Monday, October 3

Readers Write: License plates, Minnesota’s future, Fourth District politics, baby formula


Opinion editor’s note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.

•••

Requiring replacement license plates every seven years because their protective film has a five-year life span is one explanation, I guess. (Curious Minnesota, May 8.) Another is that we don’t know how to make anything that lasts longer than a year these days.

The most plausible explanation, however, is that requiring replacement of these flimsy plates every seven years created an ongoing revenue stream for the state. Why would the state settle for a one-time fee when it could get $15 every few years? It’s not that plates don’t last long enough or become illegible — it’s because the state has chosen to make them as cheaply as possible and has identified a way to turn that into a recurring dollar.

Hans Molenaar, Shoreview

A BLEAK FUTURE?

In response to the May 8 commentary “For an aging state in an aging country, future could be bleak,” I suggest that author Tom Horner is overlooking Minnesota’s most important resource: Its untapped talent.

As employers scramble to find new “out of the box” solutions to attract diverse talent, few employers are looking to low-income communities of color for their skilled workforce. While there are employers leading the way in investing in newly skilled and diverse talent, such as U.S. Bank and Atomic Data, the pool of employers leaning in to grow talent needs to be much greater. The solution begins with investment in people: Investment in accelerated postsecondary training, investment in virtual training solutions to meet today’s reality, and on-the-job training experiences to develop talent who already call Minnesota home. Simply put, the future of the state is bleak if we fail to tap the untapped talent already here.

The urgency is upon us to ensure that every young adult and adult of prime working age is fully submerged into the workforce and on a path to economic mobility and prosperity. Only when we have successfully moved low-income communities of color into quality career-advancing jobs should we begin to identify ways to fill the labor gaps by recruiting externally. At this moment, the state’s enormous budget surplus is not a “generational opportunity to attract a new generation” but the opportunity to invest in our existing talent pool. It is an economic necessity.

Nearly 100% of the population growth in Minnesota is coming from people of color. So how do we actively implement solutions that get us to work collaboratively at the “doing” to reach economic equity — meaning, economic ownership, wealth-building and prosperity? First, run with the innovators and risk-takers. Employers: Take the leap and partner with accredited training organizations in the community, following suit with organizations like U.S. Bank and Atomic Data. Invest. Invest. Invest. Prepare talent for technology-reliant occupations and invest in online learning reaching communities across urban and rural settings.

This demographic shift is by no means unique to Minnesota. It does mean that to maintain an economically vital region, we must — absolutely must — invest in all of our in-house talent.

Anne-Marie Kuiper, Minneapolis

DFL POLITICS

I read with amazement Fourth Congressional District candidate Amane Badhasso’s May 12 commentary “DFL establishment betrayed values to oppose me.”

As a resident of the Fifth Congressional District, I don’t have a dog in the fight. But I’ve heard consistent versions of an entirely different story from several DFL activists in the Fourth District whom I know and respect, one that makes a good deal more sense to me than the fantastical portrait of a broad-based conspiracy against her that Badhasso tells.

She accuses state party officials of employing “strong-arm tactics” to “try and defeat her,” because they are “petrified by the prospect of losing their grip on power.”

Really? That sounds a bit fanciful.

The simpler explanation is that credential committee members worked competently and diligently to ensure the endorsement process would be fair and transparent for all candidates at all levels by resolving discrepancies, removing duplicate applications, fixing missing and erroneous information, and eliminating invalid applications.

That process was widely obstructed by Badhasso’s supporters hanging up on phone calls, ignoring e-mails, denying outright that they had ever applied to be delegates or alternates, and reacting with hostility to credential officials’ requests for information that would validate their personal information and status.

It appears that many of Badhasso’s supporters were ignorant of the credentialing process that occurs for every endorsing convention. Regardless, it was the responsibility of Badhasso’s campaign to educate her supporters about what to expect after they applied to be delegates and alternates. In particular, that they would be contacted by credentialing officials to ensure their information was valid and to confirm their status. This Badhasso failed to do. As evidenced by several assertions in her article, it appears that she does not understand the process very well herself. Maybe it’s just easier to claim conspiracy and racism than to educate yourself about process or to admit incompetence.

What seems clear to me, however, is that Badhasso has disqualified herself from any further consideration for public office. No doubt she intends to challenge U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum in the primary election. That is her prerogative. Undoubtedly, she will lose.

Ivor Matz, St. Anthony

•••

At the end of the online presentation of Badhasso’s commentary was a link to her campaign webpage. From it I learned she is of Ethiopian extraction, claiming to be an important activist. One would expect that a skilled and experienced activist would include an issues page, if standing for something. It was with great disappointment that I found this to not be the case. However, she has a page she calls “Vision” that superficially lists a shopping list of issue things.

So have I any other complaint?

Yes. Rep. McCollum has been in the forefront of the effort to protect Minnesota water resources from ravages of sulfide mining, while her challenger seems entirely oblivious to that major issue.

Not residing in the Fourth District, I have no vote there. If I did, I would vote for McCollum. In fairness, Badhasso does have a climate change position that seems no different from McCollum’s insights. However, McCollum is on record on a major issue Badhasso totally ignores (her “Vision” page has no reference to the word “mining”). This is a negligence I would not want from any U.S. House member.

Moreover, remember that Bruce Vento (the longtime Fourth District representative before his death, with McCollum the successor) was pivotal in getting wilderness status for the Boundary Waters. With that history, a due respect is merited. It appears that Ms. Badhasso is ignorant of the DFL history of service in the district, and that is troubling.

Eric Zaetsch, Ramsey

BABY FORMULA

Regarding the May 13 Dave Granlund cartoon on baby formula shortages (“Psst! Make me an offer!”): Can’t we substitute the creepy man in the drawing for a woman with breasts? Breasts do have a purpose other than tantalizing men. ‘Nuf said.

Georgia Gustafson, Plymouth



Source link