Women should have a very serious problem with Hillary Clinton. As a female and a lifelong Democrat, I lost all respect for Hillary during her husband’s first presidential campaign when she stated on “60 Minutes”: “You know, I’m not sitting here [like] some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette” even as she was dismissive of her husband’s sexual escapades, going back to his days at Yale. And she claims to support women? The issue here isn’t about Bill Clinton’s secret sex life. It is about Hillary supporting it. She claims to be a feminist and an advocate of women. Where was she for Monica Lewinsky and all the other females her husband preyed upon?

Add to that her record as a war hawk, her cozy relationship with Wall Street, her problems using e-mail properly and other issues, I don’t know why anyone — female or male — would support Hillary for president.

Sue Rohland, St. Paul

• • •

I don’t know if I will vote for Hillary Clinton, but I do know my decision will not be based on what her husband did, or what she did (or didn’t) do about it.

I, too, was conflicted about President Bill Clinton until I decided that his spousal unfaithfulness was not my concern. What mattered was if he was doing his best to fulfill his campaign promises. His marital promises were between him and his wife.

Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate, should be considered on the merits of her public policy positions. She reacted to her husband’s accusers as many wives would: to trust and protect him. We all have blind spots where our loved ones are concerned; contradictions abound in most of our lives.

Other presidents have had affairs, or slaves, or children with slaves or worse. We now have a more complete picture of their private actions, which may diminish their public accomplishments, or not. But we build on their successes and learn from their weaknesses, and society progresses.

We voters need to evaluate the candidates on their public discourse and deeds and determine who will be the best leader and representative of our country. And vote accordingly.

Karen Lilley, St. Paul

 

NICOLLET MALL

All-concrete may save money, but it has more important costs

To the Jan. 22 letter writer who suggests that we use concrete for the street and sidewalks in the financially troubled Nicollet Mall project: We reside in the City of Lakes. The Land of 10,000 Lakes. Right?

Then, let’s be good stewards of our water resources and consider the consequences of water runoff from these proposed flat surfaces. If we pave the new mall, the runoff goes directly to the sewer system and then to our lakes.

Why not create a plan that uses permeable surfaces to allow the natural filtration of the runoff before it arrives in our beautiful lakes, creeks and rivers? If not, be ready for more polluted waters, algae blooms and the closure of your favorite swimming beach.

Perhaps the original plan included pavers for a reason. Let’s think about it.

Roberta Becker, Minneapolis

 

MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS

Any ‘my way is the only way’ criticism is easily dismissed

Lynnell Mickelsen’s Jan. 21 commentary (“Righting our schools’ ships, for students’ sake”) plays all of her well-thumbed cards. She runs through the deck of her bona fides, making sure we know she is a liberal democratic “hack” (at least this time she didn’t bring in her conservative childhood) who nonetheless has a clear perspective on what is wrong with the system, which is, incidentally, run by other liberal hacks. And, of course, she plays the trump card: that her plan will serve the best interests of the students. The notion that all of the other players — politicians, administrators, school board directors with conflicting points of view, teachers, contractors who serve or sell products to the schools — might also think they are focused on what is best for students does not matter once someone has claimed the “my idea is what is best for the students” banner.

In my iteration of being a liberal, I believe that rights are indivisible. That is, I cannot secure the rights of one group (say “students”) by undercutting the rights of another group, perhaps the rights of civil servants to bargain for labor contracts or textbook manufacturers to sell at market prices. When Mickelsen dismisses the democratic process by assuming that voters either skip the school board selection or robotically choose endorsed candidates, she is proposing that what is best — not just for students, but for all of us — is to let better-informed, better-qualified people choose how we run our schools. The reason our school system is such a mess, she insists, is because we are trying to run things like a democracy. A good discussion, that.

Thomas R. Odendahl, Minneapolis

 

FETAL-TISSUE RESEARCH

Science has saved lives; is that what opponents want to forgo?

A Jan. 16 commentary signed by numerous Republican legislators called for an end to fetal-tissue research at the University of Minnesota.

Many scientists have pointed out that it is morally wrong to oppose research that has saved millions of lives, often of children and even unborn children. The rubella (German measles) vaccine was developed in Europe using cell lines from aborted fetuses. Before the use of this vaccine, German measles probably caused 5,000 spontaneous abortions annually.

Currently, fetal tissue research is being used to develop new ways of treating AIDS, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, cancer, macular degeneration and, most recently, Parkinson’s.

I hope that in the interests of moral purity, each of the signers of that commentary will refuse any treatments developed from this research for themselves and their family members and even their constituents.

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis

The writer is a former genetics researcher.

 

BICYCLES AND CARS

Whatever flaws riders may have, drivers match them and more

NPR, looking at crashes of bikes with autos, found that in 51 percent to 83.5 percent of them, motorists were at fault. Certainly riders need to behave better, but that isn’t the cure-all that many suggest. A Jan. 20 letter writer concluded that bicycle safety is “in the hands on the handlebars,” while ignoring statistics showing that it’s mostly in the hands on the steering wheels. The writer suggested limiting riders’ access to roads because drivers are inattentive. His euphemism for inattentive was “not primarily looking for bicycles.” He suggested further that operators’ licenses would make a difference for riders. They haven’t for drivers. We read nearly daily of motor vehicle crashes in which licensed drivers failed to obey laws or failed to operate their vehicles safely.

People love to fault rider behavior while ignoring how drivers drive. How fast do you go in a 25-mile-per-hour zone? Thirty? Thirty-five? More? Do you make legal stops at stop signs — complete cessation of motion? Try it a few times and watch the surprised driver behind you. No one expects anyone to actually stop. Do you make legal right turns — from next to the curb, even from within a bike lane, should there be one? Do you stop for pedestrians in crosswalks? How about stopping for cars that are stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks? Yes, passing those stopped cars is illegal and can kill pedestrians. For everyone’s safety, drivers (and riders) should learn and start obeying traffic laws instead of doing whatever they think they can get away with.

John Kaplan, St. Paul