I am confident that, given her law degree, Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, understands that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s decision to not indict in the Jamar Clark case is driven by the evidence presented him during the review of the facts from the investigation (“NAACP wants Clark case reopened,” April 5). In his role as a prosecutor, Freeman assessed the evidence and concluded that it did not provide the foundation for a conviction based on the standard of “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” The disparities among eyewitnesses’ testimony alone generate reasonable doubt. Freeman chose to not invest resources in a losing proposition, knowing he would be extremely unlikely to obtain a conviction of the officers involved in the shooting.
That said, what is Levy-Pounds’ agenda? If it is to raise awareness of the ongoing tragedy of the death of black men in America, it is my opinion that she should focus on that topic directly rather that attempting to revive an investigation that holds no likely “just” outcome according to her perspective.
Brad Dimond, Richfield
Honestly, it’s not such a hard thing for shoppers to adapt to
People who consider developing a list of stores they will shop at based on the availability of plastic bags (“Now I’ll just shop in the next city,” Readers Write, April 5) are wasting their time.
We are fortunate enough to live during the winter in Palm Springs, Calif., which adopted the ban some time ago. The city did so even though no other neighboring cities have done so. Business is booming all across the valley, including Palm Springs. The argument that people will go elsewhere has not panned out.
When the ban first went into place (which everyone knows is the right thing to do), the biggest frustration was forgetting the reusable bags in the car. Argh! We’d shout, then buy another reusable or, more likely — and to drive home the point to ourselves — take a couple of seconds and go get the one from the car trunk.
Now it’s become such a good habit we use the multiuse bags when we come home to Minneapolis. It’s not hard, folks. Minneapolitans are a smart group of people. You’ll figure it out. And, meanwhile, tons of plastic waste won’t be blowing around our streets and filling landfills. Don’t bother making out that list of new stores to visit because you so desperately need their plastic bags.
Steven Williams, Minneapolis
• • •
While having lunch on Monday at a lovely restaurant in St. Paul’s Summit Hill neighborhood, near where I live, I sat facing a window that looked out onto the garden. Right in the center of my view was a white plastic bag snagged high in a tree and blowing in the wind like a raggedy old flag. I agree with the headline of Tuesday’s Letter of the Day, “Now I’ll just shop in the next city.” That next city for me is Minneapolis, or any other municipality enlightened enough to ban plastic bags.
Tersenia Schuett, St. Paul
Next time, take a constituent. Like me. (I’ll share what I learn.)
I know it looks bad for U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen to go on expensive, lobbyist-paid jaunts around the world with his wife and kids (“Paulsen’s free trips are cause for debate,” April 4), but there is no reason to believe these weren’t fact-finding missions, as he states. As a matter of fact, no one can prove these weren’t fact-finding missions, even though they look like fantastic vacations.
To that end, I propose a rule change where if a member of Congress accepts free travel from a sponsor, they must take along a constituent. I will gladly volunteer to accompany my representative on the next all-expenses-paid trip. For accountability, I will blog from poolside every detail of the mission so everyone back home can see that this is legitimate.
Richard Crose, Bloomington
Oh, don’t you worry that the industry isn’t getting heard
Frank Ongaro and the Minnesota mining industry would have more credibility asking us to trust in environmental agencies to protect our natural resources from the risks of mining under “rigorous and well-established laws” (“Mineral lease limits would cost region,” April 4) if they would quit trying to weaken them every chance they get.
In the past week, the mining industry has through its Minnesota legislative supporters introduced:
• HF 3750, a bill that sharply limits appeals of mine permits and leaves it to the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, the permitting authority, to determine their validity.
• An amendment to HF 3501 to include a portion of these limits, making it harder to appeal mine permits by removing the opportunity for less-costly administrative appeal.
• SF 3376/HF 3726, a bill that requires the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to vacate an existing mining company sulfide permit limit and declares invalid the 40-year-old water pollution standard.
This latter bill, under the “rules” of the Legislature, is dead, having failed to pass either body’s policy committees by last Friday. However, “rules” don’t apply to the mining industry in Minnesota: HF 3726 was scheduled to get a hearing on Wednesday.
The mining industry has zero credibility when it crows about how tough environmental agencies and laws are in Minnesota. It controls both.
Don Arnosti, St. Paul
The writer is conservation policy director for the Izaak Walton League.
• • •
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is a priceless asset of Minnesota and the U.S., yet the copper mining industry is willing to permanently degrade it. As Mining Minnesota’s April 4 counterpoint proves, the industry will say anything to try to get its way.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale in “Fighting to save the soul of Minnesota” (March 14) encouraged federal agencies to protect the BWCA by prohibiting private exploitation of mineral rights on national forest land that is, of course, owned by the American people. By the twisted logic of the mining industry, as stated in its counterpoint on Monday, this action of our government to protect public assets would be a “draconian federal land grab” of land the government already owns.
Facts are irrelevant to the industry, by all appearances. The commentary claims that a University of Minnesota Duluth study finds that the impact of “copper-nickel mining projects includes the creation of more than 5,000 jobs related to mining operations … .” The UMD study says no such thing; the 2012 study, “The Economic Impact of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Mining,” attributed less than 10 percent of the projected Minnesota jobs to copper mining. The study projected 5,029 new jobs in taconite and 427 jobs in copper. Recent events show that the taconite projection was wishful thinking, at best. The world is awash in copper. There is only one BWCA.
Reid Carron, Ely, Minn.
PIPELINES AND MINES
Someday — and that day will come — there’ll be a leak
So the Keystone pipeline apparently has sprung a leak in South Dakota. What a surprise. It’s never a matter of whether, only of when. Those who want to run pipelines and mining operations near Minnesota’s BWCA and other aquifers for a couple hundred short-term jobs that endanger everybody’s jobs, tourism and drinking water had better wise up.
James Wallace, Eden Prairie