Et tu, leaders of the Steelworkers union?

As a former Minntac employee and member of the Steelworkers, I disagree with the claims in the March 20 opinion by Chris Masciantonio and John Rebrovich (“Wild rice and iron mining can coexist in Minnesota.”)

Minntac’s tailings pond was leaking when I went to work in 1969, and it’s still leaking today. The wild rice research shows that sulfates damage wild rice even at levels below 10 milligrams per liter.

As a retired union member, I object to Steelworker representative Rebrovich giving credibility to the distortions of the mining industry. Unions have lost important votes in Wisconsin, Tennessee and Michigan. Our reputation is certain to be damaged in Minnesota if the public realizes that union leaders are promoting the destruction of our wetlands by global mining corporations.

Bob Tammen, Soudan, Minn.



Expression is one thing, atrocities, another

I am a Holocaust survivor who after my liberation by American soldiers returned to Hungary. When communists overtook my native land, I fought back as a rebel in the Hungarian Revolution. I have known oppression, and freedom is a core belief I cannot abandon.

I take no offense at the much-discussed photos of men dressed as Nazis (“Mpls. group ‘plays’ Nazi: Sorry, no trifle,” March 20). The individuals were participating in a private party, and their freedom of expression is more important than someone’s opinion of their activity.

Crimes of World War II were hideously real. And communist atrocities in prior and subsequent years in the Soviet Union, China, Southeast Asia and South America killed more people than the Nazis did. Still, there are those who chase 90-year-old Nazis for prosecution. I wonder about a double standard. Is it easier to be emotional about Nazi cruelty than communist cruelty? I ask critics in our community to be careful about judging others. We are all born innocent, not good. That is a difference. Humanity is learned.

Robert O. Fisch, Minneapolis



Lax punishment in assault stifles victims

They just don’t get it. The male-dominated military, that is.

The headline for the outcome of the trial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair could have been printed before it started (“Army general avoids jail time in sexual assault case,” March 21).

The result of this trial will achieve one thing only. Fewer offended female soldiers will come forward. They see the handwriting on the wall.

People will say that, well, Sinclair’s career is over — and it should be. Our military does not need scum like him.

Gary Riesenberg, Minneapolis



Henson does the dirty work, takes the fall

For all of us who read about excessive CEO pay packages, we should consider the case of Michael Henson (“Divisive orchestra CEO to step aside,” March 21). I am guessing that the Minnesota Orchestra’s board of directors tasked Henson with both fundraising and “bringing musicians’ pay into line.” The orchestra raised $160 million and got a 15 percent payroll concession from the musicians, but when the board needed a fall guy, he was it. That is the risk you take when you are the CEO, and that’s why you’d better negotiate for all you can get.

Jack Kohler, Plymouth



The speculative nature is part of the problem

I live directly across from a residential teardown and rebuild on the border of Edina and southwest Minneapolis. The location is one block from public transportation, and the homes in the neighborhood, while not cheap by any means, have traditionally served as starter homes, in a good school district.

According to, the house across from us sold for about $270,000 last fall, very similar to the prices received for the four (yes, four) other houses that have sold on our block. All seem to have been purchased initially by either a builder or some other commercial entity. If the house across the street follows the trend, it will be priced between $400,000 and $600,000 after construction is complete. When it finally sells (they seem to sit empty for a while) it likely will be for much less than most folks think, but it will certainly be out of the range of the families the area originally served.

From what I can see, the only people truly benefiting are the Realtors, speculators and builders. I’m all for improving the neighborhood. If we could limit teardowns to situations in which the purchaser was the bona fide occupant of the property, I think we could go a long way to solving our teardown problems.

Tom Kauf, Edina