What happened to openness and transparency in state government as promised by Gov. Tim Walz during his campaign?
There is an effort by top administrators at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to increase timber-cutting on wildlife management areas (WMAs) despite the concerns of several wildlife managers that the increased logging could be detrimental to the wildlife that the WMAs were designed to protect and for which they were named. Equally disturbing is the fact that these same administrators have subsequently slapped a muzzle on the wildlife managers, instructing them not to discuss the issue with the media.
One cannot help beginning to question the judgment of Walz and his appointments to various top positions in state government. First, we had the multifaceted debacle of Tony Lourey at the Department of Human Services, and now we have the DNR muzzling its professional wildlife managers in an attempt to hide the truth from the WMA owners — the citizens of Minnesota. If the proposed increased timber harvest were truly beneficial to WMAs and their resident wildlife, why the concern by several DNR managers, and why the secrecy? Something just doesn’t smell right.
It’s time for Walz to remind DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen of his campaign promises of open government and to remind her the purpose of WMAs — they are, after all, not timber management areas.
John Murphy, Maple Grove
More is needed to protect outdoors
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was reauthorized earlier this year with bipartisan support — but that isn’t enough to protect the outdoor places we all know and love. Without full funding for the program, protections and investments in our nation’s public lands and access to outdoor spaces will continue to lag behind.
LWCF is an important tool for upholding family outdoor traditions, improving access to public lands, protecting historic battlefields and America’s heritage, fostering recreation and recovery in the outdoors, and creating places for kids to be more active.
When many veterans like me return home, they turn to the outdoors to heal and reconnect with family and communities. Veterans place a great deal of value in being outdoors and believe that we need to protect our national public lands because they provide families with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
The work we do now to protect the lands and water we enjoy will protect them for future generations to come. Our parents and grandparents made it possible for Americans to enjoy such a strong outdoor heritage, and LWCF plays a critical role in protecting our access to the outdoor places we love.
It is critical that my representative, U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, acts now to ensure LWCF has the full and permanent funding it deserves. For too long, this successful program has been underfunded and America’s public lands and communities have suffered the consequences.
Ed Peterson, Elk River, Minn.
Trump leaves successor with no tools
In good times, the wise nation reduces its debt and establishes sound tax, monetary and trade policies. When the recession hits, the wise nation has lots of tools it can employ to reduce the recession’s severity and length — lower interest rates, “quantitative easing,” more flexible trade policies, strategic tax policies and infrastructure spending.
None of those tools will be readily available to the next president.
Donald Trump is using them all now, during a time of relative prosperity, to rev the economy so he can claim credit for the good times — sort of like a great host who borrows money from his children’s piggy banks so he can buy more booze for his guests.
The most important qualification of the next president will be the ability to deal with the recession Trump is handing off.
Gary L. Brisbin, Fridley
Can coverage of Trump’s rambling come with a product warning?
At this point of public (and personal) frustration over presidential dysfunction, it would make journalistic sense (although unprecedented) if the readership could receive a brief and consistent warning, a written advisory preceding each published pronouncement from the president. The statement could read as follows: “In this article, information and views from the president or his representatives must be weighed carefully in light of the numerous false and misleading claims he has delivered to the readers of this news source and to the general public.” This, journalistically, seems to be part of common-sense objective reporting and the exercise of free speech.
I have mentally inserted that statement ahead of each of the recent Greenland articles (“Trump calls off trip over Greenland,” Aug. 21) to better prepare me for what may come next: swift retractions, absurd alternate explanations of “what the president really meant” or, as in the case of Greenland, statements that he wasn’t really serious about purchasing it. That is one more reworking of fact added to the documented thousands of lies and misinformation attributed to the president.
It is with due respect to the readers that the public be given the overriding theme of many presidential news reports: calculated deceptions from the Oval Office and the ongoing abuse of public trust. In each instance, this advisory would engage our critical eye while we scan the most recent and often sensational “news” from a well-documented liar. Unabated and unchecked in this manner, he continues his service as dishonest broker of the nation’s business.
Steve Watson, Minneapolis
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Recently, I happened on a “presser” between our current president and the White House press corps on TV. The background was a helicopter, all gassed up and ready to go. And loud. The president stood in front of some talking heads, but we couldn’t identify them or hear their questions because I don’t believe they had microphones! Which genius in the White House figured out a way to give the president at least 15 minutes of hateful rhetoric with national coverage under the guise of transparency? Which genius in the White House press corps thought it was a good idea to look like a crazed fan at a sports event in order to get a sound bite for their 24-hour coverage of the death of our democracy? Do they not see how they too are being manipulated into becoming the very same fake press they protest so vehemently?
I have always believed in the wisdom of the written word, because in the end it cannot hide. But those who call themselves reporters have the responsibility of maintaining a free press in this country and must become aware that they too are falling down the rabbit hole. They must stop pandering to the news cycle and regain their voices in the struggle for truth over power.
I believe that as a newspaper, the Star Tribune has a responsibility to call out this particularly odious complicity within the media itself whether these reporters are willful or unwitting participants, and that it as print media should push for the same standards of excellence in all media for which it itself strives. Does the Star Tribune believe this as well?
Gayle Zimmerman, Minneapolis
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