The Star Tribune's disservice to voters

Apparently, being a current officeholder and the only mayoral candidate in Minneapolis to have been elected citywide is not significant enough for the Star Tribune to acknowledge my candidacy as legitimate. Nearly all candidate forums and other press outlets included me as a "leading candidate."

Sixteen years on the Park Board and Board of Estimate and Taxation, including serving as president of both, as well as being a Minneapolis civil-rights commissioner for 18 years, doesn't count. The paper totally ignored my entry in August and judges my candidacy on not raising enough money in three weeks after filing.

The Star Tribune relies on money and a poll. The poll, relying on land lines, ignores most voters. The use of PACs and fundraising as criteria validates the notion that money controls elections. I have not sought endorsements from special interests.

My grass-roots campaign, with huge numbers of volunteers, is evident by significant presence in lawn signs. This is largely a result of four decades of community volunteer work and citywide name recognition for accomplishments with our nationally renowned park system.

My vision of streamlining government and being the only candidate to propose reducing property taxes by 5 percent deserves exploration. The Park Board had less than half the tax increases the city received in the past decade, got rid of inefficiencies and still provides great service.

Minneapolis deserves better.

Bob Fine, Minneapolis


What will Minnesota show the nation?

Louis D. Brandeis, the great social reformer and Supreme Court justice, once wrote: "It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."

So it is with wildlife conservation issues here. There is no need to restate that Minnesota's gray wolf population has not rebounded fully, and that our Department of Natural Resources in 2012 overestimated the number of resident adult wolves before authorizing two recreational wolf hunts.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning deliberations to remove protections from the wolf in the Lower 48. The states will acquire more control over management if federal protections lapse. The first question is whether our legislators will explore nonlethal management solutions for this critical predator or continue to court special interests. The second is whether we can lead the nation — or not.

NEIL ROSS, Minnetonka


Boycott would not make Russia tolerant

In an Oct. 25 commentary ("U.S. must boycott next Olympics"), Ellen Kennedy cites the potential boycott of the 1936 (Berlin) Olympics as a missed opportunity for the United States to "strengthen international resistance to Nazi tyranny." In the same way that the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics did not alter the behavior of the Soviet Union, and in the same way the Soviet boycott of the 1984 Olympics did not alter the behavior of the United States, boycotting the 1936 Olympics would not have altered German behavior, nor will boycotting the 2014 Olympics alter antigay behavior in Russia.


• • •

I just talked to a dear old friend visiting from Moscow. She was outspoken in her condemnation of gay marriage. It's a strange situation for me. I've spoken in defense of the Soviet Union and Russia for the past 30 years. I think that my Russian friends are just as wrong about their gay prejudice as any people who fear and hate others because of race, sex, religion … the usual list of human-rights violations.

Most Americans don't know that Russians are a lot like American conservatives, and that's not a good thing. The Soviet Union should have been popular with American conservatives, but the wall of lies about communism prevented that truth from being known. Most Americans don't know that Russians are and always have been religious. I'm not. I call religion the often harmful influence of the "ancient desert people and their books."

Here is my advice to help Russians. Go to the Sochi Olympics. Treat the Russians with respect by getting over the lying Cold War propaganda. Focus on the true human-rights violation. Gently make news. I'm positive that Russia will reform faster than we did.



Obama's policies turn the world against us

If President Obama's long-term objective was to make us the most-hated country in the world by even our own allies, I think he has achieved his goal ("Europe furious over spy report," Oct. 25). He may now get nothing but a cold shoulder from our European friends in the remainder of his term, and that already-shaky foreign policy of his may now get little or no support from the rest of the world. I challenge anyone to name a country that is happy with the United States right now.



Listen to the pros if they say it's not ready

Speaking as a computer programmer, software designer, systems analyst and IT project manager for many organizations over more than 25 years, I am left shaking my head after the Obamacare rollout in recognition of an occurrence that's much too common in this field. Many large efforts entrusted to IT are deemed to have an "aggressive schedule" or "condensed timeline" or to be "mission critical" and other categorizations in which the common bottom line is a drop-dead date and cost set by executives for completion and production rollout of critical applications. As evidenced by the Affordable Care Act rollout, sacrificing quality for schedule and budget does not work. When professionals hired and trusted to do the job openly warn that the system isn't ready to go live, they should be believed.