All the secrecy surrounding the cost to put on the All-Star Game ("All-Star cost may go out of the park," June 27) serves to highlight the peculiar Minnesota attitude about deal making in the high stakes world of professional sports.
Of course, negotiations must be kept private to protect the process. Of course, the public has a right to know the terms of the deal. Of course, the politicians and business leaders don't want to talk about it. All well and good.
The underlying reason is that as frugal Minnesotans, we cringe at the thought of spending that much money no matter the payback, and we are embarrassed by the opulence and extravagance of owners and players who behave like spoiled adolescents. This tugs at our sense of decency, and no amount of financial analysis can assuage the uneasy fit with our core values. So think of this reluctance to acknowledge the costs of the party as another form of avoidance behavior; then, don't mention it again, please.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
DNR NATURAL AREAS
It's not the hunting we oppose; it's the process
We hope the article on our opposition to the Department of Natural Resources' attempts to "programmatically change" the state's Scientific and Natural Areas program doesn't leave one with the impression that we are "anti-hunting" ("DNR weighs opening more rare natural sites to hunters," June 23). Nothing is further from the truth. I have hunted for over 55 years, hold a degree in wildlife ecology and continue to hunt. On one occasion I even hunted pheasants with the commissioner before he was in that position. Ellen Fuge hunts deer.
What we are opposed to is the action by the DNR commissioner to make such a fundamental "programmatic change" without any legislative hearings. The public had no idea this was being undertaken. In fact, it started quietly in the department in May 2012, and other companion programs in the same division were not even made aware of the effort until six months later.
The Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Act spells out the purpose and uses for each unit of the system. State natural areas by law are to be managed first and foremost in an undisturbed manner for the rare features preserved and for educational purposes. There are 1.4 million acres in Wildlife Management Areas and millions of acres in federal, state and county forest lands open to public hunting, trapping and other recreational uses. The approximately 17,000 acres of state natural areas not open to hunting, trapping, dog walking, picnicking, camping and other recreational uses are too biologically important to justify any expansion of recreational use. These jewels of Minnesota's natural environment need to be managed for their inherent natural values in order to preserve them for future generations.
Bob Djupstrom, White Bear Lake
Kudos to couple for electric-car capitalism
Shawn Otto is a working writer and his wife is a government employee ("Putting the brakes on gas," June 25). They built their house with their own hands and put up a used wind generator themselves. I don't think you can characterize them as independently wealthy. Investing in a $70,000 Tesla is probably a stretch for them, but it's good to see people with the moral integrity to try to do something about the problem of climate change, instead of just talking about it.
What's more, saving $5,000 a year (on gas, as quoted in the article) on a $70,000 vehicle is a 7 percent annual return on investment, and that's much higher than a savings account or CD, and higher than equity markets this year. I'd say that the Ottos did their homework as smart free-market investors. Kudos to them for their financial savvy and ability to act to save money, while doing something to reduce their carbon footprint. Most automobiles are a negative investment. Over a 10-year life span, the Tesla actually will cost less, not more, than other nonelectric cars, while his purchase supports the research and development Tesla is doing to make a next-generation electric car that is half the price.
Jeffrey Brown, St. Louis Park
Cellphone privacy? What's there to hide?
It seems like every time I pick up the paper, I read how the justices have taken more rights away from law enforcement ("Justices shield phone privacy," June 26). It's no wonder people complain that police aren't doing their jobs. How can they? Every time they turn around, they have fewer options. I don't understand what the naysayers are complaining about. What are they afraid of? If the police want to come into my house and look around, more power to them. Look at my phone all they want; I have nothing to hide. Seems to me the ones that are protesting are the ones who have something they want to keep hidden.
David H. Colburn, Hayfield, Minn.
Armchair scientists are weak on the facts
A community education teacher with no training or professional experience in climate science has a commentary published in the Star Tribune ("Why not reconsider nuclear power?", June 24). While the author, Rolf Westgard, clearly understands the climate concerns about carbon dioxide, many of his comments were misleading or false. For instance, he described carbon dioxide as a "trivial" part of the atmosphere, but he didn't tell readers it is the most important human-emitted greenhouse gas. Nor did he tell readers that humans are responsible for a 40 percent increase in carbon dioxide.
He stated that our current warming is no greater than the late medieval period. This is demonstrably false. He also stated that carbon dioxide doesn't cause asthma. We are not worried about carbon dioxide causing asthma; we are worried about it changing our climate.
While it is nice to see armchair scientists proposing solutions , they need to have their facts straight. My colleagues and I who study climate change every day of our lives cringe when simple facts are misunderstood. As Minnesota has reeled from drought to flood to drought to flood, as Texas and California suffer from tremendous droughts and heat waves that affect us all financially and socially, it is time to listen to real science, not armchair nonsense.
John Abraham, Minneapolis
The writer is a professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas.
Or did you hear the one about Ole and Lena?
OK. So we were talking about the Norwegian ambassador appointment at work ("Norwegians angry over envoy pick," June 26). We never talk about things like that at work, so that in itself is worth commenting on. One of my co-workers, who had just heard about the controversy, quipped: "So. He thinks a Fjord is a truck?" Life in Minnesota.
Sharon Allexsaht, Minneapolis