Something truly remarkable has happened in the Derek Chauvin trial: The Minneapolis chief of police testified for the prosecution and against Chauvin ("Cracks showing in 'blue wall of silence,' " front page, April 6). Chief Medaria Arradondo's testimony followed testimony by several other senior Minneapolis Police Department officers, all of them saying Chauvin used "excessive force" and violated established police procedures. In all the trials involving deaths caused by police officers, when was the last time we saw supervisory police officers so openly criticizing what an individual officer did? I cannot recall any similar instance.
After all the George Floyd protests, etc., I hope those who have been demanding justice and police reform are noticing. We can be very sure that the rest of the Minneapolis Police Department is noticing. Minnesota, in its unique way, is showing the world that breaking down the "blue wall" is what needs to happen first if you want better policing.
Richard Martin, St. Paul
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The past year has been miserable in so many ways. Therefore, last week amid the ongoing misery of the Chauvin trial, it was a special privilege to see the humanity and plain goodness of people like 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, who stays up at night apologizing to George Floyd because she didn't do more to save him, 19-year-old Christopher Martin, who blames himself for accepting the bad $20 bill, and Genevieve Hansen, who broke down on the stand describing how it felt to be prevented from using her first-responder skills to help Floyd. And George Floyd himself, whom Courteney Ross told us she met when he was a security guard at the Harbor Light shelter; she was crying in the lobby and he came over and asked if he could pray with her.
The world is a better place because of people like this. May they find healing.
Bruce Peterson, Minneapolis
Far from climate advocates
In its March 21 article "Spending on lobbying fell in state," the Star Tribune revealed a troubling fact: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is now the biggest lobbying force in the state, spending over $2 million to influence Minnesota decisionmakers in 2020 alone. That's good news for some of the chamber's members that rely on fossil fuel extraction and refining for their profits, but it's terrible news for the climate.
This legislative session, the chamber has come out against two clean energy bills that would move our state closer to the clean energy future we need: the ECO Act, which would expand incentives for energy efficiency, and the Next Generation Climate Act, which would update the state's carbon emissions goals for the first time in over a decade. Neither of these proposals is radical and both have broad support. The chamber submitted written testimony strongly opposing both of these bills when they were heard in committee this legislative session.
The chamber's actions aren't just stopping us from addressing the climate crisis — they're hurting Minnesota's most vulnerable people in the middle of a historic pandemic. Minnesota's Conservation Improvement Programs (CIP) help people who struggle with energy poverty and can make the difference between paying your bills and falling into a debt spiral. In late February, the chamber's energy lobbyist, John Reynolds, argued that the chamber supports CIP while pushing for SF 301, a bill that would substantially weaken it.
The chamber is fighting for fossil fuels in the hopes of keeping energy bills down while the cost and efficiency of renewables continues to improve. It's absurd, shortsighted and terrible for Minnesota's long-term prospects. When the chamber talks about climate, no one should listen.
Tim Schaefer, Minneapolis
The writer is state director of Environment Minnesota.
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In an article titled "Klobuchar's take on filibuster shifts" (metro section, April 6), the senator is quoted as saying, "We are not able to get major things done anymore unless there's a crisis." More accurately, the Senate can't get major things done even in the face of a crisis. In that same issue appeared an article titled "Carbon dioxide spikes to critical new record, raising fresh alarms." This and other evidence underlines the urgency of addressing climate change, yet recalcitrant Republican senators refuse to "get major things done." It's long past time to end the filibuster and enact meaningful legislation such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act if we are to avert the most serious consequences of the climate crisis.
Roger B. Day, Duluth
Sin-free states are hard to find
I am disappointed and sickened by Major League Baseball's decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia ("Baseball's All-Star Game abruptly pulled from Georgia over voting law," April 3). Since when does baseball get involved in political issues? There are plenty of issues on both sides of the aisle people can dispute, so how can MLB choose which ones to take a stand on? What state do they think they can move the game to that doesn't have some issue someone doesn't agree with?
Sports should be strictly for the entertainment of the fans. We support teams as a source of relaxation and do not need to be lectured on any political or social issues while doing so. The fans are who pays the exorbitant salaries, and by alienating them, the cash flow will decline.
I, for one, do not choose to spend my entertainment dollars on supporting teams who try to tell me how to think.
Ginny Holtz, Plymouth
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The Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., lost the 2022 PGA Championship in the wake of the riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and now the MLB All-Star Game has been moved out of Atlanta in wake of voting restriction legislation.
When major sports organizations have taken a stand for civil rights, they have been able to achieve substantive results. The NFL moved the 1993 Super Bowl out of Arizona because the state refused to enact an official holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina because of a state law demanding that transgender people use public bathrooms matching the sex on their birth certificate. For almost 15 years, the NCAA banned South Carolina from hosting championships because the Confederate flag flew on statehouse grounds. In each case, those states eventually backed down.
Major sporting events are powerful motivators because they provide a significant economic boost and a badge of prestige for host cities. Conservative politicians who willingly ignore civil rights and other social justice issues may listen when their stubbornness jeopardizes their standing in a sports-obsessed culture. Some fans might support Georgia's new law now, but will that support continue now that it has cost Georgia the MLB All-Star Game and could cost them the 2021 SEC Championship Game?
Steve Stanley Sr., Rotonda West, Fla.
Those bags are green, but not really
I really enjoy getting the Star Tribune in hard copy every day. I can see everything, right there, as I turn each page; I can fill in the crossword and the Cryptoquip; I can cut out and save the book reviews I may want to offer to my book club for possible selection. But there is one big downside: often it is delivered to my doorstep in a plastic bag. I am doing everything I can to cut down on my use of plastic, which we all know is causing major environmental damage. I used to use the bags for picking up dog poop — a small extra use before they went into the landfill to sit there for untold decades, outliving me, my descendants and their descendants. But now you can get compostable doggy poop bags! In fact, you can also get compostable produce bags at the co-op, compostable takeout containers and more. My loose tea is sent to me in compostable bags! The caterer for our son's wedding reception is going to use compostable wine glasses!
So, I am challenging you to do your part and get in line with current pro-environmental practices. Please use compostable newspaper bags. Surely you can find one that will hold together during the few hours that the paper will sit on the snow in my driveway or in the rain, before decomposing later. Who knows? Maybe your newspaper subscriptions will increase if you can tout this positive feature!
Deborah K. Ellsworth, St. Louis Park
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