“Revenue from meters in Minneapolis has nearly doubled since 2009 under a new payment system” — Twin Cities+Region, April 21. Really? I’m shocked. (No, not really, because I know why.)
When the first of the new meters were installed, I remember sharing the misery and suffering of fellow parkers as lines of the sympathetic watched those at the payment box growing slowly more frustrated with their fruitless and futile attempts at navigating this unintuitive new system: always overpaying, but not knowing how much, or even if, until finally rewarded — like Pavlov’s dog — with that little printed slip of paper.
“Other factors may have played a role in the increase …” Gee, you think? Bureaucracies never fail to produce either a smile or a frown — just not enlightenment.
James Boyer, Minnetonka
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Sure, Minneapolis parking meter profits will rise when, unbeknown to parkers, multiple people are renting one space at the same time.
Chris Howard, Bloomington
That debit card situation looks bad. We need an explanation.
In the April 20 article about a Minneapolis mom who “has lost two sons to terror fight in eight years,” we read that her son “had withdrawn $5,000 in cash from his federal education aid debit card,” allegedly to finance an attempted overseas trip to join the terrorists. Does our government even come close to understanding how many things are just plain wrong about this situation? Are these cards available for all American students, or do they exist at taxpayer expense for a select few while those same taxpayers struggle to finance educations for their own children? Is this the only less-than-transparent program in existence, or are there others our government just doesn’t mention? Does the U.S. government realize that it supports terrorism through this well-meaning but incredibly naive offering? Does our government quietly approve this jaw-dropping type of program, or do officials take the time to rationalize it to the public? I will draw my own conclusions.
I invite our representatives to explain this situation in a manner that will be digestible to those of us who are sick and tired of their methods, procedures and tactics.
Erick Woken, Coon Rapids
TAXES, PART ONE
Our money can work a lot harder when it’s used collectively
“Our priority in this tax relief package is clear: middle-class Minnesota families,” says House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin of a proposed $2 billion in tax cuts.
Really? I stand to save $70 a year, which breaks down to an extra $1.35 a week. Oh, goodie — I can buy another apple every week!
Keep my $70 and start fixing some roads!
Ryan Bolin, Minneapolis
TAXES, PART TWO
It’s our money. We were forced to overpay. Only bias denies that.
Slanted journalism poisons a newspaper. The April 21 article about the tax cuts wanted by the GOP climbs inside the head of Democrats and states that they “would invest in early childhood learning to develop an educated workforce.” When it explains the other side of the story, it states: “Republicans would put more money in the hands of the private sector,” and refuses to attempt to explain why they would do that. Would it maybe be they want to cut taxes and give some money back to the people who paid them!
Why does the Star Tribune not attempt to explain why the Republicans want to give a little money back to the people who paid the taxes while it does attempt to explain the “virtuous” reason that the Democrats want to spend the overpayment of taxes? This is terrible journalism at best. It tries to justify the Democrats’ insatiable need to spend by echoing back their talking points while leaving the reader to think that the Republicans just want to give money back to the “private sector.” Maybe it should have stated the Republicans want to give some money back to the people of the state of Minnesota, who overpaid their taxes in the first place!
Gregg Veldman, Becker, Minn.
COMPASSIONATE CARE ACT
Yes, it’s difficult to accept, but always remember whom it’s for
On March 23, state Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, introduced Minnesota’s Compassionate Care Act. The authors based it on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which states that competent adults with a terminal diagnosis and a prognosis of six months or less may receive a lethal prescription from their primary physicians after the required consultations and verbal and written notifications. Since being implemented 18 years ago, this act has never needed revision. Concerns of a slippery slope are easily dismantled by this fact, along with the act’s accounting for 0.003 percent of Oregon’s total deaths last year.
Such a proposal is extreme and brings up a lot value conflicts; one senator reported having a physiological response during the first reading. Here’s the thing to remember: It isn’t about us. It’s about people dying of horrible deaths that we can’t even wrap our heads around. Not all deaths are the same. Patients have concerns of loss of autonomy, dignity and competency at the end of life. This act would eliminate that and could increase quality of life by making physician-assisted suicide available.
Oregon’s Annual Statistical Report of 2014 showed that 105 of 155 patients did not ingest the lethal prescription. It isn’t about wanting to die; it’s about being prepared. Eaton plans to push the bill during next year’s legislative session. Minnesotans need to be aware and speak up. Share your stories or the stories of passed loved ones. Show compassion about the choice to die with dignity.
Rosie Gaston, Minneapolis
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Governor’s plan is a burden; the Republican plan, an investment
Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative Republicans and Democrats each have different approaches for increasing access to early childhood education. But what will be the impact of these proposals?
Dayton’s plan is universal pre-K at public schools. As far as I can see, there’s no funding to build new classrooms. My district, Osseo, has chosen to add classrooms to its high schools to shift ninth-graders and open up classrooms at the elementary school to handle last year’s all-day-kindergarten legislation. What will they do if pre-K is mandated? Meanwhile, private day cares, already hit with an increased minimum wage, will be the biggest losers of revenue. They will still need capacity to handle after-school children, but they will lose a huge chunk of business as little ones shift to public school during the day. They will have a hard time making the rent, and some may fail. Day care is a very specialized build-out, and the space doesn’t work for other types of users, so the governor’s plan can also hurt landlords.
Adopting the Republican plan will:
1) Put less stress on real estate for public schools.
2) Expand real estate for quality child care providers and their landlords.
3) Provide the best return on investment of tax dollars.
4) Most important, best prepare Minnesota’s most vulnerable children for an education and start closing the achievement gap.
Laurie E. Karnes, Maple Grove