Burroughs flap speaks to leadership failure

The real story in the current dispute at Burroughs School is not the school itself, nor is it the school's principal, Tim Cadotte. Neither needs any more defense than a visit to the school to see the educational excellence of the program and the staunch parental and community support.

The real story is the abysmal state of Minneapolis School District leadership. Chris Stewart's credentials as an educational "leader" are themselves suspect, and his own flair for racial melodrama is well documented. But Stewart alone is not empowered to suspend a principal. A name-calling bully has disrupted an entire school and now a school district. (Don't we work to discourage this type of behavior among 10-year-olds?)

How can such behavior cause so much havoc in an esteemed profession in the 21st century? The answer to that question lies with the school board and the central administration headed by Dr. William Green, both of which have apparently abdicated all responsibility in this sad affair.



Special masters deserve thanks of Minnesota

I would like to commend the Special Masters Panel -- Susan Holden, Steve Kirsch and Michael Tewksbury -- for their diligence, expertise and hard work to settle the claims by the Interstate 35W bridge collapse survivors and their families.

The bridge collapse was a tremendous tragedy for Minnesota. Decades from now, people will be able to tell you where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news on Aug. 1, 2007. But while the collapse affected the collective psyche of Minnesota, it directly affected -- both physically and emotionally -- those who were on the bridge that day. Their families were also directly affected as they were required to pick up the pieces after loved ones either perished or were seriously injured.

After the Legislature passed the funding and structure, it became the task of the Special Masters Panel to decide how to compensate the 179 affected survivors and their families for the losses they suffered when the bridge fell. This was tremendously difficult, but I feel that these three individuals did a wonderful job. They followed closely the law passed by the Legislature last year, and carefully crafted the settlements to ensure that everyone was justly compensated.

I know that the monetary compensation will never ease all the pain and loss suffered on the bridge. However, as Susan Holden eloquently said: "We only hope these settlements will help to ease their burden."

We will never forget the events of Aug. 1, 2007: the heroic efforts of our public safety personnel and those who were on the bridge and able to aid others, and the work that came after to move Minnesota forward from this tragedy. Again, I thank the panel members for helping Minnesota take a step beyond the collapse and for providing the opportunity for the 179 people directly affected to move on with their lives. Your work is truly appreciated.





Weber has a real stake in the U.S. Senate race

Vin Weber, former GOP congressman and now professional lobbyist, encourages support for Norm Coleman's appeal of the three-judge panel's decision in favor of challenger Al Franken (Opinion Exchange, April 21). A man who has spent the majority of his career as a lobbyist suggests the very principle of "one person-one vote" is at stake. His sordid business is the antithesis of one person-one vote as he gets paid handsomely to exert outsized influence well beyond one person-one vote.

The notion that now the GOP, in this instance Coleman and Weber with his decidedly GOP connections, is all for "the rights of [all of] our citizens" is belied by the party's typical actions. More regularly the Republican Party has been decidedly against ease of voter registration. I cannot forget the despicable actions of Ken Blackwell in the 2004 national election in my native state of Ohio. As secretary of state, Blackwell served as cochair of President Bush's reelection committee. Minority voters in Columbus had particular difficulty voting. Blackwell was named in 16 lawsuits alleging conflict of interest and voter disenfranchisement.

Maybe Weber should have said simply he risked losing lobbying contracts if Coleman did not prevail. That would have been more honest and certainly less unctuous.



It's by their choice, not a plot to discriminate

To Rachel Blount's April 21 column about the need for more women in coaching, I respond, "Why does everything have to be 50-50?"

Men and women are different. That's what makes life great, not to mention sustainable. We never hear about the need for more men in nursing or the need for more men to shop.

If a woman wanted to coach she would seek a coaching job. It is wrong to assume because there are not a lot of women coaches that there is some conspiracy to not have them coach. A more common-sense assumption is that they don't want to coach. Just as not many men go into nursing or shop because they would prefer to do something else. Is there a conspiracy among women to keep us from shopping? Ridiculous.

BRAD CARR, New Brighton