Categorized | OPINION

Letters to the Editor May 2020

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Online tech services crucial for nonprofits

Dear Editor:
The Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation (HCSF) is an independent, nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to strengthening public safety through youth-based activity programs, prevention, intervention, education, outreach, and 21st century crime-fighting tools and programs. It is essential that we have access to the most efficient communication and information-sharing tools, especially as public safety issues become increasingly complex and our community weathers through the COVID-19 outbreak. Because of this, it is important for our leaders to protect access to online tech services that allow organizations like the HCSF to meet the challenges of the day with force.
Each year, we identify and respond to new and emerging concerns within the community, and it is evident today how quickly one public safety challenge can become a devastating crisis when our health and safety officials are not able to preemptively and diligently contain the situation. That’s why it is important to us that we have an open, adaptive stream of communication that we can update as a situation develops.
HCSF uses a multitude of digital tools for outreach and communications, and as a board we stayed connected using Google’s G-suite and its array of apps and tools. In the last year, there has been lots of discussion regarding the regulation of the tech industry but little discussion as to how community-led organizations could be impacted.
We are concerned that regulation, if not planned and written to consider groups like ours, could undermine the work of organizations in seemingly unrelated sectors such as law enforcement.
Our communities are safer because of the foundation’s support of volunteer deputies, and we have better relationships with young residents because of outreach programs. Coordinating all of these programs on a nonprofit foundation’s budget requires access to affordable online programs, and we’re lucky to have them. I hope our experience sheds light on the need to ensure these programs remain open and available to organizations across Minnesota.
Lou Frillman
Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation

Demand details on 5G

Dear Editor:
Myriad Twin Cities residents have been asking city councils and mayors for transparency in the roll-out of 5G in our communities. At this time, with 5G’s signal promising to be 300x stronger than current 4G signals, questions about environmental, animal and human impacts have not been answered by city council members in all counties. Many fear that we may be facing the implementation of a network that will undo all of our good work in increasing insect and wildlife populations, and will additionally impact the health of our communities. Reports from areas around the world of the implementation of 5G vary depending on the source.
Minnesota is notorious for slow implementation of projects that should require an environmental review, however nothing in the press indicates that this project is “rolling out” much less facing a review. We hear whispers that there is 5G signal infrastructure throughout Minneapolis, but the city council apparently doesn’t know (or won’t divulge) where the signal receptors are located. If, as is whispered, these sites are already located in both schools and hospitals, what does this mean for the health of our children, the staff in all locations as well as hospital patients?
Anyone concerned about this issue should immediately request their city council member and mayor put a stop to future implementation of 5G without offering the citizens an opportunity to get answers and weigh in. At a minimum, a map that shows current and future 5G installation sites throughout our communities is in order.
Please join me in putting pressure on our representatives to release information about this very pressing issue.
Annette Rondano