The Star Tribune Editorial Board is rounding up a posse to drastically raise candidate filing fees — picking on Captain Jack Sparrow as an iconic emblem of last year’s flood of mayoral candidates (“Raise filing bar for political hobbyists,” July 14) — but the drive to put a toll booth on the road to democracy isn’t about any one candidate. It’s about the right of We the People to have real choices, including candidates who refuse to be controlled by money.
The Star Tribune spotlights the proposed $500 mayoral filing fee. Don’t let this distract you. Consider instead the City Council, which really runs things. The current filing fee is $20. It would be raised to more than 12 times as much — to $250.
Did anyone see a flood of candidates for a City Council seat last year? No. But Minneapolis special interests are thinking ahead to 2017 — and they’re worried. Keep in mind: Their “vision” for our future features a Kenilworth bike and park corridor trampled and overrun by swarms of bulldozers.
People are at a tipping point, ready to revolt against the domination of big money and special interests. By 2017, the time will be ripe for groups of concerned citizens to organize and file for the City Council as a team, telling everyone: “Any one of us would be better than the incumbent.”
That kind of ranked-choice-voting campaign can be organized and carried out with almost no money. Candidate teams can divide up a council district into sectors. The $20 City Council filing fee is a clear, open path for We the People to cut off the power of special interests and money right at the root. For this reason alone, the filing fee amendment must be defeated.
Bob (“Again”) Carney Jr., Minneapolis
The writer was a candidate for mayor of Minneapolis in 2013. He’s running this year for the Hennepin County Board.
Stadium food should match the occasion
As a certified sports dietitian, I am disappointed to see Target Field swing and miss with its All-Star Game menu: a lineup of foot-long hot dogs wrapped in bratwurst and a massive “Hangover Burger” piled high with eggs, bacon, cheese — and cholesterol. Let’s not celebrate the best of baseball with the worst of American gluttony.
The average American consumes more than 30 pounds of cheese and 180 pounds of meat every year, so it’s no wonder that diabetes, heart disease and obesity rates are skyrocketing. Instead of supersized processed-meat products, a celebration of top athletes should promote a menu filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. These plant-based options deliver the protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals athletes need — without the saturated fat and cholesterol.
Fortunately, in annual rankings for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, Minnesota is an all-star, consistently ranking among the nation’s healthiest states. This week, with the world watching, it would be better if the state were leading the country on a path toward health by ditching the extreme hot dogs and focusing on the array of fresh fruits and vegetables that are abundant at this time of year.
Susan Levin, Washington, D.C.
The writer is director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
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Let’s not forget that in the midst of the All-Star hoopla, 18,000 soccer players representing 1,060 teams from 19 foreign countries and 20-plus states just arrived in the Twin Cities for the 30th youth tournament playing this week at the National Sports Center in Blaine. Over the course of eight days, these youngsters will play approximately 2,500 games at the greatest youth field-sport facility in the United States.
Many say soccer is boring (Readers Write, July 12), and thus Page-3-to-Page-10 material. If you ask the kids, they will tell you this tournament is a spectacular experience, packed with great games, much fun, new friendships across states and nations and “the best time ever.”
In economic terms, the Schwan’s USA Cup probably cannot match the media- and sponsor-driven extravagances of an All-Star Game with its $600-plus ticket prices. I dare say, however, that the economic benefit, goodwill and recognition delivered to Minnesota and the Twin Cities from this annual soccer tournament far exceeds tonight’s once-in-a-lifetime blip.
So, by all means and if you can afford it, enjoy the All-Star Game. If not, you might enjoy the personal experience of taking in this evening’s Olympic-style opening ceremonies and the many spectacular games to follow. Parking and attendance is free.
Ivar Sorensen, Minneapolis
The writer is a board member for the National Sports Center Foundation.
Indeed, we’re just not demanding enough
Sunday’s Opinion Exchange section contained a commentary that suggested that Minnesota sports are mediocre because Minnesotans are satisfied with mediocrity. I could not agree more, and I believe this malady goes well beyond sports here.
Saturday’s lead letter to the editor (“Surely there’s someone who could lead the U for less”) is a prime example. The letter writer states: “Minnesota is no Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois or Northwestern.” Well, why the heck are we not? If the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents believes that President Eric Kaler is leading well and deserving of the going rate for major university presidents, then they should compensate him appropriately and tell him we expect even bigger things of him and the university in the future.
Striving to be the best is healthy and good. Finding someone to lead for less is just begging to be mediocre.
Mark Roback, Edina
If a reintroduction is in order, be wary
Al Franken, a five-year sitting U.S. senator, needs to be “reintroduced” to voters (front page, July 14). Sen. Amy Klobuchar didn’t need to be reintroduced.
Chase Lieser, Plymouth
COMO ZOO ESCAPE
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but …
When three gorillas briefly escaped from their exhibit at the Como Zoo on Thursday, I think they sensed something that we humans did not. The movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was released the next day nationwide. Were those gorillas trying to tell us something?
Jerry Joseph, Inver Grove Heights