Letters to the editor: June 3

Unicameralism As a person who spent five years in Nebraska, I feel somewhat qualified to comment on the one-house legislature that Ralph Doty wrote about (May 20, 2007, p. 21). I was somewhat involved in the political process, having known then-g...


As a person who spent five years in Nebraska, I feel somewhat qualified to comment on the one-house legislature that Ralph Doty wrote about (May 20, 2007, p. 21). I was somewhat involved in the political process, having known then-governor Bob Kerry and some of the folks in the state capitol. One person there even mistook me for Warren Buffett. Ah, if I had but one share of his Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa) stock.

Concerning unicameralism, a few years ago I met with Harry Newby, Sr. (now deceased) of Cloquet in an effort to help promote the concept in Minnesota. I am still a fan, despite what Ralph wrote. It appears from his article he was influenced by one visit by a lobbyist who found Nebraska with its one-house legislature an easy state to work. Perhaps that was because the people there are friendlier and maybe more willing to accommodate a person they perceive to be sincere. I could not walk into the post office or the city park in Kearney without total strangers saying "Hello."

And what lobbyists aren't paid? They might have families to support, and their earning a livelihood by lobbying is no more sinister than earning a living as an attorney, cabdriver or college president. I assume lobbyists have studied the issues they're promoting, and that the legislators, besides being friendly, have enough skepticism to prevent the public from being misled.

I recall that in Nebraska each bill received two readings before the same people in the legislature. This would allow for reconsideration, or for a period of being approached by lobbyists, colleagues and the public. That is far better than the situation here in Minnesota that Harry Newby harped on -- the mysterious conference committee -- where bills can be drastically changed from what the authors' original intents might have been.


Besides the obvious cost savings in having fewer legislators, unicameralism, as my UMD political science professors might have said, presents a better opportunity for the public to know who is running -- not like the boards and commissions of yesteryear where the electorate is not informed about personalities behind the issues. I know Mary Murphy is one of the legislators serving the Esko area where I live, but I do not know who her counterpart is in the other part of the St. Paul "Congress."

Let's put more simplicity, efficiency and accountability into state government and work for the enactment of an unicameral legislature. It is refreshing to read in Ralph's column that other states are considering this forward-thinking move. If those efforts succeed, Harry Newby would have been proud of us all.

Bruce Elving


Kudos to Pawlenty

Kudos to Gov. Tim Pawlenty for standing firm and holding back tax increase proposals by Democrats that, if enacted, would have increased taxes on Minnesotans by $5 billion.

That's $5 billion with a "B."

As it is, the state budget which passed and which covers the next two years will increase by 10 percent.


If the DLF tax increase proposals had been enacted, the two-year budget would have been increased by more than 20 percent.

Democrats have been called tax and spenders. That description is well-earned.

Thank God for Gov. Pawlenty and the Republicans who are looking out for taxpayers.

Gregg Schweiger


Food harvest

On June 5, the Northland will join millions of Americans nationwide in observing Hunger Awareness Day in remembrance of the more than 35 million people in the United States who are living on the brink of hunger -- 12 million of whom are children.

The face of hunger will surprise you. It does not discriminate against age, race, gender or ethnicity. It affects working families who are forced to make choices between food and basic necessities like heat, medicine or rent.


Families of 18 million children rely on free or reduced priced school meals throughout the academic year, and are left struggling in the summer months with yet another gap to fill.

The USDA's Summer Food Service Program is intended to help fill this gap, but serves just a fraction of those in need. In the coming weeks, I urge everyone to contact Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank and local agencies to find out how to join the fight against child hunger in your community. Hunger has been a silent epidemic for too long.

It's time to step up and put an end to hunger in America; however, we cannot do this alone.

We need your help.

The more people who become aware of hunger, the more hungry Americans we can serve.

Together, we can and will create a hunger-free America.

Shaye Moris

Executive Director,


Duluth Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank

Wal-Mart woes

Recently I was doing my grocery shopping at my local Super Wal-Mart. Before checking out, I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up one package of Sudafed, which they store behind the counter now. I am in their system, as this is where I get all of my prescriptions filled. The clerk asked for my ID. I gave him my U.S. Navy Retired ID card. He looked at it and asked if I had a driver's license.

I told him I did not, thinking a government-issued ID card, complete with name, social security number, date of birth, signature and vitals would be sufficient. He said he didn't think that they would be able to accept that as a valid ID.

I said, "You have got to be kidding me. I served my country and honorably retired, and you won't accept that as a valid form of ID?"

He took it to the little gathering of pharmacists, and one of them said she would call on it. Now, whenever I've filled a prescription at Wal-Mart, I have used my military card as ID and also as my insurance card. It was accepted then.

As I stated before, I only wanted one 24-count package; not enough to use in making meth. I wanted it to clear up my seasonal allergies.

One single package.


Eventually they came back to me, handed my ID card back and said they couldn't accept it. I gathered my purse and son out of the loaded grocery cart. The male clerk asked what I was doing; I told him I was leaving that store and that they could put all the crap away. I told them I would not be coming back. I have sent a complaint to their corporate offices. The thing that bothers me the most is that Wal-Mart has their "Wall of Honor" for past and present military. Yet, they won't accept a military ID card as a valid form of identification.

Wal-Mart has made me feel like my service to my country, a country that I love and would have laid down my life for, has been rendered worthless.

Robin Weber

Hunlock Creek, Pa.

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