I submitted my ballot by mail three weeks prior to the August primary.

The night before the primary, I checked the secretary of state’s website to make sure my ballot had been received. It said there was no record of my ballot. I tried again, same result.

So, on primary day, I put on my mask and went to my polling place.

When I gave my name and address, the poll worker said that I had already voted by mail.

I explained that when I checked there was no record of my ballot.

Another poll worker took my name and address and made a phone call. She was able to verify that my ballot had been received and counted. The problem was that the website was having a hard time keeping up because so many were voting by mail.

I was not allowed to vote twice, nor would I have expected to be able to do so.

I was very grateful for the poll workers who were able to assure me that I was not being denied my right to vote. One time.

The system works, people.

Janet Snell, Oakdale

COVID AND DINING

Who is this good for, exactly?

Hospitality professionals are being coerced into serving the privileged during a pandemic for wages that are suddenly no longer livable. We are risking our health and that of our loved ones so that the least affected in society can dissociate from those most suffering for Sunday brunch. As more owners remove gratuity and pocket a 20% service fee, many employees are faced with a risk-vs.-reward dilemma in a volatile job market. As fall sets in, schools are shuttered yet restaurants prepare to move dining inside.

Is this essential, and if so, to whom? But yeah, what are our artisan cheeses this week?

Nora Targonski-O’Brien, St. Paul

COVID VACCINE

Two questions only: Is it safe? And does it work?

Prof. Tyler Cowen tries to make a case for the public to counter President Donald Trump’s politicizing the development of a COVID vaccine by “public debate about the optimal speed of vaccine approval” (“Trump is winning the debate on vaccines,” Opinion Exchange, Sept. 4).

His case is incredibly weak. Comparing the need for “hundreds of economists” to figure out monetary policy to the need for an army of public health and infectious disease experts to figure out when a vaccine is ready for widespread use is a blatant example of comparing apples to oranges. When it comes to vaccines, the only two considerations are safety and efficacy. Contrary to monetary policy, these two criteria do not, and should not, be subject to debate. And the idea that the Food and Drug Administration “has been too risk-averse” is incredible. The whole raison d’être of the FDA is to be risk-averse. When it comes to drugs and public safety, there’s no such thing as an FDA that’s too risk-averse. And then Cowen states the FDA “should take politics into account more, not less.”

Again, incredible. Cowen may not be aware that people of all political stripes have faith and trust in certain government institutions because they are apolitical. The FDA is one of those institutions. Maybe Cowen hasn’t been following the uproar stemming from the perception that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is politicizing another trusted government agency. Maybe Cowen has forgotten the public apologies from the leadership at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for betraying the public trust by allowing Trump to politicize hurricane landfall predictions.

So, Cowen’s premise that Trump is “winning the debate” may be correct. But my faith in the FDA tells me the agency will not bow to the politics of Trump. And, if I’m mistaken, the public outcry will steer us back onto the pathway of reason.

Richard Masur, Minneapolis

2020 ELECTION

Trump works against himself, again

As the parent of Asian daughters, I am understandably sensitive to President Donald Trump’s corrupt identification of COVID-19 as the “China virus.” Once again, with the TV in the background, I heard him violate common decency and set up my children and other Asians in our country to the abuse too many Trump supporters are eager to inflict on the “other.” I have made a personal promise to donate to the Joe Biden campaign every time I hear Trump attempt to debase China, its people and those who share a racial likeness. Obviously, I must be diligent about keeping the TV off when I am not actively engaged, or I soon will not be able to afford to get Biden into office.

This reminds me of the Barack Obama/Biden campaign of 2008, when my lawn signs were continually stolen, forcing me to replace them with another donation to the campaign. Eventually, in order to afford that campaign, I had to bring the signs in at night.

Does it ever occur to these malefactors that their abuse of our political system might actually be working to destroy their own interests, or are they too intensely locked into themselves that the light will never shine upon them?

Shawn O’Rourke Gilbert, Edina

BEARBAITING

Consider what that candy does

In response to “How sweet it is: Cambridge couple lead nation in bulk bear bait” (Sept. 4), I’m disappointed to see the Star Tribune put a positive spin on bearbaiting. And with that, highlight Minnesota as the nation’s leader in such a “trade.” While keeping food out of landfills is always a good thing, baiting bears for trophy hunting is not. Not to mention, feeding spoiled food to wildlife can be toxic (even fatal), if certain chemicals are found in those foods. Bears didn’t evolve eating our leftover Halloween candy.

In fact, using human food to lure bears can change their natural behavior — making them more unpredictable, and perhaps more inclined to follow traces of familiar smells back to humans and livestock who aren’t looking to attract attention. And with that, leaving mounds of sweets out in nature creates a risk for habitat destruction.

I’m a strong animal advocate, but even my hunting husband sees baiting for what is really is — an unethical and unfair way to cheat. I personally wonder why anyone would bother to “hunt” by simply tossing some Tootsie Rolls in the woods and waiting for a poor unsuspecting animal to come into view?

As a Minnesota native who admires and respects all it has to offer, I hope to see our beautiful state mentioned in the media as stewards of the natural habitats, lands and wildlife we’re so fortunate to have in our home state. We have a responsibility to care for and naturally sustain what we have so we can continue swimming in our lakes, hiking our trails, and taking in the awe-inspiring views of all the incredible creatures who also call this land home.

Alyssa Foggia, Maple Grove

BERT BLYLEVEN

Thanks for being there through it all

Bert Blyleven has left the baseball broadcast booth after 25 years (“ ‘Bert’ merits his singular status,” Sept. 3). In my opinion, at their peak 10 years ago, he and Dick Bremer were the No. 1 commentators in the sport. Prove it to yourself by doing a YouTube search of 2010 Major League Baseball and listening to every team’s broadcasts. Bremer and Blyleven were funny, informative and entertaining, and they set the standard for others to follow.

Thanks, Bert, for being the best.

Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis

 

 

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