Oftentimes I wish the energy spent on indulging victimhood could be rerouted to incentivize people toward responsibility and independence. Specifically, I’m referring to the recent editorial by the Star Tribune Editorial Board on the new proposed immigration rule (“Immigration rule may hurt schoolkids,” Sept. 17).
I am an immigrant. Legal. I came here as a child with my family of five. Before we could come, our sponsor had to sign an affidavit of support to ensure that we would not become an unnecessary burden on the American taxpayers. He did, and he supported us until my parents obtained jobs and became self-sufficient. And they repaid him every penny he spent on us!
It was not easy coming to a new country, not knowing the language, and attempting to build a new life. But we did. We did not rely on nor did we get any freebies. My parents were grateful to have escaped communism and they worked hard to keep our family afloat. We could not afford luxuries and spent our money very wisely. There were no free school lunches for me and my siblings. We brown-bagged every day. And we survived, very well — and without any entitlements, I might add.
It really irks me when those who are well-off patronize the poor in the name of fairness. The poorest in America are much better off than a lot of people in the rest of the world. What’s fair about enabling irresponsibility and victimhood? And, by the way, enforcing our laws is not an unnecessary attack on anyone!
Alexandra Matyja, Prior Lake
Give 90,000 kids the care they need
Thousands of families in Minnesota face a daunting decision every day. Without access to licensed child care, parents are forced to find unlicensed care through family or friends or stay home from work. Their decision doesn’t just impact individual families; it also threatens Minnesota’s economy. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson deserve credit for co-authoring legislation to increase access to child care.
The Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act provides competitive grants to support training and retention of the child care workforce. The legislation, which has sponsors from both parties, will also help to build and expand child-care facilities in areas with dramatic shortages, known as child-care deserts.
A child-care desert exists when there are more than three children for every one open slot in licensed child care. According to Child Care Aware, in Minnesota there are nearly 307,000 children younger than 6 years old who might need access to child care. With only about 221,500 child-care slots in the state, this means that almost 90,000 kids under that age in Minnesota lack access to licensed child care when their parents go to work.
Klobuchar and Peterson deserve to be commended for championing legislation for working families. If parents are able to remain in the workforce, our communities will continue to thrive. I’m proud our representatives in Washington have set politics aside to work with members across the aisle in order to serve working families and children across Minnesota.
Ana Barth, White Bear Lake
Where is culpability for doctors?
While the large pharmaceutical companies were responsible for the manufacture of highly addictive opioids, many of the 400,000 people who died from opioid overdoses from 1997 to 2017 would not have if doctors had not signed their prescriptions for death. Doctors may not have known how highly addictive these drugs were when they were first introduced; however, they continued to prescribe them long after opioid addiction strength became known. Purdue Pharma and others are now accepting responsibility for promotion of the drug and paying billions of dollars in lawsuits.
Doctors and the entire medical profession made a serious error in prescribing these drugs and have not admitted to their share of responsibility for the deaths of 400,000 people.
James Gratz, Plymouth
Save the Warner Nature Center
I am a volunteer raptor handler at Warner Nature Center. I have been volunteering every Friday, unless I’m on vacation, at the center since April 2002. Warner currently houses three raptors: a barred owl, a screech owl and an American kestrel. We hold a permit for a fourth raptor since our red-tailed hawk died of natural causes/old age a couple of years ago.
At Warner, we have a volunteer base that is dedicated and passionate about our responsibilities. One can’t be squeamish as a raptor handler. It includes gutting squirrels, gophers, rats or whatever else is on the menu that day. There is also some care that requires dexterity — like applying oil to foot pads while lifting sharp talons, avoiding potential biting and being sure to get the oil on the target area.
The Manitou Fund and the Science Museum of Minnesota run Warner Nature Center and plan to shut it down by the end of the year. The trickle-down effect for this decision is great, from the more than 100 dedicated volunteers to the children who have experienced the diverse ecosystems on the property to the aged barred owl that has had the same volunteers caring for her week after week, year after year.
Will she survive a move to an unknown location with unknown caregivers? I’m hoping for a change of minds by the Manitou Fund or a miracle so we don’t have to put her to the test.
Kelli Fitzmorris, Scandia
MPLS. 2040 PLAN
Increase density, build community
“So, let’s talk about what ‘density’ really is” (Opinion Exchange, Sept. 17) draws several skewed conclusions about density and the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The plan isn’t just about increasing density. Rather, it’s about building communities that work. Two points follow:
First, light-rail lines do attract new and higher density, and such projects are much better when they implement a community vision and follow development guidelines. For instance, the Prospect Park Station area exemplifies the “functional density” Becker refers to. Today there are over 1,200 new housing units built or under construction — affordable and market-rate — serving students, workers and seniors. New groceries, retail and hotels are part of the mix along with a new park, a walkable green street and district system for stormwater management. Automobiles are accommodated along with transit, pedestrian and bicycle travel. More development is coming along north of University Avenue and the light-rail line as the 2040 Plan is implemented.
Second, the argument that increased density isn’t compatible or appropriate in single-family neighborhoods is erroneous. In the historic Prospect Park neighborhood, for instance, development has evolved over time with a mix of housing — single-family, duplex, triplex, fourplex and apartment homes serving both renters and homeowners. With implementation of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan, a new zoning code will allow compatible changes that fit (building height and size) with the character of the neighborhoods. This change should not be scary. The issue, therefore, is not about density per se, but how to accommodate the change that is coming in ways that bring old and new neighbors together.
John Kari, Minneapolis
The writer is chair of the Prospect Park 2020 Board.
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