After reading articles and opinions about the prospect of Sergio Paez as the next Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent, I believe he should be hired. No official in any high-level leadership position should be held responsible for all of the actions of all of the people under her/him. The abuse that took place at one of the schools in Paez’s former district is not acceptable, but his response to the problem seemed appropriate. He is qualified as a Harvard grad, with experience as a superintendent. He displayed openness, initiative and enthusiasm while lobbying for the job during a recent visit. It would make sense for the school board to hire him at a beginning superintendent’s salary with a short-term contract and give him a supportive chance to prove himself. A new national search would be time-consuming and expensive and would offer no assurances that a better candidate would emerge.

Samuel G. Larsen, Minneapolis

• • •

The assessment by school board members Josh Reimnitz and Tracine Asberry after visiting the Holyoke, Mass., schools (formerly led by Paez) says it all. According to their report, Paez was able to change the educational climate. Isn’t that exactly what we’ve been told Minneapolis is looking for in the new superintendent? Leave politics to politicians and proceed with the Paez appointment.

Alan Heider, Minneapolis

 

EXECUTIVE ORDERS

Their legitimacy is in the eyes of the beholder, and it evolves

A little more fact-checking on executive orders and “biased, poor thinking” (Readers Write, Jan. 8) seems to be in order. It’s not the number of executive orders one should be concerned with, but the kind of orders. There are good ones and bad ones. For example, the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order. President Harry Truman integrated the armed forces through executive order. Dwight Eisenhower desegregated public schools by executive order. FDR used executive order to make it easy to send Japanese-Americans to internment camps. George W. Bush used an executive order to restrict access to the papers of former presidents. Later, President Obama revoked Bush’s executive order. Presumably, a Republican president could revoke Obama’s revocation. Or Bernie Sanders could revoke Obama’s recent executive orders on gun control.

There are also legal orders and illegal ones. History shows that the Supreme Court overturned five of Roosevelt’s executive orders, two of Bill Clinton’s orders and one of Truman’s. In essence, all eight orders were found to be “dictatorial.”

The chief problem with Obama’s recent gun-control order is that it appears to be in opposition to congressional intent. In other words, the Supreme Court could find that Obama is making law without congressional approval and is usurping that branch’s constitutional authority. I personally think what Obama asks for in this case is a good idea. But the way he is going about it is wrong. In fact, it only fuels many gun owners’ perspective that government is acting unconstitutionally.

Mike Ebnet, Edina

• • •

The term “dictatorial,” as in attempts to have one’s own way despite the will of a majority, must be laid on a Republican extremist minority. Obama is acting in accordance with constitutional powers in a more respectful manner than the so-called loyal opposition has been doing during his two terms.

Extremist conservatives have not been paying attention, either, except to their own desires to dictate. Neither they nor Obama have absolute powers. This president’s current action is warranted, considering a long-running series of obstructions.

Rodney Hatle, Owatonna, Minn.

 

‘REGRETTABLE HISTORY’

Even a move meant as utilitarian can be improperly motivated

I agree with a Jan. 10 letter writer’s logic that it was necessary to separate the white settlers and the Dakota people in 1862 to keep them from killing each other. However, it surely should have been the whites who were forcibly moved to a reservation, since their claim to the lands in question went back, at most, 20 years, while the Dakota had called them home for 20 centuries, if not more. Claiming it “unfair” to call the expulsion of the Dakota from their ancestral lands a “national shame” turns the concept of fairness on its head.

Gene Janicke, Forest Lake

 

POWERBALL

Here are the numbers I’m not going to play. Same outcome?

I’d love to win the lottery. Don’t think I will, though, because I didn’t buy a ticket. Then again, maybe that is winning — I’ll be dollars ahead of the millions who bought one or two or 20 and lost. I win!

What did the guy say? “The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.” Unfortunately, many of the bad-math people buying tickets have better things to do with their cash than wager it on a 1-in-292-million chance for the $1 billion payout. About the same odds as being picked up and probed by aliens from Neptune.

Then there’s George Orwell. In “1984,” he described Big Brother’s ploy to keep the proletariat in line: Give them false hope that they, too, can become part of the 0.01 percent. “It was probable that there were some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive. It was their delight, their folly, their [opiate], their intellectual stimulant.”

I suppose it is delightful to sit there clutching a bunch of numbers as the winning ticket is read. Here are my numbers: 7, 18, 21, 36, 52, Powerball 2. For a cheap thrill (very cheap — I didn’t buy a ticket), maybe I’ll pay attention. But if I forget to watch and my fictional numbers come up, someone please stop by to let me know. And bring along a defibrillator.

In the meantime, I’m betting many of us will follow Homer Simpson’s advice: “Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

Christopher Moore, Belle Plaine, Minn.

• • •

A Jan. 9 letter suggested that whoever wins the (then $800 million) Powerball jackpot should donate all but $5 million to our wounded veterans. I feel a better way to help our wounded veterans would be to make sure our federal taxes are increased as needed to cover the full cost of a war and its consequences whenever Congress decides our country should go to war.

David Aderhold, Eagan

 

POP CULTURE

Lucky to be ‘living under a rock’

It was interesting to read the words that commentary writer Philip Jones used to describe those who didn’t know that the 10-episode Netflix docuseries “Making a Murderer” even existed (“On the trail of ‘Making a Murderer,’ ” Jan. 11). As one of those who is “living under a rock,” I wanted to take a moment to tell Mr. Jones what some of us might be doing while in that place. While others, for 10 evenings, sit and stare at their TV, those of us under the rock might be reading a book, watching our children participate in some activity, reading to our children or listening to them read, volunteering in the community, listening to good music, involving ourselves in some physical activity, playing a board game with our family, taking an enrichment class, or doing one of a million other things. If those who are unaware of the existence of a 10-episode TV docuseries are living under a rock, they are probably very, very lucky that’s where they live.

George Larson, Minneapolis