As a true feminist, I applaud the group advocating a woman on the $20 bill (Page A2, March 5). Andrew Jackson is not and never was worthy of the honor. His treatment of the Native American people was nothing short of genocide. In fact, Sacagawea, who helped lead the Lewis and Clark expedition with her baby on her back, would be a truly fitting replacement. Two first-wave feminists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul, a second-wave feminist, would also be excellent choices. While fighting for equality for women, including the right to vote and to use contraceptives, they nevertheless opposed abortion, calling it “child murder.” Sojourner Truth would also be a wonderful choice — her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, in which she protested both slavery and sexism, is truly one for the ages. Last, I would nominate Rosa Parks. As a proud African-American woman, she bravely stood up for her rights, even though it meant breaking the law.
Kay Kemper, Crystal
Mayors are trying to avoid their obligation
Pollution is not free; someone pays for it. Faced with paying for it, the mayors of northeastern Minnesota (“Lower sulfates? The cost is just too high,” March 5) are attacking the responsibility to pay in a perfectly rational way. Create fear, uncertainty and doubt — and it works. First, disparage the science and the motives of our regulatory agencies. Follow that with fear that “our very way of life is at stake.” Finally, create doubt in the rules by calling them “unnecessary and onerous.”
What the mayors don’t tell you in their article is that the Environmental Protection Agency’s sulfate standard for the nation is 30 parts per million (ppm), a far cry from the 2,500 ppm the mayors want you to believe is safe.
Pollution is the threat to our way of life, not the prevention of it.
Ron Sternal, St. Louis Park
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It’s unfortunate that in their zeal to promote jobs regardless of the consequences, Mary Hess and the other Minnesota mayors have omitted some inconvenient facts in their less-than-scientific arguments to allow unlimited sulfate infusion into wild-ricing waters.
First, they use the fact that Minnesota is the only state that regulates sulfate levels with regard to wild-rice harvesting. Are they unaware that Minnesota is about the only place on the planet where wild rice grows in abundance? Next, they glibly state that sulfate levels don’t affect wild rice. That seems to go against all of the science that shows that declining wild-rice harvest occurs when the acidity caused by sulfate pollution is elevated. Then, they seem to ignore the fact that state agencies are currently evaluating this controversy and have not yet issued their final report. Isn’t this pending information relevant? Finally, there’s the matter of Native rights to wild-rice harvesting that are guaranteed by treaty. The article doesn’t even mention this issue.
It’s admirable that the mayors who were signatories to the article are such strong advocates for their constituents and the Iron Range economy. It’s unfortunate that their unflagging advocacy doesn’t allow them to view the issue in its fullest ramifications. If they opened themselves to a broader vision, perhaps they could contribute to a solution that was suitable to all parties involved.
Richard Masur, Minneapolis
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Marshall Helmberger, to whose Feb. 26 commentary the mayors were responding, is absolutely right. The fact that the 10 ppm standard hasn’t been enforced since 1973 speaks for itself. This standard has recently been studied, analyzed and peer-reviewed and found to be valid — and not based, as the mayors write, on “very questionable information from the 1940s.”
The bigger issue is the role sulfates play in the methylation of mercury — that is, the conversion of mercury into methylmercury, a highly potent neurotoxin and a serious public health issue. This process and the factors that go into it have been known since the 1960s. Sulfates are the only factor that can be controlled, to my knowledge, and without sulfates, the process doesn’t happen.
I attended a public forum on Sept. 18 in Duluth. The topic was “Protecting the Public from Mercury in the St. Louis River.” During this forum, an official from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) denied that sulfates play any role in the methylation process and that there had to be another factor involved. What that factor was, she wouldn’t say, but the fact that the MPCA pulled out of a study of the St. Louis River concerning mercury issues speaks volumes about its attitude. And unless this official has gone rogue, we can only assume that her statements have been approved by her superiors.
Dennis Good, Britt, Minn.
Proposed split into six districts is typical GOP
The GOP’s idea to split up the Minneapolis School District would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. This party makes no effort to hide its focus on the wealthy donors and overwhelmingly white constituency it represents.
If Minneapolis has an achievement gap, it is likely due to many factors, including the teacher-seniority issue and powerful union interests that work for teachers, not kids, as well as poor parenting, homelessness and myriad other causes. But it must be at least partly due to years of shoddy treatment of Minneapolis’ most disadvantaged citizens by Republicans at the Capitol.
For a pile of senators, many of whom likely send their kids to private schools, to swoop into our city and start dishing unwanted advice is the epitome of unmitigated gall.
And their solution, which would create six districts from one, is more government? From Republicans! What hypocrites.
Jason Walker, Minneapolis
Yay for transparency! And speaking of that …
Hillary Clinton has made the front page again, about her private e-mailing while secretary of state before the new rules about such use were implemented. Good! I’m for complete transparency in government and politics. We all should be.
For example, let’s divulge all specific sources of dark money in campaigns. Let’s publicize in bold type people’s names who hide billions in offshore tax shelters, leaving us to make up for their cheating.
Let’s reveal without exceptions the names of corporations outsourcing and eliminating so many American jobs (even when they started and made most of their money here).
Then, of course, we should dig up all e-mails, reputedly private and later destroyed, in the Bush administration about the curious events leading up to the most ill-conceived war since Vietnam, costing 4,000 American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives (women, old people and children), next to four lives at Benghazi.
Finally, let’s not just stop with transparency in government; let’s prominently publish last year’s salary and bonus of Target’s CEO, who’s cutting the jobs of so many Minnesotans.
Greg Van Hee, Perham, Minn.