When my Volkswagen Golf gives me a malfunction indicator light, I can plug a scan tool into my onboard diagnostic port and find out what sensor is reporting an error condition and troubleshoot the issue. When I determine the failed component, I can order it from my preferred source, install it, and have my car back up and running. Oddly, none of this requires me to do any reprogramming or tampering with my car’s computer, and none of it violates federal law.

When my friend Ron has an issue with his tractor, he has to set an appointment with a dealer, trailer the tractor into town and hope all goes well lest he have to make multiple trips. This maximizes downtime and undermines productivity.

The “right to repair” has only ever been about performing the same repair work on a tractor that I perform on my car.

A Sept. 9 letter writer’s talk of “unfettered access” and illegal tampering with engine controls is intentional misdirection from the real issue, which is the desire of his organization, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, to maintain an ironclad monopoly on service and repair of farm equipment (“Repair is good. Breaking laws and voiding warranties is not.”). This monopoly hurts American farmers and fosters dependency in a historically self-sufficient culture. It also suggests that the dealers fear that they would be unable to compete in an open market. Let’s support the right to repair — it is grounded in the spirit that made America great in the first place.

Rich Furman, St. Paul

9/11

Doesn’t this date ring a bell for you?

Yesterday, on Sept. 11, the most notable date in the history of our country, I opened the Star Tribune expecting to see a tribute, news story, commentary, anything commemorating this date on the front page of the paper. Nothing, not a mention until I get to the B section with Jennifer Brooks’ column, titled “For young students, 9/11 is history.” Apparently it is for the Star Tribune also. Shame on you.

Sharon Johnson, New Hope

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Tighten loopholes, but let it be legal

The commentary by Jeff Vest and Greg Deckert regarding pending legislation on assisted suicide (“State could become a suicide destination,” Opinion Exchange, Sept. 11) may have pointed out legal areas that need to be tightened. However, my major disagreement is that their opinion seems the height of arrogance: that they know best what other people are experiencing and that those people cannot make decisions for themselves.

Should Vest or Deckert decide whether or not I can die with dignity and care in a time and method I choose? Should my legislator? No. It is my decision and mine alone. Legalizing assisted suicide provides a caring option.

John Jackson, Bloomington

TARIFFS

Target diverts harm elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there

So Target is going to face the tariff situation by protecting its customers against price increases (“Target tells suppliers to absorb tariff costs,” front page, Sept. 6). Sounds good, unless you’re one of Target’s suppliers expected to bear the cost increase. Suppliers of large companies always push to provide quality products at a reasonable cost and against tight delivery requirements. The suppliers are usually the ones who can least afford the price increase, since they have to keep their margins tight in order to bid and get Target’s business. If Target wants to be responsible and fair to all, it should absorb a third of the increase, have its suppliers absorb a third of it, and pass along the final third to its customers.

I don’t like price hikes at stores any more than anyone else does, but I also don’t like to see Target’s supply chain get screwed while Target sits back and continues to make its normal profit under the guise of protecting its customers.

Dave Price, Edina

DEVELOPMENT

Best plan for Kmart: Do nothing

Kmart on Lake Street is in the news again (“As Kmarts vanish, store blocking Nicollet Avenue endures,” Business, Sept. 8, and “Current Kmart deal needs to go,” Readers Write, Sept. 10). Both times the writers urge that Minneapolis should subsidize the site again with no mention of the present customers who would suffer. If the writers or anyone would walk into the store they would see a sea of faces — Somalis, Latinos from several countries, Asians from several countries, and a good percentage of African Americans. These folks, now, may have to travel several miles to buy groceries. We would be asking them to travel again or pay higher prices for the basic goods sold at Kmart from an elevated store with Nicollet Avenue running under the new structure. More taxes for little results.

When are we going to have realistic government-subsidized businesses? The store is doing just fine and the savings Kmart enjoys with a low-cost lease are being passed on to low-income residents and whoever else shops there. That’s the way the system of capitalism and helping the poor should work — give the project as much as necessary and as little as possible. The old saying “don’t fight the market” should be applied. Doing nothing here is the best decision.

Joe Selvaggio, Minneapolis

CONSERVATION

Keep the nation’s wilderness wild

Past presidents and John Muir, the naturalist, did so much to preserve millions of acres in states from Washington to Arizona and save countless species of birds and mammals from extinction over 100 years ago!

We must not now allow our current president, Donald Trump, to open up these lands to private development and oil exploration. We don’t need, or want, a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere in the rugged wilderness, whose highways used to warn travelers to “fill up, next gas 112 miles.” Once gone, these treasures can never come back, nor will we be able to camp out beneath a clear mountain sky with 100,000 twinkling stars for our roof, and the scent of white pine trees, rather with the odor of an oil refinery round the next mountain pass.

As Woody Guthrie pointed out to us in the ’40s, “this land is your land,” not the private domain of Donnie J. Trump to do with as he pleases. No, there must be some arcane law on the books that preserves these national treasures for us, and not for, say, uranium mining in our Grand Canyon or oil and lead exploration in the mile-high state of John Denver’s beloved Colorado.

Teddy Roosevelt, the rough rider, and Muir would positively turn in their graves over what desecrations are being contemplated.

Sierra Club, we beseech you! Don’t let Trump do this. Come to our aid. Join 10,000 hands round the 1,902 square miles of the Grand Canyon — or as far as you can.

We, the lovers of our nation’s immeasurable grandeur and limitless beauty, must take it in our hands to protect what our Creator gave us to preserve and ensure the lives of our grandchildren, and for their grandchildren.

Mary Weiss, Hastings

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