We both were in attendance at the meeting referred to in the March 9 "Our parks are our pride" letter to the editor. For more than a century, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has preserved and protected the land, lakes, streams, rivers and natural areas within our park system. Claims to the contrary are simply not true.
In 2008, Minnesota voters enacted the Legacy Amendment and set aside dedicated funds for "trails and parks of regional and statewide significance." The same amendment also dedicated funds to preserve forests, prairies, wetlands and habitat for fishing and hunting. These funds are constitutionally dedicated and can only be used for the purposes intended by the voters. The Minneapolis Park Board and our nine metropolitan regional park agency partners receive funds from both accounts to protect, preserve and provide public access to the best water resources and green spaces in the metro area.
What the letter writer fails to tell readers is that the proposed "Legacy of Nature" bill will divert resources currently dedicated to parks and trails to other purposes. The bill will also strip elected officials of the 10 regional park agencies of the decisionmaking authority on how to fund parks and trails of regional significance in the metropolitan area and give that authority to appointees of the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. The bill is not about nature. The bill is about who decides how to spend parks and trail legacy funding and whether the will of the voters will be maintained or subverted by legislative action.
The Minneapolis Park Board, like all the other implementing park agencies in the metropolitan area, opposes HF 2703 and SF 3511 for those reasons. Diverting critical funds will have a detrimental impact on metro parks and the people who use them. We urge voters and legislators to oppose these proposed bills.
Al Bangoura and Meg Forney
Bangoura is Park Board superintendent and Forney is a Park Board commissioner at large.
We have the wrong leader for this
I'm thinkin' President Donald Trump right now wishes that the Senate had removed him from office after being impeached by the House. That way he could be sitting on the sidelines tweeting his little cold heart out that he, and only he, could have saved America from the coronavirus (" 'Things will get worse,' " front page, March 12).
Now he is stuck with the reality that viruses can't be bullied, and Americans know what real leadership looks, sounds and behaves like.
I would expect his next move is to blame the Senate for the pandemic, as they didn't fulfill their constitutional duty to remove him. That's OK, Donny, we'll remove you this fall.
Keith Harrower, White Bear Lake
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We are now officially in a pandemic. Does this make you more likely or less likely to take that cruise, that European vacation — or how about a simple road trip to Anywhere, USA? We have already seen the impact this is having on the stock market, but what we have not seen yet is how this is eventually going to affect the economy. It will not be the fault of bankers, funky mortgages or greedy Wall Street traders. It will be based entirely on fear.
In the coming weeks and months, you will be offered by the White House and other such quarters a lot of feel-good proposals and other flimflams designed to mitigate the ensuing economic disaster. They can lower interest rates, lower payroll taxes, lower taxes in general, offer sick pay, offer free babysitting and eliminate the April 15 filing date for your taxes. The list is endless. But if you are afraid to leave your house, all of this will be meaningless: Our entire economy is driven by consumer spending.
There is no way of knowing just how this pandemic will play itself out; it may turn into a global disaster or play itself out with minimal damage. These are uncharted waters and you would be ill-advised to believe anyone who tries to tell you they have things under control.
I was told by a biology professor in college years ago that there are two types of people out there. The first is those who say, "If there is a problem, let's do something about it before there is a body count." The second is those who say, "If there is a problem, show me a body count and we will do something about it." As a country we fall more into the second group than the first. You can doubt this, but in the past weeks I have heard everyone from the president on down moan more about their stock portfolios than the potential number of deaths caused by this coronavirus. We reap what we sow, folks.
Thomas Jesberg, East Bethel
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While Delta and other airline carriers are touting their "no change fees," don't let them fool you. At present, when most travelers are canceling rather than changing their flights, they are not necessarily offering credit or refunds of airfare paid. After canceling a trip to Palm Springs, Fla., for a now-canceled tennis tournament, Delta offered me a 45-day window to reschedule my flight. In 45 days, people will be traveling less, not more.
Teri Heil, Woodbury
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It just struck me that we have the wrong health care system to effectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Most other major industrialized countries have health care systems that deal with the health of the whole population, not just some of the population, for significantly less cost than we have. Unlike the U.S., people there can be tested, treated and potentially quarantined since they are able to obtain health care without barriers. Here, people may need to delay diagnosis and quarantine, which puts all of us at increased risk for infection and possibly death.
Is it time to adopt a system that is not based upon profits and political gain for one that leads to improved health for all of us? Is this not a better path for ourselves, our country and our economy?
Ron Jankowski, Minneapolis
The writer is a family physician.
Gender bias was and is at play
Unless one believes that women are not qualified to be the president of the United States, gender bias is the only explanation for why the U.S. has never elected a women president. Biases are complex and often unconscious. They may be irrational, not easily changed by facts. Men are not the only ones with a gender bias against women; women may have the same cultural biases.
There have been many capable women throughout the history of the United States. With no gender bias, surely at least one of our presidents would have been female. Gender bias has prevented many women from aspiring to be president, as well as preventing voters from marking their ballots for a woman. This year the question of electability was no doubt on the minds of many who voted in Democratic Party primaries, with primary voters also factoring in the assumed bias of voters in November. So once again, a woman will not be on the ballot.
A March 11 letter writer in "Maybe Warren just failed" takes issue with a March 7 article, titled "Now I feel like there are limits," because the article focuses on gender. The letter writer fails to understand that gender bias, not "women's views and capabilities" is the limiting factor. He wants his talented daughters and granddaughters to "get over the tired rationale that they don't get something simply because they are women." I hope his daughters and granddaughters, no matter how talented, are prepared to overcome gender bias.
Caroline Owens, Ely, Minn.
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