Those of us who live in the Third Precinct in Minneapolis pulled together in 2020 to withstand the righteous, appropriate, overdue fury about police brutality. Most of us are certain the riot and revolution was a price worth paying on behalf of George Floyd and too many others. It was terrifying to be at the center of city, state, national and worldwide rage, but it was time to demand racial equity in policing under no uncertain terms.
Now, city surveys show a majority of us who live in the precinct want police back at Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue ("Dysfunction rules at Mpls. City Hall," editorial, Sept. 23). I talked recently with three sets of neighbors, all of whom also want police back at Lake and Minnehaha. None of them responded to a survey of residents, suggesting the margin of citizens wanting police returned to Lake and Minnehaha may be even greater than reported.
A minority of people want the charred precinct to remain as a symbol of injustice, and as a reminder to the Police Department to continue to take steps toward racial equity. Their intent is appropriate and justified; the demand for change within the Minneapolis Police Department is one in which we are united. Refusing to allow the return of the Third Precinct to the Lake and Hiawatha building (the most financially responsible and fastest option) turns allies into adversaries.
George Floyd Square, arguably the epicenter of the revolution, has become both a powerful symbol and a functioning roadway. To keep the Third Precinct station frozen in time is not right. It affects me, my partner, my two children. It affects the precinct allies who have families who need and want police in the area. The site could combine police with behavioral crisis response teams to become the multifaceted response organization we all want.
The riots were about the right to effective, efficient, racially unbiased police protection for everyone in the U.S. — including those of us living in the Third Precinct.
We love our city, but never see officers in our neighborhood. We aren't policed adequately, due in part to the City Council's lack of professional responsibility, a very vocal minority, and difficulty recruiting officers. The lack of a stable precinct location lowers morale and deters potential applicants. Council members have shifted blame elsewhere and dragged their feet for three years. The safety of our families is in jeopardy because of their inability to take action.
Those on the City Council are not doing their job and should be voted out in the next election.
A.R. Ziegler, Minneapolis
Look at it this way
Regarding recent TV interviews and the new memoir ("Enough") of former Trump administration aide Cassidy Hutchinson: The testimony to the Jan. 6 congressional committee and subsequent book from her made me think about presumably low-level employees and the executives who view them as invisible. The executives feel free to say and do anything they want in front of them. Hutchinson was present at every meeting. She is a treasure trove of information. Believe her.
Jane Katherine Bygness, Minneapolis
It starts with collection
I beg to differ with "Hackers put Minnesotans' data in peril" (front page, Sept. 24). An unmistakable similarity found in all these data breaches is the excessive amount of personal information retained in the first place. Blaming the cost of data breaches on hackers negates the reality of the privacy-robbing world we currently live in, brought about clandestinely through the perpetual storage and shady exchanges of our personal information.
The more organizations, companies and governments try to know about us, the easier they can influence us, or ruin us.
Julia Bell, St. Paul
Regarding "U's breach suggests too much data being collected" (Opinion Exchange, Sept. 26), I recently had an experience with Hennepin Healthcare. I was calling to make an appointment with a doctor. I had to get registered to do that, and in that process was asked for the usual information, but was surprised when I was asked for my Social Security number. Without thinking at the time, I gave it, then later realized that what I had done and remembered I had not had to give that information to any other medical provider. So, I called back and requested that my SSN be removed. The explanation I got was that it was "for insurance and billing." I had already given my UCare ID number and address, so I could not think of a reason my SSN was needed. I had to go through at least three people before I got to the person that would remove my information from their system.
I have thought about this practice and think it relates to debt collection. I wound up not making my appointment.
Duane Dana White, Edina
Have you seen this too?
I'm a senior who orders over $2,000 per year of online goods. Regarding Amazon's "replacing relevant search results with paid advertisements favoring its own brands" ("Feds join states to confront Amazon," Sept. 27), I've noticed this several times recently:
When I enter a specific product, a page showing it appears for a second, then disappears in an avalanche of similar products costing more. Sometimes I can find the specific item I wanted — much further down on the new page. Other times, I can't.
I also have discovered good products, sometimes the same as Amazon's, that are less expensive when ordered from non-Amazon sources, the only disadvantage being an indeterminate wait for delivery.
Richard Jewell, Minneapolis
'A GRAVE NOW MARKED' …
… and a story that was characteristically well-told
Star Tribune local columnist Jennifer Brooks knows how to create a thoughtful and inspirational, always compelling, full-of-life narrative. Her most recent column about Alvina Hammer Rutzen, the founder of Hammer School, is no exception — the beautiful story of a seemingly ordinary woman whose dedication to "righting a wrong" has changed thousands of children's lives ("A life lived well, a grave now marked," Sept. 28).
In 1923, Brooks reports, "a time when children with disabilities could be locked away in asylums for the rest of their lives," Alvina Hammer gave up her job at one of those so-called asylums ("for the feeble-minded") in Faribault. Unemployed, she singlehandedly scraped together the means to create Hammer School, including hiring a teacher, for the four children with special needs she'd taken in.
Brooks' poignant story centers around the memorialization of Rutzen's scarcely known but remarkable life work — including the discovery of her poorly marked grave by a great-nephew from Canada, and its restoration by the nonprofit that now carries on her work. In this column, as in so many others, Brooks reminds readers of the pioneer roots of Minnesota's "gift for giving," whose legacy of reaching out to those most vulnerable lives on.
Thank you, Jennifer Brooks, for bringing us this story, and so many others — for sharing your kindness and compassion through uplifting stories of seemingly ordinary people changing the world. You give us hope, so can we all.
Judith Monson, St. Paul