The article concerning prospects to succeed U.S. District Judge Michael Davis (“Names begin to surface for new federal judge post,” Jan. 3) focused on minority candidates. The article, however, ignored candidates from Minnesota’s American Indian community — the state’s longest residents.

Minnesota has a thriving American Indian legal community, including private practice attorneys, prosecutors and defenders, tribal attorneys, and judges.

American Indians are seriously underrepresented on the federal bench. Minnesota has never had an Article III federal judge of American Indian descent. In fact, in the entire history of the federal judiciary nationwide, there have been only three American Indians appointed as judges.

Several active members of the American Indian bar are well-qualified and would serve with distinction as federal judge, including White Earth Nation Chief Judge Robert Blaeser (a former Hennepin County district judge), U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois, Hennepin County District Judge Jeannice Reding and trailblazing tribal attorney Lenor Scheffler.

I encourage U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and President Obama to consider American Indian candidates for appointment as the next federal judge in Minnesota.

George W. Soule, Minneapolis


The writer is former president of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association.


Editorial presented a limiting vision

I live in St. Paul, but go to downtown Minneapolis regularly to shop, go to the dentist, visit the Walker, transfer buses and light rail, etc. In the Jan. 3 editorial “New life for faded Nicollet Mall,” I see a contradiction.

The Star Tribune Editorial Board expresses desire that the mall could be like “more traditional town centers that offer the ‘integrated experience’ of living … and simply hanging out.” But later it says: “If the mall continues to function mainly as a kind of default daytime homeless shelter … [s]tronger anti-loitering ordinances may be needed, as well as better enforcement …”

Integrated experience of living? Really? What the board actually envisions is the mall’s being populated by people taking short breaks from earning and spending money, and with credit cards in their pockets.

As far as “aggressive” panhandling is concerned, I have experienced it on the mall mainly done by people representing charities and causes.

Concerning “loutish, threatening behavior,” how do you define that? I have never felt unsafe on the Nicollet Mall.

Jane Thomson, St. Paul



Face it: We’ve got a good business climate

In his annual anti-tax rant (“Five principles to guide the 2015 Legislature,” Jan. 5), the Minnesota Business Partnership’s Charlie Weaver says businesses are growing “in spite of [the state’s] policy climate.” Frankly, it’s ludicrous to claim companies conspire to grow to spite government policy. Weaver laudably supports improved education opportunity and transportation, but his tired harangue of a poor business climate flatly ignores that Minnesota’s economic growth consistently outperforms the region and nation, and that we are in fact a magnet for quality, innovative companies.

Ron Way, Edina



What about separation of ‘church’ and state?

The Jan. 3 headline “Diet guidance shoves beef off the menu” made me groan. The article was about how the U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning on dietary guidelines to encourage people to eat less meat, especially beef, to help the environment.

Thirty years ago, it was often bandied about that religious people want to tell everyone else how to live their lives. Well, today none rivals the secular environmental left. Those of high moral authority seem on a mission to squeeze whatever joy one gets out of life, and feel it upon themselves to shame us into marching lockstep with them.

We are hectored about the wine we drink, the cigars we smoke, the hamburgers we eat. Tofu, greens and a warm bottle of water for everyone! How exciting.

The Agriculture Department is getting into the act? I guess we are going to have to send it more funding to save us from ourselves.

Jack Petroski, St. Louis Park

• • •

To shoppers suddenly concerned about the carbon footprint of their burgers, and to the beef and agriculture industries crying foul over new dietary guidelines, I have good news: Pioneering sustainable farmers in Minnesota, the Dakotas and elsewhere, alongside university researchers, have discovered a profitable, sustainable method of farming — and it includes beef.

Livestock, in fact, is one of five keys to building ideal soil health, alongside cover cropping, crop rotation and other principles. Integrating cattle into farmers’ systems, when properly used alongside other soil-building principles pioneered by farmers like Gabe Brown of North Dakota, actually lowers the carbon footprint of those farms. The positive environmental impact of improved soil health is critical to the future of farming, and it impacts land productivity, watershed quality and farmer profitability.

Again, a key to this system, which could literally revolutionize farming, is livestock integration. It’s not too good to be true, and farmers like Gabe Brown are proof.

Jason Walker, Minneapolis


The writer is communications coordinator for the Sustainable Farming Association.



If image matters (and it does) …

Among the recent letters about the national anthem, someone suggested that we have a Lutheran choir perform it at the 2018 Super Bowl scheduled to be held Minnesota. Sounds like a great way to reinforce “Lake Wobegon” stereotypes of the Twin Cities that make recruiting top talent here a major challenge. But why stop there? How about also replacing the usual stadium concessions with lefse, lutefisk and “hot dishes” laden with canned mushroom soup and processed cheese? And maybe the halftime show could feature a polka band? Thanks to “A Prairie Home Companion” and the movie “Fargo,” Minnesota is already the laughingstock of America, so why not use our precious time on the world stage to take our frozen tundra image global?

Jerry Anderson, Eagan