Well, May 21 was the date of the final performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and truly the end of an era. Allow me to paraphrase the great W.C. Fields’ thoughts about the consequences of the circus vis-à-vis kids: “You kids disgust me, standing around here all day reeking of popcorn and lollipops.”
Well, we can’t have that decadence anymore, but at least we’ll always have Congress.
Rob Godfrey, St. Louis Park
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I would like to make a suggestion to the Minnesota Legislature and governor — that House and Senate members be required to pass budget and infrastructure bills before taking up any of their “pet projects.” This would eliminate their selfish party priorities and keep the state operating while they play politics with, pretty much, everything else.
I don’t see why the people of Minnesota should have to suffer through or pay for special sessions so these tax burdens can campaign on television claiming concern for the “people.”
No one believes this lie.
Curt Johnson, Lakeville
Sitting here, 4,000 miles away, you can still be helpful
If the Manchester massacre bothers you, take action. There are ways you can help. Stamp out terrorism at its source.
Feed the children in Somalia.
Rid your household, your neighborhood, your workplace and your place of worship of the poisonous and corrupt forces of racism and sexism and discrimination and persecution of the poor.
Vote. Insist on honest and open government that invests in education and the future.
Work on the cesspools of the world and provide hope and a choice to jihad and death.
Be the answer to terrorism. Be the proof that Westerners are not a profane, selfish, disrespectful stain on the Earth.
John Crivits, St. Paul
THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
Another reason we’re not all ‘complicit’: We chose well
The May 20 letter writer who insists that “we are not all complicit” in President Trump’s election and that to say that we are is to “disrespect the majority who did not vote for him” seems himself to disrespect the wisdom of the founders, who designed the Electoral College precisely to avoid the possibility that we all be governed by such population centers as California and New York, both left-wing bastions and neither of which appears to be terribly well-governed itself. Trump certainly was not my first choice, and he surely needs to discipline himself and to stop being his own worst enemy with the crazy tweeting, but he’s been a welcome break from Obama-Hillary, and I would argue that his appointments to his Cabinet and the Supreme Court have been brilliant and that his efforts to roll back so many stultifying regulations will have a positive effect on the economy.
John G. Hubbell, Minnetonka
THE TRUMP BUDGET
Among the worries should be reductions at State Department
The article “Trump budget slashes programs affecting a fifth of Americans” (May 23) highlights national impacts of the administration’s 2018 budget proposal. These are areas of concern, to be sure.
In addition, it is important to note the proposed dramatic cuts in the State Department’s budget, the agency that administers U.S. foreign aid. Foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of the federal budget, but it saves millions of lives — preventing starvation, treating disease and rescuing people from slavery. To be truly effective, any U.S. efforts abroad must link diplomatic, development and military efforts to use every tool at our disposal. This is the best way to avoid military overreach, support security and development, and prevent conflict.
I stand with Americans across the political spectrum and from all 50 states in my determination to see the end of slavery in my lifetime. I also stand with 300 faith leaders who asked Congress to oppose President Trump’s deep cuts to the foreign aid budget. The ball now is in Congress’ court.
Lauren Walker Bloem, St. Paul
MINNEAPOLIS MAYORAL RACE
Warning: Candidates, advocacy groups are getting too tight
The people of Minneapolis should be seriously concerned that mayoral and City Council candidates are making promises to co-govern with advocacy groups or are promising not to veto items on their agenda. If this conduct is not considered illegal, it smacks of the worst type of political arrogance I have ever witnessed. As a former registered state lobbyist, I would never think of asking a candidate to “co-govern” with me or ask for a promise not to veto in exchange for my support. While this type of activity may not meet the definition of illegal quid pro quo — which requires the exchange of money or something of value and not access — it should raise concerns about what is happening at City Hall.
The arrogance of this election cycle is a direct byproduct of the lack of diversity of thought within our city. While conservatives and liberals alike must do more to seek out and celebrate diversity — we must never forget how important diversity of thought is to a functioning democracy. The ability to challenge this type of conduct is diminished in a city that is merely slightly different shades of one political perspective.
Benjamin Gerber, Minneapolis
EDINA RENT SPIKE
Scenario could have been avoided with creativity, compassion
Hmmm … tough choice for those 95-year-old renters living independently at Interlachen Court in Edina (“Rent spikes roil Edina tenants,” May 23). Pay the 60 percent rent increase (and gain an indoor dog park), or leave the city they settled. The new management cites New York City to illustrate the increase: Can’t pay New Jersey rents and be able to live in Manhattan. Well, yes, you can if one has a rent-controlled apartment that recognizes both long-term tenants and income limits. Perhaps this is what Edina City Manager Scott Neal hints at when he says: “This is a policy area that we’re going to have to get serious about.”
Paul Hager, Northfield
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The shock of huge rent increases, and possible eviction, to renters at the Interlachen Court apartments in Edina was an avoidable crisis. It’s perhaps symbolic of the times we live in — everything in the corporate world points to the bottom line, without regard to the needs or sensitivities of those facing new and in some cases insurmountable debt with the new rents.
This is not the fault of the new owner, who is entitled to the monetary benefit from his property, but it could have been avoided if anyone at the bank — the trustee — had used a little creative thinking. It’s clear that the deceased former owner, who intentionally kept rents “hundreds of dollars below market,” did so to benefit her tenants and without regard to the fact that she could have made much greater income from rents that matched the median in the area.
But she didn’t, probably because she cared, she empathized; clearly she was not a greedy individual. However, the trustee — the bank — could have avoided the trauma the tenants are enduring by simply putting a “grandfather” clause into the contract of sale. Something in keeping with the conscience of the deceased former owner. Rents could have remained below market, with normal increases, as long as the current tenants (most of whom apparently are seniors) remained in their apartments. Then, once they were gone, the new owner could invoke appropriate rentals in the area.
But the bank probably never even thought of that, because that would have been a creative solution, it would have showed compassion. And that’s beyond the thinking of the average banker. It becomes a sad commentary on the times we live in.
Alan Miller, Eagan