Thinking that reimbursement of expenses is somehow additional income is misleading at best and not factual (“How to fix legislative compensation,” editorial, March 13). Having traveled extensively for business for many years, I can say with certainty that reimbursed expenses (hotel, mileage, food, tips, etc.) are business expenses, not income, and that most of the time it was very challenging to collect all the miscellaneous costs that are incurred while traveling.
If the reimbursements are not well-defined, then fix the rules, but do not call it income. We need the very best legislators willing to serve at a difficult job, and to not properly reimburse them for true costs is unfair and unrealistic, which results in stopping good people from serving.
Peter Styx, Minnetonka
What priorities, VP Pence?
When I read about Vice President Mike Pence rallying backing for the American Health Care Act a day after the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis showing 24 million fewer being insured by 2026, my logical mind was perplexed. I remembered Pence stating during the campaign: “I am a Christian, conservative, and Republican, in that order.” How do I reconcile those two happenings with Proverbs 14:31, which states, “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for the Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
Sandy Hanf, Deephaven
U.S. REP. TOM EMMER
Don’t overadmire his town hall
As someone who attended Tom Emmer’s town-hall meeting, I would give him a C- for courage and an A+ for stage management (“Emmer has the courage to show up, and it is noticed,” Readers Write, March 13). Before the said meeting, he was warned that there would be more people than normal (not that he needed the warning, because all his colleagues were facing similar crowds). He was offered larger venues, such as the high school auditorium, which he declined. He has traditionally used the Sartell City Council meeting room, which seats 76 people plus reporters, and decided to go with that. He did, however, warn that any disruptions to the meeting would be cause for him to leave.
It was reported that about 1,000 people came out that night to talk with him. After 76 of his constituents were let through the doors, an additional 20 to 30 were allowed into an adjoining vestibule, which had a TV monitor on the wall. I was one of these so fortunate. It was soon obvious that Emmer was not wired for sound amplification or transmission. We could watch him on the monitor but could not hear what he was saying. When we questioned his aides, we were told that Emmer was the father of seven children, so he could make his voice be heard if we were all extremely quiet. And we were. We were extremely quiet; you could hear a pin drop — but, not Tom Emmer’s voice. It was masterfully executed, and I felt we were all played.
Kathryn Laakso, St. Cloud
U.S. REP. STEVE KING
I’m one of his constituents, and he doesn’t reflect my views
I am deeply disturbed by recent comments U.S. Rep. Steve King (of Iowa’s Fourth District) made about how the U.S. should not expect to populate the country with the children of “others.” I fail to see how he could think that such a remark should be uttered under any circumstances (“Sad part is: Iowa congressman likely reflects constituents,” Readers Write, March 16.)
I don’t know King’s religious beliefs, but the people he represents are largely churchgoing folks and would be well-acquainted with the song most of us learned in Sunday school: “Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Unless Rep. King is 100 percent Native American, some of his ancestors were “other” children at some point, too. I thought that coming to these shores and being able to raise families was one of the things that made America great. Yet, he decries it.
Making distinctions about the origins of any of the world’s children is deeply un-Christian and hateful. The fact that he is unrepentant for those remarks is incomprehensible. He either has no faith or no conscience. Either way, he represents what is worst in human nature, and I am ashamed to be one of his constituents.
Joan Curbow, Alta, Iowa
Thinking beyond milkweed
I’ve seen so many articles, the latest about farmers mowing ditches (March 6), stating that monarch butterflies can only reproduce on milkweed. I have a garden of flowers, milkweeds, and lots of plain old dill used for pickles. I have found monarch caterpillars on the dill for years, but never on the milkweeds. We put the caterpillars in butterfly houses with dill and release them when they turn into beautiful butterflies. Some years there have been more than others, but I found none last year, even though there were monarchs and several other kinds of butterflies in the garden. Just thought I’d share my experiences; maybe plant some dill and give it a try. After all, if it doesn’t attract the butterflies, you can always use the dill to make some pickles.
Glenda Stickler, Fridley
• • •
In response to a March 11 letter (“What happened to stewardship?”), my first question is why the writer limited his comments to road ditches without mentioning buffer strips for waterways, agricultural pollution of lakes and rivers, and other environmental problems related to agriculture. Before starting that discussion, though, I wonder if he has reviewed the cheap food agricultural policy in the U.S. of the last 240 years, originally formulated as the base of our prosperity and basis of great civilizations, as advocated for by Thomas Jefferson. Americans spend less of their income on food than any other people in the world or in history. Shouldn’t the beneficiaries of the cheap food policy have to contribute to correct the environmental damages of that policy?
As an owner of 2 acres of roadside, which would be worth $9,000 an acre if it could be farmed, I would welcome the letter writer’s participation in preserving habitat. For $18,000, he can help me preserve habitat for butterflies, pheasants and bees. For $10 billion to $20 billion, he can buy back a lot of land to restore wetlands and clean up our waters, benefiting us all. I assume the check is in the mail.
David G. Detert, Northfield
MINNEAPOLIS SUPER BOWL
I’m not ‘chattel,’ will volunteer
Regarding the March 16 letter “We’re mere chattel, aren’t we?”: I am not a football fan, but I am a fan of the Twin Cities and Minnesota. So I am one of the 4,000-plus who registered on Wednesday to be a Super Bowl volunteer in order to help visitors have a great time in Minnesota, especially in January and February. I am willing to stand at the airport, in a skyway, or on a street corner. Maybe a friendly face will encourage a return trip in another season, even “millionaires and billionaires,” to enjoy what Minnesota has to offer — lakes, parks, museums, history, sports and friendly people.
Christine Lane, Maple Grove
‘MONSTERS AT HOME’
MIA exhibit too scary for kids
As adults, my father (age 73) and I (age 40) enjoyed going to the MIA exhibit “At Home with Monsters”; in fact, parts were very creative and fascinating to see. However, the exhibit (especially the digital animation horror movies) combined with all the scary sculptures/paintings/magazines is too scary and overstimulating for children! While we were at the exhibit, on family and member day, a child had a medical emergency in the second to the last room. There were children (age 3 or 4) wanting to watch “the TV” in each room of the exhibit. I know that parental discretion is whatever is accepted as the norm, but these violent, scary, digitally animated images are affecting children’s overall mental and physical well-being in ways that are unhealthy. I recommend turning off the scary/horror movies for children (birth to 21). Printing parental warnings isn’t enough.
Anastasia Reisinger, Edina