BULLIES IN BLUE
They met their match in a Purple People Eater
As Minneapolis taxpayers' perennial payouts for police mistreatment of citizens amply substantiate, the city's Police Department has for decades been allowed a free hand, or should I say fist, to routinely beat and terrorize people.
In ex-Viking Carl Eller, though, the blue meanies finally met their match and got the worst of it for once.
Drunken driving is a terroristic, potentially deadly offense, and I appreciate that officers sought to apprehend Eller for it. That's what they should do.
However, destroying evidence of their own misconduct, once they had him in custody, is what sworn law enforcement personnel shouldn't do -- but in Minneapolis they are never held accountable.
If he is found guilty of DWI, Eller would deserve to go to jail. On the other hand, if he is sentenced to community service, then I suggest that he be assigned to beat up a few more cops. Like all bullies, the ones with badges can dish it out, but they can't take it.
OLIVER STEINBERG, ST. PAUL
As NBC shows, rail and fine audio can coexist
I have been a broadcast engineer for the bulk of my career, having worked a number of years at NBC in 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.
The 30 Rockefeller Complex is built directly above the New York subway systems, with building pylons running between the subway tracks. In the 1930s, '40s and '50s, NBC had a renowned orchestra, under the direction of Arturo Toscanini, broadcasting from a studio 10 stories above the tracks. A number of classical music recordings were made by RCA in those very studios, and those recordings are still today regarded as masterpieces for both the quality of the playing and the quality of the audio.
Currently, NBC Nightly News, Saturday Night Live, and Conan O'Brien all perform in studios in that building, and NBC is widely regarded as producing some of the finest audio for television in the industry.
I find the stance of Bill Kling and Minnesota Public Radio to be one based solely on a desire to avoid taking some steps to improve the acoustics of their facility to deal with potential noise issues -- in short, putting their financial issues ahead of the public they claim to be serving -- classical "NIMBY" behavior.
My wife and I are members of MPR; we have volunteered answering telephones for pledge drives, and are avid listeners of MPR. Nonetheless, we are also very concerned about public transit issues, and yet feel that the campaign being waged by MPR is, at best, disingenuous.
RALPH K. STRADER, MINNETONKA
Ultimately, seat belongs to Minnesota voters
Though I voted for Norm Coleman, I hope the real winner for U.S. senator from Minnesota will be the vital body of voters in Minnesota.
JOHN BISPALA, MINNEAPOLIS
Gov. Tim Pawlenty says that he won't sign off on Al Franken's rightful election to the Senate until "the battle is over." The battle was over with the completion of a thorough, accurate, transparent bipartisan recount paid for by taxpayers, and Franken should at least be allowed to serve on an interim basis until Norm Coleman's lawsuit is determined to be the baseless piece of political maneuvering that it is.
Coleman's and Pawlenty's actions needlessly cast doubt on Minnesota's recount process, make us look like Florida Part II, and prevent Minnesota from having full representation in the Senate -- none of which serves our state. However, they do prevent the Democrats from having one more vote in the Senate for a couple more months, which certainly serves the Republican Party.
ROBERT RAFN, GOLDEN VALLEY
17, 22, 24, 38, 55, and Powerball 24. It was my intent to play those numbers! Mark Ritchie, Alan Page ... HELP!
BLAIR SORVARI, CHAMPLIN
STATE BUDGET: TAX, CUT?
Let lawmakers learn about rainy day fund
Exactly when are we supposed to raise taxes? I remember back about five years ago when we had budget surpluses. "What should we do with the cash?" was the question every year.
"Give it back" cried people on both sides of the aisle. So we did, all of it, only to see ourselves in the same predicament one year later.
What we all should have known then, and certainly know now, is that it would not last forever. Now we have a huge budget deficit. How do we pay for that? If we gave the extra money to the taxpayers when we had a surplus, shouldn't we just ask them to pay some of this shortage? "No, you'll take away any hope of economic recovery." Well, I guess that makes sense, but it does not solve the problem. Cut, cut, cut is the only other possible answer. I am not criticizing the proposed answer, as much as I am questioning how we got here.
The state budget lives a lot like an employee who works on commission. Our state gets money based on how much people make and how much they spend. You have your booming times, and you have your rough times. And as any purely commission employee will tell you, you have to budget long-term. If you have a good few months, or even a year, don't count on it lasting. During boom times it is necessary to save those funds in order to support basic living in the rough times to come.
So in refunding the surplus year after year, we were (in a sense) burning through our rainy day fund. We were the equivalent of the commission employee who looks at his checkbook on the 31st of each month and then goes out and blows it all.
So we have a choice. If we give the money back every year that we have a surplus, then we must be prepared to raise taxes during times of economic downturn. I agree that can hurt the economy, but if you live high on the hog for the few months that you do well, then you must be prepared to go out and get more income on months when your commission hits bottom.
Maybe the pundits are right and we can't raise taxes now -- and we do need to cut, cut, cut. But let's try to remember this experience the next time we have a surplus (it will probably happen again). Let's be a good commission employee and save, save, save. Because we will need it.
GARY JOHNSON, RED WING, MINN.