Were I the Metropolitan Council spokesperson describing the volume of Section 8 sign-ups (13,000 on Tuesday and 60,000 to 70,000 anticipated by Friday — Twin Cities+Region, Feb. 25), I hope that I might choose different language than, “It’s a very exciting time for us and for the residents of the region,” because I find it dreadfully depressing that we have this number of people looking for, and/or needing subsidized housing for themselves and their families, which to me speaks more to the matter of deficiencies in our population, and the systems and institutions serving us and our communities.

James Boyer, Minneapolis

• • •

It’s obvious the entire system of Section 8 is ineffective. The numbers don’t make sense. Someone has to bring the best and the brightest employees of the counties together for a “brainstorm” and start all over for a new program. The problems must be resolved.

Marilyn L. Maloney, Minnetonka

CORPORATE ETHICS

The news shows who gets the shaft

I wonder how many of our local, state and federal representatives noted the irony found in the Feb. 25 Business section?

On the front page of the section is an article about the health insurer Anthem Inc.’s unwillingness to spend adequately to protect the personal data of 300,000 Minnesotans. How much, I wonder, will Anthem be fined? How many top executives will be punished for failing to do their jobs? Or do you still trust this huge company?

Then, on the back page of the section, we find an article detailing software that allows managers of even the tiniest businesses to closely monitor their employees’ use of company computers and their work time, because you can’t trust anybody these days. Employees will be punished for “inappropriate” uses of company computers and time. Ironic, isn’t it?

Carl Brookins, Roseville

 

JOB PREPAREDNESS

Skilled-worker shortage is a myth

The Feb. 25 editorial “Young, educated and underemployed” calls for “more graduates in science, math and technical fields — and fewer who majored in the humanities.” Perhaps the Star Tribune Editorial Board could use a refresher course in economics, because its argument rests on a fundamental misreading of the modern labor market. The skilled-worker shortage that the editorial describes is a myth. In the fields supposedly experiencing such a shortage, wages must rise and the labor market will respond accordingly. Prof. Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business says it best: “The fact that I cannot find the car I want at the price I want to pay does not constitute a car shortage, yet a large number of employers claiming they face a skills shortage admit that the problem is getting candidates to accept their wage rates.”

Brian Krause, Minneapolis

 

SNIPER VERDICT

The entire affair is emblematic

Could the trial and guilty verdict in the murder of Chris Kyle (the subject of “American Sniper” and his friend — Nation+World, Feb. 25) not be a metaphor for contemporary American culture? To wit: A significant percentage of U.S. spending on the military (Department of Defense, war and nuclear weapons programs) creating easy opportunity for conducting wars in Iraq and elsewhere; high esteem for the astounding number of killings by sniper Kyle, and record-setting profits for the movie based on his book. Now, more tragedy: incarceration without appeal of Kyle’s assassin. Brings to mind the image of a snake devouring itself.

Julie French Holmen, St. Paul

 

KEYSTONE VETO

Sensible or not? Choose your priorities.

It was announced Tuesday that President Obama had vetoed the Keystone pipeline bill. That project would help reduce our dependence on Mideast oil, lower gas pump prices, give citizens — through gas savings — more money to buy goods, greatly reduce train-wreck oil spills and create pipeline construction jobs. All of these would most certainly help our economy. So why would the president not want to veto the bill? It makes perfect sense. Doesn’t it?

Jerry Kassanchuk, Golden Valley

• • •

As a young man who typically aligns himself with the right side of the aisle, I cannot advocate for or fathom how others can encourage the construction of the Keystone pipeline. No matter the nature of the project, if it poses a threat to the environment that we as humans have already altered so much, its benefits do not justify its dangers and the widely known, detrimental implications that it would have. Forty-thousand jobs do not and never will outweigh one, precious Earth.

Sam Pahl, Eden Prairie

 

UMD COACH

Political outrage seems a play for votes

It strikes me that Gov. Mark Dayton and 13 state senators, all DFLers, are joining the national Democratic Party’s “war on women” by sticking their noses into the coaching controversy at the University of Minnesota Duluth (“Furor rises over UMD hockey coach losing her job,” Feb. 25). It’s nothing more than a political ploy to get our votes, ladies, and it’s a cheap one at that. I don’t remember a similar reaction when Tubby Smith and Glen Mason got their walking papers, and they coached revenue-producing sports that financially supported nonrevenue sports.

As a senior citizen, I grew up in a time when there were no opportunities for me to participate in any athletic activities. We’ve come a long way. No doubt inequities still exist, but many of them are within women’s athletic programs themselves. A careful look at budgets, including coaching salaries, athlete roster numbers, number of assistants, etc., of various women’s teams would be prudent and offer a better perspective of the overall issue.

Mary Johnson, Buffalo, Minn.

 

MENTAL HEALTH

Online records law is bad government

The Feb. 26 commentary by Dr. Deborah Pollak Boughton (“As health records go modern, a hitch”) spotlighted an astonishing government overreach.

Patient privacy is an important element of medical practice and most critical in the area of mental health. For Minnesota to have passed a law making mental health providers place their records into digital form online is what one would expect of an intrusive totalitarian state rather than a democratic one where the government respects and insures citizenry privacy.

The governor and Legislature need to remedy this quickly.

Dr. Paul Bearmon, Edina