I recently retired after over 30 years working in probation, the last 10 of which were working with repeat offenders in a DWI court. While I applaud any effort by our legislators to address the chronic drunken-driving offender (“A plan to stop repeat drunk drivers,” March 15), I take issue with state Rep. Dario Anselmo’s logic in proposing a 10-year (or lifetime) driver’s license revocation for these repeat offenders. Drivers who lose their licenses, especially for “life,” have very little incentive to change behavior and, as anyone who has worked with this population knows, the majority of these offenders will choose to drive illegally without a license.
A more productive approach would include court-ordered chemical-dependency treatment, intensive probation supervision with frequent testing for alcohol or drug use, and mandatory ignition interlock. These strategies take money, of course, but they have been proven to be much more effective than just hoping that the chronic drunken driver with a revoked license will not get back behind the wheel.
Bob Roeglin, Richfield
With Bolton in Trump’s ear, Congress must step up
With the imminent appointment of John Bolton (“Ultra-hawk named security adviser,” March 23), it is imperative that Congress reassert its constitutional authority by enacting the Preventing Preemptive War in North Korea Act (S. 2047/H.R. 4837). Without limiting the president’s authority to repel an attack on the U.S. or to rescue American citizens, the bill prohibits spending government funds on a pre-emptive attack on North Korea absent an imminent threat.
Such a bill might not be as necessary if we had a normal president who adhered to long-standing norms of international diplomacy and who did not engage in recklessly bellicose rhetoric, but we do not. And now he will be advised by a man who has publicly stated that a pre-emptive attack on North Korea may be justifiable even if there is no imminent threat to the U.S. Rather than restraining the president’s impetuous behavior, Bolton seems likely to encourage it.
The Constitution explicitly gives Congress the power to declare war, and to appropriate money. Congress should reassert its authority to do both by withholding money from any pre-emptive warring by the president.
Paul M. Landskroener, Minneapolis
Enbridge truly cares about Minnesota landowners
I am an advocate for landowners. I was raised on a farm in northern Minnesota and have lived here all my life. In the late 1800s, my great-grandfather homesteaded near Floodwood, where he worked as a surveyor and helped form the first Floodwood town board. My grandfather and father both owned farms in Kelsey and logged in the area. They enjoyed the outdoors very much, including gardening, hunting, fishing and playing horseshoes. This love for the outdoors was handed down to me and the rest of my family. The Whiteface River runs near where I was raised. We appreciate its beauty and will never take for granted what it means to our family and others in the community.
During my 30-year career, I have continued to live and work in northern Minnesota. I have worked with thousands of landowners on local conservation projects, reconstructing St. Louis County roads and bridges and maintaining existing Enbridge pipelines and building new lines. My personal and professional priority has always been to be an advocate for the landowners along our rights of way.
Since 2014, I have worked on the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project as the manager of land services. I provide oversight of the landowner agreements for the project. Developing and maintaining positive, long-term relationships is extremely important to me and Enbridge. This effort starts early in the project and continues through land-rights acquisition, construction, restoration after construction is complete, and ongoing pipeline operations and maintenance. These relationships are fostered through face-to-face meetings, phone calls, mailings, public meetings and timely responses to concerns.
In response to “We see where Enbridge directs its money. (Not to landowners.)” (Readers Write, March 22): I am confident that the Enbridge process to compensate private landowners, which is determined by market studies for land types based on location, is more than fair. It is our goal to reach amicable agreements with all landowners. So far, Enbridge has acquired approximately 94 percent of the private easements necessary to build the Line 3 Replacement Project.
The evidence supports the idea that the closer you get to the pipeline route, the more support there is of Enbridge, and I believe that is in part because of the value we place on operating safely and the strong relationships we have established with landowners.
John McKay, Duluth
MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS
Another Republican policy plan that defies evidence and logic
Thanks for Lori Sturdevant’s March 18 column pointing out Republicans’ latest attempt to slander and demean Medicaid recipients by insisting that they work for their benefits (“Ending poverty is behind schedule. This wouldn’t help.”). For other examples of why the workfare approach is counterproductive, she might direct readers to Derek Thompson’s article in the March 8, 2018, issue of the Atlantic magazine, which soundly shreds the poorly aging meme that welfare recipients are lazy.
Thompson cites multiple recent studies across several countries, noting that, in the U.S., “Anti-poverty programs can work wonders for their youngest beneficiaries … . American adults whose families had access to prenatal coverage under Medicaid have lower rates of obesity, higher rates of high-school graduation, and higher incomes as adults than those from similar households in states without Medicaid, according to a 2015 paper from the economists Sarah Miller and Laura R. Wherry.”
Perhaps Minnesota’s Republican Party should be more forthright and simply adopt a new motto: “Arbeit macht frei.”
William Beyer, St. Louis Park
• • •
Republicans don’t want people to game the Medicaid system. According to the Star Tribune (“Medicaid work mandate could end up costing state,” March 19), their Medicaid bill with a work requirement “would exempt those seeking substance abuse treatment but not treatment for mental illness.” That combination of stipulations clearly invites gaming. Good grief.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
St. Peter thanks those who came to its aid 20 years ago next week
Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the March 29, 1998, tornado that struck St. Peter, Minn., and the community is holding a commemoration event. We hope to use the event to remember what we went through and to celebrate the strength of our community, but maybe more important, to thank our neighbors from all over Minnesota who came to our aid in the days, weeks and months after.
Whether you helped Gustavus Adolphus College, or the hospital, or one of the hundreds of families that were in some way affected, we want you to know that you made a difference, and that it still matters today. The story of St. Peter is not just our story, it is a story about all of you, and how during the most difficult of times our greater community comes together.
St. Peter has grown and flourished since the tornado, and that would not have been possible without the assistance provided by so many groups, organizations and people like you. We will never forget your valuable response, and we will work hard to continue to “pay it forward” when other Minnesota communities are in need.
On behalf of the St. Peter City Council, city staff and the citizens of our community, thank you!
Todd Prafke, St. Peter, Minn.
The writer is St. Peter’s city administrator.