At its next meeting, how can the Minneapolis school board do anything regarding its superintendent search other than continue the tabled motion and offer the job to interim superintendent Michael Goar (“Mpls. school board regroups,” Jan. 14)? The alternative is to reward anarchy and let any group that doesn’t like a political outcome take action to prevent it. Is this what we want in American representative democracy?

As a 50-year resident of Minneapolis, I was distressed at the disruption of the school board meeting on Jan. 12 that prevented the board from continuing its business. The board had voted not to engage in another search. On a motion, the board was voting to enter contract negotiations with Goar and had three yes votes. A fourth yes vote plus the chair’s tiebreaking vote would have passed the motion. The NAACP-led chanting began at that moment, preventing the needed votes, and continued for half an hour. The board heard from the community for 45 minutes before conducting business, and the NAACP leader spoke at this time.

Dot Lilja, Minneapolis

• • •

After the Jan. 12 meeting, which I attended, I could not sleep. I had a lot on my mind from the evening, and I agree with something I read. Goar is only a symptom of the cancer that is the Minneapolis school board. Board members are the ones who have allowed the interim superintendent to do what he has done. He has overseen the destruction of the Citywide Autism Program, the inequity in high school budgets, the purchase of racist reading materials, the introduction of student-based allocation, and violence at Harrison Education Center and other schools, to name a few.

The board members are all tired, ashamed and embarrassed by this process that saw Sergio Paez removed as the board’s first choice. They don’t want to do the hard job of restarting the search and made excuses that they would not get the best candidates in such a circumstance.

The board held Paez to a high standard, and his job offer was withdrawn because he did not live up to that standard, but Goar only gets a slap on the wrist, if that? Voting Goar in would be the easy way out, but no one ever said life is easy.

Bryan Barnes, Minneapolis

 

JOHN NIENSTEDT

At some point, good Christians must move on with their lives

I’m appalled at the nasty, mean-spiritedness of those upset by former Archbishop John Nienstedt taking a temporary post in Michigan (front page, Jan. 14). Let’s see — he’s going to assist at a parish, visiting sick and homebound persons, celebrating mass for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and doing the occasional parish mass. And what else would these good folks have him do?

It strikes me, as a Christian, that forgiveness and the ability of people to move on in their lives and do good works, is exactly what we believe in. If not, what chance really is there for any of us? Before you throw rocks at the speck in your brother’s and sister’s eye, make sure you take the log out of your own first.

The Rev. Leonard Freeman, Long Lake

 

OREGON STANDOFF

If occupiers won’t go, they must be evicted, whatever it takes

Two weeks into the siege and occupation of a federally owned wildlife refuge in Oregon, a gang of armed intruders refuses to leave. This totally unregulated militia (the Second Amendment refers to a “well regulated militia” in service to the government and in defense of the integrity of the country; not so this rabble) has enthusiastically embraced its self-proclaimed role as the liberator of publicly owned land that it considers a sinister government land grab. According to these thugs, the land really belongs to “the people,” by which they mean ranchers (they have already appropriated government property to destroy fencing).

These homegrown terrorists are white, well-armed and contemptuous of the laws that most of us abide by as citizens. They have neither regard nor respect for laws made by elected representatives or the role of the judiciary in interpreting laws when there are disputes. If they can’t have their way, they either whine or invade, taking any law into their own hands. And the government, sitting on the sidelines, fearful of another Waco or Ruby Ridge, can’t — or won’t — act.

They have pledged to kill or be killed. Nothing but a band of braggarts, bullies and fools. They must be removed. If they won’t go peacefully and then serve time for trespassing and destruction of property (to put this in some perspective, think about the treatment of Black Lives Matters protesters at the Mall of America), they should be pushed out, whatever it takes. Maybe these belligerents, who bear a striking resemblance to other militants, should be granted their wish for martyrdom.

Josh Gruber, St. Louis Park

 

ELEPHANTS AND THE CIRCUS

A big lobbying organization is setting the rules for you

The Humane Society of the United States has now decided that you and I can’t take our children or grandchildren to the circus to see elephants, as they have successfully lobbied enough cities to ban those shows (“Ringling’s elephants to get early retirement,” Jan. 12). The elephant show will end in May instead. Never mind that the Humane Society and related organizations had to pay the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus many millions of dollars after losing a lawsuit that falsely claimed the circus elephants were not well cared for. The Humane Society of the United States is not the local humane society that does good things caring for cats and dogs. They and their friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are all about animal rights and are going city by city and state by state to take away our rights. The elephant in the room is that we’ll soon be wondering what happened to our zoos, aquariums, pet stores, and hunting and fishing in Minnesota.

David Stene, Dayton

• • •

It is definitely satisfying to find good news on the front page of the newspaper. The announcement that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has finally decided that it will remove elephants from performing by the end of May is certainly wonderful. Thanks to them and to all of the people and groups that protested. Maybe someday we can figure out how to entertain ourselves without exploiting any animals.

Retta A. Leckey, Fergus Falls, Minn.

 

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

A phone analogy

Stephen Marche sums up his Jan. 14 commentary “The left after Obama: data and dreams” with the analogy that electing Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as president would be “like going from an iPhone 6 to a flip phone, a gesture backward.” I feel certain that if he were to apply the same analysis to the proposals of the Republican front-runners, Trump or Cruz, that it would be like going from an iPhone 6 to a crank phone. Several steps back.

Melvin Ogurak, Edina