Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.
Despite taking up a quarter of a page of newsprint to ratchet up the topic of crime and offer specious solutions, Jim Schultz is unqualified for the office of Minnesota attorney general on a variety of fronts ("I'll fight crime, support cops," Opinion Exchange, Oct. 18).
First, he doesn't seem to understand the job. Except in rare circumstances, e.g., Derek Chauvin, the type of violent crime that alarms most citizens is not adjudicated by the Office of the Attorney General. Those offenses are prosecuted by city, county and federal prosecutors. The attorney general seeks to protect the rights of all citizens of Minnesota including those of consumers, small-business owners and farmers and those who breathe the air, drink the water, etc. The position is responsible for oversight of various state agencies and boards as well as serving as the administrative head of an agency with hundreds of employees.
Second, Schultz has never actually tried a case, much less against a phalanx of corporate lawyers or skilled criminal defense attorneys. He claims graduating from elite schools is preparation enough. Real trial attorneys don't talk about their diplomas. They reminisce about their big cases. Keith Ellison has not lost a case as attorney general.
Last is Schultz's dismissive attitude toward the rights of half the population. He tries to downplay his commitment to anti-abortion actions by offering the now-standard Republican response that abortion rights are protected by the Constitution. Right. That's as credible a statement as Brett Kavanaugh's assurance that Roe v. Wade was settled law.
Ellison is regarded as one of the country's most effective attorneys general. He has the institutional knowledge at both the state and federal levels to leverage existing laws and available funding streams for the benefit of all Minnesotans. He is articulate, smart and innovative in problem solving. His lawsuit against Fleet Farm is a good example. He is looking to attack the problem of the proliferation of guns by requiring a company to follow the law and live up to its reputation as a good corporate citizen. If the allegations of turning a blind eye to "straw purchases" prove to have merit by a court, it will benefit both the company and all Minnesotans.
We need our experienced, successful Attorney General Ellison to continue finding creative ways to ensure all citizens enjoy happy, healthy, safe communities with equitable opportunities for success.
Sue Shuff, Wayzata
Choose Judge Charles Webber
I had the great pleasure of working with Judge Charles Webber for over 30 years in private practice. He was and is a superlative trial lawyer having tried many complex cases with great skill and incredible legal talent. He is admired not only by the bar but also held in high esteem by judges in Minnesota and throughout the country. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of, if not the, most prestigious recognitions a trial lawyer can achieve. His first term on the bench has met with universal acclaim in the profession and he has outstanding judicial temperament. On the other hand, Matthew Hanson's main qualification is living in Prior Lake. (Webber has lived in Lakeville for about as long as Hanson has been alive.) He won't reveal his trial experience (which speaks volumes) and he went to law school in Minnesota and has been a lawyer for ... four years. That's all he has to offer. I don't think so!
Webber is the only rational, logical and appropriate choice.
Joe Price, Edina
We'll use that oil by afternoon
President Joe Biden is releasing 15 million barrels of oil to reduce gas prices at the pump ("Biden set to release more oil from emergency reserves," Oct. 19). I wonder if his staff told him the U.S. consumes 20 million barrels of oil a day. Biden's gesture is a drop in an ocean of crude, and it won't affect prices at the pump.
The national strategic reserve he is depleting is our nation's backstop for unexpected loss of oil imports. Recently we've seen sabotage of oil pipelines, OPEC monopoly production reductions and natural disasters that could seriously threaten our country's oil supply and security. It seems foolish for Biden to use the reserves for a pre-election gimmick.
Lee Newcomer, Wayzata
Gov. Tim Walz and the Democrats in the Legislature have had four years to end Minnesota's unscientific statutory ban on new nuclear plants, and they have done absolutely nothing to this effect. Minnesota cannot go carbon-free without nuclear. It is safe, efficient and reliable vs. weather-dependent solar and wind. Nuclear is also cheaper in the long run because the plants last 80 years vs. about 20 tops for wind and solar. We need more nuclear, and we need it now. Scott Jensen understands this, which is why the best thing Minnesotans could do for the climate is to elect him governor.
Gregory J. Pulles, Edina
We'll use that oil by afternoon
I wonder what our Founding Fathers would have thought if they had read the front page on Wednesday ("Outside money pours into race").
It seems the reporting is more on the money raised for the candidates' campaigns than their platforms on the issues. What difference is it to the voter as to how good the people running for office are at raising money? It should not be a newsworthy article in the paper.
Marilyn Logelin Maloney, Minnetonka
So the candidates can raise money. But can they govern?
This election is pivotal for Minneapolis Public Schools. Of the nine seats on its school board, five seats will be filled by new talent. MPS is at a turning point. The new board will hire a new superintendent in its first year, perhaps the most important task of any board. The hiring must be taken with thoughtful concern. Funding is also precarious, and the potential to have to close schools to help bridge gaps is very real. The tension pot in our community is at boiling.
Despite this election's importance, certain candidates are actively avoiding aspects of community engagement. For example, Pollen recently released its voters' guide, containing a series of thoughtful questions. Four of the eight total candidates did not respond. These four candidates are publicly working as a slate. Pollen is not the first voters' guide or forum where this slate collectively refused to participate. According to a recent Star Tribune story ("Election may reshape school board," Oct. 14), "Several members of the slate have chosen not to attend recent candidate forums hosted by education interest groups, including Educators for Excellence and Integrated Schools."
The optics of this are horrible and demonstrate a complete lack of leadership and initiative. I encourage the Star Tribune to thoughtfully weigh all candidates' levels of participation in discussion and engagement throughout the community during this election season when considering its own endorsements. To this parent and voter, the seemingly coordinated lack of participation smacks of disrespect, self-righteousness and closed-mindedness. We deserve leaders who are willing to step forward and engage in dialogue with the entire community — not just with those with whom they already know they agree.
Carrie L. Johnson, Minneapolis