In a sad way, and to a growing group of conservative bigots, Donald Trump trumpets deeply held feelings and beliefs that resonate and reinforce views not often, nor easily, spoken in public. Fifty years after the legislative push for civil rights, we find ourselves mired in the unresolved effort to treat people equally. Trump’s pseudo-honesty and infectious “candor” resonates with too many people to be simply dismissed, and is effectively reinforced at the highest level of a government that strips away voting rights protections with the clearly false claim of equanimity. We need to understand and to treat Trump’s magnetism with more than a dismissive air. To do otherwise is to risk ignoring history.
Richard Breitman, Minneapolis
‘FAITH IN THE POLICE’
‘Trust in local cops?’ Probably depends on who’s being asked
I am assuming that the July 13 Short Takes item “Faith in the police” was referring to police across Minnesota. The survey that was the focus of the item referred to samples taken from suburbs, from Republicans and Democrats, and from women and men. There was also a reference to Minnesotans as a whole.
I did not, however, see any reference to a sample being taken from the community that has the most at stake — the black community. Members of this community have a much different view of how the police and public in general interact with them, as has been evidenced by recent protests and incidents. Many of those in the black community to whom I have talked would add to these more commonly reported events the many times a black person has been stopped for little or no reason — the practice commonly called profiling.
I wonder what the results of a survey such as this would be if responses by the affluent and white community were compared with those of the general black community?
Dick Wegehaupt, St. Paul
Funding strategy is needed because Legislature abdicated
Bob “Again” Carney Jr.’s editorial counterpoint attacking the Metropolitan Council’s plan to use “Certificates of Participation” to fund the state’s 10 percent portion of Southwest LRT (“Southwest light-rail plans unrealistic,” July 13) was misleading for the following reasons:
1) Hennepin County and the affected municipalities have already funded 40 percent of the total cost (the federal government’s anticipated 50 percent funding of SWLRT will push the funding to 90 percent).
2) The failure of the Minnesota Legislature to fund the remaining 10 percent is part of a nationwide partisan attack on rail transit that is killing rail projects from Baltimore to Wisconsin.
Given the partisan war on rail transit, the writer is correct is saying that legislative funding of that 10 percent should not be expected next year, either. Because the Legislature has abdicated its responsibility to serve the needs of its citizens, the Certificates of Participation represent the only viable path for getting the badly needed line fully funded.
Doug Ellingson, Richfield
Factor in intangibles like flexibility on hours, location
James Sherk’s July 13 commentary (“Obama plan looks good but won’t raise wages”) did a nice job of explaining the reality of the exempt/nonexempt (salaried/hourly) debate. Employees are interested in “total” compensation, and that includes many intangibles — flexibility in work hours and location being a very large one. Shackling 5 million more employees to their desks when they could be shifting hours and location in pursuit of work-life balance leaves people less well-off, not more.
Perhaps we need to look at the definition of what makes a person eligible for overtime in a way that includes whether the job being performed can be done from any location given technological advances, or whether, in the case of many lower-paying retail positions, it needs to be done from a specific location, like the store itself.
By the way, what on earth does a sitting vice president need with an economic adviser (whom the commentary cites)? Seems that full employment is alive and well in the government sector.
Dennis K. Williams, St. Paul
NAMES AND SYMBOLS
At what point do changes amount to blotting out history?
What is the meaning of “history?” When do events become history? After 10 years? Or 25 years? Items do not become antiques until they are at least 50 years old.
Terrorists in the Middle East are destroying ancient buildings and artifacts. The news media claims they are destroying history.
Here in America, when something negative is published about the person whom, say, a statue represents, suddenly it is claimed that the person is no longer creditable by today’s standards, and that the statue should be torn down. Or, the name of a lake should be changed because the person it is named after is no longer creditable by today’s standards. These are calls for the destruction of our history. What is the difference in what the terrorists are doing and what’s being done here in America?
Whether we agree with the views or practices of a person a statue represents or a lake is named after is not the issue at this time. The statue and the name of the lake are “history.” We must learn from history, not destroy it because we don’t agree with it by today’s standards. Knowing history will save us from repeating mistakes.
Marlene Zachman, Albertville, Minn.
• • •
Changing the name of a lake or taking down a flag is not the same as erasing history. Those historical figures and symbols are still in our books, museums and school curricula. Our society has come a long way over the years; it only makes sense that the people and symbols we choose to honor would change.
Neal Skorpen, Minneapolis
MINNESOTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
It does so advocate for small businesses
It’s great to see the attention given to the business advocacy at the State Capitol (Readers Write, July 13). The writer, however, should get his facts straight. The mission of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is to improve the business climate for all companies, no matter their size or location. Nearly 80 percent of its members have 100 or fewer employees. As the retired owner of a small business of less than 10 people and as a former member of the Minnesota Chamber board of directors, I can speak firsthand to the organization’s effectiveness.
Contrary to the letter writer’s assertion, all Minnesota businesses — not just big corporations — pay the statewide business property tax. This tax is paid in addition to the local property tax and amounts to about 30 percent of the total property taxes paid by businesses. Lowering this fixed cost of doing business will help improve the competitiveness of all Minnesota businesses, and is at the forefront of the Chamber’s tax initiatives.
Steve McCulloch, Plymouth