I acknowledge the positive contributions Jason McLean has made to the Twin Cities scene, as outlined by Kay L. Hansen in a Jan. 25 commentary (“In defense of Jason McLean’s artistic vision”), although they are irrelevant to the lawsuit he faces for alleged sexual abuse.

I was horrified, however, by the final two paragraphs: When Hansen cautions against applying “revisionist morality to another era” and asserts that we “can never feel the influence of that particular zeitgeist,” is she suggesting that sexually abusing children (as alleged in three civil complaints against McLean) was OK — somehow part of the “zeitgeist” — in the early 1980s? And while she may be correct that “[v]isionaries with talent (flawed, tempestuous, rebellious) are not born every day,” is her parenthetical insertion meant to gloss over sexual abuse of children by attributing it to a flawed, tempestuous, rebellious nature?

If, as it appears, the answers to these questions are yes, it confirms the moral bankruptcy that is suggested by her comparison of those who don’t wish to give their dollars to a potential child molester to an “ISIL mob.” Hansen should be forced to look the victims of child sex abuse in the eyes and tell them that her cherished entertainment venues are more important than the unconscionable things they suffered.

Christopher R. Bineham, St. Paul

MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS

With Goar out, next best move is a new interim superintendent

Michael Goar’s withdrawal from the search for a new superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools poses a dilemma and an opportunity for the Minneapolis school board. Doing a new search during an election year with both a school referendum and election of board members will discourage good potential candidates for superintendent from applying. Who wants to apply for a job when the conditions of that job are uncertain?

A better approach would be for the school board to select a new interim superintendent for a year or 18 months who is a good manager. This would give the school board, school staff and the community time to settle down, then undertake a new national search that would attract a better pool of potential candidates for the longer term. Our schoolchildren, their parents and the taxpayers of this good city deserve no less.

And Goar deserves praise for understanding that chaos serves no good purpose. As he says in his withdrawal letter: “I do not want the community to continue to be divided or further distracted from this city’s most important work, the education of our most precious resource, our children.”

Arvonne Fraser, Minneapolis

• • •

Who wants to be superintendent of a school system that has systematically driven its black students into a permanent underclass — a situation with little hope for remediation, sans a federal government takeover?

Mark R. Jacobson, Richville, Minn.

 

PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Minnesota Poll misleads with sample and headline techniques

The Minnesota Poll that shows Hillary Clinton ahead of Bernie Sanders in Minnesota (“Rubio holds narrow lead; Clinton up big on Sanders,” Jan. 24) seems obviously flawed.

Sanders supporters tend to be young. They don’t have land lines, which represent 70 percent of the survey sample. The rest was cellphones, but young people don’t generally answer calls from unknown numbers.

I think it would be very informative to see the number of calls made vs. the number answered, according to age group, during this probably very misleading poll.

Alan Johnston, St. Paul

• • •

With respect to the Republican race, the Minnesota Poll headline is misleading. The results showed Marco Rubio at 23 percent, Ted Cruz at 21 percent and Donald Trump at 18 percent — but all this with a “+/- 3.5% margin of error.”

Statistically, this means Rubio’s 23 percent could really be 19.5 percent or 26.5 percent. Quite a range. Similarly, Cruz’s number could be as high as 24.5 percent and Trump’s as high as 21.5 percent. These are both well within Rubio’s statistical range. In other words, according to the Minnesota Poll (not the headline), the top three candidates are in a dead heat.

Wally Marx, Medina

 

GUN CONTROL

Poll shows support and doubt; here’s one way to process that

In regard to “Stricter checks on weapons backed” (Minnesota Poll, Jan. 25, in which respondents broadly supported tighter background checks but were less confident that such measures would prevent mass shootings): Which is safer? Passing stricter gun laws and waiting/watching for the results? Or, not passing stricter gun laws and never knowing?

Pat Parker, Minnetonka

 

LABELING PEOPLE

Too much was made, or made duplicitously, of judge being gay

I was taken aback by the Jan. 23 feature headline and story announcing that Margaret Chutich is the first “openly gay” person named to the Minnesota Supreme Court. When I searched the announcement of the appointment of Wilhelmina Wright previously, and whom she is replacing, I didn’t find the announcement that she was openly “straight” or openly “black” or that sort of labeling of any previously named candidates that they were openly “straight.” The story seemed to focus more on Judge Chutich’s sexual orientation and was limited on her decisions in the past. Labeling people for their sexual orientation, color or physical characters seems like a reach from the past where people were judged by their color or sexual preferences.

Lee Waldon, Buffalo, Minn.

• • •

The Star Tribune Editorial Board opines on Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointment of Margaret Chutich to the Minnesota Supreme Court and Diane Bratvold to the Minnesota Court of Appeals (“Two quality picks for Minnesota’s courts,” Jan. 23).

• Highlighted (as a key characteristic of these appointments) is Dayton’s commitment to “diversity” — which is supported by facts that Chutich is “the first openly lesbian” associate justice on the Supreme Court, while Bratvold has been associated with the Minnesota Republican Party.

• Accordingly, readers might conclude that Chutich is associated with the DFL Party and Bratvold is “straight.”

One could wonder: If such facts had been simultaneously reported, would this diversity claim be negated? Also, is the Star Tribune “dumbing down” the definition of diversity?

Gene Delaune, New Brighton