The nondisparagement clause included in former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau’s severance plan should more than rankle the City Council (“No-criticism clause gets criticized,” Sept. 6). It limits the flow of valuable information about our Police Department and how it functions at a time when our community needs it most.

As the executive director of Common Cause Minnesota, I fought for a more accountable and transparent government — and against provisions like this. Especially given tension between the police and the community, and the responsibility of city leaders to openly address it, the clause is egregious.

The public has not been given a satisfactory reason for the provision. It is an irresponsible choice for current City Council members to put important conversations about policing in our city out of public view.

While the former chief may wish to contract away her First Amendment rights, the residents of Minneapolis deserve better. Our city needs meaningful police reform — and that includes getting feedback, the good and the bad, of the former chief, a 30-year veteran. It’s up to the City Council to clearly and decisively strike down this plan. It’s time for a step forward in Minneapolis policing, not another step back.

Jeremy Schroeder, Minneapolis

The writer is a former executive director of Common Cause Minnesota and is a candidate for the Minneapolis City Council in the 11th Ward.


It’s like there’s a Trump mood ring determining one’s status

When it comes to immigration policy, the Trump administration’s lack of coherent principles is astounding. On one hand, it introduced the RAISE Act, which, if passed by Congress, would replace our current employment-based immigration system with a point-based system. On the other hand, it announced that it will terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has provided protection from deportation to individuals who entered the U.S. as minors, and who have lived most of their lives in the U.S. What it fails to recognize is that under the point-based system it is proposing, many of the 800,000 DACA beneficiaries would qualify for permanent residence, or at least come very close.

Under that system, an individual needs 30 points in order to qualify for permanent residence. Most DACA recipients are between 22 and 35 years old (earning either 8 or 10 points). The majority are pursuing either bachelor’s degrees (6 points), advanced degrees (8 points) or professional degrees (13 points), and most have a high proficiency of the English language (10-12 points). The takeaway here is not to support the RAISE Act, but to show the hypocrisy in saying we prefer one group of immigrants over another, then changing our minds when we realize that same group of immigrants has been standing before us for years.

John Medeiros, Minneapolis

The writer is an immigration lawyer.

• • •

DACA recipients turned over their personal information based on the government’s promise not to use it against them. The Trump administration now intends to use that information to locate and deport people who have never known a life, culture or language other than ours. This is government entrapment. Bait-and-switch. An unconstitutional violation of due process.

David Pederson, Minnetrista


Knowing history, we’d not try scoring political-party points

A Sept. 5 letter attacked Democrats, claiming they “supported slavery and segregation right up until the point when a majority of Republicans took legislative action to make a better world.” That writer omitted many facts that contradict his premise.

The Republican Party was not “born out of its commitment to end slavery,” as the writer claims; it opposed the expansion of slavery into western territories. The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in areas under Confederate control; the 13th Amendment ended slavery everywhere. That said, the Republican Party achieved that and the 14th and 15th Amendments. Given the party’s current pandering to white racism, abolitionists must be spinning in their graves.

As for FDR, by executive order, he established the Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1941 to ban discriminatory employment practices in federal agencies and war-related work. African-Americans were employed in all major New Deal agencies. His record wasn’t perfect, but it was a bit more complex than the letter writer claims.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, cited by the writer, was proposed by Democratic President John Kennedy and was pursued in Congress by southern Democrat President Lyndon Johnson, who also introduced the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Both had bipartisan support and opposition. The majority of Democrats in both houses of Congress voted for them; all 11 Republicans from the South opposed the 1964 act. That year, Sen. Strom Thurmond switched parties, remaining Republican the rest of his career. The formerly Democratic “solid South” is now pretty solidly Republican.

So the “larger point” (to use the letter writer’s phrase) is that both political parties exhibited admirable and ignoble behavior.

Diane Ring, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired history teacher.


Boys and girls from bubbles

I have been enjoying reading the various articles blaming millennials for the demise of some beloved products and institutions, most recently “This millennial pleads guilty” (Variety, Sept. 5). I did not know of millennials’ fear of bar soap. But consider, theirs is the generation that had to have tubes inserted into their ears due to chronic infections. Their childhoods also saw antibacterial liquid soap come into vogue. No wonder they’re afraid.

When I was growing up, our bath soap supply consisted of a large cardboard box periodically refilled with pink chards gleaned by some enterprising housekeeper from vacated hotel rooms. This supply was obtained by my father in one of his many barter arrangements. No doubt the housekeeper exchanged for something equally valuable, such as pounds of graying hamburger from my father’s shop. My father’s response to our complaints that the soap was used (by strangers!) was a flat denial: “No, it isn’t; that’s how it comes.” My mother’s, as I recall, was a more blunt: “Don’t think about it.”

Perhaps this partly explains why, closing in on age 60, I have a superb immune system, and why, unlike the millennials I know, I could never consider my parents friends.

Regina Anctil, Minneapolis