University of Wisconsin-Madison Prof. Noah Williams (“Higher wage is hurting those it’s supposed to help,” Opinion Exchange, July 23) would have us believe that a $15 minimum wage is damaging to workers and the economy. He cites job losses among young, unskilled workers in Minnesota vs. workers of the same class in Wisconsin. He tells us that “other factors played a role” without telling us what those factors were. Neither does he tell us how many of the low-skilled workers affected are in desperate need of the extra money because they support others. Nor does he say why the rest of us shouldn’t pay more for the fruits of these workers’ labor. Finally, he says nothing about statistics that have shown Minnesota’s economic growth is historically stronger than Wisconsin’s. Maybe our unwillingness to throw people under the economic bus has something to do with that.
John Farrell, Minneapolis
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Williams claims that minimum-wage hikes hurt those they intend to help. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest otherwise.
The service sector has a disproportionate share of minimum-wage jobs. If you look at job growth in private employment in the service sector, you will find that those jobs grew at a faster rate in Minnesota than in Wisconsin between December 2013 and December 2017, when Minnesota was increasing its minimum wage. If jobs in the private service sector in Wisconsin had grown at the Minnesota rate, there would have been 19,713 more of them in Wisconsin in 2017 than there actually were.
Annual wages in private employment in the service sector have improved at a slightly faster rate in Minnesota than Wisconsin. In 2013, those workers earned 23.7 percent more in Minnesota than in Wisconsin. By 2017, Minnesota private-sector service workers earned an average annual wage that is 24.3 percent higher than their Wisconsin counterparts.
All things considered, I’d rather be in Minnesota.
Mark Intermill, Robbinsdale
Weighing empathy and the law in pending release of documents
I wish the judge who ordered the release of documents from the 27-year investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Jacob Wetterling would have placed herself in the Wetterling family’s shoes and asked how she would feel if her personal information were revealed after she had begged a court to keep the files closed (“Wetterlings won’t appeal judge’s order,” July 22). I am aware that by law those personal transcripts have to be made public, but I feel the judge could have granted the Wetterlings’ appeal to keep the transcripts private. Folks in this state and around the country love to read about other folks’ misery and sadness. What other purpose would there be to release the remaining transcripts?
Don’t you feel the Wetterling family has suffered enough?
Yvonne Mooney, Norwood Young America
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I do sympathize with the Wetterlings. But I also think the file should be made public. We have a few great investigative reporters in Minnesota, and I’d like them to examine the file and see if clues were missed. And I don’t mean this as an insult to law enforcement, because I understand they don’t always have the time or the resources.
Gretchen Baltuff, Plymouth
Is the onus on accusers or the one who employed the accused?
Here we go again. In the July 21 article “Governor’s race shaken by #metoo allegations,” more anonymous claims have been leveled. Exactly what is it the accusers want done? They claim that U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (who’s running this year for lieutenant governor) didn’t take the claims of sexual harassment seriously, yet he had an investigation conducted and fired the person accused.
If a person believes they have been wronged (or that someone else has), then stand up and say so, but don’t hide behind the cloak of anonymity. Just like the Star Tribune requires me to sign this letter, why don’t we require accusers to publicly stand behind their accusations? They are making serious accusations that can have far-reaching effects, yet they can hide who they are and are not required to provide some basis for their claim before the media and the public in general insist the accused is guilty.
Sounds a lot like a lynching to me.
Charles Ochis, Eagan
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This is not about Nolan’s political aspirations. Nor is it about the congressman’s core beliefs or legislative achievements. This is about an employer who failed to provide a safe workplace, an environment in which all employees and at all levels felt equally valued and respected.
We ask of all political officeholders what we ask of all persons in power: advocacy for the weak and the young — for those most vulnerable. Whether female or male, those persons who find themselves subjects of mistreatment are entitled to these human rights: (1) the right to be heard (to tell their story) and (2) the right to be believed/understood.
To all political candidates. This is not about you. This is about all those you seek to serve.
Judith Monson, St. Paul
If ever there were an election for it, it’s this year’s primary
Here we are facing another primary election with the prospect of nominating (and subsequently electing) leaders who are not supported by a majority of voters.
Take a look: The primary ballot has four Republican candidates and five DFLers for the regular U.S. Senate seat, three Republicans and six DFLers for the U.S. Senate special election, three Republicans and five DFLers for governor/lieutenant governor, three Republicans and five DFLers for attorney general, and on and on and on.
The chance of any individual getting a majority vote in these crowded fields is slim and none. So we are certain to have candidates in the general election who may have been selected by as few as a third of primary voters, who themselves are a tiny fraction of the general electorate.
If ever there were an election that cries out for ranked-choice voting, this is it.
While currently prohibited by statute and not warmly embraced by all state lawmakers, especially on the Republican side, ranked voting has proved itself viable and useful in both St. Paul and Minneapolis city elections.
The multicandidate partisan primary not just offers the opportunity, but really demands, that ranked voting be used at the state level, too. Beginning with its use in the primary election is a good and easy first step for those legislators who are hesitant to try it out in the general election.
It is time to use ranked-choice voting to produce broadly supported candidates at the state level. We citizens deserve it.
Ellen T. Brown, St. Paul
MINNEAPOLIS 2040 PLAN
Another perspective on the economics of density
Anybody who is impressed by the economic analysis of Dennis Paulaha (“Standpoint: An economic principle is being misused,” Opinion Exchange, July 24) should look at “The Economic Implications of Housing Supply,” by Edward Glaeser and Joseph Gyourko, in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2018. The authors conclude that “when housing supply is highly regulated … housing prices are higher and population growth is smaller relative to the level of demand.” The regulations that the authors refer to include limitations on multifamily housing as well as other density restrictions. While the authors acknowledge the negative effects of increased density and congestion, they also state that empirical investigations generally conclude that the costs of congestion and density “are not nearly large enough to justify the costs of regulation.”
Frank Lerman, Edina