My friend Louis Hoffman raises some good points about the urgent need to reform our police department (“These former leaders tried to reform MPD,” Opinion Exchange, July 27). I feel his pain. But his support for the dramatic move of changing the city charter is off the mark. Why? The changes to the city charter are not simply about abolishing the Police Department — they also wrest control of the police away from our already weak mayor’s office and essentially hand it over to the already powerful City Council president.
The mayor is elected by the entire city. City Council President Lisa Bender is elected only by the citizens of the 10th Ward, a rather white and wealthy district, by the way. As a city, we can hold our mayor and police chief responsible if the Police Department is not reformed. I can’t vote Lisa Bender out of office, nor can any of us Minneapolitans who don’t live in the 10th Ward. How is this democracy?
This council has proven itself to be so wedded to fairy-tale thinking and making rapid change that they often overlook important constituencies and crucial details. The Knights of the Round Table don’t have a good track record. King Arthur learned his lesson the hard way — must we as well?
Margaret Sullivan, Minneapolis
• • •
Hoffman’s counterpoint supporting the City Council proposed change in the Minneapolis charter was all arguably true except for its crucial last sentence. It said “that [communitywide] conversation requires amending the charter so that everything’s on the table.”
A communitywide conversation most definitely does not require a charter change. There is nothing stopping us from having this conversation right now. I don’t understand why anyone wants to change the charter before the conversation. So far the council has come up with very little of substance to replace the Police Department. We shouldn’t change the charter until we have a viable substitute.
The reason for the charter is to prevent sudden emotional responses in city governance that respond to the heat of the moment. The charter did what it was supposed to do in June when it prevented the City Council from suddenly dissolving the Police Department. Just proclaiming they were going to abolish the police helped to create a spike in crime in Minneapolis. Imagine what would have happened if the council had been able to follow it up with action.
The point of the charter is to allow the city to make well-thought-out choices.
Mark V. Anderson, Minneapolis
Tax revenue, but at what cost?
A letter from July 27 speaks in favor of the Line 3 pipeline on the basis of property tax money for the education of children in the community of Bagley, Minn. (“We’re more than ready for Line 3.”) Education of children is important and should be a high priority. The question is, at what cost? Do we pay for education of the next generation with the destruction of the very planet they need to live on? Do we continue to ignore the climate crisis that these children will be paying the price for? Do we risk the water these children will need in the future with the oil-diluting chemicals used to transport tar sands oil? This is not the way to ensure that our children have a good life. What about the treaties with Native Americans? Ignoring our treaty obligations perpetuates our ongoing history of breaking treaties, a history of letting greed triumph over honor. Is that the legacy we want to continue for our children?
It is time for us as adults to create a better vision for the future. A future that does not sacrifice our long-term responsibilities for short-term benefits. We need to invest in jobs for the future rather than jobs for the past. We as a state need to ensure that all children, no matter where they live in Minnesota, get a great education, and we need to do it without compromising their future. We can do better, Minnesota.
KAREN HULSTRAND, Stillwater
• • •
Two letter writers address the Line 3 controversy from two different points of view on July 27. To me both are making important points. The first writer is entirely correct that Enbridge operations are the lifeblood of community and county budgets in parts of northeast and central Minnesota. And the second writer is also correct that continued operation of the tar sands and Line 3 are more nails in the coffin of Earth’s environment. What to do? After years of litigation and appeals to state agencies, it seems clear that a political solution must be found. This has to involve closing the pipeline (its oil is simply not needed) and making whole the programs and services of affected communities for at least a decade to come. During that time green industries and infrastructure repair can help supply needed jobs. This is obviously more difficult as the mismanaged pandemic trashes the economy, but funding can and must be found.
Bruce D. Snyder, St. Paul
Secure, traditional and common
I’m Justin Clark, candidate for Minnesota House in District 51A. I don’t approve of the message written on July 10 that “Mail-in voting would undermine election integrity” (Opinion Exchange). This opinion was written by someone with my same name who works for President Donald Trump. While it seems ironic to be writing about confusion with one’s identity while arguing the merits of mail-in voting, that is exactly what I’m here to do.
Mail-in voting has been used in America since 1775. Members of our Continental Army sent in votes while fighting for our independence. Recently the fear of voter fraud has amplified; that fear is unfounded. On whitehouse.gov, you’ll find a link to the Heritage Foundation that details all proven voter fraud. The number of instances is around 1,000 nationwide over 25 years. In 2016 there were only four confirmed cases of impersonation fraud.
We want to expand mail-in voting, allowing Americans to vote from home during this pandemic. Applications may be sent to all known addresses; however, let’s be very clear. You have to verify who you are, and in doing so, one actual ballot will be sent to each individual. Applications aren’t ballots and shouldn’t be thought of as such.
Voting by mail is safe, voter fraud is not rampant and everyone should vote in this year’s elections. Americans should exercise this right given to them by our Constitution and the lives of our soldiers. We get to choose our leaders, holding them accountable with our vote, and we should be proud when submitting our ballot. I’m Justin Clark, and this message I can approve.
Justin Clark, Burnsville
ROSIE THE RIVETER
Honor the ‘Rosies’ of the past
Many of us learned of 94-year-old Mae Krier, one of the original “Rosie the Riveters,” from recent news coverage. Krier is back at work on the front lines, this time sewing masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
When Krier was working as a “Rosie,” she and her co-workers built B-17 and B-29 warplanes to help support the World War II effort.
Today, Krier is on another mission, and she needs our help. She is working on a crusade to remember the Rosies’ service and to keep their legacy alive by honoring them with the Congressional Gold Medal.
The House agreed with her but the Senate has not seen fit to do the same.
I believe this is a bill that should pass with little or no opposition. This should be a bipartisan effort. Rosies are women who labored long hours in often difficult situations to help the armed forces of the United States of America make the world a safer place.
Please contact your senators and let your voice be heard. These women deserve and have earned the Congressional Gold Medal honorably.
Thank you, Rosies, each and every one of you.
Terri Michels, Mankato, Minn.
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.