Should Minnesota Republicans decide it is a good idea to let Tim Pawlenty put the band back together and try playing an encore gig as governor (“Pawlenty’s entry shakes up the governor’s race,” April 6), they will be forgetting one important thing. It’s not the performer who gets to request an encore. It’s the crowd that’s been left wanting more.
If memory serves, by the time the man’s last booking was over, the people of Minnesota had begun to find that the Pawlenty ballad of a “better way forward for Minnesota families” sounded more than a little off-key to them. It’s hard to believe they could be made to stand up and cheer for a reunion concert of his oldie-but-not-so-goodie repertoire.
Harold W. Onstad, Plymouth
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Oh, how soon we forget. Eight years, to be exact. I find it ironic that Pawlenty announced his bid for Minnesota governor on the same day the current commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Cynthia Bauerly, wrote (in a Pioneer Press commentary) about the fiscal mess Pawlenty left the state in eight years ago. I quote, “When Gov. Dayton took office, Minnesota faced a $6.2 billion deficit and we owed our school districts $1.9 billion in unpaid debt. Throughout his two terms as governor, he has made hard choices to balance the budget, and successfully turned around our state’s finances, leading the state to nine forecast budget surpluses since 2011. The governor has made clear he will not leave his successor the same fiscal mess he inherited.”
I understand that Pawlenty wants to promote education funding and other initiatives. Presumably by the same method he used during his eight years in office — by raising property taxes and fees and by diverting money from other sources instead of funding the schools through state taxes.
I remember an old saying about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I believe Pawlenty would bring back fiscal disaster. Hmm. I wonder? Who benefited from Minnesota’s debt during the eight years Pawlenty was in office. It would be interesting to follow the money.
J.M. Sankot, New Brighton
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Back in 2001, when then-legislator Pawlenty was running for governor, the people of Minnesota had no idea a telecom company, Access Anywhere, was making monthly payments to him: $4,500 per month up to $60,000 in total. Pawlenty was able to hide this money by running it through a solo-corporation. The company, Bamco, had one employee — Tim Pawlenty. He didn’t report this money to the campaign-finance board, and he did not mention his financial connections to Access Anywhere in any campaign material. The company was being investigated in Minnesota for scamming customers. A few decades ago, Pawlenty was extremely excited about the telecom industry and opportunities deregulation offered that industry. Now it is 2018 and Pawlenty appears extremely interested in flying cars. Minnesotans have a right to know all the potential forces that may be driving that interest ...
Julie Risser, Edina
CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE
Case made by law enforcement omits key info, including history
When representatives of “87 county attorneys, 87 sheriffs, more than 300 police chiefs, and more than 8,500 rank-and-file peace officers” praise civil asset forfeiture (Opinion Exchange, April 6), it’s embarrassing that they neither define it nor distinguish it from criminal asset forfeiture. In criminal asset forfeiture, the prosecution must enter a forfeiture count in the indictment, and the defendant has to be found guilty in a criminal proceeding.
In civil asset forfeiture, the charge is directed against “guilty” property, and the state needs only to show probable cause, while the owner, not protected by the standards of criminal law, has to meet the higher standard of preponderance of evidence in civil court. The idea of guilty property is as odd as the practice is unjust; this is theft of property by the state.
As usual, it hits the poor, who can’t afford to go to civil court, harder.
John Sherman, Moorhead, Minn.
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The counterpoint by legal and law enforcement representatives opposing legislation to dismantle civil asset forfeiture raises some good points. It does not, however, point out protections ensuring that any forfeiture policy/practice will not embody any of the egregious attributes of the forfeitures that were executed by the notorious multiagency crime strike force in the Twin Cities several years ago (“State details crime scene forfeitures,” May 31, 2012). Citizens were deprived of their rights and often of their property — and the property or funds resulting from these shadowy transactions were used (sometimes without budget or administrative oversight) to enhance law enforcement activities or, in rare cases, to benefit individual strike force members.
Safeguards are needed to ensure lawful application of asset forfeiture steps so these abuses do not reoccur.
Arnie Bigbee, Edina
Where does another person’s freedom end if it breaks the law?
When a person breaks a law or takes an illicit substance, whose choice was it? (“Lawmakers may curtail forfeiture of licenses,” April 6.) When the rest of us accept the reasons to excuse the behavior due to circumstances, we are making room for the crime and the aberrant behavior and lowering our expectations of safety — freedom, really. It’s prisoners making demands, disruptive students stealing teaching time away from those there for an education and now license revocation causing negative effects. We keep lowering the expectation of what it means to live freely, not just for some, but for everyone.
Penny Saiki, Wayzata
BALANCE IN THE MEDIA
What Sinclair does for uni-speak, Sack cartoons do just as well
The Star Tribune’s Steve Sack, who is a terrific cartoonist and clearly a promoter of left-of-center ideas, in his “This just in …” cartoon about the Sinclair Broadcast Group on April 5, shrewdly points a critical spotlight on his philosophical adversaries’ tactics in propagating their views. But Sack’s views, similar to his critical cartoon, are enabled by a news media outlet that routinely provides an almost monopolistic venue for his philosophy. The Star Tribune should run more of Michael Ramirez’s syndicated cartoons if it wants to avoid enabling one-sided viewpoints. Ramirez is not only a terrific cartoonist with a conservative bent, but with both Mexican and Japanese heritage it wouldn’t be just lip service when talking about encouraging diversity of views and of racial/ethnic heritage.
Matthew Carpenter, Eden Prairie
Tell me: What’s so great about illegal immigration, smuggling?
As usual, when the subject of U.S. border security comes up in this section of the Star Tribune, it’s in the form of letters making fun of and/or accusing others of … wanting to secure our border with Mexico. Somehow, the letter writers seem to think that’s enough, that the reasons for wanting a porous border that is open to illegal immigration and smuggling are so obvious as to not require any enumeration. I must be slow-witted. Or forgetful. Help me understand, please. Why is it so important that our border with Mexico be wide-open to illegal immigration and criminal smuggling operations? There must be a reason people feel so strongly about keeping this border so penetrable. Enlighten me, please, because every other place I’ve asked this question, I get called names, but I don’t get an answer.
R. Russell Last, Golden Valley