It was interesting to read that Keith Ellison had asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate the case of Karen Monahan being abused. At the earliest, the committee will probably not meet until after the national elections in November. Ellison is not running for a national office, so any finding of the committee would basically not count for anything. This is a calculated and not a surprise move. Do his followers also want a meaningless finding? Shame on them!
The allegation of abuse is a serious issue. It should be properly reviewed and an appropriate finding rendered. Monahan has presented tangible evidence of the abuse but not up to including the apparent video that exists. Perhaps it is embarrassing because it reveals her in the same state as when she was born. Medical records substantiate her report of abuse and should not be ignored. Who is involved in this investigation? We should be aware of what is going on. This is a state issue and needs to be examined and reported on that basis.
Ellison does not deserve to be the Minnesota attorney general if he is guilty of such abuse. In addition, he wants to take on President Donald Trump. Minnesota attorney general is not the proper role for such wishes.
Whoever is investigating the abuse of Karen Monahan needs to complete their work before the election in November. Failure to do so is a cheap shot at those of us who live here. The Star Tribune should lead such an effort. It bears some civic responsibility, and should exercise it.
John Richard Strahan, Brooklyn Park
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I heard that the Star Tribune is jumping on, or starting, a bandwagon to have Keith Ellison’s divorce records made public (“Star Tribune files suit to unseal Keith Ellison’s divorce records,” Sept. 26). Such records have no bearing on his ability to be a good attorney general. But those at the paper know that. Their real motive is to lure racists, archconservatives and the loonies hiding among the #MeToo movement to their paper and away from the Pioneer Press, an honestly conservative newspaper.
I can’t cancel my Star Tribune subscription, as I canceled it after the paper helped Donald Trump win the presidency by sucking up to both left and right. I can only stop buying individual copies and telling people what I think of the paper.
For those of you who decided on this step to lure the right, before any of you get a promotion, I hope your employer thinks to dig into your divorce record to see if you are fit for the job.
Jane E. Thomson, St. Paul
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A Sept. 26 letter writer states that “given what happened to [former U.S. Sen. Al] Franken, it is absurd to accuse Democrats of ignoring harassment in their own ranks.” I beg to differ. If anything, Democrats have been using Franken’s ouster to avoid addressing more serious issues in their own ranks. The accusation against Ellison includes violence, which is far more serious than anything of which Franken was accused. We cannot act as if Franken’s forced resignation — a political maneuver by the party designed to prevent the election of Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate from Alabama — absolves all Democrats from Bill Clinton to Ellison of their sins. Each must be addressed on its own merits.
I will be writing Franken’s name in for the seat he was compelled to vacate. I will not be casting a vote for Ellison.
Rich Furman, St. Paul
Here’s how protection works when the process is respected
Attempts by the past three administrations to lift protections for the grizzly bear in accordance with the Endangered Species Act have been stymied by lawsuits. It’s no surprise that, in response, the GOP now wants to amend the Endangered Species Act — revisions that will result in less protection for not just grizzlies, but many other imperiled species and their habitats (“Congress seeks species law changes after grizzly hunt barred,” StarTribune.com, Sept. 26).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has very competent scientists who produce or use the best available science to make their determinations through an open and transparent process, in consultation with state, tribal and other partners. The USFWS also has a valid, accepted history of considering “distinct population segments” in its analysis of science for endangered/threatened species listing, recovery and delisting.
The judge in the grizzly case apparently rejected that concept, saying the USFWS must consider the species’ entire possible range in its analysis. Their entire historic range will likely never again be populated by grizzly bears, regardless of the protections afforded.
The responsibility of the judicial branch is to ensure that the executive agency complied with applicable law and not to second-guess its decision. In this instance, the judge appears to have overstepped his role, replacing the agency decision with his opinion.
When special-interest preservationist organizations initiate a lawsuit, that in turn requires scarce government funds to be diverted from the money allocated by Congress to protect species, and to be used instead to pay government lawyers to defend the science. Enormous legal resources are expended to fight these litigants who believe protection/preservation can never be fully attained. Court cases involving endangered species have resulted in near-gridlock of the process for listing, recovery and delisting of species, and starving the programs responsible for carrying them out.
The purpose of the ESA is for the lead agency to use the best available science to determine if species should be listed, to develop and implement a recovery plan, and to delist the species when the recovery plan goals have been achieved. Protections continue through state agencies in accordance with management plans that are carefully examined and approved by the lead agency. This is the elaborate process that was followed, but then rejected by a judge’s opinion.
It’s unfortunate that well-intended special-interest efforts to protect a species from hunting have created a backlash so strong that all endangered or threatened species may now suffer negative consequences.
David Pederson, Minnetrista
The writer is a retired biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Don’t punish those in pain
As I joined chronic pain advocates gathering in St. Paul last week, the united message was simple: “Don’t punish pain.” This rally marked one of the first in a nationwide effort to raise awareness surrounding the chronic-pain community’s unnecessary suffering at the hands of legislative and regulatory efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. And it’s particularly important in Minnesota, where our Legislature recently considered a tax on the distribution of all prescription opioids.
Sciatica, cancer, scoliosis and fibromyalgia — we all know people who suffer debilitating pain and discomfort from these conditions. Stigmatizing these patients as addicts or criminals and potentially restricting their access to prescription opioids — often the only effective solution to their pain — seems cruel. Unfortunately, aggressive government policies and regulations have already decreased access to prescription opioids, leading some physicians and hospitals to halt pain treatment altogether. Further barriers, like a tax on opioid distribution, will only burden our state’s most vulnerable patients, and that’s not fair.
Lawmakers must not forget the legitimate, and heavily regulated, use of opioid medications. I was optimistic to see so many out in support on Tuesday, and I hope that our legislators take the cue.
Dan Lavalle, Farmington