MinnPost readers reacted strongly this week to the Legislature’s override of the governor’s transportation veto, as well as to stories on such issues as the Minneapolis School District’s plans, the Twins stadium, ugly e-mails and presidential politics. Here’s a selection of recent comments:
Darren Heydanek had this to say about Britt Robson’s Wednesday story, “Political recrimination: Republican Tingelstad on her override vote and its fallout”: The stories coming out about the Republican legislators being punished demonstrates the dominant problem in politics and government today – in all parties. When did the party system become more important than any individual’s conscience or constituency, her country or community?
When I elect someone, I want that person to use his or her own mind to make the decision he or she feels is best for the city/state/country served — not what’s best for the political party.
The idea that just because Clinton and Obama are Democrats means that they can never agree with President Bush — ever — is ludicrous. The fact that Republican legislators in Minnesota can never be in favor of a tax (even Rep. Tinglestad sidesteps it by calling it a “user fee”) without changing parties is equally ridiculous.
Jeremy Powers comments on the same story:
Laws are not passed by any one person. They are passed by majorities of like-minded people. The quickest and most common way to do that is to form coalitions. And the most common form of that is a political party. … What I object to is the flagrant and public “punishment” of legislators who didn’t vote the way their party leaders told them to vote. This has gone on privately, but this time there is not even any shame about it. Just like anybody who decides to do something of which we don’t approve, there is a temptation to retaliate. However, it is a basic instinct that a modern politician should be able to overcome.
And it’s not even smart. At this point, all Rep. Seifert has done is to throw away his only pressure over these legislators. All they have to lose now is to be kicked out of the caucus. If they are kicked out, they can essentially form their own caucus of “Former Republicans,” which will then require Seifert or someone else in the Republican caucus to go “ask” for every single vote for the rest of the session. If Seifert is the best the Republicans have, they will be doomed the rest of this session.
Thomas Swift had another view:
Evidently the “Override 6” have been persuaded by the Democrat argument that elected officials know what is best for constituents, but they have evidently forgotten that the majority of voters in the six districts they represent are Republicans. We expect our elected to listen to what we are saying to them.
I’m sure that Rep. Tinglestad and her five fellow “free thinkers” will be more comfortable with the Democrat Party (her gender victimhood fantasies will certainly get her more traction there) and I wish them the very best of luck.
John Olson responded:
Mr. Swift, I would have expected your predictable response to be something with a little more class. The “fantasy” comment is especially tasteless and over the line, in my opinion.
You are right, those districts lean Republican – some much heavier than others. But did you ever stop to think that, for example, maybe the folks from Rep. Erhardt’s district (Edina) are getting tired of their Grey Poupon sloshing all over their Pierre Cardin tuxedos and Givenchy dresses whilst in their Rolls Royce on their way to the opera and want something to finally be done about it?
On a more serious note, what these six did was nothing short of courageous. The response from Rep. Seifert and his fellow house Republican leaders simply shows that differences of opinion matter only so long as you agree with him. … Maybe enough constituents in her district DID say that they too are getting tired of having their dental work rearranged on any number of highways in this state.
Ellen Wolfson said:
Kudos to Kathy Tinglestad and her vote to override. I was always under the impression that being conservative meant paying your own way, not living on borrowed money.
Jim Nesseth weighed in:
It is hard to believe that we raised taxes, and the next day the Senate passes a $1 billion dollar bonding bill that goes to light rail, bike trails, hockey arenas, etc. The 2010-11 biennium budget is $35 billion; $24 billion goes to K-12 education and Health and Human Services ($13 billion and $11 billion respectively). Perhaps, Ms. Tinglestad, you should have voted for wiser spending practices before taking more money from the taxpayers.
Secondly, only about 25 percent of this “User Fee” actually goes toward metro area roads, though the metro has 60 percent of the state’s population — so how did you actually serve your constituents? (Look up how the trunk highway funding calculations are figured, and you’ll see the 25 percent calculation is accurate.) Finally, if your constituency was actually split 50-50 as you allude to in conversation, then the right thing for you to have done is to abstain from voting at all — what tipped you towards voting to override? Something, if it wasn’t your constituency — please explain to me and all taxpayers why you made this decision.
Rich Crose added:
Expecting a paycheck from the government without working is called welfare. Expecting to drive big SUVs on government roads without paying for them is called conservative. There must be something I’m not seeing here.
B.D. Maginnis commented on Steve Berg’s Tuesday post, “In the end, one fallen bridge was enough”:
Then by this logic, in the end, that one illegal immigrant who killed four innocent school children should be “enough” too.
On another topic, David Dempsey appreciated Eric Black’s Wednesday post, “Lincoln at Cooper Union and today”:
Thanks for this thoughtful reflection. Good political history — and another reason to enjoy MinnPost.
Ed Felien had this to say about Beth Hawkins’ Monday story, “Minneapolis district’s ambitious plan to remake its seven high schools has flown under the radar”:
Maybe it’s the end of winter, or maybe it’s getting over the flu, but the piece depresses me.
Does anyone really believe the school board is going to cut administrators and put them back in the classroom? And then give them administrative responsibilities? What kind of double talk is that?
