So a liquor store owner thumbs his nose at state law and city ordinances by opening for Sunday business four months before the law allows (front page, March 13). He smiles cheerfully. Why not? He's got front-page coverage and becomes a private-enterprise hero.

No wonder we've got a guy like Donald Trump as president.

Hope Melton, Edina

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Defiant Jim Surdyk made his own statement on Sunday by opening his doors. He was likely well aware of any fines or citations he might face. The publicity alone is probably worth much more than the penalties. [On Monday, the city of Minneapolis ruled that his store must pay a $2,000 fine and will have its liquor license suspended for 30 days in July.] I think he just told the state to take this old law and permanently shove it. Praises to you, Jim.

Cindy Saba Stoewer, Minneapolis

From federal law to states' rights to local laws: GOP hypocrisy

As a Minneapolis resident who's worked hard to participate in municipal decisionmaking and to elect leaders who reflect our city's values and priorities, I'm furious at GOP legislators' attempts to override the will of local communities ("Legislators work to undo cities' rules," March 13).

What Erin Golden's excellent article doesn't say is that many of these "pre-emption" measures originate with corporate "bill mills" like ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) and the industries it serves. This isn't just a Minnesota thing; these bills are cropping up in states all over the country where corporate interests are alarmed by local progressive policymaking. The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch reported extensively last year on ALEC's elaborate nationwide assault on cities' ability to regulate plastic bags and other plastic containers (

We're pretty thorough at hashing out policy here in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We take the time and effort to study, propose, debate, modify and agree upon measures that work for us, and we don't appreciate corporate interests from elsewhere swooping in to summarily undo our efforts. Please, Republican lawmakers, turn your attention to drafting initiatives that voters in your own districts actually want.

Susan Maas, Minneapolis

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So, the Republican Party, which controls Congress, is currently arguing to give states more control in making decisions about health care and how to take care of their citizens. It claims that the federal government shouldn't be mandating health insurance and that states are closer to the people and are better equipped to make these kinds of decisions. House Speaker Paul Ryan goes as far to say that it's about "freedom." How is it then that the local Republican Party here in Minnesota, which controls the Legislature, is fighting to take control away from local government bodies? Either you're for local control or you're not. As Ryan says, it's a "binary choice," so please pick one.

Dave Kornecki, Minneapolis

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I am waiting with bated breath for the Republican-controlled Legislature to prove its consistency by jumping in and quashing the effort in Republican-leaning Edina to raise the age for purchasing cigarettes, just as it was so quick to move to try to pre-empt a higher minimum wage in DFL-leaning Minneapolis.

Steve Brandt, Minneapolis

• • •

Reading that the city of Edina is considering raising the tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21 made me think there might be a better way to stop the harm that results from tobacco use. Rather than stopping the sale of tobacco products to young people, why don't we stop selling tobacco to people over 40? Through the ages, society has not been able to stop young people from behaving in reckless ways. Young people stay out late, drive too fast, laugh too loud and so on. We older people are proud to have survived youth. By the age of 40 we don't have the energy for bad behavior anymore. Ask any smoker over 40 if he/she would like to quit; the overwhelming answer would be yes. The money saved could be turned to retirement funds, education funds for offspring — who knows? The thing is, to be free of tobacco at 40 is rational; to expect people to be rational at 20 is unrealistic.

Jon Bjornson, Minneapolis

Luger should have been a keeper

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, who served Minnesota and the Twin Cities, resigned at the request of Attorney General Jeff Sessions along with nearly 50 others (front page, March 11). Although it might be standard procedure for a new administration to "clean house," Luger's resignation should be reconsidered. From the outside, it seems that he has done a difficult job well. He was charged with building trust among the Somali community while prosecuting those who violated the law. I would think a familiar, competent face and voice would add strength to the well-being of this community. Luger has built a trust among all Minnesotans that justice will take precedence and be applied fairly. Hopefully his good work will be recognized by the president with a refusal to accept his resignation. Doing what is right and just in Luger's case should trump politics.

Pete Boelter, North Branch

Why water vapor is not the issue, as a letter writer claimed

Unfortunately, it is human nature to cherry-pick facts and information to suit a desired conclusion, and thus distort the truth. This is the error of the March 11 letter writer who claimed that, because water and methane absorb more infrared radiation on a per-molecule basis than carbon dioxide, they are more important contributors to global warming than carbon dioxide. This conclusion is false because it fails to consider the lifetimes of different greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The lifetimes of water and methane are relatively short, whereas carbon dioxide has a much longer lifetime. Within a few days, water vapor in the atmosphere falls back to earth as rain; therefore, its concentration remains constant. Methane lasts about a decade in the atmosphere and builds up relatively slowly. In contrast, the carbon dioxide that we produce today will linger in the atmosphere for up to 800 years. Because the rate that humans produce carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels far exceeds the rate of the natural processes that remove it from the atmosphere, its concentration is increasing more dramatically than any other heat-absorbing gas. Therefore, carbon dioxide is the biggest contributor to the warming of the Earth. Methane has about one-third of the effect of carbon dioxide, and water has no effect on global warming.

Gretchen Hofmeister, Northfield

The writer is a chemistry professor.


A poor choice by Tevlin

I am deeply disappointed that Jon Tevlin decided to take a potshot at all of us in Minnesota who are in recovery. In his March 12 column about the recent mayoral forum ("Mayoral hopefuls lob mostly softballs"), he describes Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges as speaking in "imprecise vernacular" you hear from people from "rehab or therapy."

As someone with almost 15 years in recovery, I find this both rude and unhelpful. My vocabulary can be plenty precise, in no small part when dealing with buffoons such as Tevlin. But also in speaking to others about the life-changing, life-affirming decision to quit drinking and live a life of integrity and good cheer.

The sort of side-slam Tevlin delivers to both treatment and psychotherapy reflects the long-standing bias many have against seeking help for life's challenges, and the Star Tribune should be embarrassed for perpetuating the stereotype.

Ralph Wyman, Minneapolis