Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has been attempting to smear fellow GOP aspirant Donald Trump as having “New York values” to scare Iowa voters. The accusation from Cruz, who is from Texas, reminds me of the TV ad for salsa that accused a competitor as being made in “New York City” and thus lacking legitimacy. Cruz’s strategy was lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” recently, but it is actually interesting that three of the four top contenders for president are from New York or have strong ties to the Big Apple. Trump is a New York City icon, for better or worse. Bernie Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn and has the accent to prove it. Hillary Clinton was the U.S. senator from New York and lives in Chappaqua, a New York suburb. It bears further note that four of the current Supreme Court justices, just shy of a majority, are from New York City, each from a different borough. (Justice Elena Kagan is from Manhattan, Justice Antonin Scalia is from Queens, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is from Brooklyn and Justice Sonia Sotomayor is from the Bronx.) It looks pretty likely, therefore, that in 2017 two out of three branches of government will have a strong New York influence.

Is this so bad ? The world, and the country, is becoming more urban. If anything, rural citizens are overrepresented in Congress. New York is our largest city but does not dominate American culture like Paris, London or Moscow dominate their countries. Whatever you think, it’s a helluva town — and one poised to have a big impact on American politics for the next few years. Unless Cruz wins.

V. John Ella, Minneapolis

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Legislators take aim at fetal tissue research. Good/not good?

As University of Minnesota graduates and long-standing Minnesota taxpayers, my wife and I were appalled to learn that the U does fetal tissue research on purchased aborted fetuses and then disrespectfully discards the remains illegally as mere biohazard waste (“Fetal tissue research should cease at U,” Opinion Exchange, Jan. 16). To make matters worse, they initially denied doing such research; until a persistent undercover investigation confirmed the worst, they lied or “miscommunicated” in their terms.

University leaders have only now agreed to “amend the way they procure and dispose of fetal tissue” to meet the laws, as research continues in defiance of Senate and House members’ requests to end it. There are many other sources of research tissue from certified organ donors that can provide for all of the needs of the research effort.

We applaud the efforts of our elected Republican state legislators to discover and pursue the end of this controversial research that exceeds the boundaries of our morality, and likely that of many other Minnesota taxpayers supporting the U with our tax dollars, donations, and endowments.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

• • •

Opposition to the advanced research conducted on fetal tissues, as expressed by state Rep. Abigail Whelan and 21 other Republican legislators in their Jan. 16 commentary, is an example of the head-in-the-sand approach that limits the possibilities of future medical breakthroughs. The distorted perception of morality that the commentary advances offers the Chinese, among others, the chance to develop therapies and treatments while the U.S., and specifically researchers at the U, are forced to sit on their hands. Back in the 19th century, medical researchers were forced to rob graves to obtain the cadavers necessary for the development of modern medical technologies. The benefit of this work is so obvious now that we don’t question the methods. Today’s research on embryonic stem cells offers potential treatments to millions of cancer victims, among others. Denying the living the chance to receive effective treatments is a cowardly and profoundly unethical approach based on superstitious fears that have no place in a modern society.

George Hutchinson, Minneapolis

• • •

The commentary had at least one misleading paragraph. It stated that the university’s policies regarding animal research are much more restrictive than for fetal tissue research, and that is correct. The difference in policies is because fetal tissue is not living tissue, while animal research is on live animals.

Steve Eide, Buffalo, Minn.

 

RACIAL DISPARITIES

That’s nice — a hearing. But I don’t see the necessary change.

Last week’s public hearing on racial disparities once again ignored the underlying reasons behind the disparity in household income for Minnesotans of color. Legislators on both sides of the aisle have failed to propose real solutions to reform the socioeconomic systems of income, education and sources of income. The GOP proposal is still targeted to the middle class, while the DFL proposal presents another superficial fix aimed at the business community. The representatives who were present to hear Friday’s testimony are not in tune with the needs of constituents of color from another district. When the issue is taken up in the regular legislative session, there has to be better representation from the communities concerned to truly solve these disparities.

Sidney Simms, St. Louis Park

 

‘MOVE ON’ ORDINANCE

Maybe this is a seldom-used but valuable tool for Minneapolis

Minneapolis is now considering dropping a law that has been in place since 1960 (Minnesota section, Jan. 16). It states, basically, that if three or more people are blocking a sidewalk, they must “move on” if asked to do so by an officer. The article included no data about how many or who have been charged for failure to do so. So, how big of a deal is this?

Let’s give the police a little credit here. I expect that they ask people to move along when there are issues beyond three people just standing on the sidewalk — like when large crowds are exiting nightclubs, fights are breaking out, there’s a crime scene, etc. And let’s give citizens a little credit. I expect that most would choose to move along after being told to do so by an officer — thus, no charge.

Let’s not take this tool away from officers. If a group of people is blocking the sidewalk and doesn’t have the courtesy to let others pass, they should when asked to “move on.”

Mary McFetridge, New Hope

 

CUBA TRADE EMBARGO

Good for Emmer’s reasoning and willingness to buck his party

Kudos to U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer on his position regarding the trade embargo on Cuba (“Emmer is at odds with party on Cuba,” Jan. 18). The embargo likely made little sense just a few years past the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and it certainly made no sense after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

For a freshman in Congress to take these sort of bipartisan gestures speaks volumes to the maturation of Emmer. If he had been more like this during his tenure in the Minnesota House, he likely would be our governor today.

Randy Sainio, New Hope