Dear former state Rep. Joe Begich (“Et tu, Gov. Dayton?” Readers Write, March 17):

Thank you for your service to our state and country.

This is a far different world than the one in which you grew up. Resources are viewed much differently now. Fortunately, we have finally come to the realization that water is our most important and greatest resource. You grew up, Joe, on the heels of the elimination of our state’s white pine forest. A couple of decades later we would finish off our southern oak woods. These areas were filters keeping our waters clean. The list of poisons we’ve put in our waters is long and our poisoning continues, which unfortunately includes mining, threatening us all. When we have the chance to keep some of our waters clean, wherever in our beautiful state, we must take it.

Gregory Nayman, St. Paul

DONALD TRUMP

We, his supporters, see a strong leader, and you should, too

To review the reasoning of the Star Tribune Editorial Board (March 17) in opposing Donald Trump and favoring John Kasich, the “new face of the Republican Party would be the man who has vowed”:

• To deport 11 million people — who broke U.S. laws and are not being sought by our president, who vowed to uphold its laws.

• To ban Muslims from entering — until he can develop methods to keep terrorists out of our country, which our president could not (or did not want to) develop to keep us safe (for example, the San Bernardino, Calif., murders).

• To waterboard “and worse” terrorism suspects — to obtain much-needed intelligence information in attempts to decrease further U.S. deaths and injuries at the hands of terrorists.

• To modify our trade agreements with China, Mexico and other countries so we have fair trade as well as free trade, unlike the weak agreements of the existing regime.

Maybe the Star Tribune is comfortable with the current state of U.S. programs to ensure the safety of our citizens and the fairness of our trade agreements, but many (most) of its readers are not.

Even though Marco Rubio won the majority of delegates in Minnesota, some of us who voted for Trump believe we need a more powerful leader who can keep us safe and allow our businesses to prosper through fair-trade policies with our global partners. Maybe that will help keep our domestic companies from seeking inversions and opportunities for moving businesses overseas. The Editorial Board should be well aware of what happens when local companies are burdened with repressive taxation and other policies. Witness the exodus of the St. Paul Companies, the St. Paul Ford plant and many others.

Lyle Mowery, South St. Paul

• • •

We need to stop painting Trump as Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. It should be possible to disagree with him and voice opinions about his shortcomings as a presidential candidate without slapping historically extreme, pejorative labels on him. Doing so doesn’t change anyone’s mind who already agrees with his policies and (perplexingly) appreciates his personality, and it trivializes history.

Trump isn’t opening death camps for Jews. He’s not a generalissimo launching a military coup. He’s not advocating for the consolidation of political power into one party, and he isn’t trying to become a dictator. He is abrasive and abusive, has staunchly un-American views on immigration, and is an economic protectionist and bully. There’s a lot there to dislike, but those qualities do not make him a fascist any more than advocating for welfare and progressive tax rates makes someone a communist. Throwing extremist labels on those with whom we disagree does nothing except absolve us of our civic responsibility to understand the candidates, issues and motivations of people with ideas different from our own.

Allen Seaquist, St. Paul

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

Read the state Driver’s Manual. Spread this knowledge, please.

The Star Tribune published two detailed articles (March 16 and 17) about a St. Paul pedestrian killed in a crosswalk, but made no mention of the traffic law that, when obeyed, would have prevented the collision. This very important lifesaver occupies just one, easy-to-miss line in the state Driver’s Manual: “It is illegal to pass another vehicle stopped for a pedestrian.” Rain, snow, darkness or fog make no difference; if you see a car that might be stopped for a pedestrian, you can’t pass it without first positively determining that it isn’t hiding pedestrians from you. Simple, logical — and largely unknown.

John Kaplan, St. Paul

CUBA DIPLOMACY

Sen. Klobuchar, visit but keep an appropriate distance

I would like to encourage U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar to avoid being photographed with either Fidel or Raul Castro on her trip to Cuba (“Klobuchar, Emmer to join historic trip to Cuba,” March 13). These two are responsible for the imprisonment, torture and murder of so many people.

Also, I would encourage Klobuchar to request of the Cuban government the opportunity to visit with some of the women who are currently locked up for political reasons. She should then speak publicly about the results, whether she was denied the visit or what was discussed during the visit.

For a U.S. senator, these would be the decent things to do regarding human rights, women’s rights and political rights. Minnesota consistently claims to stand for these rights for all.

Peter Novelli, St. Louis Park

THE DFL AND BUSINESS

I don’t see the enmity; might it be a red herring?

After reading Scott Wine and David MacLennan’s counterpoint to the DFL leadership’s goals (“Oh, c’mon, DFL leaders. Business is not the enemy,” March 18), I had to go back and read the article they were responding to (“DFL leaders: Here are our goals for this year’s legislative session,” March 11). I couldn’t find one word in the original that denigrated Minnesota businesses, as the two CEOs state in their opinion piece. But then again, I couldn’t find one word in the original article about the common ground squirrel. These fun-loving little creatures never hurt anyone. How can the entire DFL Party be anti-ground-squirrel?

Richard Crose, Bloomington

PRIORITIES

When you see feel-good news, keep your criticism to yourself

A March 17 letter writer publicly chastised the Edina family who generously donated $150,000 of its own money for a community pickleball court, because the writer felt the money could’ve gone to better use and claimed it was a sad commentary on priorities. Are you kidding me? Out of all the news items that day that she could’ve written about, this is the one she prioritized. She could have commented on any number of awful and tragic events in the news that day. Instead she chose to take one of the few feel-good news items and try to put it in a negative light.

It is sad commentary indeed that she demonizes a fun and generous gift from people who clearly love the sport and want to bring the joy of it to their community. Sadder still that the Star Tribune letters editor gave her printed space in the paper to do so. I would like to thank the family for its kind donation, and I look forward to an opportunity to learn the sport!

Martha Murphy, Edina