In response to a letter writer's question about predicted COVID deaths ("Regarding responsibility ..." Oct. 27): "If Joe Biden is elected on Nov. 3, does he then become responsible for these additional deaths, since he claims President Donald Trump is responsible for the already dead 225,000?"

Capt. Edward Smith of the Titanic received six warnings of drifting ice from other ships on April 14, 1912. The Titanic did not reduce speed. Imagine if Capt. Smith had received a vote of "no confidence" after the ship struck the iceberg. Would the new captain deserve equal blame for the loss of life?

James Halvorson, Farmington
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If Biden:

• claims repeatedly that the pandemic is ending, despite record numbers of infections day after day;

• refuses to follow medical experts' advice on containing the numbers of infections during the pandemic;

• refuses to model responsible behavior, at the very least, in the midst of a medical crisis;

• mocks people who do follow the advice of epidemiologists by wearing masks and limiting contact with others;

• and shows a callous and reckless disregard for the health and safety of his staff, reporters, cabinet members, White House employees, Secret Service agents and his supporters by exposing them to the virus repeatedly ...

Then we can discuss to what extent he is "responsible" for an increase in numbers created by the current occupant of the White House. I would have thought common sense would make this evident. I'm pretty sure Biden will be better than this.

Diane Ring, Edina
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Let's see ... is Tuesday's letter writer saying a president-elect should be held responsible for all COVID-19 deaths occurring between Nov. 3 and Jan. 31 even though said president-elect has no control of federal government actions until Jan. 20? Sounds like something one might learn in "Alternative Logic 101."

Hank Lederer, Burnsville

Don't forget the back of the ballot

The final week before the election is a good time to remember that the ballot has two sides. In most precincts, nonpartisan judicial races will be found on the back. My concern is that some voters won't turn over the ballot, will skip judicial contests or may cast an uninformed vote.

In the election for the state Supreme Court, perennial candidate Michelle MacDonald is challenging incumbent Justice Paul Thissen. Based on my two years on the court with Justice Thissen, I can attest that he is thoughtful and ethical, works hard and reads our laws as written. By contrast, based on her record, his opponent is plainly unfit for the office.

I hope that all voters will remember to turn over the ballot and cast an informed vote for Justice Paul Thissen.

David Lillehaug, Minneapolis

The writer is a former justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Pittman is more than 'well-versed'

The "Changing of the guard on Hennepin County Board" endorsement editorial lacked balance with regard to the District 1 candidates. The information the Star Tribune Editorial Board chose to emphasize about Jeffrey Lunde over and against what was featured about De'Vonna Pittman was disproportionate and seemed to trivialize Pittman's experience.

Not only is Pittman "well-versed in how county government works" (germane to the commissioner role), she also has an extensive background in law enforcement, the zeitgeist of this current time. While listing at least four board or committee affiliations of Lunde, the editorial failed to mention any at all for Pittman, which have included the American Civil Liberties Union Smart Justice Committee, the City of Lakes Land Trust and the Sexual Violence Center — a combination that speaks to her capacious involvement. She has spent almost two decades in public service as a voice for marginalized communities. Her expansive experience with Hennepin County and work in the community ranges from handling million-dollar budgets and contracts to working with ex-offenders and individuals on probation.

Pittman is not some inexperienced novice but a serious advocate for change in Hennepin County. The DFL Party, the Minnesota attorney general, elected officials in the district, labor unions, Veterans Caucus, former mayor of Minneapolis, current and former Hennepin County commissioners and others gave her their support and endorsement.

Heretofore, District 1 has been represented by the same voice. It is time for a genuine change of the guard. The voices she will represent are long overdue at that table.

Menia Buckner, Minneapolis

You say boring, I say decent

I enjoy reading D.J. Tice's columns, though I don't always agree with him, because he's thoughtful and knowledgeable and offers a different (non-liberal) perspective. But I found his piece about Joe Biden ("As always, Biden goes where the wind blows," Opinion Exchange, Oct. 27) frustrating. First, he finds Biden boring — a view mainly put forward by those on the left who want to overhaul everything, and those who have been conditioned by the social media circus to respond to amped-up rhetoric, dramatic predictions and utopian promises. Some of us see something different in Biden: a straightforward, reasonable person who, despite his tendency to spin tales in certain settings, is honest when it matters.

We also see decency. Though that may seem boring, it has been in such short supply of late that its value has increased — like an out-of-print book. As for his unwillingness to commit to specific actions, from court-packing to mining, I'm not willing to chalk that up to a lack of courage or vision. Like other leaders I admire, Biden has not used his platform to fiercely push his own views without listening to others but has engaged in the hard work of developing plans that incorporate a range of input. He also genuinely cares about others — something that can't be faked, and that explains his staying power. These are crazy, extreme times, and I, for one, am eager to have a person with heart at the helm.

Martha Davis Beck, Minneapolis
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Excellent commentary by Tice on Biden. You have him nailed. He's a hack. Possibly corrupt, but nonetheless, a hack. But the Star Tribune Editorial Board endorsed him anyway, which is understandable, given that his opponent is a lying, bigoted, self-serving incompetent. Which brings me to the decision to endorse neither candidate for the Fifth District Congressional seat. I applaud its decision not to endorse the incumbent, an anti-Semitic, self-serving radical leftist. But the decision not to endorse her opponent, Lacy Johnson, primarily on the grounds that he was a Republican running in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, was weak. He was clearly the better candidate. And even though he may be unelectable given the political makeup of the district, I believe the board owes its readers a choice based on the quality of the candidates, not the party preferences of the voters.

Dan Cohen, Minneapolis

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