In the Jan. 5 issue of the Star Tribune, the article "Who's out if state loses a seat?" explained that Minnesota may soon lose a congressional seat due to slower population growth than elsewhere. The writer didn't draw a key conclusion from this fact: The drawing of voting maps in 2021 will be particularly important.
Federal, state and local districts are redrawn after every decennial census. For 50 years in Minnesota, the prescribed procedure for doing this failed: The two houses and the governor could not agree on a plan. So the new maps were drawn by the courts. Unless a new law is passed in the upcoming legislative session, this same hapless, time-wasting dance will happen again.
Fortunately, a bill will be reintroduced this session to establish better procedures for redistricting, based on extensive experience in other states and years of bipartisan work here. HF 1605 would establish a bipartisan redistricting commission to propose the new maps. The maps would be drawn based on clear principles that put fairness to voters ahead of other considerations, such as protection of incumbents. The bill is supported by Common Cause Minnesota and multiple grassroots democracy advocacy groups.
The time for fair redistricting in our state is now, when the stakes are so very high. Please urge your state representatives and senators to support bipartisan, voter-focused redistricting reform this year.
Katherine Christoffel, St. Louis Park
The writer is a member of the MN Let People Vote Coalition.
Trump emulates our sworn enemy
The president was threatening to destroy cultural sites in Iran, which were among his 52 potential targets ("Restraint needed as Trump targets Iran," editorial, Jan. 7). Does he realize who destroys cultural sites? ISIS is most recently noted for the destruction of various places of worship and ancient historical artifacts. Do we, as a civilized country, really want to emulate that group? I thought we were fighting ISIS, and then we were not: We were planning to copy them.
Please, Mr. President, get advice from a responsible adult before tweeting any further threats.
Ed Sisola, Minneapolis
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President Donald Trump, surely you know that the cultural sites of any particular country do not belong to that one country alone, but to the citizens of the whole world. For one, that means me.
Joan M. Anderson, Edina
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Our administration justifies the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani because he was a bad actor who was responsible for many American deaths and was plotting more actions that threatened American lives. America calls itself an exceptional nation and always believes its actions are pure and justified.
We invaded another country based on lies. We tortured prisoners in Iraq and we have used drone strikes to take out terrorists and sometimes civilians who were there. What if another nation labeled us terrorists and decided it was justified in killing our national security adviser? Wouldn't our nation be outraged? Would we not retaliate? To kill this member of the Iranian government, bad actor or not, and expect no retaliation makes me wonder what planet this administration is living on.
Threatening cultural sites in a 4,000-year-old land does not seem like the pure and justified action an exceptional nation would take. I believe we are an exceptional nation, but I do not believe our president's actions and tweets reflect that. It seems we have a president who believes he is above the law both domestic and international, and that is not good for our country.
Carol Keymer, Plymouth
Not decreasing nearly fast enough
The United States has emitted more CO2 than any other country to date, according to Our World in Data from the University of Oxford ("U.S. is not the worst these days," Readers Write, Jan. 7). We are responsible for 25% of historical emissions, twice that of China. The U.S. per capita emissions are more than double those of China, nearly double those of Germany and more than three times the global average. Yes, U.S. emissions have come down since 2000. And imports from China have increased fivefold during that period. The U.S. total emissions would increase by 8% if emissions associated with production of goods imported and consumed here were included. And China's annual emissions would be reduced by 14% if emissions associated with producing exported goods were subtracted.
We are a major part of the problem. U.S. emissions have been hovering around 5.5 billion tons in recent years, but holding steady is not enough. To limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, global emissions must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050, even taking into account rising demands. And the U.S., with its excessive emissions per capita, must do greater reductions and allow developing nations some space. It must happen.
Don G. Bailey, Bloomington
Let's rejigger this whole thing
Each acknowledgment of error being a step in the direction of correction, I am encouraged by David Leonhardt's Jan. 3 commentary ("Our presidential nomination process has become absurd").
As a political junkie myself, I salute Leonhardt endorsing ranked-choice voting, and for his joining Julian Castro in advocating an end to process prominence for Iowa and New Hampshire.
On the other hand, Leonhardt's proposals for increased party power, slot set-asides and all-over-the-map-at-once primaries (see "Super Tuesday") all strike me as prescriptions for making our symptoms worse.
We would, I think, be better served by one-a-month, time-zone-based, progression-by-population, sequential elimination, universal participation, nonpartisan presidential primaries.
The second Saturday in April would be a good starting point for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, with the top 28 regardless of party advancing to the next contest the second Saturday in May, etc.
Darryl G. Carter, Minneapolis
Don't destroy habitat on our behalf
Environmentalists often note that developers name their developments after the nature that is destroyed to build the development. For example, a beautiful oak forest is called "Oak Grove Estates" after almost all the oak trees have been cut down.
Now it's the Minnesota Zoo euphemistically calling the destruction of 485 natural acres "connecting people and wildlife" ("Zoo redo: A new link with nature," front page, Jan. 7).
Like they say, we had to destroy it to save it. This is the "tool kit to guide future projects," as zoo officials said. Adding to the cruel hypocrisy was the statement that maintaining the zoo's identity and focus on animals was "top of mind." Truth be told, the zoo's central identity has gone from animals, wildlife and ecosystem integrity to fun-loving humans.
All this for chump change, $700,000 in revenue a year.
My family membership is coming up for renewal. It won't be.
Dell Erickson, Minneapolis
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