Former Gov. Jesse Ventura yearns to re-enter politics. But he should hire me to help him keep his facts straight.

Ventura’s assertion that the first president, namely George Washington, was the last who wasn’t a member of a political party shouldn’t have gone unchallenged. What about Zachary Taylor, Ulysses Grant and Dwight Eisenhower? All were popular former military commanders, like Washington, and although elected on party tickets, none of them were party members or manifested any partisan identification before their elections. Taylor had never voted, and Eisenhower was courted by Democrats before he decided he’d be happier as the Republican candidate.

As for running on a ticket with Republican Donald Trump, doing so would utterly discredit our former governor. Trump’s toxic blend of demagoguery, bigotry and colossal ignorance, fanned and fueled by his immense personal fortune, threatens the very foundations of our republic. Ventura may lust for the limelight, but buying into “The Donald’s” political trumpery would slice and dice Jesse’s integrity, to sustain which Jesse defied timid advice and bad publicity to bring his successful lawsuit against the Chris Kyle estate. If Ventura throws in with Trump, he’ll have to sue himself.

Oliver Steinberg, St. Paul

• • •

I bought me some new golf balls; they’re Ventura brand, you know.

They never are predictable; you don’t know where they’ll go.

They slice off to the left, and then they slice off to the right;

and sometimes they bounce back at you, and give an awful fright.

If you do not play golf well, off to Mexico they fly,

and never will be found until The Donald gives a cry.

They cannot be purchased from a store or catalogue;

they are hand-delivered by a dude on Harley hog.

Should you get a hole in one with your Ventura ball,

it will run for president the beginning of next fall.

But never mention “sniper” in its hearing or you’ll foozle;

cuz your Ventura ball retains the right of first refusal.

Tim Torkildson, Minneapolis

 

DOMESTIC ABUSE

Here’s another way cellphones can end up creating problems

An excellent feature in the Sept. 14 front page (“Cops turn tables on abusers’ tech use”) shed light on a not-well-understood and increasingly common problem — sadly, more typical of what women must endure once they decide to leave a relationship. Anger and control issues (which lead a woman to seek peace in the first place) continue to be visited upon her in any variety of ways. The use of technology to stalk and harass is one aspect of this.

From personal experience, I want to shed light on Verizon’s role in this issue (and undoubtedly that of other cellular-service providers). When one person is the exclusive “account manager” for a “family account,” that one individual is able to determine whether a partner can keep her personal phone number should she decide to leave “his” plan. The account manager is also permitted to enter into any other family members’ personal, saved messages and erase them. An individual hoping to leave an abuser’s plan will need to come up with money at a time she is financially strapped for funds. If she cannot produce a Social Security card, Verizon is inflexible on this as well. If the woman relies on her cell service for professional reasons — to continue to earn money during a vulnerable time — Verizon is also inflexible about permitting her personal phone number to transfer to her new account, should she be able to open one in the first place.

Domestic-abuse shelters do provide emergency cellphones, but only for 911 calls. Connectivity is wonderful and fun for most of us. It is critically important for many, as well.

Kim Carmean, Hastings

 

DRIVERS’ BEHAVIOR

The people creating problems — and the ones pointing fingers

The article about driverless cars (Science + Health, Sept. 13) identifies that the difficulty in real-world driving is humans — who don’t obey traffic laws. These human scofflaws (that’s you) causing (in 2010) more than 5 million crashes, 33,000 deaths and 2 million injuries are the ones who write letters to editors complaining about bicyclists’ behavior. It’s a bit ironic and biblical: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

John Kaplan, St. Paul

 

DOWNTOWN SHOOTINGS

Maybe if this place were a little more like Singapore …

The Sept. 13 article about shootings outside Target Center in downtown Minneapolis quotes Police Chief Janeé Harteau as saying that those involved “have no fear of the consequences of their actions.” An example of a society that has eliminated this “blatant disregard for human life” is Singapore. In Singapore, one is free to walk anywhere at any time of day or night without fear because there are real consequences for those who would put a community at risk. Justice is swift and fair in Singapore. Simply put, if you break the law, you will face severe consequences, which include caning and/or hanging. There are no jury trials. Break the law, and you will be brought before a learned judge who will consider the evidence and the law and judge you accordingly. What happened near Target Center will continue to happen in the absence of consequences that actually deter these actions. Get used to it.

Norm Spilleth, Minneapolis

 

INCOME AND OPPORTUNITY

Consider all of the factors that can influence the data

While racial disparities abound, both in the state and nationally, good policy requires good data, not yellow journalism or grandstanding politicians (“Income plunges for blacks in state,” Sept. 17, and “Black leaders assail Dayton on racial gap,” Sept. 18). What changed? That’s what you need to ask when you see such a stark, one-year shift in data for a particular group, such as the reported one-year plunge in black or African-American household income. And the answer is there in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder website, and it’s about shifting demographics, not economics.

From 2013 to 2014, there was a reported net increase of 12,000 recent immigrants from Africa to Minnesota. That year saw the addition of 7,000 black or African-American households to the state, about 5,000 of which are nonfamily (and thus single-income) households. As a result of this demographic shift toward single-income households, median black or African-American household income showed a drastic fall, even while individual income remained statistically flat at about $16,000 per capita.

If you want to increase median household income quickly, then building a good recent-­immigrant dating scene would be the way to go. However, if you want to address the real problem, then policies must address the low per capita income in all communities of color.

Gaku Sato, St. Paul