Letters: Minnesota’s medical-aid-in-dying bill was kneecapped near the finish line

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Kneecapped at the finish line

The bland headline in your May 22 edition (“Medical aid in dying bill didn’t cross finish line this MN Legislature session”) implies that the legislation failed to pass during this session through atrophy or lack of energy. The headline does not even hint at the truth: that the rapidly advancing and widely supported legislation died suddenly, closing in on that finish line with momentum, kneecapped by two DFL senators who prevented the bill from advancing even into committee.

One of these senators has publicly made hysterical, absurd comparisons between the intent of Minnesota’s draft law and Hademar, the “killing camp” operated by the Nazis in the 1930s, while claiming to be a champion of the disability community, most of whom do not share his extreme views. The other senator has virtually turned a deaf ear to her own constituents — even her own campaign committee — asking to not be further pestered with requests to support MAiD legislation, even as Minnesotans consistently and reliably poll at 75% support for the law. While we are accustomed to witnessing the tyranny of the minority in Washington, D.C., it is unutterably sad to see this same kind of tiny-but-potent chokehold halt the furtherance of this excellent and compassionate legislation in our own state.

Tara Flaherty Guy, St. Paul



What is happening with the DFL? Telling Minnesota State Sen. Mitchell she should resign because she has been accused of committing a crime? The word epiphany comes to mind. Maybe, but the explanation is probably simpler. Isn’t she presumed innocent?

T. J. Sexton, St. Paul


Is this just show and tell?

Reflections on community “open houses,” based on the Riverview Corridor one on May 14, Palace Recreation Center:

On Feb. 29 “The Riverview Corridor Policy Advisory Committee approved exploring three prospective plans, two streetcar and one rapid bus (BRT) along West 7th” with this summer’s series of “Open House” information events.

The open house for West Seventh started badly. I asked if I could have a corner of the room with my poster on combining the Gold and Purple BRT Lines but I was told to leave. I asked if they would like their staff’s spreadsheet on the relative costs and transit times. They said no: the public could go to the website. This spreadsheet was an embarrassment to the planners, how inadequate the streetcar options are compared to BRT.

I questioned why there was, for the bus option, the “Davern Diversion” off of Seventh Street that adds five to seven minutes of travel time off the direct route. They said it was to subsidize Johnson Brothers future developments, requested by “city staff.” The diversion avoids Sibley Manor and its 2,000 residents, mostly people of color — who bus to jobs at the mall and airport.

A neighbor requested that we assemble and pose questions to the principals on the project. She was told she was out of order; folks were only allowed to listen and view their spiel, and comment as individuals on their displays, nearly all promoted streetcars.

Regarding Seventh Street: The infrastructure is not crumbling; it is crumbled. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has scheduled a mill and overlay several years in the future but will not address substrate issues while Ramsey County fiddles promoting its streetcars, wishing the Feds to pick up half the $2 billion+ cost. With depreciating commercial real estate and tax revenue downtown, residents will pick up their share with increased property taxes, and MNDOT will be off the hook for repairing West Seventh.

Since the county revised the 2016 “Locally Preferred Alternative” multiple times (3,000 in the West End signed a petition opposing it then), once the Policy Advisory Committee (remember them?) approves streetcars, the city will have to submit a new Locally Preferred Alternative. Citizens advocating combining the Gold and Purple BRT lines are excluded.

Ramsey County is deceiving the public with its show-and-tell obsession with streetcars and not providing an accurate comparison with Bus Rapid Transit. Maybe the decision is already made.

Jos F. Landsberger, St. Paul

Which is it?

Is it addressed in the ERA bill? No, it’s not, but, it darn well should be.

RE: “Man, 23, charged with murdering pregnant sister,” May 29 issue of the Pioneer Press. The man is also charged with murdering her unborn child. This is the second case in about a year that the charge of murdering an unborn child has been leveled against the men charged with killing a pregnant woman. What’s unbelievable about the earlier case, the unborn child was surgically birthed uninjured and lived for nine days under health care specialists.

Yet, under the protection of Minnesota law, a woman, up to the moment of birth, can elect to have an abortion (killing the unborn child) without facing any legal or criminal consequences. It’s not hard to see that the outcome is the same — an unborn child’s life taken away.

Which is it? It can’t be both ways. One is called murder and the other is called reproductive rights.

Gary Schraml, Lindstrom


Believe him the first time

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Those are the words of the famous American author and poet Maya Angelou. When will we as the American voting public apply those words to Donald Trump? No other American president has been impeached twice. No other American president was ever a convicted felon. No other American president attempted to overturn an election and overthrow the government. No other American president has been found liable for sexual abuse. No other American president has had his business convicted of fraud, and the list goes on. Donald Trump has shown us over and over who he is, and yet many in our nation refuse to see him for what he is, which is a common criminal. Believe him the first time, the second time, the third time or whatever but please believe him to be totally unworthy to hold the great office of President in our great nation.

Dennis Fendt, Oakdale


A kind man and a Coke

Two weeks ago my son Michael and I were on our way to Highland Popcorn in St. Paul. Unfortunately, Michael, who has developmental disabilities, experienced a very traumatic fall. Thankfully he didn’t break any bones, however he was quite shaken by the experience. He insisted we continue our journey to Highland Popcorn. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Craig, the store manager. Hoping to calm my son, I asked if Highland Popcorn sold Diet Coke as that is one of his favorite treats. Craig said they did not sell any sugar-free pop, however he was more than happy to offer Michael a Diet Coke he had personally brought to work that day. I couldn’t believe my ears. Michael calmed down and found comfort in his Diet Coke. Craig is kind, selfless and a compassionate man.

Please support Highland Popcorn as they employ individuals with disabilities who have dreams and needs just like all of us living, working and playing within this beautiful community we call St. Paul.

Patricia Leseman, St. Paul

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