WATCH THE BULL'S-EYE
Target doesn't need Ackman's expertise
One of our most successful Minnesota corporations is under attack by yet another financial opportunist.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. has been affected by the financial crisis like most companies, but its balance sheet remains in good order. The same cannot be said for the Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund that is managed by William Ackman. Ackman, whose hedge fund has lost 93 percent of its 2007 initial $2 billion investment, has launched a proxy battle to place himself and four of his associates on Target's board of directors.
Ackman wants Target to sell and lease back properties on which Target stores are located, apparently in the belief that Target stock would get an upward bump. Since Ackman's hedge fund owns almost 8 percent of Target stock, this would help Ackman recover some of his previous losses. Never mind that selling premium property in a depressed market is probably not a good long-term idea.
Unfortunately, Ackman's short-term strategy would be at the expense of those who have long-term interest in Target, including employees, stockholders and customers. I don't expect Ackman's strategy to succeed, but his proxy fight with Target is certainly a distraction that a well-managed company doesn't deserve.
WES MADER, PRIOR LAKE
PASS ANTIBULLYING BILL
All of Minnesota's kids deserve protection
Why is the CEO of the Minnesota Family Council opposed to broadening the language in antibullying policies (Readers Write, March 30)? Are some of our children less worthy of protection than others?
As a retired school administrator, I have seen firsthand how pervasive, cruel and devastating bullying can be. Antibullying legislation can never be too specific. I have dealt with too many students (victims and instigators alike) and their parents to be persuaded that legislation currently in place is sufficient.
Unfortunately, a lot of adults just don't get it. Our children are our future. They deserve our full attention, protection and guidance.
MARY MICHAEL CONNOLLY,
PRESIDENTS AT WORK
Is Obama taking a page from Chavez's book?
If you simply swap out "the White House" with "the Government" in the articles about the forced resignation of General Motors' top executive, you would think you were reading about Hugo Chavez eroding freedom and seizing control of more private-sector businesses in Venezuela.
JIM WIZIK, LINDSTROM, MINN.
Rep. John Kline is right to resist the practice
I applaud John Kline for his principled stand against earmarks ("Rep. Kline's resistance to earmarks frustrates Dakota and Scott officials," March 28), which are the political equivalent of crack cocaine. There are established procedures for determining whether and to what extent projects like the Cedar Avenue rapid transit system should be funded. Circumvention of these procedures through earmarked appropriations will inevitably lead to future dependence on them.
PETER D. ABARBANEL, APPLE VALLEY
They help make case for universal health care
Listening to all the opposition to any form of potential universal health care, it is interesting to note that Minnesota hospitals provided $600 million worth of health care to uninsured Minnesotans last year (Star Tribune, March 31).
One wonders what $600 million spent on some form of health insurance for those 380,000-plus uninsured Minnesotans could have provided in terms of preventative care.
We who have health coverage and all taxpayers are paying those costs now in the form of higher premiums and taxes of some sort.
CHARLES M. FLAA, WAYZATA
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN
'Armed and dangerous' comment reverberates
I am wintering in Arizona, and when I am at a party and folks learn that I am from Minnesota, they ask me how it feels to have only one senator. But when they learn that I am from the same district as U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, they begin to wonder how I got invited!
After some thought, I believe we should encourage Bachmann to speak out more as she senses the GOP vacuum and dwindling membership, leaving only a few fellow wingnuts such as Steele, Limbaugh and Palin. For "in and out" listeners, Bachmann comes across as nice, sensitive, articulate and even moderate but, now, she senses her moment, and her real beliefs are surfacing. And as the old saw goes, do not get in the way when your opponent is digging himself or herself into a hole!
FLOYD KELLER, BAYPORT