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While it's heartening to see the East Phillips neighborhood notch a win for its community ("Smith Foundry will shutter Mpls. furnace," June 5), local residents deserve more for enduring a century of dense pollution than a compromise deal. Under the settlement, the foundry will continue to operate portions of its business, in addition to paying an $80,000 fine — a drop in the bucket for a private equity firm like Zynik Capital, the foundry's owner.

For far too long, East Phillips has served as an unwilling industrial sacrifice zone, with city and state leaders unwilling to take meaningful action to protect the community from polluters like Bituminous Roadways (since closed) and Smith Foundry. That must end.

At the conclusion of Minnesota's 2024 legislative session, the Legislature granted the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) commissioner emergency powers to shut down polluters when there are "chronic or substantial permit violations" or evidence that harm is being inflicted to human health or the environment.

In the case of Smith Foundry, it's clear that the operation poses an ongoing threat to both. Why are we trusting that the foundry will clean up its act now, when separate Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigations have revealed excessive pollution and hazardous working conditions? If the foundry can't be trusted to keep its own employees safe, what care is it likely to have for the community? MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler should exercise her new emergency powers and shutter Smith Foundry.

Brian Wagenaar, Edina


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It's great that the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership has developed future climate projections for the state ("New climate tool helps predict local effects of a global change," Opinion Exchange, May 31).

I don't, however, want them to encourage more irrigation as soil gets drier, an option mentioned. As it's currently used, irrigation takes our cleanest water from aquifers and returns it laced with chemicals used to kill insects and weeds. Who does this ultimately benefit? There are alternatives.

We need to quit acting like clean water is a never-ending resource and rightly start treating it as the most valuable thing Minnesota has. We're already getting plenty of unwanted chemicals in our water and food. Let's stand up for true stewardship of our water.

Gaye Sorenson, St. Paul


JUSTICE SYSTEM

A predictable reaction

There were two possible outcomes in the Hunter Biden trial ("Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felonies in gun trial," front page, June 12):

If Hunter Biden were found guilty, far-right Republicans would say: "See? Proof of a conspiracy!"

If Hunter Biden were found innocent, far-right Republicans would say: "See? Proof of a conspiracy!"

Matt Karl, Minneapolis


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The hypocrisy of Democrats regarding our justice system is laughable. The same people who claim Trump got a fair trial and that we have to respect and believe in the fairness of our justice system completely blasted that same system when Roe v. Wade was overturned. President Joe Biden publicly stated it was the wrong decision and was pressured to do what he could to "pack the court" to get results that liberals desired.

I'm sure if Biden was indicted for falsifying business records (a misdemeanor in which the statute of limitations had expired) and that was upgraded it to a felony with a legal maneuver never used in the history of the U.S., was assigned a Trump donor as a judge (whose daughter was a Republican consultant), had the trial in deep-red West Virginia, and had the primary witness be someone who pleaded guilty for lying to Congress, Democrats would applaud and say the trial was fair. Ha!

When asked recently if he would seek retribution if re-elected Trump said no. If he did seek retribution, it would only complete the transformation to a "banana republic" that the Biden administration has started.

Bob Tumilson, Apple Valley


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It has come to pass that both Trump and Hunter Biden have been convicted of felony crimes (34 and three felonies, respectively). Arguments have been made that some of these charges should never have been brought in the first place, and other skeptics have railed about the "weaponization" of the Justice Department. The fact remains they both have been convicted by juries composed of fellow citizens. These citizens alone have reached their unanimous conclusions based on the testimony and evidence placed before them. While no system of justice in any society anywhere in the world is 100% perfect, ours here in the United States has benefited from a sound foundation created by our forefathers and from justice officials, judges, prosecutors and public defender professionals dedicated to their craft.

In 2020, this same system was tested after the presidential election when more than 60 different legal challenges were filed claiming the 2020 election was corrupted by widespread election fraud. In none of these cases did any of the judges, including those who had been appointed by Donald Trump, find any evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the results in any of the states' elections.

Bottom line, it is time to move on from this "deep state" conspiracy madness and accept that we have systems and processes of government and justice that, although not perfect, do their workings in accordance with a U.S. Constitution that has withstood the test of time and served us well for over 200 years.

Tom Traub, Lakeville


GUARANTEED INCOME

Expand this successful pilot

I am now an elder, approaching 80 years of age. In my younger, somewhat more idealistic days, I concluded that, above all, a guaranteed minimum income and mandatory parenting education would make life better for lots of people. Over the years, those two basic factors have stayed at the top of my "If I ran the world" agenda. I'm so happy to see that the pilot program in St. Paul, where a recent commentary author got an extra $500 each month for 18 months, was such a positive and "life-changing form of support," not just for the author but for her children ("How St. Paul's guaranteed-income pilot program helped my family," Opinion Exchange, June 12). The extra money each month made it easier for her to "do right" by her kids — and herself.

But it's not just mothers who need support. All parents can benefit from financial security and parenting skills. I wish that were a universal policy across our country. Poverty can kill hope. Let's encourage and expand this valuable effort to keep hope alive for more people.

Eileen F.N. Collard, Minneapolis


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Rather than have the taxpayers enable fatherless behavior with a guaranteed-income program for mothers, let's go after the fathers, where applicable, for financial support. It is called accountability! Not to do so is to discriminate against those fathers who have stepped forward and owned their responsibility.

W.W. Bednarczyk, Minneapolis


CHILD SAFETY

A tip for caregivers and parents

A sad story about 4-year-old Waeys Ali Mohamed's body being found in Minnehaha Creek encouraged me to write what I've observed over 87-plus years ("Missing boy's body found in creek," June 11). As teenager, I babysat a youngster with autism and ADD. The dad installed a slide bolt (similar to a deadbolt) at the very top of doors entering the house in the front and back, the door to the garage and also on their patio doors. The kids couldn't reach them nor work them. The kids were safe. Slide bolts would help caretakers for dementia and Alzheimer patients, too. At today's price of about $10 per slide bolt, they're certainly worth the price. More importantly, they will work, and they will help to avoid tragedies and peace of mind for parents and caregivers.

Barbara Nylen, Minneapolis