Police chief reflects on six-year tenure


I am very honored and grateful to have had the privilege to serve the city of Minneapolis. I especially want to thank the various communities, plus Mayor R.T. Rybak and the City Council, for their support the last six years.

Minneapolis is truly a beautiful city. Visitors constantly tell me how impressed they are with our clean and growing city, and with our incredible parks, as well as with our vibrant downtown. Last year, 92 percent of our downtown residents said they perceived downtown as a safe place.

However, what I am most proud of as chief of the Minneapolis Police Department was the 2011 resident survey that showed that 88 percent of our residents are satisfied with our work. For the first time in my memory, we have no communities in the city that have major issues with the Police Department. These results speak louder than any decrease in crime, and they are a credit to the men and women who work for the department.

I ask that you give our next police chief, Janeé Harteau, the same warm support that I have had these last six years. She is a bright star in the profession, and I believe she will continue to work very hard for excellence in the city of Minneapolis.


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Voting 'yes' shuts down the listening


It is hard to argue against a claim like that made by Andy Tix that we ought to listen more, seek common ground and empathize with those who disagree ("On marriage, all talking, too little listening," Oct. 24). However, two false claims in his article invalidate his position.

Claim No. 1 is that neither outcome will result in change. Not true. If the marriage amendment passes, same-sex marriage will not only be illegal but unconstitutional. That means that, in a time of significant cultural evolution on the subject, a restraint on marriage will be locked into place, beyond the reach of the legislative or judicial branches of government.

Claim No. 2 is that there is a threat to religious liberty, because religious institutions might be required to perform same-sex marriages against their religious beliefs. Not true. Current law allows individual clergy as well as full denominations to determine the criteria for marriage within their walls. Clergy can refuse to perform a ceremony if they believe the couple is mismatched for any reason. Nothing in the marriage amendment will change this current status of religious liberty.

Tix exhorts us to be better listeners. I agree. The only way to engage in an improved conversation on same-sex marriage is to vote "no" on the amendment. That vote allows us to keep the conversation open and to discard invalid concerns. A "yes" vote ends the discussion -- and the listening.


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Yet again, evidence of exaggerated fears


In the same Oct. 24 issue of the Star Tribune that included the story "Nation's racial legacy shapes voter ID debate" was a notice on the Town Square page about a buckthorn dump.

One of the requirements for dumping buckthorn brush at the site is to show picture ID. I wonder how picture ID opponents interpret the motive of the buckthorn dump site operator. Do they believe the operator wants to suppress minorities from dumping their buckthorn brush at the site? Is the site operator racist because the dump requires picture ID? Does the site operator believe that minorities won't have picture IDs, so they won't be able to use the dump?

I don't know what the reason for the picture ID requirement is, but I bet it has nothing to do with suppression of minorities. The requirement might inconvenience a few, but it's certainly not equivalent to a quote in the racial-legacy story: "Our ancestors died, young children were punished, homes were bombed, churches were bombed."

Photo ID opponents are greatly exaggerating if they say it is.


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Mille Lacs

Seasoned fisherman has an idea or two


I was not surprised to see the front-page article about the fishing concerns on Lake Mille Lacs ("Mille Lacs walleyes are more scarce," Oct. 23). I have fished this great lake since 1944. I have seen good fishing and slow fishing, but what is happening now is a disaster in the making. I recall a similar situation in 1992, but there were no zebra mussels or nets then.

Of course, those two factors are not the only things affecting the lake. I talked with representatives of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Aitkin a few years ago and voiced my concerns. They looked at me, the old man that I am, and basically discounted everything I had to offer -- namely, go to barbless fishing, ban fishing tournaments, do whatever it takes to get rid of the nets.

The older fishermen in this state have seen and learned many things through the years. The DNR needs to listen to what people have to offer and not consider us stupid.