If we do the math, assuming the KSTP-TV report on uploaded police body-worn camera footage in July is accurate, over a period of a month each Minneapolis officer averaged between 10.4 and 12.2 minutes of uploaded body camera usage per day. If this report was done roughly a month before the newly reported audit data (“City official: Body cam use too low,” Sept. 19), the latter showing an increase in total video usage from 2,521 hours in a month to 9,060, an increase of similar proportion per officer would result in an average of about 37 to 43 minutes per day. If accurate, these statistics raise two questions. How likely is it, that, in the previous month, each officer averaged more than seven hours of daily work activity without encountering the need for body camera usage as per the new policy manual requirements? Second, how soon will officers “get used to wearing the devices,” as Police Chief Medaria Arradondo anticipates will happen? Let’s hope that the assurance given City Council Member Linea Palmisano — that police supervisors’ training will result in “more closely monitoring of officers’ camera usage” — does indeed come to fruition. Clearly, both increased monitoring and ongoing audits are needed.
Judith Monson, St. Paul
THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
‘America first’ is good for what if such a policy is destructive?
When a drug cartel or mafia gang was threatened by a rival gang leader, the cartel or mafia leader would respond not by just killing the leader of the rival gang, but by killing innocent members of that leader’s family. When President Donald Trump’s country (his gang) is threatened by the leader of North Korea, Kim Jung Un, Trump responds by threatening the death of 25 million of Kim Jong Un’s innocent “family” members, which, because of their proximity, also threatens all South Koreans who are our allies (“At U.N., Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea,” StarTribune.com, Sept. 19). Need one say more? Trump wants to put America first. First to what end? To destruction, I fear.
Richard D. Olmsted, Vadnais Heights
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I almost spit out my morning tea upon reading a Sept. 19 letter writer’s assertion that Trump wants to see “common folks taking the lead in reclaiming our verve and prosperity.” Is this the same Trump who stacked his Cabinet and team of advisers with Wall Street tycoons (after blasting Hillary Clinton for making speeches to such tycoons)? The same Trump who released the outline of a tax proposal that steers nearly half of its tax cuts to people making more than $1 million per year? The same Trump who has routinely stiffed workers, contractors and small businesses that he hired to do work for him? The same Trump who said his avoidance of his fair share of the tax burden proves he is “smart” (which I guess means the rest of us honest taxpayers are idiots for picking up his slack)?
I think most of us “common folks” have enough common sense to know who is on our side. It is not, and never has been, Donald Trump.
Anne Hamre, Roseville
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While I do not agree with the Sept. 19 letter writer’s conclusions from his comparison of Trump with Martin Luther, comparing these two powerful men makes sense. Both use(d) their respective authority to shore up privilege for white, Christian men. Both target(ed) specific demographics for marginalization and encouraging these groups to be treated as lesser, even abused. Luther wrote that “the word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes,” as well as “no gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.” Similarly, Trump stated in a 1994 interview with ABC News that “I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” and then, of course, there was the Access Hollywood video from 2005. Both Trump and Luther also encourage(d) anti-Semitism.
Julie Risser, Edina
‘No Single Truth’ is a dangerous idea for Ken Burns to promote
Ken Burns, who seems to see himself as America’s great healer, is marketing his 10-episode, 18-hour PBS documentary on the Vietnam War under the slogan “No Single Truth.” He argues there are many truths about the Vietnam War that need to be taken into account.
He’s wrong. To this day in Germany, there are Holocaust deniers, but that doesn’t mean there were “many truths” about World War II. We Americans are adept at denying our history, our motivations, our intentions, how we act among the nations of the world.
The notion that there are many truths about the war in Vietnam is so reminiscent of President Trump’s statement about the “many sides” who engaged in violence in Charlottesville, Va. It is a context-free and dangerous rendition of history.
Chuck Turchick, Minneapolis
Instead of issuing warnings, GOP should get busy negotiating
Regarding “Specter of furloughs raised in state fight” (Sept. 19): Republican legislators have complained loud and long about the governor’s “unconstitutional” action in vetoing funding for the Legislature after he was presented with a last-minute bill (after which the Legislature immediately adjourned) that would have defunded the state Department of Revenue had the governor vetoed it, essentially shutting down state government and operations. Gov. Mark Dayton described this as a poison pill and as a conniving, cynical attempt to force through provisions that the Republicans cannot pass through normal order, and he’s right. Normal, constitutional order says the Legislature passes bills and sends them to the governor, who signs them into law or vetoes. If a bill is vetoed, the Legislature can override it, otherwise, it does not become law. Republicans should examine their own unconstitutional action in this case, and get serious about negotiating with Dayton as directed by the Minnesota Supreme Court instead of running up legal bills and planning for furloughs.
Bill McIntosh, Northfield
Routing on highly traveled streets isn’t especially safe or calming
I have been riding bicycles in Minneapolis for well more than 50 years, and I think many of the recent changes, like the 36th Street corridor, are tremendous. I do believe we have gone overboard with using bike lanes to tame traffic, however (Readers Write, Sept. 18). Portland and Park Avenues and 28th and 26th Streets have no need for bicycle lanes at all. Instead, 25th, 27th, 29th, Columbus and Oakland are where you want to ride your bike. They have little traffic, and the only route diversion required is to get over the freeways. I don’t argue with the need for traffic calming on the streets, but we aren’t issuing tickets the right way to slow people down. Cyclists need to realize their best routes are not the same that they use while driving. I wish the cyclists on Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street could see what goes on behind them, they may move to Garfield or Aldrich Avenues and the Midtown Greenway.
Carl Berdie, Minneapolis