To the Monday letter writer who objected to watching the political opinion of “19- and 20-year-olds who get free rides to college” (“Uniforms are not billboards”): What free rides? They work long hours studying plays and in body-punishing practice. Then they take the field for more mental and physical punishment to earn their institutions millions in ticket and TV revenue. And they get tuition, room, board and maybe money for incidentals for all that work.
As for the Monday writer who thinks athletes should not talk about their views when they’re “on the job,” he not only acknowledges that what they do is a job but also wants them not to express their opinions when they’re the center of attention. The best time to advocate is when all eyes are on you.
Despite his dire prediction, the many fans who agree with them will fill the stands when the COVID-19 crisis is over.
Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis
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I believe the two Tuesday letter writers supporting “end racism” being placed on the backs of Gopher football jerseys missed the point (“Uniforms can be billboards”). I agree with earlier letters that stated that being quasi-billboards for social causes was not the correct way to go about it. Almost all of us support the elimination of racism; on that we can agree.
But to place it on jerseys, helmets, end zones, etc., is going overboard. That has not been the forum in the past, and it shouldn’t be now. The solution for equality is on all of our minds, but there should be places where we get a break from it. It has turned off many fans when so many social issues are presented in college and pro football, the NBA, etc. Where does it end?
Robert K. Eidem, Bloomington
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I think Monday’s “Readers Write” section perfectly captures the fact that no matter what you say or do, somebody will always have a contrary opinion. One writer from Minneapolis had issues with Gophers having “end racism” on their uniforms, while another from Minneapolis (what is up with Minneapolis?) was questioning whether animals were used to test COVID vaccines (“Were animals sacrificed?”).
The first may have a valid point, but perhaps the time to raise that issue is when Willie’s Septic Service is displayed on the jerseys and not an extremely positive topic like ending racism.
The second writer: Perhaps you were unaware, but there is a global pandemic sweeping the globe. Now is not the time to go Mary Poppins on us regarding the means of developing the vaccine. Besides, I heard Big Pharma only tests on mean vermin, soulless cats and ugly dogs.
Let’s see, who else wrote in ...
Brian Pavek, Edina
MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL
Talk to your constituents
I am writing to the Minneapolis City Council to let it know that many of us are strongly opposed to several council members’ proposal to reduce the funding for the Minneapolis Police Department (“Plan to cut police budget spurned,” front page, Dec. 1). Most are not as fortunate as council members such that if things get bad we can hire personal security, especially at someone else’s expense. We count on our Police Department to be that security. I, along with many others I have talked to, believe limiting the police force is the wrong direction to go. Using the funding for extensive diversity training and reconfiguring their policies is a better way to start.
I have worked with social workers who say they would not want to go out on domestic calls in the field; those situations are dangerous, and it is not why they entered that vocation. Have you talked to any social workers? If so, please cite these discussions and their responses. I know the social workers I have worked with are already overwhelmed with caseloads and even the situations they have to deal with in their current controlled environments.
The money you are spending is not yours. It is ours — all of ours. You need to have dialogue with those you represent, across the board. Not just those who follow your progressive views. Not all Democrats and others believe in the extreme progressive ways; some believe in finding middle ground.
You are up for re-election in one year and if I were you I would seriously consider reaching out to your constituents to see how they feel about this. That means all areas you represent. I haven’t, nor have my neighbors, received any communication asking for our input on this situation.
Progressive is not always the best way to go. I am not conservative nor progressive. I am about my representative looking out for as many of the people they represent as they can. And that is how I will vote when your time is up next year.
This is not to be your agenda and what works for you and your colleagues, but in the best interest of all in the city of Minneapolis.
Mary Miller, Minneapolis
• • •
Day 191 since George Floyd’s death. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is mischaracterizing the City Council’s stance by saying, “This notion that in order to have a more comprehensive public safety strategy you have to do away with one critical element, which is police, is wrong.” No one is suggesting neglecting enforcement of laws. The public does not need abusive police; let’s start there. Perhaps we need a “three strikes and you’re out” police force. Maybe “yellow card warnings” like hockey players.
Meanwhile, without budget cuts or policy changes, the city undergoes increases in crime and attrition of its police.
Mary K. Lund, Minnetonka
• • •
A recent letter writer proposed using money spent on police to fund mental health, other social services and “neighborhood peacekeeping forces.” If as she says, those things are already in the works, I’d certainly like to see a plan for those forces! Some questions arise:
Who are the members of these “forces”? Who hires them? Are they volunteers or do they get paid? Who funds them? Who trains and supervises them? Are they armed? What hours are they on the streets? What, exactly, would the job description be? Do they intervene while a crime is happening, or do they console the victims after it has occurred? How, or would, prevention be a part of this scenario? What’s the term of “employment”? How is effectiveness evaluated?
Like so much of the other talk by our council, these proposals are not plans! Many of us who agree that there must be radical change in the MPD will never support any proposals without concrete plans and answers to questions such as the above. Our safety and that of this city depend upon it.
Jeanne Torma, Minneapolis
The union is pushing this policy
The Star Tribune Editorial Board reports, “Just a few months into the school year, it’s become clear that a significant number of St. Paul high schoolers might not graduate next spring” (“Too many students are failing online,” Nov. 27). St. Paul Superintendent Joe Gothard says, “We have to do something about this — now. We’re finding new ways to support students and letting our families know that we’re here for them.”
Similarly, the Editorial Board opines that schools, families and communities must rise to the challenge and find ways to get failing students the help they need to turn things around.
But no mention is made of Education Minnesota, the politically formidable teachers union. Some Minnesota taxpayers might say that the teachers union has been instrumental in keeping public schools online during the pandemic. And, some might say that the union is taking advantage of a health crisis to advance its own ideological agenda and also attempting to counter the growth of its private and charter school competitors.
Might Education Minnesota be both a part of the problem and a part of the solution?
Gene Delaune, New Brighton
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