As a 25-year-plus homeowner in Minneapolis, paying enormous taxes, I take issue with the recent articles about Minneapolis potentially taking over the shoveling of sidewalks after snowfalls. Has anyone driven down a Minneapolis street a few days after a snowstorm? I have asked repeatedly if the snowplows are putting the plow all the way to the ground. Snowpack and glare ice are issues on every side street. One of the only times I was in an accident, I turned from the nicely plowed Xerxes onto a side street, doing about 5 miles per hour. I hit ice and hit another car. How can, a few blocks away, Edina and St. Louis Park not have these issues?
For our taxpayer dollars, we are not getting decent plowing, and if these same people took over clearing our sidewalks, our lives would be in more danger.
Ben Haines, Minneapolis
Myron Frans, whom Walz has reappointed, has been stellar
Regarding “Walz leans on experience for first round of hires” (Dec. 19): The unsung hero of Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration for the remarkable recovery in Minnesota’s financial performance has been Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans. Bringing the state back to surpluses over the past eight years is a legacy that Dayton deserves much praise for, as does the man behind the scene. Good for Gov.-elect Tim Walz for reappointing Frans!
Pat Davies, Minneapolis
To change the equation for victims, reevaluate the statute of limitations
It’s time to change our state laws governing sexual assault (“Report calls for rape law changes,” front page, Dec. 19). When we see survivors suffer a lifetime of trauma, why do we give perpetrators an “out” by having a statute of limitations on rape?
Now that police have new protocols on responding to sexual assault, it’s time to acknowledge and reset a law that is out of step with reality. Our current law penalizes victims and favors predators. Who in the Legislature will step up to this challenge?
Mary Jane Miller, Minnetonka
Hospital mirrors its community’s sentiments on law enforcement
The Dec. 15 front-page article about Hennepin Healthcare’s plans to replace sheriff deputies with security guards (“County hospital cuts ties with sheriff”) is emblematic of deep community concerns about the role of law enforcement with individuals requiring health care services. If Hennepin Healthcare is asking to replace the sheriff’s services, the question should be what can he do better to continue to provide the services rather than questioning Hennepin Healthcare’s concerns.
Outgoing Sheriff Rich Stanek and his supporters use scare tactics and question CEO Jon Pryor’s leadership of the hospital; Pryor is a physician with an MBA and a degree in physics, is deeply committed to the community and is in charge of a sophisticated hospital system whose primary mission is to save lives and make people better.
The fear-based, insensitive approach to keeping the peace is exactly what communities across our state are clamoring about and trying to change. My perspective is that Stanek lost his bid for re-election in November for precisely this reason.
I see two distinctions between what is going on with the hospital and the concern in the rest of the community. First, elected officials are speaking up publicly with respect to the hospital contract rather than the silence they offer each time concerns of police brutality arise in our neighborhoods. The second difference is that Hennepin Hospital has a choice about who protects those they care about; we don’t.
Until law enforcement recognizes, admits and faces ownership of problems with police conduct and use of force, nothing will change.
Don Amorosi, Wayzata
• • •
Dr. Jon Pryor brings a confusing array of logic to his proposal to change the security situation at Hennepin Healthcare. His intent to de-escalate a situation while proposing an armed security force doesn’t make sense. Unarmed security personnel already must rely on de-escalation techniques. An unlicensed police officer in the form of an armed security officer sets up a difficult dynamic in an escalating incident. Rather, Hennepin Healthcare would be better served to keep security officers in place and rely on them for the initial incident. The Minneapolis Police Department is close by — if needed.
Pryor’s statement that police officers “focus on arresting people” is not fact-based. His assertion that an armed security officer would be less likely to shoot staff/patients implies there would be an alternate deadly force statute in place. Pryor’s proposals reveal an unrealistic view of police work that will put Hennepin Healthcare at greater risk.
Joseph Polunc, Cologne
The writer is a retired law enforcement officer.
Saudi Arabia: It’s a tough call — what would you do?
While there isn’t agreement on the details, most agree that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It seems everybody but the president wants to impose serious penalties on the Saudis.
This is a complex situation. Saudi Arabia is a stabilizing influence in the region, and it’s an enormous support for the U.S. in Afghanistan and against Iran. Also, despite the Saudis’ reckless actions in Yemen, withdrawing our support there damages Yemen’s ousted legitimate government that is fighting to regain power from the radical Islamist Houthi government. Others of our Arab allies, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are also fighting alongside Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Yemen is a developing humanitarian tragedy.
Can we isolate Saudi Arabia from the global economy? That’s impossible, given its prominence in oil exports and its huge cash reserves. Many countries depend on Saudi oil and investments. And if we rejected, even temporarily, future dealings with Saudi Arabia, you can be sure Russia would fill that void.
This isn’t a simple case of choosing the moral course. Sometimes the apparent moral alternative has unintended disastrous consequences.
It’s a tough call for many. What would you do?
Steve Bakke, Edina
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
State cannot be complacent; extend provider tax, then …
State lawmakers should definitely not “sit tight” on the health care of Minnesotans (“Minnesota needs to react to newest challenge to the ACA,” editorial, Dec. 17). My daughter and her family have depended on public options for medical insurance. She and her husband are hardworking and self-employed. When they were first starting out, they received Medical Assistance briefly, then were able to purchase MinnesotaCare for themselves and their two children. Now they purchase coverage through MNsure.
As Minnesotans, we passed the provider tax to protect and expand health care because we know how important it is to invest in the health of our communities. This is no time to put our health care in jeopardy. Extending the provider tax should be the first thing lawmakers do this session, and then it’s time to start moving toward health care for all of us — no exceptions.
Dolores Voorhees, St. Paul