Just read a lot of fuss about how delayed mail might mess up the November election ("The next election battleground: the post office" and "Tidal wave of mail-in ballots," Aug. 2). No attention is being paid to how it might hurt or injure people directly.
I live in a mostly senior community. It is not regulated for that, but the style of housing leads to that. Many of my neighbors get their prescription medications by mail. If the medications are delayed, some people might get sick or even die.
If bills are delayed, payments may be late, costing extra money. If advertisements are delayed, sales may be missed and companies will lose money.
Congress needs to release the U.S. Postal Service from the onerous pension law it enacted. We need our Postal Service, and we need our mail on time. If the Star Tribune were mailed, you would want it to reach the reader the day it was mailed, not two days later. I read the e-edition, always on time. I am voting by mail and will mail my vote early, so it arrives on time and gets counted.
Ann Klein, Savage
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There has been a lot of discussion (including the two articles in the Aug. 2 Star Tribune) about how the U.S. Postal Service would be overwhelmed if large numbers of voters cast their ballots by mail. "Swamped," "tsunami," and other hyperbolic words have been used. Articles describe how mail-in ballots might increase dramatically in 2020, and large numbers have been bandied about. But no one has cited any statistics on how the number of mailed-in ballots might compare with the usual number of pieces the USPS handles on a daily basis.
According to the USPS website, the service handles about 182 million pieces of first-class mail a day. In 2016, about 138 million votes were cast in the United States. We have heard that there may be an increase in voter turnout this time around, so let's say there are 20% more votes in 2020 than in 2016. Even if every single voter cast a mail-in ballot, that would still be less than one day's work for the Postal Service. And of course, the ballots won't be mailed all on the same day.
I would venture to say that voting by mail will burden the Postal Service far less than the annual rush of Christmas mail. Unless President Donald Trump's new postmaster general manages to completely cripple the USPS, I don't think we have anything to worry about.
Mark Bradley, Roseville
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Until Jan. 20, 2021, I am putting an additional stamp on every card, letter and package I send through the U.S. Postal Service.
Maybe it will help; it will make me feel better.
Neill Merck, St. Paul
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I bought my home in 2012 from the estate of a deceased owner. Since that time, including as recently as last week, I have received mail addressed to the previous owner. It is not my mail, so I have never opened any of it. But I have noted the senders, which have included both federal and state sources, including a document that appeared to be a census questionnaire. I have repeatedly written "no longer at this address" or similar on the envelopes, and have placed the items for return, but they keep coming eight years later. I oppose vote by mail because my own experience tells me ballots will fall into the hands of unintended recipients who won't simply write "return to sender."
Dave Mrocek, Bloomington
THE POLICE AND PTSD
Here's another way of looking at that particular issue
The Aug. 2 front-page article "Crime climbs as officers depart" reported that 75 Minneapolis police officers are taking medical leave for post-traumatic stress disorder they say was caused by the riots.
As a Vietnam vet who served with the 173rd Airborne, I am occasionally asked if I suffer from PTSD. I answer honestly that even on my worst days in Vietnam I inflicted more stress than I suffered.
I suspect the same is true of the vast majority of Minneapolis police officers.
Robert Tammen, Soudan, Minn.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
With this kind of inequity on display, is it any wonder that …
For those wondering why the U.S. ranks first in the world in health care costs per capita — twice as much as the average of the next 12 Western countries who, unlike us, have universal coverage — I thank the Star Tribune for presenting Exhibit A ("Executive compensation report," Business, Aug. 2). The top six executives of UnitedHealthcare, a company that does not provide health care, brought home $162,400,000 in pay in 2019. Compensation, I might add, that overwhelmingly comes in the form of stock options, conveniently taxed at lower rates than is salaried income the people who actually provide care are paid. What exactly is the benefit to society for this obscene system that prioritizes enriching shareholders and executives over the health of its citizens and the workers who care for us?
Ed Murphy, Minneapolis
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"Virus fuels real-estate demand Up North" (Aug. 2) is exactly the type of feel-good story that we all need in this time of global pandemic and economic turmoil.
I am certain that the tens of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and have gone on unemployment, as well as the millions now facing eviction or foreclosure, will be delighted to read about their fellows fortunate enough to acquire second homes at the lake, and ones, god willing, with an internet connection!
In your face, tent dwellers!
Doug Broad, St. Louis Park
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Here we are in the throes of, allegedly, the worst recession since the Great Depression. Well, OK, not for everyone. CEOs, (many) making eight-figure incomes; guys wanting to build a heliport at their palatial second-home lake estate; folks with the means of outbidding each other to escape all the riffraff of the city to the bucolic quiet of the North Woods — geez, after these articles in last Sunday's Star Tribune, do you really have to wonder why so many of "those" people might be upset? You know, the millions on unemployment or those still working their "essential" jobs for $15 an hour? Or even those people who have regular jobs with decent pay, yet who can't afford to buy even an entry-level house (if there were any) or rent a decent apartment? Add in the people who aren't afraid of getting a speeding ticket from the police but are afraid of dying. Shocking, really, that they're upset.
This is not a screed about jealousy or class warfare; it is simply an advisory that all this has happened before in other countries. At some point, there is simply no further acceptable rationale by the "ruling class" for the inequities in the society — and it never ends well.
D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis
A nourishing essay
Many thanks to Peter M. Leschak for his warmly written ruminations on Comet Neowise, and to the Star Tribune for publishing his refreshing and restorative thoughts on that comet's place and ours in the universe ("Heralds of hard times, but also of revival," Opinion Exchange, Aug. 2). Keep them coming, please. We need that kind of nourishment just now!
Nancy B. Miller, Minneapolis