I am so happy the media has forced former Vice President Joe Biden to address allegations made by Tara Reade. Since the media is impartial in the presidential race, I look forward to it pressuring President Donald Trump to address allegations made by Ninni Laaksonen, Alva Johnson, Jessica Leeds, Jill Harth, Kristen Anderson, Lisa Boyne, Cathy Heller, Jessica Drake, Natasha Stoynoff, Temple Taggart, Karena Virginia, Mariah Billado, Bridget Sullivan, Tasha Dixon, Melinda MacGillivray, Jennifer Murphy, Rachel Crooks, Samantha Holvey, Cassandra Searles, Karen Johnson, Summer Zervos and others. Or at least to release his taxes.
David Frederick, Coon Rapids
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When Justice Brett Kavanaugh was up for nomination to the Supreme Court, many female Democratic politicians accused him of sexual misconduct even before any evidence was presented. He was guilty until proven innocent. Which is not the way our judicial system is supposed to work. Now a former aide to then-Sen. Biden says she was sexually molested by Biden. We should give Biden the benefit of doubt by saying he is innocent until proven guilty — better terms than were given Kavanaugh.
How come the same Democrats who so loudly proclaimed Kavanaugh's guilt are now silent about Biden? Doesn't the woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by Biden deserve her day in court? Biden is running for the highest office in the land. But because he is a Democrat we are not supposed to put him under scrutiny and investigate this very serious charge? What's going on here? Why all the silence and endorsements of Biden? Why the double standard, Democrats, news media?
Tom R. Kovach, Nevis, Minn.
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Steve Sack's cartoon on May 1 depicted Biden, gag in place, silent about the Tara Reade accusations. Unfortunately, this image gives legs to an all-out campaign to destroy the reputation and minimize the accomplishments of a man whose qualifications, expertise and record of service dwarf the Trumpian loudmouths leading this country to disaster. The context for this and future smears (there will be many more) against Biden must be a fair consideration of the source and facts rather than a glib perpetuation of unfounded attacks.
I recommend the USA Today column by Michael Stern ("Why I'm skeptical about Reade's sexual assault claim against Biden: Ex-prosecutor," from April 29) whose 28 years of experience as a federal and state prosecutor cut through the fog with a closely argued dismantling of these allegations.
Joe Biden is the only candidate who is capable of and willing to put the interests and well-being of all Americans in the forefront as he rebuilds our federal government and our national reputation.
Bruce D. Snyder, St. Paul
Our community, splintered
I became aware of Minneapolis Public Schools' Comprehensive District Design last spring when my son's teacher told me there was a plan to reduce Dowling School's developmental cognitive disability (DCD) classrooms by half.
Given Dowling's history as a school for special-needs kids, we've always had a high population of children receiving services. We have a full-time nurse and speech pathologist, among other staff, and access to a therapeutic pool. Our school is fully accessible (no stairs) and our wide hallways have plenty of space for kids on wheels.
The current plan has special-education students receiving services in their neighborhood schools. It won't work. My son spent two years in a special-education classroom where many of the students had significant needs. It was difficult for his teachers to meet his specific needs. He was moved to a different DCD classroom within Dowling that was a better fit. His current classroom may be the only one of its kind in the district, and it's available because of Dowling's population of special-needs students. Splitting kids up will split up staff and stretch teachers too thin to address the needs of special-needs students.
My son is at Dowling because of its emphasis on the environment and outdoor learning, which aligns with our family's values. But he's also at a place where kids like him aren't stigmatized because they are a large and valued part of our community. It takes time to build a community like ours. It breaks my heart to see it torn apart.
Sarah Rose, Minneapolis
It's an obstacle course — with masks
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's decision to defer maintenance of our public space infrastructure is more evident than ever in this time of COVID-19 as we exercise while keeping a socially acceptable distance on our walking paths, bike paths and on the recently opened parkways.
One year ago, the walking path on the west side of Bde Maka Ska fell into the lake. This was not an unpredictable event. The shoreline next to the sidewalk had been eroding for years. Fixing the shoreline would have cost pennies compared with the now expensive task of rebuilding the sidewalk. There are other areas around the lakes where the eroding shoreline will soon destroy the walking path. This is one of many examples of penny wise, pound foolishness at the Park Board.
In other areas, the Park Board similarly ignores the paths' desperately needed maintenance and slaps orange paint down year after year in order to warn walkers and bikers of poor pavement conditions. Now that portions of the lakes' parkways are open to walkers, orange paint should be slapped all over the hundreds of potholes resulting from years of deferred maintenance. Walkers are forced to carefully sidestep the parkways' potholes, including the one that wrecked the axle of my father-in-law's car recently. And bikers must also be extraordinarily careful as to not go head over heels after hitting one of the gravel-strewn potholes.
Walking or biking on Park Board property is an exercise in caution and coordination so as not to maim oneself. The Minneapolis Park Board's years long disinvestment in care and maintenance of the bike and walking paths along the lakes and parkways is dangerous, expensive and disgraceful.
Steve Young, Minneapolis
Foreign doctors want to help
Legislators Karin Housley and Jon Koznick lay out well how "the demand for health care and worker development will continue to grow" ("Funding is critical to workforce," Opinion Exchange, April 30). Funding the International Institute of Minnesota is critical. Their bill to fund the employment path for immigrants and refugees to become nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses is a worthy one.
There are also several hundred immigrant and refugee physicians in Minnesota who are not only available to meet the long-term workforce needs Housley and Koznick describe, but also ready and willing to serve our immediate needs responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these physicians have volunteered their service, but the licensing and institutional barriers they face limit how much they can help. New Americans Alliance for Development, the Minnesota Department of Health and others have been working on this issue since 2005.
States like New Jersey have begun issuing temporary licenses to international physicians for pandemic response. The governor and Legislature should follow other states' lead and take executive or legislative action to offer emergency medical licenses to these talented doctors we need right now in this public health emergency. And then, as also suggested for the International Institute, state government leaders should build on current efforts and expand state support to add these needed professionals to our medical workforce.
Wilhemina Holder, St. Paul
The writer is the executive director at New Americans Alliance for Development.
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