The Star Tribune quotes Stanley S. Hubbard ("The megadonor," Dec. 6) as critical of citizens for not standing up. Many do, but they are overwhelmed by the financial and other resources that people like Mr. Hubbard — the chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting — and other "megadonors" have, under the odd concept of money being speech. When I think of freedom of speech, I see Norman Rockwell's painting of a working-class citizen speaking in a public meeting and being listened to respectfully. I doubt Rockwell would paint a CEO writing a huge check to a political candidate and title it "freedom of speech." People aren't afraid of having opinions. They are drowned out like a buzzing bee next to a roaring jet. Mr. Hubbard, in the cockpit, can't hear them.
William S. Cordua, River Falls, Wis.
• • •
The Dec. 6 article did an outstanding job of capturing Hubbard's plain-spoken style and deep commitment to the political process. As someone who has worked closely with him on political giving over the years, I do want to clarify one misimpression created by the article. Stanley Hubbard has never asked a candidate to return his contribution should the candidate lose. Rather, Mr. Hubbard requires candidates to return his contribution in the event they either announce they will not seek re-election or otherwise drop out of a race while they still have money in their campaign account. He believes it should be up to the donor — not the former candidate — to decide what should be done with the contribution once the candidate is no longer a candidate. It is a perfectly fair and reasonable position.
David A. Jones, Plymouth
• • •
While I do not share Hubbard's political views, I found the story about his interactions with politicians of both parties interesting, and it seemed from the article that he was intelligent and open-minded — until near the end, when the reporter mentioned that Hubbard has called climate change "a scam." I do not know how any intelligent and informed person could make such a charge. I can only infer that he thinks science is "a scam."
Climate change is not "rocket science"; it is basic science, and common sense. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of combustion of carbon-based fuels, whether wood, coal, gasoline or natural gas. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the population of the Earth has increased by about 6 billion people. Everyone, either directly or indirectly, uses carbon-based fuels. The result is that we have been pouring a lot more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, year by year. How can anyone think that altering the atmosphere will not have consequences for the climate? The altered atmosphere is trapping more heat on land and especially in the oceans.
I have often wondered whether, if carbon dioxide had color or smell (it is colorless and odorless), we would be having this silly debate. If the sky starting changing color or smelling because of increased amounts of carbon dioxide, I suspect the public would be demanding action to reduce it. Alas, that is not the case, so those who want to protect our planet must fight the disinformation campaign and advocate for policies to protect it.
Eric W. Forsberg, Golden Valley
• • •
I agree with Stanley Hubbard's belief that labor unions are "not necessary" — but would add that it only works if employers treat employees well. However, you only have to read Lori Sturdevant's column the same day ("A history lesson in a 'one state' path to urban/rural prosperity," part of the Star Tribune Editorial Board's "Better Together" series) to see that income inequality is deeply rooted as a political driver in Minnesota history.
If Hubbard were willing to support candidates who worked for economic well-being for all, social well-being would follow, and our state would avoid the outstate loss of trust in the ability of government to do good that Sturdevant fears is happening. Supporting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other free-market and anti-union candidates has no place in rebuilding the trust between city and country Minnesota.
Steven Young-Burns, Minneapolis
Problems evolve, yet they always seem to have a common origin
In response to the Editorial Board's first installment of the Opinion Exchange section series on the divide in Minnesota, I believe that problems come and go and that issues appear to morph over time. But they don't really change very much at all. At the root of them all are the same human failings. Selfishness. Greed. Fear. Hatred. These need to be replaced by a sense of common good and shared purpose. And an enlightened understanding of self-interest that leads us to see that we are all in this together and inspires us to think "we first" instead of "me first." Public roads, public education, public health, public servants. We used to get this mostly right. There is a better way to do this, but it will require a history lesson, a change of heart and a change of mind.
Joanne Boyer, St. Louis Park
• • •
I would like to point out something that was brought to my attention by a conservative co-worker, and something that was mentioned tangentially in "Minnesota's Growing Divide."
The opening sentence of the editorial in the first installment — "Greater Minnesota feels left behind" — as it applies to the 2014 election, anyway, is a euphemism for the resentment centered around same-sex marriage leveraged brilliantly by the state GOP to great electoral effect.
The piece mentions that "demographic differences … have consequences that are cultural and political as well as economic," and goes on to break down the results of the 2012 same-sex ballot question — Hennepin County vs. Cottonwood County.
The speed in which metropolitan voters accepted the idea of same-sex marriage in no way was replicated in Greater Minnesota. As mentioned, this may be linked to membership in a religious organization. Either way, Minnesotans have much more in common than they do differences, but as for the "left behind" sentiment of 2014 elections — it's all about same-sex marriage.
Gene Case, Andover
'SISTER VS. BROTHER'
Whatever you read in column, know that there's more to the tale
I felt a personal slap in the face by the slanted version of the family conflict described in Jon Tevlin's Dec. 6 column "It's sister vs. brother, and no one wins," which appeared to advocate entirely for the sister. I have been fortunate to be a friend of the Newbergs for more than 30 years — first as a fellow parishioner, then also as a neighbor. My own family was rescued from countless difficult circumstances by Art Newberg. When I was alone and my husband called frantically from a hospital to say our daughter had stopped breathing and a team was trying to revive her, the person I called for help was Art Newberg. Despite the predawn hour and below-zero weather, Art raced to get me to my child. He was as heart-wrenched as I was that morning.
Hopefully, anyone who saw the Tevlin column was able to read between the lines and understand there was much more to this case than was implied. Certainly, the disability and/or death of a parent will often bring out the best and worst in a family, especially when money is involved — and those slinging arrows will have to live with their own actions.
Marly Cornell, St. Louis Park
A Dec. 6 map that showed how Minnesota counties voted on the 2012 proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage incorrectly included Olmsted County among counties that voted yes.