May day care center survive this challenge

Our two daughters attend Jardin Magico, the day care center recently targeted in an immigration audit (“Spanish day cares in Twin Cities roiled by ICE audit,” July 17). Before our first daughter was born, we searched our neighborhood for a day care we felt good about, but were disappointed that other centers felt disorganized or depressingly institutional. We were thrilled to find Jardin Magico, where the staff continually impresses us with their professionalism, compassion and buoyant camaraderie, even in the face of this current challenge. They convey daily what we know to be true: caring for children is vitally important.

Our kids respond in kind. As one mom told me the other day, “I think my daughter loves [her teacher] almost as much as she loves us!” We are terribly saddened by the potential loss of our beloved caregivers.

In a larger context, Jardin Magico is also a dynamic and successful minority business, which offers a valuable program of Spanish immersion at a critical stage in language development. Its teachers are uniquely qualified for their jobs. It is a sad irony that legislation for comprehensive immigration reform is stalled in Congress. Our entire community will be diminished if we continue to live with our current broken system.

SONJA SHARP, Minneapolis

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Scrutiny doesn’t reflect attorney’s character

Bill Butler is my dad. A July 11 article (“Exasperated judges take on attorney”) painted him as a con man or charlatan, making it seem as though he lures clients with lies, then bleeds them of their money while promising the impossible. This just isn’t true. My dad is a good person. Of course I am biased because he is my dad and I love him, but I also know him better than any of you, and I can attest to his character. He is trying to help people save their homes. He is truthful about what he is doing, and always has been. He is being sanctioned for trying to help the victims of a financial crisis while the banks are held unaccountable. He says he will not pay the sanctions, and he won’t — not because he is greedy or unscrupulous, but because it would go against everything he believes in.

I helped out at my dad’s law firm for a couple of weeks this summer, and I know that many of his cases are done for free or highly discounted. Every client I talked to or met at his office was happy with the work he is doing. His employees believe in him 100 percent.

In the courtroom, I saw firsthand looks of contempt and anger on judges’ faces before the trials even began. It seemed they had made up their minds about him before he even had a chance to present his case. This is a David-and-Goliath story of a man fighting with everything he has for what he believes in, not the story of a greedy lawyer.

I am not trying to vilify anyone, and I understand the judges are doing their jobs. Nor am I just a daughter parroting my father’s rhetoric. There have been times when I have rolled my eyes at him or doubted his odds, but I have never doubted his moral character, and people who know him would agree.


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Guess it depends on how much you want it

Recently University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague boldly proclaimed that the school is about to embark on a mission to raise $190 million dollars in an attempt to save its athletic programs (“Pricey plan for Gophers athletics,” July 11). Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, the board of directors of the Minnesota Orchestra Association (some of the most powerful, wealthiest, influential and best-connected people in the state) are telling us they can’t raise enough money to save the 110-year-old, world-class orchestra because of a bad economy.


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Courts are proving to be an obstacle

It’s refreshing to see Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature working together to accomplish something: measures to aid former felons by limiting disclosure of past criminal records and allowing sealing of some “old criminal records” (“Both parties unite to give ex-­felons a new chance,” July 8). But the laudable legislative efforts to give offenders a “second chance” are running into stiff resistance from another quarter: the judiciary.

Two decisions of the state Supreme Court this spring imposed new obstacles on those seeking to expunge or redact their prior brushes with the law, even juvenile records, and another decision — just last week, by the Court of Appeals — did likewise. The trio of rulings curb the discretion of judges to direct the sealing or expungement of criminal records held by law enforcement authorities, even if they conclude that the existence of old criminal charges may unfairly impair the ability of a rehabilitated individual to obtain employment or otherwise get on with their lives. While they have authority over judicial records, the courts are restricted under these rulings, from ordering the sealing of criminal records lodged in law enforcement files, where they usually can do substantial damage.

The Legislature deserves credit for recognizing the propriety of giving rehabilitated offenders a fresh start. The courts, unfortunately, are operating at cross-purposes, perpetuating injustices long after justice has been served.