Monday morning was a one-two punch. First, I confirmed that I’ll be hit in the gut with a 40 percent increase in the premiums for my family’s current health insurance plan, which we buy on the private market. Next, I got slapped in the face by a quote in the morning paper from MNsure’s chief executive, who implied that the price hikes won’t really be that terrible if consumers just “get off the couch” and shop for lower premiums (“MNsure points to savings by switching,” Nov. 2). Well, I’ve shopped, and the very cheapest plan available for my family still brings a nearly 30 percent increase while also severely reducing my choice of providers. The problem of rising health care costs will not be solved by simply telling consumers they just need to be savvier shoppers, and it’s time for the state’s policymakers to “get off the couch” and face that reality.
Bruce Williams, Apple Valley
DIVERSITY IN STATE JOBS
I’d rather that Dayton simply hire the best person for the role
I can appreciate Gov. Mark Dayton responding to the minority communities in promising to diversify top jobs within the state (front page, Nov. 2). But, personally, I do not want anyone but the best person running the government, health care or my life. Using quotas to fill jobs (any job) does not make any sense to me. If you are hiring someone for anything other than their ability to do the job and do it well, then you are not doing your job, and that is just plain wrong. Just a few weeks ago, the governor stated he needed to do more to help bring minorities up to education standards. Now, with the latest statement about hiring more minorities for managerial ranks within state jobs, is he implying that there is a plethora of minorities out there who should have been hired in the first place?
If Dayton does not have the best people for the job right now regardless of their gender, race, creed or sexual preference, then shame on him. If there are better-qualified people out there that he didn’t hire, then again shame on him. Personally, I really don’t care about gender, race, creed or sexual preference as long as a person is getting the job for which they were hired done according to the specifics of the job and is serving the taxpayers of Minnesota.
Bill Winters, Brooklyn Park
PolyMet executives ought to also have something to lose
It is good that Gov. Dayton is getting exposure to both well-managed and poorly managed mining operations (“Dayton looks to Michigan for mining model,” Oct. 31). This exposure provides insight as to how we manage mines as they are mined, but how do we hold companies to safety standards when the exposures to their activities may outlive the companies? PolyMet executives have assured us that they will adhere to the highest standards of environmental protection. Surely they will make every effort to protect the environment, but what happens when the mine is closed and the pollution remains? Perhaps we could add a new level of consideration by PolyMet executives. Would their thinking be altered if the state added to their corporate guarantees a requirement of executives personally guaranteeing the safety of their mine, and providing a clawback provision of their salaries, bonuses and a penalty over the course of their careers at PolyMet should the mines cause any of the deleterious environmental effects we all worry about forever? Let’s ask them to put their personal profits and a penalty at a risk commensurate with the risk they are asking
John White, Edina
Yes, candidates on both sides should answer to adversaries
Over the weekend, myriad campaigns and candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president loudly demanded a course change on live televised debates. In response to continued Republican bellyaches, the Democratic National Committee should add an additional debate to its schedule to be aired on Fox News and moderated by Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.
The media, for all their faults — real and imagined — play a significant role in the jiggery-pokery that is a presidential election. The Democrats, already past their debate brouhaha, ought to demonstrate to the American public that despite ideological differences and bias, contenders for the presidency should be unafraid to articulate their positions. And, for its part, Fox News could once and for all lay claim that it, not the mainstream media, is truly fair and balanced.
The American presidency demands grit and mettle, and when candidates for our highest office bemoan adversity — however petty — it speaks volumes to their character and intestinal fortitude.
Marco Lanz, Minneapolis
• • •
The biggest thing we’ve learned from the latest Republican presidential debate is that the GOP candidates want to be treated with fairness and respect (“RNC suspends ties with NBC after debate,” Oct. 31).
It is a reasonable request, if only the GOP and its right-wing media had given the same courtesy to President Obama for the last seven years.
Steve Mark, Minnetonka
• • •
I imagine I was not alone in getting a good laugh out of the comment by Donald Trump’s campaign spokeswoman that the moderators of the Oct. 25 debate had shown “a total lack of substance and respect” to the debaters.
Jim Thomson, Excelsior
Easy for him to say …
Does anyone else find it strange that former Minneapolis City Council Member Paul Ostrow — a man who now identifies himself as co-chair of an organization called “No Labels Minnesota” (“Political rigidity: Which archetype are you? …,” Readers Write, Nov. 1) — wants to label us all as either hedgehogs or foxes?
Judith Healey, Minneapolis
• • •
Would I be alone in thinking it ironic that the co-chair of No Labels Minnesota urges us to boycott the “hedgehog” label and to buy the “fox” brand?
Chris Loetscher, New Ulm, Minn.
SCHOOL START TIMES
How about sleep start times?
In reference to the Oct. 31 commentary “Later starts offer chance to make teens safer,” which suggests that kids’ suicides could be a result of fatigue from getting up too early for school: I don’t buy that for one second. Make sure their bedrooms are free of TVs, computers and phones, and enforce the time they have to go to bed at night. That ensures they get a full night of rest. Who is running the show — you or your kids?
Marilyn Mangan, Mound
Pardon me? All Hallows’ Eve?
Does the writer of “It always ought to be on a Saturday” (Readers Write, Oct. 31) understand where Halloween originated? It was All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Saints Day, which is always the Nov. 1. It was commercialized into Halloween. Maybe the trick-or-treat part or the parties can be done on a Saturday, but Halloween will always be Oct. 31.
Elane Pepin, Plymouth
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
All right, once and for all …
On Sunday, James Lileks’ column reported that 63,000 people have petitioned to abolish daylight saving time. I have a better idea: a final daylight saving time shift, FDSTS for short. Next spring, move our clocks forward one-half hour, then abolish any further daylight saving time shifts.
S. Steve Adkins, Lakeville