Hennepin County attorney, inflation, health care, Mississippi River

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

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In Mark Osler’s commentary endorsing Mary Moriarty for Hennepin County attorney (“Moriarty brings hope, not fear, to prosecutor’s role,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 19), he cites his work with HEALS 2.0, the task force focused on reducing violent crime convened by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. We also serve on HEALS 2.0 and, like Mark Osler, we are proud to see our work to reduce violent crime starting to pay off. Homicides and shots fired in Minneapolis are both down slightly from the record-high we saw in 2021, and we are heading in a good direction. That work would be impossible without coordination between justice partners and law enforcement on the city, county, state and federal levels.

Moriarty’s positions on policing, prosecution and her inability to work productively with justice partners to improve overall community safety in her previous role as a public defender makes her the less-than-ideal candidate for Hennepin County attorney if we want to continue to reduce violent crime .

Moriarty has said she would not charge gun and drug cases that result from traffic stops. From our conversations with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, traffic stops focused on gang hot spots are responsible for the majority of the illegal guns that we are removing from the streets. It is critical that we have a county attorney who will prosecute these cases. Further, Moriarty stated in 2021 reasons that she did not believe the Minneapolis Police Department needed more officers, despite it having one of the lowest per capita staffing levels of any city in the country. Her opponent, Martha Holton Dimick, has a balanced approach that emphasizes reform, adequate police staffing and effective prosecution. For these reasons and others, Dimick has overwhelming support among Hennepin County majors, law enforcement and the partners involved in HEALS 2.0.

This letter was signed by Edina Mayor James Hovland, Minneapolis Downtown Council President and CEO Steve Cramer, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeffrey Lunde, the Rev. Jerry McAfee and Safe Streets NOW for a Better Tomorrow founder Julie Wicklund.

INFLATION

Because of inflation, I’m voting for Democrats this November. I made this decision after listening to the Republican proposals for solving the inflation problem. Republicans have talked about three “solutions”: First, pass another tax cut bill for millionaires and billionaires, a scheme that has been tried over and over with disastrous results, always spiking the deficit. Second, make cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Some Republicans have advocated eliminating these two programs completely; others say Congress should vote up or down each year, making these programs political footballs. People who depend on Social Security and Medicare and who have paid into these programs all their working lives wouldn’t know from year to year whether they had sufficient income or health care. Third, cut wages for workers. Republicans who have proposed this idea claim higher wages are driving inflation, so workers need to be willing to cut their pay.

None of these so-called solutions are defensible. President Joe Biden and the Democrats keep working to eliminate inflation and cushion the pain caused by rising prices. I will vote for politicians who have real solutions.

Ruth Thorstad, Dresser, Wis.

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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell seeks to lower inflation by raising interest rates assuming that if borrowing becomes more expensive, then demand for goods and services will drop, which will then allow corporations and businesses to hire fewer workers, essentially creating a buyer’s market for labor, which will then allow them to reduce wages, assuming that will drive corporations and businesses to reduce their prices for said goods and services. Very Rube Goldberg.

It has been shown that corporations are making record profits while also while raising prices well beyond inflationary pressures incurred with supply problems and source scarcity. And what have they done with these gouged profits? They have used them to line the pockets of their CEOs (will they be included in the Fed’s wave of increased unemployment?) and buy back stock shares to inflate the values ​​of their companies.

Certainly wage increases have not kept pace with inflation (generated in large part by corporate greed) and corporations have shown no signs of reducing their prices or intending to share their new wealth with their employees. And there is nothing to make them lower prices should the Fed’s “remedies” actually be effective.

It makes absolutely no sense to take jobs away from and money out of the pockets of working people who are finding it difficult to make ends meet as it is in the hope that price-gouging businesses and corporations will somehow behave and lower their prices because of theoretically low wages. (Will the CEOs see a corresponding reduction in their pay?)

Prices can come down right now to levels that more accurately reflect true inflationary pressures (yes, they are real) that will allow businesses and corporations to garner a healthy profit and keep the rich rich without throwing people out of work if businesses and corporations had, instead of their own self-interest, the will and best interests of our nation at heart. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Gordon B. Abel, Minneapolis

HEALTH CARE

Did anyone else become angry upon reading the article “UnitedHealth Group’s Q3 earnings increase to $5.26B” (Oct. 15)? The article explains that UnitedHealth Group has a profit of $5.26 billion for the third quarter.

I’m all for companies earning a profit, but when the business regards an essential service and basic human need for health care, that is ridiculous! This is the same company who jacked up my husband’s business’s health insurance rate by 18% without any regard to the previous year’s cost experience because we have fewer than 50 employees. Why is a health company making a profit of $5.26 billion increasing rates for small businesses who are struggling after the pandemic and during a recession without regard to health cost experience?

Health insurance companies are making ridiculous profits while dictating what medical costs are covered, which ultimately controls medical choices for patients. Our health care system is fundamentally flawed when insurance companies make this kind of money at the expense of people’s health and doctors’ autonomy.

Laura Neuman, Eden Prairie

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

I read with interest the Oct. 18 editorial and article about the possible removal of Lock and Dam No. 1 and the benefits for kayaking, tubing and fishing (“Weigh in on Mississippi’s future”). It should have mentioned the harm to rowers currently launching those long skinny boats from the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Rowing Club boathouses upstream of the dam. Where would they row?

Jim Richardson, St. Paul

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Regarding the article (“Time to reimagine the river?”) and editorial Tuesday: The “100-foot drop between downtown Minneapolis and Fort Snelling” includes St. Anthony Falls (but not the horseshoe dam). The relevant measurement is from below the Falls to Fort Snelling, which is 63 feet. The effective head of navigation before the locks and dams was St. Paul. With high river flow, a few river boats made it to the river flats below the University of Minnesota. And in their push to get commercial navigation, Minneapolis removed many boulders that were a navigation hazard. There is also an abandoned Meeker Island lock and dam at about 27th Street. If the Ford Dam was removed, the Meeker lock wall and dam would be exposed.

Bud Brophey, Minneapolis

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