Dear Mike Freeman: If you really have no taste for the job anymore, it is not right to accept a lot of money from the citizens of Hennepin County to play a chair-filling role (“Freeman bashes Damond probe,” Dec. 15). Perhaps your news conferences and other self-promoting activities would have been more meaningful if you had indicated at least how many other suspects at whom the evidence points in the Justine Damond case. Nobody said it would be easy. If you do not have the stomach to do the job right, you should not keep the job.

Wayne Sather, St. Paul


Welcome presence on these pages

Thanks to the Star Tribune for publishing Garrison Keillor’s “Gratitude” notes from the Mayo Clinic operating room on the Dec. 15 Opinion Exchange page. We are strong proponents of creating healthy, respectful, abuse-free workplaces and communities. However, we do not believe any of us benefit from the kind of action that Minnesota Public Radio has taken in Keillor’s case, which can be characterized as trying to erase all evidence of his decades of work on MPR, our state and our world, based, as of today, on “unspecified” allegations of misconduct. We are grateful to the Star Tribune for sharing Keillor’s latest work, for as he says so clearly “you come back to the basics: we’re blood and bone and skin, we depend on the goodness of others, and it is here to be found, thanks to people trained to be precisely competent.”

Olivia and Donald Gault, Roseville


Not just misogyny, but bigotry

A Dec. 13 commentary by Clara Jeon states that women are tired of seeing things go in favor of the accused when it comes to sexual assault, that taking advantage of women became ingrained and accepted in American society, and that the only way to get rid of this tradition is to fight it nontraditionally. That means women should be heard and believed without hesitation and there should be zero tolerance. Should we not have the same standards for African-Americans and other people of color who are abused and killed by the police? There would be outrage if we asked women what they did to deserve being abused or harassed, but it is the first question we ask when a person of color is mistreated or killed by a police officer. The system that oppresses women also oppresses people of color. The system protecting the powerful allows the abuse and silencing of both women and people of color. Women deserve to be heard and believed, and so do African-Americans and all people of color. It is time to look at the misogyny and bigotry that have fueled the abuse of power in this nation.

Carol Keymer, Plymouth


The old, tired headwinds blow

The announcement that Tina Smith will serve in the U.S. Senate and run for the seat generated many comments regarding how she is experienced but has never run for elected office before and will have a steep learning curve. In the Star Tribune, it was noted that “Smith, who has never served in a legislative body before, will have to learn the Senate’s arcane rules.” Can we all pause and recognize that Al Franken, who now holds the seat, had never run for elected office in 2008 when he first ran for it? Franken threw his hat in the ring with much less legislative and political experience than Smith. So, uh, media and shallow political hacks, can we get a less-biased presentation of this situation? It's not unusual that Smith is running for this seat. Indeed, it reflects the status quo.

Julie Risser, Edina


Exploiting the volunteers

I am in complete agreement with Twin Cities choreographer Laurie Van Wieren, who is quoted in “A Super Bowl dance revolution” (Artcetera, Dec. 15). The Super Bowl Host Committee is saving, most likely, millions of dollars by continuing to recruit volunteers of all kinds, for little to no pay. All to benefit multibillionaire team owners, multimillionaire players, profligate corporate sponsors and the primarily wealthy who can afford to buy tickets.

All Super Bowl workers, many now known as “volunteers,” ought to be paid competitive wages for commensurate skill sets. With, I dare say, a minimum $13 hourly wage. How could the Host Committee afford this? Include it in the NFL’s Super Bowl budget, of course. Force teams and ticket buyers to pay the freight.

Jim Cox, Circle Pines


$544M fund just a start, if that

The Dec. 14 article “PolyMet proposes $544M for risks” looks like a promising start to the assurances Minnesotans need. But it is only a start. The proposal has to include a number of other elements:

• The fund will be in existence for the life of the plant.

• The fund will increase each year with the rate of inflation.

• The liability will be transferred to any potential new owner of the mine and facility

• If or when the mine and facility close, these funds will be used to restore the area to its original condition.

If these conditions are made a part of the agreement with Minnesota, a meaningful negotiation might be a possibility.

Douglas Bruce, Bloomington

• • •

If a company has to guarantee $544 million to offset the costs of doing harm, there is a pretty good chance it is going to do harm. If that potential does become a reality, there is an even better chance $544 million isn’t going to cover the damage. While the economic livelihood of northern Minnesota residents is a legitimate concern, copper is a shortsighted answer. Destroying a sustainable pristine wilderness for a nonrenewable resource just doesn’t make sense.

Anne Sachs McGraw, Golden Valley


Don’t forget Rosemount

I read the Dec. 13 article on the Loft’s new Book Fair, Wordplay, and would like to draw attention to another large literary event that wasn’t mentioned in the article. The Rosemount Writers Festival and Book Fair (previously held for 15 years in Bloomington) is a one-day literary event that supports and educates local and regional writers. More than 100 authors (many award-winning) and publishing professionals had tables each year at the book fair when the event was held in Bloomington, and 60 authors and publishing vendors joined us in 2017 in Rosemount, our first year in the new location. Writers from places such as Isanti, Rochester, Winona and Duluth, from Wisconsin and Iowa, and from the Twin Cities area came to learn from and network with writers and publishers. Over the years, keynote presenters have included nationally known Minnesota authors such as William Kent Krueger, Kate DiCamillo, Faith Sullivan, Nancy Carlson and Lorna Landvik.

The next event is slated for Saturday, March 24, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Steeple Center in Rosemount. In addition to the Book Fair and keynote address, we offer an entire day of publishing and writing workshops at an affordable price. Learn more at

Sue Stein, Rosemount

The writer is chair of the Rosemount Writers Festival and Book Fair.