I feel sorry for Paul Kaspszak, executive director of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association (“Minnesota pops cork on Sunday liquor sales,” July 3). He needs to open his mind and realize that food and beverage pairing is a personal thing and that old generalizations may not apply to everyone. If you like a chardonnay with Cheerios, go for it. Many people very much enjoy a quality beer with chicken as well. (His references, in expressing his concern that grocery and convenience stores may want in on the action.)
What he fails to understand is that consumers want the opportunity to purchase their food and beverages in a convenient manner. He needs to visit other states where alcoholic beverages are sold in grocery stores and see that it is the inevitable future in Minnesota as well. Stop blocking what the majority of the state’s people desire. This is a free-market, capitalistic society.
Mike Behrendt, Eden Prairie
WAGES AND RESTAURANTS
A great column by Schafer, but with one sour note
While I found Lee Schafer’s July 2 column (“Wage hike will reshape the Minneapolis dining experience”) so well-written, calmly thought out and spot-on that I’m posting it in our restaurant kitchen, I do feel compelled to speak out about one sentence that raised my eyebrows. Schafer wrote: “Being friendlier, funnier, quicker to the table and just better at what’s called ‘building the check’ by selling more stuff to the same customer is the kind of behavior that owners think should be rewarded.”
While a bigger tab certainly helps sales, I have never, ever promoted that tactic or even heard that phrase used at my restaurant, nor have I ever heard any other restaurant owners discuss this. Maybe it’s a mentality of huge chains, but at the indies I’m familiar with, sales push tactics are just not part of our vocabulary; we’re just boot-strappers trying to make an honest living.
Cynthia Gerdes, Minneapolis
Value Minnesota’s process, which protects legal voters
Having been an election judge in Minnesota for many years, I appreciate the more than 40 secretaries of state who are refusing to consolidate state voting records into a partisan federal database. Voting is a process that belongs to the states. If the Trump administration is actually concerned about the integrity of the voting process, it could create a bipartisan commission that could review state voting procedures and the results of many existing studies and recommendations.
Minnesota’s voting process always rates high on independent evaluations. In addition to the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s generic recommendations of more secure voting registration databases and paper trails (“To protect voting, secure infrastructure,” July 5), we have one extremely important safeguard in this state that should be recommended nationwide — day-of-voting registration. This allows us to fix any roster errors that may occur.
If there is a clerical error on the registration list, we can fix it. If anyone ever hacks the database and removes your name, you can re-register on the spot. If you moved from one precinct to another on Nov. 1, we can get you on the correct roster. If you got married and changed your name, congratulations — we can fix that. If you haven’t voted in years and you were removed from the roster, we can reinstate your record.
In some states, if you aren’t on the roster, you can’t vote. That would frighten me. That gives power to the hackers or any unscrupulous person who wants to modify the list. In Minnesota, we can fix legitimate problems. Although voters complain about having to fill out a form and go home for additional paperwork, our process protects legal voters.
I do have one gripe about Minnesota’s system. We never used to have to declare a political party, but with the new rules for our primary elections, we will be required to state a party preference. To me, that is private information that I don’t like being recorded by the state.
Rochelle Eastman, Savage
Kudos to, well, some of our delegation on Dodd-Frank relief
The clarity of reporting on U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer’s and others’ efforts to make amendments to Dodd-Frank for easing of community banks’ compliance with regulatory reporting of loans to local borrowers is welcomed — and needed (“Seeking rule relief for small lenders,” July 3).
It appears to me that U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s comments lambasting it as a giveaway to Wall Street bigwigs is evidence that he doesn’t understand the matter. Community banks of $150 million total assets are “Wall Street bigwigs”?
And U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s remarks show, too, his lack of knowledge — and he, a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Where are Franken and Ellison with their community bank constituents?
They should listen to the comments in the article of Bryan Bruns, president and CEO of Lake Central Bank in Annandale. He is right on.
I was pleased to read that U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a cosponsor in the Senate of the Clear Relief Act, along with Emmer and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen in the House.
Larry Kennedy, Oak Park Heights
GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION
The real issue: Sanders’ behavior
There is an issue in John Kass’ contribution to the June 24 Opinion Exchange page that has been lost in all of the subsequent discussion about the differences between Christianity and Islam (Readers Write, June 27 and July 1, and a counterpoint, July 4). I think it is evident that they are different, and I don’t feel a need to add fuel to that fire. The issue that came up during the discussion of Russell Vought’s confirmation hearing by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is the glaring divergence from the Constitution that has been missed.
When Sanders took his oath of office as a senator, he swore to “support and defend the Constitution.” In his questioning of Vought (the nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget), he made Vought’s opinion of Islam the main issue of his cross-examination, and his recommendation that Vought be disqualified was based solely upon this issue. This is in direct violation of Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the document he had sworn to uphold. He did not just violate the “spirit” of the article but the exact wording of Clause 3 as written: “[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
It is of great concern to me that a sitting senator can flagrantly violate the Constitution in the exercise of his duties. It is astounding, also, that the chairman of this hearing did not challenge Sanders but allowed his unconstitutional examination to stand on the record. This is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Is our country still based upon law, or is it based upon current opinions of political leaders?
John George, Northfield
ROAD FUNDING WOES
Root cause is apparent
The July 5 article about roads (“A concrete dilemma: Patch vs. redo”) brought back my anger on this issue. Because of the endless quest for votes (and no better way than to not raise taxes), the GOP refuses to look at the easiest, fairest and, really, the least painful way to pay for road replacement. Yes, I’m talking about a gas tax. We have seen the price of gasoline fluctuate over the last 10 years by various increments, from a high of around $4 in 2008 to just over $2 now. Had we implemented a 10- or 20-cent-a-gallon tax after the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, we would never have noticed it over the other normal price changes. Most important, we would have the money to properly fix our infrastructure.
Philip Wagner, Minneapolis