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Letters 1/16/19

January 16, 2019 GMT

Driver’s licenses for all

Many of us came to this country escaping pogroms, dictatorships, political and religious persecutions, famines or simply dire poverty. Landless Norwegian farmers, Welsh state miners, Polish coal miners, starving Irish, Jews fleeing Nazi Europe, all came in waves. All feared and despised by the previous waves that had already settled here. And now it is the turn of Central America.

They are already here. They work in our farm fields, man food industries, knitting mills and furniture factories. They clean our hotels and cook in our cafeterias and restaurants. Many of them are undocumented. Not because they are criminals but because the successive governments of this country and its demagogue politicians have made it illegal or almost impossible to legalize their situation. The hypocrisy is chocking: We employ the hardworking segment of our society but they need to remain hidden underground in order to continue to serve us and feed us.

Today, we demand for those hard working undocumented people who contribute to make some of us very rich, the right to obtain a driver’s license. Often they are working on isolated farms or in scattered businesses unable to access help that would improve their living condition and allow them to integrate their cars for example. In case of a collusion, the other party would not be left holding the bag ...

With the right to drive, they could attend their night classes, be more punctual at work and live without constant fear of being deported for a minor incident like a police stop. Because of the lack of public transportation in this part of the state, not having the right to drive is almost like having no legs.

Our state is in great need of workers, documented if possible, undocumented if need be, in order to contribute to our state prosperity. We all need them. Let’s make their life more bearable and all of us safer.

Driver’s licenses for all. It ought to be a human right in Minnesota.

Rosine Tenenbaum,

Professor Emeritus,

Winona State University

More context on County Board story

I would like to clear up some misleading implications in your report on the Winona County Board’s first meeting of the year. A broader perspective is important to give your readers more background on what was going on at that meeting.

In the past, Commissioners Ward and Jacob have each served as County Board chair. As chair, they did not hesitate to appoint their own political allies to the county’s citizen committees. Their appointments were filled with people in favor of frac sand mining, blufftop development and industrial farming.

When Commissioners Ward and Jacob were part of the board majority a number of years ago, did they appoint a balanced group to the County’s Comprehensive Plan Committee? No, they did not. I didn’t like that. Yet, as the majority, they ruled the day.

As for the “tradition” of rotating the county board chair, this was no long-held sacred rite. It was first proposed by Commissioner Ward at the very first board meeting of 2015, right after she and Commissioner Jacob had lost their board majority. Commissioner Ward proposed that Commissioner Jacob be the first board chair of this rotation. And the old board agreed with that.

Now, however, in 2019, we have a new county board make-up. In electing their own chair, and making appointments to county committees, this new board acted in a way that democratically elected bodies typically act, by majority rule. In a democracy, we should expect nothing less.

Doug Nopar, Winona

Bash, bash, bash and brag, brag, brag

I am so tired of Trump’s press conferences. He always sings the same tune, bashing the Democrats and bragging about his many accomplishments. He was especially obnoxious in his comments the day after the general election last November.

I have been voting in presidential elections for years, and although my party has not always prevailed, I have always respected the office of the presidency — until now. When I heard his inaugural address, I knew our country would not fare well under his leadership. Recently, like many of you, I watched the funeral coverage of former President George H.W. Bush. His military service to our country at such a young age, his humility, his kindness and the respect he got from world leaders will long be remembered.

But most important of all was the dignity that he brought to the office of the presidency. We are sorely lacking all of these values with the current administration.

My husband’s nickname for Trump is Double D (Dictator Don). Time and again he just acts on his own with no input from his administrative staff and no support from Congress. He recently said he alone could put an end to the Mueller investigation.

And he says he will be re-elected I for a second term. More bragging! I, for one, am really looking forward to 2020.

Marianne Olson, Minnesota City

Power abuse in local politics

How is the Daley family supposed to get a fair and impartial hearing for their farming operation by the county boards and commissioners?

Some of the commissioners have already made up their mind judging by the comments made on MPCA commenting and newspaper articles. They are already deviating from practices which have been in place for years in order to cheat the rural commissioners from having their lawful turn picking citizen volunteers for planning commission and board of adjustment. Instead they change the process to befit their own interests.

They abused their power to pick citizen volunteers form the list of people who are strongly against the Daley family expansion and have made their viewpoints known through the MPCA comments and hearing. How can these committees achieve fair and equal representation for all its constituents when it’s plain to see this is clearly not the case.

It appears minds have been made up before the hearing, with no chance to see what the Daley family has planned. Just against it. Why?

Becky Clark, Rollingstone