As a 30-year veteran of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, I have never felt that my virtue or my safety were in jeopardy while participating in the show (“Renaissance Fest workers allege sexual harassment,” front page, Aug. 8). While I cannot speak for all the several thousand people who are staff, vendors or performers with the festival, to my knowledge there has never been a whiff of suspicion regarding sexually violent behavior occurring or tolerated. I believe that recent media coverage regarding the question of sexually violent behavior at the festival, and the salacious euphemisms used by the media to describe that alleged behavior, have led the public to believe that there is a prevailing “culture of sexual violence” that encompasses the entirety of the show. While that cannot be further from the truth, I will not deny that there has always been a bawdy atmosphere of an adult nature surrounding the show.
However, there are some perceptions that need to be clarified. First, I cannot emphasize enough that almost all festival participants (Rennies) feel that, together, we are a family. Second, we are a unique community of artists, actors, vendors and crew members who are not employed by Mid-America Festivals Corp. We are independent of the corporate entity of MAF, yet we rely on that entity to provide a venue and support services that allow our community to exist at all.
The majority of festival performers and crafters travel and live together like a nomadic tribe. We watch out for each other; we support each other; we censor each other. Many of us are third-generation Rennies. We have grown up together; we are growing old together; and we mourn the loss of one of us.
To reduce the sum total of 48 years of festival to a few “predatory” individuals is a heinous misrepresentation of the “culture” of an inherently diverse and inclusive community.
Please don’t paint us all with the same brush.
Laura Hughes, Jordan
MINNEAPOLIS 2040 PLAN
A property-value plunger
To add to an Aug. 14 letter about Jonathon F. Mack’s Aug. 13 commentary, “Minneapolis 2040 plan: Elite residents got what they voted for”: In the effort to adjust to increased density and address the need for affordable housing, this plan is to gut the neighborhoods that are the crown jewels of the city, whose residents pay millions in taxes, by creating zoning that would allow developers — including huge, faceless corporations — to buy and destroy existing homes in established neighborhoods and build apartment buildings. And planners admit that this would not guarantee affordable housing in the future and that where it has been done in other cities, it hasn’t worked. Really? Think of the long-range consequences. Would you buy a $400,000 house next to an apartment building? Or if you thought the house next door could become one? Watch as your tax base erodes if this plan is implemented as presented.
Jane K. Bygness, Minneapolis
CAROL BECKER DISPUTE
An ethical misjudgment
Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation Member Carol Becker’s attempt to silence and intimidate a citizen critic by filing specious legal documents in the name of his website and Twitter handle, Wedge Live, shows extremely poor judgment (“Wedge Live blogger, official spar over name,” Aug. 14). To then lie about it by claiming she just happened to want that name for a podcast makes it worse.
We should expect our public servants to encourage feedback and conversation from constituents. Becker’s abuse of the legal system to shut down criticism goes against everything a functioning democracy needs. She does not have the judgment or temperament needed to hold public office. She should resign immediately.
Len Schmid, Minneapolis
• • •
After reading about the dispute, including Becker’s questionable decision to file a trademark application and her many confusing public statements attempting to justify her actions, which test the boundaries of credibility — I am seriously concerned that Hamline University permits Becker, an adjunct professor, to teach about business to its students.
I hope that the students leave the institution with a firmer grasp of how to conduct themselves ethically in business and in the public sphere than their professor appears to have.
Chris Moseng, Minneapolis
PETER STRZOK FIRED
And yet, the reality
Former FBI agent Peter Strzok deserved to be disciplined for his unprofessional behavior. Whether he deserved to be sacked is debatable (“FBI fires agent for texts on Trump,” front page, Aug. 14).
But, at least two things should be apparent to anyone with even a shred of objectivity: (1) Strzok has much more integrity than any of his U.S. House interrogators, who absolutely could not wrap their partisan minds around the concept of someone being able to perform his or her job at a high level without being guided by personal political beliefs, and (2) what Strzok said about Trump — including that Trump is a “disaster” — is basically true.
From grabbing genitalia to paying off porn stars and playmates to record crowds to “fine” Nazis to meaningless North Korean photo ops to trade wars to kids in cages to Space Force to Omarosa, it’s really very difficult to imagine a more incompetent, divisive and flat-out disastrous president than Trump. And yet the Republican base approves of his job performance somewhere north of 80 percent.
As a thought experiment, let’s imagine that President Barack Obama had delivered a groveling betrayal of our intelligence establishment to a foreign adversary the way Trump did in Helsinki — would one Republican head be left unexploded?
It’s not “tribal” or “fake” to witness a dumpster fire and observe that it is giving off an unpleasant odor.
Gene Case, Andover
CALL FOR INVESTORS
Join me — let’s buy the Twins
I want investors to join me in relieving the Pohlad family of a public investment they don’t know how to run: the Minnesota Twins. I have $50,000. Who will join me?
Hennepin County paid for half of Target Field. So we are already half-invested as taxpayers.
But to protect that investment, we need to intervene and save this franchise from a continued string of terrible decisions by accountants who own the Twins but don’t know how to run it. I have personally witnessed 23 straight Twins home openers. So much futility. An owner who threatened to contract the team in order to extort taxpayers for a new stadium, who has a statue in front of our public stadium, as if he were a hero. A general manager in Terry Ryan and then Billy Smith who traded away such good players for “future prospects.” This new regime is a rerun. I wish Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Lance Lynn and Fernando Rodney well as they play for real playoff contenders. But, hey — we have prospects.
What have the Twins done with our taxpayer investment? Whoever ponies up, let’s go and buy the Twins. The price should be discounted considering the mismanagement of this asset.
Jonathan Hegre, Plymouth