As a Minneapolis business owner who supports an ordinance regarding paid sick time, I was disappointed to read “For paid sick leave, one-size-fits-all is just wrongheaded” (Opinion Exchange, April 29).
An estimated 41 percent of workers in Minneapolis lack paid sick time, and it’s even higher in communities of color. We need to fix that. This is a question of dignity and feeling valued. Four in 10 workers have to decide whether to come to work sick or lose a paycheck, or even lose their job? This is appalling. Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and other business association leaders continue to talk about the inconvenience and cost to business owners, but the reality is that it is minor compared with the huge gain for hourly workers.
Cramer and his allies recommend a partnership approach rather than an ordinance. I agree that the city and businesses need to create a new partnership. I think the city should encourage, support and publicize businesses that are creating great workplaces and find ways to allow consumers to specifically choose businesses that provide these workplaces. But this is a “high bar” approach. It does not mean that there doesn’t also need to be a “low bar” ordinance to ensure that all employers provide at least basic leave policies.
The City Council, following the lead of the Workplace Partnership Group, should pass a sick-time ordinance in addition to working in partnership with our city’s great businesses to encourage all businesses to reach even higher.
Jason Rathe, Minneapolis
The writer is the owner of Field Outdoor Spaces Landscaping.
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I was very happy to read about how animal-welfare activists have been able to change what society accepts as humane treatment of animals by companies (“The humane economy goes cage-free chic,” April 25). Now I hope we can all get to work to change what society accepts as the humane treatment of humans by companies. If we refuse to eat eggs that were laid by hens in cages, should we wear shirts that were made by workers in Honduras earning $2 a day? Should we order Mother’s Day flowers that were harvested by children in Colombia who were exposed to dangerous fumigants as they worked? Should we order food in restaurants that don’t provide paid sick leave for their employees? Should we patronize retailers who don’t provide medical insurance for their workers? (Medical plans with a $1,000 deductible for workers earning less than $15 an hour is not medical coverage.) This May Day, let’s decide we want a more humane world for the human workers of the world.
Betty Lotterman, St. Paul
Media’s obsession with cause is opportunistic and pathetic
Embarrassment. That’s what the media coverage of Prince’s death is. Front-page coverage every day for a week, and what have the last few days given us? Speculation. Nothing new, nothing important. Friday’s headline: “Criminal inquiry in death of Prince.” Is there a criminal inquiry? No. Investigators cited an exception to Minnesota public-records laws that allows them to suppress information relating to a “criminal” probe only to get the media off their backs. What do we see in the Star Tribune’s “news reporting”? Conjecture, hyperbole and repetition of old facts.
Those in the news media seem to think that they are above all criticism. The first news conference after Prince’s death was a testament to how ignorant they are. Let’s ask the same question over and over, after the police have said they won’t answer those questions.
But, you need something to print. And on the front page every day. Whether it’s relevant or not doesn’t matter. You need to print something. Pathetic.
The man was exceptional. He was special to many people. And you denigrate his life by being a bunch of vultures. Let him die in peace. But you’re the media, and you could never do that.
Prince was a very private person, and you have reported that numerous times. But you denigrate that by what you are doing. You should be ashamed. On one hand you hold up what an icon he was for Minnesota, and on the other hand you look for every reason to tear him down.
Please let the man die in peace. Quit trying to make it into paper-selling headlines.
I know this won’t make it into your paper, but I plan on sending this to numerous publications so they can show what you won’t print.
Kevin Bengtson, Brooklyn Park
It’s not about the bathrooms; it’s about the way we are made
So, it’s the clothes that make the person? An April 29 letter stated if you are a man but dress like a woman, you become a woman and should use the women’s bathroom. But, as also was stated, it would be more confusing to see a man dressed as a woman going into the “men’s” bathroom. Or let’s say I’m a man, dressed in men’s clothing, feeling my feminine side, and I decide I want to use the “women’s” bathroom. Is anyone confused yet?
The bathrooms should not be the real issue of concern. What is of far more importance is the blurring of the very real differences between the sexes. They are not interchangeable. We are foolish to think we can.
Terry T. Lundberg, Apple Valley
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After learning about the American Family Association’s (AFA) petition to have people boycott Target due to the retailer’s policy that people be allowed to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity, I decided to check the facts. I first went to the AFA website. The opening screen was a statement by AFA President Tim Wildmon, stating that “Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims.” Wildmon’s proposal was that Target offer a single-occupancy unisex bathroom for transgender people to use. I then researched statistics on sex offenders, being careful to choose science-based sites that didn’t have a political agenda. Turns out that the majority of sex offenders are white adult males, most of whom identify as heterosexual. Accordingly, it would seem that a more effective solution to reducing the number of sexual predators in Target’s bathrooms would be to have all white adult heterosexual males use a separate single-occupancy bathroom. (Just think of all the women who would take satisfaction in watching a long line of men waiting for a bathroom!)
In case the “tongue-in-cheek” nature of this proposal isn’t clear, it seems obvious that all people should be able to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity. I will continue to choose to patronize businesses that demonstrate humane philosophies and practices for all people.
Lynn Strauss, Plymouth
Sometimes solutions are just a matter of connecting the dots
Two subjects covered in the April 29 Star Tribune seem like solutions to the other’s problems. Let’s be sure the developers of arts-centered senior housing (“Advocate wants to help senior renters ‘age artfully’ ”) consider the St. Anthony mobile-home park site (“A site is closing, and a way of living is fading”) for this type of development. It’s close to arts-centered northeast Minneapolis, too! Maybe it will be built in time for this aging amateur flute player to move in.
Stan Kaufman, New Brighton