Archbishop's apology isn't persuasive

On Sunday, Archbishop John Nienstedt told reporters, "When I arrived here seven years ago, one of the first things I was told was that this whole issue of clerical sex abuse had been taken care of and I didn't have to worry about it."

Who would tell him that? And even if someone did, why on Earth would he believe it? For decades, child sexual abuse by priests has been front-page news worldwide. Billions of dollars have been paid to thousands of victims. Some dioceses have gone bankrupt over penalties for these shamefully common crimes. But he was told there was no problem here, so he never worried? I don't believe it.

I believe that the archbishop feels the need to cover himself, and that he thinks we are gullible enough to buy his story.



Which to fear more: crime or profiling?

The recent uptick in violent crime around the University of Minnesota campus underscores more than just a "crime wave." For weeks, the news has been conspicuously void of information about suspects. This pertinent information has now been unveiled.

But with the revelation that "crime alerts" have specified black suspect(s), the specter of racial profiling has entered in. I would have thought that by now we would have achieved adult status, capable of separating important information from racial profiling. But consider that one spokeswoman said that the race of a suspect should be kept out of a crime alert ("U alerts raise fears of racial profiling," Dec. 14). The police might as well say the suspect was a human being!

In a culture in which we are taught to embrace our diversity, we should realize that every race has some bad actors. Crime alerts not only advise of potential problems but also can lead to the relay of relevant information back to police. The introduction of "racial profiling" concerns may delay apprehension and create additional victims.

Is that something we are willing to accept?

JOE POLUNC, Cologne, Minn.


It seems we're all a bit complicit

At least twice in my life, I have stood small in the Boundary Waters wilderness while it changed my life. For me, it is the most sacred of spaces.

Yet here I am in Minneapolis, writing this on my laptop in front of our flat-screen TV, cellphone at my hip, at 68 years ever more grateful for the advances of medical technology. How many other sacred places have already been stripped of their mineral wealth to grant me these benefits?

I find it difficult to get to next week without unanticipated surprises. Are we fooling ourselves even to imagine we can anticipate 200 years hence? The conflict is not between PolyMet and the wilderness I love. It is between me and myself.

JEFF MOSES, Minneapolis

• • •

Besides the hurdle of estimating the amount of financial assurance needed to cover widespread and virtually unknowable damage from decades of mining pollution, there is another huge problem: the fact that the money will no longer be there when we need it.

One need look no further than the tobacco settlement money to realize this is true. It was supposed to cover future stop-smoking campaigns and provide help for those who wanted to quit; the bulk of that money was sacrificed at the altar of "no-new-taxes" budgeting. Once it's gone, it's gone forever, much like our pristine northern forests will be.



Rate hikes diverge from wage increases

The recent decision by Xcel Energy to increase its rates twice in a year deserves further scrutiny by state authorities and investors, but more importantly, by the consumers of Xcel Energy services who will be forced to pay this increase ("Another Xcel rate hike OK'd," Dec. 13). In fact, Xcel has increased rates six times in the last eight years for a cumulative average of 4.18 percent per year. Such a pace of increases is outrageous and should not be tolerated.

According to labor market statistics for 2013, the average increase to Minnesota base salary and hourly workers was 2.8 percent. In 2012, it was 2.7 percent. This appears to be a trend for American corporations and municipal entities to increase the cost of their goods and services well above the cost of average wages. Such a trend is not sustainable for the average family. Period.

According to Xcel, the increase is tied to capital spending to improve the Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants. But, like other public companies, Xcel ought to consider raising capital by selling bonds, preferred stock or common stock, rather than gouging customers year after year.

Those willing to support average families should voice their opinion and stand against these unjustified rate increases by contacting the Public Utilities Commission or Xcel Energy directly, immediately.



Theater is one way; volunteering is another

I applaud the loyal elderly widow who values Guthrie Theater plays as an "opportunity to, for a brief moment, enter the lives of others and share their ups and downs" (Readers Write, Dec. 14). I value the opportunity to do this in the real world through volunteering at Community Emergency Services food shelf in Minneapolis. My advice to all of us: Find a volunteer job that will stretch your capacity to love and change not only your world but those you come alongside of. Make it a long-term commitment, not just a once-a-year holiday thing. No need to buy a season ticket — the only cost is your time and your heart.

KARIN OLSON, Minneapolis