I read with interest the article about Minneapolis and off-duty police work (“Minneapolis looks at mental, physical stresses of off-duty police work,” May 26). The problem is convincing; off-duty work increases officer fatigue. Tired cops work less productively and make more errors.
Why are cops working second jobs? Because police work is considered blue collar and is paid at the level of unionized factory work. Cops are just like the rest of us. They work to support themselves and their families.
If Minneapolis restricts how cops use their personal time, officers should be compensated for the loss of free choice and the loss of income. (The number of hours Minneapolis officers can work per week, both on- and off-duty, is 64 hours.) Raise officer salaries proportionately.
While we’re at it, I’d argue that society today needs a highly educated professional-level police force. To get that, we need to quit throwing stop-gap “trainings” at cops and restructure policing as a professional career. Raise salaries significantly (perhaps double current pay) and simultaneously raise hiring standards to require more education and greater life experience.
If we want a well-rested, professional police force, we need to pay for it.
Andrea Cutting, Minneapolis
Eliminate the profit motive for war
I second a recent letter writer’s call (“Remembrance, not profit,” May 27) to not support businesses that seek to profit from sales on the sacred day set aside to remember those who died in war. I would, however, take it several steps further, asking that we create a way to stop the even greater sacrilege of defense contractors generating enormous profits selling the weapons used in warfare.
A company should not be allowed to sell war materials unless their ratio of CEO pay to lowest paid worker is something like 10:1, roughly matching the military ratio of general-to-private pay — as opposed to 271:1, which is the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio.
I’d like us to figure out how to solve international differences without sending scores of young men and women out to kill and be killed, but until we do that, I vote for eliminating the profit motive, which I personally believe drives too much of our warfare. It’s right for business to make profit. It is wrong to profit from killing.
Larry Johnson, Golden Valley
Reform is possible: Expand Medicare
We continue to read politically impractical proposals for health care reform. A long-term feasible solution for nonpartisan health care reform can be implemented in phases that partially utilize the popular, nonpartisan, cost-efficient Medicare program. Phase one would transition the uninsured from the Affordable Care Act so they would buy into Medicare, allowing lower income uninsured to pay premiums on a sliding scale. Phase two would include Medicaid recipients (which takes up one-tenth of the federal budget) into this single-payer proposal. Because of the popularity of employer-based health insurance, and because of current fiscal concerns, phase three would allow employer-based health insurance only to buy into this program. By increasing the total enrollees, including pre-existing conditions, it would spread the risk, which is the basis of insurance.
Ensuring that this modified Medicare solution maintained cost-effectiveness would include: setting research-based standards, increasing physician assistants for less serious issues, ending excessive drug pricing, including prevention of costly chronic diseases and emphasizing noninstitutional care. Most citizens of the U.S. now expect complete and affordable health care as people experience in all advanced nations. This modified Medicare nonpartisan proposal finally would ameliorate divisiveness over health care and result in a healthier nation with reduced taxpayer costs.
Sheldon Olkon, Golden Valley
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My brother has been a Minneapolis chef for two decades. As a line cook, head chef or food truck owner, he’s always worked long hours and struggled with inconsistent benefits. In 2016, he finally got an answer to the dizziness and stiffness that he’d lived with for years: multiple sclerosis. Freakishly, his wife was diagnosed with MS just six months later. Since then, life for them and their two boys has predictably been a struggle. If not for the Affordable Care Act preexisting condition protections and for MinnesotaCare, my brother’s family would certainly have lost their home as medical costs have climbed, while his ability to work has declined.
I only wish he’d had policies like earned sick and safe time and paid family leave in place that would have enabled him to seek medical care years earlier and would have meant he did not have to choose between getting treatment and paying bills. So, in the last legislative session, it frightened and angered me to hear lawmakers propose to cut these programs to protect tax cuts for the wealthy or to halt policies that they called too expensive.
Too expensive for whom? My brother and his wife have always taken great pride in their ability to work and care for their kids. We all benefit if they can care for themselves when they are ill. Minnesota’s families are not a cost; they’re an investment that we can and should make together.
Greg King, Minneapolis
ST. THOMAS ATHLETICS
Perhaps other MIAC schools prefer to spend their money on academics
We are hearing a lot of opinions regarding the University of St. Thomas’ ouster from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference that generally follow this line of thinking: Why punish St. Thomas for pursuing athletic excellence? If the other MIAC schools can’t compete, then shouldn’t they take up the challenge and take steps to be more competitive?
Perhaps these commentators are correct. Perhaps the other MIAC schools have chosen not to compete with St. Thomas in pursuing athletic excellence. But instead of it being a cowardly choice, as many have suggested, perhaps the decision is a hard-nosed choice to not engage in a contest that will require them to spend more and more precious financial resources on sports.
We see what the athletics arms race is doing at the Division I level (and at many other levels of athletics) — any chance the other MIAC schools are making the decision to stay out of that game and instead invest their resources in academics over athletics? Seems a likely rationale. That few members of the sports-industrial complex can fathom an institution deciding to invest limited resources elsewhere other than more sports is telling, though not surprising.
Eric Blodgett, St. Louis Park
Thanks for humor in a crazy world
Many times over the past years since we started getting the Star Tribune, I’ve said to myself, “Self, you have to write a letter.” Well, I’m finally doing that.
I look forward to every Sunday and Monday. My family knows that if I’m giggling as I read, sometimes to the point of crying and having to stop to collect myself, it’s that hilarious humorist. My 8-year-old, when she sees me laughing, says, “James Lileks.” She’s right. Thank you to Star Tribune columnist James Lileks for the humor you lend to this crazy world. Laughter truly is good for the soul.
Eileen Wilkin, Mendota Heights
A decent and sensible resignation
How gratifying it is to see a leader such as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May display the decency and common sense to resign after realizing she could no longer be effective in her role.
Deb Nelson, Stacy, Minn.