A few days ago, I thought I would stop hitting my head against the Minneapolis City Hall wall. But then I read the article about a committee of the City Council opting not to take federal funding for 10 police officers whose main function would be to make the streets safer for kids getting on school buses, for bicyclists, pedestrians, Metro Transit riders and buses, emergency vehicles, and those of us who don’t like having to fend off road ragers, drunken drivers, cellphone addicts and bullies behind the wheel who make life on the road miserable for everyone else. (“Mpls. will not seek grant for more cops,” front page, March 5.) These traffic cops would be licensed by the state and would be ethically, morally and legally responsible to enforce all laws, including responding to any type of emergency, but their main focus would be traffic safety.
The council committee may have once again proven true the adage that you can’t fight (the current) City Hall, but I hope the good people of this town never stop trying.
Wes Skoglund, Minneapolis
The writer is a former legislator.
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Are you kidding me, Minneapolis and St. Paul? When there is no traffic enforcement (and by the way, thanks to a Minneapolis City Council committee for refusing to pursue a grant that would help to hire 10 traffic enforcement officers), why do you think that lowering the speed limit will make the streets safer? (“Mpls. and St. Paul plan to slow traffic to make streets safer,” front page, March 6.)
That’s called magical thinking. If drivers don’t obey the current traffic laws, including the speed limit, and there are no consequences for failing to do so, lowering the speed limit will certainly not help.
Is there anything we can do to give you a hefty dose of our reality?
Jeanne Torma, Minneapolis
It’s wrong. This is not news.
It’s a little late — by 30 or 40 years, give or take — for forgiveness (“Lessons in the fall of my friend Chris Matthews,” StarTribune.com, March 4). Women have been talking about this for decades. Harassment policies have been in place for decades. No one can claim to not know, or think it’s only a joke, unless they’ve been living in a cave for a half century.
Please. Stop apologizing for these buffoons.
Leslie Martin, Mendota Heights
Do I hear some Trumpian reverb?
I was just watching a news conference by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Here is a close paraphrase of what he said: Don’t believe what you see in the press. We are running a campaign unlike any other in modern history.
This sounds like Trumpspeak to me.
I am concerned about a presidential race between President Donald Trump and Sanders, who are angry, who are paranoid about the “deep state”/mainstream, who complain about the press, who believe that they lead their historic movements, and who can’t seem to make their points without yelling.
April Spas, Minneapolis
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Friday’s opinion piece by April Salchert expresses her confusion as to why Joe Biden is doing so well among black voters (“Moderates wield their ‘electability’ as a weapon,” March 6). I’m not black and cannot speak for black voters. I am a white, middle-class American. I have easy access to health care. I don’t worry that my child might be stopped for a trumped-up traffic violation and end up dead. I am retired, but if needed, I could find a job. I could probably find a house in any part of this city.
If Trump is re-elected, my personal life will not change much. This is not true for most people of color in this country. They see their rights eroding on a daily basis. And not just in small increments, but by leaps and bounds. For many, electability is the only issue. They want Trump out of office and they don’t even have to like the person who will replace him. So we can sit here and say “but Bernie ...” because we believe he has the best vision for our future, but if Trump is re-elected we would continue to live our lives pretty much as usual, in a world that is much worse for people of color. Black voters in the South believe that Biden is the most electable candidate, and their lives depend on ousting Trump from the White House.
You may not agree and you may be right, but if Biden wins the nomination and you cannot find it in your heart to cross over because your candidate didn’t win, just know that the re-election of Trump may not affect the way you live much, but it is a verifiable threat, not a theoretical possibility, to the poor, people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, the environment and people who don’t practice the “right” religion. Please use your vote purposefully.
Virginia Rudloff, Minneapolis
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The progressive element seems to wield a moving target. Now it’s “electability.” It resembles the argument I heard in 2016, 2012, 2008, etc., that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats, but my response to that specious argument is, “Tell that to a woman who needs an abortion.” The courts have been packed with Republican conservatives who routinely allow restrictions on abortion providers. And abortion is just one example.
When I had this discussion with a friend who had voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, she said, “I have the right to vote for whomever I want.” To which I replied, “You do absolutely have that right, but can you live with the consequences?” Those who voted for Nader, thereby electing George W. Bush, brought us the war in Iraq, endless costs of war, thousands of brain injuries and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, and on and on. That was surely not their intention, but it was just as surely the result. Yes, we can exercise our “right” to vote in any way we choose, but we don’t exist in a vacuum; we’re all in this together. The friend with whom I had this talk just wanted to “send a message,” but was anyone listening? I suggest not.
So, if removing Trump is your ultimate, highest goal, then electability is important. Focus on that, and leave the petty internecine arguments to the purists. Remaining pure will get you nothing; being strategic will win you everything.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION
We’re waiting on you, corporations
Corporate employers like U.S. Bank, General Mills, Cargill, and Wells Fargo say they are committed to taking climate action, but are refusing janitors’ ask to implement a green cleaning training program to help lower building carbon emissions (“Twin Cities janitors strike for a day,” Feb. 28). I firmly support the green cleaning program, which would also teach janitors to sort and divert trash to recycling and composting. Some workers live in north Minneapolis, and their families are directly impacted by air pollution from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center incinerator, where trash from these buildings is burned.
It’s time for these large corporations to actually put their money where their mouth is and take meaningful action on the climate that they say they care about so much.
Emily Wallace, St. Anthony
Don’t regulate our lakes away
The March 6 letter writer advocating a statewide no-wake rule apparently thinks all of Minnesota’s waterways are just like the lake he cited with lots of open water more than 200 feet from shore (“Our no-wake rule has succeeded,” March 6). All Minnesota rivers and similarly sized lakes would be closed to boat traffic where they are less than 400 feet wide (more than the length of a football field) under such a rule. This includes man-made lakes constructed specifically for water sports. Many such waterways are deep and/or have wave-dissipating weeds along shore which make them ideal for water sports. I hope the promoters of the restriction bills (HF 3770 and SF 3624, which would implement a statewide 200-foot setback rule for all wake-surfing activities) will consider these unintended consequences.
Paul Oman, Brooklyn Center
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