Defer to attorney general, not governor

It is unfortunate that Gov. Tim Pawlenty has now appointed himself more knowledgeable about the law than Lori Swanson, Minnesota's attorney general ("AG Swanson won't sue feds," April 6).

Pawlenty's partisanship is showing more and more all the time. It is not in the best interests of the citizens of Minnesota to either sue the federal government over health care reform on his own or join other suits against the federal government. Need we remind him that this is the same federal government of which he is so avidly trying to become president?

For once, we wish he would listen to the citizens of Minnesota and to our attorney general.


• • •

Jeff Johnson claims that "in Minnesota, the attorney general is the governor's lawyer" ("Swanson should have backed suit," April 7).

Funny, I was under the impression that the attorney general was the "people's lawyer." In a democracy, elected officials represent the people, not other elected officials.


states and secession

Secession resolution was patriotism in action

As one of the delegates to the Minnesota Republican Party's Second Congressional District convention who supported the resolution asserting the right of states to secede from the union, I feel compelled to respond ("Secession movement," Opinion Exchange, March 31).

Some may believe such a resolution is unpatriotic and un-American. On the contrary, it is my very love for America and our Constitution that moved me to speak in favor of this resolution.

The Constitution of the United States became the law of the land when it was voluntarily ratified by the sovereign member states as prescribed in Article VII. The states freely agree to be governed by the Constitution, which clearly spells out the powers delegated to the U.S. government, reserving all other powers to the states and to the people. If the union is insoluble, why would the federal government feel compelled to be constrained by the Constitution? What recourse would the states and the people have if the federal government acted outside of its constitutional authority? The right to secession serves as a reminder of the rule of law by which the states have agreed to be governed and provides a protective check to ensure fidelity to the Constitution.

The union is a free association, and although the secession of any member state is unlikely, the right to secede without being threatened with violence needs to be recognized.


teach for america

First hire unemployed teachers and new grads

If the Teach for America candidates are as highly qualified and motivated as former mayors George Latimer and Don Fraser say they are in their April 6 letter, why don't they bite the bullet and complete the coursework and certification process that is expected of real educators?

The former mayors may be able to cite great work performed by 40 people from the alternate-certification path masquerading as teachers, but thousands of great educators come from colleges in Minnesota each year. And many of these teachers are currently out of work.

I hope Latimer and Fraser turn to alternate-certification doctors and lawyers when they need medical and legal help, too.


school lockdown

Yes, it can happen there (as well as everywhere)

It's tragic that another student has brought a gun to school, forcing a lockdown. ("Armed teenager terrorizes school," April 7). It's more tragic that gun-owning parents have not properly locked up their loaded guns.

But as a resident of the inner city, what I also find tragic are the comments expressed by misguided, sheltered, suburban and small-town parents who seem to think it's an inner-city issue.

A Hastings mother commented, "It's scary to see it happen here."

You think this only happens in the inner city? Actually, as the tragic cases of Columbine, Cold Spring and Red Lake attest to, guns are being brought to school by children in the suburbs and small towns in America, too.


lake street fire

Lack of fire inspection all too typical in city

Regarding the story on the Lake Street fire ("Units had no fire check in 16 years," April 7): Sadly, this is no surprise.

My wife and I own an E. Lake Street business only blocks from McMahon's Pub. It also is in a mixed-use building with an apartment. It has taken a year to get our negligent landlord to bring the building up to fire code.

When we initially called the Minneapolis Fire Department, we were told that tenants cannot request an inspection. After we made numerous calls, an inspector eventually came but arrived late, spent little time in the building and missed numerous violations. An order was issued demanding that the landlord make basic improvements, but the work was never done.

There appear to be no consequences for this. Our inability to get the landlord to maintain the building has forced us to move our business, at great expense.

A reevaluation of the city's regulation of commercial property is long overdue.


FAA and antidepressants

Lifting ban logical; flying depressed is not

Regarding the recent decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to allow pilots to return to the cockpit after the start of antidepressant medication ("Ban on pilots flying while on antidepressants is lifted," April 3):

Did the FAA previously prefer that pilots flying a winged, tube-shaped object full of people be depressed, despondent or even suffering from suicidal thoughts?

It is time for us to realize that mental illness is no different than any other chronic condition and that it deserves to be treated as such.