Does the Star Tribune distrust the voters?


Instead of having no faith in the electorate to denounce bigotry ("Don't put bigotry up to a vote," editorial, May 6), why not have faith in the democratic process and faith in the public opinion polls and demand that this issue be put to a vote?

By the Star Tribune's own logic, the vote should be in favor of gay marriage, and it will then be possible to say, "The public has spoken; allow gay marriage; it's a settled issue."

Unless, of course, it's possible the Strib doesn't trust the majority of the voters, or feels the poll numbers are not really as stated.


• • •

The editorial presented rational and humane reasons to oppose the proposed constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.

Unfortunately, the Republicans' motivations in sponsoring this proposal are neither rational nor humane, and appeals to reason and fairness are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Since it's no longer fashionable to make Jews, blacks or Asians scapegoats for society's problems, rabid right-wingers have targeted the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, hiding under a cloak of self-righteous hypocrisy to "let the people decide."

If we are to impose conservative Judeo-Christian doctrinal systems on the entire state, shouldn't these amendment-pushers also have the honesty to redraft the entire state Constitution to declare Minnesota a theocracy, with credentialed ayatollahs determining who sleeps with whom?

Religion is a very good thing, but folks who want to legislatively enshrine their religious doctrines and deny the validity of other belief systems or scriptural interpretations are downright un-American.


• • •

If the so-called protection of marriage winds up on the 2012 ballot, then perhaps the most demeaning aspect of organizing around the issue will be this: Gays and lesbians will be going door-to-door, asking you to please support their basic civil rights.


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We're against deceit and for transparency


A recent commentary about the videotaping of livestock and poultry production facilities ("Factory farms need more scrutiny, not less, "May 4), authored by Karen Steuer, government relations director for the Pew Environmental Group, was rife with misinformation.

The bill introduced at the Minnesota Legislature hasn't even had a committee hearing, and it has three distinct parts. First, it makes tampering at animal facilities a felony. This provision addresses damaging barns and harming animals.

Second, the bill lays out progressive penalties for people who use fraud -- that is, lie -- to get hired. We at the Minnesota Pork Producers Associations (MPPA) support these two bill provisions: It is wrong for individuals to lie to get employment, and it is wrong to damage other people's property and to harm animals.

The part of the bill dealing with videotaping is the most-discussed part of the legislation. Counter to what some assume, the MPPA does not support this portion of the bill.

We believe that this part goes too far. We believe in, and advocate for, transparency and accountability in how all farmers raise and care for their livestock.

Steuer, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist, reminds me of the many people who rely on conspiracy theories to garner public opinion and support.

Minnesota pig farmers, their family members and employees, plus Main Street business owners who work with livestock farmers, are proud of our livelihoods and the boost livestock production provides to rural communities.

Regardless of farm size, we all work hard every day to protect our livestock and to be stewards of the air, water and land. Why? Because this is where we live, raise our families, volunteer, and contribute to our communities.

Our membership encourages anyone who sees unethical behavior on farms or inside barns to report it immediately because it is the right thing to do. And we encourage the public to get the facts about livestock production from those who actually do the daily animal care.


The writer is executive director of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.

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That's a lot of money sloshing around


Neil Gaiman's $45,000 speaking engagement is comparable to a $3,000 toilet seat or a $500 hammer and is another example of the total disregard of the value of a tax dollar ("Furor builds over $45,000 speech," May 6).

While government handouts to the private sector may be acceptable in Gaiman's native England, things don't work that way on this side of the pond.


• • •

I hope everyone that voted for the Legacy Amendment enjoyed the $45,000 speech by that author who I had never even heard of. Nor was I even aware of the event.

I wouldn't have attended anyway. But don't blame him. The voters have created a giant pool of money that can be thrown around like chump change.

This will just be the tip of the iceberg. Get ready for politicians and their friends and relatives to pocket thousands for work on so-called Legacy projects.


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Block E

Minneapolis needs some downtown life


In 2008, my husband and I moved downtown to a condominium from the suburbs where we had raised our family, with wonderful plans to be part of a vibrant and exciting downtown environment.

To our surprise and disappointment, we found major retail stores leaving and moving to the suburbs and many restaurants closed on Saturdays. Unless there is a Viking or Twins game played, there is a lack of people and energy that is so importantly needed for the city.

We hope that the Block E proposal ("Minneapolis officials split on casino idea," May 6) will be seriously considered as way to help reenergize the downtown community and instill a fresh vitality that our city so urgently needs.


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It's not your imagination

A note to all of you conspiracy theorists out there: Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean the world isn't out to get you.