Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.
I somewhat disagree with the March 19 column "Does Minnesota 'get' crime?" by D.J. Tice. The majority of Minnesotans do get it, but prosecutors in Minneapolis and other big American cities don't. For example, Attorney General Keith Ellison recently held a news conference about holding Kia and Hyundai carmakers responsible for car thefts and hijackings in Minneapolis and suburbs. That's like blaming door lock manufacturers for home break-ins.
It is the "catch and release" policy of criminals, no matter their age, not being held accountable that is the problem. The rest of Minnesota communities understand this, but Attorney General Keith Ellison's office and Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty (a former chief public defender) don't.
Mary McKee, Minnetonka
In reply to Tice's rhetorical question, "Does Minnesota 'get' crime?": The answer is yes, we do, for we have come to learn that policing is only easy in a police state.
Bryan J. Leary, Minneapolis
The writer is an assistant public defender in Hennepin County.
I lived by 54th Street and Chicago Avenue S. in Minneapolis for 26 years and saw crime, but never so often or widespread as 2020 to now. After the riots started, my neighbors in just a two-block stretch of Columbus Avenue moved to Plymouth, Eagan, Prior Lake, Golden Valley, Colorado, Maine and Wisconsin. We were all Minneapolis residents for years and trended a little bit older, over 40 at least. We got it.
Kieran Duncan, Hudson, Wis.
Tice engaged in a remarkably generalized survey of recent national elections. He attributed Chesa Boudin's recall in San Francisco to "soft on crime" policies, failing to mention the astroturf campaign that poured millions into retiring a prosecutor whose tenure coincided with crime rates that were neither significantly better nor worse than national averages. He credited three New York congressional seats that flipped to Republicans to running on the crime "issue," without acknowledging the effect of redistricting. (Further, one of those seats went to serial liar George Santos, aka Anthony Devolder).
Tice continued, seeming to fault the DFL Legislature for pursuing abortion rights, driver's licenses for all, and voting rights ahead of public safety. Did he endeavor to explain why the DFL shouldn't have pursued the issues they campaigned upon first? Not particularly. Did he offer specific examples of Republican ideas on how to address Minnesota's undefined "crime problem" that have been given short shrift? Of course not.
In concluding the piece, Tice described two high-profile decisions by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty that suffered criticism from the public. Apparently another letter writer had written that she considered her vote for Moriarty a mistake. So … what? Is there a public official whose record has not been criticized? Does he believe the voters who put Moriarty in office were somehow duped by her expressed policy positions?
Perhaps Tice and his off-the-record (anonymous) source should find a secure echo chamber where they can continue congratulating themselves on how they "get it," unburdened by facts that might impede their chosen narrative.
Kimberly Hunter, St. Paul
Tice repeats a damaging trope in his March 19 column. First, in describing the 2021 "Yes On Amendment 2" campaign to amend the Minneapolis Charter to create a Department of Public Safety, he writes that "voters soundly rejected a charter amendment embodying the original 'defund the police' crusade."
Let's show the actual numbers:
Yes: 43.83% — 62,813 votes.
No: 56.17% — 80,506 votes.
Almost 44% voted for and just past 56% against — about a 12-percentage-point difference. That is not a "sound rejection." There were 62,813 YES votes on an issue that wasn't even in the public mind prior to May 25, 2020.
Mr. Tice, you may take any stance you'd like on public safety in Minneapolis, but you may not mischaracterize election results or the content of the amendment. The campaign literature stated: "Question 2 was a plan to expand public safety to include mental health professionals and social workers in our public safety model along with the police. We need responses that match our emergencies … ." Sadly, we still do, as city leaders funnel millions more dollars into the Police Department, instead of considering the message that almost 63,000 voters gave.
Erika Thorne, Minneapolis
THREATS AGAINST POLITICIANS
Maybe it's a two-way street?
Regarding "Threats have gone too far, Frey says" (March 12):
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's own policies and the threats against him are not as different as he might portray.
Frey reportedly believes recent threats come from objectors to city policies around homeless encampments and the Public Works facilities project known as the Hiawatha Campus Expansion.
If the latter is true, then you have, on the one hand, people understandably angry that generations of city governments have concentrated society's harms into their neighborhoods, their environment, their bodies and their children's.
And on the other hand you have Mayor Frey. In ramming the Hiawatha expansion down the greater East Phillips community's throats — despite legitimate environmental, public health, corruption and structural racism concerns (among others) — Frey is choosing to expose that already highly polluted community to more health risks, further shortening the lives of its residents.
When intentional public policy hurts people, it is not just a threat of violence.
It is actual violence.
This reader unequivocally condemns all forms of violence, including threats. But as MLK said, "A riot is the language of the unheard."
If a society oppresses and disenfranchises people enough that they believe their only tools to affect change are vandalism, threats and violence, then they are going to exercise those options, because it's the only effective ones they've been left with.
For Frey to declare those immoral options "beyond any acceptable bounds" implies he believes his actions in office are within acceptable bounds. Moral people might agree that repeatedly concentrating harm in historically underrepresented communities and stifling those communities' voices and agency do not fit within those bounds.
Dan Shafto, Minneapolis
Repeat after me …
I was much taken with the front-page article "Republicans feel shut out by the DFL" (March 19).
It seems Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are hurt and shocked because Democrats are pursuing their agenda on behalf of the people of our state.
That despite the fact that for the past two or three decades, when Republicans have controlled or have had a large minority position in government, they've bulldozed the opposition, burying everything Democrats attempt to do for people who are not rich and powerful.
I think I speak for a majority of Minnesotans when I say to the Republicans: Awwwwwww.
Jim Fuller, Minneapolis
Regarding Minnesota Republicans feeling left out: That is politics whether you like it or not. You have a lot in common with the Democrats in Florida.
Donna Dahl, Austin, Minn.
NEW EDITORIAL CARTOONIST
That's a catch
While I'm still missing the retired Steve Sack, Mike Thompson reeled me right in with his Dec. 19 cartoon ("Introducing the Star Tribune's new editorial cartoonist," Opinion Exchange). He's a keeper!
Yvonne Long, Coon Rapids
Opinion editor's note: Thompson's work will begin appearing on the Opinion Exchange page and on our website up to five days a week after he arrives in mid-April.