In Minnesota, we almost constantly have weather to complain about in our conversations with our local friends, neighbors and casual acquaintances. It’s almost always too cold, too windy, hot, humid, dry, snowy or rainy. During a hot summer day, we say, “It sure would be nice to get a little breeze.” Or, “We need some rain for the garden.” Or in the winter, “We need a good snowfall soon for the winter sports fans (much less for the rural dwellers who need the insulation over their sewage septic systems).” There are several reasons to celebrate this week’s extreme cold beyond the strange bragging about our hardiness that we do with friends and relatives who live in warmer climates.
Our frequent and extensive weather complaints are a good thing, because they exhaust our complaining reflex. This is the reason that politics are so benign in Minnesota. By the time the governor, the Legislature or the local county board hatches plans for various forms of mischief, we don’t have much fuel left in the complaint reservoir. During the election campaign seasons, we might be completely sick and tired of the negative political advertisements against some candidate. But let’s think about how bad it could be if we had our anger and disgust fully charged. Let’s celebrate this virtue of our Minnesota climate.
Larry Salmela, Effie, Minn.
MINNEAPOLIS AND ITS NEIGHBORHOODS
A push for diversity or developers? In community, we know the score.
The Jan. 28 article “Diversity or bust for neighborhood groups?” outlined the push by Minneapolis to make neighborhood association funding tied to diversity. I am on the board of directors for the Citizens for Loring Park Community. Our leadership was diverse until the city allowed a development on the 1400 block of Nicollet to go forward. With the razing of those buildings, we lost a barbershop run by a black entrepreneur, a day care run by two Somali women and a theater run by a queer woman.
All of these business owners were part of the CLPC leadership, but now that they no longer have businesses in the community — businesses that CLPC fought to save — they are no longer eligible to be on our board. At CLPC meetings, we discussed at length what we could do to keep these businesses — and these individuals — in the Loring Park neighborhood. (We also fought to help save the two immigrant-run restaurants that were lost in the razing.)
This move is not about diversity, it’s about making it harder for people in neighborhoods to organize and fight for what’s best for their communities. It’s about getting citizens out of the way so developers can make money. Neighborhood organizations are not the problem. The city’s dishonesty and hypocrisy are.
Elizabeth Sowden, Minneapolis
Regime change there — or in any other country — is wrong
As is often the case when countries have an elected government that the U.S. doesn’t like (think Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Syria), attempts at regime change or the imposition of severe sanctions are deemed acceptable actions (“U.S. hits Venezuela with oil sanctions,” Jan. 29). Why? How would citizens of the U.S. have felt had other countries sought to destabilize our government following a highly contested election (think Gore vs. Bush) or one that led to a bitterly divided nation (the current moment is a good example). We may not agree with the outcome of an election elsewhere or the policies of that country toward the U.S., but we have no right to intervene in its sovereignty. We need to immediately release the funds we have illegally seized from Venezuelan oil sales, and we need to recognize Nicolas Maduro, the legitimately elected leader of that nation. To do anything else is both hypocritical and undemocratic.
Ann Minnick, Minneapolis
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The decision by the Trump administration to impose crushing sanctions on Venezuela was tantamount to a declaration of war, with 70 percent of the Venezuela government’s revenue coming from oil. This comes after the U.S. backed the elected leader of Venezuela’s national assembly, Juan Guaido, who unlawfully declared himself the president of Venezuela, claiming that the election of incumbent Nicolas Maduro was fraudulent. That would be identical to a scenario in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared herself to be president because the election of Donald Trump was fraudulent due to the interference of Russia, with governments such as France and Germany then backing Pelosi.
Venezuela has a constitutional process; installing a president without national elections by the people is not in it — even if we don’t like the results. The Council of Hemispheric Affairs reports that while hard-line opposition boycotted the election, in fact, two well-known moderates ran against Maduro and were defeated, with Maduro garnering 67 percent of the vote with 46 percent of the electorate participating. The context is that: (a) the U.S. has been seeking regime change in Venezuela since its active involvement in the 2002 (failed) coup against Hugo Chávez; (b) we have a history of intervention in oil-rich countries (Iran in 1953, Iraq in 2003); and (c) we have been playing an active role in this slow-motion coup, allegedly meeting with Guaido before his declaration. When another country meddles in our elections, we (rightfully) cry foul, but when we meddle in another’s — not so much.
Michael Haasl, Brooklyn Park
• • •
I was pleased to see the Jan. 30 commentary by a Venezuelan on our policy on Venezuela and rebuking U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota’s Fifth District (“The view of events, from Venezuelans in Minnesota”). Omar’s naive and ill-advised tweet based upon a complete lack of knowledge of the situation there speaks to her inexperience and unfortunately her willingness to tweet on subjects she apparently knows little about. Unfortunately, she has been assigned to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. One hopes she keeps quiet and listens and learns for a while before she sounds off again.
Ken Cutler, Edina
From this reader and others, warm appreciation on a cold day
For some strange reason (perhaps my age), I still enjoy reading the Star Tribune in the paper form. Nothing better than that cup of coffee and the newspaper on any morning of the year.
With Minnesota in a deep freeze, I would gladly have chosen to read it online and never expected to find it on my doorstep these past few days. The mail was halted Wednesday, but my newspaper was right on my doorstep as usual. Thank you to my carrier, who went above and beyond the call of duty. He’s the first person I send a Christmas card to each year letting him know his work has not gone unnoticed. I sure hope he reads the paper if this letter is printed, but I’ll dig down and find that card he leaves me each year for his address, and once that mail gets going, he’ll know how much he is appreciated.
Linda Nelson, Bloomington