To the lady in the grocery store recently who said to my face (as I was parking a battery-operated cart), “That’s not a very good use of a cart with a child on your lap,” and who gave me the dirtiest look ever:

You see, I have multiple sclerosis. It’s invisible, but at times I need the use of an electric cart. On that particular day, I had my 3-year-old granddaughter with me on my lap.

The MS has taken so much from me, and the lady’s statement hurt me to the core. I strive to look and act normal, but there are times when I have embarrassed myself with issues most people would never believe. With MS, you can suffer from bladder incidents, bowel accidents, vision problems, pain and many more symptoms.

Where has decency gone? Why walk up to a person you know nothing about and make a harsh judgment on the spot, then try to make that person feel bad about themselves?

At first I was hurt, then very angry, and now I feel sorry for that woman. Who would want to deal with someone who must be so unhappy?

Karen Miner, Brooklyn Park

SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Why give tax credits as opposed to proper funding at the start?

An Aug. 27 letter provides a welcome reminder to parents of available tax credits for the purchase of school supplies. Of course, this does pose the question of why our current tax policy asks taxpayers to fill out a form for a tax credit instead of simply taxing the appropriate amount needed to fully fund schools.

That taxpayers have to take the time to buy the supplies then wait until the end of the year before receiving partial compensation highlights a system that is cumbersome and inefficient. There is no doubt that a well-educated citizenry benefits everyone — parent and nonparents alike. Yet we have created a system where parents are asked to bear the extra costs, while those without children reap the benefits of public education.

Wall Street investors would do well to reap the benefits our tax dollars return on public education. So how did we get to a place where our fellow citizens’ education has become a place to save a couple of quick bucks instead of the home of future prosperity — for all?

Bryan Haugen, Minneapolis

 

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

Why such resistance to the simple act of labeling?

Robert Wager (“Science shows ‘GE’ crops are safe, to all but activists,” Aug. 27) misses the point of opposition to genetically engineered crops.

Whether genetically modified foods are safe or not is beside the point. Consumers should have all of the information they need to make a decision. That is an aspect of the free market that many sellers tend to forget.

Jews and Muslims don’t want to eat pork. Should not products that contain pork be labeled with that information? Many people are allergic to peanuts. Should not products that contain peanuts as a minor ingredient be labeled with that information? Does such labeling really raise the cost of a product by 10 percent?

Many people don’t wish to eat certain foods for a variety of health or ethical reasons. If they are opposed to factory farming, should farmers who engage in more sustainable practices be prevented from labeling their products as such?

Too many sellers want to know all they can about their buyers, but they don’t want their buyers to know much about them other than their brand names!

Melvyn Magree, Duluth

 

St. PAUL SCHOOL BOARD

Don’t sugarcoat it — loss of televised comments is wrong

In “Airing public views on St. Paul schools” (Aug. 22), the Star Tribune Editorial Board claims that a “cynic might jump to the conclusion that the St. Paul [school] board simply lost its appetite for taking heat from the public in a televised and streamed broadcast.” Having attributed this position to that of a cynic, the editorial raises the question of what conclusion an idealist would reach regarding the board’s recent change of policy on televising the public-comments portion of its meetings. I think an idealist would conclude that the blocking of her access to the voices of her fellow citizens via televised and streamed broadcasts is a form of censorship by a board that wants to expand the reach of its control beyond schools and into the living rooms of every St. Paulite.

The absence of these broadcasts will result in a less-informed citizenry at a time when more and more people are asking questions about the rationale behind district decisions made without any community input. Now we are being robbed of the opportunity to see the community reaction to those very same decisions made in our names. Without an opportunity for viewers at home to see the concerns that community members are bringing before the board, the board is effectively putting up a barrier between parents and a valuable source of information from which they can make a choice about which school to send their child, with the confidence that they drew upon the unvarnished wisdom of their fellow citizens to make their decision. That same wisdom might also be helpful for some when making a decision about which school board candidate to vote for on Nov. 3. Unfortunately, the current board would rather you do the legwork yourself if you want to access the wisdom that comes from democracy in action.

Dallas Robertson, St. Paul

 

SEXUAL CONSENT POLICY AT U

That debate was unwarranted

I read “Debate heats up over U’s sex-consent policy” (Aug. 22). I don’t understand why there was any debate at all. My understanding is that the University of Minnesota was changing its definition of consent to match with existing law. The burden of proof is not changing. Minnesota defines sexual assault as a sexual encounter made without consent and defines consent as “words or overt actions by a person indicating a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act.” I believe this is the same standard the U is now implementing. The controversy seems to have arisen because a group decided to distribute “contracts” to start conversations about sexual consent. Violation of the law would still be sexual assault even if it didn’t violate U policy. Why should the U allow sexual assault?

Patrick Evans, Bloomington

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

It’s measurable, not political

Two stories with a heavy overlap caught my attention today. First, Louisiana Gov. (and presidential candidate) Bobby Jindal strongly suggested that President Obama avoid any mention of the politically divisive issue of climate change. On the same day, NASA announced that sea-level rise is on target to reach 3 feet by the end of this century. It seems to me that sea-level rise is about as nonpolitical of an issue as you can get. Pretending that it is political is what the real political issue is.

Michael Emerson, Eden Prairie

 

WRITING QUIRKS

Too much smooching in Taste

Can you please tell the restaurant reviewer to stop using the word “kissed” as a descriptor? Many articles he writes use that term to indicate something with a splash of flavor or whatever. It’s an annoying term, and the frequent use of it indicates a lack of thought into coming up with a better term. I enjoy the articles overall, but find myself cringing when I start reading these articles, wondering when that descriptor will appear.

Gail Porter, Brooklyn Park

 

BOB DYLAN MURAL

Maybe a groovier kind of love?

I have had the good fortune of watching, from my office window, the enormous Bob Dylan mural going up on the side of a building on S. 5th Street near Hennepin Avenue. It’s a $50,000 project, and it is as pleasing to the senses as it is expensive. But haven’t we enough Dylan on walls? There are already Dylan murals in Dinkytown, downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Isn’t it time for someone else? Perhaps Phil Collins? The album cover from “No Jacket Required”?

Adam Johnson, St. Paul