DONALD STERLING

Actually, public actions reflect private behavior

The writer of the April 29 Letter of the Day (“Who of us wouldn’t look bad if private words went public?”) is dismissive of the outrage over Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private conversations and suggests that public actions are what matter. So let’s take a look at his public record, shall we? We have a $2.725 million Justice Department fine over housing discrimination, multiple lawsuits (and at least one settlement) over both housing and employment discrimination, and a long-documented history of racist statements that have largely been ignored by the media at large.

Of course, it takes an explosive tape to get people’s attention. Most people like to pretend that we are in a “post-racial” society (black president!). What’s interesting about Tuesday’s letter is that it asks the people who are the focus of Sterling’s repulsive behavior to do all the sacrificing, while asking absolutely nothing of him. Why should players be forced off their team during the playoffs? Why are complaints not valid unless one puts “every dime” on the line?

I, too, would like my conversations to remain private. But it is silly to assume that private beliefs don’t translate into public behavior. As for the letter writer’s demands, he will be happy to learn that the NAACP is giving back all of the money and that the NBA has banned Sterling for life.

Allyson Childress, Minneapolis

• • •

Anyone can, and most people do, put on a public facade. We’ve seen it time and again with people in the public eye — politicians, pastors, priests — whose private lives, when exposed, are diametrically opposed to their stated views and public actions. That can change frequently, depending on the circumstances. It’s what a person says and does in private, alone or with supposedly like-minded people, that shows truly who that person is in the deepest part of his being.

Jeanne Torma, Minneapolis

 

BYRON SMITH

The verdict is in, but I didn’t see it as easy

The Byron Smith verdict — guilty of murder — was apparently not difficult for the jury of his peers. I would not want to be tasked with that decision. I would find it very difficult. The accolades presented post-trial by the friends and families of the two teenagers are understandable. The teens did, however, break into a senior citizen’s home with the intent of theft and/or vandalism. They didn’t deserve death, but deserved some sort of punishment.

I once experienced a stranger walking into my home. It was an honest mistake, but a very frightening experience. Had it been someone intending to commit a crime of whatever context, I might immediately have looked for some kind of weapon to defend myself. If I had a gun, I might use it. In the moment of extreme emotions, would I stop with one shot?

Don Eisenschenk, Minnetonka

 

MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL

This new crew basically is getting in the way

I did not vote for Jacob Frey, but the energy and hard work he brought to his campaign for the Minneapolis City Council in 2013 impressed me. I hoped that once elected to represent my neighborhood of the Third Ward, he would turn that passion toward tackling the city’s serious problems, such as economic development, failing schools and buckling roads. I am a sorely disappointed constituent.

In the short few months Frey has been in office, he has been busy — leading the fight on critical issues such as mandating ear plugs at Minneapolis bars, renaming Columbus Day, and now regulating UberX and Lyft. These two companies provide affordable and safe alternatives (and healthy competition) to Minneapolis’ often dingy and unreliable cab services, while at the same time delivering a source of extra income for city citizens who need it.

Why in the world does government need to get in the way of private enterprise that is working so well? It is time our City Council started focusing on the issues that matter, not the ones it creates.

Andy Brehm, Minneapolis

• • •

With due appreciation for Jon Tevlin’s witty column April 29 (“New council members take Minneapolis on quite a ‘joy ride’ ”), let me point out in fairness that it takes any newly constituted body a while to (1) determine priority issues and (2) resolve them.

That said, the time is here for this council and mayor to begin planning for the projected growth of 100,000 new Minneapolis residents. Where in the city should additional housing, including affordable housing, be created? What design parameters will promote livability and high quality of life? How do we get the jobs to support new residents, and where will they be located? How do we ensure a high quality of public education to attract young families? How do we capitalize on the one feature that most distinguishes Minneapolis (and indeed, the metro area) from, as some have joked, “a cold Omaha”: our Chain of Lakes?

Once we know where our residents will actually live and work, we can plan and invest in a transportation system to serve them, hopefully with an eye to the 21st century, to sustainable technologies already bursting onto the scene in other parts of the world and to concepts from the sharing economy, such as Nice Ride bikes and Car2Go.

Minneapolis is entering a period of growth that cries out for a cogent plan. I trust that the members of our new council understand this — for if they and the mayor don’t address this task with the goal of benefiting Minneapolis, other bodies, with other goals, will. The clock is ticking.

Mary Pattock, Minneapolis

 

INVASIVE SPECIES

Legislators are the busy beavers of terminology

Change the name of Asian carp to “invasive carp,” as the Minnesota Senate proposes? OMG! How about Dutch elm disease? Or the Japanese beetle? Irish whiskey? Swedish meatballs? Polish weddings? Russian roulette? The French kiss (perverts!)? The Asian flu (talk about invasive!)? Spaghetti westerns (mocking Italian movie directors)?

Where, oh where, will it end? Just keep your paws off Norwegian lutefisk! We’re not ashamed of it.

Mike Auspos, Ramsey