In these tough times, it's not an essential
The Star Tribune editorial "Don't abandon plan for Vermilion park" (April 19) strikes at the heart of the dilemma facing our nation today: the inability to determine a want from a need.
We are experiencing record deficits in all levels of government. The Vermilion park plan would take 2,500 acres of additional land off the tax rolls, eliminate future use of this land for all but limited recreation, increase government bureaucracy to maintain the proposed park in perpetuity and, by the way, pay more than the assessed value of the land!
This is where we collectively slap our foreheads. Even the $14 million assessed value of the land to be purchased would go a long way to providing for health care needs of disabled and impoverished children and adults. It would pay for about 291 teachers to help Minnesota schools meet their goal of providing world-class education to every child. It could provide $14 million in restored, perhaps even increased, Local Government Aid to cities that provide basic safety, infrastructure maintenance and repair, and sanitation services to local residents without increasing their property taxes.
We have to ask: Is this a pressing need in challenging times, or simply a desire?
CANDACE OATHOUT, CRYSTAL
THE U.S. SENATE SEAT
How will this appeal differ from all others?
Yes, Norm Coleman has the right to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, but what part of the law does he think is on his side? When Coleman has continued to lose several rulings and votes in the contest from the bipartisan panel judges and state Supreme Court rulings in the canvassing board recount, how can he expect to win again with the Supreme Court?
Now, Coleman has received 312 votes less than Al Franken. The 1962 Minnesota governor's race was much closer, as the winner won by only 91 votes, less than a third of this total. The magnanimous Republican loser, Elmer L. Anderson, refused to appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Coleman's equal protection argument is weak. The bipartisan county election officials reexamined all of the 12,000 total rejected absentee ballots, some twice. Each county counted these ballots uniformly per its knowledge of election law. Voters in each county had equal protection.
This election was held under current Minnesota election law. Any deficiencies in the system should be addressed later by the Legislature. As to a future appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Minnesota law provides no runoff, and the final decision on who becomes senator is by the U.S. Senate.
GARY THOMPSON, ST. PAUL
It's no accident many moderate Republicans like myself have found common ground with middle-of-the-road Democrats. Political obstructionism by what's left of our party is not likely to bring us back soon.
The people of Minnesota seem to have spoken. Seat our elected senator and give us our voice in Congress.
JAMES FREEMON, PRIOR LAKE
I realize there are a lot of people who want to see the Coleman/Franken issue come to an end, any end. I would prefer it drag on for six years. I don't believe either man is a suitable representative for the people of Minnesota.
STEPHAN FENTON, SHOREVIEW
Settlement figures didn't need to be public
It's too bad your paper felt it necessary to make Interstate 35W names and settlement amounts so readily accessible (Star Tribune, April 18). Was the PDF/Excel spreadsheet really necessary? Why wasn't it enough to publicize the total appropriation in the fund and leave it at that? Our taxes paid for that bridge. We expected it to be sound.
The state failed. We still have lots of bridges in trouble. Where are the Excel spreadsheets with that data?
KIMBERLY BROWN, MINNEAPOLIS;
OBAMA MAKES NICE TO CUBA
Following the North Star State's example
I applaud President Obama's decision to reach out and expand relations with Cuba (Star Tribune, April 20). He should, however, go one step further and end the trade embargo with the country.
For an example of real leadership, Obama need look no further than Minnesota. Six years ago Gov. Jesse Ventura ignored pleas from the Bush administration and courageously participated in a trade mission to the country.
JACK ULDRICH, MINNEAPOLIS;
CHAIR, INDEPENDENCE PARTY
Newt Gingrich's criticism of President Obama for "making nice" to Cuban President Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez makes me very happy that the president, and not former Speaker Gingrich, is in the White House.
Why? Think back to your childhood. Think about two kids so mad at each other that they'd glare at each other, but not say a word. Or think about the playground taunt that turns into a fistfight.
Fast-forward to the likes of Gingrich in the White House, glaring at Castro and Chavez or, worse yet, starting a war with them. Certainly, we've not seen much human rights progress from Cuba, and Chavez is as bellicose as always. But someone has to be a big enough person to take the first step, to extend a hand in friendship.
LOUIS HOFFMAN, MINNEAPOLIS
Thank you, Mr. Obama, for opening the door to a better relationship with Cuba. This will not only give our business community a great offshore investment opportunity, but we will be able to provide Cuba with some much-needed federal taxpayer aid to shore up its failed socialist system.
ALAN RICHTER, MINNEAPOLIS
PRESIDENTS COME AND GO
And the public argues about their legacy
Looking at Steve Sack's editorial cartoon (April 20) showing President Obama spraying the presidential seal to remove smudges, I wonder: Wouldn't it be more appropriate to show him spraying it with red ink?
LARRY A. SORENSON, ARLINGTON, MINN.