I read with interest Jon Tevlin’s column about La Belle Vie’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, but I have to ask if he has ever seen a farming CSA (“Good stuff happens when chef chooses your groceries,” July 22). He writes that “typically, at least in Minnesota, that means you might get a bushel of carrots and a half-dozen heads of lettuce one month, and a pallet of zucchini the next.” I just purchased a share in a CSA (from the Hmong American Farmers Association) for the first time and am amazed at the variety of produce. In just the last two weeks, I have received: cucumbers, sugar snap peas, carrots, water spinach, Malabar greens, dill, sweet bulb onion, green beans, beets, new Yukon potatoes, yellow squash, green zucchini, curly and dinosaur kale, romaine lettuce, mint and cauliflower. Hardly just carrots and lettuce.
SHARON DEMARK, St. Paul
POLITICS AND POLLING
Publicly fund campaigns, and stop letting donors buy power
Donald Trump’s campaign proves beyond all doubt one fact critical to the survival of a true democracy: Publicly funded races would allow candidates to speak what they really believe. Face it, the public now funds all campaigns because we buy products that make the Koch brothers super rich. They aggregate the wealth from us but get all of the credit and political power that comes from contributing billions to buy politicians. We the people own the airwaves, and instead of making broadcasters wealthier, we should give airtime to candidates and support their access to social media. Then we might get real debate about real ideas instead of clever, poll-tested phrases that conceal the candidate behind a “winning strategy.” Few politicians are true to anything except what their funders believe. It’s time to endorse free speech by putting our money where the politician’s mouth is.
RICHARD BREITMAN, Minneapolis
• • •
I’m willing to accept U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s statement that he was joking when he opined that Sen. John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he “sat out” the Vietnam War as a prisoner of North Vietnam. If that was, indeed, a joke, it certainly was in poor taste, considering that Sen. McCain suffered six years of hideous torture that left him with permanent injuries. Sen. Franken, do you also find funny the idea that GIs who surrendered on Corregidor were slackers and that the Bataan Death March was a walk in the park?
HENRY OWEN, Minnetonka
• • •
Here is what the July 22 letter writer who took Franken to task would like you not to know: Fifteen years ago, Franken was not a U.S. senator, he was a political satirist and a radio show host. In fact, the letter writer would like you to ignore that Franken actually made his comments to McCain’s face, then praised the Arizona senator for his tremendous courage. This is in contrast to reality-star-turned-presidential-candidate Donald Trump, who despite never having served in the military felt qualified to judge whether or not McCain was a war hero. Not only has Trump not apologized for his comments, he has gone out of his way to criticize anyone who found fault with his remarks. For the July 22 letter writer to say that Franken and Trump did “basically the same thing” is to clearly ignore reality.
DAVID FREDERICK, Coon Rapids
• • •
Your July 20 editorial “Why polls can’t be trusted anymore” defines what to me is a non-problem. The polling expert you cite says that people can trust polls on broad issues but not on the political horse race. Why should we care about who is ahead in the polls? What’s important is what the public thinks about the issues of the day and candidates’ thoughtful assessments and sincerely held positions (if any) on them.
JIM RICHARDSON, St. Paul
POLITICS AND THE MEDIA
Upon review, Constitution is silent on ‘unbiased rhetoric’
A recent letter called for the media, among others, to “return to their Constitutional responsibility of unbiased rhetoric.” I just checked my copy of the Constitution and did not find “unbiased” or “rhetoric.”
I did find, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” I think the Constitution clearly states the media is free to call the president a fool or free to call the president the wisest ever elected.
And if one includes media one likes and media one doesn’t like, one will find cases of both.
MELVYN MAGREE, Duluth
Growth in air traffic at MSP is a bad sign for the environment
Holy catastrophic climate destabilization! My jaw dropped when I read that air traffic in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was about 412,000 last year and is expected to increase to 511,000 in the next 20 years (“MSP predicts more homes in noise zone,” July 21).
Considering that one person flying in an airplane for one hour is responsible for the same greenhouse gas emissions as a typical Bangladeshi in a whole year, and that every year jet aircraft generate almost as much carbon dioxide as the entire African continent produces, I would have hoped that the airline industry could demonstrate responsibility and work on decreasing. What is driving the increase, an industry’s unstoppable desire for growth or consumers’ uncurbed appetite to travel? Either way, would somebody tell me how more flights benefit the common good?
NADJA REUBENOVA, Minneapolis
Proposed agreement provides a chance to repair relationship
We had the privilege of serving in the Peace Corps from 1965-67. Our assignment was Iran, and we lived for two years in a beautiful city in southern Iran. As a result, we have had a great interest in the country ever since.
We recently attended a reunion of more than 250 Iran Peace Corps volunteers and had the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts who briefed us on the situation in Iran today. Many of our volunteer friends had traveled there recently, and they all reported that they were welcomed warmly and that the country had made remarkable strides.
It was the strong sense of this group that the proposed accord presents a long-awaited opportunity to repair relations between our two countries. Iran has a large, well educated population of people who, by and large, look forward with enthusiasm to a normalization of relations with the U.S.
We are hopeful that the U.S. will take advantage of this opportunity. It is time to open the door!!
DAVE AND PEGGY LUCAS, Minneapolis
Back in the day, council members and staff got along
As a former Golden Valley City Council member and current resident, it saddens me to read the July 22 story, “Survey says: All is not golden.” It is troubling to see that the council-staff relationship has gotten to this point. One aspect I loved about serving on the council was the mutual respect that the members and staff had for each other. That is not to say that we always agreed, but even when we didn’t, the staff respected the council’s decisionmaking process and the council respected the staff’s expertise. We worked well together as a team on behalf of the community. Without placing blame on either the council or staff, I urge the City Council and staff to quickly work out their differences, because it is the community that loses in this battle.
SCOTT D. GRAYSON, Golden Valley