Regarding “ Rooming houses aid homeless, illegally” (Aug. 1) and criticism of enforcement at odds with a “creative” solution, the city codes exist for a reason. They protect neighborhoods from enduring flophouses for potentially dangerous and nuisance people. They protect single-family housing stock from uses that it is not designed for and that could degrade the value of the structure and consequently the area. They are needed for neighborhood and housing stability.

Locally, the burdens and costs of poverty often fall disproportionately on the residents of north Minneapolis. The housing values in this part of the city are low enough to make this rental situation economically feasible. In most of the rest of the city and county, economics would never allow this to happen. It is easy to support the well-intended actions of someone who is trying to help the homeless when you know that it cannot occur next door to your house.

North Minneapolis has for decades absorbed a disproportionate amount of society’s ills, including: a shockingly large number of Level 3 sex offenders, an enormous volume of low- or no-income housing vouchers and residents and, most recently, a building boom of large low-income housing projects. It is time for the rest of the city, county and state to step up.

Daniel Field, Minneapolis

POLICE OFFICERS

Why ‘officer down’ gets so much attention

When an officer’s life is taken away in the line of duty, the discussion periodically emerges as to the necessity for the visibility of the response to an “officer down” incident.

It is important to recognize that the first role of government is to ensure the safety and security of citizens. This is accomplished nationally via the military, FBI, CIA, etc., and at the state and local levels via law enforcement agencies.

Specifically at the state and local levels, when an officer is down, it sends a signal that the perpetrator has breached that final thread between a civilized society and anarchy.

Foremost, an “officer down” incident is tragic for the officer’s family. At the same time, it is important for all of us to recognize the broader significance of the tragedy.

L.A. Ellis, St. Paul

• • •

To the folks who have approached police officers to share their appreciation this past week, I want to say thank you for your show of support while we grieve. To those too shy to say something: A smile and a wave can go a long way. To those who generally dislike the police: Know that we don’t like you, either (“Suspect to police: ‘I hate cops,’ ” Aug. 2). However, we’ll always come when you call, and we’ll aggressively pursue those who victimize you. And to all: If you can make it to the funeral procession on Wednesday to pay respects to slain Officer Scott Patrick, you will never forget it.

Mark Klukow, Minneapolis

 

The writer is a police officer.

 

CEO PAY

Remember, employees are integral, too

Like Brian Cornell, Target’s new CEO, I watch my mother struggle to pay bills (“A boss on ‘Target,’ ” Aug. 1). As a Target cashier, my mother is the public face of the company. For four years, she has enthusiastically greeted customers as they come through her lane. She willingly helps out in customer service, the pharmacy and the photo department, as well as providing operator breaks and training in new cashiers. She, too, is an integral part in moving Target forward. Unlike those employees who come and go, she provides some stability to the staff. All this for $8.76 an hour without benefits.

While I support Target’s efforts to turn things around, I hope the company will take into consideration the struggles of its employees.

Susan Peterson, Minneapolis

• • •

Fifty years ago, I was responsible for the payroll printing for a large local banking organization (“New Target CEO signs for up to $36.6m,” Aug. 1). The CEO of that organization, which employed more 2,500 people in the Twin Cities at the time, had a $75,000 annual salary. (I have no idea what stock options or bonuses were paid.) The lowest-paid clerical person in the company had a $3,000 annual salary. For reference, I was paid $5,400 annually as a supervisor. The CEO was paid a salary 25 times what the lowest-paid employee was paid.

This should be the standard by which CEOs should be paid. Any CEO or any other officer of a corporation paid more than that multiple should have any compensation over that amount automatically taxed at 50 percent or more, to include bonuses and stock options.

Chuck Koegl, Brooklyn Park

 

PRIORITIES

You shouldn’t care how others spend

In response to the Aug. 3 letter writer who experiences revulsion when others spend their own money on home-improvement projects ($5,000 to $10,000 nurseries): Money legally obtained belongs to whoever obtained it — to share it (or not), be creative with it (or not), invest it (or not), or squander it (or not) — and it is no one else’s business to judge. Envy is every bit as ugly, dangerous and sinful as greed.

Dawn Hirsch, Coon Rapids

 

FOREIGN POLICY

Critics aplenty, but Obama does all right

Those who worry about the liberal media coddling President Obama might consider that in less than a week the Star Tribune has opened its Opinion Exchange page to three conservatives, Fred Hiatt (July 29), Steve Chapman (July 31) and Michael Gerson (Aug. 3) to flail away at his foreign policy, though without much effect.

Hiatt’s claim that Iraq would be on the road to peace if Obama had just bullied Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki into taking on 15,000 more U.S. troops marks him as someone who need not be taken seriously.

Nor is Gerson’s argument that Obama should have given “aid to responsible rebels” in Syria any better; it assumes that some Syrians come marked with an indelible “R” for responsible and that aid, once given, stays with the group; the astonishing number of weapons that have fallen off the inventory in Afghanistan suggests otherwise.

Even Chapman’s more tempered review contains a major factual error; he says, “Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program have come up empty.” However, on July 20 the BBC reported that “Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms.”

It’s likely that Obama didn’t take a victory lap for this lest it impede further negotiations, but it’s surprising that only the BBC found it newsworthy. This is the foreign policy we want — slow, cautious, collaborative and successful. It doesn’t have the panache of John McCain’s “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” but it makes the world a better place.

John Sherman, Moorhead, Minn.