UNINVITED BY FOREST LAKE

A slam at vets' sacrifice

I was so upset on Tuesday reading what the Forest Lake High School principal did that I could not finish reading the article ("School cancels vets event as some question political slant," March 25). To not honor our soldiers who volunteer to protect us and sacrifice their lives and their families' lives is utterly shameful.

Let protesters protest, but do not let them control what is so vitally important to our country as our soldiers. Remember: Without our soldiers protecting our country, no one would be able to protest anything.

LYLE CLEMENSON, BROOKLYN PARK

Too 'political' for youth?

Let's understand this perfectly: We can actively encourage sexual license on the part of teenagers (provided they use proper protection) and the forced endorsement of a scientific viewpoint on an issue (global warming) that is far from settled; yet, we will not allow our tender youth the chance to look into the eyes of someone who has put his life on the line for the sake of his country and to hear what he has to say?

Truly, too many of us have entirely lost our way.

MARK H. REED, PLYMOUTH

AMERICA'S CREDIT CARD

Coleman maxes it out

Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign manager Cullen Sheehan went to great lengths in his March 24 letter to distance his boss from Coleman's record of diligently following the Republican Party line in Washington.

In just one example, Coleman has consistently supported George W. Bush's redistribution of Minnesotans' tax dollars to the top 1 percent of all earners. That top 1 percent, who earned over $1.1 million a year in 2006, cleared more in tax breaks -- $42,000 -- than the bottom 60 percent of Minnesotans earned in that entire year.

Now Coleman wants to stack the deck even further, by making those giveaways -- which have always been scheduled to expire -- permanent. And how would Coleman pay for the $4.3 trillion cost (yes, that's "trillion" with a t)? By borrowing even more money, driving our already astronomical national debt even higher -- which means that our children and grandchildren will be paying it off for decades.

So I can understand why Sheehan tried to change the subject. After all, if my boss had a record of consistently protecting special interests and sticking the rest of us with the bill, I wouldn't want to talk about it, either.

BRIAN MELENDEZ, MINNEAPOLIS,

CHAIRMAN, MINNESOTA DFL PARTY

MINNESOTA HEALTH CARE

Don't tear safety net

As psychologists in Minnesota, we feel it is our duty to express concern about Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to raid the Health Care Access Fund of $250 million to balance the state's budget. We are opposed to any proposal that would use these funds for other than their intended purpose, to provide vital health care services to the vulnerable and uninsured. In these uncertain economic times, it seems ill advised to drain funds that help working poor families obtain health care coverage. Maintaining the fund intact is especially important when this Legislature has put so much effort into health care reform holding the potential for significant health care savings.

Health care providers in Minnesota, including psychologists, pay 2 percent of gross receipts to make up the Health Care Access Fund. While the vast majority of the money for the fund comes from health plans and other large payers, it is sometimes a challenge for individual psychologists to pay their share, given business expenses. We are willing to do so if the people who often fall through the cracks have a chance for a secure base provided by good health care from which to pursue a successful life.

SHARON STEIN MCNAMARA AND Trisha A. Stark, St. Paul

STANDING BY HIS PASTOR

Standing by her man

"I think given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor," Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

Sen. Clinton, I think given all I've heard and seen, he would have been my ex-husband.

LEONIE GARDNER, EDEN PRAIRIE

WORN-OUT BRIDGES

Infrastructure ills

After reading that the Hwy. 23 bridge in St. Cloud may need to be replaced, my anger is directed two ways. One is at the engineers who failed to design redundancy into their bridges. Think of the old Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street bridges, built in the late 1800s for streetcars and horse-drawn carriages, that lasted for 100 or more years, carrying cars, trucks and buses. The Hwy. 23 and Interstate 35W bridges were built to carry car and truck traffic, and yet are wearing out (or failed) at 50 years of age or less.

My other anger is directed at those who have fought adequate funding for our infrastructure to keep up with the growth in traffic. Though this has been going on for 20 or more years and has been bipartisan, the current "no new taxes" crowd by its actions imposes a "congestion tax" of wasted time and fuel. This is far costlier than an appropriate and responsibly used gas tax would be. By the way, many people in the St. Cloud area have supported the "no new tax" candidates and now they want their bridge jumped ahead of other projects. This hardly seems fair to me. My hope is that we will learn from these mistakes and not continue down the same path.

PETER HALL, EDINA

QUARTER-CENT SALES TAX

Smart improvements

Congratulations to Anoka and Ramsey counties for voting to be the first to opt into the Joint Powers Association by leveraging the quarter-cent regional sales tax.

A nickel out of every $20 spent on sales tax will create dedicated funding for more bus routes and rail lines, plus taking congestion off roads and cutting pollution while creating more jobs building community along the routes! Bicycle and pedestrian projects will also receive money. Reasons the chambers of commerce, city councils, the Itasca group and countless citizens supported this effort!

TOM AND Sandy Ahlstrom, Shorewood

UNWARRANTED OVERHAUL

Washburn hasn't failed

I am a student at Washburn High School, where the staff will go through a "fresh start" at the end of the school year ("Minneapolis schools with low scores will get overhaul," March 22).

Personally, I was a little insulted when I found out about it. It makes the school seem like a failure. The staff at Washburn are perfectly capable, and I feel that they do their job well. They do the best they can with the resources they have. It also makes me sad to think that in my senior year, some of my favorite teachers may not be there.

This plan is an unnecessary disgrace, an admission of failure, when Washburn has not failed anything.

LIBBY SCHMIDT, MINNEAPOLIS