Presidential debates, mental health care, copper wire theft, Hennepin County Board, movies

Opinion editor’s note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print, every day. Click to contribute here.


I wholeheartedly agree with the April 17 letter about a possible presidential debate entitled, “It would be a clown show. Skip it.”

However, if a debate or debates take place, a mandatory drug test must be administered to both candidates immediately before they enter the debate phase. If both older gentlemen believe they are currently up to the task of leading the country for the next four years, it should be public information what content – ​​if any – they think they need to play their game, and Why.

This would prevent either candidate from claiming that his opponent’s stance was artificially up or down. I suspect such a demand would immediately end the debates from one or both campaigns.

Gene Case, Andover


Dana Summers’ political cartoon about the presidential debates in the April 18 newspaper stunned me. I am a 72 year old snowbird in a 55+ person mobile home park in Palm Springs, California. Our main house is in New Brighton. I really enjoy and appreciate the various residents over 80 in this park; many are strong, smart, active, committed and ‘in it’ (there’s no doubt about that). It appears Summers was trying to portray President Joe Biden as weak and in need of a nurse. (I’m a retired nurse and never thought he needed nursing care!) Is this ageism being leveled at our President by the cartoonist and the Star Tribune? The other person in the cartoon, Donald Trump, is about to get into trouble – a much more accurate portrayal of Trump’s circumstances.

Is Summers trying to get us to think about an inequality in this equation (which I did)? Or is he trying to make this an equal comparison? If the latter is the case, I not only feel a great silence, but I am also furious. I hope Summers can explain this cartoon and apologize for it. The Star Tribune should also issue an apology. Very disappointed.

Meri Hauge, New Brighton


About the stigma of suicide

I won’t waste your time or mine with the necessary Minnesota pleasantries, so I’ll simply start by saying that this is a letter about mental health, stigma, and suicide, so, dear reader, be warned.

What does it mean to live a purposeful life? This is a question that has haunted me since my younger sister’s suicide on July 23, 2022. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there were 835 suicides in Minnesota alone in 2022, and I can say with certainty that by July 2023 that figure would have increased by at least one. These figures would have included my then 23-year-old younger sister. Suicide is forbidden by Islam, and therefore it cannot even be considered feasible for most Somalis. Then consider the irony that it is a common euphemism among the Somali community to refer to loved ones who have died by suicide as “died peacefully in sleep,” otherwise you end up on the blunt end of social stigma and isolation. a community in which conformity is central as a condition for belonging.

That’s why I leave you with the following: a dream of my sister in her hammock. She is a child of the diaspora – a cultural intermediary, a nomad, a Somali with a penchant for Americana and weed. She is completely absorbed in Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’, and her curiosity is still unparalleled. With thoughts of searching for hitherto denied stability, belonging and acceptance in family and country. An affliction that can only be remedied by a collective removal of the barriers that prevent us from getting to know each other, and by a willingness to face what we fear.

If people like my sister had felt like they belonged, or that it was okay to admit that you needed help, they might have found comfort in the support that society can provide. I would like others in such circumstances to know that there are willing listeners everywhere. And I implore those who read this to be willing to listen!

Mulki Nur, St. Paul


Isn’t there a 21st century solution?

As for “Walz Joins the Fight Against Copper Wire Theft” (April 18), an easy and quick way to text or call a number specifically for wire theft can help. Or perhaps a way to share a photo of the crime in progress, where the time and GPS location can be collected. It appears that the repair costs would merit a technological solution that would be hassle-free and would encourage public support, and that a separate number would not overload 911. (Variations of the camera function could be used for other problems, from potholes and highway debris to dangerous animals, parking violations and unhealthy trash.)

Johannes Crivits, St. Paul


It’s time to replace wired street lighting with solar-powered lighting. They kept the thieves at bay or at least made sure they needed a ladder. In addition, they provide savings on energy costs.

Jim Goudy, Austin, Minnesota.


The legislature is considering a bill for the theft of copper wires. When the copper street lighting wire is stolen, why not replace it with aluminum wire? The initial costs are much lower and the residual value of aluminum wire is a fraction of that of copper wire.

Anyone can legally buy copper wire for their own use. Yet, after a project, they cannot sell the remaining raw materials without obtaining a special license. Seems completely unreasonable to me.

Donald Jorgenson, Vadnais Heights

The writer is a retired electrician.


Westmoreland for the Sixth District

Jen Westmoreland would become a visionary and practical Hennepin County commissioner. I am supporting her for the vacant Sixth District seat in the special primary (April 30; early voting now available) and general election (May 14).

Hennepin County probably has as much – perhaps even more – to do with the daily well-being of its residents than any other unit of government. Hennepin County’s budget is approximately $2.7 billion; it also provides an inordinate share of income and sales tax revenues for the state’s general fund. The health of the county is important to the health of the entire state: for health care, for local government aid to larger cities in Minnesota, education, roads, everything. Hennepin County is the second largest unit of government in the state, behind only the state itself.

The work of a commissioner requires a serious person. Westmoreland is a serious person. She has been twice elected to the Hopkins School Board (serving seven years) and knows local taxes, governance and budgeting. She serves on the county’s Heading Home Hennepin Executive Committee, which works to coordinate affordable housing and shelter systems. She is a newly minted Ed.D. in educational leadership, specializing in community and data-driven systems change. If you have a conversation with her about provincial issues, which I encourage you to do, you will find that she speaks about them with ease and knowledge.

Steve Timmer, Edina


It was time for a state film agency

As a filmmaker who directed four feature films in the state in the 1980s, I think it is long past time for the legislature to realize that film incentives are not “Hollywood welfare” but job creation that puts much more money into the local economy return than ever before. handed out in the form of a discount (“Be a major player in movie and TV games,” editorial, April 19).

I wish the Star Tribune editorial board had also made a list of the states that Minnesota competes with and their respective annual rebate limits, especially for readers who don’t necessarily follow the movie business. I think they would then see what a great idea a state film agency can be. I also wish the board had mentioned what is happening in northern Minnesota with a rebate program that is much higher than in the metro area, and that Hollywood screenwriter Karl Gajdusek, now a Minnesota resident, is building a new sound stage is in Chisholm. I hope to direct my fifth Minnesota-made film there next fall/winter. Knock on wood.

David Burton Morris, Wayzata