There was something important missing in the recent commentary by Mark Haveman, “The politicizing of the Minnesota state auditor’s office” (June 10). Haveman failed to mention that the auditor of Minnesota state government is not the state auditor; it is the legislative auditor.
In 1973, the Legislature created the Office of the Legislative Auditor as a professional, nonpartisan, independent audit office in the legislative branch, similar to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at the federal level. The head of Minnesota’s office is not elected in a partisan election, but appointed to a six-year term by a legislative commission with equal representation from both parties.
Whether or not the state auditor’s office is being politicized, I will leave for others to judge. I can assure you that the legislative auditor’s office is not.
Jim Nobles, St. Paul
The writer is Minnesota’s legislative auditor.
Draw a line between news and marketing
Is the article about Target selling liquor really front-page news (“Target to test liquor sales,” June 11)? It seems more like a business article, and more, it seems like free advertising on the part of the Star Tribune.
Ann Wendel, Richfield
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I love my Medina Target. The people who work there are the best. Nice, friendly — they know who they are. They have seen my granddaughters grow up. They have seen us through weekly field trips when we needed something to do and needed a friendly smile. Target is perfect, a one-stop shop. I will find it hard to give it up. I will wait to see if the “open carry” gun policy will change (“Target in middle of gun squabble,” June 5). Target may not be hurt by losing my business, but it needs to know I want my Target to stay the friendly place it has always been for my family and me. Guns have no place in my Target, or for that matter, in any Target.
Sandy Mahn, Plymouth
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Minnesota! Please stop the unwarranted criticism of Target! This Minnesota-based outstanding corporate citizen contributes millions to our state’s economy by providing jobs, having generous charitable giving programs for schools and the community, collecting without compensation millions in state sales taxes and paying vast amounts of property taxes to state and local economies. Let’s celebrate Target’s great contributions to our state and stop the nitpicking derision.
Bruce W. (Buzz) Anderson, Eagan
The writer is the retired president of the Minnesota Retailers Association.
And 2 more cities are reeling from shootings
What a sad commentary on our society when the 74th school shooting in 18 months (since Sandy Hook) only deserves the attention of the bottom of Page 4 (“Oregon city grapples with deadly school shooting,” June 11). What’s the matter with you? Is it necessary to have a greater loss of life to merit greater attention? What’s the matter with us, as a society?
Linda Heinze, Woodbury
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Does the NRA have a comment regarding the innocent man who died trying to use his concealed weapon during Sunday’s Las Vegas shootout with an anti-cop extremist (“5 dead after Vegas shooting,” June 9)? Wouldn’t they agree that had the man been banned from carrying a weapon, his family would now have him back home alive?
Steve Mark, Minnetonka
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Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association postulates that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Well, that is just silly. The latest two good men (the policemen in Las Vegas) with guns (and I would imagine proficient in their use), were gunned down by two bad guys (actually a man and a woman, no glass ceiling there) with guns. Hmm. You wanna rethink your theory there, Mr. LaPierre? How about: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy in shooting position, weapon aimed, cartridge in chamber, safety off, target acquired, finger on trigger.”
Mark Hoffman, Richfield
Are the new rules truly worth the cost?
The way I see it, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency has lost touch with reality with its new regulations calling for a substantial reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions from stationary power plants — 30 percent and more in some cases (“Obama to slash carbon pollution,” June 2).
They claim it will reduce global warming, but their own model indicates the reduction would be a minuscule 0.018 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. Moreover, they admit the regulations will involve job losses and cause electricity prices to increase 6.5 percent over the next six years.
Empirical evidence shows a warming plateau in global temperatures for almost 18 years, with a slight cooling trend since 2005. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased significantly, relatively speaking, during that time frame.
If carbon-dioxide emissions are a significant factor in global warming at all, serious people must ask if these economy-busting, job-killing regulations are worthwhile from a cost-benefit standpoint.
Bob Jentges, North Mankato, Minn.
There’s a political side to this case: the unions
The Star Tribune reported on the Veteran Affairs audit that raises questions about “how deep and widespread” is the VA scandal and finds that “long patient waits and falsified records were ‘systemic’ throughout the VA medical network, the nation’s largest single health care provider serving nearly 9 million veterans” (“VA audit finds long waits,” June 10).
Not included in the reporting are pertinent political factors:
• The VA consists of one of the largest federal workforces, about 200,000 union members, represented by the American Federation of Government Employees and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU.)
• The SEIU spent the most of any organization in 2008 to help elect President Obama: $28 million.
• The individual who visited the White House the most in Obama’s first term was SEIU President Andy Stern — 53 times.
The Obama administration and the Democratic Party are politically obligated to the SEIU because of its union-dues-sourced campaign contributions and its voter-turnout machine. Were it not for the CNN reporter who broke the VA malfeasance story in late April, would a Veterans Affairs audit have occurred and have resulted in such transparency?
GENE DELAUNE, New Brighton