Sigh. Another group with "demands." ("George Floyd Square is serving the community," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 21.) More "demands" on Lake Street. And vandals with "demands" in Portland. I'm sure there are groups of Donald Trump loyalists with "demands" as well. Absent the vandalism, there is nothing wrong with this. It is the essence of our citizenry's right to free speech. It is, however, horribly misguided to believe that government at any level should act based on demands from every noisy group that shows up. It doesn't take much thinking to realize that acquiescing to all such demands would result in instant chaos. Fortunately, we have a system through which the people (all of them) can influence government. It's called "democracy."
Please get real. The place to take your demands is to the caucuses, the primary elections and the general elections. That is where the people's will can be expressed. Is democracy perfect? No, but as has been observed: It is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried. For sure, democracy is better than screeching in the streets. That has been proved as recently as Nov. 3 and through subsequent court decisions.
George Anderson, Minneapolis
Kroll's politics sadly mattered
I read with interest the counterpoint "Everybody hates Kroll" (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 21). The writer goes on to inform the readers that "I don't know [Police Federation President Bob] Kroll. Never met him. I don't care what his politics are since they are irrelevant to his job." Two pages later in the paper, there is an article about the city of Minneapolis being reimbursed for former President Donald Trump's campaign rally held in October 2019. It brought up an applicable point. The article reported that during the rally, the president was joined onstage by Kroll. I do agree that Kroll's political views should be "irrelevant." But that was not the case here. It raised concerns in the community about the how Kroll's obvious political leaning might impact his decisionmaking process. Other police officers are certainly impacted by everything Kroll states and his actions taken and this also came to light. Perhaps, like this reader, all the people saying "good riddance" to Kroll do have something "in common" in mind and it is justified, contrary to the counterpoint.
Gene hanf, Deephaven
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In the past four years we have been exposed to uncomfortable truths including the killing of George Floyd. Anyone who views the video of this event sees Derek Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck, which is arguably the direct cause of death. We also see the expression on Chauvin's face. That expression crystallizes the reason why Kroll is viewed with such disdain by many people. Defending the use of force in an armed encounter is one thing. Trying to defend the seemingly remorseless killing of an unarmed suspect is another. Kroll doesn't know the difference.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
Wanted: Some ingenuity
It's time for the Minnesota Department of Health to engage in a little "good trouble" and go a bit rogue, setting aside the current, prior-administration guidelines for COVID vaccination. Instead of marching in lockstep to these guidelines, it should use common sense and prioritize older Minnesotans by either age alone (over 80) or health risks plus age (65 and very serious, 75 and serious) to move to the front of the line. These people should be advised to go to local pharmacies that have agreed to vaccinate them near their homes like in other places. (Kudos, West Virginia!) Drop the foolish attempts to get millions of people trying to crawl through the eye of the website needle. If the local pharmacies need an additional person to handle the phone calls and scheduling, then provide that financial assistance, which should be coming soon via the new Biden administration or that may already be in the pipeline.
Our citizens are intelligent enough to know whether they are at sufficient risk to warrant trying to get in the front of the queue. I have been quite disappointed by the apparent absence of Minnesotan ingenuity when it comes to the MDH's current vaccination plan.
Philip J. Schiller, Eagan
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Let me get this straight. Jeff Bezos has offered Amazon's technical expertise to help with the nation's vaccine rollout. Where was he weeks, if not months, ago? Oh, that's right, Donald Trump was president then.
How many more people could have been vaccinated or lives could have been spared in that time? Even if it had been one life or one more vaccination that would have been great. If during that time you lost a loved one to COVID or knew someone who came down with it, remember that when you place an order on Amazon. He doesn't really care about you — this is a public relations stunt to keep the dollars rolling into his company. The only word for him is "shameful."
Robert Peterson, Maple Grove
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I am a 77-year-old with a few underlying medical conditions who is eagerly awaiting my turn to receive the coveted vaccine. Since I fully expected that trying to register by phone or online to get an appointment would be an experience in chaos and frustration, I was not surprised when indeed it did turn out that way. After hours on hold hearing the same message to continue to hold and with the help of friends, I didn't actually get an appointment but did finally capture one of the less desirable but still coveted places on the waitlist. My question is simple. Why would anyone design a system that requires people on this week's waitlist to start over on Tuesday at noon, as the list does not carry over? What logic am I missing?
Stanley Herman, Minnetonka
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I was fortunate enough to get my first COVID vaccination on Thursday, as did my husband. I got my appointment through the state; my husband, through HealthPartners. I would like to advise anyone who has a choice of providers not to use the state system if they have any other option. HealthPartners had several locations within the Twin Cities. The state, far fewer. After receiving his first shot, my husband was given another appointment at the date and location of his choice. I was told to get my second shot in Fergus Falls. I called the state and requested a location that didn't require me to drive three hours. Nope. It pains me to say this, since I worked for the state of Minnesota for most of my adult life, but the state screwed this up. I'm more likely to die from driving to Fergus Falls, possibly in a blizzard, than to die from COVID-19. No offense, Fergus Falls, but I'd rather visit you in the summer.
Marie Wolf, Minneapolis
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After spending several fruitless hours on Tuesday afternoon trying to access the state website for an appointment to get the COVID vaccine, I suggest that we try a different method.
Rather than have hundreds of thousands of people in the eligible portions of the population try to make an appointment at the same time once a week, the state should divide the eligible group into segments.
The state should hold a transparent lottery and break the group into much smaller segments. Divide the 1 million eligible people into, say, 26 separate brackets by the letters in the alphabet, or the 24 half-month periods by birthday. Then hold a drawing each week to allow those who win that week's lottery to register for an appointment. As the number of doses increases, and the number of people remaining who need the vaccine drops, the state might be able to draw two or three new groupings each week. A variation might be to allow a person who is in the selected bracket to register one other person, so couples could get vaccinated at the same time.
Why make 1 million people suffer the frustration of competing for a few thousand slots each week when dividing them into smaller groups would give everyone the same chance as they have now and would reduce the understandable anger at the current system?
Ron DeHarpporte, Edina
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