HOMELAND SECURITY

No racial or ethnic profiling by TSA

 

A recent Star Tribune article on the Transportation Security Administration's testing protocols ("Muslim rights group cries foul," May 24) contained a number of false and misleading statements. The TSA does not profile passengers based on race or ethnicity, and it applies these same principles to testing.

The agency conducts thousands of training tests each year, and the individuals carrying out the testing are chosen without consideration of their race or ethnicity. Those selected to play these roles are of various ethnicities, ages and appearances, just like the traveling public.

Covert testers are in no way chosen to represent the so-called stereotypes of what some people think a terrorist looks like.

The TSA at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport runs dozens of different kinds of tests each week, utilizing a variety of testers.

The tester in this case -- an American citizen of South American, not Middle Eastern, ancestry -- was chosen primarily because he recently transferred to the airport and was not recognizable to the workforce. The tester in a different drill that day was a Caucasian man.

To conclude that the TSA is perpetuating racial stereotypes through its testing programs is patently false.

THOMAS P. CONNORS, FEDERAL SECURITY DIRECTOR FOR MINNESOTA, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

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ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Many flaws, but not those stated in article

 

To make a persuasive case against direct popular election of the president, Andy Brehm ("Electoral College benefits outweigh flaws," May 26) should have addressed the real problems with the current method, instead of bobbing and weaving behind some really thin arguments.

For example, what he calls "turning a deaf ear to the rural electorate" is just a kind of linguistic ruse for dressing up the fact that currently the Electoral College overweighs ballots cast in states with small populations -- generally, the more rural ones.

If Brehm is in favor of that, he should say so. I think most Americans believe ballots should have the same weight no matter where they are cast.

He exhibits a similar fogginess when asserting that if presidents were elected in the same fashion as senators and representatives and governors and state legislators and mayors and school board members (most votes wins), then "New York, Texas and California would be king."

Would that be so terrible? These three states have more than a quarter of the country's population, but they are ignored by presidential candidates, who spend all their time in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, central Florida and the southern suburbs of Washington, D.C.

If Brehm thinks that's better, he should explain why.

Here is the worst thing about the current Electoral College: It has the practical effect of disenfranchising about a third of the voting population.

If you are a Republican living in New York or Illinois or California, or a Democrat living in Texas or Idaho or Wyoming, you have no voice at all. On Election Day, you can stay home or for exercise walk to the polling place and cast a ballot -- the outcome is not affected by your choice.

Maybe Brehm doesn't understand this, but the candidates sure do. That is why they spend all their time scrambling and pandering for the only votes that matter. The number of Americans who understand what a terrible system we have is on the rise.

People interested in an overdue reform should check out www.nationalpopularvote.com.

ERIC JORGENSON, MINNEAPOLIS

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NORTH MINNEAPOLIS

Maybe some good can come of tornado

 

I wonder whether people in positions to make a difference have started thinking about how a renaissance on the North Side of Minneapolis might be accomplished by contracting with unemployed carpenters, plumbers, electricians, roofers to mentor and teach the scores of unskilled young residents of the neighborhoods affected by the tornado.

This would clearly be a monumental undertaking and would require the cooperation of unions, corporations, social service agencies and governmental entities. The result would be neighborhood pride, employable skills for the young people and a renewed feeling of community and caring -- which is a hallmark of Minnesotans.

LEONA M. LUNDIN, ROSEVILLE