Michael Osterholm said he thought at this time it was preferable to vaccinate as many people as possible with a single dose of vaccine rather than hold back second doses to complete full courses. As a retired infectious diseases specialist and microbiologist (although not an immunologist), I couldn't agree more. We are in the midst of possibly the worst stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination program is failing because of inadequate doses and chaotic distribution/administration (a lottery — are you kidding?). As an octogenarian who has not won the lottery, I may be biased, but in this case an effort to save lives should trump the obligation to be rigid about the vaccination schedule.
We lack full information about survival from infection after a single vaccine dose or the level of immunity after delayed second doses. It seems it is better to attempt to save as many lives as possible with single doses than hold them back to complete vaccinations. It is also possible that single-dose recipients will actually be protected from the most severe disease and may even have an enhanced immune response ("booster effect") if they do contract the virus. There is much uncertainty here, but given the current dire situation, it is time to make difficult decisions.
JON E. ROSENBLATT, Minneapolis
We need people like Arradondo to stay. Others, not so much.
It was troubling to read that Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo was a candidate for police chief in San Jose, Calif. ("Arradondo withdraws from San Jose job," Jan. 27.) However, it is clear to the people of Minneapolis that some council members have been determined to drive him out. Last June, nine members took a pledge to "end" the Police Department. Then they immediately introduced a charter amendment to eliminate the Police Department from the city charter by taking it from mayoral oversight and replacing it with a new public safety department under council control. This fall, the council used the city budget to remove programs that are essential tools for our chief to change the MPD culture. Now the council is once again proposing a charter amendment to eliminate the MPD, which would come to voters for consideration in November city elections.
Minneapolis has an ethical, professional, compassionate chief who is striving to transform our MPD. The people of Minneapolis support him and value his service. City Council members, stop your power grab and support Chief Arradondo.
Kathleen O'Brien, Minneapolis
• • •
I breathed a huge sigh of relief over the announcement that Arradondo had withdrawn his name as a finalist for the position of San Jose police chief — almost as large a sigh of relief as when Bob Kroll announced his retirement as police union head. Now, if we can only get the City Council to come up with reasonable plans for a reformed Police Department, I will get a chance for a third huge sigh ... but I'm not holding my breath on that one.
Steve Larson, Minneapolis
Structure change is long overdue
I was a Minneapolis Southwest High School student in the 1960s, and I vividly recall how my government teacher would rail against the weak mayoral system in Minneapolis. Thursday's paper points out how we are still dealing with its flaws and deficiencies ("Panel might curb council's power"). It's time to give our mayor clear lines of authority over city departments. Allowing council members to individually pressure these departments thwarts coherent policy and creates the kind of chaos we've experienced in the last several months. We need a 21st-century structure to have a city equipped for 21st-century challenges.
Judy Takkunen, Minneapolis
Higher taxes? Right now?
This is not the year to raise taxes in Minnesota ("Walz's budget raises taxes on wealthy," front page, Jan. 27). The reputation of the Twin Cities has taken a hit. People across the country see Minnesota differently than in the past. We are likely going to experience a reduction in visitors, tourists, new people moving here and branch office openings. The negative national publicity over the ongoing crime boom hurts our state. Already, some people are exiting Minneapolis because of fear for their safety.
We already have one of the highest state tax rates in the U.S. New taxes will mean that over half the earnings of high-income people go to the government. This will cause more people to forsake our state for warmer climes. Already southwest Florida has a burgeoning population of former Minnesota citizens who pay no state tax, no capital gains tax and no state inheritance tax. You don't want the stream of affluent people leaving Minnesota to turn into an avalanche.
Wealthy citizens use a wide variety of services that employ people. The more rich people, the more jobs. The highest living standards are found in countries with the most millionaires. Furthermore, the contributions and generosity of the rich fund many worthwhile causes. The current plan to once again hike state taxes will harm our prosperity. It will be superimposed on a planned jump in federal taxes to levels that become punitive and if that happens, a lot more people will be saying goodbye to our state.
James Cook, Bloomington
• • •
I have wonderful news for worriers about Minnesota's attractiveness as a place to do business. Despite the relative tax burden cited in a recent letter ("Fundamental rethinking required," Readers Write, Jan. 28), Minnesota is 13th in the nation in total Fortune 500 firms, fourth in Fortune 500 firms per capita, and the Twin Cities is first among the top 30 metro areas in the country as headquarters for Fortune 500 firms. Business does indeed vote with its feet, and the vote is in for Minnesota. Our high tax burden results in making us "a wonderful place to live," which results in businesses choosing to locate here. Isn't it a relief to learn that Minnesota Nice actually does "apply to our attitude toward commerce"? Yay for us!
Jennifer L. Wright, Roseville
• • •
Both President Joe Biden and Gov. Tim Walz have now said that our economically stressed society needs to raise more money from the wealthy by a "fair" contribution.
This could be done by increments in income tax rates or maybe by closing tax loopholes like capital gains taxes, but it will not address the glaring inequality in wealth, much of it inherited, not earned by sweat, and some of it salted away overseas. The richest 1% of Americans own a third of our country's wealth. This gap in wealth grows wider, as those who control corporations choose to not increase wages, but prefer to increase their own incomes, now often obscenely large.
Our present income tax system has not and will not overcome this, especially since lobbyists write the codes. We either need to go back to 50-90% income taxes on the rich, with impressive and collectible taxes on corporations, or we need to shift to taxing only wealth.
With a wealth tax of 2-3% per year, our country can find the resources to prosper. Calculate for yourself the value of what you actually own and your IRA. For the middle class, such a federal tax will not change your obligation. But for the billionaires and Fortune 500 folk, so adept at stashing their wealth abroad, it would give them a chance to redeem themselves. Plus, we could forget about inheritance taxes, since any lucky heirs would then start paying that same percent. For true democracy, the rich should share similar levels of tax pain as the rest of us. They could and should discover a real patriotism, and have similar skin in the game of being Americans.
Gary W. King, Fridley
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