Is it just me, or is the talk of backing off driver’s license enforcement in Minneapolis (“Minor driving violations spiral into major issues,” May 28) eerily similar to California Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal for amnesty for low-income traffic offenders in that state? That certainly constitutes a two-tiered system of justice, not so different from Finland, which bases traffic fines on the income shown on your last tax return. Years ago, I tried to help someone facing a traffic charge in a suburban Hennepin County court. I proposed a “continuance for dismissal, with no same or similar offenses for six months” plea deal. The prosecutor told me they made no deals. I said that simply wasn’t true and that I had watched similar deals cut one after another in a Minneapolis traffic court packed with defendants. The prosecutor sneered, “This isn’t Minneapolis.” One might also note that modern life is not a performance of “Les Miserables” and that most of these license-less drivers aren’t getting caught seeking bread for their starving kiddies.
Thomas Rice, Ham Lake
• • •
To the Star Tribune, driving without a license or insurance are “minor” violations. A 3,000-pound vehicle can inflict major damage to people and property even when driven within speed limits. That is why we require drivers to be tested for their ability to control that vehicle, and why they need insurance so that the rest of us don’t have to pay the major human and property costs of their accidents. There are ways in which the state can assist the low-income driver to be tested and to carry insurance. Let’s do that before we turn that driver loose on the highway.
Rolf E. Westgard, St. Paul
• • •
What about the desirable impact on society when others are required (and do) follow the same rules to earn licenses and respect safety rules that protect themselves and others? Most would agree with Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau that driver’s license violation arrests are “startling” and are a “significant public safety issue.” But the article didn’t cite the very costly and unbelievable pain inflicted on others when speeders inadvertently kill pedestrians, including children, or when any driver (including an unlicensed driver who gets scared) leaves the scene of an accident and forces the victims — the car’s owner or insurance company — to pay the repair bill.
As a victim of more than one situation of hit-and-run damage done to my car, now I’m wondering if articles like this one serve to undermine community respect for laws passed to keep us all safe.
Mary Ann Van Houten, Minneapolis
Attacks on partyers were just another example of bullying
All kinds of labels can be attached to the “men” who ambushed those pedal-pubbers with water balloons and water pistols (“Pedal pubs made tempting target — online and on bike,” May 27). But one resonates with me, for sure: Bullies, plain and simple. These 10- or 20- and 30-somethings, whatever they are, targeted the vulnerable and did it the way bullies typically do — as a group feeding off each other’s ignorance, false bravado and fear of “different.” (Can you imagine only one of these dudes going solo with this blindside attack?) Unfortunately for this bunch, they nailed some off-duty cops. Oops. No matter how silly and even obnoxious these pedaling party people might be, they were, in fact, victims of bullies, pure and simple. Not really funny.
Richard Schwartz, Minneapolis
• • •
This letter is written in support of those individuals who have come to recognize the harm being instilled upon our fine community as a result of the activities that occur on the PedalPub. I’m jealous of — I mean, offended by — those who have the nerve to be outside enjoying a beautiful spring evening over ice-cold beers. People who have the gall to pedal around to interesting little corners of Minneapolis or St. Paul with friends they enjoy spending time with. You know who I mean. The troublemakers who laugh too loud on the downtown streets or, worse yet, greet complete strangers with calls of “hello!” or “cheers!” People who, unlike me, do not have the good sense and courtesy to stay home and watch TV on such evenings.
Eric Brinksowner, Minneapolis
PIPELINES VIA EMINENT DOMAIN
In North Dakota, fighting the good fight against power
I could not feel more pleased to read about James and Krista Botsford, who choose a clean-energy future over potential personal profit (“N.D. landowners taking stand vs. pipeline,” May 27). “It’s rather daunting and it’s most certainly expensive and it’s quite time consuming, too … but I don’t feel I have an alternative I could live with,” says James Botsford. Keep up the good fight!
Jenni Charrier, Orono
SACRIFICE IN WAR
Remembering the right way
Like two May 27 letter writers, I am a Vietnam veteran, and I believe both of them missed the mark on the significance of the Buddy Poppy. The Buddy Poppy came into being at the end of World War I to honor the sacrifices made by all veterans and their families. To this day, its true message is to honor the sacrifices made by veterans in keeping this country’s freedoms. The Buddy Poppy has no political or moral meaning. I also have my beliefs on this country’s conflicts, but it has no connection to the “Flower of Remembrance.”
Jim Rowe, Owatonna, Minn.
• • •
As the son of a wounded and decorated World War II combat veteran, I find the recent exchange on casualty numbers as unseemly (“Europe leans too heavily on the U.S. for security,” May 27, and Readers Write, May 28). The debate over who did more to win the war is a curiosity for many and may have some historical merit in helping us to better understand the war and its lasting impact on the world we now know. But to suggest that raw numbers of dead and wounded are somehow the mark from which we can claim who did more for the war does a disservice to the valor of all those who served. Such a debate ignores the point for which we sent young men and women off to fight — the defeat of fascism and all that it stood for. Perhaps we can leave it at “yes, we all won — at a very, very high price.”
Bryan Haugen, Mayer
GOOD SAMARITANS AND SAFETY
You can be on the sidelines, or you can do what’s needed
Within the past two days, I have read about people in dire straits and those trying to help them being shouted at by bystanders to get away or standing by with no efforts to help. The latest one was the truck driver helped by Deno Yannarelli (“Truck crash closes part of I-35W,” May 28). Yannarelli held the life of the driver in his hands as bystanders were telling him to get away. Was he supposed to leave the driver there to possibly die while he saved himself?
I had a similar experience when a car left the road in front of me and rolled several times. I went to the car to lend assistance as people on the shoulder yelled at me to get away. How can you not help? I just hope that if the day comes I need help, people like Mr. Yannarelli will be nearby to give me aid, and not those people on the sidelines.
Charles Blekre, Rochester
Dandelions are fine by me, bees
I have a message for the people who are complaining about the dandelions in Loring Park (Readers Write, May 28). Simply put, without dandelions, bees continue to lose much-needed nourishment for their continued survival. Without the bees, we can forget about any art on display in the park, because we probably won’t be around to enjoy it!
Susan Larson, Minneapolis