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Readers write for Feb. 24, 2010

  • February 23, 2010 - 7:31 PM

RETURN OF PAUL DOUGLAS

And the return of global warming propaganda

After the last couple of days of Paul Douglas, might I suggest that the Star Tribune move his column to the Opinion section? At a time when the data behind global warming is under increasing scientific scrutiny, you appear to have restored Mr. Douglas from the meteorological recycle bin to beat Al Gore's battered drum.

GLENN HORRELL, ST. PAUL

OLYMPICS' SORE LOSERS

Gold, silver and bronze medals and sour grapes

As seems to happen in every Winter Olympics, some of the runners-up in figure skating have engaged in well-publicized whining about the judging, claiming that they were robbed and the winner did not deserve the gold medal. My advice to current and aspiring figure skaters: Don't like finishing in second or third place in a judged event? Pick a sport with a stopwatch.

TONY KASTER, PLYMOUTH

MINNESOTA TAXES

We need to learn how to do more with less

In their recent Feb. 21 commentary ("The case for paying higher taxes, happily"), Charlie Quimby and Dane Smith try to convince us that government deserves a certain percentage of our statewide personal income, regardless of whether it could do the job for less. And worse, that we shouldn't try to improve!

Their preferred measure of government as a percentage of total statewide personal income is flawed. Frankly, it's part of the problem -- especially when they want to keep the level where it's at, while other states and countries improve.

It's this simple: A gallon of milk doesn't cost more after you get a raise; neither should government cost more simply because statewide personal income increases. In fact, as personal incomes grow, the need for government services should shrink, not increase.

The per-capita cost of government is the proper measure to track how we're doing. And, in that measure, we're eighth most expensive in the nation, according to the Minnesota Taxpayers Association.

Yes, we need to fund government to fulfill its proper constitutional role. For that, spending increases that keep pace with population growth and inflation should be adequate. Had we done so for the past 25 years, our state budget would be $10 billion less than it is today.

Quimby and Smith want us to keep on spending the way we have been. I disagree. In fact, most organizations I know are constantly working to reinvent, improve productivity, serve customers better and reduce costs relative to revenue.

It's hard work, but I know we can do it in government too. If we are going to advance our Minnesota legacy, we must.

REP. Keith Downey, R-Edina

TERMINAL TRANSFORMATION

New labels won't end confusion at the airport

Regarding the Feb. 23 Star Tribune article "Fare thee well, storied airport terminal names" on the relabeling of the Lindberg and Humphrey terminals as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2: My professional specialty is Human Factors (applied psychology), which includes way-finding. Little of my special training is required to predict that labels 1 and 2 will be no more helpful after extensive public education than were the labels Lindbergh and Humphrey after extensive public education.

Why? Because the confusion lies in the fact that one terminal is in a different location (South) of the other and labels like numbers and peoples' names contain no directional or locational information. Just label them North (Lindbergh) and South (Humphrey) terminals on your road signage, along with arrows, and that will work better.

RICHARD PATTEN, MINNEAPOLIS

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