I grew up in Faribault, Minn., another small town where immigrants are “ripping at the social fabric” that held it “together for generations,” to use Michele Bachmann’s words (“Open borders rip our towns apart,” Opinion Exchange, Sept. 27).
I say, let ’er rip.
There are over 4,000 Somalis in Faribault, many of whom work at the Jennie-O Turkey Store plant and very publicly frequent the city’s historic but decayed Main Street. Some townspeople are concerned; some claim Somali kids are sucking up the resources and not paying their own way. Sounds familiar.
I say those who complain should work a few shifts gutting turkeys, canning corn or slaughtering hogs then tell us who is paying their way. Bachmann, let’s do a few shifts at one of those hellholes. I know the ropes and can show you around. I predict after two years on the line, your positions will change.
A hundred and fifty years ago my ancestors built many of the Main Street buildings the Somalis live in today by using low-wage, sometimes-illiterate French, German and Irish labor. They promoted immigration from everywhere and truly believed they were building a new world where people did not exploit the less fortunate but worked together to promote harmony. I think they would be proud to see who lives there now.
Immigrants, legal or illegal, are in Worthington and Faribault because of the food industry. Strange how Bachmann does not say a word about the billions saved using cheap immigrant labor. You’ve got to admit, that’s quite a trick the industry has pulled. Reap huge profits from illegal and or low-wage labor, then blame a tiny minority of Democrats and the immigrants themselves for all the problems.
Bachmann, do all the Democrats want completely open borders? Keep working, writing and thinking and maybe you can get a gig on the Fox News Strawman Selection Committee.
Donald Smith, Bloomington
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I was amazed this morning at the disparity between two commentaries on the effects of immigration on the city of Worthington, Minn. (“Open borders rip our towns apart” and “Immigrants make our community stronger,” Sept. 27.) I suspect the real truth lies somewhere in the middle. Veena Iyer’s piece sounded somewhat like a justification for the efforts of her organization while Michele Bachmann’s sounded somewhat like a campaign ad for President Donald Trump. I grew up close to Worthington and had friends there. I would love to see an independent investigation by the Star Tribune to determine the true situation in that community.
Gerard Olson, Bloomington
Flooding is a man-made problem
The Star Tribune has produced yet another article — “Nowhere for all the water to go” (front page, Sept. 22) — with the claim that recent local weather has been caused by climate change without citation. Included with the article is a bold graph citing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data meant to emphasize the seriousness of the claim. The graph shows an increase in rainfall from 1895 (22.67 inches) to present (23.54 inches). Simple arithmetic, however, reveals that rainfall has increased less than one inch over the previous 124 years! Yet, everyone is expected to be not just worried but even (per Greta Thunberg) panicked by this increase.
The article presents readers accounts of overflowing lakes, storm sewers and all manner of flooding. All is due to human activity, of course, but that activity has nothing to do with the global warming presumed by the Star Tribune. Human activity has replaced forests, grasslands, flood plains and wetlands with concrete and asphalt. Many remaining wetlands have been tilled for use as cropland. Rainwater that had been held in place or slowly released into surrounding watersheds in pre-settlement Minnesota now flows into drainage ditches and, through them, directly into rivers. Flooding is the natural result of such an unnatural handling of rainwater rather than any presumed global warming.
Thomas Daly, North Mankato
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The record-breaking floods of 2019 are a frightening glimpse of the economic devastation climate change can inflict on America. If we keep burning fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, more billion-dollar disasters will ruin our economy, and all Americans will suffer.
Fortunately, we don’t have to let this happen. We don’t have to let climate change flood our homes, ruin our farms, break our budgets and wreck the economy.
We already have the technology to replace dirty fossil fuels with clean energy. With sensible taxes on polluting fossil fuels, we can reduce pollution and create millions of jobs at the same time, without any harm to our economy. If all of the money raised by carbon taxes is returned to American families in monthly checks, our economy will grow and new jobs will open up, while clean new technology replaces the dirty energy of last century.
Ellen Schousboe, Edina
Why can’t the city compromise?
The recent discussion and decision regarding Minneapolis city budgeting and Park Board funding once again begs for some sort of compromise that appropriately includes attention to youth development goals (“Mpls. tax board OKs 6.95% levy hike,” Sept. 26). Perhaps that compromise could involve hiring young people of a certain age when out of school during the summer at a wage lower than official Park Board employees. Students could perform simpler tasks such as weeding gardens, basic cleaning of playgrounds and courts, and collection of litter while freeing up employees for necessary heavier maintenance and repair activities. It would make areas more visually appealing and likely save money long-term while at the same time giving kids a bit of spending money, a sense of responsibility and pride for what they’ve accomplished.
Paul Waytz, Minneapolis
Proposed fixes dodge the real issue
As someone with Type 1 diabetes, my attention is always drawn to headlines about controlling the cost of insulin (“Lawmakers optimistic about affordable insulin,” Sept. 27). But I am puzzled by the focus of current efforts. Lawmakers seem to believe the solutions to this problem are to have pharmaceutical companies supply insulin at no cost to physicians, or to lower income limits so people can get insulin when they need it, or to build a system for applying for urgently needed insulin.
The problem is the cost of insulin. Pharmaceutical companies are price-gouging people who must purchase the drug. They should not be allowed to do so. Charges for insulin should be tied to the costs of its production, plus a reasonable profit.
Laure Mann Campbell, Falcon Heights
Two messy Minnesota happenings
Kudos to the Star Tribune editors who put the stories about President Donald Trump’s October visit and the 20,000 gallon manure spill in Stearns County on the same page (“Trump plans Target Center rally” and “20,000 gallons of manure spill on Stearns County dairy farm,” Sept. 27). I’ll wager the Stearns County cleanup will be easier.
Alden Drew, Minneapolis
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