Students don’t just need better food
We applaud Minneapolis public schools’ new lunch menus for some schools (“School lunch? Mmm, good,” April 16). But why bother with better food unless you give students the proper amount of time in which to eat?
ANTONIA RITTER and DEBORAH LEVISON, Minneapolis
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Legislators didn’t do their homework
Thanks to Jon Tevlin for an excellent column on lawmakers’ hopes of using electronic pulltabs to help pay for a new Vikings stadium (“Lessons on buying meat and paying for stadiums,” April 17).
I frequent Elsie’s Restaurant, Bar and Bowling Center in northeast Minneapolis but am not a bar patron. I didn’t even know that Elsie’s was one of the few places where e-pulltab play was available.
If we really want to raise some of the money needed for a stadium this way, more machines are needed, and they should be operable without a bartender’s assistance.
DOUG BURNIKEL, Brooklyn Park
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The article “Lawmakers explore ways to boost sales of e-pulltabs” (April 17) was spot on. Pulltabs are an “Up North” cultural phenomenon, and cultural phenomena are difficult to computerize.
I have played pulltabs in Gull Lake bars for 47 years. You buy some pulltabs and play slowly, as you chat bar talk. For us old folks, pulltabs are a tactile, social exercise.
It’s very important that the “pulling” does not inhibit the drinking or the conversation. That aspect appeared lost on the Legislature, which pushed computerized pulltab cards in order to speed up the play and use the anticipated increased revenue for the new Vikings stadium.
RYAN AMACHER, Lake Shore, Minn.
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Insanity in no way could have been an excuse
Aaron Schaffhausen has to be insane, but if I were a juror, I would have voted as they did to convict him of killing his three young daughters (“Jury says no to dad’s insanity defense,” April 17). In fact, I would have favored the death penalty. Insane or not, society needs to be rid of this monster.
GARY SMITH, Golden Valley
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Chamber president’s remarks oversimplify
“Government waste” is a wonderful thing — a sort of bottomless pocket within a bottomless pocket. When Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson suggests that the state can save money by cutting waste, what he’s really doing is dodging the more difficult challenge of setting priorities (“ ‘United for Jobs’ groups not always united,” April 15).
In fact, Gov. Mark Dayton is trying to maintain Minnesota’s infrastructure. We may never agree on priorities, but we’d better face the fact that there’s no magic money pot called “government waste.”
JEFF MOSES, Minneapolis
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Unlike the other business organizations quoted, Twin Cities Metro Independent Business Alliance (MetroIBA) is comprised solely of locally owned independent businesses. Many of our members weighed in on the supposed connection between a proposed fourth-tier income tax rate, job creation and retention. From our small sampling — and at least for the 94 percent of small businesses in Minnesota that would not be affected by an upper-level income tax — there simply is no connection. Studies consistently find small businesses provide and create a much larger share of jobs and job growth than any other sector.
HARVEY ZUCKMAN and MARY HAMEL, Minneapolis
Zuckman is the president of MetroIBA. Hamel is the executive director.
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CENTRAL PARK CASE
Were race, ethnicity factors in arrests?
George Will’s column regarding the “Central Park Five’’ asked whether the fates of five young men charged with committing a brutal rape and assault in the 1980s would have been different had they been white (“‘Central Park Five’: Not wilding; bewildering,” April 15). He thinks not. But we must go back to the arrest and charges to more accurately answer his question. Five white teens in Central Park were more likely perceived as a high school cross-country team. No suspicion, no arrest, no charges.
LINDA FERRELL, Crystal
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Senators lost their credibility with vote
Ruminating anew on our weakening democracy, now again after this shameful capitulation to the gun lobby, it seems to me that our cold, ominous spring is appropriate. We need to take time to think about how broken life is becoming.
Instead of lovely, warm, nurturing spring, we are stuck contemplating winter and the breakdown of the life we have valued. There are so many circumstances that we need to turn around. We should bind ourselves together and start making big changes toward a good life for all; that is, a real community.
MARY HOLM, Minnetonka
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Thanks a lot, gutless Congress, for preserving America the bullet-full — government of the NRA, by the NRA and for the NRA.
JOHN W. FENN, Minneapolis