It was with great dismay that I read that some lawmakers are proposing that Minnesota opt out of daylight saving time (“Changing clocks is getting tiresome,” Jennifer Brooks column, March 14). Growing up in Chicago, my family had a lake cabin in far northeastern Indiana, a state that for decades did not switch its clocks. I know firsthand how disruptive being a “time outlier” can be when all surrounding states “spring ahead.” Here are some examples.
Say you own a food distribution company in Minneapolis, and you have a contracted delivery time in Menomonie, Wis., at an assisted-living facility of 6 a.m. When they spring ahead, your driver will have to leave the warehouse at 3:45 in the morning instead of 4:45 to make the 1-hour-15-minute trip, (because it’s already 4:45 in Wisconsin!). Oh, and you’d better get used to watching the Vikings-Bears game in Chicago at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays instead of 12:30. If you work at a branch office of a company based in Dallas, that mandatory, must-attend videoconference every Monday at 8 a.m. Central time now will start at 7 a.m. “Minnesota time” — but that’s when you normally drop the kids off at day care! Minnesota will effectively be in the Mountain Time Zone but living daily in the Central Time Zone. Get the picture?
The legislators say they want to relieve Minnesotans from the one week of adjustment that invariably follows the switch to daylight saving time. Trust me, it isn’t worth the 12 months of inconvenience and confusion that being a time outlier will bring.
Robert Adomaitis, Eden Prairie
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State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer’s proposal to do away with daylight saving time might as well be called the Kiffmeyer Act to Eliminate Summer. I can’t imagine going through summer and having it get dark one hour earlier. An earlier sunset would cut many activities short, especially toward the beginning and end of summer. Very few playing fields for kids in most cities have lights, for example, and these fields are often double-booked through the summer.
Imagine getting home from work, eating dinner, and then trying to get outside before it’s too dark.
A dumb idea, Sen. Kiffmeyer!
Douglas Wobbema, Burnsville
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Here is a letter I sent to our two U.S. senators regarding daylight saving time. Although I tried to use humor, I am very serious about this idea.
I understand there is discussion about getting rid of daylight saving time. Here is an idea I’ve had for a long time. In the spirit of compromise instead of moving forward or backward 60 minutes, just go 30 minutes and leave it. The people who want later sun in the summer will get some and the people who want early sun in the winter will get some. Everyone will get something but not everything they want — compromise. I’m sure “Big Clock” will raise a stink, but you can’t make everyone happy. If you look at a world time clock, there are many places that are 30 minutes different, so there is precedent. Or in the words of Chief Justice John Roberts — stare decisis.
I’m sure there are many reasons that this won’t work, but to me it makes sense to split the difference. You could even have spring and fall equinox be a check your fire alarm battery and sync your clock day. Probably not a holiday, but something to put on the calendar and celebrate.
Anyway I thought this would be a good start to having compromise be a trend, since there doesn’t seem to be much these days. Who knows, if something like this passes, compromise might catch on.
Stephen Patrick Hawrysh, Aitkin, Minn.
Unless you’re making an autobahn, the speed limit will do just fine
Regarding a bill introduced by Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault (“Fines for slower left-lane drivers?” March 13): First, I have rarely seen anybody going less than the speed limit in the left lane, unless they happen to be passing someone going even slower in the right lane, usually someone merging on an entrance ramp. Second, if I’m doing the speed limit passing a slower driver, invariably there is a “Jasinski” on my tail who zooms by me in the right lane before I can get a safe distance in front of the vehicle that I just passed so I can move over. Third, anyone who drives the Interstate 494 strip knows it’s rush hour 24/7: There is no passing lane, just lanes.
Now, if it were called the autobahn bill, that would make more sense. Unlimited speed limits in the Jasinski lane — I mean, the left lane — truly would require slower drivers to move right. But until then, I will use the left lane to drive the speed limit, while passing slower vehicles.
Kevin Wendland, Chaska
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Is it now considered “lane courtesy” to abet people intent on not only breaking the law but endangering all road users by driving at excessive speeds? I cannot wait to get my first ticket for driving “only” the speed limit and following the law. I already know how I will plead. Sen. Jasinski would have a better chance putting forth a bill to apply the speed limit to the right lane only and make the left lane a free-for-all. And by the way, senator, I can also answer the question you have apparently been asked before — yes, you do have better things to do, so do them.
Claire Hilgeman, Eden Prairie
U.S. FOREIGN AID
A reminder that it totals far less than Americans think it does
The public has been drastically overestimating how involved the U.S. is when it comes to foreign aid and the fight on extreme world poverty. On average, Americans estimate that around 20 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. Many Americans actually believe that the U.S. should slash the foreign aid spending to only 10 percent. What many people do not know is that in reality only about 1 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid.
The foreign aid is divided between all of the United States’ international activities. This includes operating U.S. embassies and consulates, dispensing economic assistance to fledgling democracies, promoting U.S. exports abroad, U.S. payments to international organizations, and contributing to international peacekeeping efforts. Increasing the foreign aid budget can drastically help many countries living in extreme poverty and hunger while also helping the U.S. secure the nation and improve the economy. I urge U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith to protect the international affairs budget.
Abigail Nelson, Inver Grove Heights
How ’bout that saintly city?
Thank you to Jennifer Brooks (March 13) for explaining why it’s important and worthwhile to rename the “terrible names we’ve slapped on things over the years.” I also appreciate her brief history lesson about how the town of Pig’s Eye was renamed St. Paul. However, I wish she would have proceeded to the next logical conclusion: Rename St. Paul to something less terrible.
If there are valid reasons to rename the rivers, lakes and buildings in our state that are named after bad things or bad people, then surely our capital city can do better than its current namesake. Consider that the Apostle Paul, promoted misogyny (1 Timothy 11-14) and torture (2 Thessalonians 1), and the institution that “sainted” him is responsible for a history of extreme violence as well as heinous present-day sex abuse scandals.
Even though I’m not a native of the capital city, I have lived there, and I currently work there. There’s a blend of diverse worldviews among its citizens, so between the two big domed buildings facing each other across John Ireland Boulevard, it’s the one where (secular) laws are made that protects and serves the people, while the other one protects and serves a priesthood and institution wrought with crimes against humanity. It’s time to rename the city to something good. Until then, how about Mr. Paul or, dare I say, Ms. Paul?
Eric Jayne, Apple Valley