Politicians see opening — but what kind?
I find it interesting that Gov. Mark Dayton wants to make sure that all the representations made by the Vikings ownership are truthful and accurate (“The Wilfs get fresh stadium scrutiny,” Aug. 11). I believe we heard that expanding gambling was well-vetted and would certainly provide adequate funding for the state’s share of the new stadium.
We were promised that there were secondary, “blink on” sources provided in the agreement should gambling revenues fall short of projections. These secondary sources were obviously too politically toxic, so we fell back on that tried-and-true source of adding significant new taxes to a product we supposedly abhor. So much for not using general fund revenues.
No matter how you feel about the stadium or the civil penalties handed down to the Vikings ownership in an unrelated case (“N.J. judge says Wilf cheated partners,” Aug. 7), you would be hard-pressed to give our state politicians a pass (no pun intended) for their behavior. Might there be a little face-saving and some shakedown tactics on their part in admonishing the Wilf family as the date for signing the final contract nears? You can decide who has breached the public trust to date.
GARY DREYER, Bloomington
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I would certainly be more comfortable with the stadium deal if the Wilfs stood to lose personal assets should there be a default. They should have “some skin in the game.” And if the “fan licensing fee” remains part of the deal, shame on us.
JANET COLEMAN, St. Paul
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A new scourge, another ineffective response
Bats are too often “batted around” in our feelings, and their crises ignored by most of us. We don’t really want to know about their value to agriculture and the balance of nature — just stay away from these creatures (“New threat to state ag: Bat fungus,” Aug. 10). Indeed, a few of them might be dangerous if you’re bitten and the bat has rabies.
I hope the researchers are successful in combating the crisis and restoring a healthy bat population. Maybe the late Gov. Rudy Perpich was right in advocating that we introduce bat houses to counteract the overabundance of biting mosquitoes in Minnesota — even now with our shortage of monarch butterflies and bees to pollinate our raspberries and other productive crops.
JOHN BISPALA, Minneapolis
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The article reminded me of the history of invasive species in Minnesota: Zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, Dutch elm disease, Asian carp, and a hundred other species not invited to Minnesota.
Now, the newly arrived “white-nose syndrome” is a “death sentence” to four species of Minnesota bats. Expected cost to the Minnesota farmers: $1.4 billion yearly.
Proposed action? The state Department of Natural Resources promises to ask spelunkers to wipe their feet on special mats to remove fungus spores, and to wash their clothes before entering another cave. And, of course, to do more study (cryptic for “delay action”). This DNR “plan” is guaranteed to fail, as have been all DNR efforts on invasive species in recent years.
Most every invasive continues to slither, creep, swim, waft or hitchhike across Minnesota.
JIM DAVIDSON, St. Paul
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A useful practice, or a safety issue?
The report on scrappers outlined the operations of this humble, useful business (“Scrappers, city compete as volume of trash falls,” Aug. 12). Unfortunately, Minneapolis is attempting to eliminate this competition as its paltry income on scrap collection has fallen (yielding merely $27,000 last year).
The enforcement effort expense of ticketing scrappers surely surpasses any possible income from this venture. The city is shortsighted in looking past the potential prison costs these people, often ex-cons, save by working at gainful employment. It could be spending more time reviewing its other substantial investments, like the stadium fiasco now brewing. These scrappers actually act as “subcontractors” doing city work.
The past several years, we cleaned out and sold our parents’ homes and had good experiences with the scrappers. They were quiet, polite and respectful as they humbly emptied our bins of all they found useful. How about some compassion and support here?
MICHAEL TILLEMANS, Minneapolis
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I feel that the article omitted an issue — the concern for safety.
I had an encounter with two men who were looking for “scrap” on my block. The issue I had was that they were not just looking in the alley, they were looking over my neighbor’s fence into the back yard.
I feel that a quick look into a back yard can easily escalate to a quick turn of a door knob on a garage or house.
We have had several garage break-ins, and we would prefer to not have these people poking around, looking into our back yards. Privacy and safety need to be part of this conversation.
MEL ENG, Minneapolis
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TEXTING AT THE WHEEL
Taking you to your final destination
Regarding texting while driving, a recently observed bumper sticker seems to be pertinent: “Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving and you can meet him.”
JOHN KIM MUNHOLLAND, Minneapolis