The minimum-wage debate within Minneapolis appears to be lurching to a resolution with City Hall, politicians solidly in favor. This comes despite concerns from some city businesses, residents and workers about the negative impacts this will have on Minneapolis. Politicians are sure this wage increase will actually usher in a new era of prosperity for all.
So why not put local control to the test? The four council members who arguably have been some of the most vocal — Elizabeth Glidden, Lisa Bender, Alondra Cano and Cam Gordon — represent four wards that form a contiguous area across the middle of the city.
Why not declare their wards the Minneapolis “Prosperity Zone” and put the minimum-wage ordinance in effect just in that zone? If this is truly a boon to employers and employees as expected, they will soon be the envy of the rest of the city, and other council members will lobby to have their ward added into the zone. Businesses will flourish as workers spend their bigger paychecks in those wards, tipping generously of course, a virtuous circle to be sure.
If anyone in these four wards would object to this proposal, you would have to ask why — what could go wrong? Are you concerned that your ward will be at a disadvantage to others in the city? And if that’s true, why doesn’t your concern translate to the disadvantage this puts on Minneapolis within the Twin Cities metropolitan area?
Mike Hess, Minneapolis
EARLY LEARNING PROGRAMS
The early history of these initiatives is worth reviewing
Chuck Slocum’s commentary in the June 19 Business Forum was good as far as it goes but missed out on the early history of early learning programs.
Back in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson launched Project Head Start, giving the movement a national prominence. Many states, including Minnesota, expanded the funding. Minnesota went one step further with the implementation of Early Childhood Family Education and School Readiness programs.
At the outset of my gubernatorial administration (1991 to 1999), the bipartisan commission Action for Children, headed by Ron James, vice president of U.S. West, and my wife, Susan, made a number of recommendations designed to improve and integrate services for children including expansion of early childhood education. That was done. By 1999, according to Legislative Research, Minnesota was second among states in per capita funding for early learning.
Art Rolnick, a noted economist, then defined early learning in economic terms and successfully sold this understanding. At the same time, former legislators Todd Otis (DFL) and Duane Benson (GOP) along with former Gov. Al Quie put together a unified approach. That ultimately led to Gov. Mark Dayton making this his signature issue.
Understanding this rich history is important, but not nearly as important as continuing and improving this commitment to our future.
Arne Carlson, Minneapolis
The writer was governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999.
Citizens’ engagement group sets an excellent example
What a gift it was to learn about the group Falcon Heights We Can Do Better (“In Falcon Heights, we were jolted into activism,” Opinion Exchange, June 22). No accusations, just a “sharing” of how this group came together after the Philando Castile incident and what it and its “allies” have accomplished. These efforts had nothing to do with the international attention, but all to do with group members’ personal pain and shame. As residents of Falcon Heights, they chose to assume a responsibility for what happened. Incredible, I thought, and immediately wanted to applaud their efforts.
Then I remembered a more recent incident a block from my home. A young man, Khaheel Thompson, was shot multiple times on a weekday morning in Bassett Creek Park in Crystal. I could not find a report regarding his current condition. I have no information or opinion as to why three officers responded to a neighbor’s call resulting in the shooting of Mr. Thompson, who had a weapon-like device. His family and friends cited his mental-health status and the police presence with him the evening before the shooting.
In honor of the Falcon Heights group, I will follow up with my own “backyard” to learn what my responsibility is and what I could do to support our police in a manner that helps them to protect the safety of all my neighbors.
Linda Ferrell, Crystal
• • •
The claim that one reason police officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled over Philando Castile was that Castile looked like a suspected robber of a nearby store has me questioning if that robber was ever found. If so, what does he look like? It’s all in the details, after all.
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
Can a dramatic monument really save what is now a tired event?
Regarding the World’s Fair and a lasting symbol (Readers Write, June 19 and 22). I was at the 1984 New Orleans World Expo, and I can tell you that I was unimpressed. There were no fabulous buildings or lasting impressions. There was more like boxcars and slapped-together huts to hold the exhibits. There was no lasting symbol that I saw except perhaps a rubber crawfish hanging from a pole. I know we enjoyed the offerings of the Big Easy, but I wasn’t that partied-out to miss anything of lasting memory. World’s Fairs are not now like they were during the era of the New York fair in the 1960s.
Barry Jorgenson, Stillwater
You hear the bad news about service. Now hear the good.
With all the recent negative stories about the airlines, I’d like to add a positive experience. On June 3, my sister and I were flying from Rio de Janeiro to Houston on United Airlines when she somehow got an insect bite on her foot. About two hours into the flight, her foot was itching and hurting. As it was an overnight flight, she went back to the galley and restroom to check. She found that her foot and leg were swollen.
The flight attendant had my sister sit on a galley chair with her foot up on one of the storage containers, and applied ice. She then made a public-address request for any medical personnel on board. A Portuguese speaking doctor responded, and thought it was an insect bite of some kind with an allergic reaction, gave my sister naproxen and recommended that she see a doctor when we landed in Houston. The flight attendants continued to attend to her until the seat-belt sign came on and my sister returned to her seat. Throughout the remainder of the flight, they kept checking back with her to see that she was OK. They additionally requested that a wheelchair and EMT meet the plane.
Unfortunately, when we landed, wheelchair assistance was not at the gate, but my sister claimed a waiting wheelchair, and an immigration official who was there to expedite her passage through the customs ended up pushing her through to domestic security. We later learned that the intended wheelchair pusher and EMT had met the plane, but were late, and my sister had already left the gate.
She did see a doctor on her way home and is OK. Kudos to the United flight crew for handling a medical problem with efficiency and compassion.
Nancy Stefan, Minneapolis