While finding middle ground sounds so nice, I don’t really buy the premise that the authors of the Dec. 14 commentary “Two neighbors, two ideologies, common ground” represent two sides. They sound more like possibly an extreme of one side vs. a moderate of the same side. Here are two glaring examples of what I am talking about:

1) Agreeing that government should mandate a minimum wage of $15 an hour is not, in any way, a conservative or libertarian position. It does not represent those of us who are fighting for free-market solutions as opposed to phony government solutions that usually make the problems worse.

2) Saying that you agree we should eliminate access to semi-automatic weapons and misrepresenting their use is a pretty big one. The majority of guns used for hunting and for self-defense in the U.S. are semiautomatic. This article seems to be trying to convince those of us who stand firm in defense of our rights and of what were once pretty mainstream ideas that we should continue to compromise and move to the left. I would prefer to see compromise and a shift away from government-intervening, doing more damage to our economy and taking away our rights.

Mary Vonch, Milaca, Minn.

GOPHER SANCTIONS

Disciplinary action despite no prosecution: Right or wrong?

Various people have expressed disbelief or anger over the University of Minnesota’s actions in suspending or expelling some Gopher football players over an incident that the authorities have decided not to prosecute (“U football players face sanctions,” Dec. 15). For starters, the court did authorize a restraining order against these athletes, which says that there is credibility to the victim’s claim from the beginning. Second, there are situations where a public prosecutor does not believe a conviction is a reasonable outcome, even if he or she believes there was a crime. The suppression of information of evidence by Gopher wrestling coach J Robinson in a separate matter is a case in point.

In British criminal trials, they use the term “not proven guilty,” as opposed to our country’s use of “found innocent.” We might think about this distinction as we read news stories like the current one.

David Miller, Mendota Heights

• • •

The school’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office, which recommended disciplinary actions, should be investigated and exposed. How are people in this office more qualified than the police in deciding to mess with the lives of 10 football players?

I am completely disgusted with how this has been handled.

Gary Chaffin, Richfield

METROPOLITAN COUNCIL

What led to this $89 million transit shortfall? I’ll tell you.

Regarding “Transit shortfall could hit wallets” (Dec. 15): Imagine my surprise that the chairman of the Metropolitan Council, with no managerial experience outside of politics, would wind up with a “shortfall” equal to or greater than the entire GDP of some small countries? Where is the accountability to the taxpayer? The council answers to only one master, and that is the governor; he cares little about the desires of the great unwashed, they know best. Still wondering why Donald Trump won?

Elizabeth Anderson, Minnetonka

THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

It doesn’t come from a bottle

This morning, I counted five full-page liquor ads in the A section of the Star Tribune. “Make Your Holidays A Total Success,” proclaimed one. We have several holiday events, and none include liquor. Somehow we always manage to have fun and laughter in abundance.

People are literally buying the lie that liquor equals happiness. In my experience interviewing clients at a local food shelf, the truth is that liquor leads to lost jobs, addictions and hopelessness. Let’s remind ourselves that “Merry” comes from the heart and not the bottle.

Karin F. Olson, Richfield

RANKED-CHOICE VOTING

Seems as though the arguments against are so much razzle-dazzle

Shawn Towle’s Dec. 15 editorial counterpoint attacking ranked-choice voting (“Ranked voting is the rankest way to vote”) left me puzzled.

He first stated that RCV is “not more inclusive” regarding voter participation, and insinuated without evidence that it is somehow responsible for voter turnout decline in St. Paul in a couple of specific elections and districts.

He complains that RCV has decreased the incentive for candidates to engage in ugly negative attacks on one another because they are competing for their rival’s second-choice voters. How is that a bad thing?

His argument that RCV somehow protects incumbency is simply nonsense. If incumbents are “most often the highest vote recipient in the first round” and the most-popular second choice, then they should be elected regardless of how the votes are cast.

The remainder of his argument seems to conclude that a less-favored candidate should somehow be entitled to win because opposing votes are split between a more-favored candidate and a third-party candidate. This sort of “gotcha” approach to voting does not serve the will of the people. In the real world, people often have strongly held first-, second- and even third-choice opinions regarding who they want to see receive their “one precious vote.” Our system of voting should reflect the real world.

Peter Rainville, Minneapolis

• • •

In late November, Towle formally announced his formation of a political-action committee to repeal ranked-choice voting in St. Paul. Although he is new to that job, his Star Tribune counterpoint should not have contained so many unforced errors.

Before sallying further forth he should:

1) Get facts straight. The one competitive City Council seat race in 2011 in St. Paul occurred in the Second Ward. Voter turnout in the ward increased from 16.8 percent in 2007 (with the same top two finishers competing under our traditional plurality voting system) to 17.7 percent in 2011 (under ranked-choice voting.) This constitutes a mild increase in voter turnout and contradicts his assertion that Second Ward turnout decreased in 2011. This should have been fact-checked beforehand at www.ramseycounty.us.

2) Ditto for his statement that ranked voting has produced no majority victories. Incumbent City Council member David Thune won re-election to his Second Ward seat in 2011 under ranked-choice voting with support from 52.9 percent of the voters.

3) Towle goes on to argue that “we should return to one person/one vote.” This argument — that ranked-choice voting is not a one person/one vote system — has yet to be affirmed by a single state supreme court (and will never draw the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court until it does so). This failure has not been for a lack of trying: The argument has been rejected by the state supreme courts of New York (Johnson vs. the City of New York, 1937); Massachusetts (Moore vs. Election Commission of Cambridge, 1941), Michigan (Stephenson vs. the Ann Arbor Board of Canvassers, 1975) and Minnesota (Minnesota Voters Alliance vs. the City of Minneapolis, 2007.)

Thomas Kuhlman, Eden Prairie