Letters: Tired of hearing about whose side arsonists and anarchists are on. They have no side.

7March 2021

There are no left- or right-wing arsonists. I’m tired of hearing about whose side they are on. Arsonists and anarchists have no side and descend upon any community experiencing social strife merely to take advantage of a volatile situation. These slugs target drug stores, auto parts stores, banks and any other industries they can rob in the midst of the chaos they create.

They are not part of any agenda that includes social justice for anyone, regardless of any allegiance to a greater cause to which they have none. Their goal is more chaos, and they gain from the destruction they inflict upon our communities. These cowards hide among protesters like wolves among sheep and kick us when we’re down, trying to exercise our right to protest as law-abiding citizens, in the middle of a pandemic. Beware these cowards who are the true enemies of our country and must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Greg Nayman, St. Paul


Let’s be united and smart

It is hard to watch businesses, especially neighborhood businesses, struggle to survive in the midst of the pandemic. I want desperately to patronize my favorite places.

It troubles me deeply that science has been ignored. I take my health and survival seriously. The death count in this country still exceeds 2,000 daily. The recent announcement by the Texas governor to open the state to business-as-usual impacts us all. Life in the U.S. is fluid.

I want business leaders and politicians to know their decisions affect my decisions. If I go to your business and you don’t enforce the masking mandate and social distancing, I won’t come back. I’d rather buy it online and wait for it.  If you don’t care about your customers or your employees, I feel no obligation to give you my business. My friends do likewise.

We should all be able to work together to get through these most difficult times. It seems as soon as we make a little progress, there are those who are quick to use it as justification for going back to “normal.” I hoped by midsummer I might be able to do a road trip. Where I go, if it is safe, will be to another state that has taken the advice of the experts and science. Texas, for one, will not be on my list.

The solution resides in accurate information and a collective approach. There is a reason we call it the United States of America. Let’s be united and smart.

Sarah Koper, St. Paul


Hard to feel represented

I empathize with the letter writer so utterly frustrated by his inability to reach his elected representative for I too have written countless letters without receiving a single reply. Later in the last century I was apt to wonder whether letters written to large corporations were nothing less than the last uselessness to the ordinary American. This century I’m convinced it’s letters to government, and the varied means and manners by which we now communicate with elected officials seemingly makes no difference.

Should you disagree in the slightest with the representative you wish to voice your opinion to your chances of receiving a response are infinitesimally small. But should you agree wholeheartedly doesn’t in itself increase the odds much either. Surely like the letter writer himself the issues I write about are important to not only me but to us all which therefore does beg the question: Who, exactly, are the constituents our representatives listen to? If not to him, if not to me, who? What title found before a name is the prerequisite for a response? Or is it fame, riches, or what exactly?

It’s frankly hard to feel represented sometimes. It’s as if some of us are under an entirely different caste of government in which what an elected representative may do — or does — we are neither part of nor privy to until after the fact, and even then only indirectly made aware of.

It’s no wonder really why people like me have moved to the center and want nothing whatsoever to do with the far fringes of both political parties who for too long have failed to recognize the long celebrated extraordinary of the ordinary American.

Julia Bell, St. Paul


I wonder

In spite of being a “seasoned citizen” I am still in awe and wonder of the beauty around me, the natural beauty of the seasons, the beauty of life itself, the flora and fauna of this great state.

At times, when I wonder, I wander into the subject of politics. For instance, I wonder why one political party accentuates and maximizes the differences between races, when that difference is, literally, just skin deep.

At the same time, this same political party tries to deny and minimize the differences between the sexes, male and female, when there are physiological differences that exist.

I wonder if I will ever understand.

Jerry Wynn, St. Paul



If “white privilege” is the gauge that Ramsey County commissioners use when making decisions, the county-run ice areas are in trouble.

Tom Mullaney, Woodbury


Faulty premise

There are at least two problems with the op-ed piece in Sunday’s paper about the proposed amendment to our state constitution requiring the legislature to provide public school children with a “quality” education.

First, the proposal is based on the faulty premise that our public schools continue to fail due to “gridlock” in the Legislature, where Republicans see “school choice” as a remedy and Democrats “want more funding.”  In this case, we shouldn’t confuse robust, ongoing debate with gridlock. School choice advocates continue to build their case that disadvantaged students perform better in charter schools, while Democrats have been winning their argument for “more funding” — 22% of the state’s budget for K-12 in 2010, 25% in 2015, 40% in 2020 (and yes, look at the results). No gridlock here; rather, a robust debate leading to compromises that reflect the views of legislators’ constituencies.

Next, our state constitution already requires the Legislature to “secure a thorough and efficient system of Public Schools.” How does the proposed amendment change this? By declaring that children have “a fundamental right to a quality education” — a right you’d think is implied in the constitution’s original promise of a “thorough and efficient” public school system. So one wonders if what the proponents are really after is “more funding,” because they say it would now be up to the Legislature to provide students a “quality” education or else “the courts will have to step in.” The new law will of course need interpretation: Has the Legislature invested enough to meet the new promise of a “quality” education?

We can guess where all this is going — still “more funding” for the public school system (and for the class action lawyers bringing the cases). And we can be sure, if past is prologue, that still more funding will benefit everyone in the system except the disadvantaged students.

Michael E. Murphy, St. Paul

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