VIKINGS STADIUM

Politicians are gambling with taxpayers’ money

Thirty months before the projected opening of the football stadium, scare tactics are once again being used to stampede us to a decision. The absurdity of telling us we face a one-month delay so far ahead of completion speaks to the intentional, desperate effort to frighten the public rather than proceed with facts and competent analysis. The Wilfs are going to pay “their share” with money gleaned from us through licensing fees, naming rights and myriad other sources packed into the contract. The politicians are doing the same now that electronic gambling has proved a failure.

RICHARD BREITMAN, Minneapolis

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Let’s see, the electronic pulltabs aren’t going to cover the portion intended. The Wilfs may not be able to pay the portion they intended. And those of us who’ve had this whole project crammed down our throats by enthusiasts with no financial acumen are justified in wondering why it got this far without a referendum. People whom I otherwise respected let us down on this one. This means you, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Gov. Mark Dayton. You don’t need to wait for a New Jersey judge. Put this project on hold now.

JAMES WALLACE, Eden Prairie

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OUTDOORS SECTION

Does it have to be the ‘dead animal’ section?

I’d been enjoying the Outdoors section, even clipping a few articles. Then boom, there’s a disgusting article about luring mourning doves to be slaughtered (“Scout now for a successful mourning dove opener,” Aug. 23). These are small, sweet-tempered family birds with a slow reproduction rate. I’m now forever done with the Outdoors section, because too often it features somebody holding a dead animal and grinning.

SUSAN KENNEDY, Minneapolis

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POLICE CARS

Suburban cops drive better than city cops

I can’t say that I was surprised to hear about the unfortunate death of an elderly woman who was backed into by a St. Paul squad car (“Woman, 101, dies after squad car hits her,” Aug. 23). I moved to St. Paul last year and have yet to see a cop use a turn signal, give proper following distance or even follow the speed limit. I’ve even seen them blow stoplights when their sirens and lights weren’t on and there was no obvious need to rush. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I never saw an Eden Prairie cop do such things. Maybe the suburban police need to train St. Paul cops how to drive.

JEFF WHITE, St. Paul

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TAX DEDUCTIONS

Don’t make everyone pay for others’ charity

There was one important thing overlooked by the authors explaining tax deductions for donations to charities (“Why the tax deduction for charitable donations matters,” Aug. 26). If someone gives money to a “charity” and it is tax-deductible, the resulting reduction in his/her taxes has to be made up by those of us who don’t give to that group. I believe anyone should have the right to give to any group they wish; I just don’t want to have to make up for the taxes they don’t have to pay. The only fair solution is to eliminate all tax deductions for contributions to any cause, be they religious or otherwise.

RICHARD DORNFIELD, Plymouth

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EDUCATION COMMISSIONER

Take responsibility for bad student test results

I’m appalled by Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius’ comment on test scores (“State reading scores plummet,” Aug. 27). She states, “What is needed now is to focus on our efforts and stop moving the goalposts so teachers and students have a consistent target to hit.” She seems to hint that powers beyond her are the ones who have moved the targets and changed the tests. Ultimately, she’s responsible for decisions affecting our public schools. I try and tell my own children that it is OK to make a mistake as long as you own it and learn from it. Wouldn’t it be nice if our leaders took responsibility for their decisions rather than trying to pass the buck?

MICHAEL DURCHSLAG, Minneapolis

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BACK TO SCHOOL

College can be a scary change for newcomers

Watching our little granddaughters apprehensively boarding the school bus on the first day of school, I’m reminded of their mother’s first day of college 24 years ago. We’d driven five hours on that hot, sweltering day. We were schlepping all her stuff up the outside iron staircase to her third-floor dorm room, and a heavy rain fell. After getting everything in her small room and meeting her roommate, we repaired to a local Dairy Queen for a late lunch. Sitting across the table from us, soaking wet, tired and bedraggled, our daughter leaned forward and said: “Don’t leave me here.”

GEORGENE BERGSTROM, St. Paul

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BELOIT COLLEGE

Teachers know how to ease a parent’s worries

As the mom of a freshman at Beloit College in Wisconsin, I greatly appreciate the insights provided by the Mindset List (“Taking some exception to the ‘Mindset,’ ” Aug. 26). The list helps me to better know the world that my daughter and her classmates have experienced. It also deepens my conviction that Beloit College professors and staff seek to understand their students, to forge connections with them and to help those students excel. I’m delighted that my daughter is a “Beloiter.”

KELLY BANKOLE, Lakeville