When I returned from Iraq, I was home, but I wasn’t at peace. For years I felt like I was still at war. It was the peace and quiet of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area that helped me begin the healing process. Other veterans also have found peace there on trips with Voyageur Outward Bound School. Out in the wilderness, we felt that the poison that had infected us was pulled out and that we were able to start living again. Now that peace and quiet is threatened (“Mining bill splits votes in Congress,” April 22).
The mining proposed near the Boundary Waters would forever alter and destroy that wilderness peace. Already the noise of exploratory mining activity is disrupting experiences there. Veterans who fought for their country were not able to have the same peaceful experience, because of foreign mining interests.
The National Park and Wilderness Waters Protection Act would help ensure that veterans like me can escape into the wild and recover. The Boundary Waters and places like it are one of the reasons I pledged my life to this country. Wild places are a rare commodity in this world, and we should avoid the risk of pollution to the BWCA and Voyageurs National Park.
Erik Packard, Rosemount
Coverage failed to identify the true cause of its overloads
The opening paragraph of “Why the IRS hung up on 8M taxpayers” (April 23) draws a cause-and-effect conclusion about the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) based only on correlation, ignores the second law (foreign reporting) that the IRS must enforce this year and says the ACA is the president’s law, rather than one passed by Congress. The article goes on to quote a Republican Ways and Means Committee report that is not even a report of the full committee. I am appalled by the biased reporting in this front-page story.
Susan Doherty, Minneapolis
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It is the height of hypocrisy for Republicans to now criticize the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for its lack of adequate telephone assistance to taxpayers. The Republicans have done everything they can to disrupt the IRS by budget cuts and other limitations. In the end, many of them are so anti-tax (read: necessary funds to run our communities, large and small) that they are willing to allow more tax cheating, to cut back services to individuals and businesses, and to use this system for yet another attack on health care. It is time to restore the IRS to a proper budget for assistance and for enforcement.
Robert Lyman, Minneapolis
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The IRS diverted millions of dollars from taxpayer services in order to enforce the Obamacare law just when, because of the new tax requirements of Obamacare, the calls seeking answers spiked.
Congress did cut some funding for the IRS, but still fully funded the taxpayer services. It was the IRS that chose to move the funding away from taxpayer services.
All this happened while the IRS granted $60 million in employee bonuses. And at the same time when the agency also allowed its employees to spend nearly 500,000 hours a year working on non-taxpayer-assistance, union-related activities.
If a private company were to implement this business plan, it would go out of business shortly after it started. But the IRS, being a government entity, really has no worry about how taxpayers are treated, even though it is taxpayers who fund the salaries.
Mike McLean, Richfield
Yes, fellow Minnesotans, it is too partly our fault
The April 23 letter about the ISIL arrests shows an astounding ignorance about the responsibility Minnesotans share for the men leaving to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. While it is not Minnesota’s fault entirely, we share the blame for not providing these men with an environment in which we treat them as equals. Right now, people of color are unfairly targeted by the police, given fewer chances to succeed and ignored in favor of white Minnesotans. Not only that, followers of Islam are still viewed with fear and misunderstanding by the general (white and Christian) public. It is arrogant to simply toot our own horn and declare that we have many aspects we are proud of while ignoring our darker underbelly. The letter writer asks “[i]n what way can we do better?” We can do better by treating people of different races and religion with the same respect we usually reserve for white Christians.
Andrew McCoy, Falcon Heights
If those projects, why not this one? (As the drum beats on …)
According to recent Star Tribune coverage (“Senate says no to state cash for soccer stadium,” April 21), “within the last decade [state lawmakers] have provided state funds to build the Twins, Vikings and University of Minnesota stadiums, and to renovate the Target Center.”
Well, no one in my family has ever attended a Twins game; none of us ever set foot in the Metrodome for a Vikings game, and we’ve never been to a Gophers game or Timberwolves game. However, as longtime supporters of Minnesota’s soccer team(s), we will definitely go to the new soccer stadium, wherever it is.
So, if public funds were made available for all those other teams (despite the better judgment of many), why not for Minnesota United? Either all of them get funding, or none do. We’ve set the precedent; fair is fair.
Kimerly Miller, St. Paul
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A pair of April 21 letter writers seemed to think that Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges should change her attitude about the soccer stadium based on how much fun she might have at a game. It is a ludicrous premise. Those who control public dollars are entrusted to make decisions about such an issue without regard to how much they might like a particular pastime. While it might benefit Minneapolis to have Major League Soccer, in the case of Major League Baseball and the NFL, our politicians failed miserably in making the best deal possible for the taxpayers.
Andrew Berg, Vadnais Heights
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I believe that those of us opposed to a publicly subsidized soccer stadium must recognize the signs of its inevitability and graciously bow our heads, raise our arms and hoist the white flag.
Examine this sequence of events:
The proposal is greeted with cries of “no” by public officials — by the governor, Legislature, mayor and most of the citizenry.
Then comes the counterattack, led predictably by this newspaper.
An editorial supports the idea. Articles suggest the stadium would “revitalize” a long-neglected part of the city and create the ever-popular “mixed-use developments.” The stadium’s links to light rail chug onto the scene. (Surprisingly, bike paths have yet to be mentioned, but soon will be, as I suspect that soccer fans are more likely to be bicyclists than are other members of the public.) Then, the Star Tribune features beautiful color photos of packed stadiums in other cities. Not coincidentally, the largest is in Portland, Ore., a city with which, for some reason, “hip” Minneapolitans seem to think they are in competition. The article is complete with “hypothetical” projections of “hypothetical” revenue from the “hypothetical” stadium.
As to the future? I predict that over the next few weeks the Star Tribune will tell us that a publicly subsidized stadium will close the achievement gap, restore Mille Lacs walleyes, end zebra mussels, cure bird flu, reduce crime, improve Twins pitching, send the Gophers to the Rose Bowl and slash ISIL’s appeal to Somalis.
Friends: Give up.
George Woytanowitz, Minneapolis