Municipal utility

Lileks may be joking, but plan is seriously bad

Every Minneapolis resident should read James Lileks’ Aug. 2 column (“When the city starts taking over, why stop at electricity?). He hints at what might happen if Minneapolis takes over the electric utility and possibly other retail outlets such as grocery stores. His thought that the city might eliminate 1 percent milk on store shelves and encourage people to consume only half as much 2 percent milk might be in the cards. He has many other thought-provoking examples of possible changes in service from Minneapolis, but the milk example sums it up well.


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I struggle with labeling Lileks’ column as satire. With the folks who make the decisions at Minneapolis City Hall, his article is too realistic for that label.


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A counterpoint on lower corporate rates

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak recently offered his proposal for corporate tax reform (“Put federal tax reform on the state’s wish list,” July 12). As CEO of a small courier service in the Twin Cities, I’d like to offer a contrasting view.

I believe in all parts of society pulling their weight, and in recent years many corporations have not. We need corporate tax reforms that right that wrong. Ishrak argues that our 35 percent corporate tax rate is too high. In reality, most corporations, including Medtronic, are paying far less.

While corporate profits are booming, new brutal budget cuts (the “sequester”) are kicking kids off Head Start and abandoning hungry seniors in need of Meals on Wheels. Our infrastructure, critical to the success of businesses like mine, is crumbling. Our fiscal house is a mess.

We need to close tax loopholes and make sure everyone is paying their fair share. No more accounting games. No more tax-free offshore havens. No more corporations reaping the benefits of our taxes — educated workers, safe roads, fast Internet — while not paying their own.

Doing this could raise $600 billion over the next decade, according to a congressional tax committee. That’s money we could use to invest in our communities, strengthen our national finances and restore a sense of shared responsibility — the kind of outcomes that would, in my view, represent successful corporate tax reform.

JEFF WRIGHT, Richfield

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There should be no debate over coercion

I was saddened and angered to read the Aug. 2 commentary, “American embrace of ‘comfort women’ allegations distorts history.” The atrocities committed by the Japanese army and government and supported by the majority of the Japanese people during the war are undisputed facts.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto ignited a furious backlash in Japan a few weeks ago when we suggested that Japan’s use of some 200,000 comfort women during World War II was “necessary.” He didn’t deny the facts but only tried to justify them.

On the same day the commentary was published, another story reported that Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso, had retracted comments in which he seemed to say that Japan should learn how the Nazi party quietly rewrote Germany’s Constitution. Do you see a dangerous trend toward rewriting history here?

TAI TSU HUANG, Roseville

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Heritage Square is a key part of the tradition

Why, oh why, does the Minnesota State Fair Board find it “progress” to raze the cherished cozy nook of our Heritage Square? My husband I have a yearslong tradition. On the first Friday of the fair, we religiously buy our discount tickets early, take the shuttle bus to the fairgrounds and happily walk across Como Avenue with off-duty police protection.

After spending seven hours at the fair (and believe it or not this is the only food item with which we indulge ourselves), we find the undeniably to-die-for rotisserie turkey drumsticks at the stand in Heritage Square. No other vendor will do.

Then, happily covered with State Fair dust, dirt and grime, we sit on the hill outside Heritage Square, across from the State Fair police and first-aid station, sipping a well-deserved beer and munching lustily on our glorious juicy drumsticks. This is our tradition — our heritage. The Minnesota State Fair is tradition. Please do not tamper with our cherished memories.


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Sick of the Twins? A.P. is getting ready to roll

What’s worse? A player who tarnishes the integrity of Major League Baseball by taking performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in order to increase his production? Or an entire team that disrespects the game by being unprepared, unmotivated, unfocused and uncaring?

At least guys like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun wanted to be better at their jobs. This current bunch of Minnesota Twins is perfectly satisfied being sickeningly awful.

What a disgrace.


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Adrian Peterson is looking forward to running more than 2,500 yards in a single season. If the NFL would test for human growth hormones, it would level the playing field and he would likely make it.