Regarding the introduction of legalized sports betting to the Legislature and Minnesota tribal leaders' desire to impede nonreservation legalization of gambling, state Rep. Pat Garofalo's suggestion that it only be allowed in tribal casinos is shortsighted. Doing so would continue to feed a virtual monopoly for the legal gambling dollar the tribes now enjoy.

It would also further limit competition among providers that would ultimately help discerning consumers. Let's level the playing field to an extent and give them the ability to choose from other providers and perhaps reap the fruits limited competition may bring. Competition helps the consumer, and our state will benefit via the collection of gambling taxes.

Connecticut shares in Foxwood Casino's success. Former Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich's agreement with the tribes grants in perpetuity a deal not so lucrative to our state. Don't let Garofalo's idea be the final leg of a losing two-team parlay.

Tony DiPerna, Elko New Market

Opinion editor's note: For the sake of fuller context, we add that Garofalo is quoted in a Jan. 21 article at as saying, "Certainly, if the choice is, if we keep everything illegal or if we do things just [on tribal lands], some is better than none. This is not the kind of thing that the Legislature can just jam down people's throats. There has to be consensus among the stakeholders. Absent that, it's not going to happen."


Political implications are exactly why not to celebrate ruling

I found the Jan. 22 editorial "A promising ruling on the 2020 census" to be disingenuous. It said, in part, "And this Editorial Board has argued previously, collecting census data should not be subject to politics."

The very foundation of the census is political because it is meant to reallocate congressional seats based upon a shifting population. It doesn't get any more political than that.

The U.S. census counts people, not citizens, then allocates those congressional seats based on people counted, not citizens counted.

Using the editorial's numbers of 22 million legal noncitizens and 12 million undocumented residents, 10.4 percent of the U.S. population of 326 million are noncitizens who will be counted for reallocating the 435 U.S. House members. That means that one-tenth of congressional seats will be attributed to noncitizens. Minnesota, by comparison, gets just eight congressional seats.

That system of counting helps states like California that have a large noncitizen immigrant population and penalizes states like Minnesota that have a low percentage of noncitizen immigrants.

Also, there are some who think, not unreasonably, that noncitizens should not be represented in Congress.

Bruce Hendry, Drummond, Wis.
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I read the editorial with great interest. I believe we should know how many illegal immigrants are living and working in the U.S. But, since a liberal judge ruled against the citizenship question, I'm going to rule against the 2020 census. Every conservative, Republican and like-minded independent should refuse to participate in "bluer" state census regions. I'm also going to recommend to all I know to do likewise, and spread the effort.

Thomas McMahon, Coon Rapids

Basketball was where it started, but shouldn't be where it is resolved

Basketball is one of the few places where urban and suburban kids mingle ("After flag fallout, Jordan sits out game," Jan. 21). It is, by nature, a competitive environment not conducive to finding common ground and working together. I also don't think it is the best place to observe one another's behavior.

I would propose that both Jordan and Minneapolis Roosevelt high schools find a way to have some dialogue and mingling that is not basketball. Do a student exchange. Get some other clubs together like language clubs, theater, choirs, etc. Have some competitions that are not as spectator-heavy, like math or debate. Have some dialogue about the differences in their life. That would be a way to turn this sad series of events into something potentially positive.

Nancy Clauss, Minneapolis

Delays keep me from my job. Sorry, boss. Sorry, school bus riders.

I have the same headache that Gov Tim Walz is experiencing right now ("Tech headache bedevils Walz: State's system has been plagued by high-profile failures, and an IT leader is difficult to find," Jan. 22). I drive a school bus, and Tuesday was the sixth day I have not driven, due to problems renewing my medical waiver through Driver and Vehicle Services. The nice people at the state department are telling me it might take three to four weeks for the certification to be uploaded, due to "computer issues." This is placing a very unfair burden on my boss, since school bus drivers are in short supply to begin with — sorry, David. I miss my students tremendously, as well as my co-workers, and I have written to my state representatives urging them to fund this critical issue. In the meantime, please pass the Tylenol, Gov. Walz.

Ginger R. Downing, Bloomington

The best course is to eliminate intentional contact altogether

The excellent Jan. 21 letter regarding youth sports and concussion ("Risks necessitate a federal law") should be read by every parent, coach, athletic director and legislator in the country, if not the world. As a researcher, teacher and practitioner in the area of neuroscience, I can attest to the massive amount of published data regarding the devastating effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), even those associated with supposedly "minor" events. The typical practice of contact sports, particularly football and hockey, exposes young athletes to repetitive injuries to the most important system humans have — the brain and central nervous system (CNS). The CNS effects of repeated impact, acceleration/deceleration and other such injuries are cumulative and, at a certain point, quite irreversible.

A quick search of PubMed or NIH websites for scholarly references about this issue will provide a wealth of evidence, so I won't include that here. However, I have studied this issue and can say with certainty that the effects of even relatively minor injuries last for several months, not just a few weeks. Repeated injuries during the healing/recovery phase following such injuries make the effects worse and more permanent.

The answer, in my opinion, would be to eliminate intentional contact in sports. This has been done to some extent in hockey and I applaud those efforts to reduce or eliminate violent checking. Football, on the other hand, would have to switch to "flag" football approaches, and even then, blocking would likely result in repetitive injury anyway. I know this won't happen soon and that many will respond to this letter and the one noted above with derision and scorn. Unfortunately, as neuroscience catches up to reality, we will see more and more evidence of lives permanently ruined by these sports.

By the way, a helmet protects the skull. It does very little to protect the brain.

John Anderson, St Louis Park