PUBLIC DEFENDERS

Families need them

Shame on Minnesota. As a result of judicial branch budget cuts that have decimated the public defender workforce, most Minnesota counties can no longer pay for public defenders for the least among us, impoverished parents who might lose their children forever and the children who might lose their families.

As a guardian ad litem with 10 years' tenure I have advocated for children in more than 100 court appearances. I have training; I am not emotionally involved; I have experience; I have more formal education than all the parents who've sat at the other side of the table. Yet court proceedings can sometimes confuse me. Imagine the confusion of a young mother who hears that the court might terminate her parental rights. She is untrained; she is intensely emotionally involved; she has very little experience with the court system; and, if she's lucky, she has a year of vo-tech education.

As a taxpayer I do not believe that I can always spend my money better than the state can. I cannot hire a public defender for that hypothetical mother because I don't know her nor do I know the attorney who can defend her parental rights. So please, Minnesota executive and legislative branches, raise my taxes enough so that the services that make this a civilized state will be funded.

ELAINE FRANKOWSKI, MINNEAPOLIS

HIGH COURT'S GUN RULING

Antonin in Wonderland

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who in his dissenting opinion on the rights of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay states that the decision "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed," now authors a majority opinion striking down the handgun ban in Washington, D.C.? I feel as though I've fallen down the rabbit hole ...

BRUCE BOHROD, NORTH MANKATO, MINN.

RIVER FLOODING

Revenge of the wetlands

The current Mississippi River flooding is terrible for those in its path, but we can expect to have "100-year floods" every 10 years when we build suburbs and install those cash-rich corn crops where wetlands used to be. Water that can no longer be absorbed into the earth will fill rivers and then come right back at us in the most destructive way possible.

LENORE MILLIBERGITY, MINNEAPOLIS

ECOMOMS AMONG US

Question for columnist

Katherine Kersten's June 22 column criticizes and ridicules those who attempt to make a difference in our environment by consuming less, reusing more and understanding we are a wasteful society. I ask her to consider this as she makes her way to the next Flat Earth Society meeting: What if she's wrong?

WARREN BLECHERT, EXCELSIOR

Home-grown variety

I was an EcoMom long before there was a club. No, I don't buy my kids organic cotton clothes, I buy used ones at garage sales. I don't buy expensive organic produce. I grow my own. I don't live in a McMansion, just a small 60-year-old ranch home, and I even compost (without imported worms). Anyone driving by my house will see my Toyota Yaris in the front, my clothes on the line and my dandelions blowing on the wind.

Kersten can put me down all she wants. My actions speak louder than words.

KATHY ROGERS, MINNETONKA

In Kersten's defense

You know every day in Edina is a good day when all of this passion and dynamism is pledged to obscure ways of "going green." Reduce, recycle, reuse is already prevalent, universal mantra. The time and influence these women might have would be better implemented on tangible, prevailing, societal predicaments.

KRISTIN KLEINSCHMIDT, MINNEAPOLIS

NO MAGIC ENERGY BULLET

A multifront war

The energy crisis calls for multiple solutions: conserve; offshore drilling; drilling on public lands; coal shale to oil; alternative energy; nuclear power plants; hydroelectric plants, and windmill fields. For America's safe and productive future, all need to be implemented now. Our Congress and special-interest groups have stagnated and prevented energy production to the point of crisis.

HARRY WEINGARTNER, Eden Prairie

Alternative fuel

A boost for biodiesel

As a long-time proponent of conservation, I own a VW Beetle with a diesel engine that gets 45-plus miles per gallon. When a metro-area gas station started selling biodiesel, I was ecstatic. Finally, a cleaner burning, renewable energy source. I happily drove the extra distance to buy it. Now, the station is reluctant to sell biodiesel, because the Minnesota plant that produces it has closed and it must be brought in from South Dakota, forcing the station to raise the price 50 cents a gallon. I am willing to pay more to encourage continued production.

A government serious about alternative fuel should encourage it either by subsidizing production, or by removing state and federal taxes, so that it can become a more affordable alternative to petroleum.

JOEL LURVEY, MINNEAPOLIS

Gay prayer service

Thanks be to church

Reading "Uproar over prayer service for gays grows" (June 25), I wondered at what point I would encounter an advocate's name calling. I found it in the first sentence quoted from a member of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities.

Whenever objection is raised to GLBT issues or same-sex marriage, name calling is invoked, usually either "hate-filled" or "homophobic." I am against same-sex marriage and I am not homophobic or hate-filled.

Civilization is fragile and marriage is hard. Living with a person of the opposite sex is much more difficult than living with someone of the same sex. If same-sex couples are granted the same benefits as married couples, people will cease to get married and have kids.

Proof can be found in other Western countries. Babies are not being born from Japan to Italy. Russia even made a national holiday for workers to stay home and procreate. In Britain, Mohammed is now the second most popular baby boy's name.

Oops, now I'm an Islamophobe. No, I just know that secular ideas and values are strangling Western civilization. I thank the Catholic Church for standing up for its beliefs.

CHARLES CHARNSTROM, WATERTOWN