The Star Tribune's Oct. 24 article on Gov. Tim Walz's re-election efforts failed to cite or mention any reference to Walz's most glaring failure as governor: his refusal to exercise his powers as commander in chief of the Minnesota National Guard to call them out immediately following the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 ("Walz set for race centered on COVID," front page). Walz's failure to do so earlier than he did resulted in the destruction of the Third Precinct police building in Minneapolis along with 1,500 or more businesses destroyed or damaged by the protesters and damage of half a billion dollars to Minneapolis business owners and taxpayers.
Star Tribune coverage of the events following the death of Floyd cited the urgent request made by Mayor Jacob Frey to Walz to use the National Guard to protect the city. All that Walz needed to do was turn on his TV and he could have seen or understood what was happening in Minneapolis, our state's largest city. I believe Walz failed to act because he did not want to offend Black Lives Matter and instead shaped his decision based on ideology and an adherence to "political correctness."
It is important that any governor have the quality of having an intuitive understanding and grasp of the principle that the highest function of government, in a free and democratic society, is the protection and safety of its citizenry.
Walz's failure on this fundamental issue alone is reason to not reward him with re-election as governor in 2022.
Steve Wenzel, Little Falls, Minn.
No possible compromise? Really?
Let me get something straight after reading about the legislative stalemate — going on several months now — regarding dividing up $250 million to those hardworking people who continued working when the pandemic began 20 months ago ("Legislators at stalemate on COVID aid," Oct. 28). Republicans define essential workers narrowly and recommend $1,200 per person while the DFL has a broader scope that benefits more people and recommends $375 per person. Aside from this "thank you" being ridiculously late, this stalemate delays just the discussion of the issue until well after the first of the year and, notably, after upcoming winter holidays. Is there no place for some compromise where all of the workers as defined by the DFL get something now, perhaps $250 to $300, and distribution of the remainder is deferred until the Legislature reconvenes Jan. 31, 2022? Each person receiving a check will likely spend a decent portion on taxable items that puts some of that money back into the state coffers. Our representatives need to be — above all — grateful, and then quickly do all of the math.
Paul Waytz, Minneapolis
The writer is a physician.
RAMSEY COUNTY SHERIFF
How is a charter school his job?
Can any reasonable person think that the Ramsey County sheriff spending $35,000 of taxpayer money on a bizarre effort to launch a charter school is even remotely ethical, appropriate or legal? ("Sheriff tapped county taxpayers for $35K to plan charter school," Oct. 28.) In addition to the funds to research the school effort, Sheriff Bob Fletcher also clearly used paid staff time to work, on county time, on his peculiar side venture. When did it become a sheriff's role or duty to explore expansion of the school system?
His entire career has been littered with unethical uses of office, constant battles over his abuse of county budgeting, among many other questionable actions for a public servant. When he was re-elected several years ago, I and many others shook our heads in disgust. We recognized that, above all, he's an opportunistic politician with a gift for manipulating the truth and overreaching his authority. It's even more disheartening to see ethical, talented and visionary leaders leaving law enforcement, while Bob Fletcher gets away with still more shady indefensible behavior.
Whether it's the Ramsey County manager, the County Board, the county attorney or the state attorney general, can someone please investigate and hold this sheriff accountable? His latest embarrassing behavior is just another example of who he's been for more than 20 years. It's time to remove this disgrace from office.
Dave Verhasselt, St. Paul
The writer worked for the Ramsey County manager's office from 1999 to 2008.
Happiness for the productivity of our country doesn't pay the bills
I find U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's defense of billionaires against a wealth tax particularly rich and offensive to everyone without a good deal of wealth. Manchin says it would unfairly target billionaires, and that rather than target them, we ought to be happy our country is producing such wealth ("Paid family leave, billionaires' tax slide away," Oct. 28).
Oh, c'mon, man! Our country isn't benefiting from their stratospheric wealth, they are! Such a tax isn't unfair to billionaires, and they aren't paying much taxes as things stand.
Manchin makes me wonder if he is uninformed, gullible, bought and paid for, or just dense. Doesn't he know that most billionaires gained much of their wealth by unfair means, especially by leveraging their wealth to further their advantage? Billionaires got 62% wealthier during the pandemic.
Billionaires pay such comparatively low taxes as do ordinary folks because their wealth is in stocks and bonds and other assets, which aren't taxed until cashed in, while ordinary homeowners pay a wealth tax yearly, in the form of property tax on the primary holding of our wealth: our homes. A wealth tax on billionaires would only make things fairer for all citizens. Does he really, truly not know this?
Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis
Everything is readjusting, or should
The shortage of workers is much in the news lately along with many theories for why that may be. The extra unemployment benefits reason has been put to rest — benefits have stopped and people are still not taking jobs. The fact that workers don't have the proper training for some jobs is certainly true but that doesn't account for the many lower-skill jobs that are going begging. In addition, people with good jobs are quitting — presumably for better jobs — at a near-record pace.
One theory, at least for lower-skilled positions, is that many of the millions of lower-skilled workers over the past year and a half, in fact, aren't lower-skilled any more. Tired of working for low pay, no benefits and no future, they got some sort of training and are pursuing better jobs. Here's the dirty secret, though: The economy can't — or doesn't want to — produce enough good-paying jobs. You know, personal care attendants, waiters, bartenders, day care workers, hotel housekeepers, meatpackers (many of whom were laid off last year). Perfectly honorable jobs but with salaries impossible to live on in America. And that's from the greatest economy in history — woohoo!
I say, good for everyone who is looking for better jobs. Go for it! Sure, many of us who have been financially more fortunate may have to pay a little more for some of the things that have been cheap for so long (mostly on the backs of workers), but as we learned from the pandemic, unlike many of those workers, we'll always be OK.
D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis
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