lisa Halverson, Minneapolis

 

SEN. AL FRANKEN

Why a reintroduction to voters is in order

A July 15 letter writer chided U.S. Sen. Al Franken for needing to be “reintroduced” to Minnesotans, but I believe the writer somewhat misunderstood the article about Franken. The reason the senator needs to be introduced isn’t because he hasn’t done anything, but rather because he has been a different type of senator than people expected.

My thought is that people expected a showboat lawmaker like Michele Bachmann, since Franken was in show business. Instead, they have gotten a quiet, non-newsmaking legislator who works with his constituents, as we have seen in his campaign ads. I have very much admired Franken’s campaign so far. It has been extremely positive — and all about what he is doing, as opposed to what others aren’t doing.

It’s easy to criticize and much harder to actually accomplish things, especially in this Congress.

David Frederick, Coon Rapids

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