The May 17 editorial (“Reopening offers promise and risk”) called “Minnesota’s phased strategy … remarkably bipartisan.”

Not so fast. In the next day’s Star Tribune, I read in a news article (“Session ends in a standoff”) that the Republicans blocked the bonding bill because Gov. Tim Walz hadn’t relinquished his emergency powers.

I also saw a picture of House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt exiting the Minnesota Senate not wearing a mask. Elsewhere, I read that all of the Democrats in the Senate wore masks, but no Republicans did.

This is not only highly partisan, it’s irresponsible and a danger to public health. How many people did asymptomatic Republicans infect that day? (And that assumes that Republicans stayed home if they were sick!)

My wife and I belong to high-risk groups because of our age and underlying health conditions. I am really angry that Republicans would put people’s lives at risk just to prove a point.

Mike Wallis, Edina

• • •

I am disappointed in the lack of responsive leadership in our current Legislature. This crisis has highlighted our lack of preparedness in areas like health care, paid leave and housing.

The Senate blocked all efforts to care for our community by increasing assistance to struggling renters and landlords, and this sets us on a path to increase the already large numbers of homeless in our state. Paid family and medical leave should be a right for all. We must care for our undocumented citizens with comprehensive immigration reform.

We in Minnesota care for others, and now more than ever we must step up in very real ways. In November, we must elect people who aren’t afraid to make the changes we are calling for.

JoAnn Mason, St. Paul


Yes, ‘every hour is a battle,’ but also remember residents, families

The May 17 coverage of health and stress risks faced by long-term care workers is real, but also complicated (“For nursing home workers, ‘every hour is a battle’ ”). There is the other side — residents and their loved ones.

The Twin Cities nursing home where my 88-year-old father resides is no longer providing video chats for families. Not even the five minutes per week we’ve begged for. In the past, I would notice he looked dirty, unshaven. The next video visit, he would be clean and shaven. Most important, this moment of connection is cherished medicine for my dad and his children. A few minutes of shared happiness and connection. The unplug also speaks to the desperation these facilities face, and the implied care risks faced by residents.

With such high unemployment, cannot workers be found, paid a competitive wage and provided with best-practices PPE gear? We would figure out how to pay more than the current $300-plus per day to ensure our dad is safe, well cared for, and can visit with family. Five minutes per week — please? Is this asking too much?

Charles Corcoran, Stillwater


Sad for struggling small papers; happy to get Strib on the doorstep

I’ve been a subscriber of the Star Tribune more years than I can remember, and I like the hard copy, on my table, over coffee! I’m thankful to Star Tribune owner Glen Taylor and the host of folks required to accomplish that task (“Now more than ever, this newspaper is essential to Minnesota,” Opinion Exchange, May 17).

At the same time. I’m saddened for the many small-town newspapers closing due to a variety of reasons. I see them as a critical component to the success of small and large communities like ours.

Having said that, I’ve tried to give the paper as a gift to family, but they won’t guarantee delivery to a doorstep. Our block is blessed to have it in a green bag and delivered to our steps. Without that, I would cancel as well. Delivered to the end of a driveway in a Minnesota winter is not what most folks will accept. It’s a thought for an item I find it difficult to be without!

Sharon McKernan, Bloomington

1918 AND 2020

Then, diet’s role in disease wasn’t understood. Now we know better.

Star Tribune editorial writer Jill Burcum presents a sobering personal read of the 1918-19 flu pandemic, her great-grandfather’s brush with death, and the little-understood shock waves of overspreading disease and death (“Ancestor wasn’t hit by first wave, but second,” Opinion Exchange, May 17). One hundred years later, today, with so many medical advances, experts and citizens have again been caught flat-footed. Perhaps from an historical perspective, the modern-day surprise of COVID-19 is that despite our current public salute to a healthier diet, we are stone-faced indifferent to the real possibility that the American diet, and specifically, our daily appetite for meat, is an open-door invitation to the disease.

In 1918, doctors and citizens could be excused; the primary role of diet was not factored into overall disease prevention. However, in 2020, studies show that a specific diet is effective in keeping the common cold virus at bay. They focus on the fact that the cold virus does not do well in blood that is slightly alkaline. That alkaline characteristic is fostered by the right kinds of food, and the exclusion of America’s particular food obsession.

Reinforced by an aggressive agriculture industry, the collective American diet cannot let go of its insistence on meat protein, the key ingredient that pushes blood numbers into the acidic range. That acidic blood has been shown to be the breeding ground for the cold virus. Can this understanding of blood qualities be applied to the current spread of the COVID-19 virus? The answers require the logical next step: a commitment to the study of disease prevention through diet while concurrently scientists march toward a cure (vaccines). For disease control, diet and the proper foods have greater long-term implications for human health over any targeted vaccine.

The harsh theme of the COVID-19 dilemma is meat. At the front end, the virus jumped us from a “wet market” free-for-all in Wuhan. We own the back end, even to the point that our meat-processing plants are deemed essential by the government. That has efficiently leveled hundreds of the lowest-paid providers of our meat cravings, who have continued to spread it around.

Steve Watson, Minneapolis


Public official, ombudsman ending his career with an admirable legacy

Our community has been blessed with many great leaders. Among the best is Tom Johnson. His decision to step down as the ombudsman for the Catholic archdioceses because of health reasons (local section, May 21) is sad, but after a lifetime of contribution to improving this community, Tom deserves a rest.

He served on the Minneapolis City Council and then as the Hennepin County attorney for three terms. He founded CornerHouse to help child victims of sex abuse.

When he decided not to run for re-election, there were those who were puzzled. His re-election was assured, and it is entirely plausible that there were other higher offices on the horizon for him. What we didn’t know was Tom had no intention of retiring from public life — he just wanted to do it in another capacity. His leadership of the Council on Crime and Justice kept the justice system focused on reform, particularly on the issue of racial fairness. He cared about the environment and the health of neighborhoods.

The bottom line is in a time when we can use role models for public service, Tom Johnson stands out as a role model for all of us.

Kevin S. Burke, Minneapolis

The writer is a Hennepin County district judge.