What a disappointment that the Star Tribune Editorial Board took the side of corporate bullying (“Find a solution for Park Board, Graco,” Feb. 26). The editorial’s call for a “compromise” is based upon Graco’s unsubstantiated claim that the company was released from its promise to provide a trail easement along the Mississippi River.

The truth is that Graco owns several parcels around its facility that could be used to expand. It is not short of space. Graco simply wants the riverfront property that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board purchased for a public riverfront park, because it was not able to acquire the parcel itself. Unable to get its way, it is reneging on its agreement to provide the trail easement in an attempt to force the Park Board to sell off a piece of our park. What the editorial suggests is that the Park Board give in to this kind of corporate hostage-taking.

North and northeast Minneapolis have long been left out of the city’s wonderful parks legacy. The Park Board has embarked on a multidecade project of correcting that disparity and providing future generations with parks and trails along the river, with all of the benefits those amenities will throw off to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Our public institutions rarely have the backbone to resist the inexorable siphoning of our hard-won public assets. I’m proud our park leaders aren’t giving in to the pressure that Graco and this editorial are creating.

Irene Jones, Minneapolis

The writer is river corridor program director for Friends of the Mississippi River.

BOARD OF INVESTMENT

Allocations in Israel: Opportune? Abhorrent?

I am a state of Minnesota retiree (2001), and I strenuously object to politicizing the Minnesota State Board of Investment (MSBI) (“Despite objections, state to keep buying Israeli bonds,” March 5). The purpose of that board is to maximize the rate of return on investments to protect the solvency of the state retirement program. The protesters at the March 4 meeting who objected to MSBI investments in Israeli businesses can do anything they want at home, but they cannot put their political views into state investments.

Lawrence E. Westerberg, Hastings

• • •

State Attorney General Lori Swanson has stated that “these decisions have to be based on fiduciary responsibility, not political considerations.” State Auditor Rebecca Otto jumped on the bandwagon, saying, “We can’t solve the world’s issues here.” I find this appalling. Since when do DFL officials emphasize “sound investments” over human rights? While Israel thumbs its nose at them, Palestinian landowners watch in despair as their homes and livelihoods are stripped from them for the sake of state-sponsored settlements. Gov. Mark Dayton claims that he’s “sensitive to human rights concerns.” If investing in Israeli bonds is being “sensitive,” then I guess being “insensitive” has acquired new meaning.

The Rev. John Darlington, Willmar, Minn.

 

TARGET JOB CUTS

Formal notification should be forthcoming

The governor is concerned that Target did not inform him of layoffs affecting “several thousand” employees over two years. Per the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act: “WARN offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs [defined as 50]. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.” I assume that as these layoffs are planned, Target will notify local government as required.

Mike McLean, Richfield

 

RACIAL BIAS

Really? The absolute only explanation?

The March 5 editorial about racial bias and the U.S. Justice Department’s recently concluded study of Ferguson, Mo., stated that traffic stops, tickets and arrests disproportionately target blacks and that there is only one explanation: racism.

I’m not sure that’s the only possible explanation. For example, I would imagine that the percentage of arrests of Buddhists in this country is much lower than the percentage of Buddhists in the population. Does this mean that police are looking the other way when Buddhists commit crimes? Or could it just be possible that Buddhists are less violent than the general population?

Jay Herman, Eden Prairie

• • •

The editorial says that two-thirds of the Ferguson population (the majority) is black and that the majority of arrests are of blacks, and that this is racist. Where did the Editorial Board take math class? The editorial goes on to explain that hundreds protested peacefully last summer in Ferguson. Since when is burning, looting and vandalism peaceful?

I don’t doubt that blacks are discriminated against. I do not condone it, and I have compassion for them. But until we start judging by facts instead of by emotion, I fear that change is still a long way off.

Dean Strunc, Crystal

• • •

The editorial’s claim that many police departments have racial-profiling attitudes similar to Ferguson’s is daunting and sadly accurate.

Although the Justice Department investigation revealed biased procedures, moving toward reconciliation must be the primary focus in cities across America in the coming months. We also must seek to make an impact in our local government. One example is a bill recently introduced to the Minnesota House (H.F. 615) that requires peace officers to undergo training to counter racial bias once every three years.

Christina Her, Champlin

 

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Court contemplates the language. Omm …

A March 5 article on the arguments before the Supreme Court regarding the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition of federal subsidies to states that did not establish health care exchanges quotes Solicitor General Donald Verrilli as arguing that this “cannot be the statute that Congress intended.” It also quotes Justice Elena Kagan as stating that “[w]e … try to make everything harmonious with everything else.”

The nation is indeed fortunate to have Verrilli as its solicitor general, as he is apparently gifted with the ability to divine others’ intentions, a gift rendered even more extraordinary by his ability to apply it to all 535 members of Congress.

Justice Kagan appears to be arguing that the plain meaning of the words in a law passed by Congress can be changed to achieve some amorphous objective of “harmoniousness,” a novel doctrine that puts her at the cutting edge of what might be termed “new age legal theory.”

Peter D. Abarbanel, Apple Valley