The U.S. women’s national soccer team showed the world why it is, at this moment, the best soccer team in the world. When its members played soccer, they showed young girls of today that through hard work and determination, they could chase their dreams and see them come true.
I count my daughter as one of them. She often mused about how awesome it would be to see the team play in person.
And then, the announcement: Allianz Field will host the team in a game against Portugal on Sept. 3 as part of its “Victory Tour” across the country.
My daughter was beyond excited by the possibility of seeing this team play in our backyard, and I have to admit, I shared her enthusiasm.
Then we found out the cold hard truth: As of this writing, tickets are only available at this point through presale access to Minnesota United season-ticket holders and start at $132 each (“ ‘Victory Tour’ tickets essentially gone," July 30).
I get that the world champs are coming, and I understand that Minnesota United wants to showcase its brand-new field as a stop for future games that feature U.S. national teams. But how can this team, which is fighting for equality on so many levels, be OK with these exorbitantly high ticket prices?
Megan Rapinoe, one of the three captains on the team and an openly gay player, said this as part of a speech after the ticker-tape parade in New York City: “We got white girls and black girls, and everything in between. Straight girls and gay girls.”
The underlying message is that all kinds are on the team, that the team is relatable and accessible. Rapinoe sells the dream, she is proof of the possibilities, and she and her teammates display the accessibility.
It’s too bad the ticket prices don’t, and as a result, countless fans are unable to see their team play in person.
Wendy Jacobson, Minneapolis
Plans to help low-income people get around ignore what works
People keep mentioning ride sharing on Hourcar or electric scooters as ways to provide transportation to low-income folks who can’t afford cars (“Low-income Mpls. neighborhoods to get help mitigating climate change,” July 30, and “Electric scooter rates climb as busy summer months set in,” July 27). Neither of these is a good alternative to simply providing Metro Transit with the funds to provide better service to low-income neighborhoods.
A $2 ticket on Metro Transit provides people with unlimited transfers for 2 ½ hours and can take you all the way across the metro area. A $5 day pass will provide you with 24 hours of service. Hourcar, depending on the plan, costs between $5.75 and $12.75 per hour plus $0.40 per mile. A scooter for 2 ½ hours at the regular rate would cost around $30 and could not get you all that far. Plus, riding a scooter seems much more dangerous than riding a bus or train.
Instead of touting unrealistic alternatives, let’s just give greater support to our already great public transportation system.
Betty Lotterman, St. Paul
It’s absurd to try to reduce SNAP fraud without accurate data
If U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue wants to reduce fraud in the SNAP program (“Food stamps could see cuts,” front page, July 29), he should establish a standardized tracking and reporting system. According to the Congressional Research Service report released in September 2018, there are four types of inaccuracy and misconduct in the program: trafficking SNAP benefits, retailer application fraud, errors and fraud by household, and errors and fraud by state agencies.
The government can report retailer trafficking fraud because it’s tracked at the federal level (an estimated 1.5% of SNAP benefits between fiscal years 2012 and 2014 were trafficked). But the other three cannot be reported with any certainty because they are tracked and reported at the state level, and each state does so differently. Some states did not track fraud at all. There is a whole host of estimates, graphs and trends, but if there isn’t any standardization, it’s all for naught. If there isn’t any standardization at the state level, how do we really know?
Mark Voorhees, Eden Prairie
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The Department of Agriculture’s proposed changes in federal eligibility rules for the food stamp program will hurt Minnesota families and seniors struggling to put food on the table. The measure aimed at “closing a loophole” would open wounds for people who are already suffering.
We believe this measure targets the working poor unfairly. They’re people who have jobs but still can’t afford to feed their children healthy meals. They’re mothers and fathers faced with an unexpected medical bill or car repair, forced to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries. We see examples of hardship every day while serving nutritious meals at our Loaves & Fishes dining sites across Minnesota.
Added restrictions to the food stamp program are aimed at the few who are “gaming the system.” Under the current proposal, thousands of Minnesotans who truly need those benefits will end up paying the price. Even with SNAP benefits, many people visit our dining sites to fill the gaps in their monthly budgets.
The truth is, many of our friends and neighbors are only one paycheck away from financial hardship. This is one reason why Loaves & Fishes has grown exponentially — from serving 300,000 meals in 2013 to serving one million meals last year alone. The average income for our guests is just $771 per month. We’ll always be there for those who need us, and we believe it’s unnecessary to take options away from hungry people.
Cathy Maes, Minneapolis
The writer is the executive director of Loaves & Fishes.
Love or leave? How about ‘improve’?
For those deciding between loving America or leaving it, there is a middle position, namely, making it better. Plus, some recommended reading: the Declaration of Independence. Check out the first couple paragraphs talking about “the right of the people to alter or to abolish” the government. Upon reading more: “It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.”
The early U.S. colonists didn’t leave. They had roots in their new home. I don’t want people to leave the United States. Let’s all stick around and make our government as good as it can be.
Peter Berglund, St. Paul
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If U.S. Sen. Rand Paul bought me or anybody else a ticket to Somalia (“Rand Paul offers to buy Omar ticket to Somalia,” July 30), I’m sure we would all come back with a better appreciation of just what a good deal we have here in the United States. Hopefully that wouldn’t mean that we would stop calling out injustice when we see it or stop speaking up to encourage the powers that be and other Americans to work for continuous improvement.
If he bought tickets to Somalia for the “Make America Great Again” crowd, would they come back saying, “Oh, I guess America’s great enough, we should just be quiet”?
Robert Borchert, Minneapolis
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