Readers' views for Jan. 17

Still not convinced about the value of red-plan study The Jan. 9 "Red plan is ready to roll" headline made me want to comment about the full-page ad from Duluth public schools on Dec. 26 and the letter from a former School Board member Dec. 27, "...

Still not convinced about the value of red-plan study

The Jan. 9 "Red plan is ready to roll" headline made me want to comment about the full-page ad from Duluth public schools on Dec. 26 and the letter from a former School Board member Dec. 27, "If leaders are competent, why hire consultants?"

The answer to that question is easy. Hiring outside consultants shows that the district is serious, and consultants provide effective public relations, as seen in the ad.

However, I am skeptical about the facts, or factoids, used to show that our school taxes are relatively low. It was not clear, for example, why Duluth was compared with small towns in one figure and the district was compared with suburban districts in another. Nor was it clear what massaging was done to the data. What, for example, is "effective school tax rate?"

The ad made it clear the Duluth school system is regarded as a business and that schools are regarded as warehouses (with 28 percent excess capacity).


The red plan is the final step in the abandonment of neighborhood schools in Duluth, a change that will damage not only education, but the community. I think the red plan would be bad even if it was free.

The way I understand it, the district has too little money and too much space. So the plan is to spend $250 million or more to reduce the space available in schools and to tear down houses for new construction to replace buildings being closed because there is too much space. Yes, I see why outside consultants were necessary to come up with such a plan.

Dick Green


With the support of men, we can end abortion evils

In the Jan. 10 story, "Would-be fathers beginning to speak out against abortion," Jason Baier, 36, stated that he still longs for a child who might have been with an intensity that bewilders him. "How can I miss something I never even held?" he asked.

The concept of post-abortion syndrome emerged in the 1980s. Women recounted stories of despair, depression and addictions, and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign was founded.

Last spring, women wrote affidavits detailing emotional turmoil. The U.S. Supreme Court cited these accounts as one reason to ban the late-term procedure known as partial-birth abortion.


Recently, in San Francisco, anti-abortion activists gathered for what was billed the first national conference on men and abortion. According to the Jan. 10 story, Baier told the crowd, "I couldn't get the thought out of my head about what I had lost."

Abortion-rights supporters watch this latest mobilization of men impacted by abortion "warily," the article noted. "They can potentially shift the entire debate," Marjorie Signer of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith group that supports abortion rights, was quoted as saying.

Tuesday is the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court's infamous Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal in all trimesters of pregnancy. At least 48 million unborn babies have lost their lives by surgical abortions and through abortions that kill by mechanical and chemical means.

With women and, now, men involved and aware of the devastating effects of abortion, united we all can pray and work to restore the "culture of life," as Pope John Paul once stated. The truth that human life begins at the moment of conception and fertilization is respected and revered. Until these basic issues of peace and justice, human rights and civil rights are restored, we live as hypocrites in our one nation under God.

Rosemary Agnew


Please continue coverage of digital TV transition

Candace Renalls' Jan. 12 Home & Garden story, "Relax," about converting to digital television, was very interesting, informative and timely.


Renalls was correct that Minnesota has a higher-than-average percentage of households without cable or satellite TV. However, she did not identify one critical piece of information that those of us who live in outlying areas of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin need. According to a Jan. 8 Associated Press report, "The mandate to go digital applies only to the roughly 1,760 'full-power' stations in the U.S. There are more than 2,900 low-power television stations and about 4,400 signal-relay stations known as 'translators' that will not be required to go digital by the deadline."

The upshot of the article was that there are two kinds of converter boxes available. For those who have reception from low-power television stations or translators, only the converters with a "pass-through" feature for these analog signals will allow them to receive their favorite shows unimpeded.

I would hope that, as the date nears, Renalls and the News Tribune will continue to report on the conversion to digital television with all the latest information on how the low-power stations and translators in our area are dealing with the conversion.

Charles Morello


Don't ignore Congress when attributing wrongs

The Jan. 5 letter writer, "Bush isn't evil: he's just unqualified to be president," was correct concerning the unqualified part. The dictionary defines evil as "morally bad or wrong; causing ruin, injury or pain; harmful; blameworthy; malicious or infamous; causing suffering and destruction."

Can evil be attributed to Bush? It seems reasonable, since almost 4,000 Americans and countless Iraqis have lost their lives due to his illegal, immoral war, for which he deserves far more than pity. And although his transgressions may not be on a par with the three tyrants mentioned by the writer, the line between evil and truly evil is a thin one.


Unfortunately, congressional acquiescence to the unconstitutional shenanigans perpetrated by an inept helmsman render them equally complicit regarding the disastrous course our ship of state is on.

The time has come for the people not only to terminate this debacle masquerading as a presidency but also the hegemony complex in Washington that afflicts us all with the interminable plague of war.

William R. Lamppa


Fleeing doctor story useful for a potential patient

Frankly, I'm mystified by the outrage surrounding the News Tribune's coverage of what one writer termed the "misfortunes" of Dr. Javier De La Garza ("A good doctor's image has been unfairly sullied," Dec. 19).

Whatever the truth of the sexual assault allegations against him, one fact is not in dispute: he fled police while driving drunk.

As a citizen and potential patient, I find this to be highly useful information and I thank the News Tribune for printing it.


Judy Holte


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