Parsing the snapshots on marriage, voter ID
The astonishing part of the Oct. 28 Star Tribune poll on voter ID was that 36 percent of the respondents said that voter fraud is a problem. Not even the amendment's main proponents have been able to cite any good examples of voter fraud, even in close recounts.
What has been cited is that 200 felons (not allowed to vote in this state) voted in a recent election or elections. So, how did it become known that felons voted? Because they identified themselves accurately as to name and address. How else? This was not voter fraud of the type the proposed amendment is designed to address. Furthermore, a 60 to 70 percent turnout of eligible voters in an election is considered an excellent turnout. So are voters, legitimate or not, beating down the doors to vote? It appears not.
I think what we need is a law (not an amendment) that requires all potential voters to pass a test that demonstrates that they can separate fiction from fact and theory and belief from evidence. Then we would hear much less pandering nonsense from political candidates and more concrete proposals to address the real issues we have.
MARK H. STEDMAN, AFTON
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The breakdown of polling on the marriage amendment, (Minnesota Poll, Oct. 28), shows 85 percent of Republicans supporting the amendment. It is surprising to see the usually probusiness party members in favor of the antibusiness amendment.
It has been well-reported that the amendment would hinder the ability of businesses to recruit talented young people regardless of sexual orientation. We cannot afford to have good people go elsewhere, limiting the ability of our businesses to flourish.
CAL SIMMONS, EDINA
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MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOL BOARD
Beware the Teach for America candidate
The Star Tribune did readers a disservice in its endorsement of Josh Reimnitz in his race against Patty Wycoff for a hotly contested Minneapolis school board seat, praising the 26-year-old Teach for America alumnus as a young, fresh voice without connecting the dots.
Under Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, the administration has become filled with an unprecedented number of Teach for America alumni, and they are now in charge of initiatives such as the new teacher evaluation procedures, which are controversial among teachers both good and bad as unnecessarily bureaucratic, burdensome and ultimately unproductive.
Reimnitz, not surprisingly, supports the initiative. Like the officials, Reimnitz also supports revising teacher seniority, a national priority of Teach for America, despite a lack of evidence that this would help close the achievement gap. (If it did, you would expect to find teachers working without seniority rules in high-achievement suburban districts.)
Reimnitz may be young, but his ideas are hardly fresh -- they are the very same ideas being pushed across the country by Teach for America and by his colleagues in the administration, who would stand to benefit from having an ally on the school board.
TIM GIHRING, MINNEAPOLIS
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Vote Conroy, Cutter in Hennepin County
Lois Conroy is the best candidate for Hennepin County judge, seat 44. We disagree with the Star Tribune's opinion in endorsing her opponent ("For district court, 'retail' legal background is a plus," Oct. 24) and believe if, as the Editorial Board posed, that having worked with "troubled people facing extraordinary problems" benefits the bench, Conroy clearly excels in meeting this recommendation in her work with homeless chronic offenders of livability crimes. If "it's helpful if a judge knows what it's like to practice law when it's an achievement just to get your client to court on the right day," try working with people who don't have a phone, bus token, day planner, watch or bed.
As a prosecutor, Conroy creatively led the teaming of beat cops, probation officers, homeless advocates and business to improve the safety of this community, the economic development of the heart of our state and, yes, even the lives of homeless individuals. This is part of what makes her the best person for the job.
DARIO ENSELMO, EDINA,
and MONICA NILSSON, Minneapolis
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Liz Cutter is an extraordinary candidate for Hennepin County district judge, and the Star Tribune should have endorsed her. Her 30 years of public service as a civil and criminal lawyer, combined with her extensive community service, is hard to match. From the state attorney general's office to her position as a senior prosecutor with the Hennepin County attorney's office, she has served the people of Minnesota with integrity and compassion. She has committed herself to making our Minnesota justice system an exemplary one -- in particular for domestic-violence victims through her work on the Hennepin County Domestic Violence Steering Committee and the Family Violence Coordinating Council.
Liz has a remarkable ability to empathize with victims, and she has worked tirelessly to ensure they receive justice from our courts. Her expertise on domestic violence is recognized by many and demonstrated in the trainings she provides both locally and internationally. This year she traveled to Kazakhstan to train prosecutors on domestic violence. The endorsements of Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis and many other legal professionals are testimony to her competence and fairness. Liz Cutter deserves your vote on Nov. 6.
CHERYL THOMAS, MINNEAPOLIS