To Gov. Mark Dayton: Let me say how disappointed Minnesotans should be in your actions in line-item-vetoing the legislative appropriations for the Legislature (“Acrimony goes on after bills are signed,” May 31). Under the state Constitution, you cannot defund the Legislature, any more than the Legislature can completely defund the executive or judicial branches of government. Your actions are petty and politically partisan and violate the principles of the separation of powers and the checks and balances, upon which our system of representative democracy has been based since 1857.
Having a tantrum because you did not get your way 100 percent on spending shows the mean-spiritedness and lack of commitment to compromise your administration represents. May I suggest you pick up the Constitution and read it — in it you will find the duties and responsibilities of each branch, which do not include undercutting and elimination of the ability of one of the branches of government to function.
David Anderson, Lonsdale, Minn.
• • •
Well, well, well, our Legislature did it again. It cannot seem to conclude the session on time in a reasonable and transparent manner. It does not seem to matter if the House, Senate and governor are all from the same party or if there is divided government.
In order to help legislators be more transparent and to deal with one issue at a time, since they always include more than one item in a bill, it is time for some constitutional amendments. I propose the following:
1) No bill shall be voted upon for a minimum of 48 hours after the motion to adopt it has been made and seconded.
2) No amendment to a bill shall be voted upon for a minimum of 48 hours after the motion to amend the bill has been made and seconded.
3) No bill shall contain more than one policy item.
4) No budget bill shall contain more than one budgetary item.
If Minnesotans would pass these four constitutional amendments, our Legislature and the governor would be required to provide time for a study of all legislation before a final vote. This would also provide more transparency in government and give citizens and our legislators time to actually read what is being proposed. It would also force the Legislature to stick to one policy and one budgetary item at a time and not “slip in” more than one item into a bill. Perhaps we should also set an earlier deadline for them to finish their work and eliminate any special sessions.
Doug Warring, Mounds View
Editor’s note: Article 4, Section 17 of the Minnesota Constitution currently reads: “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.” For more about the flouting of this provision, see Lori Sturdevant’s May 7 column at http://strib.mn/2rqeMpg.
WALKER SCULPTURE CONTROVERSY
Complaints seem to be based on an incomplete grasp of history
To those who have written deploring the Walker Art Center project and the injustice of hanging 38 Dakota tribesmen, let us not forget why those 38 Dakota tribesmen were hanged. They were hanged because more than 800 citizens of Minnesota were massacred.
It all started when a young Dakota hunting party of four killed five settlers. That night a Dakota council decided to attack settlers throughout the Minnesota River Valley to drive them out. In President Abraham Lincoln’s second annual address, he noted that not less than 800 men, women and children had been killed.
More than a thousand Dakota members were arrested and jailed. Subsequently, reviews were made and trials were held. Thirty-nine men were sentenced to be hanged. One was given a reprieve at the last minute.
So Minnesotans didn’t just arbitrarily pick 38 Dakota men out of a crowd and decide to hang them. They were hanged for a reason. If you are going to talk about history, tell the whole story not just the part that suits someone or a group.
Bill Winters, Brooklyn Park
• • •
Thirty-eight Dakota were hanged in Minnesota in 1862. They had killed settlers. A replica of the gallows was being prepared for presentation by the Walker on the lawn of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. What could be wrong with that? The artist wanted to facilitate discussion of capital punishment, he said in an after-statement. It is an intellectual installation, after all. The huge construction resembles a child’s jungle gym. Children can come to the center and run and play on the gallows. Isn’t one of the purposes of art to shed light on irony? Isn’t a purpose to incite? Provoke? Dakota hunting grounds were taken by a series of treaties. When a trader, Andrew Myrick, said, “Let them eat grass,” the Dakota retaliated in anger.
What does uprising get you but more loss? Is that a question the intellectual gallows asks? Let’s build on the lawn a remembrance of what happens when the starving and stolen-from take matters into their own hands. It won’t even occur to anyone to ask the Dakota what they think of the installation. They will be removed from consideration again. Something shocking will be built. Art will be meaningful after all. We have a gallows on the lawn. Let freedom of expression ring.
Diane Glancy, Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Editor’s note: The Star Tribune reported extensively on the history of the U.S.-Dakota War on the 150th anniversary of the conflict in 2012. That work has been collected in the book “In the Footsteps of Little Crow.” For purchase information, visit http://strib.mn/2so7a3G. Further resources are available at http://www.usdakotawar.org, managed by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Getting around is getting scary in our hometowns
Does the craziness on the roads seem worse recently? It’s all over the place: drivers running red lights as well as yellow ones, speeding through stop signs, failing to stop at, or turning into, pedestrian crosswalks, turning left from right lanes and right from left ones.
Bikers are almost as bad: the guy who zipped down a hill in my neighborhood and turned across three lanes of traffic; the doofus near Lake Calhoun — no helmet, earphones on, cruising the wrong way along the one-way bike path. Pedestrians aren’t much better: crossing on red lights, stepping into traffic while staring at iPhones, blocking paths with SUV-sized strollers.
One theory is that this is what happens in a Trump world: the rules don’t apply; all that matters is me; everyone else get out of my way. Another suggests that millennials are to blame: Their mamas didn’t teach them how to handle a world where the social contracts necessary for living with other people apply. Some think this is what life is going to be like now in the “higher-density” city so beloved by area politicos.
An update to the driver who ran me and my bike into the curb near Hiawatha Avenue recently: The bike has been fixed; the scrapes and bruises on my knees, arm and shoulder are healing; the doc says my back should be OK, too. It will just take time.
Please. Be careful out there. Give your fellow humans a break — drivers, bikers, joggers, walkers, all of us.
Doug Wilhide, Minneapolis