The patriots’ rallying cry rose to the lips of neighbors gathered for a book group in southwest Minneapolis last Wednesday evening: “taxation without representation.” The citizens of legislative District 61B are currently without representation in the Minnesota House. Former state Rep. Paul Thissen was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to the Minnesota Supreme Court and unceremoniously left the people in his district in the lurch. This includes people who voted for him, contributed to his campaigns and worked to get out the vote for him.
At the close of the session, when the final votes on legislation are counted, we will not be represented. What are the governor and Thissen thinking? Have they joined the ranks of the cynics? As one DFL staff person told us from Thissen’s empty office: “One vote won’t make a difference.”
In our minds, every vote counts. Every citizen counts. This is the foundation of democracy. It seems in this case, private ambition may have trumped the public good.
Carolyn and Peter Hendrixson, Minneapolis
U BOARD OF REGENTS
Advisory Committee’s goal: To serve, not to ‘get cozy’
Although readers may be tiring of the debate over the University of Minnesota regent selection process, I am loath to allow Darrin Rosha the last word, for he omits and twists facts to place a halo on his own head (“In U regent debate, assassination of character [mine]),” editorial counterpoint, April 24).
The regents he slyly claims were discriminated against when applying for re-election were actually ruled out based on their performance. For example, one inappropriately handed out business cards not to facilitate communication, but as a business-getting strategy, and this and similar behaviors were fatal to being recommended for a second term. Another was ineffective, contributing little to discussion of important issues, coming unprepared and appearing uninterested. And so it went. Rosha’s suggestion of racial and gender animus is not only wrong, but an invidious use of diversity principles for personal gain.
When I chaired the Regent Candidate Advisory Council, I never observed RCAC members wanting to please or cozy up to administrators, as Rosha alleges. They were there for one purpose: to serve the university’s needs in the very best way they could. His accusations regarding the RCAC are the kind of behavior Rosha has become known for, viz, making accusations or arguments that are difficult or impossible to disprove or counter.
The attorney the regents hired to investigate the sexual-harassment claim against him cited a former director of music industries at McNally Smith, who “was adamant that Rosha was ‘asked to leave’ in part because of complaints about his behavior towards women.” The investigative report fell short of proving certain sexual-misconduct allegations, due to witnesses asking for anonymity. Nevertheless, it cites numerous problems with his employment, so his statement that he left after “a productive year with no allegations of misconduct” is blatantly untrue. He is simply not to be trusted.
I would call Rosha’s campaign a kind of revenge, but whatever it is, it is unsavory and unwarranted. If the members of the RCAC are willing to put in the long hours they do, for no pay whatsoever, then let’s thank them profusely and ask them to continue their work with the Legislature to perfect the selection process.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
SPRING ICE DANGERS
A heroic rescue for owner and dog — and thoroughly avoidable
To Kerry Casey (“A fine day for golf — but not for a swim, for man or dog,” April 26): I’m glad both you and your dog, Radar, survived your ordeal of the dog’s falling through the ice at a golf course near your St. Paul home. Beyond that, I’m puzzled at your intent in writing a commentary about it.
For one thing, St. Paul has a leash law, which is not just meant for sidewalks. For another, golf courses are not dog parks. We have dog parks for the express purpose of keeping off-leash dogs safe and citizens safe from loose dogs. Nor are golf courses empty in the winter months. St. Paul grooms ski trails on its courses and also hosts snowboarders, snowshoers and sledders. Off-leash dogs are a constant danger to themselves and to quickly moving skiers, boarders and sledders. I’ve seen and experienced this problem too many times. And, as the commentary shows, there are other dangers beyond the obvious ones. Dogs being dogs, it’s up to the owner to keep them safe. That’s better than a heroic rescue.
Anne Kaplan, St. Paul
An endeavor subject to vagaries gets even harder to navigate
I’m no farmer, but I know my neighbors in southern Minnesota are more apt to grow corn or soybeans than avocados. Recent news (“Angry ethanol industry condemns EPA waivers,” April 25) completes a dilemma for these farmers.
The EPA is granting ethanol waivers using a process even the beneficiaries at the American Petroleum Institute describe as “opaque.” Normally, uncertainty about corn would shift farmers toward soybeans. Except that the last round of news from Washington was an equally uncertain trade policy toward China.
In this environment, farmers are going to have a tough time figuring out the balance between corn and soy. They stand to get shafted by Washington either way, on top of all the usual variables like weather.
Meanwhile, they have something else to figure out. They should figure out which congressional candidates support the current administration. Because the administration isn’t supporting the agricultural economy.
Oh, and about those avocados? We import them from Mexico in exchange for corn. (More corn!) But that’s in doubt now, too, with rumblings about NAFTA. Another reason to vote for calmer heads.
Max Hailperin, St. Peter, Minn.
But they got to the playoffs. (But it’s so frequently a letdown.)
While I applaud an April 27 letter writer for supporting the Minnesota Lynx women’s basketball team, I would like to point out it has been a good past few months for Minnesota sports. While it is true none of the big four won a championship, this is the first time ever that all big four sports teams based in the Twin Cities — the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild — made it to playoff rounds within a one-year span. So while the letter writer states and sees futility, I state and see a good year and optimism for the upcoming seasons for all four teams as well as the upcoming season for the Lynx.
William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul
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Minnesota Magic. Since 1960 the number of seasons a men’s team has tried to win a championship is 187. Twins, 57; Vikings, 57; North Stars, 26; Wild, 18; Timberwolves, 29. And in 187 tries we have won two championships, thanks Twins. Once every nearly 100 seasons, we get to cheer. This is how much we have suffered. The Vikings may not be at fault, though — they are jinxed. But I love how we finished this past year at New York, Philly, Winnipeg and Houston (so far). In the final game or series, we did not show up. Kind of embarrassing.
Jim Valentini, West St. Paul