Gov. Tim Walz did the right thing for refugees and for Minnesota by formally committing to continue welcoming refugees (“Walz tells Trump our ‘inn is not full,’ ” front page, Dec. 14). I was heartened as well at the news that the Minneapolis City Council also reaffirmed its intent to support refugee resettlement. As the executive director of the Center for Victims of Torture, a nongovernmental organization based here that works with refugees and asylum-seekers, such announcements fortify my belief in Minnesota as a state that values human rights. After all, the idea for CVT came about more than 30 years ago when then-Gov. Rudy Perpich’s own son pointedly asked his father, “What are you doing for human rights?”
Far more important than the relief my colleagues or I may express, however, is the hope that these affirmations kindle in our clients, each one a survivor of torture, war or persecution. We estimate that as many as 1.3 million refugees living in the U.S. have survived torture. Given this stark statistic, we know that hundreds of thousands of refugee torture survivors are in need of rehabilitative care and safety, both of which they are hoping to find through resettlement. Some seek that care and safety here, and CVT joins Gov. Walz in saying, indeed, “The inn is not full in Minnesota.”
Curt Goering, St. Paul
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Refugees welcomed into Minnesota are eligible to receive benefits from the Department of Human Services. For this, Walz loses a lot of credibility with business-minded people like me with Saturday’s news.
On Page A1 on Saturday, he’s touted as saying that Minnesota needs to welcome more refugees, while on Page B1, he’s trying to justify the expense of hiring a consultant focused on getting to the root cause of problems at the DHS, which are apparently severe enough to consider complete restructuring (“Walz takes step to scrutinize DHS,” Dec. 14).
Business 101 tells you to never try to scale something that is broken. Why don’t politicians use a fact-based approach to decisionmaking employed by successful business leaders over tired rhetoric that’s aligned with a party’s views?
How about looking at the refugee issue like this: Do we want to do good and help people in need? Of course, if we can afford incurring some quantifiable cost. Do we need more immigrant workers to help the economy which benefits everyone? Let’s look deep into the data to understand potential benefits. What financial and operational impacts does welcoming refugees have on the DHS? What are the cumulative financial gains or losses realized by the state one, three and 10 years out?
Gov. Walz or any politician: Do you have people looking at issues through this lens to help you justify your positions? If so, shine some light on their analysis. You might impress the voters out there who don’t align with the extremities of either party.
Jeff Eckerle, Eagan
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Thank you, Gov. Walz, for your timely comment! A native of England and a Minnesotan for over 60 years, I observe that the United Kingdom, with an area roughly comparable to that of Minnesota, has a population more than 10 times larger — and is still one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. Minnesota is not full!
Charles Fairhurst, South St. Paul
It will stain Trump’s legacy for good
As I read the lead story in Monday’s Star Tribune (“Senate Dems offer trial time frame”), I couldn’t help but think of that wonderful maxim my mother used so often, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” According to the report, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has proposed a Senate trial “in which all of the facts can be considered fully and fairly.” Wow, what an admission following House hearings in the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees where Republicans were allowed to call as witnesses only those approved by Adam Schiff, and which culminated in a 650-page report laying out the Democrats’ case for impeachment on two grounds, neither criminal. So what does Schumer’s request for a Senate trial that allows the Dems an opportunity to “fully and fairly” present their case for impeachment signal? That question can be answered by any first-year law student — it means House Democrats voted to impeach a president without sufficient facts to support such a condemnation, which will be this president’s legacy, whether deserved or not.
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park
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I find it curious that many supporters of President Donald Trump charge that it is improper to mount an impeachment inquiry “during an election season.”
Have they forgotten that the president filed for re-election on the day he was inaugurated, Jan. 20, 2017? He has traveled on Air Force One to rally after campaign rally for all three years of his presidency.
Just when would it have been possible to file impeachment charges that would not have been “during an election season”?
Jane Dresser, Woodbury
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Upon reading the headline on Dec. 13’s front page, “Marathon debate brings House to brink,” my eye was drawn to the word “debate” describing the lengthy meeting of the House Judiciary committee Thursday evening. Certainly, the portions of that meeting which I heard would not have qualified as a “debate” as I knew it. So I searched for more contemporary meanings of the term, and in multiple online dictionaries of American English discovered phrases such as “discussion” or “state different opinions,” and, less frequently but not absent, “regulated” or “formal discussion according to rules.” Let it be acknowledged that the committee did have rules, but it must also be acknowledged that the members paid little attention to what others were saying, and, to this observer and I am certain many others, the members used their time to say things which had already been said frequently, they did not introduce any new evidence or arguments, and they appeared plain and simply to be pandering to their “bases” or to their political superiors.
The Star Tribune and other media outlets would serve the best interests of the citizenry of this democratic republic by refusing to dignify these proceedings with such names as “debate” and instead use terms more accurately describing what takes place at these meetings. May I suggest “pandermonium” (with an intentional R) as a starting point?
John D. Tobin Jr., St. Paul
City Council fashions itself an expert
Saturday’s Star Tribune illustrates the Minneapolis City Council’s obsession with telling businesses how to run their enterprise (“Burger King can’t reopen two drive-through locations,” Dec. 14). Over the years the council has meddled in almost every business function. It has told businesses what to pay their employees and how to structure their benefits. It has decreed that if an employee earns a dollar through an hourly wage it counts, but if they earn it through a tip it doesn’t. It has dictated what stores must carry on their shelves (like healthy foods, whether or not they sell) and what they may not carry on their shelves (their attempt to ban trans fats in fast food). It has specified how their buildings must be designed — you can sell something through a door but not through a drive-through window. It has tried to tell businesses how to price their products — an attempted ban on happy hours.
Since the City Council knows so much about how to run a business, we would expect its members have a lot of knowledge and experience in this area. We would be wrong. Two of the 13 do have a college degree in business. But zero out of 13 have owned or managed a business of consequence.
David Therkelsen, Minneapolis
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