Regarding "Cops, activists scuffle at camp" (March 19): Pardon me, but I hardly think police officers brutalizing protesters counts as a "scuffle." A scuffle is two toddlers fighting over the last Oreo. Cops were throwing punches, spraying pepper spray at close range and, worst of all, appearing to kneel on a person's neck. I didn't type that incorrectly — a police force that earned the opprobrium of the entire planet last May for killing a man that way had the seeming audacity to do it again, on camera.
I realize that citizens of Minneapolis are fed up with soaring crime rates, but the only "crime" that the targeted persons were guilty of is being homeless, and the protesters were there to protect them. An argument could be made that these folks were trespassing, but I have never seen the amount of force deployed on trespassers than I did when I watched the video taken by bystanders at the Near North encampment.
Please don't tell me we should trust the mayor, the chief of police or anyone involved in this continuing disaster. This department is fundamentally broken and looks irredeemable. Heaven help us if Chief Medaria Arradondo breaks the city's promise to keep George Floyd Square closed until the end of the Chauvin trial. The irony of protesters being brutalized in the same manner George Floyd died will not be lost on ... well, the entire planet. Again.
Shannon Drury, Minneapolis
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When we humans are faced with a tough decision involving only undesirable choices, we tend to freeze. Mayor Jacob Frey demonstrated this clearly during the riots. More recently, cowardly tolerance of the lethal situation at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue illustrates this.
The cause of this is quite clear: Minneapolis voters have elected people with no significant management experience, often no management experience at all. Council Member Jeremiah Ellison stands out even in this crowd. He is an "artist."
New drive-throughs are prohibited in the city because idling cars cause pollution, yet reducing the city speed limit, as happened in 2020, substantially increases the number of cars on the road and the amount of time they spend there — dwarfing the effect of those evil (taxpaying) drive-throughs.
Affordable housing is a goal, yet the city has arrogated tenant screening to itself and now proposes to tell landlords what their rent is permitted to be. The sound you hear is small landlords dumping their affordable properties and leaving town. The other sound is economists laughing.
Supporting local businesses is a goal, yet the city requires that corner stores buy and eventually trash perishable products that their customers won't buy. Recently, too, the city has taken charge of restaurant hiring decisions. And then there is the timing and size of the George Floyd settlement.
Really, these naifs hate cops, businesses, cars, landlords, restaurant operators and more. Their goal is apparently to pare the city down to a few people who will ride bicycles to work and to fund the city by taxing Minnesotans who don't live there.
Good luck to you, Minneapolis voters! Hopefully enough of you will have the wisdom to hire more competent managers for the future. It's not clear how long you can survive with a crew like this one.
George Anderson, Minneapolis
The flawed case for exclusion
As a male high-school athlete who was born a boy, I would like to add my voice to the chorus opposing bills that would bar transgender girls from participating with their fellow girls on high school sports teams. My first reason for doing so is that in my experience, trans girls are girls and trans boys are boys. Period. If legislators wanted to prevent boys from entering a girls' locker room, then to make a trans boy do so would have the exact opposite effect. Imagine that you were a high school girl and your friend's boyfriend walked into the locker room. Under this legislation, that would be the law.
My second reason also comes from my experience. I am an incoming captain of my high school's cross-country team who helped bring my team to win the conference championship this fall. If I were to compete as a girl, I would still be half a minute behind the fastest girl in the state. Biological sex alone is not sufficient to give an insurmountable advantage, and any trans girl who took the state record could still easily qualify for the state meet as a boy. We boys are not nearly as dominant as these legislators would make it seem, and I would give a whole lot to be able to run like some girls.
Samuel Robertson, St. Paul
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Regarding the commentary "Proposed anti-trans legislation is inhumane" (March 17): There is one absolutely true paragraph in this commentary: Playing sports is good for young people. High school athletes enjoy increased self-esteem, better physical fitness and many other benefits.
Over the last 50 years, both law and culture changed to insist that girls have the same funding and support as boys to play organized sports. Those changes didn't come without a struggle, and many girls and women fought for their fair share of athletic opportunity.
Now, activists such as the authors of this commentary are trying to take that access and opportunity away from girls. They are insisting that male bodies be able to invade the spaces and take the places of female athletes. That is exactly what they are demanding when they insist on the right of biological boys to play on girls' teams.
Contrary to the authors' claim, there is ample evidence to show that biological males have physical advantages over biological females. If the ordinary act of observing adolescents wasn't enough, research shows that boys have larger hearts and lungs, more muscle mass, greater bone density — and the list goes on and on. Female Olympians in track and field would be routinely beaten by male high school champions — see boysvswomen.com to see the statistics.
The authors also state that there are no examples in Minnesota of girls being harmed by biological boys playing on girls' teams. Well, let's be grateful for that, and let's keep it that way.
Literally no one is saying that transgender athletes shouldn't be allowed to play sports. They can play on the teams of their biological sex to preserve fairness for all. Or the activists can put their time and energy into developing coed leagues. It can be done with effort and determination — ask the girls and women who fought so hard for their own teams.
Catherine Walker, Minneapolis
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We hope many read "Anti-trans legislation is inhumane," a straightforward, fact-based column written by five experts. We would like to add some additional context.
As the authors note, states are introducing bills to keep transgender girls from competing in school sports. Minnesota HF 1657 (by state Rep. Eric Lucero) calls for an additional level of cruelty by threatening trans girls with a legal record that will stay with them for life and jail time placing them into Minnesota's juvenile hall to prison pipeline.
When a few elected officials' cruelty has no bounds, our system of governance steps in. This bill is going nowhere. Most House members and the governor support equality for all Minnesotans. The bill will not move forward in the House, which means it will not make its way to the governor, who would be highly unlikely to sign it into law even if it did make it to his desk.
Why would a legislator introduce a bill knowing it has little support and no chance of becoming law? The answer seems to be that it is all for show, but for whom?
According to recent polls, 70-73% support trans-inclusive sports with another 4-8% having no opinion. Only 19% appear to have any concerns with trans-inclusive sports and for most who have a concern, it is likely not their top concern.
From what we have heard from those living throughout greater Minnesota, they have asked their elected officials to focus on the severe lack of internet access for students, employees and employers, pollution that has left many of their lakes irremediable, access to nearby good jobs, revitalization of downtowns, roads and bridges, education, and access to medical care.
Daria Hashemi-Rad and Audrey Britton, Plymouth
Daria Hashemi-Rad is LGBTQ+ community chair and Audrey Britton is chair of Plymouth Diversity Equity and Inclusion.
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