Thanks to James Densley and David Squier Jones for their truth-telling about issues affecting the Black Lives Matter effort (“Black lives lost: a genocide from within,” June 15). Black-on-black violence remains the elephant in the room as we focus on biased and unjust policing. Black Lives Matter’s clarion call for social justice demands an open and honest discussion by black people about how we are greater threats to each other than are the police. Black men and women are dying daily at the hands of other blacks. Through this violence, men and women are judged and jailed. If we are to be serious, let’s force discussion of the core issues contributing to the many lives lost.

Organizational agendas should be refined to give high priority to black-on-black violence, which has found a safe haven in our own homes for guns and other forms of violence against people, including women. Let us not lose the impetus of this laudable Black Lives Matter effort that begs national and state-level discussions about how we can lessen instances of violence within our homes and communities. This must be rightly balanced with continued vigilance on systemic race and bias issues, including police misconduct and criminal wrongdoing against black people and others.

Let’s not waste another moment protesting at places that do not substantively touch and impact black people. Let’s march and protest in north Minneapolis and at points in south Minneapolis that directly keep so many from fully engaging and living wholly within safe communities in our cities.

Tim Price, Minneapolis

SPECIAL ELECTIONS

In Minnesota, an unlevel playing field favors major parties

On Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton called for a special election to fill the seat of state Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley. As state law is written, the governor has the power to dictate the length of the filing period for ballot access in any special election. In Minnesota, third-party and independent candidates can collect signatures to get on the ballot. In a normal election, they would have 14 days (the length of the filing period) to collect the required signatures.

I fully support this process. In this special election, however, the governor has set the filing period to last just six days. This is where fairness is thrown out the window. The governor has reduced the filing period for the special election by eight days. In a normal election, with 14 days to collect signatures, a state House candidate needs to collect 500 signatures for ballot access. In a special election, in this case with just six days to collect signatures, the threshold is still 500 signatures. This means that the barrier to ballot access for independent and third-party candidates has more than doubled in this special election. This closes the door to many aspiring candidates who refuse to identify with one of the two entrenched major parties.

A decrease in the time allowed for filing without a fair and equitable decrease in the number of signatures required amounts to unfair election rigging on the part of the governor. Yes, election rigging. By placing unreasonable barriers to participation before all but the major-party candidates, the election results are already rigged in the favor of just two political parties.

Special elections should not be special for just Republicans and Democrats. Minnesotans should be able to choose from multiple candidates in a special election, just as they do in a regular election. I am asking you to support fairness and openness in all elections, not just some of them. First, contact your legislators, the governor and the secretary of state to voice your concern. Second, show your support for third-party and independent candidates by contacting them and offering whatever support you can during this special-election process.

Mark Jenkins, Maplewood

The writer is chair of the Independence Party of Minnesota.

• • •

A recent letter about the late Dick Franson called into question people who perennially run for office. We should be thankful people take the time to run for office. The GOP and DFL Party do not have the answer for every office. I’m just upset the letter did not mention Gregg A. Iverson. I vote for him every election.

Gregg A. Iverson, Minneapolis

 

Q COMP

Program isn’t vindicated by murky citing of a single study

The statistical evidence that a June 17 letter writer references in support of Q Comp is not persuasive. An “average three percent deviation increase in reading achievement,” based on what evaluative instrument? Likewise “a similar effect on math achievement.” What does this mean? These statements are hardly the trump card the writer seems to feel he has played.

Furthermore, he ignores the most damning part of Steve Watson’s June 16 commentary (“The state of Q Comp, 10 years in”): Q Comp money, apparently, has been doled out to teachers in exchange for workshop attendance rather than awarded for demonstrating exceptional teaching. This is the tip of a much bigger iceberg, bigger still at a time when some reformists would like to eliminate the tenure system. While showing up is certainly easier to measure than exceptional instruction, clearly we lack a reliable system for recognizing and rewarding effective teachers.

Stephen Harlan-Marks, Robbinsdale

 

RACHEL DOLEZAL CASE

This country is still obsessed with the wrong characteristics

Rachel Dolezal of the NAACP is not DNA-black. But she is just as much a black person as Bruce Jenner is a woman (“NAACP leader lost credibility and job,” editorial, June 17). Most likely, she also would have been denied the presidency of her local NAACP chapter if she had declared herself being DNA-white instead of culturally black. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when his children would be in a world where people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. We still have a long way to go, don’t we?

Charles A. Lipkin, Golden Valley

 

ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATOR

Industrial properties’ dangers must also be addressed

It should not take two deaths in one location to motivate the Minneapolis City Council to start treating the abandoned Bunge grain elevator and similar disused industrial properties as public nuisances and order their removal (“Another urban explorer death? Woman falls in Bunge elevator,” June 9). Cost to the owner should not be a deciding criteria. When residential houses sit empty and deteriorate, the city takes action. Time to apply the same criteria to industrial properties and stop permitting owners to sit and wait for a developer to come along before removing the disused structures.

Les Everett, St. Paul