I’m a member of the Minneapolis Charter Commission. We held our monthly meeting on Wednesday. The city coordinator gave a presentation on preparations for the upcoming election and handed out a document titled “2016 General Election-Status Report.”
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The report included a summary of the early voting that had taken place to date in the city’s four early-vote centers. Here are the numbers of ballots received to date:
• Downtown (217 S. Third St.): 4,460.
• South (Roof Depot, 1860 E. 28th St.): 6,898.
• Northeast (Water Bar, 2516 Central Av. NE.): 3,296.
• North Minneapolis (Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Av.): 1,956.
Full disclosure : I voted for Hillary Clinton at the downtown location. But these numbers may be telling a story. This city votes overwhelmingly Democratic. But there are Republican voters, and where they are is predominantly on the South Side, and they are outnumbering the predominantly Democratic and African-American early voters living in the North Side early-voting area by more than 3 to 1. Now, this is by no means conclusive, but it’s the only evidence I’ve seen from which you can draw a conclusion, or probably more accurately, make a guess — that at this point in the game Clinton isn’t getting out the vote and Trump is. And believe me, I hope I’m wrong.
Dan Cohen, Minneapolis
Editorial Board wants too many DFLers (and Republicans)
If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that Gov. Mark Dayton and associates were writing the political endorsements for the Star Tribune. It appears the Editorial Board would be completely comfortable with an all-DFL Legislature. Wouldn’t that be fair and balanced?
David Speidel, Eden Prairie
• • •
I am shocked by the Editorial Board’s endorsement of two male Republicans to represent all of us here in the western suburbs — Erik Paulsen for the Third Congressional District and Paul Anderson for state Senate District 44. These districts voted for Barack Obama in 2012. This area may be moderate, or right-leaning in financial matters, but it is definitely liberal in its social values.
Terri Bonoff and Deb Calvert are a perfect fit for these offices, not the two endorsed candidates. For example, Paulsen is against choice, against family-planning access (he co-sponsored bills to defund Planned Parenthood), against gun control, against gay marriage, and against efforts to control the environment. I myself ran as a Democrat for a House seat from the Lake Minnetonka area in 1976, when it was pioneering for women to do so — and women even then would have loved either of these two women.
It is a sad day not to endorse potentially the first woman congressperson from the Third District (Bonoff) and the able woman who would continue her track record in the state Senate (Calvert). Of eight U.S. representatives, we now currently have one woman. But perhaps endorsing Angie Craig in the Second District made it seem like the congressional picks were balanced. They were not. Such a disappointment.
Sandra Larson, Minnetonka
In response to the arguments of the ‘no’ voters on levy renewal
On Oct. 31, the Star Tribune published a counterpoint to the endorsement of the Minneapolis Public Schools excess levy renewal by the paper’s Editorial Board. In her counterpoint (“‘Yes to Kids’? Failure is not something to toss money at”), former Minneapolis school board member Ann Berget mischaracterizes the campaign and makes inaccurate statements about the referendum.
Berget implied the “Vote Yes for Kids” campaign is “stealthy.” The hundreds upon hundreds of yard signs throughout the city discredit that argument. With a Facebook following of nearly 4,000 and public endorsements from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, 10 members of the Minneapolis City Council and the entire Minneapolis state legislative delegation, it’s a stretch to call the campaign “stealthy.”
Berget also claims that it’s difficult for voters to “track where referendum dollars go,” but then makes it clear the information “is hiding in plain sight on the website.” Because referendum spending is, in fact, in plain sight, voters can see for themselves how referendum dollars benefit their local school.
Finally, Berget summarizes that K-12 education funding is a state responsibility. I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, current per-pupil state aid to districts is more than 10 percent less than it was in 2003. Until the Legislature fixes that problem, I will vote “yes” in the public school referendum. Our kids shouldn’t suffer while the grown-ups figure out how to fund our schools.
Tina Pfau Gonzales, Minneapolis
• • •
Two recent letters argued for a “no” vote for renewal of the Minneapolis schools’ $74 million annual excess levy. Their common main reason, as I understood the letters, offered a reasonable point of view: Why spend more money on schools if the children who attend do not come ready to learn? I would like to offer another point of view.
As I consider my vote, this is what I keep in mind: The children who come to Minneapolis Public Schools today and tomorrow are the children they are, not the children we might want them to be. Public schools do not get to choose who shows up. Some show up ready to learn. Some do not. The public schools represent an important part of our community effort to educate them all. Too many American kids live in chaotic families where violence, abuse, drugs or mental illness rob them of the skills and habits they need to succeed in school. Still, they show up, unready and sometimes unwilling. Reducing the resources we offer them at school will not make them more successful or productive. These children, too, are our future. This referendum is one of the ways we help them get ready, for their sake and ours.
Jim Long, Minneapolis
The Cubs’ inspiring message for all of us: Perseverance
For 108 years, the Chicago Cubs had the hearts of many people from all walks of life. But, unlike any other team, they had a closer connection to all those who went to work every day fighting to stay above water and maybe never reaching in life what they planned on when they were younger. Dedicated people who would much rather say “Wait until next year” than abandon all those lovable losers. Well, those people are now rewarded, many who passed away before they got to witness one of the greatest feats in sports history. For all of you, this win is for you. Go, Cubs!
John Giese, Golden Valley