The Republican game of politics for politics' sake is back in full swing. And as usual, the party has it wrong ("Legislators work to undo cities' rules," March 13). Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, says that "the cultural values of Minneapolis are drastically out of alignment with greater Minnesota, so there's going to be conflicts." Well, actually it's the other way around: The values of politicians like Garofalo are "out of alignment" with the views of the majority of the Twin Cities metro area, where 60 percent of Minnesotans live.
One has to ask: What "values" is this politician citing? Are plastic bags, no sick leave and (God help us) permits for using bike lanes that critical to outstate voters? Do they really want state mandates that trump (so to speak) reasonable local ones? Are Garofalo's values the same ones that are driving many young people to the Twin Cities? Perhaps if the Republicans really stood for the values that historically have defined Minnesota, they wouldn't have to hyphenate their high schools and gerrymander their way into power.
Doug Wilhide, Minneapolis
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Perhaps Garofalo and like-thinking persons from the rest of the state will very much want to avoid the "conflicts" they will encounter when entering this cultural wasteland known as the Twin Cities.
Let's see — that would include games for the Twins, Wild, Vikings, Loons, Gophers and Timberwolves; performances at the Guthrie, Northrop, Walker, MIA, Ordway, Orchestra Hall and numerous other smaller venues, as well as visits to HCMC, Abbott Northwestern, the University of Minnesota Medical Center and the State Fair, just to name a few.
As a decades-long resident of Minneapolis (just moved to Bloomington), I can only imagine how my cultural values are in need of re-imagining, especially at the behest of the likes of the good representative.
Here's the deal: We are all Minnesotans. We are in this deal together. We Twin Citians won't denigrate the Eelpout Festival in Walker, the Fiesta Days in Montevideo, Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield (and on and on), and we'll still go "Up North" and spend our millions, just so long as the rest of you let us do our thing here in the great cesspool of culture we choose to live in.
Paul Linnee, Bloomington
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When reading about pending legislation proposed by outstate Republican legislators, it appears the supposed divide between urban and rural is between special interests with economic objectives. How does a plastic bag ban in Minneapolis have deleterious effects on a shopper at Wal-Mart in Pine City? Do constituents of Rep. Duane Quam really think bikers in cities should have a permit to use bike lanes? Perhaps farmers should have permits to drive tractors down the road. I was outstate for 33 years, and not once did I feel as though Twin Cities ordinances had an effect on me. The real elephant in the room is ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) and legislators who are members and adhere to that organization's philosophy.
Chuck Justice, Woodbury
AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT
The impact, the obligation, the media coverage, the history
I was alarmed to read that Minnesota stands to lose as much as $80 million over the next five years under the proposed American Health Care Act (front page, March 13). Public health programs play an essential role creating the healthy Minnesota we all enjoy, and such a drastic cut in funding would hurt many Minnesotans. Just as physicians strive to improve the health of an individual patient, public health professionals work to improve the health of communities. From helping new mothers keep their babies healthy, to increasing access to cancer screening, to making sure the elderly maintain access to flu vaccines, public health programs create healthy communities for all of us.
Not only does public health make our communities healthier, it also saves money. By investing in programs that keep Minnesotans healthy and prevent illnesses from progressing, public health programs reduce the burden on our health care system and reduce health care costs. If, instead of cutting public health funding, we invested just $10 per person per year in programs proven to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent tobacco use, the U.S. could save more than $16 billion annually within five years. Cutting public health funding would make Minnesotans more sick and waste money. At a time when our nation is struggling to stay healthy and contain health care costs, it would be foolish to defund these critical prevention programs.
Annie Krapek, Minneapolis
The writer is a public health professional.
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My handy pocket-size copy of the U.S. Constitution quite clearly states that promotion of the general welfare is inherent in our values.
Maintaining a healthy population via prevention appears to be anathema to the Republican Party, at the expense of everyone else.
Richard A. Pommier, Long Prairie, Minn.
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The misleading media is shouting about 14 million people who may lose their health insurance under the proposed new AHCA. What the Congressional Budget Office report actually says is most of that number is voluntary:
"CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums."
Bill Coleman, Plymouth
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I'm on the White House mailing list and received an e-mail declaring that Obamacare was a "total failure" and inviting me to share my story of what happened to me under Obamacare. So I did. I told the White House that my daughter developed a serious health condition when she was 17, but that she was able to stay on our family's health insurance because of Obamacare. I don't know how we would have afforded her care otherwise. When she turned 26, she was able to get on other insurance regardless of her preexisting condition because Obamacare prevented insurance companies from rejecting people like her. Overall, Obamacare was a godsend for our family. I told the White House that I expected it wouldn't use my story because I didn't trash Obamacare and that seems to be all the White House and the Republicans want to hear. Although they don't want to hear about the success stories, I hope others do, because good news about Obamacare isn't fake news. My story and many others' stories are real.
Michael Jaes, Roseville
City was shortsighted
It is unfortunate that the city of Minneapolis acted so hastily to invoke an ill-conceived penalty on the Surdyk's liquor store ("Nasty hangover for Surdyk's," March 14). The small, $2,000 cash penalty pales compared with the value of the publicity, fame and profits for that Sunday of sales.
The loss of state and federal tax collections from the July liquor license suspension will be substantial on an average $2 million to $3 million in monthly sales. It would have been more tax-effective to the state to impose a penalty equal to the profits of that day of sales, or the profits from the month of July, which would preserve substantial tax collections. We expect more from our political leadership that only continues to let us down.