Reading the Nov. 13 commentary by Dick Schwartz on deer hunting (“The evolution of a nonhunter’s thinking”), I pondered: Why did he even write that piece?
As a lifetime hunter (who now has passed on hunting to my 13-year-old), do we really care why a Mr. Schwartz finds justification in deer hunting? He should have to look no further than Article 13, Section 12 of the Minnesota Constitution: “Hunting and fishing and the taking of game and fish are a valued part of our heritage that shall be forever preserved for the people and shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good.”
Forever preserved — important enough for the Constitution, and something I value sharing and passing down to my kids and hopefully their kids. It is not merely for sport, as Schwartz alludes to. Many rely on this as part of how they earn a living (more than $1.4 billion spent), feed their families and teach valuable life lessons, and that means more than pondering an evolving thought from a nonhunter.
David Anderson, Lonsdale, Minn.
MINNEAPOLIS CITY GOVERNMENT
What will new mayor achieve with this council, structure?
Jacob Frey appears eager to embrace the economic and demographic forces that, if encouraged, could transform Minneapolis into a world-class city. The newly elected City Council, however, has a very different vision for Minneapolis. The few lonely voices of moderation on the council have been replaced by strident zealots determined to push their radical agendas without regard to facts or consequences. The war on commerce and the focus on fringe issues irrelevant to the competent management of the city will likely get much worse. The only hope to save Minneapolis from self-destruction is more state legislation to pre-empt ridiculous ordinances, like that enacted this year to stop the plastic-bag ban.
Jerry Anderson, Eagan
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Now, after the election, as made clear by the fine article on the hustle for the job of City Council president (“Campaign for Mpls. council’s top spot begins,” Nov. 17), the Minneapolis cheerleader mayor’s job isn’t all that potent. Considering the extensive coverage of the mayoral forums leading up to the election, this fact is not well-known, nor is the significance understood. Minneapolis has a weak-mayor, strong-council organization, period.
The heralder of change should be the mayor, and the council be the wiser, slower-moving branch of government. This would protect the taxpayers from radical excursions in policy and spending, the perfect example being how a majority of council members slashed Mayor Betsy Hodges’ budget in 2014. Aside from being the city’s chief apologist, the mayor has two responsibilities: Present a budget to the City Council to start the process, and select a police chief (but no other department heads).
Bruce A. Lundeen, Minneapolis
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In the recent article on City Hall politics, the Star Tribune has fallen into the trap of using journalistic shorthand to describe Minneapolis’ complicated municipal structure. In its account of the race to succeed Barbara Johnson as City Council president, the newspaper uses the term “weak” to describe the office of mayor, soon to be occupied by Jacob Frey. But that adjective oversimplifies the distribution of power and influence in City Hall.
It’s true that Frey will not be on an equal footing with his St. Paul counterpart, Melvin Carter, in terms of formal mayoral powers. In St. Paul, Carter will be a traditional “strong” mayor, with the ability to hire and fire city department heads. In Minneapolis, Frey will have similar but more nuanced powers. He will be able to nominate department heads to the city’s Executive Committee, a mixed mayor-council leadership group. The committee, in turn, will refer the mayor’s recommendation to the full, 13-member City Council, which will vote the mayor’s recommendation up or down. Outgoing Mayor Betsy Hodges followed that process when she appointed Medaria Arradondo to succeed Janeé Harteau as police chief. Neither the term “weak” nor “strong” accurately describes the office of mayor in Minneapolis. From here on in, “hybrid” might be a better adjective.
Iric Nathanson, Minneapolis
The writer’s biography of former Minneapolis Mayor Don Fraser will be published in 2018.
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On a recent evening, my mother and I attended the ballet performance of “Swan Lake” at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. On our way out of town in the dark and rain, I failed to see the numerous large potholes that make up S. 8th Street. My car blew two tires, requiring me to have it towed to the suburb where I live.
I enjoy coming to Minneapolis and enjoying the many restaurants, sporting venues and cultural activities downtown. But the condition of the roads is terrible and an embarrassment. I read in the Nov. 15 paper (“Super Bowl will limit LRT access”) that they are planning on building 35 more bus shelters to host people displaced from LRT on Super Bowl Sunday. May I suggest some of that money would be better spent on fixing the roads downtown, or maybe that the Super Bowl Host Committee should have some of the crew standing by to direct drivers to safer streets — if there are any?
Julie Lee, Apple Valley
‘No law should embrace more than one subject.’ So …
Now that the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled to uphold Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto (front page, Nov. 17), can someone explain why the GOP-led Legislature is exempt from adhering to Minnesota’s Constitution? Specifically, the Republican Party of both houses colluded to submit spending bills in defiance and disregard of Article 4, Section 17, which states “No law shall embrace more that one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.” This was, after all, the cause of the problem and the governor’s action. Elected officials must be accountable to the laws and mandates they enact; otherwise, why should the people they serve ever be held accountable? Didn’t these legislators pledge allegiance to uphold our state’s Constitution?
John Atkins, Stillwater
U.S. SENATE SPECIAL ELECTION
Alabama voters should pick who they want; let’s respect that
The voice of the people of Alabama shall be heard in early December when they elect a person to represent them in the U.S. Senate. I will respect their decision, as should all Americans. Who better than the citizens of Alabama knows the candidates running for office? One also must assume that the candidate is aware of the needs and wants of the electorate and would as a senator work as best he could to fulfill those promises made during the campaign. Admittedly, history and also dreams of the future of America may vary among people and states, but isn’t that what America and democracy are all about?
Daniel J. Winter, Edina
Phyllis Kahn is on to something with proposal to require a bond
I highly support the Nov. 14 opinion by former state Rep. Phyllis Kahn about supporting both mitigation and prevention for the PolyMet project by requiring “a bond issued by a reputable institution like Lloyd’s of London.” Let’s see how a reputable institution that is familiar with assessing risk puts a price tag on the potential PolyMet cleanup.
Let the final decision include PolyMet’s ability to provide this assurance.
Pat Maloney, Minnetonka
Gift of $50 million to St. Thomas is responsible wealth in action
As we live in a time of increased income disparity, the GHR Foundation’s generous gift to the University of St. Thomas (“St. Thomas gets a record $50M gift,” Nov. 16) is a reminder that a large amount of accumulated wealth has the potential to lift up the less fortunate. But that “hand up” can only happen when the wealthy recognize the great responsibility that comes with that wealth — a responsibility Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst clearly understood.
Paul Kaminski, Golden Valley