The July 27 letter beginning with the line “[e]very CEO in Minnesota should be ashamed” was full of fake news. For instance, the writer says that “Best Buy’s lowest-paid employee has to pay the same price for a banana, for gas, for a car, for health care and other expenses as the CEO.” That’s demonstrably false. Corporate CEOs pay much more for their fresh, organic bananas than those brown-tinged things the lowest-paid Best Buy employee can afford. The CEOs pay much more for the high-octane gas they use in their high-end autos than that used by the lowest-paid Best Buy employee in her 10-year-old car. And how ridiculous it is to say that the lowest-paid Best Buy employee with extraordinary high insurance deductibles — assuming he can even afford insurance — pays the same as the CEOs do for their gold-plated coverage. Really, it’s the Star Tribune that should be ashamed for printing such letters attacking those who simply are trying to make America great again, letters that set up a false equivalence between the lowest-paid Best Buy employee and those who, as Tolstoy said, will do anything to help the poor — except get off their backs.
Dean Karau, Burnsville
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It’s interesting and not surprising to read the reactions in the July 27 letters to the July 22 article “Calculating the gap” about CEO compensation. What’s missing is any recognition of the “skill gap.”
CEOs generally have invisible skills like vision — the ability to see the invisible that enables them to create, scale and manage great enterprises that employ thousands of people. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Roger Penske, to name a few.
We don’t hear an outcry about an $84 million quarterback or a gazillion-dollar LeBron James type, because their skills are visible (and we know we can’t do what they do), yet some people think “anyone” can be a CEO.
Jim Peterson, Gold Canyon, Ariz.
Reporters uncovered it — but policymakers, officials couldn’t?
Nate Gove, director of the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, is quoted as saying he knew nothing of the ordeals of Minneapolis rape victims until “I read it in the paper.” (“Cop board to address rape case failings,” July 27.) Proof again (remember the exposé of elder abuse by the Star Tribune?) of how important in-depth investigative newspaper reporting is.
Patricia Calvert, Rochester
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Administrators, policymakers and prosecutors express shock and surprise at the abysmal lack of protection afforded women by the criminal-justice system. If news reporters can readily access this data, what barriers other than lack of concern prevent those responsible for oversight from having it?
Richard DeBeau, Northfield
Editor’s note: The first part of the Star Tribune’s special report “Denied Justice” (“When rape is reported and nothing happens”) appeared last Sunday, with a follow-up (“Repeat rapists slip by police”) on Thursday. Typically, we set aside letters to the editor about articles that appear on Sundays — our largest-circulation day — for the following Sunday, so that they may be seen by a similarly sized audience. Look for several such letters — along with a response from the Star Tribune Editorial Board — in Sunday’s paper.
Economic incentives are the wrong way to prime the pipeline
In reference to the July 23 editorial “Antibiotics pipeline at risk of running dry,” one statement deserves more attention: “[Infectious-disease expert Michael] Osterholm rightly points that solutions beyond economic research incentives are required.”
The big pharmaceutical companies are already gouging the public with their excessive pricing. The U.S. pays twice as much for drugs as do other industrialized countries. Research and development is the reason given for high drug prices; however, 80 percent of research is funded publicly, so taxpayers are paying for the research. Most drug company research is “in process,” which involves mergers and acquisitions of smaller companies to market their drugs at exorbitant prices. Lobbying by Big Pharma is intense — two lobbyists for every congressman, Republican and Democrat alike. The big drug companies don’t need more money. They need less greed.
Dr. Carol Krush, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired family practice physician.
Why should Rep. Erik Paulsen support it? Why any Republican?
Really, in America A.O. — after Obama — I see the following problems facing any GOP member support for the question of Southwest light rail:
• The estimated cost of more than $2 billion has never been assessed vs. its economic benefit for Minnesota voters.
• The question of support for the line has never been put to a vote.
• The ongoing operating deficits are unknown, but existing light-rail-line costs have run about $100 million per year.
Why would any GOP supporter come out in favor of a huge spending project, without economic justification, that has only the (nonvoter) support of unelected officials who believe they know better than we do?
Not going to happen, I predict.
Dennis L. Sellke, Minnetonka
THE MODERN LANDSCAPE
How the evolution of a parcel of land reflects our times
In 1956, my father bought a 62-acre farm in Eagan for $12,000 — the land that is now the home of the Minnesota Vikings.
He was a sculptor and founded the art department at Macalester College. My mother, also an artist, was one of the pioneers of modern dance. We three children are artists.
My parents were stimulating and exciting people. They attracted well-known poets, writers, scientists and artists such as Stephen Spender and Frederick Manfred, and even the futurist Buckminster Fuller. Even though I was still too young to understand all of the conversations that occurred during the many gatherings that took place, the air was crackling with ideas and creativity.
My father built a studio for himself, and even a bronze foundry, from which came the bronze figure “The Source,” which stands in Rice Park in St. Paul.
What has happened to our old place is emblematic of our current culture. The old farm has been flattened beyond recognition — the little hills with the oak trees, the ponds, all gone. Artists of every stripe have scattered to the four winds. There is now an ever-diminishing call for their work. Independent thought is discouraged, while conformity is applauded, all as a result of the deadly crush of capitalism and the arrival of the digital age.
And there on the old farm sits a billion-dollar sports complex. A perfect tribute to our times.
Michael Hauser, Minneapolis
Boom, like that
As if life in downtown Minneapolis isn’t tough enough this summer, what with food trucks careening through the jam-packed streets looking for available curbs and outlaw scooter riders taking over the sidewalks, we now are under siege from the shelling of the 5th Street parking garage.
Hour upon hour, the building is pounded by enemy forces, spilling lattes across the Hennepin County Government Center basin. The attacks began without warning earlier this summer and, at first, many thought it was just rough surf on Lake of the Isles.
Like the London blitz and candlelit Packer game watch parties, an underground of intelligence has formed as the relentless pounding has taken a toll on the downtown. Rumors that the city would issue Beats by Dre headphones to all office workers have sadly proven to be untrue.
Those of us in the line of fire can only hope the predictions of peace talks with St. Paul are true and this can all be brought to an end.
Dan Callahan, Minneapolis
Editor’s note: The garage at 501 4th Av. S. is being demolished to make way for the city’s new public-service building.