'BEAUTY AND THE BEAK'

Not on TRC's tab

This is in response to the June 13 letter "A waste of money," which incorrectly stated that the Raptor Center (TRC) spent $100,000 to fix the beak of an eagle.

While TRC is proud and honored to be recognized nationally for its expertise and work with raptors and other birds, there is a misperception that TRC was involved in this procedure. In fact, this procedure was done at Birds of Prey Northwest in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. TRC did not pay for, raise funds for or participate in the procedure. This is not the type of procedure TRC would do, especially in light of its status as a nonprofit part of a state university with fiscal responsibility to its donors and supporters.

JULIA PONDER, ST. PAUL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE RAPTOR CENTER,

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

BORROWER RELIEF ACT

A moral question

David Strom's June 13 column on the Borrower Relief Act ("It's a wonderful life when government is kept in check") is a perfect example of why certain individuals feel the need to identify themselves as "compassionate" conservatives -- the implication being, absent the modifier, that conservatives view themselves as uncompassionate.

The issue of mortgage relief is not about whether to help people caught up in the subprime mortgage mess is the legal thing to do (in Strom's opinion), but rather whether it is the right thing to do.

Foreclosure, or the threat of foreclosure, is not occurring in a few isolated incidences -- it is a nationwide pandemic. Foreclosure not only affects the specific party involved but the entire neighborhood or community in which it takes place. Thus, thousands of homeowners face the prospect of decreased property values through no fault of their own.

From both a practical and an economic standpoint, it makes sense to do everything possible to prevent foreclosures.

Strom did not write this column when the government bailed out Bear Stearns and other lenders who were hoisted by their own petards. Apparently, he had no qualms about using "other people's money" in those instances because they are major business institutions and their demise would allegedly affect the entire economy. That is debatable -- but it is certainly true that the absence of mortgage relief will lead to the demise of many neighborhoods and communities.

TOM OBERT, ALEXANDRIA, MINN.

Take accountability

If borrowers are victims of fraud, etc., we should do everything under the law to help and solve their problems. But if they got into trouble because of their "eyes were bigger than their wallets" (bought houses they couldn't afford or justify), then that is their own fault and they should pay the piper.

When we bought our home, the lender said we could be "approved" for twice as much as what we thought was reasonable. We declined and purchased a home in our price range and comfort level in regards to the mortgage. Having had serious medical issues since, my husband and I are so glad that we did that and consequently didn't lose our home.

No one offered to help us out or reduce our mortgage at that time. Nor have they since. Gov. Tim Pawlenty did the right thing this time by vetoing the Borrower Relief Act.

SANDRA CHRISTENSON,

BROOKLYN CENTER

iowa floods

Model behavior

The rest of the United States can learn something from floods taking place in Iowa. In all of the reporting on the evacuation of Iowa's cities, not once has there been a picture of people staying. The state of Iowa gave a mandatory order to leave -- much like one issued in New Orleans -- and people left.

Any city afflicted by natural disaster should take note. Don't expect the government to provide a pacifier every time nature reminds us how fragile our time is.

CHRIS LUND, HAMBURG

RACE AND THE '08 ELECTION

Not a GOP issue

Paul Krugman's June 13 commentary ("Race: Used-up tool of political division") was insulting. He wrote, "Without racial division, the conservative message loses most if its effectiveness." He also twisted conservative values and principles to create racist undertones. However, those concerned about racism's effect on the upcoming general election should look first to the Democratic Party.

I'm a conservative. When exit polls taken during several Democratic primaries revealed a significant percentage of Hillary's supporters would refuse to vote for Obama because of his race, I was heartsick.

I don't belong to the "racist party." The "tolerance party," however, should examine itself before blaming the right for America's racial divide.

CRYSTAL KELLEY, EDEN PRAIRIE