Met Council member’s vote fails smell test

I was disappointed to read that Met Council member Gary Cunningham, husband of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, provided one of the two dissenting votes against the Southwest LRT project.

It is my understanding that Met Council members are appointed by the governor to best represent the region. Cunningham states: “I stand with the elected representatives of the city of Minneapolis.”

Is this not a conflict of interest?

Melissa Becker, Maple Grove



Stanek’s stand against immunity is sensible

Regarding the April 10 Letter of the Day (“Saving lives must be priority in overdose situations”): I am a retired police officer and agree wholeheartedly with Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek concerning any immunity law relating to reporting via 911 a heroin overdose. I do not have any problem with the basic concept of patrol vehicles carrying and administering Narcan to counter the effects of an overdose.

I would suggest, however, that Narcan should be more easily obtainable without a prescription, so that when a “friend” or “family member” or other person “gifts” an addict with heroin — truly, a gift to die for — they can have Narcan immediately on hand to administer. Of course, the problem then is that the responsibility for overdose and death, inherent in drug usage or supplying, might shift to users and suppliers, and in a good “nanny state,” we can’t have that.

I would agree that a priority is to save lives, but that should not allow those who have put those lives in jeopardy but who “harbored no intent” to gain immunity.

Mike Auspos, Ramsey



Racial bias shouldn’t be the first conclusion

An April 9 article (“Study sees signs of redlining”) indicated that “[m]inority residents in the Twin Cities are much more likely than white people of similar incomes to be rejected for a mortgage, whether they’re buying a home or refinancing.” The implication is that minorities are not being treated fairly by banks. I think that is highly unlikely. Banks are in business to make money, not to discriminate. Any bank employee, including a bank president, who suggested that the bank should pass up the chance to make loans to qualified candidates would quickly lose his or her job for two reasons. First, the bank would be forgoing millions of dollars in profits, which would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. Second, most large companies have policies against discrimination.

There are many factors that affect creditworthiness besides current income. Some of them are: the number of years at your current employer; the stability of your work history, savings and other financial assets, and whether the property is likely to appreciate in value. It is unfortunate that minorities have a harder time getting loans, but let’s not rush to blame banks for the situation.

James Brandt, New Brighton



Abuses and failures add to the burden for all

Several people have commented on the April 3 article “Report: Minnesota not so nice to immigrants.”

Taxpayers have paid for increases in health care, welfare and law enforcement due to immigration. One solution is that documented immigrants should have sponsors who are financially responsible for them during the first five years of residency. Currently, immigrants are brought into the country by various organizations and are dumped on the system. There are already laws and solutions for illegal immigration, but they are not enforced. We have a chance to improve this situation every two years when we vote.

Another solution is to hold the state Legislature responsible for having developed and funded social programs that either do not work or are so poorly managed that they are targets of fraud and abuse. Fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps and other programs hurt the people who really need it, citizens and immigrants alike. Let’s be realistic, not just nice.

Gary Qualley, Tonka Bay



In defense of grass and the American way

Don’t let state Sen. Scott Dibble get away with murder — of cattails! Jon Tevlin’s April 9 column lays it out for all to see: Invasive species, even a partly native invasive species, deserve the ax, or so the senator would have us believe.

People! Where would this great country of ours be if we made a practice of rejecting invasive species? What if Dibble’s ancestors had viewed my Scandinavian forebears as an invasion, a species to be “contained”? Don’t invasive species like zebra mussels, Asian carp and “corn dog grass” all exhibit those traits that made this country what it is today? They move in, displace the native species and take control. What could be more American? They have spunk!

How can Sen. Dibble legislate against a plant with spunk? It seems anti-American.

Terry Faust, Minneapolis