Whenever a person comes forth with a plan, be it in government or business, there are sure to be critics and naysayers. A president of an insurance company once told me that when one of his vice presidents would come up with a plan to sell more product, three other vice presidents would tell him why it would not work. One vice president told him that with a few tweaks they should run it up the flagpole and see who saluted. That vice president is the one the president groomed to take over his job.

The same with President Joe Biden's plan for infrastructure. Even the Republicans know that many of our bridges and roads are in dire need of repair. But because they did not propose it, they will find ways to deny the passing of the plan to start repairing our infrastructure. If they are really interested of taking care of the public, they should be working with Biden to make it happen. The Republicans are wasting their time and ours by not working together to solve the problem. The longer we put off the repairs, the more it is going to cost us.

Citizens always worry about how a project like this will be paid for. I think the money coming out of the pockets of those in the general population will be minimal. Of course, the Republicans are going to say that if we tax the corporations or the one-percenters, jobs will be lost. They should focus on the number of jobs the infrastructure plan would create and realize that the money will be returning to our overall gross incomes, thus improving our economy. Instead of looking for the shortfalls, look at what the plan would do for the citizenry. The improvements would be a benefit to our living both financially and structurally.

Gary Spooner, Cottage Grove

Take care with your punctuation, legislators, when you write laws

On behalf of grammar nerds everywhere, I'd like to note that a lowly comma was the basis for the Minnesota Supreme Court's recent decision in a sexual assault case ("State needs stronger sexual assault laws," editorial, April 1, and other coverage.)

The statute under which the defendant was charged reads in part as follows: " 'Mentally incapacitated' means that a person under the influence of alcohol, a narcotic, anesthetic, or any other substance, administered to that person without the person's agreement, lacks the judgment to give a reasoned consent to sexual contact … ." The comma between "substance" and "administered" means that any of the items listed (rather than just "any other substance") would have to have been administered involuntarily, so the victim's voluntary consumption of alcohol meant she was not "mentally incapacitated" for purposes of the statute.

The court acknowledged this is not a common-sense understanding of "mentally incapacitated," but since the Legislature undertook to give a specific definition, the courts are bound to follow its plain meaning and don't have the power to change what appears to be a simple but critical punctuation mistake.

James Bates, Inver Grove Heights

The writer is an attorney.


What I want: A real discussion, without the stereotypes

I am a gun owner, and I'm tired of people making assumptions about me.

I am a resident of rural Minnesota, saddened at the news of increasing violent crime in our state.

I am a woman, and I don't believe more laws will prevent violence, especially considering the current low rate of convictions for criminal acts with a firearm.

I am a mom, and I want to see some honest, deep, real conversations happening in every community on the issue of violence and its root causes.

I am a gun owner, and I believe responsible, mindful firearm ownership is best achieved through social support, community education programs and incentives to further one's training.

I am a gun owner, and I'm tired of feeling invisible, shrouded by stereotypes and misconceptions.

I'm frustrated at how passionately people will demand a ban on common firearms after a mass shooting while remaining silent about the victims of suicide or violent crime who didn't happen to die from a bullet wound.

I am not a representative of anyone but myself, and I wish more of my fellow Minnesotans would take the time to reflect on this issue as individuals.

Ignore the rhetoric, forget the talking points, and let's discuss how to reduce all forms of violence, together.

Danielle Wiener, Stacy, Minn.

Look, see and be ready

The videos being shown at the Derek Chauvin trial are an integral part of the evidence being presented, yet comments from the pool reporters indicate that some of the jurors are closing their eyes or looking at the floor to avoid seeing the images. How can they evaluate all of the evidence if they are refusing to look? Perhaps the instructions should include having to listen to and watch all that is presented.

Sandra Beaudoin, Maple Grove
• • •

Along with many Americans, I watched in horror as the life of George Floyd was being snuffed out by Derek Chauvin, then a member of the Police Department of Minneapolis. I am a senior citizen and never have I seen anything so horrible. I know there are good police in our country, but this was a shameful display by this Police Department. If this isn't murder, I don't know what is.

I am an 84-year-old white women, and I will be watching this trial on TV. If this man, Derek Chauvin, is not convicted of murder, I will be marching in your city, along with thousands. We will not stand for such injustice.

Anne Hoose, Roanoke, Va.

The year without Hill-Murray

In a quarantine time that requires flexibility and creative solutions, the Minnesota State High School League showed it is capable of neither ("Last year's champs out of 2A tourney," March 31). The decision to exclude Hill-Murray from the boys' state hockey tournament because of a COVID-19 exposure was excruciating and wrong. Those players could have had the rapid test 24 hours before hitting the ice. Therefore, forevermore, the 2021 Minnesota State High School Hockey title will have to have an asterisk next to it: *The year Hill-Murray wasn't allowed to play.

Maureen Mulvaney, Minneapolis

One more name to recognize

A March 31 letter to the editor gave well-deserved recognition to the paper's amazing cadre of photographers, naming a number of your talented staff. One name was missing that must be added: David Joles.

Joles has a unique ability to be in the right place at the right time, capturing beautiful images of a pair of bald eagles fishing over the Mississippi, or a stunning sunrise over Bde Maka Ska.

Kudos to all who add such value to the newspaper!

Bob Close, St. Paul

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