So, from the March 1 Star Tribune:
• Front page, Minnesota section: State “projects $329 million surplus” for the current two-year budget cycle, with another surplus of $251 million projected for 2020-21.
• Front page, Business section: “Georgia bill strips Delta tax cut.”
Gov. Mark Dayton, legislators and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, put your heads together and bring Delta headquarters (back) to Minnesota. We want you here, Delta!
Carol Beveroth, Eden Prairie
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Last week, I realized that Sun Country Airlines had new ownership. Gone were the local owners, replaced by New Yorkers. Coincidentally, I was booked on a flight and went online for the customary 24-hour preflight check-in. When I went to select my seat, I saw that only six seats were left, so I picked one. Then I was told this now required a $7 surcharge, so I paid. Upon arrival at the airport with my carry-on bag, I was told they were no longer permitted — unless I paid a $40 fee!
When the counter agent saw my jaw drop, she noted that another option was to send my carry-on to baggage check, for an extra $25. She went on to apologize, explaining that these new policy changes came with the new ownership. I politely told her how unhappy I was about this when she said that she shared in my unhappiness because she and most of her colleagues had just lost their jobs. I had not yet heard the day’s news (“Sun Country cuts 350 at MSP,” Feb. 21.) Oh, boy.
As a loyal customer who sought after Sun Country whenever flying, I am now done with that airline. I’m happy to report my return flight is booked on another. The public should note that the Sun Country we once loved is gone — the new owners prize profits over customer satisfaction.
Ann Bodensteiner, Minneapolis
BUSINESSES AND GUNS
Those taking steps have made some fans (and have lost others)
Congratulations to Dick’s Sporting Goods for its decision to no longer sell assault rifles and to raise the minimum age to purchase guns in its stores. Walmart also deserves praise for taking similar steps. In fact, many corporations have taken a stance since the shooting in Florida. Whether you agree or disagree with their positions, at least they’re doing something. I’m not sure that I’m ready to call corporations people yet, but they certainly seem more human than our lawmakers.
M.B. McCall, St. Paul
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I was glad to read the names of the businesses that came forward to say they will no longer maintain affiliations with the NRA (“Starkey latest to cut ties to NRA,” Feb. 25). As a longtime member of the NRA, I will no longer affiliate with those businesses, either. I encourage all my fellow members to do likewise. The street runs both ways.
Dave Colburn, Hayfield, Minn.
Some things to know about dollars invested in politics
The NRA is the whipping-boy “culprit” for allegedly causing mass shootings. I’m not writing this to defend its public positions or activities. That’s for individuals to judge. I have no ax to grind about the group, as I’m neither a member nor a gun enthusiast. I’m someone who wants to solve the mass killing problem without wasting time and money on misguided opinions and ineffective legislation.
Does the NRA buy elections and legislation because of its dominance in lobbying and political spending? Is it true, or is it demagoguery? Here are some facts. Accept them as such. Then decide on the issue of reducing mass killings. Much of this information is gleaned from OpenSecrets.org. This data relates to the two-year 2016 election cycle, and includes all affiliates of the NRA.
In terms of lobbying expenditures, for which it is most scorned, the NRA ranked 154th.
In terms of political contributions, the NRA ranked 489th.
In terms of outside spending (includes PACs, etc.), the NRA ranked ninth.
Investigate further. Then decide. Let’s have a search for legitimate solutions to these killings. Or, let’s be really radical and work together with the NRA in finding ways to secure our schools.
Steve Bakke, Edina
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When the NRA and its disciples and propagandists speak of the need to protect our liberty and freedom against government tyranny, it is essentially a call to arms for a possible rebellion against our government.
At the same time, the NRA has a nonprofit 501(c)(4) designation from the IRS to operate “exclusively to promote social welfare.”
So here we have an officially designated organization to promote our social welfare, which can arguably also be construed to advocate for possible armed insurrection against our law enforcement institutions and our own military.
Does anyone else see something wrong with this?
Dave Pederson, Minnetrista
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Our own Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, on the March 1 Opinion Exchange page, offers a great vision of what our schools will look like if we continue to respond to the latest school shooting as we have in the past (“3 key changes that can help protect our kids”).
According to the sheriff, all will be well if we just buy more equipment and provide more training to our school resource officers so that they can respond to a “public safety emergency.” That’s NRA political correctness for someone killing children with rifles specifically designed to kill humans. “Equipment” is NRA political correctness for body armor and a gun, among other things the sheriff wants us to buy. And, of course, we want them all to have “a full law enforcement uniform to present a clear and visible deterrent.”
Now that your local school looks like an armed camp, we can, according to the sheriff, move on to regular drills, safety assessments, and training for employees and students. Your student will be rewarded with “heightened levels of awareness.” That’s NRA political correctness for fear, suspicion and anxiety. Finally, according to the sheriff, your student can begin each day by walking through a metal detector.
Our education dollars at work. The most anti-gun person could not paint a more chilling vision of the future if this state’s and this country’s policymakers continue to obey the orders of the NRA. You heard it from the sheriff.
Eileen Shore, Minneapolis
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On March 1, the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee heard arguments on both sides of two common-sense gun reforms proposed by DFL Rep. David Pinto. Both bills were tabled for further consideration at some time in the future (“Gun control measures quickly stall at State Capitol,” StarTribune.com). The motion to table the bills was made by Republican Rep. Mark Uglem, who suggested that it is not “prudent to act now with all this tension.” That is the same nonsensical position levied by gun supporters after each school shooting. This is politics at its worst. Now is the time to act. The motions by Pinto were to move two bills on background checks and gun violence protective orders along in the legislative process, to further discuss and refine the language, and to take some affirmative step to show our kids that we care more about them than about the guns. November can’t come fast enough.
Nicole Kustermann, Maple Grove
Gone, hopefully not for good
The Ivey Awards performed a valuable service for our vibrant regional theater scene. With its demise, the Twin Cities now goes back to being one of the few national regions without theater awards (“Show’s over for Twin Cities theater scene Ivey Awards,” March 1). This means less legitimate national recognition and accolades for our thriving yet underrated scene. The Iveys had flaws (no categories or nominees), but having them was better than not. As someone who makes her living as a theater artist, the health of my career depends on the health of our theater community. I hope the Ivey Awards can somehow be revived.
Katharine Horowitz, Minneapolis