Thanks to Jon Tevlin for pointing out that Blue Plate Co. plans to circumvent the new minimum-wage law by passing along credit card fees to its servers when a card is used to pay tips (“At minimum, restaurants should pay the 2 percent fee,” Aug. 6). This appalling practice seems to be borderline illegal as well as being incredibly cheap, not to mention damaging to Blue Plate’s low-wage employees. That Stillwater’s River Oasis restaurant would add a “minimum wage fee” to diners’ checks is equally appalling. The minimum-wage is the law of the state. It should be honored by the business community in spirit and in practice. Consumers should definitely express their concerns to these business magnates.
William O. Beeman, Minneapolis
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I don’t know exactly why I started doing this, but for many years when I pay at a restaurant with a credit card, which is almost always, I generally leave the tip in cash. I think it may have been just because I like to know the server has the tip in his or her pocket. So, that would eliminate the restaurant taking the 2 percent.
Lynne Johnston, Brooklyn Center
Don’t doubt my distaste for taxes
One of my Republican opponents for governor has once again gone on the attack in the Star Tribune, alleging that I would raise taxes if elected governor (“Minnesotans deserve better after massive tax increases,” Aug. 6). It’s a ridiculous assertion, particularly since I have never voted to raise any tax in my six years in the Minnesota House or my five years on the Hennepin County Board, and since I have a stronger score with the Taxpayers League of Minnesota than any other Republican in this race. I have made it crystal-clear: Minnesota spends too much and taxes too much. I will veto any tax increase proposal as governor and will work tirelessly to make taxes lower in this state.
As the front-runner in the race, I’m not surprised that my Republican opponents have decided to go after me aggressively in these closing weeks of the campaign, but I am disappointed by their willingness to distort my positions.
My race for governor isn’t about running against other Republicans — it’s about presenting a positive, forward-thinking agenda for Minnesota in the decade ahead. That is the campaign I will continue to wage.
Jeff Johnson, Plymouth
The writer is a Republican candidate for governor.
Why would we change what’s working?
Whether in business or politics, there is no good reason to remove a person who is doing a good job. And the truth is that Phyllis Kahn has done an excellent job for the East African community in Minneapolis as state representative.
Kahn has represented our area forcefully and well for years. Earlier this year, she obtained state bond funds to redesign the Brian Coyle Community Center in Cedar-Riverside to better address the needs of our seniors and children, who deserve more recreational and educational opportunities. She also passed legislation to help East African day care center owners who faced a severe law that would have greatly hurt our families. Phyllis could do these things because she has the seniority, the power and the respect of her colleagues to get things done.
Kahn was the first elected official to stand up and say that the East African and all immigrant communities deserved new ward boundaries that gave us a fair chance at winning seats at the table of government. That plan changed City Hall.
In 2012, Phyllis challenged establishment redistricting thinking. That took courage, and it was the right thing to do. That is who Phyllis Kahn is: She does the right thing for her constituents, for her district and for the state.
There is much talk about change. The truth is that Kahn will continue to bring positive change to her constituents. Let’s allow her to keep working for the East African community, for all her constituents, and for all Minnesotans.
Abdi Warsame, Minneapolis
The writer is a member of the Minneapolis City Council.
STATE AUDITOR’S RACE
Entenza’s activist vision is appropriate
In its Aug. 4 endorsement editorial of Rebecca Otto, the Star Tribune Editorial Board noted that challenger Matt Entenza believes that the state auditor’s office should do more to protect pensions. The editorial then stated that Otto believes that Entenza “doesn’t understand the office.”
Readers should be aware that as a constitutional officer, the auditor provides one of four votes on the State Board of Investment. This board is charged under state law with establishing investment policies for all funds under its control and currently manages $57 billion in state retirement funds.
As a future retiree who will depend on his pension and who knows many retirees on fixed incomes, I strongly believe that Wall Street middlemen have no business near our pensions and that pensions should not be privatized. Given that Otto has served as a voting member of the State Board of Investment for eight years, I find it very troubling that she does not believe that the auditor has any ability to protect and safeguard pensions. Entenza’s belief that he auditor should play an active role in this is consistent with the purpose of the office.
Curtis Loewe, Brooklyn Park
Here’s the standout in a broad competition
Electing judges in Minnesota is a challenge. Judges are limited in fundraising, but big money has no place in judicial races. Often, voters have little or no information about the candidates. When there is a contested election, the legal profession has an obligation to help inform voters on the candidates’ qualifications.
Paul Scoggin is running for an open seat on the Hennepin County court. He is one of several candidates, all of whom meet the basic requirements for being a judge — they are lawyers. But not every lawyer makes a good judge. Judicial candidates need to be evaluated based on their experience, their work ethic, their expertise and their ability to contribute to our justice system.
Scoggin stands head and shoulders above all other candidates on all of these factors. His résumé speaks volumes. He has been a highly successful lawyer, and at the same time has made exceptional contributions to justice both in the state, and abroad. (See www.scogginforjudge.com.)
Eric Magnuson and Jean Holloway, Minneapolis
Magnuson is a former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Holloway is a past president of the Hennepin County Bar Association and Minnesota Women Lawyers.