What does it say about our society that a person in the drive-through line at McDonald’s recorded a physical altercation between the customer in front of him and a drive-through employee for 67 seconds (“Video shows irate drive-up customer choking an employee …,” Nov. 5) without getting out of his car to help or at least calling 911?
Laura Lund, Minneapolis
BETSY HODGES, SO FAR
Cam Winton’s magnanimity wins this reader’s goodwill
Cam Winton, you’re a Republican I could learn to like (“Let’s consider all we got with Betsy Hodges,” Nov. 5). In fact, I do already. Thanks for your counterpoint to a Nov. 3 commentary by one of Minneapolis Mayor Hodges’ detractors (“Does the Star Tribune now see what it gets with Betsy Hodges?”). You and Hodges together could work wonders because you would both stick to your principles, but would bend enough to create a blend of good policies that could benefit all the rest of us.
I have two questions for you: Where are those like you who are to the center and right? And would you consider running for president? Think about it.
Jo Youngren, St. Anthony
ST. PAUL SCHOOL BOARD
Star Tribune editorial wrongly characterizes teachers’ priorities
The Star Tribune’s editorial for Nov. 5 (“A cautionary note for St. Paul school board”) included a statement that — when I read it — immediately made me mumble “I hate that comment.”
In reference to the board, the editors wrote that its newly elected members will “need to resist the pressure to listen to only one set of constituents — the teachers and the union that helped them get elected — and do what’s best for St. Paul kids while also representing the interests of taxpayers.” The implication is that teachers don’t want to do what’s best for kids, that teachers’ needs are separate from kids’ and taxpayers’ needs. That implication is insulting and repugnant. It conveys the impression that teachers are only in it for themselves.
Ask a teacher what his or her first goal is. Ask teachers if they want money allotted without regard for the long-range need of taxpayers — the need for an educated, well-adjusted public. Ask them.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
Commentary criticizing his campaign missed the point of it
Jonathan Bernstein’s Nov. 5 commentary (“Lame crusade to get money out of politics … gets out of politics”) criticizes Lawrence Lessig for entering the presidential race. Lessig is a distinguished Harvard law professor and activist who wrote several outstanding books, including “Republic Lost,” an examination of how money is corrupting our political system. Bernstein misses the point of the campaign, namely, to point out the serious impact of huge sums of money on our political system and our democracy. This is a very fundamental problem that will affect the ability of Congress to accomplish much of anything. He also emphasizes the destructive nature of gerrymandering that has produced a Congress that is unable to compromise. Lessig doesn’t contend that passing reform legislation would be easy, as Bernstein suggests. Bernstein also says that Congress doesn’t have time to address campaign-finance reform. Really? I can’t think of much that would be more important.
George Beck, St. Louis Park
Let’s talk about the military, foreign aid and the national debt
The next time the candidates for president are on stage, they should be asked the following:
1) What are your thoughts on the U.S. having military forces in nearly 150 countries?
2) What are your thoughts on the U.S. having a Navy that is larger than all other navies combined?
3) What are your thoughts on the fact that we grant more than $30 billion in foreign aid?
4) What are your thoughts on the national debt of $30 trillion and increasing?
Robert Loscheider, Grand Rapids, Minn.
THE STATE OF TELEVISION
We don’t censor in this country, so let’s do the next best thing
Freedom of speech is a wonderful benefit of living in the United States. It’s a great thing — until I come across the FX channel’s “American Horror Story” and am slammed with blood, violence and just plain ugliness in the time it takes my brain to register what it is seeing. Just how do the writers’ brains come up with these outlandish and personally degrading story ideas? To incorporate children into these movies is just plain wrong.
Parents, please monitor your children’s TV viewing. It saddens me to think there are children out there watching this “Horror” in their rooms. We won’t be able to get this off the airways, but can get it out of the eyes and minds of kids.
Joy Majsterski, Breezy Point, Minn.
THE STATE OF AUTO MANUFACTURING
Free enterprise is good, but sound ethics must be part of it
Although I am a long supporter of capitalism and our free-enterprise economic system, a series of recent automobile industry blunders has made me wonder. The group includes General Motors’ defective ignition switches, the awful Takata air bag explosions and the intentional computer modifications by Volkswagen designed to bypass exhaust pollution. The ignition and air bag problems have resulted in deaths and injuries; the VW computer fiasco contributes to serious environmental pollution.
There may be additional problems as yet undiscovered or undisclosed in automobile manufacturing. In every case, the manufacturers early knew of the serious defects, yet elected to continue the errors, for reasons difficult to understand. Is this simple greed or ignorance? The involved companies now have accrued tremendous costs in correction of the problems. How can they be so stupid? Why not do the right thing and promptly admit and correct the errors as soon as discovered?
Seymour Handler, Edina
THE STATE OF IOWA
All cartooning aside, we should respect our neighboring state
Steve Sack’s Nov. 5 editorial cartoon of Minnesota winning in “some obscure ‘livability ratings’ ” was a put-down to our lovely neighbors to the south when he stated “Take THAT Iowa!”
What gives? I’ve never understood the arrogance, or the long line of jokes about the state throughout the years. I am a first-generation Minnesotan, so perhaps I’ve missed something. Several years ago, I attended a parent orientation for incoming freshman students at the University of Minnesota, and an administrator asked for a showing of hands from families who were from Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska, with no mention of Iowa. Some people shouted out “Kansas” and “Colorado” and “Texas!” Someone finally yelled, “What about Iowa?” The audience erupted in laughter. Strange.
The people I know from Iowa are vibrant, educated and enlightened. They are also just as baffled by the baloney from Minnesotans. I took the initiative recently and looked up 50 facts from Iowa and was truly amazed. We should all do the same and learn something new about our neighbors. After all, there is so much more that comes out of Iowa than just corn and Interstate 35.
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
• • •
Arby’s used to always pick on Subway in its advertisements. Arby’s evidently fears Subway. Does that mean Minnesota fears Iowa? Just askin’.
Bob McCool, Lino Lakes
It isn’t just landmarks
Thank you to the Nov. 4 letter writer who recommended that the newly relit Pillsbury Flour sign by turned off by 10 or 11 p.m. to limit the effect on humans, birds and other animals. The amount of light pollution from this type of lighting and the proliferation of digital billboards is alarming. I applaud the communities that have “Dark Sky” policies in place to attempt to minimize the harmful effects of excessive lighting. However, I also despair at the number of overlit billboards and signage that I see around the metro area and along Interstate 94 between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. In the case of those digital billboards that change messages at frequent intervals, there is a safety hazard for drivers. Let’s learn to value the calming, natural effect of dark skies while it’s still possible.
Kathleen Burke-Scheffler, Golden Valley