The problem with the Minneapolis Public School system is that it’s gotten too big. Parents don’t think it’s safe. They don’t want to send their kids there. It needs to be broken down into much smaller pieces, but we have these enormous facilities that require more and more students. Now they want to send sixth graders into those towers of babel. The students are held hostage by the buildings and School Board’s edifice complex.
The last Green that re-vamped the MPS was Richard. He created a whole new layer of bureaucracy called Area Superintendents – a budget item of about $3 million a year. This was when the system was about twice the size as it is now. He justified it as streamlining accountability and making the system more efficient. What? More bureaucracy is going to streamline accountability and make it more efficient? But what’s really incredible is that the ossified byzantine layer of bureaucracy still exists with half the students to support it.
Andy Driscoll noted:
Did anyone else notice the photo at the head of this excellent story – that it consists of at least 85 percent white kids when some 75 percent of Minneapolis school enrollees are either African-American, Latino, Asian or another color? Is this not indicative of our insensitivity to the realities of core cities and the people who populate them?
Joe Musich commented:
Hey, another piece of writing about the Minneapolis Public Schools that lacks comment from the teachers who will be involved in the front lines of implementing this new plan. It seems that the press everywhere lacks the will or the desire or the courage to actually talk with parents and teachers about this newest pie-in-the-sky dream or most anything else. Yes, another layer of bureaucracy, another set of criteria to manage and another plan that will go by the wayside. Minneapolis, like most cities, is a starter community for most. People come here, get settled in and start thinking about future and then move out. Not a thing wrong with that that possibly some major restructuring of the metro area wouldn’t take care of. Until that happens Minneapolis will have students and families that don’t match up to most suburban areas. But with adequate transportation and some leveling equity in educational funding, who knows what could happen.
And Linda Miller added:
I have a child in the Minneapolis Public Schools. The main problem in Minneapolis is that not ALL schools are created equal. There are great schools that are better than any suburban school — and then there are the rest of the schools in the district.
It is a noble idea of the district to try to make all schools equal, but it is difficult to imagine it a quick success, especially since they didn’t seek much input from parents and teachers, and also since the funding just hasn’t been adequate for so many years, and we don’t see that changing.
We do remain hopeful but we are skeptical here in South Minneapolis.
Jim Koepke commented on David Brauer’s Tuesday post, “New Twins stadium: A fan’s-eye perspective”:
According to Mayor Rybak, the ticket prices for this park will be almost double what the dome was. It is a stadium built for the rich and powerful and paid for mostly by the average citizens. And it sounds like the average joes paying for it won’t be able to afford to attend as many games. A real tragedy for democracy.
Dean Carlson said:
Wow, David, nice job. I especially like the Dome vs. new ballpark seat comparisons. That right plaza is going to be real nice too. Not sure where exactly the gate will be, but there may be some opportunities to “steal a peak” from that plaza as well.
And Robert Warner added:
Nice article. Looking forward to the new stadium. It’s about time. However, 24 seats is still too wide for a stadium row. … Ticket prices are still a bargain compared to the rest of the MLB.
Wizard Marks commented on Myles Spicer’s Tuesday Community Voices piece, “Enough with the ugly (and endless) anti-ethnic emails”:
I find it very interesting that we produce quite a hoo-hah over Latinos and Arabs — of whatever stripe — but no one says anything about the undocumented Irish among us. They are just as undocumented and pour over the border (usually by plane), with a 90-day visitors visa, but never return home or only return home for vacations. I’m not opposed to Irish immigrants — my grandparents were among them — but still … .
Daniel Kitzmann also commented on the piece:
This is an estimable article, although the skeptic in me surmises that its reasonable message will be lost on the knuckleheads who write or forward such fatuous and petty emails as those that evidently bombard the author’s inbox. For instance, I doubt many of those folks visit MinnPost to read op-ed commentary — or if they do, it is only to get their daily anger fix about the perceived “liberal elite” media.
A minor point of correction: In logic, a syllogism is not a fallacy or a necessarily flawed logical argument. The deductive argument the author poses is an invalid only because its minor term (Hispanic) is not is not distributed in the minor premise (Illegals are Hispanic). I believe this particular logical fallacy is called an illicit minor.
More important, however, not all syllogisms are invalid; for example, the following (oft cited) argument is valid: All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; ergo, Socrates is mortal.
Doug Grow’s Feb. 21 story, “Q&A with whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg: In some ways, ‘I’m as pessimistic as I’ve ever been,’ “ brought this excerpted observation from Thomas George:
I too am pessimistic. But to see Daniel Ellsberg still out there spending his diminishing time doing the good fight against the forces of exploitation and occupation, I find some solace. I am amazed that Daniel is not taken in by Hillary, as many who have previously been antiwar seem to be. In this very imperfect world, leaders tend to prove our fears so much more often than our hopes.
On the presidential front, John Krogstad commented on Eric Black’s Feb. 22 post, “McCain vs. Obama or Clinton in Minnesota”:
If McCain hopes to win the general election, he will have to do so without Pawlenty or Minnesota. Why would anybody pick a VP who cannot even carry his own state?
David Cater added:
I want a poll to ask, “Which candidate will represent the United States and its Constitution without regard for political party or self preservation”?
To the best of my recollection no candidate has spoken on that topic.
Would I be able to answer honestly?
Maybe polls ask the wrong questions and thus become background noise.