I'm so relieved that we now finally have a safety program! Neighborhood residents, pastors and others have agreed to gather and patrol the hot spots on the North Side ("Arrest made in Mpls. club gunfire," May 23). It's so comforting to know that untrained and unarmed people are willing to put their lives on the line to protect their communities while the Minneapolis City Council continues to argue with the mayor and each other about whether to do anything at all.
These elected officials have had more than a year to implement interventions. The "violence interrupters" are still in training. The mobile mental health unit is nowhere near ready. Apparently it's up to the citizenry to protect themselves in any way necessary because those we elected are too interested in their visions for the future rather than the difficult and complex realities we're facing today.
Jeanne Torma, Minneapolis
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One of the little girls hit by gunfire in north Minneapolis died last week.
I lost a firstborn daughter at about three months and a wife of 30 years so I know a bit about grief, but losing a loved and beautiful "rainbows and unicorns" little girl like Aniya Allen must be incredibly painful. That pain won't be transient. The family will eventually learn to live with it, but it'll never be gone because they will want to keep and enjoy their memories of Aniya.
The good news is that people who live in violent parts of Minneapolis are beginning to realize that riots have only made things worse as violence has flourished, as law enforcement has been hobbled by demoralization and talk of defunding the police. Now the people in the neighborhoods scourged by violent crime are demanding, peacefully, that government do its job to get this fixed.
Systemic racism is undeniably an issue that we must address, but systemic racism is not what's getting Black children shot in the head in Minneapolis. Unfettered violent crime is what's killing children in Minneapolis.
It's the job of law enforcement to discover who is responsible for such crimes, apprehend them and detain them to be tried in court. Law enforcement can't do that if it's gutted, defiled and demotivated by the City Council and mayor when it seems politically expedient for them to do so.
There is no question that bad actors in the Minneapolis Police Department must be discovered and expunged, but not in a way that demotivates and drives out the good cops that we need.
Donald S. Foreman, Fridley
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On May 25, 2020, then-officer Derek Chauvin dehumanized and knelt on a Black man's neck for more than nine minutes. Three months before, the world watched the video of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, reminiscent of something you would imagine from early 20th century U.S. history. As actor Will Smith truthfully reflected in 2016, "Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed."
Despite numerous policing reform bills proposed and passed in the Minnesota House, the GOP-controlled Senate hasn't supported such bills this session. Why is this a concern?
Minnesota hosts 16 Fortune 500 companies, and business taxes are a large source of revenue. A state's economy is partly driven by the success of its businesses. Strong businesses boost employment, pay taxes supporting schools, roads and infrastructure, and provide good salaries. They have a ripple effect increasing communities' quality of life and the state's reputation.
What happens when your state develops a reputation of racism, discrimination, protests and violence? A person may be less inclined to move to a seemingly unsafe and unwelcoming state. A business with fencing around it and plywood boarded windows isn't an ideal storefront.
If nothing changes in policing culture and accountability, it's a matter of time until we have another situation like what happened to George Floyd. Black communities and their allies will not stay silent. Racial justice advocates shouldn't be alone rallying to address police accountability, and anyone with an interest in Minnesota businesses should remind the GOP that the negative impacts of this upon our state are multifaceted.
Claudia Daml, Golden Valley
Seems like people want 'em
No demand, huh? Minnesota Senate Republicans and others who oppose implementation of the clean car rule have expressed the opinion that there is no demand for electric vehicles, so the rule that includes requiring sales of EVs to increase from the current 2% of sales to about 7% of sales in model year 2025 is unreasonable. (The other main part of the rule pertains to fleetwide averages for emissions from gas-powered cars). They are holding up an omnibus funding bill for environmental services and research, threatening that our state parks may have to close in July unless they get their way. In contrast, an announcement by Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley, in a tweet on May 21, indicated that the number of reservations for the new electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck exceeded 44,500 in less than 48 hours. I don't know how many of these reservations are coming from Minnesota, but I doubt that none of them are. Seems to me that the opponents' supposed rationale for blocking or delaying the clean car rule is pretty flimsy. Is something else motivating them, or are they just out of touch with public interests?
Bill Kaemmerer, Edina
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One of my best memories as a teenager was cultivating field corn and soybeans with an eight-row cultivator attached to my John Deere 70 tractor. Well, technically, it was my dad's tractor. This tractor had a transmission with six gears and a two-cylinder horizontal diesel engine. It had a fly wheel to maintain momentum between engine power strokes. The sound of the engine was music to my ears — especially at low engine speed. The 1954-56 models were equipped with a gas "pony" motor that started the diesel engine. The high whining sound of the pony motor in conjunction with the "thud thud" of the diesel engine coming to life — well, few things surpass that thrill. Others cultivated with '60s- and '70s-era six-cylinder tractors — how unfortunate.
These events belong in the past. Recently a Star Tribune reader said encouraging more electric vehicles is shortsighted because travel range is significantly decreased when the weather becomes cold. EV opponents almost gleefully point out this is because EVs use electricity to heat the vehicle cabin. They will then point to the gasoline combustion engine that "provides" heat for the cabin. Why does the engine provide heat? Because it is so inefficient. The combustion process generates so much wasted energy in the form of heat that the engine will self destruct if not for the coolant system — radiator, antifreeze and all the other components. EV proponents can gleefully point out that EVs do use electricity to heat the vehicle cabin.
Gas-powered engines are much more efficient than engines from the past. I believe the technology is mature and some — not much — more can be done. EVs are just starting to reap the benefits of new technologies. Increased driving range, better battery technology and a better charging network will be the result.
Galen Naber, Roseville
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The president of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, Scott Lambert (Readers Write, May 15), claims Minnesota's adoption of California clean car rules will force dealers to stock 7% of their inventory with EVs. Lambert argues the demand for EVs simply does not exist in Minnesota. Lambert failed to mention that the proposed rule (if enacted) would not go into effect until 2024! Two years, at least, during which time we could see statewide rollout of more EV charging stations, an increase in federal and state incentives to purchase EVs, and growth in online and out-of-state dealers such as Tesla, Carvana and others (which MADA would likely seek to challenge).
Instead of reactionary fear, MADA members should take an initiative: Stock at least one model of each of their manufacturer's EVs, thus giving EV shoppers the opportunity to compare vehicles, order a car and keep their purchases local.
Paul Hager, Northfield
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