As the granddaughter of immigrants and a prosecutor interested in public safety, I was greatly disturbed by the editorial cartoon in the Dec. 5 paper. The cartoon depicts a takeoff on Monopoly’s “get out of jail free,” depicting a Hispanic-looking man with the label “sanctuary policies.” This is not a humorous “viewpoint” from a conservative perspective, but a false, hate-mongering tagline of the alt-right; the type of material one would expect from Breitbart, not the Star Tribune.

The city of Minneapolis, like many other jurisdictions, has a “separation ordinance” — an ordinance that makes clear the separation of responsibility between the federal government, which has exclusive jurisdiction to enforce the immigration laws, and local government. Contrary to the false narrative in the cartoon, separation ordinances are not “get out of jail free” schemes. People who commit crimes in Minneapolis will be charged and prosecuted, regardless of their immigration status.

Separation ordinances make our city safer, not less safe, because victims and witnesses of crime can report crimes and provide evidence to our police without fear of being turned over to ICE. Indeed, the federal immigration laws recognize the importance of encouraging victims to report crimes with their U and T Visa programs.

The national Holocaust Museum has an exhibit detailing the fascist propaganda that contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The parallels between items like the “sanctuary policies” cartoon and the cartoons put out by the Nazis are obvious and disturbing.

Susan Segal, Minneapolis

The writer is Minneapolis city attorney.


Contention in Ramsey County reveals long-standing issues

I read with interest the Dec. 5 article regarding Jim Fleming, chief public defender of Ramsey County, and his fighting “Ramsey County court’s old ways.”

Differences like those mentioned in the article have been going on for years, and are really nothing new. What has historically been problematic is the fact that courts expect defense attorneys to meet the courts’ needs for the sake of convenience. An example of this is Ramsey County wanting the public defender’s office to agree to an outdated, 27-year-old criminal calendaring system.

Fleming is an excellent chief public defender. His primary responsibility is not to serve the Ramsey County Court. His primary responsibility is to his office’s clients and his public defender staff. Those are jobs he is doing well!

Dick Scherman, Pequot Lakes, Minn.

The writer is a retired former chief administrator for the state Board of Public Defense.


It’s tough, but possible, to favor the middle class

We all want to favor the middle class when providing tax relief. Let’s ask questions, then analyze facts:

• Is achieving economic expansion desirable? Yes!

• If so, can the middle class receive the bulk of the relief dollars, and still achieve meaningful expansion — i.e., a level of expansion adequate to preclude long-term increases in the national debt?

• Alternatively, can we have meaningful expansion if the middle class benefits proportionally more than the highest earners, even though not receiving the bulk of the dollars?


• The top 25 percent of earners pay about 87 percent of federal taxes.

• The middle 50 percent (middle class) pay about 13 percent.

• Almost 50 percent of middle-class taxpayers pay no federal income taxes.

Bottom line:

• The middle class can be treated favorably while giving across-the-board tax relief.

• The middle class can receive a larger proportionate relief than the highest-earning individuals, and the country can still achieve meaningful expansion.

• However, insisting the middle class receive the bulk of the relief dollars precludes meaningful expansionary results.

We want tax relief. We want favorable treatment for the middle class. We want meaningful economic expansion. We can have all that if we support the developing Republican legislation. Remember, “perfection” is the enemy of “the good.”

Steve Bakke, Edina

The writer is a retired CPA and commercial finance executive.


Column raised important topic, but didn’t give a full account

As a practicing gastroenterologist, I recently read with great interest the “Afraid to Ask” column in the Star Tribune Magazine (“Over 50? Get your you-know-what to the gastroenterologist”). Raising awareness about colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention is commendable. The article highlights some very important information about colonoscopy and attempts to allay patients’ fears and misunderstandings.

While I recognize this column is meant to address uncomfortable topics, and colonoscopy certainly can be, I believe a great disservice was done to the readership in limiting the discussion to colonoscopy. The real question I am “Afraid to Ask” is why the column left out less expensive and less invasive CRC prevention methods. The column fails to mention alternative CRC prevention methods such as fecal immunohistochemistry testing, or FIT. Colonoscopy is not the only test, and it isn’t even necessarily the best test for every patient. The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer Screening recommends equally colonoscopy and FIT as first-tier tests. The Star Tribune article leaves readers ill-informed. Space could have been dedicated to alternative CRC prevention methods. Instead, the article closes with a poop joke.

Dr. Brian Hanson, Minneapolis

The writer is a staff gastroenterologist for the Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota.