Secretary of State Steve Simon’s concern about reduced turnout for the upcoming presidential primary because of the new law requiring voters to state a party preference, which will then be available for political parties to use as they see fit, seems fully justified (“In state’s primary, privacy will lose,” editorial, Jan. 15). I, for one, will not take part in the presidential primary, though I’m a politically engaged citizen and follow political issues and events on a daily basis on multiple platforms.

I don’t want my personal information shared with any party-based political organization without my express written consent. They won’t be, but both Democrats and Republicans should be ashamed to put into law a provision that is utterly and narrowly self-serving, and that brings no benefit whatsoever to Minnesotans, most of whom do not want a steady stream of robocalls, fundraising appeals and political junk mail.

RAY SCHOCH, Minneapolis

• • •

To all Minnesota voters: Protect your privacy. Do not vote in the Minnesota presidential primary election on March 3. To receive a ballot, you first must reveal and verify — with your signature — your political party choice on a newly created separate form.

When state legislators reconvene in February, the first thing they must do is change this election law to show us all that what affects our lives — our privacy — is more important to them than their political parties. Learning of each voter’s party membership or preference must not be a part of our right and duty as citizens to vote — ever.

Susan Downing, St. Paul

• • •

The Star Tribune criticizes the requirements of the March 3 primary. In this primary, voters must declare their party affiliation. There’s a benefit to the requirement, and readers have a right to know it: With Republicans forbidding any opposition to Trump in the primary, conservatives would be free to vote for the weakest Democrat in order to help their candidate.

It’s unfortunate that parties must guard against such electoral dirty tricks. But it’s essential that each party fields their strongest candidate.

Tom Nelson, Minneapolis

• • •

With respect to the Republican primary, early voting for which starts this week, many of us will have great difficulty in agreeing to the associated “loyalty oath” saying we agree with the values and principles of the Republican Party, which is required in order to receive a ballot.

The values and principles of the Republican Party have changed markedly over the past few years, to the point where we wonder if any of these values and principles still exist. Personal integrity does not seem present. Fiscal responsibility is gone. Cooperation with major allies is not there. The articulation of party principles are vague, and often set aside. Fair play and meaningful cooperation on major policy issues is nonexistent. Neither of our major parties seems to exhibit a noble purpose that is easy to endorse.

So, what are we to do? Vote in another party’s primary where we also have no coincidence of interest? Or vote for the one name on the Republican ballot that seems not to be associated with any values or principles at all?

I would hate to think that what we are left with is to do what more than 100 million registered voters did in 2016, either write in the name of someone we believe could do the job of president, or not vote at all.

Fred Zimmerman, Eden Prairie


Revoke the Astros’ 2017 title

The Star Tribune’s Jan. 15 editorial on the penalization of the Houston Astros for stealing signs misses the mark in crediting Major League Baseball for the harshness of the penalty (“Astros caught stealing,” Jan. 15). At the least, MLB should force the Astros (and likely also the Red Sox) to vacate their World Series victory and ban the team from the 2020 postseason. As long as the postseason achievements are allowed to stand and teams remain eligible for postseason play, franchises will continue to have the incentive to cheat. Even if there’s now an asterisk in the minds of many, the record books still reflect a 2017 World Series title for the Astros, and the organization and their fans can continue to claim it. The one-year suspension of the general manager and manager, loss of two draft picks (even top ones often don’t make major league rosters for several years, and the 2020 draft has 40 rounds), and a fine less than one year’s salary for a middling player hardly send a message significant enough to provide for meaningful future deterrence.

John Grimes, Minneapolis


Stop griping — we need this line

I don’t know about the rest of the readers, but I am sick of reading the gripes of upper-middle class and elite Kenwood residents over the construction of the Southwest light-rail project (“Light-rail tunnel has little room for error,” Jan. 15). It’s like being at a nursery: Boohoo! The noise. Boohoo! The inconvenience. Boohoo! It’ll bring in the riffraff (i.e. the poor and people of color). The fact is this city has a housing and traffic crisis: We need more affordable housing and we need better, more sustainable means for people to get around the metro. Everyone must do their part — not just the poor and people of color of the region. In my neighborhood, this means the near constant construction of “affordable,” yet somehow also “luxury,” condos and apartments. I would like the Star Tribune to stop giving voice to this extremely small group of overprivileged residents and focus on the environmental, economic and social benefits of improving mass transit in the region.

Bryan Pekel, Minneapolis


Saying ‘no’ is not xenophobic

Kudos to the Jan. 14 letter writer from Stillwater who advocates compassion and understanding of economic realities on why some Minnesota counties may vote against refugee resettlement. Like her, I appreciate the Star Tribune’s balanced view in “Behind Beltrami’s ‘no’ ” (Jan. 12). In comparison to the previous reader, who wrote that we should relax and welcome the stranger (which suggested we are xenophobic if we hesitate), her advocacy of an honest “discussion of immigration” and finding “middle ground” is sound advice going forward. Politically correct or not, the time has long passed when there were plenty of resources in our state for endless newcomers.

If you doubt, let your fingers do the walking to the Jan. 10 article “Walz seeks $276M for affordable housing,” the same day as the editorial “Of refugees, open doors: The context,” which reported a researched figure of ongoing costs to taxpayers (not borne by local governments) of $64,370 per refugee. Then go to the Jan. 12 front-page article “Closings amplify crisis in elder care,” as well as copious coverage of the Francis Drake and Cedar Riverside apartment fires. Our state government at all levels should be about meeting needs of Minnesotans, not the world.

Refugee resettlement is a worldwide problem. I hope for change in how available funds are spent — from helping a selected few to helping millions by creating protected zones with shelter/services near the countries in conflict so that refugees are not far from their culture and can return easily when conflict ends.

Linda Huhn, Minneapolis



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