With the glad tidings of budget surplus comes a responsibility to plan for the future. Over the past few years, we in Minnesota saw widespread natural disasters that left many areas financially and structurally crippled. Roads, bridges, water plants, power grids, commercial businesses, private property — all were in severe need of financial help to recover. We have the perfect opportunity to set aside relief money for those occasions when public and private enterprises need financial help. I believe that $500 million is a good starting point. Data collected by the state could provide more precise dollar information. This reserve should be exclusive to the events described, not a general pool from which other projects can be funded.

Mike Best, Chaska

THE NOBLE IMPULSE

It’s a little hard to spot in the ongoing local news

Three seemingly endless topics in the news lead me to wonder these things:

1) Regarding the MOA 11, as they now wish to be known: It seems to me that if you knowingly do something you’ve been warned is illegal, you then must know there will be some kind of consequence. But maybe that’s just something that’s become common these days: Take no responsibility. I see this in many different “happenings” around our communities.

2) Regarding railroads and light rail: If a March 11 letter writer thinks it dangerous for this traffic to pass nearby his community, what does he propose to do with all the rail lines sprinkled throughout the metro area? If they are dangerous near him, would he put them near me? I’m guessing he’s not promoting the rerouting of all rail lines, just this one. NIMBY is alive and well — especially in the Kenilworth corridor.

3) Regarding GOP money issues: Let’s spend $150,000 on an ad that asks people to sign a petition to get the state to send 350 bucks back to everyone in Minnesota. Even fellow party members can’t get on board with this one (“GOP divided on how to use state surplus,” March 11). And this gentleman — Keith Downey — wants election to another two-year term as party chair. He states that he’s bringing the party back to fiscal responsibility, yet since he’s been in charge, the $2 million debt has only been reduced by about $500,000. Maybe instead of asking the people to sign the “refund” petition, he should’ve just asked the Legislature to give his party some of the cash. Thankfully, there seem to be better minds at work in the Legislature that are looking at ways to use this surplus to rebuild some infrastructure in the state.

Jim Stromberg, Edina

 

TARGET LAYOFFS

As go the jobs, so goes the loyal customer

Target sends 1,700 Twin Cities workers packing. Time for me to pack and leave the building, too. I cut up my Red card this morning and mailed it to Brian Cornell. It was valid until 2017, during which time I could have used it to buy, buy, buy. No. No. No. Target’s plan to lay off workers and buy back stock will “deliver a bigger punch to the company’s shareholder,” says Target management; meanwhile, 1,700 taxpaying Minnesotans are jobless. Call it what it is: economic terrorism.

Patricia Calvert, Rochester

• • •

Target now offers free shipping on orders over $25, so I thought I’d compare something I was getting at Amazon, and in this rare case it was actually cheaper at Target. Fantastic. But in order to hit $25, I had to order 3 of the item — not a problem.

But here’s a tip, Target: When someone orders three of the same thing, don’t ship it in three different boxes on three different days.

There’s your streamlining!

Tom Krueger, Crystal

• • •

Regarding Lee Schafer’s March 11 column on the job cuts (“Gone in a flash: Highly skilled, highly paid jobs probably gone forever”): I was laid off from ADC Telecommunications in 2001 as part of that company’s strategy to reduce its workforce by 14,000 in a couple of years. A large percentage of those jobs were eliminated here in Minnesota. The eliminated jobs ran across a very board range of technical and professional positions in a company that manufactured high-technology products. Target doesn’t manufacture; it marks up and resells the efforts of others who, through manufacturing and the factors of production, raise the value of the goods produced.

Most people carrying on about Target have long forgotten or don’t even realize companies like Honeywell, ADC and a long list of others are mere shells of what they once were here in Minnesota. Our elected officials need to think and understand that the economic health to benefit all is assured through the creation of wealth (manufacturing) jobs and not just the creation of profit (retail sales) jobs.

Mark Lynum, Victoria

• • •

There you go again. You, Star Tribune, were warned by another reader’s letter back on March 7 that it was your scathing irresponsible reporting of the Target Corp.’s problems (credit card security breach, Canadian expansion fiasco) that directly caused the current employee firings. The letter writer “saw this coming.”

And yet, not four days later, here you are with more of your scurrilous reporting, starting with your indefensible headline: “1,700 Target jobs lost in day of pain, drama.” I can see it coming. The Target six blocks from my house will close, and I’ll have to go to the one 10 blocks away.

Next time you report anything about Target other than wonderful things like “Profits soar” or “Executive compensation increases,” please think twice and replace your malicious negativity with a story we can all get behind, like a lost puppy being found. Enough is enough!

David Hodgson, St. Paul

 

RACE AND JUSTICE

If the solution is ‘simplicity,’ it might well be simplistic

The March 10 letter “Five straightforward steps for peace” was simply wrong. None of these steps suggested for avoiding conflict with the police would have saved John Crawford III or Tamir Rice, both of whom were shot almost before they were aware police were on the scene. None of these steps would have helped the numerous mentally ill persons killed by police. And none of these steps address the core issue: that primary responsibility for ensuring interactions between police and civilians are nonlethal must rest with the police officers who train for such interactions, not with civilians.

Within living memory, discrimination against black Americans was the responsibility — the assigned duty — of the police in many cities. We should not be surprised that police culture, and American culture at large, bear traces of beliefs that justified and enabled legalized discrimination against and subordination of black Americans, and we should not be surprised when those beliefs contribute to the deaths of black people. If the solution was “simplicity itself,” as the March 10 letter states, black Americans would have found it already — even if it involved total abstinence from alcohol, or complying with unconstitutional police demands. Rather than proposing such futile “steps,” we could all benefit from listening to protesters. We might learn something.

Jacob Linn, Minneapolis