GETTING AROUND

Pay your way

People who want to develop the Dan Patch rail bed for commuting apparently are blinded by self interest when they think it appropriate to say "I can move farther out, get more house for my money, and not have to deal with a ton of traffic" ("Southern commuter rail plan gets new life," Feb. 17).

We've all subsidized their roads, sewers and power lines, and we all suffer from the loss of farmland and pollution due to their excessive homes and commutes. Now they want to run trains through parks and backyards to cut 30 minutes from their commute.

Rather than further destroying the quality of life of those of us with a smaller footprint on our environment, how about either moving closer to work or paying the real cost of living 20 miles out?

BRUCE KELLEY, MINNEAPOLIS

Slower vehicles

I love it when people equate more roads with quicker commute times.

During peak traffic times, faster traffic mixed in with faster traffic equals faster traffic. Slow traffic mixed in with faster traffic equals slower traffic. Next time you travel up north on a Friday to your cabin, check out that 18-wheeler in the far left lane taking over a minute to get back up to speed, that same 70 miles per hour your SUV reached in about 10 seconds.

Without spending a dime, we could decrease the commute time of every morning and evening commuter in Minnesota. People have said it before, and I will say it again: Make it a law, "Slower traffic keep right."

CHRIS MORGAN, CLEARWATER, MINN.

FORT SNELLING

Don't alter evidence

In a Feb. 17 column regarding Fort Snelling, Jeffrey Kolnick makes a cockamamie proposal that the Minnesota Legislature appropriate funds for the removal and reconstruction of Fort Snelling "on more neutral ground." He bases a portion of his argument on the fact that the fort "represents the coercive power that forced" the Dakota "from their ancestral homeland." Revisionist history at its best.

If you follow Kolnick's argument, the Dakota themselves are guilty of genocide and thus should have their historic record wiped clean since the Dakota displaced the Cheyenne and Kiowa from their ancestral homes in the Black Hills. And, if you continue rolling that argument backwards, all evidence of mankind in North America should be removed and the entire continent should be returned to a pastoral wilderness, since all men are immigrants onto this continent.

Professor, human history is a messy, nasty, brutal story of the weak being brutalized and subjugated by the more powerful. That has been going on since time immemorial. The role of history and historians is to not remove or alter evidence of history simply because they find it personally distasteful. Rather, the role of history and historians is to educate the public as to what happened, why it happened, and how it applies to our own lives.

BRUCE BOEDER, MINNETONKA

Dark history on site

While I agree with Prof. Kolnick that the genocide of the Dakota people should be recognized, would the money for relocation of the fort be better spent on education and social programs for those Native Americans who do not receive support from legalized gambling?

While it is a dark chapter of the history of the fort, I agree with Nina Archabal's thought that it should be told on the original site of the fort along with the fort's accomplishments.

AARON WARWICK, MINNEAPOLIS

Learn from real thing

Tear down Fort Snelling because it has a past? If it's gone, then what will our kids and their kids remember? Look at pictures?

Tear down the park and put up a park? That's the dumbest thing I've heard of! Leave and restore old Fort Snelling for the generations to come.

TIMOTHY ROGERS, CHANHASSEN

The Fort Snelling slots

I agree with Jeffrey Kolnick's proposal to move Fort Snelling to a neutral ground; then they would have room for another casino.

EARL HALVERSON, FULDA, MINN.

Greed always wins

The Feb. 17 Opinion Exchange articles on Fort Snelling being on sacred Dakota land make it seem like the Star Tribune cares. One only needs to look back a few years to see how special interests and history work.

When light rail and the extension of Hwy. 55 was proposed, the Dakota people said that the proposed route ran over sacred land. The "little white fathers" of government and this paper's editors didn't care. They wanted their plans for "economic development" and pet projects. Sacred land was desecrated, mature woods cut down, scores of families driven out by eminent domain. Nothing to learn from history -- just another story of greed trumping everything.

JERRY MONSON, MAHTOMEDI

CLOSE UP SHOP IN ST. PAUL

Adjourn indefinitely

As I see it, the Legislature has only one option to use against Gov. Tim Pawlenty's heavy-handed, no-compromise no-new-taxes veto pen: Call a "Sine Die" and go home now. The only thing you're doing is wasting time and taxpayer money.

ROBERT KOHLMEIER,

HERMANTOWN, MINN.

THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL

Does recession fit in?

It's ironic that Katherine Kersten's Feb. 18 column on the homeless appeared on the same page as an article on Mac Hammond's "church of prosperity" needing to cut back.

According to the prosperity gospel, success is evidence of God's love. Does that mean God loves the homeless less? And if Hammond has to sell his jets, does that mean God loves him less than he did last year?

JERRY T. JOHNSON, BLOOMINGTON

CORRECTION

One of the Fort Snelling articles last Sunday misstated the location of the Dakota internment camp. It was located on the flat land along the river, directly below the Fort and across from Pike Island.