In his incisive opinion piece, Andrew M. Luger put it well: Minneapolis is experiencing a moment of striking unity around the need for police reform, but the push by the City Council to alter the charter and disband the Police Department is a divisive distraction (“Charter change is reckless, unnecessary,” July 23).
It is obvious that the council has no clear plan with regard to what might replace municipal law enforcement. Some on the council’s lunatic fringe were even proposing a regressive gang-style model, which would involve replacing the police with armed “community safety” groups. Anyone with common sense can see what kind of lawless future that plan portended.
During the protests in late May and June, Mayor Jacob Frey was criticized for being apparently without a plan and missing in action. If there was ever a season for stepping forward, now is that time. The City Council is squandering this moment of potential unity, bumbling into more bickering and social chaos. Where is the leadership of Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo? Why aren’t they holding joint news conferences and public meetings, setting forth their own detailed plans for police reform? We need some voices of municipal wisdom and sanity right now. They are not forthcoming from the City Council. We need some mayoral leadership with a dose of courage.
Henry Gould, Minneapolis
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I have to wonder. When the Minneapolis City Council thought of diverting police money into developing citizen patrols, did Trayvon Martin — an African American teenager who was killed by a neighborhood watch member in Florida in 2012 — ever cross their minds at all?
Honestly, I hope some Minneapolis voters are having voter’s remorse from the 2017 election upon hearing about the City Council thinking up that idea.
William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul
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Citizens of Twin Cities suburbia are doing a disservice to the community of Minneapolis by so closed-mindedly dismissing the current efforts of the Minneapolis City Council. It pains me to see so many people, both online and in previous Reader’s Write sections like this one, desperately scavenge for weaknesses in the council’s charter amendment rather than search for areas in which it could succeed.
Personally, I was not at first in favor of the council’s actions, and I can’t even say for sure that I am now. However, rather than stubbornly adhering to traditional law enforcement practices, I am actively looking for ways our community can improve. I’m not sure if this amendment is the way to do it, but I refuse to be stuck in the past while the rest of the country moves forward.
I do not see many people, if any, try to claim that our current system of policing is working for everyone; I certainly don’t believe that it is. Thus, we have no choice but to find a new path forward. Rather than adding to the conversation, pessimistic talkers detract from the conversation that we so dearly need to have today.
Minneapolis has a unique chance to be a state and, indeed, national leader in public safety. I hope that we can come together to seize that opportunity rather than squander it with useless infighting that only holds our community back. Minneapolis can’t afford anything else.
Caleb Martin, Eden Prairie
Took a while, but thanks
It took him a while, but Gov. Tim Walz finally did the right thing in requiring us all to wear masks in public places, especially indoors (“Masks mandated,” front page, July 23).
So now the cry goes up: “You can’t do that, it infringes my personal freedom!”
My response isn’t new but has never been so literally appropriate: Your rights stop at the other guy’s nose.
Ann Berry, St. Louis Park
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I see the governor has now established a mask mandate for the state. I can support the implementation of directives of this nature if the directive is established on a county-by-county basis (we are a big state with 80-plus diverse counties, each with distinct status with regard to the virus) and if the directive is implemented with a defined and limited period of time that it will be in force. At the end of a fixed period of time the success of the directive can be assessed and, if needed, re-enabled for an additional fixed time period.
David M. Offerman, Lakeville
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I’ve made some positive mask-wearing observations. 1) I can eat as much spinach as I want and don’t have to worry if it’s stuck in my teeth. 2) Eating food with garlic in it might be an option again. 3) Nobody can see my upper lip bead up with sweat when I’m warm. 4) I can avoid those uncomfortable “nostril situations.” 5) If my nose drips I can stuff Kleenex up it and nobody will see. 6) I only have to apply makeup to the top third of my face, but my eyebrows better look good.
Marni Ribnick, Minneapolis
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Could someone please explain to me what is the harm done in trying this mask mandate and seeing if it works? It seems to me that it is a minor inconvenience that could possibly save many lives and doesn’t interfere with otherwise normal commerce, potentially helping the economy because everyone can go about normal business, rather than stay away for fear of virus transmission.
If, in a couple of months, we see no improvement in the positivity, hospitalization and death rates, then we will see that it was fruitless. However, if we find that the dramatic increases in the disease are contained, many lives and possible lifelong impact of this virus could be mitigated — at no personal cost except an inexpensive mask (that many agencies are happy to provide for free, if needed).
Harvey Zuckman, Minneapolis
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Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that “if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really think in the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control” (“Call for masks intensifies,” July 18). I don’t know about you, but in my mind wearing a mask whenever I leave my house for six to eight weeks to get the epidemic under control is a no-brainer. Such a small step in the whole scheme of things. Sign me up!
Connie DeGrote, Northfield, Minn.
Now girls can have glove stories, too
I’m a 72-year-old woman; the baseball glove story and resulting letter choked me up, too. (“The legend of the baseball glove,” Opinion Exchange, July 22, and “Lost and found: My glove legend,” Readers Write, July 23.) But here is why: because I know that from now on, little girls, and the women they will become, will have those experiences and memories just like their brothers.
As a child, I wanted to play ball so badly that I hung around my little brother’s Little League team as an unofficial “bat girl” so I could practice with them (my dad was the coach so I sometimes even got to sit on the bench!). But I did not put on a uniform until I was married and played on the co-rec softball team sponsored by my husband’s employer.
When I see those little girls playing, my heart is so full I can scarcely speak; they don’t know it, but they are playing for me.
Adair New, Minneapolis
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