Thank you, Jon Tevlin, for that riotously funny sendup of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ piously incoherent speechmaking. Hilarious! Deep thoughts indeed. (“State of the city is deep, real deep, says mayor,” May 22.) I feel a combination of numbness and embarrassment just listening to that good woman speak. Since she is in my opinion a person of intelligence and incorruptibly good intentions, City of Lakes residents may be wise to forgive her high-minded swaddling. No backroom wheeling and dealing is going on in the Hodges administration!
Charlie Meyers, Minneapolis
Republicans resisted Democrats’ maneuvers. Someone had to.
Amid cries of “shame” and “do your job,” I applaud Minnesota’s Republican legislators for holding the line against unbridled Democrat spending. It is apparent that there is no limit to the “needs” Democrats can find. The House Republicans are clearly our safeguard against social engineering and unnecessary “investment.”
When both sides agreed to put infrastructure on a path to sufficient funding, the Democrats just had to slip in Southwest light-rail funding. They knew it was a “poison pill” and something they could use for political grandstanding. There are two significant lawsuits pending with the Southwest line — one over a noise concern and the other over the lack of an environmental study. Undeterred, the Democrats press on.
The Democrats mingled Real ID with the possibility of issuing Minnesota driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Evidently, security isn’t a real concern for them.
So, thank you, House Republicans, for holding the line against “getting stuff done.”
Joe Polunc, Cologne
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Why would small-government conservatives oppose transit? It supports growth in the private sector. It gets people to work, helping them become independent. And why oppose rail transit in particular, when in some congested corridors rail is more efficient than buses or expanding roads, according to professional traffic engineers?
Maybe the real problem is a reluctance to spend money on the metro area when rural legislators’ constituents worry their parts of the state are falling behind. Let’s help one another. It’s the Minnesota way.
Richard Adair, Minneapolis
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Since there is no agreement on Southwest light rail and since that project just molders away, can we please get started on the Bottineau Line? I live at the 63rd Street latitude, a few blocks from a park-and-ride ramp, and am eagerly awaiting rail service downtown. I say skip the Southwest Line and focus on a transit option that will be a true benefit to our working-class, first-ring suburbs and to thousands of senior citizens.
Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park
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I think that Gov. Mark Dayton is making a mistake by not including the resolution of the Real ID requirement as part of any special-session agreement. The federal government is really serious about the 2018 deadline, and an extension is unlikely. If there is no resolution this year, the scenario is easy to predict: The Legislature will finally pass the necessary bill in 2017. Then it will dawn on everyone that Minnesota driver’s licenses are renewed on a five-year cycle. Everyone who is not due for renewal by 2018 will attempt to renew early, and Driver and Motor Vehicle Services will grind to a halt.
This is not really a problem for me. I have a passport. I feel bad for those who don’t.
Jeffrey Loesch, Minneapolis
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There appears to be one segment of the population that our legislators omitted: seniors. There was no mention of us in the tax package, although farmers, small businesses and families seemingly will benefit from it.
Just because we don’t use the word “like” 12 times in one sentence or have become the primary object of telephone scams or are afraid of viruses that only affect our bodies (not technical devices) does not mean that we could not use a tax break also. There are those of us who must choose between food or medications.
What ever happened to innovative tax relief? There was talk, and apparently that’s all it was, about not taxing Social Security. In Arizona, if you live in certain designated areas, seniors do not pay school taxes. Why not here in Minnesota?
In hindsight, seniors are not the only segment that the Legislature failed. We’ve had both divided government and one-party government, and still nothing gets done. In Washington, that’s the norm. In Minnesota, it shouldn’t be. Shame on both sides of the aisle.
Dan Ondich, Rosemount
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Like many Minnesotans, I’m very disappointed in our legislators. However, the fault is not entirely theirs. I had the privilege of working for the Senate in the 1980s and ’90s, but would hate to do so now. Compromise has become a dirty word. Voters demand everything exactly the way they want it and don’t give an inch to opposing opinion. Lobbying groups with their pledges, such as no-tax pledges, place legislators in an untenable position. Political parties demand total purity to their positions. Bumper-sticker quotations and simplistic answers have become the norm, and it has become impossible to explain nuance or complicated issues.
Yes, we see it nationally. I had hoped that Minnesota’s history of fairness and thoughtfulness for all would overcome the national trend. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I’m not sure how to break this trend. But the 24/7 news business and social media have not helped. Solutions cannot be solved in 144 characters — however, that’s what people demand these days.
Who knows, perhaps we need a total collapse where this intransigence seems to be leading us. I hope not, but that might be the only solution.
Tom Krueger, Crystal
All airlines, chip in using some of those baggage-fee profits
It should come as no surprise that Delta Air Lines does not want to drop baggage fees for the summer. (“Extra hands may speed airport lines,” May 24). It does have to respond to its investors. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2015 Delta collected more than $236 million in these fees for the third quarter alone, with $875 million for the year. At least Delta offers to hire 40 people with $3 million to $4 million to help the Transportation Security Administration.
If the four other top five airlines (in baggage-fees collected) followed suit and provided less than 2 percent of the baggage fees they took in the third quarter last year, there would be more than $14 million for three months, or possibly more than 140 temporary workers to assist the TSA across the country. Surely, the airline industry could use some positive PR. This would be a step in the right direction.
Kjell Coleman, Spring Lake Park
Well, his climate is changing
Donald Trump contradicts himself when on one hand he calls climate change a hoax and on the other applies for a permit to protect one of his resorts from rising seas (“Trump wants another wall built,” May 24). Rather than address the implications of climate change’s cause vs. effect for the good of all of us, he chooses instead to use his great wealth to fix the problem only as it affects himself. Rich men have run for president before, but none has so openly put his own interests before those of the public he wishes to serve. Presumably, after all of the roads leading to his resort vanish underwater, guests will arrive via aircraft or skyway or a monorail that only a few will be able to afford. I expect Trump will call it a “public” service.
Ted Field, Mahtomedi