LIBRARIES IN FLUX
Post-merger, concern for quality of collections
I am a longtime patron of and volunteer at the public libraries of Minneapolis. Changes in the library system since the merger with Hennepin County have become more and more disturbing: The collections at community libraries are shrinking drastically; the demands on staff are increasing as patrons from throughout the county request books from Minneapolis; older books are being eliminated (apparently because these same suburban patrons don't want to receive copies of books that may actually appear to have been read).
More emphasis is placed on popular titles, while older books (even those with strong records in terms of circulation) are being taken out of collections. We are assured that all the books we want will be available -- though they may have to be requested via interlibrary loan from another state. This appalls me, but apparently neither patrons nor librarians themselves (whom the administration actively attempts to silence) have any recourse. I urge anyone who loves libraries to make their voices heard.
CHRISTINE MACK GORDON,
Health care legislation
Too long, too broad and too 'we know best'
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to "reform" our nation's health care system. It's not necessary to read a single page to know it's bad law. It's only necessary to know that it's 2,000 pages long. The document founding this country, Bill of Rights included, is less than eight pages long. That is a good benchmark for judging law.
There is no question that our health care system needs change: Too many people lack insurance, cost is a burden for many and too much of our nation's GDP is spent on health care. This grab bag of goodies written largely by special interests solves none of the above. The answer is legislation that focuses narrowly on addressing these three issues. Provisions that require labeling on vending machines and federal programs to teach parents how to raise their kids are the work of "we know best" congressional leaders.
Let us pray -- is that permitted in the House bill? -- that the Senate leaders have more sense..
ARNOLD RASMUSSEN, BURNSVILLE
I hope that all of you who support government-run health care don't get sick. Why do you trust government to do basically anything efficiently? It can't run a train properly (Amtrak) and clearly overspent on the cash for clunkers deal. If this measure does pass, in a couple of years you'll be scratching your heads as to what went wrong and will blame it on something else without looking yourselves in the mirror.
Liberalism is wrecking America. I say, leave America if you don't like it here. Quit dragging the rest of us down in order to gain your socialist and communist (Van Jones) ideas. There are plenty of places for you to go. I hear Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro need some new residents. I am not happy where this country is heading, and I pray to God that everything will be all right. I am 47 years of age, and I feel badly for generations behind me!
VINCENT HARLAN, CHAMPLIN
tragedy at fort hood
Don't compound it by shooting from the hip
A recent letter described President Obama's response to the shootings at Fort Hood as "wimpy." What would the writer have preferred? That we look around for another Muslim country to start bombing?
DAVID CARPENTER, MINNEAPOLIS
Ask Colorado voters about their amendment
Rep. Keith Downey's "Jobs task force is stirring the wrong pot" (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 10) asserts that state government "has been growing twice as fast as the economy," but by what measure?
In fact, the portion of personal income we invest in services and infrastructure through state and local governments has fallen -- from around 17.5 percent throughout the 1990s to about 15.5 percent in 2008.
Downey also asks us to consider how much smaller our budget would be if only "spending had grown at the healthy rate of inflation plus population growth." Colorado already tried that. Voters and the Republican governor who'd enacted a constitutional amendment limiting budget growth finally cried for a halt to such "healthy" spending restrictions before the Rocky Mountain state hit rock bottom.
Finally, Downey claims "businesses are voting with their feet" because more businesses moved out of Minnesota than moved in. But studies consistently show business migration is a trivial factor in job loss or creation. Using the database Downey cites, Minnesota's net job loss from relocations was only -0.3 percent of the state's total jobs, compared with -0.1 percent for low-tax Florida.
Downey's suggestions about the discussions Minnesotans ought to be having about outcomes are much better and more constructive than his economic analysis.
CHARLIE QUIMBY, GOLDEN VALLEY;
SENIOR FELLOW, GROWTH & JUSTICE
Maroon and gold
Arrests are giving the
U of M a black eye
It seems to me we should examine the contracts of Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith and football coach Tim Brewster. There may be a clause offering a bonus to the coach with the most player arrests per annum.
JAMES M. DUNN, EDINA