REPUBLICANS AND COMMISSIONERS
Notice a pattern?
Republicans in control of the Senate are threatening to reject the confirmation of Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm ("Health care chief on the bubble," Oct. 31). While public servants in this capacity have become targets of public wrath, it appears to me that Minnesota Republicans spend an inordinate amount of time targeting women in public office. Just last July, Laura Bishop, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, resigned because Senate Republicans were prepared to oust her. Now 2022 is fast upon us, and — if it were up to me — I would make certain that every one of the eligible voters among the 2,745,132 females in Minnesota were aware of this issue.
Dan Gunderson, Minneapolis
Thank you, Jan Malcolm, for your never-wavering direction during an unprecedented journey through a novel pandemic. Shame on Republicans trying to use you as a political football. My relative in North Dakota recently almost died because there were literally no beds available at a hospital at the level he needed for his condition, anywhere in the state, due to demand for COVID treatment. Fortunately he was allowed to stay several days in an ER for treatment.
This is exactly the scene Jan Malcolm has worked tirelessly to prevent in Minnesota. Politicians, stop interfering in subjects you aren't trained in, and keep your hands off my right to scientifically informed public health.
Susan Corrado, Minneapolis
WHAT PEOPLE GET PAID
A little humility, please?
"Reform" is a word we hear quite a bit today. Reform for government, for policies, the Police Department, rent costs, drug pricing, health care, the minimum wage and so on. How about a little reform for the salaries of those who lead professional sports teams? P.J. Fleck, for example … $35 million? (" 'It's home': Fleck gets 7-year deal," Sports, Nov. 4.)
Give everyone a break. Look at how ridiculous this is. His salary could do so much to help others who need it. Do we really need to pay a coach that much for a job that has little or no real socially redeeming value? P.J. could still be a coach and provide fans with a potentially great team. But, whatever happened to doing it for the love of the game? This salary is fundamentally and ethically wrong.
Susan J. Carlson, Wayzata
I am dismayed by the John Deere workers' rejection of a 10% raise in their contract (Nation & World, Nov. 4). As an RN in an ICU for 32 years, I do not believe I ever received more than a 3% raise at contract time and often less than that. It seems to me that 10% is a lot of money and a generous offer. Shouldn't we all be trying to compromise and be willing to set the stage on future negotiations for a less adversarial discussion/debate?
Susan Parham, Eagan
Police reform now is up to all of us
Those in Minneapolis who want police reforms, no matter if they voted for or against City Question 2, now have an opportunity to see that serious reform efforts are implemented. A good starting list of reform items was suggested in a letter to the editor ("Next, the hard part," Nov. 4). Our mayor, police chief and City Council members will be coming up with additional reform points.
I suggest that Minneapolis residents study the proposed reform items, choose one that interests them especially, and commit to working on that point, by joining committees, forming task forces, contacting city officials and legislators, and following progress on the reform points of choice, to help further our citywide efforts to bring about police reform and increased public safety for our city's people. If we, as city residents want to have a better police force and public safety, it's up to us to be part of making it happen.
Lois Willand, Minneapolis
Just a little quibble about the Nov. 4 letter from our neighbor in Richfield, who weighs in on common sense vs. nonsense in Minneapolis and Virginia.
Yes, I entirely agree that Minneapolis voters used common sense to defeat Question 2. But equating this with what occurred in Virginia is where he lost me.
In Virginia, a very vocal group of frightened white folks fought to stop critical race theory from being taught in their schools. (FYI: Critical race theory is actually not being taught in Virginia K-12 schools — though considering the vote, I'm guessing it should be!)
This sounds to me much more like the nonsense our writer spoke of. Just another "problem" in search of a solution. And the entire campaign was based on fear — of the other.
Nope. That doesn't make "common" sense to me.
Carin Peterson, Minneapolis
I voted for Meg Forney for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board because of her qualifications. I did not give a second thought as to her gender. ("Women take over Park Board," front page, Nov. 5.) As to Forney's assertion that it is more likely that women "can govern in a more collaborative way," she forgets it was men like Theodore Wirth who provided the vision for the park system she now represents.
Emanuel Gaziano, Minneapolis
'Magical thinking' comes from the centrists
D.J. Tice's Oct. 31 drive through the bucolic countryside of "moderates" past the urban chaos of Minneapolis politics fails to mention the proximate cause of that chaos — the murder of George Floyd ("Experiencing political homelessness, makeshift moderates look for shelter"). Police-murder-with-impunity finally got the attention it deserved, and the bloody mess isn't likely to stop stinking anytime soon.
But Tice suddenly crosses the centerline, veers into a ditch and bleeds economic ignorance:
"Ours is an age of magical thinking. Government, we've been told under the auspices of 'Modern Monetary Theory,' can borrow any amount of money it pleases without consequence, and policymakers have long behaved as if they believed this. So naturally we're puzzled to see inflation rising, even after a decade and a half of easy money … ."
If Tice had bothered to read Stephanie Kelton's recent book "The Deficit Myth," he would know that MMT adherents are perfectly clear about the consequences of, and limits on, so-called "easy money."
And although Kelton is more temperate about it, the idea that the federal government "borrows" the money it spends is pure fraud. We, the people, don't "borrow" our own money; we manage it.
The specious notion that easy money drives today's inflation ignores the economy of COVID and former Fed governor Daniel Tarullo's hapless admission that, "we do not, at present, have a theory of inflation dynamics that works sufficiently well to be of use for the business of real-time monetary policy-making."
A good amount of "magical thinking" in politics emanates from "centrists" who would prescribe Band-Aids for arterial bleeding.
William Beyer, St. Louis Park
The farmland solution
"Grasslands uprooted" (front page, Oct. 24) was certainly a sobering article about the fate of prairie habitat. Much as with the Amazon rainforest, farmers experience pressure to put every arable acre under the plow. Increasing acreage planted is the most direct way to increase farm revenue, converting something that is owned but not used into a revenue-generating asset. The general impression from business reporting is that farming is risky, something for only those who inherit land or who work for agribusinesses. Use of labor on farms is generally going down as the use of machinery and technology increases. So the pressure is on farmers, and they are putting pressure on the land.
The urban parts of Minnesota, even the metropolitan statistical area of St. Cloud, have experienced employment and income growth, while the farmers generally have not experienced the same level of dependable growth. If Minnesotans as a whole want to preserve prairie habitat in sufficient quantity to sustain the ecology and wildlife of our state, it will be necessary to buy, not rent, what is now farmland. It also will be necessary to bring a diverse employment base to rural parts of the state so that those who are being displaced from farming by climate change, agribusiness practices and barriers to entry have alternate means to stay gainfully employed in their communities.
Clinton Kennedy, Lakeville