If a U.S. citizen working for a presidential campaign is contacted by a foreign government that is willing to give damaging information about a competitor’s campaign and that person agrees to the meeting, is that not a foreign government interfering with our democratic process with the consent of a campaign member? I call that collusion. That foreign government then knows that this party (Donald Trump’s) will accept its help in defeating the candidate it wishes not to win (Hillary Clinton). Yes, Donald Trump Jr. colluded with Russia on behalf of his father, and who would ever believe that his father did not know about it or encourage it?
Sandra Hanf, Deephaven
That’s right — they’re obsolete; voters prefer open contests
Older folks (like me) sometimes miss the reassuring comfort of “Uncle” Walter Cronkite telling us “that’s the way it is” as the world seemed to spin out of control. Yet we also know today’s world is way too complicated to sum up with one simple worldview. That’s why political party endorsements are going the same way as the old three broadcast network monopoly (“Twin Cities DFLers consider: Are endorsements obsolete?” July 3). Voters want choices and to think for themselves. They also demand enough information to weigh all of their choices before going to the polls.
Uncle Walter no longer can tell us how to frame daily events, and increasingly out-of-date political processes cannot dictate how to vote. Rather than adapt to changing times, some political stalwarts are blaming ranked-choice voting (RCV) for “destroying” the political nomination process.
To quote Ann Landers (another reassuring voice from the past): “Wake up and smell the coffee!”
The truth is, with or without RCV, party endorsements — especially in big-stake, nonpartisan races — don’t count with rank-and-file voters like they used to.
Fortunately, the full complement of candidates in this year’s mayoral races in Minneapolis and St. Paul will compete for the hearts of voters in November, rather than be winnowed by a small group of party faithful who vote in the primary. And voters will be able to rank their preferences, knowing that if their first choice doesn’t make it through the first round, their second choice can count. Candidates elected under an RCV system must strive for the support of a majority (50 percent plus one), so they have a natural incentive to put away their black-and-white hats and think realistically about what may be the best solutions for the majority of people they seek to serve.
Ellen Brown, St. Paul
ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING NETWORK
State agencies are plotting to support a niche market
In reading “Will Minnesotans plug into the electric car surge?” (July 10), I failed to see an important aspect spelled out. With over 5.25 million registered vehicles in Minnesota, 1,600 electric cars constitute a niche market. As a minuscule bump in electric cars is expected, leave it up to public policy to cater to the novelty. The feds already provide for a substantial tax refund. Nowhere in the piece did the author mention what the cost would be for a “charge.” I assume, therefore, that the energy is free.
The notion that government must provide for charging stations on the taxpayer dime is an outrage! How can it be justified that this should be provided at a convenient roadside location? Are these owners more virtuous because they perceive to be fighting climate change? Electricity doesn’t magically come out of a plug-in. There is a cost to the equipment, infrastructure, maintenance and the power generation. Leave it to government to prove that, once again, you can’t make this stuff up!
Joe Polunc, Cologne
CHARLIE GARD AND HEALTH CARE
Fair to have such focus? Fair to link to single-payer?
Having just read that some U.S. lawmakers want to list baby Charlie Gard as a U.S. resident, I found myself very confused. This child’s prognosis is definitely not good, and it is uncertain if anything will truly make a difference in his future. Not being an isolationist, this is very difficult for me to say, but children and adults are dying every day in this country for lack of good medical care that could make a dramatic difference for them. Shouldn’t our lawmakers work for them first? We could do more for more people in our own country. I am sorry for the Gard family, but I am also sorry for the many families in my country that are suffering the same issues.
Pamela Olberg, Minnetonka
• • •
The Star Tribune unfairly used its editorial page to bash the single-payer system of health insurance. In a ridiculously misleading and simplistic “Other Views” item featuring an editorial from the Chicago Tribune (July 7), we were reminded of the unfortunate situation of 11-month-old Charlie Gard, who’s on life support in a British hospital. The National Health Service (NHS) and the courts have ruled that Charlie’s parents should not be able to remove their terminally ill baby from the hospital and travel abroad to receive experimental treatments. The reprinted editorial suggests this is a reason to reject a single-payer health care system here in the U.S. However, this is an extremely complicated case where emotions almost always seem to get in the way of the facts.
Here are some additional facts:
• According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. — alone among developed countries using primarily a for-profit, private insurance-based system — ranks 37th in overall health system performance.
• The U.S. spends more per capita on health care than any other country on the planet.
• The U.S. already has a very successful single-payer plan — Medicare — for those 65 or older.
While most developed countries use a single-payer health system, the implementation of care varies wildly. In some countries and with Medicare, for example, the system is run by the government while the care is administered by private hospitals and doctors. Under the NHS, physicians in the U.K. are government employees and hospitals are owned by the British government. To lump all single-payer systems together is misleading. Further, for the editorial to suggest that Americans should be wary of a single-payer system because of the predicament facing the parents of a Charlie Gard is not only disingenuous, it’s dishonest.
Stephen Monson, Golden Valley
LAKE MILLE LACS
Here’s my small protest …
I am protesting the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ handling of Lake Mille Lacs fishing in the only way I know how. After 61 years of purchasing a Minnesota fishing license, I have not done so this year. I know that it is of minor importance to the DNR, but if enough of us choose this means of protest, perhaps someone will take note.
Lowell Jaques, Braham, Minn.
Vänskä is sticking around. Good.
The extension of Osmo Vänskä’s contract as conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra through 2022 (local section, July 11) is welcome news for both attendees of the orchestra’s concerts and Minnesotans at large. Under Vänskä, the orchestra has deservedly earned world-class renown. The orchestra’s musicians, supporters and community leaders also deserve recognition for ensuring that this wonderful cultural asset continues to thrive in our midst.
Craig Shulstad, Minneapolis
NEW YORK VS. MINNESOTA
James Lileks may be right about New Yorkers (July 9), but he’s wrong about New York pizza. He writes: “Imagine someone squirting ketchup on a doormat and shouting ‘That’s $7.50 a slice’ and you have the New York Pizza experience.”
Imagine someone dousing a cracker with tomato sauce. The quintessential Minnesota pizza experience. At least, if you’re going the thin-crust route, trust Parkway Pizza’s piquant sauce. It makes living in the Twin Cities a thorough pleasure.
Hal Davis, Minneapolis