Another unfortunate development for the beautiful, benevolent bovine! ("Masks eat cows' methane burps," Business, June 27.)
The wearable device is fitted on a harness and hangs over the cow's nostrils like a window awning. What happens to the skin under the mask that never gets air?
Here's some twisted logic by a Cargill employee: "[I]t also improves animal welfare because we are able to capture, analyze and process data about the animals and their behavior and eating habits."
A better solution would be for two-legged animals to act responsibly in all areas of endeavor to create a clean environment so four-legged species can live in their natural state of being.
Sharon Fortunak, St. Paul
Virtual meetings are rather 'convenient,' wouldn't you say?
It's possible that the decision by the Minneapolis City Council to extend the COVID-19 emergency declaration (local section, July 2) was made, in part, to assist businesses by extending COVID relief provisions, such as "allowing the city to continue to permit some restaurants without patios to provide outdoor dining, cap fees on some food delivery orders and waive late fees for some food, taxi, liquor and catering licenses."
If we had a functioning city government, these relief provisions would not need to be done by emergency fiat but could be adopted through the regular system and hard work of actual governance. This includes public notice of proposals, citizen input, open discussion, and votes on proposed ordinances. The City Council, though, has repeatedly proven itself incapable of governing through standard processes.
The goals of the declaration were purportedly to provide a "faster or more effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic" and to allow for a smoother transition to normal operations. Since the council decided to take a detour around good governance by extending the declaration, it's worthwhile to highlight a provision that will thus remain in effect: The declaration allows the city to continue holding virtual public meetings. This mechanism permits the council to continue to avoid hearing from constituents in a public forum. Virtual meetings are a poor substitute for citizen participation, and for the opportunity to speak out and be heard at a council meeting.
It's true, of course, that no one could accuse the council of listening to or even showing interest in public opinion, based on the actions it has taken. However, this continuing disrespect toward voters just shows more blatantly the council's contempt for hearing from the people of Minneapolis.
Excluding the voice of the people from in-person meetings certainly does not in any way improve the pandemic response, but it does exclude the citizens from being fully heard. So I guess some purpose is being met by this extension, but it appears the purpose is to protect the delicate council members from the consequences of their actions — hearing the voices of the people in a public forum.
Cindy Greenlaw Benton, Minneapolis
When the Minneapolis City Council in June 2021 proposed changing the City Charter in order to end the Police Department and create a new Department of Public Safety, one of the authors of that proposal, Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, explained that this was different from a 2020 council-proposed charter amendment. He emphatically said that the council had received feedback and had therefore made changes from the 2020 proposal. Unlike the previous proposal, the new one would require a Law Enforcement Services Division in the new department, staffed by licensed peace officers and headed by a chief.
But now the authors of that proposal have withdrawn it in favor of a "citizens petition" that only requires police officers, if necessary, in its Department of Public Safety. The authors of the council proposal say they've withdrawn their idea in order to avoid confusion.
But what happened to those changes from the 2020 proposal that Cunningham had so emphatically pointed out? I now see a new confusion — a confusion between Minneapolis City Council members' words and deeds.
Chuck Turchick, Minneapolis
After observing police and community activity in Minneapolis for more than a year now, following the call to defund the police, the solution seems to be this: Double the number of police officers, double their training budget and double their wages.
Double the number of officers so that they can rotate through training more regularly and have more time in the streets for community engagement. Double their training budget for more regular training in de-escalation, proper restraint and community engagement. And double their wage to get the very best candidates and incentivize recruits who live in the neighborhoods in which they work.
This seems to be the best investment the city can make to serve all, and it would cost less than the payouts and the recovery from vandalism we have seen in the last year. And save lives.
Joe Baker, Minneapolis
The summary of the July 1 editorial ("Abuse of officials doesn't further causes") said that protesters who harassed Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins proved nothing.
I respectfully disagree. They proved that there is no satisfying them!
Mike Bethke, Minneapolis
Applause for a second daily train to Chicago
As a parent in a multicultural family that values travel and learning about new places, I was very excited to see that a second daily train to Chicago from St. Paul will begin running in 2024 (front page, June 29).
My family would love the ability to travel easily from the Twin Cities to Chicago, but the current rail options are limited. An additional dedicated line will open up more options.
Taking a train to Chicago, rather than driving, would not only be more comfortable for our whole family, including small children, it would also be more environmentally friendly, and very popular with the train enthusiast in the family, my husband. I can only imagine better passenger rail options would also be popular with college students and those who travel to visit family members regularly. I would love to see our state and country invest in more passenger rail, both for the convenience it offers as well as its lighter environmental impact.
Anna Renvall, St. Louis Park
The experience of the cheerful, aging man with hair loss
I chuckled as I read David Brooks' June 29 commentary in regard to lookism as a major form of discrimination. ("Why is it OK to be mean to someone based on their looks?")
I am a 53-year-old who has male pattern baldness. A high school friend and I tend to ruminate about our balding heads.
If we were to compete against another job candidate with equal qualifications, the candidate with the more vigorous head of hair would likely get the job.
It is rare to see a television newscaster with a balding head. Oh, well. There are worse things that could happen to a person.
I work at a desk (customers do not see me) and I get compliments on my pleasant voice and helpfulness!
Steve Meloche, Bloomington
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