Former FBI special agent Steve Gilkerson doesn't understand the law of holes: "When you find yourself in the bottom of a hole, stop digging." His lame arguments attempting to justify the utter failure of the Wetterling investigation ("Sheriff's criticism of investigation was irresponsible," Oct. 3) are more shovelfuls of you-know-what tossed out of the pit of incompetence that was dug by the Stearns County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.

Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson's painful recitation of these obvious failures echo the findings of Minnesota Public Radio's investigation that focused on the many missed opportunities, errors by crime scene investigators and lack of diligence by deputies and investigators. Calling out failures and making changes based on the findings is the only way to improve the outcomes of future investigations. The Wetterlings and all Minnesotans deserve no less.


Teachers unions are good for the teaching profession

The Sept. 30 story "Outside groups testing teachers' loyalty to union" is disturbing news. As a former teacher with experience in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, I can only begin to testify to the power of the teachers unions in furthering and strengthening the profession. With no union, whom do teachers go to for yearly training on the topics emerging in their field? Without a union, where do teachers go to share ideas and experiences on best practices and common problems?

When I was beginning my teaching career, I was mentored and educated by union members in my school and surrounding schools as we met in regional drive-ins and conferences sponsored by Education Minnesota. After moving, I was surprised by the lack of professional support offered to teachers in areas where unions do not exist. I cannot comprehend what the aim is of groups like the Center of the American Experiment, which are encouraging teachers to leave the union. There is no benefit for making the teaching profession nonprofessional again; there is nothing to be gained from going back to the Dark Ages.


Let your views be known in the search for a new president

Much has been written about the ongoing search for a new president of the University of Minnesota and the process that is now in place to seek comments from a wide range of constituents ("What the U needs in its next president," editorial, Sept. 30). The university is an important treasure of Minnesota, one that I highly value. I encourage people to participate and let your views be known to the group of faculty, staff and students who make up the Presidential Search Advisory Committee formed by the Board of Regents.

In July, when asked what he would look for in a new president, Board of Regents Chairman David McMillan said, "I would like another Eric Kaler." This from a key person who will participate in making the final selection. We need to go beyond what we currently have. The Star Tribune Editorial Board has written that the new president "will be called upon to make a good university great." In my view, we can make a great university better. Let your views be known.

JAMES A. STROM, Eden Prairie

Voters, ask candidates to pledge to reject multi-subject bills

This letter is addressed to every Minnesota voter. Toward the end of the last legislative session, legislators were confronted with a 989-page omnibus bill. Legislators had less than 48 hours to read and consider the various parts of the legislation before they had to vote. After it passed without committee hearings or even reading by either citizens or legislators, it was vetoed by the governor.

Is this the logical way we make Minnesota better? I don't think so. Moreover, it was illegal. Our state Constitution is not difficult to read and understand. It states that no bill shall be presented without its title stating the subject of the legislation. One subject, one proposed law. I urge Minnesotans to ask their candidates for the Legislature to publicly promise to refuse to vote for any omnibus bills that are presented. It is clearly better to not vote for what you have not read and discussed than to mistakenly vote into action bad legislation.


Make sure support for a diversity of views is more than lip service

An Oct. 2 letter written by Darrell Jodock, Professor Emeritus at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., forcefully confirms the reality that many college faculty and administrators are only interested in paying lip service to ensuring a diversity of views is presented on their campuses. He first states his concurrence that "diverse views be presented fairly and with respect and the speakers be invited who represent competing views," only to proceed with a simplistic and partisan dismissal of views with which he disagrees, going as far as to claim that their presentation on campus comes "at the expense of its academic integrity."

If college faculty are confident in the soundness of their academic conclusions and research methods, they should openly offer a forum to those with opposing viewpoints. The critical thinking and analytical skills students should be learning — particularly at liberal arts institutions such as Gustavus — will allow them to evaluate these viewpoints and gravitate to those they find to be the best supported and most convincing, provided, of course, that the likes of Dr. Jodock remain objective in their teaching. As it currently stands, too many colleges explicitly or at least tacitly support the exclusion or open denigration of views that run contrary to the political sensibilities of faculty and administrators.

JOHN GRIMES, Minneapolis

It's likely age played a role in Minnesota Twins firing

After digesting the full and complete sports section coverage of the Paul Molitor firing, ("Class dismissed," Oct. 3), some key analytics were omitted by your veteran writers. Derek Falvey is 35 years old. Thad Levine is 45. If you look at the dozen "Names to consider" candidates for the new manager's job the Star Tribune published, you'll discover an average age of 47. Today, the well-liked and capable Molitor is 62, and he was the oldest Twins manager in the history of the organization. OK, I said it. Nobody else did.


Award for food coverage was well-deserved recognition

Congratulations to the Taste section for it second-place award for Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists ("Three cheers for Taste," Oct. 4). Those of us who live here and eat in the wonderful restaurants in the Twin Cities are grateful for the fine food coverage and great advice, not to mention the recipes.


Editor's note: The fate of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was unclear when this section went to press.