The op-ed sayonara of former Minneapolis chief resilience officer, Kate Knuth, articulates theoretical starting steps for Minneapolis to “rebuild democracy” and to “make it more resilient.” (“What I did and what I learned as Minneapolis’ chief resilience officer,” Feb. 20.)

The steps include: grow economic security, ensure public safety, diversity celebration and climate championing. They are accompanied by a call for leadership by all and a slogan — “a healthy democracy enables us all to offer this leadership.”

One might be reminded of the 1984 Democratic presidential debate when candidate Gary Hart said that he had lots of new ideas — and candidate Walter Mondale queried “Where’s the beef?”

Gene Delaune, New Brighton

• • •

Nothing enhances resilience like a strong business economic climate and the associated jobs.

Michael Beauchane, Minneapolis


Why not another go? For a letter writer’s reasons and more …

While the 100 richest, most politically engaged Republicans may have good reason to clamor for another Tim Pawlenty governorship (“Key GOP donors plan to back Pawlenty,” Feb. 20), Minnesotans who make up the other 99 percent are not suffering from political amnesia. We remember how he governed — taking care of the wealthiest and leaving crumbs for our schoolchildren.

Kay Cameron, Minneapolis

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Wow! A Feb. 19 letter writer knocked it out of the park, touching on all but one of the former governor’s signature disappointments for Minnesota (“No, we had enough the first time,” Feb. 19). Remember Q Comp? Over the last 10 years, Pawlenty’s pet education initiative has blown through hundreds of millions of state dollars, and the result?

It would be better to ask him about those results, but the short answer over those 10 years: no measurable improvement in student achievement (or it would be in the news).

Steve Watson, Minneapolis

• • •

I write this addition and confirmation of the Feb. 19 letter writer’s words. This also is especially for those who do not remember history, nor think we can learn from it.

As a retired social-services professional, I encountered the results of Pawlenty’s policies regarding health care. He was convinced (probably by the companies involved) that all social services had to be channeled through insurance companies because it would be more effective and less costly. Well, the reality of his forcing social services to be channeled through insurance companies was more than just the opposite. His mandate greatly complicated service approval and its delivery to clients, greatly increased the costs of services, and served people in need less efficiently and less well. Basically, the requirement made services more costly and made it far more complex to attain approval for needed services. Ah, but the insurance companies have, and are still making, lots of money — our tax dollars, by the way.

Pawlenty also stated a “no new taxes” platform, but instead he imposed dozens of “fees” — as the letter writer noted. What’s wrong with this picture?

These are just a few of his negative policies. We could use a billboard like the one on University Avenue in response to Michele Bachmann’s “waiting for a sign” of whether to run for office again — a big NO! Please, Minnesotans, remember history! Do not support Tim Pawlenty’s re-entry into the governorship!

Leonard Weiss, Knife River, Minn.

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Dear Star Tribune,

It makes me chuckle that you were only too happy to propagate such a significant, easy to disprove, lie against a conservative, in this case, former Gov. Pawlenty (by blaming him for the Interstate 35W bridge collapse when in fact it was a bridge design defect). You’re laughable. I laugh at you. I almost feel sorry for you.

Doug Daggett, Minneapolis

• • •

To editorial page editor Scott Gillespie: Your R is showing on your opinion piece about why the I-35W bridge collapsed. You are correct that the root causes were the too-light structural components and the heavy road material piles on the bridge, but the complaint against Gov. Pawlenty was not about that. It was about the lack of quality oversight and testing. A good friend of mine was state Rep. Shelley Madore, and she told me that they were trying to get funding for a device to test for cracks in the metal. The Republicans, including the governor’s office, would not allow for the funding for the purchase of said device. They were testing bridges for cracks at that time by hitting it with a hammer. Nice try. Every ad by the Dems will have a photo of T-Paw in front of the collapsing bridge, and it will work because it is true.

Tony Nelson, Eagan


Editor’s note: Letter writer Nelson is referring to the Star Tribune Opinion newsletter sent each weekday to those who subscribe to it by e-mail. Gillespie’s discussion of Pawlenty and the bridge collapse appeared in Wednesday’s installment; you can read it here: The newsletter, more than a collection of links, is worth your while. Each day an opinion editor (usually Gillespie) expands on a topic in the news as it pertains to the exchange of ideas, sometimes offering an inside look at the work being done by the opinion page staff. You can sign up for the newsletter at


This place is heck for retirees. Fix that with other updates.

John Phelan’s analysis (“Put Minnesota tax code revisions on ‘to do’ list,” Opinion Exchange, Feb. 19) does not go far enough. Minnesota already has one of the highest tax rates in the United States. I own a home and am retired. With no changes my state tax will increase 13 percent in 2018.

There is another piece that seems to receive very little attention, and that is how Minnesota taxes retiree income. This state taxes up to 85 percent of Social Security and pension income. When combined with the high state tax rates, Minnesota has the highest state tax rates for retirees in the U.S. (Kiplinger). Why does Minnesota tax retirees at such a punitive rate?

William Moomaw, Woodbury


Those who truly want label of ‘feminist’ must respect all life

I’m glad that a Feb. 19 letter writer (“Developments in [Keillor] case demonstrate a movement’s flaws”) recognizes the difference between true feminists and the phonies who think they are.

First of all, true feminists are not anti-male. Far from it. If one looks at both the management and membership of Feminists for Life of America, there are a significant number of males actively involved. They’re very concerned about preventing sexism, rape, harassment and inequality of any kind. Why should I hate men? They’re my brothers, after all.

Second, real feminists believe in respecting and protecting human life at every stage — from conception to natural death.

The foundations of feminism are justice, nonviolence and nondiscrimination. Anyone who disputes that is no feminist.

Kay Kemper, Crystal