STUDENT SUSPENSIONS

It’s not about racism; it’s a need for order

Children of all ages should be taught that there are consequences for actions (“Race affects even preschool suspensions,” March 22). When a child enters the education system, he or she is among 20 to 30 other children in the class. The educators are there to teach the students and should not be expected to spend their time with disciplinary actions. Why bring race into the picture? All children are given the same rules to follow. The focus should be teaching parents who have problem children. A school without rules would be not be able to function.

Carole Holten, McGregor, Minn.

 

PRO ATHLETES

Treat ’em to a tax break, enjoy the game

State Sen. David Osmek invokes Joe Taxpayer when he says, “No, no, no!” to “tax breaks for NFL millionaires” (“Capitol divided on NFL tax cuts,” March 23). But when another famous Joe, this one named Mauer, chooses Florida residency over Minnesota (presumably to minimize Minnesota state income taxes), Osmek’s principled stance doesn’t make sense. If Minnesota’s top pro athlete (raised in St Paul, playing in a taxpayer-funded stadium) avoids state taxes, we regular Joes really don’t care about a one-day free pass for NFL players. Particularly when the upside is hosting the Super Bowl.

Kevin Moynihan, St. Paul

• • •

The measly multimillion-dollar impact of a Super Bowl on Minneapolis and Minnesota pales in comparison with the multibillion-dollar impact of all of the legitimate business enterprises that thrive in this state — those taxpaying enterprises who support the revenue stream that makes this state work. Ironically, based on NFL logic, those non-sport enterprises are far more worthy of tax breaks than the NFL itself, because of their largesse to the state.

The sports mafia is the most insidious form of white-collar crime in the United States today. It must be destroyed. Vanquish the gangsters of greed and the politicians who support their horribly twisted and false sense of values.

Wayne Martin, Plymouth

 

WELFARE FRAUD

Prosecution just raises larger questions

Before Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman gets too proud of himself for seeking to charge the wealthy Deephaven couple with welfare fraud (“ ‘Rich folks’ accused of ripping off welfare,” March 22), the bigger question is: How did this couple get dollar one from Hennepin County in the first place? What steps in checking out this couple’s income and assets were missed? If all of the proper steps were taken by the county, there obviously is a problem with the system. How many other cases like this are there? And what is being done to prevent this abuse in the future?

Mary Diercks, Minneapolis

 

TEARDOWNS

Benefits purported but likely not realized

Despite a March 21 commentary (“Teardown moratorium at odds with goals”), residential teardowns and rebuilding in southwest Minneapolis will not give neighbors lower taxes, nor reduce carbon footprint, nor increase density.

These new homes assessed at higher tax rates lead to higher assessments for the neighbors. We’ll have the same home we had, but we’ll have to pay more to keep it.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, newer homes do not consume less energy overall. Energy savings on heating are offset by larger energy use for water heating and for air conditioning, and for the increased number of appliances, electronics and lighting.

As for density, we are replacing one house with one house.

The effect of this destruction/construction is profound. A great neighborhood with a mix of human-sized homes is now punctuated with large looming boxes on most streets. The builders have maximized their profits by choosing size before appearance. These houses have swallowed their lots and blocked the sun.

If some people must have a new house, we could ask that they improve our neighborhoods by fostering beauty, nature and community. Instead they are giving us plainness, solid surfaces and alienation. We can do better.

Eva Hyvarinen, Minneapolis

• • •

A March 22 letter writer mentioned that the only people benefiting from the teardowns and restorations in Minneapolis and Edina are Realtors, speculators and builders. I’d add that taxpayers in general benefit from the increased values in those properties. I’d also add people like me.

I bought a “new” home last fall. I was interested in moving to this part of the metro area, but was not interested in a rundown, 100-year-old home. I looked for a long time before finding the right fit, and it was a new build on a site where once stood a home of much less value (and rundown to boot).

I’m one guy who’s happy that housing is being replaced or refurbished around here. While things like size, hours of construction and other concerns need our attention, halting the rehabbing process completely is not the right response.

Jim Stromberg, Edina

 

KIDS AND CANDY DISPLAYS

Let’s unwrap this idea of ‘predatory’ behavior

The notion that the display of candy at the eye level of children by stores such as Toys ‘R’ Us amounts to a predatory practice (Readers Write, March 24) is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard or read. The word “predatory” is one that is not taken lightly in society, and it doesn’t belong anywhere near the idea of selling candy. The writer also suggests that personal responsibility and vigilant parenting are not winning the day in regard to childhood obesity, yet a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February stated that childhood obesity has decreased 43 percent in the last decade. Call me naive, but I think that personal responsibility and vigilant parenting are winning the day.

Brian Albers, Blaine