The July 7 article “Striking out on seats? Go cheap” had much to say about ticket prices for the All-Star Game. What was not mentioned outright was paying above “face value.” When the public pays taxes to build or operate a public stadium, it should be illegal to charge above face value. If scalping is legal, we have the public paying twice — first for the stadium, then for exorbitant tickets.

Scalping brings about problems such as counterfeit tickets and customers buying more than needed because they hope to make a buck. It’s been said that if a person wants a ticket, buy one on the sidewalk. How does a person plan this way? Some also say this is just a “market system,” like buying a painting. But sporting or music events are locked in time and place. There’s no second chance to attend.

Let’s make ticket scalping illegal again for events held at publicly funded venues. Let’s do this before the 2018 Super Bowl. And on a side note, we shouldn’t have to pay inflated cable fees to see a game on TV that is held at a public venue.

Peter Berglund, Shoreview


Who’s to blame? Who should be helping?

What do you suppose it took for 52,000 children to leave their homes and flee to the United States? And how have we received them? This is not to blame the cities along the border (“Divided California city becomes flash point in debate,” July 5) that are paying in strained resources for the government’s failure to address the immigration crisis. Ever since President Bill Clinton sold us the bill of goods known as NAFTA, things have gotten worse for workers in the countries involved, including ours. Those 52,000 children are bringing us a message we’d do well not to ignore.

Nancy Eder, Burnsville

• • •

Because of poverty and violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, large numbers of unaccompanied children are arriving on our southern border. This is a humanitarian crisis, a refugee crisis. Why aren’t we calling on the International Red Cross and the United Nations to help protect these children?

Mary Moriarty, Plymouth



Pay attention: It’s still the leading killer

A July 5 letter writer expressed concern about phone-distracted driving related to the unfortunate death of Andrea Boeve and stated that research shows that such driving is at least as dangerous as drunken driving. Distracted driving does represent a real danger, but drunken driving is still responsible for significantly more deaths.

It was the leading cause of traffic fatalities in Minnesota during 2013. Forty percent more fatalities were attributed to drunken driving than to distracted driving in the state. Nationally, statistics for 2012 show 3,328 distracted-driving fatalities, and three times as many for drunken driving.

We can all help prevent drunken driving by supporting organizations like MADD as they lobby to expand ignition interlock programs for first-time offenders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports this technology has been shown to reduce rearrest rates by a median of 67 percent, compared with suspending licenses.

Pat Hinderscheid, Mendota Heights



Long rivers and other qualities in America

John Rosenberg (“A modest America? That’s great, really,” July 5) scolded boastful Americans who claimed the Mississippi-Missouri river system as the world’s longest, calling it “obvious that two waterways combined do not constitute a singular stream.” It isn’t. If one goes by volume of water (a common custom), the upper Mississippi is only a tributary to the Ohio River. Judging by length (as others advocate), the Missouri is indeed the main trunk. The Nile, Amazon and Yangtze are longer, but perhaps Rosenberg can forgive those who wrote otherwise: They lacked satellite maps, while the explorers who named the branches had to measure them with ropes.

Karl Hammerschmidt, Minneapolis

• • •

In “Three family activities for the July 4th holiday,” John M. Crisp states: “I’m not fond of the language of ‘American Exceptionalism,’ the idea … [of] a ‘shining city on a hill,’ chosen by God for some profound spiritual purpose . … [I]t’s tacky to talk about it too much.” He goes on to suggest alternative things to be doing and thinking about.

Rosenberg offers similar sentiments in “A modest America.” He is pleased with the preference by some to eliminate superlatives when referring to America and her trivial details.

I suggest we back up and remember what “American exceptionalism” really reflects. It’s not an example of braggadocio or a statement of national hubris. It expresses unique differences, not superiority. These differences spring from the original motivation of our founders, the extent to which they studied history to learn about various forms of governments, and the basic tenets expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution — created equal, endowed by Creator, unalienable rights and power from the people. It emphasizes inherent liberty, with power derived from consent of the governed. This form of government was never attempted anywhere else before, or after, the birth of the United States.

It’s entirely wrong to define American exceptionalism as a visceral, emotional reaction to feelings of superiority. A totally different, but legitimate, debate is: “Has this exceptionally conceived country performed in an exceptional way?” Let’s agree where we can, and place the performance evaluation in a separate argument.

Steve Bakke, Edina



A new location, but the decline continues

I packed up the family and headed for Waconia last weekend with the hope of enjoying the relocated Taste of Minnesota. Unfortunately, the event took a bite out of our wallets and left a bad aftertaste. Anyone wanting to park remotely near the Carver County Fairgrounds was charged $10 for a spot in an overgrown field. The grounds themselves turned out to be dusty and hot and nearly shade-free, with few places to sit.

We have watched the Taste of Minnesota morph from an event that celebrated local cuisine and artists into an overblown party featuring loud (if only marginally talented) bands, carnival fare and corporate distributors. Anyone wishing to enjoy a cold brew had to first purchase a wristband, then pay almost $9 for a can of beer. Worse, the beer parlors were operated exclusively by Budweiser. Not a single local microbrewery was represented.

I spoke with at least a half-dozen others who attended. None was pleased with the experience. The folks running this show will certainly have to come up with a new recipe before I’ll return to their table.

Stephen A. Miltich, Mound



All that soccer has made us hungry

World Cup match on ESPN followed immediately with a Hot Dog Eating Contest. Only in America.

Pat Proft, Medina