In a photo in the Sept. 29 sports section of Rory McIlroy hitting out of a sand trap during a Ryder Cup practice round, seven of the nine people in the gallery behind him are taking photos rather than actually watching the shot. Kudos to the two people who were living in the moment.

Robert W. Carlson, Plymouth


It’s necessary for the governor to get involved in this matter

It is imperative that Gov. Mark Dayton intercede in the current Allina nurses’ strike for the well-being of all. Nurses and doctors are central to our health, and a prolonged dispute over what amounts to a pay cut is not acceptable. If there is to be a conformity in health-care benefits, then there should be commensurate conformity with executive pay increases.

But we need gubernatorial leadership now.

Arne H. Carlson, Minneapolis

The writer was governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999.


Perhaps he’s just too ‘smart’

for the common good

Sure, Donald Trump is “smart” by not paying taxes. My tax software walks me through the maze of gibberish deductions asking about things I may have missed. However, the vast majority of those things don’t apply to me. No one in Washington creates tax loopholes for W-2 earners. No lobbyist proposes complicated tax-avoidance strategies for middle America. I have not set up a phony charity foundation to dodge paying taxes. None of my savings is kept offshore to avoid supporting our government. I can’t afford a team of accountants and lawyers to work on my taxes. Instead of filing for bankruptcy, I have paid my bills. Our tax laws were written for the wealthy because they have the influence and the clout to create them in their best interests. They create the loopholes. They get to use the gibberish deductions that I just skip over. It is the rest of us, the not-so-smart, who pay for our troops, highways, bridges and all the services we demand from our government.

Beyond that, when Donald asks his other extremely wealthy friends if they are continually audited, and they answer no, it sounds like perhaps he is being even more evasive than the rigged tax code allows.

Rochelle Eastman, Savage

• • •

I believe that many are viewing the issue of Trump’s income taxes and bankruptcies in the wrong way. Laws do allow for deductions to lower income taxes and also for bankruptcies. Although it is legal, I view his taking substantial deductions to his income taxes as a lack or low contribution to the tax base, especially when Trump is proposing further tax cuts that would probably apply mostly to the wealthy.

As I understand bankruptcy, it is claimed when people or businesses owe substantially more money than they have in assets and with little prospect that they will be able to become solvent. Most people and businesses do not claim bankruptcy. So for Trump to have led four of his companies to have serious financial problems and have claimed bankruptcies each time, that indicates to me that he is not as good a businessman as he claims to be.

John Zimmerman, Lakeville

• • •

Reading the Sept. 30 article about court records showing Trump wanted less-attractive women fired, I had only one thought that could be printed. A friend who works in corporate outplacement often says, “The best prediction of future performance is past performance.” Examine Trump’s past performance. His place on Pennsylvania Avenue is best at the Old Post Office he has redeveloped.

Marcia Cheney, Arden Hills


In Minnesota status update, pegs for poxes on both parties

In the Sept. 30 story about how big donors are fueling the battle for the State Capitol, it is very correctly reported that the DFL Party’s significant cash advantage is in large part attributable to the generosity of government and teachers unions. While most might erroneously respond to this truth with a yawn, consider this: In virtually no other situation than that involving government or teachers’ unions are the “rank-and-file” allowed to chose — via the ballot box — the members of “management,” i.e., elected politicians, who will eventually sit across from them at the bargaining table. If those elected members of “management” owe their election, even in part, to the generous contributions of the very unions they are supposed to be dealing with at arm’s length, those arms become very short indeed. “Cozy” is instead the word that comes to mind to describe the relationship.

The importance of this unique negotiating advantage is, of course, not lost upon the unions. It is why they give so generously to the DFL as opposed to, say, spending their members’ money on other, more tangible, benefits. It is so important to the teachers union, in fact, that it went over half a million dollars in debt just to help assure that in the next biennium they deal with Democrats, not Republicans. (I wonder what Republican teachers — and there must be many — think about this use of their mandatory union dues?)

The point is this: If you happen to be a Minnesota taxpayer who is not a teacher or a government union member, and you are concerned whether your candidate will be a good steward of your hard-earned dollars when it comes to enacting legislation affecting, or bargaining with, those unions, do not let your vote follow the unions’ money to the DFL.

Chuck Spevacek, Minneapolis

• • •

There is no need to feel sorry for the Minnesota GOP being behind in reported fundraising for this year’s election. That’s because the party’s allies in business and the very wealthy are more likely to take advantage of a loophole in Minnesota law that permits independent committees to send mailings and buy ads that do not disclose the identity of contributors and do not have to be disclosed to the Campaign Finance Board. October will see a flood of mailings to the 25 contested districts with anonymous negative advertising. It’s reported that the Koch brothers and their political networks are directing funding to the states rather than the presidential campaign. They believe that it’s much easier to tip a state legislature with big money. How much money will be spent this way? We don’t know, but the federal government and 25 other states prohibit this secret.

George Beck, St. Louis Park


If the Second District race is influenced, blame the messenger

Great. The Star Tribune has given a platform to discredited pro-gun advocate John Lott Jr., who’s inserted his false claims into Minnesota’s Second Congressional District race (“Here’s a real difference in how to battle terror,” Sept. 30), implying that Democrat Angie Craig’s stance on gun control, which include more extensive background checks, will result in more deaths.

Lott first rose to fame some 20 years ago when he published his book “More Guns, Less Crime,” and subsequently he became a frequent media guest spouting NRA memes. However, his argument that less-restrictive gun laws reduce crime rates was thoroughly debunked by academics, who found serious flaws in his research. Consequently, Lott’s star-status was dimmed for a period of time. Yet, there he is — the de facto talking head for the right-to-carry crowd — in the Star Tribune’s opinion page spouting the same repudiated statistics in an attempt to influence the outcome in the battle to replace the retiring John Kline in the U.S. House.

Stephen Monson, Golden Valley