The Page 1 photo of Gov. Mark Dayton shows a smiling, self-assured DFL candidate, while GOP challenger Jeff Johnson looks troubled (“Dayton, Johnson battle on schools,” Sept. 1). It is very subtle, but this type of disparity is repeated all too often, especially at election time.

NORMAN HOLEN, Richfield

CHILD ABUSE

Eric Dean’s death should lead to change

At first I did not want to read the front-page article “The boy they couldn’t save” (Aug. 31), but I was drawn to the heartbreaking photo of Eric Dean’s battered face. The article should be required reading for every member of Minnesota’s House and Senate Health and Human Services Policy Committees. Despite numerous reports of child abuse by his day care providers and special-education teachers, investigations by Pope County child protection professionals, and doctors’ suspicions, the system failed to protect Eric Dean.

The article states that of the 15 abuse reports filed on behalf of Eric, nine were “screened out” — closed without investigation. Statewide, agencies failed to follow up on 71 percent of suspected maltreatment reports, giving Minnesota one of the highest rates in the country. This should be shocking to all of us. We must do a better job of protecting vulnerable children. Perhaps one way would be to require mandatory investigation by the police when there is a report of suspected child abuse.

INGE CHAPIN, New Brighton

 

FERGUSON, GAZA

They’re really different in three key ways

Ferguson and Gaza are worlds apart in ways ignored by the headline and commentary from Naomi Shihab Nye (“Ferguson, Palestine aren’t so different,” Aug. 30). Here are three fundamental differences that are critical to understanding the barriers to improving the lives of residents in both places: (1) Gazans elected Hamas, which explicitly calls for the total destruction of the entire country of Israel. Protesters in Ferguson seek to build community and destroy racism and inequality; (2) Hamas has a heavily armed militia, which has been firing rockets at Israeli citizens for years. Protesters in Ferguson have peacefully demanded change from their elected officials and police force, and (3) In Gaza, Hamas uses women and children as human shields. In Ferguson, men, women and children stand together demanding equity and safety for all.

Solutions to these two crises may be elusive, but the search must begin with facts rather than distortions of reality.

LEE FRIEDMAN, Golden Valley

• • •

Thank you for publishing the splendid commentary by Naomi Shihab Nye.

If they looked, news writers and the U.S. administration would find they have the sequence wrong. It is Israeli oppression that provokes Hamas violence. Rather than defending itself, Israel is the aggressor/oppressor against whom Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are defending themselves.

The best thing the United States could do is acknowledge this, stop defending “Israel’s right to defend itself,” and stop sending weapons and money to support the ongoing oppression. Then, perhaps, continuing talks could lead to substantive changes necessary for a just, enduring peace. It’s worth trying.

FLORENCE STEICHEN, St. Paul

 

The writer is past president of Middle East Peace Now.

 

STATE FAIR

A blue ribbon for those who kept things clean

After attending the fair on Saturday, my wife commented how clean and well-stocked the restrooms were all day. I had observed how accessible trash and recycling receptacle barrels were throughout the fairgrounds and that they were never overflowing, indicating a constant vigilance.

We must commend and thank the sanitation workers and all fair service workers for a job well done. This is no easy task for the enormous attendance over 12 consecutive days.

MICHAEL TILLEMANS, Minneapolis

• • •

It was kind of sad to see the photo with the Aug. 31 fair guide showing a child more absorbed in taking a selfie than enjoying the ride itself. Maybe he can look at the picture to tell himself he was having fun.

MARY PATRICK, Minneapolis

 

LABOR DAY

Editorial’s tenor hit the wrong holiday note

On Labor Day, the Star Tribune chose to republish an editorial from 1891, gushing superlatives about Minneapolis trade unions just a couple of years after streetcar magnate Thomas Lowry cut his workers wages by 50 percent, refused to negotiate with them after they went on strike, and used the Police Department as muscle to kill their union.

The sunny tone of the paper’s editors from that supposedly halcyon labor-management era is more than a little misleading given that local businesses had already begun to systematically crush union organizing for the next four decades via the Minneapolis Business Union in 1890 and later the Citizens Alliance.

The editorial page might have done greater service to the cause of working people by reflecting on the New York Times article from a day earlier, which described the nationwide increase in wage-theft by employers of all kinds, and their propensity to fire anyone with the temerity to complain about it.

WILLIAM BEYER, St. Louis Park

 

MEDTRONIC

Another sign that firm has lost its way

As the details of Medtronic’s tax inversion plan continue to be communicated, an economic concept seems apropos: opportunity cost (“CEO to get $25M to cover tax bill,” Aug. 29). It is defined as a benefit, profit or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else.

Medtronic’s most obvious opportunity cost is the good that could be achieved with the $63 million that will, instead, go to paying the excise taxes for the CEO, the board and other executives. Consequently, there is $63 million less available to use for employee training and education, medical-device education for doctors, medical-device enhancements, the company’s research and development plans, etc.

The outrageousness of this $63 million planned payment stuns me, and I realize the company is far away from its guiding mission that has led it for 50 years.

MAVIS KLEMMENSEN, Shoreview

 

The writer is a retired Medtronic employee.

 

MINNESOTA LYNX

Team deserves better coverage from paper

Please feature the Lynx on the cover of the paper. They are the best team in Minnesota and deserve more attention than the Star Tribune has given them.

Play fairly!

MARLENE DELFS, Rochester, Minn.