Urban Republicans are active, relevant
The arrogance expressed by former Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton with his assertion that "the GOP does not need a single vote in the urban core to keep Legislative majorities" is absolutely at odds with the grass-roots energy of the St. Paul GOP and with the resolve our Republican House and Senate candidates are bringing to the 2012 election ("The stars are aligned for the GOP this fall," June 22).
Nov. 6 will not be another coronation of incumbents in the Capital City, where voters will have ballots with endorsed Republicans in 10 contested legislative races. The new leadership in St. Paul's Republican Party is not going to play by the old rules, and neither are the thousands of voters who will soon be voting to bring an end to the city's economic dysfunction.
Republicans are tired of their beloved city being the metro leader in unemployment, with more than 9,000 jobless. They're tired of its 1,362 vacant homes and of a median home value that has fallen since 2008 by more than 22 percent while property taxes and city fees continue to increase.
St. Paul Republicans refuse to let Tony Sutton or anyone else count us out of the 2012 election before the first ballot is cast.
GREG COPELAND, ST. PAUL
The writer is chairman of the St. Paul Republican City Committee.
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What will the legacy of our churches be?
A few days ago, I attended the funeral of a family friend. On entering the church's gathering space, I was struck by the size (and obvious expense) of a banner urging the congregation and visitors to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. I looked around for the other banners, the ones that would urge us to feed the hungry, to shelter the homeless, to give care and comfort to the afflicted, to work for peace and justice, to be good stewards of the earth. They had to be there, but I couldn't find them. It made me sad.
DALE HAMMERSCHMIDT, MINNEAPOLIS
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It was with interest that I read "Key pastors opt out of marriage fight" (June 21) about conservative evangelicals turning away from political activism. I attended Bethlehem Baptist Church every Sunday from 1956 to 1974. In that era, the church never took a stand or advocated political activism on behalf of the civil-rights movement or against the Vietnam War.
Dismayed that the church would not stand up against racism or for peace, I left when I was 18, but I followed the message of Jesus that I did learn there -- the message of loving one another, of forgiveness, of redemption, of turning the other cheek and rejecting materialism.
I realized that Jesus was the premier activist and radical that I can only aspire to be. While I respect the Rev. John Piper's not advising his flock how to vote on the marriage amendment, I would like to remind him and others what Lutheran theologian Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) learned too late: that silence on the issues of the day can have dire consequences.
KRISTINA GRONQUIST, MINNEAPOLIS
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Trying to get to the heart of the matter
The basic underlying and unspoken principle of the voter ID amendment is that we are ALL guilty unless we can prove otherwise. In other words, the assumption is that you are there to defraud the system. Your sworn statement that you are the person you claim to be will no longer have any value.
The only way you will be able to prove who you are is to use a special form of identification that has been approved by the state. Your passport won't work, nor will your birth certificate, marriage license, driver's license, military discharge papers or dog tags or DD214.
All of the forms of identification we commonly use without any questions asked will just not be good enough for this hateful attempt to exclude individuals who some people don't like.
DALE TRIPPLER, MAPLEWOOD
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Why should we have an ID to vote? Why would you even need to ask the question?
Try voting in another country, then ask why we are so lenient.
You need a license to drive. You need identification to open a bank account, collect Social Security or other assistance, to work and to rent.
Don't say you have no identification. That is stating you are not a person. You can obtain a picture ID!
Use your resources to help others. If someone you know needs a nondriver photo ID, drive them to the license bureau.
The requirement for ID is no violation of your person. Rather, it is an identification of your person, saying: "I am." Be proud to be an American citizen. Be proud to vote and stand by that hard-fought right. There is no persecution or denial of freedom here -- it is protecting the freedom we already have.
Let's help one another instead of being negative-minded. Build, not destroy.
PATRICIA OLSON, SAVAGE
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Regulating pollution and zebra mussels
I just finished reading "3M given the OK to burn hazardous materials" (June 27). A 3M spokesperson stated, "We will burn only enough non-3M waste as needed, and not one pound more." I grew up on property bordering the Abresch dump site in Oakdale.
I recall watching trucks offloading 55-gallon drums into ponds and trenches, and I remember thinking: They are only dumping enough drums as needed and not one drum more. The EPA placed the Oakdale site on the Superfund National Priorities list on Sept. 8, 1983.
THOMAS ROWAN, APPLE VALLEY
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I applaud the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's unanimous decision to increase boat inspections and control access to boat launches at city lakes ("Minneapolis limits access to lakes to fight invasive species," June 22). Systematic inspection of all boats before they are put into the water is the most reliable way to prevent zebra mussels from hitchhiking here from lakes outside the city.
Zebra mussels are an invasive species, meaning they are nonnative and upset the balance of our aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, their sharp-shelled accumulation along shorelines renders beaches unfit for swimming. Bravo to the Park Board for taking strong action to thwart a potential environmental nightmare.
SARAH SPONHEIM, MINNEAPOLIS