An Aug. 12 front-page article reported on the proposed border-to-border touring route for drivers of highway licensed vehicles — primarily four-wheel drives (“A bumpy ride for a route in woods”). It seems increasingly more difficult to get away from motorized “recreation” in Minnesota. ATVs, UTVs, side-by-side ATVs — all have an increasingly large presence, not only on designated and nondesignated trails, but also along county roads. Crow Wing County, where I live, is but one example.
If I am supposed to feel sorry for those yearning for such a route, I don’t. Minnesota cannot be all things to all users, or else we’ve become nothing. Law enforcement of ATV use along Crow Wing County roads is nonexistent. The same thing can and will happen with the border-to-border route. The locomotive, as usual, is out of the barn and under a full head of steam. Later, perhaps, the realization sets in that, yes, enforcement is lagging, and the issues are recognized.
About half of my forestry career was spent in Koochiching County. Most roads cannot handle increased volumes of traffic. They are ditch grades with no good base. So another question: Who will pay and maintain? Will it be on a timely basis or once a year?
It’s hard for me to comprehend that the only way a person can relieve stress is to get into a vehicle and drive. I enjoy driving myself, but I know my place, and the backwoods treasure, the peace and solitude, matters to me and so many others immensely. Please pull the plug on this plan and respect what solitude we have left — and it’s not enough.
Dan Wilm, Pequot Lakes, Minn.
The writer is a retired Minnesota Department of Natural Resources forester.
The patterns seems to be to shame and silence women
In response to “How alcohol foils rape cases” (front page, Aug. 12; part of the Star Tribune’s “Denied Justice” series): The instances presented of how law enforcement responded to these sexual-assault cases are atrocious!
As a health care professional, I am required to understand both the concept of consent and what it requires and implies. Also as a health care professional, I am witness to and very clear on the effects of chemical impairment on the ability to give consent. If I receive orders to administer a test or medication to a patient and the patient refuses to accept it — for any reason — then I cannot proceed. If I recognize that the patient’s ability to think clearly is impaired, I am not permitted to seek consent. It is ethically wrong in the moment, and such an act eventually comes to light and threatens the license of the practitioner. The only time when consent is not required is when the risk to life or limb is immediate and the patient’s best interests are the primary concern.
Call me crazy, but I do not think that engaging in sex with a chemically impaired person comes under the heading of selfless action to save a life.
The actions of these investigators and officers of the court appear to be directed more at slut-shaming specifically and terrorizing women into silent and hopeless subjection generally. These are symptoms of a much larger problem — a system made by men to promote their own power at every level and to crush efforts by women to rise to that power with iron efficiency.
Guy Hardy, Minneapolis
The writer is a registered nurse.
Honest analysis supports it: ‘And the worker must make do’
I want to congratulate former Star Tribune reporter Mike Meyers on his excellent analysis of the current state of the economy as it relates to the “average” worker in the U.S. (“And the workers must make do,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 12.) For anyone seeking to understand the roots of the current “populist” movement, this should be required reading. Meyers thoughtfully makes the case that given the consolidation of corporations, corporate buybacks, the evisceration of labor, educational disparities, inefficient/ill-informed trade policy and outright greed, the odds have progressively become stacked against the average worker. The analysis presents, in my opinion, a cogent and actionable argument that to legitimately “make America great again,” we need to reinvigorate the hope that those who apply themselves, get an education, work hard and follow the rules can enjoy that most American of dreams: upward mobility.
Rod Martel, Minneapolis
• • •
According to an adage attributed to the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, and popularized in the U.S. by Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” In an e-mail titled “Our Economy is Booming,” U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen uses statistics to create an impression that is at odds with the conclusions presented in Meyers’ commentary.
Meyers presents compelling evidence that in our “booming economy,” only shareholders and corporate executives are benefiting. For example, he explains that, in a gift to the “well-heeled,” $437 billion of the recent corporate tax cuts went to stock buybacks, “37 times what workers got in one-time bonuses and wage hikes.”
Paulsen’s e-mail states, “Below are just a few of the indicators that show just how strong our economy is, and what they mean for a middle-income family in Minnesota. It’s not always a story the media likes to tell — but it’s good news, and it’s important.” He then goes on to list: “4.1 Percent Growth,” “More Job Openings Than Job Seekers,” and “Small Business Optimism at Record Highs” as proof that the economy is booming.
So far, so good. Disraeli’s adage comes into play, however, with Paulsen’s coup de gras, in which he uses the Employment Cost Index (ECI), an obscure statistic used (as the name implies) to measure the rate of growth in wages paid by employers. Paulsen would have us believe that, because the ECI is growing at the fastest rate since 2008, everything is rosy for hourly workers. This is decidedly untrue. Without factoring in inflation, the ECI means nothing to workers. To imply otherwise contradicts the truth stated in Meyers’ article that: “In the last year, hourly earnings of production workers have gone down, down, down, after adjusting for inflation.”
Much to the chagrin of Rep. Paulsen and his cronies, the “story the media likes to tell” is the truth. The Mike Meyers article was truthful. Paulsen’s e-mail was just statistics.
Craig Laughlin, Plymouth
TEACHER TENURE POLICIES
In the eyes of the beholder
A phrase in D.J. Tice’s Aug 12 column on the judiciary (“Voters, remember: Governors can reshape the high court, fast”) — “claims that teacher tenure policies make it difficult to jettison lousy teachers” — can be turned around to “ teacher tenure policies make it difficult for lousy principals to jettison good teachers.”
Melvyn Magree, Duluth