The enforcers must also know the law


I was one of the 80 people caught in the pedestrian-safety "sting" last week in Robbinsdale -- interestingly, at a "crosswalk" that I assume was set up specifically for the sting. It otherwise does not exist in the middle of County Rd. 42 a few blocks from W. Broadway.

Once stopped and ticketed, I asked the officer whether, before making a right turn, I need to wait until a pedestrian has made it to the curb on the other side of the street. He said yes. But according to a Sept. 13 letter to the editor from state Rep. Michael Paymar detailing the law's requirements, all I have to do is wait until the person crosses my lane.

I certainly agree that pedestrians should have the right of way, especially when they are in a designated crosswalk. But those enforcing the law should be required to understand it.


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No patriotic honor in draining life savings


In reference to the Sept. 7 commentary "In U.S. today, no margin for illness," I completely disagree with a letter writer's subsequent characterization of Frank Domurad's aunt as being "nobel" for having experienced what too many elderly people in America do as a result of prolonged illness and the cost of health care. Domurad was correct in lamenting the fact that she had no economic legacy for her life's work. The letter writer seemed to be suggesting that it is one's patriotic duty to get sick and hand over your life savings to the health care industry.

Domurad's commentary might have been headlined "In U.S. today, no margin for health." This better describes American health care's current lack of commitment to medical research regarding prevention, cures and quality of life.


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My 91-year-old disabled mother worked hard and saved all her life, and she did not expect to run out of money just a couple years ago, nor did she expect that she would live to 91. If she did not have Medicaid in addition to Social Security, she would not be able to afford to stay in her nursing home. Her Social Security does not cover the full cost of a nursing home. I am unable to afford the additional cost, make accommodations in my home for a disabled person, nor am I able to care for her 24/7. If I could, either financially or physically, I most certainly would.

Liberals are not spreading lies and fear about Mitt Romney's and Paul Ryan's proposals, nor about Republicans' levels of compassion, as a Sept. 11 letter writer asserts. They are being very honest with the reality of what would happen under a Romney/Ryan administration.


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While reading the Sept. 13 commentary about long-term care, I had an idea that seems so obvious I can't imagine I am the first to think of it: providing a tax break for those who choose to move their parents into their own homes rather than into a long-term-care facility. Our culture has progressively moved toward such independence that the elderly are left to fend for themselves when they're no longer able to live at home. But most are still capable of some self-care; they just need some oversight to prevent falls and illness.

Many people begin to deteriorate rapidly once they're completely provided for in a nursing facility, but many grandparents find a new purpose and joy when they can have a closer relationship with their children and grandchildren. We should encourage adults to provide a home for their aging parents by making it easy for them to list retired parents that live in their homes as dependents. This would save money for Medicaid, prevent the elderly from having to impoverish themselves and would bring the elderly back into the fold of our communities.


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Sometimes the salacious is really quite serious


I appreciated David Javerbaum's clever Sept. 10 commentary ("The issues? We can't handle the issues!"), but I think his example of people's fixation on U.S. Rep. Todd Akin's stated beliefs is off the mark.

My own "fixation" with Akin was because he provided a window to the much larger issue facing us today -- the fact that we have elected officials, from local school boards to the Congress, who have thrown scientific fact right out the window in favor of interpretations of their own religious beliefs, beliefs that they are trying to impose upon the populace by teaching them in our schools and codifying them into law.

This is perhaps the most important issue of this election, one that will set the path of our country with regard both to individual freedoms and to its status as a world leader. Without innovation, imagination, exploration and scientific discovery, we would not have won wars; we would not be an economic power; we would not enjoy most of the medical treatments or digital gadgets we take for granted, and we would not be a significant player on the world stage.

We achieved greatness by looking forward, not by teaching bogus science, and certainly not by stifling religious, intellectual or political freedoms. Maybe, as Javerbaum posits, people are too busy tittering and twittering about Akin's remarks to be bothered by the larger issue, but I hope he's wrong. I hope that people see this for the threat it is.