Last week, the Downtown Council steering committee headed by Target's executive vice president for property development announced its grand plan for revitalizing downtown Minneapolis ("Transforming the city's heart into its soul," Dec. 14).
What irony. Target is relocating 2,400 tech-services workers and 1,500 contractors at the same time it's making a huge splash about trying to attract workers to downtown Minneapolis.
If only 10 percent of those 3,900 lived downtown, it could help create a demand for the residential area the 2025 plan wants to foster. Maybe we should quickly extend the plan to 2030?
BRIAN JOHNSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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Thank you for running the commentary about the student-loan situation ("Those soaring college costs? Could be the subsidies," Dec. 11).
I've become increasingly aware myself that the student loan program was co-opted by higher education as a revenue stream that used students as the conduit for unlimited access to federal funding.
Schools could never have raised tuition as much as they have if the money supply hadn't been there.
I found my high school uniform receipt from 1964. It cost $24. Forty years later, that identical jumper cost my daughter $68. During the same period, college tuition rose from $300 a year to almost $9,000.
We bail out banks, but not students. I'm not saying we should, but I simply want to point out that those loans are being used to pay hefty retirement benefits and insurance packages for teachers.
Meanwhile, young people can't get jobs or home mortgages because they're drowning in education debt.
CHERIE RIESENBERG, ST. PAUL
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Virginia Postrel was spot-on in linking skyrocketing college costs to federal loans and subsidies. Fifty years ago, the cost of a good private-school education was about the cost of a four-door family sedan. This correlation stayed close for 20 to 25 years, then college tuition began to grow.
Now a quality family sedan costs $20,000 to $30,000, but tuition is near or above $50,000 at these schools. When is the last time you have heard of a college freezing or reducing tuition? Industry will tighten the belt, but not education.
DARYL WILLIAMSON, EDEN PRAIRIE
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It's despicable to think that felons can get their prison records erased and then go to work with our vulnerable elderly population in nursing homes ("Abuse of aged and vulnerable in Minnesota -- state OKs care jobs for former criminals," Dec. 11).
The elderly need to be protected from criminals. Our legislators shouldn't sit on their hands. There is no excuse for letting this happen. Anyone with a record should be banned from working in a nursing home.
Without the Star Tribune's investigation, this abuse and practice would be washed under the rug.
MARGE MILLER, COON RAPIDS
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No matter how badly Lewis tries to demonize unions, his fear-mongering just doesn't work anymore ("Big labor has big plans for 2012 election," Dec. 11). He tries to portray union members as some sort of blue-collar bullies, but the reality is quite a bit different.
The members of "big labor" unions are your neighbors -- the guy who's up all night in blizzard conditions clearing the roads and the woman delivering mail until late into a Christmas Eve so people receive their holiday packages.
They're also the public schoolteachers who grade papers late into the night.
They're individuals trying to pay their bills, keep their homes and send their kids to college. Are those such bad dreams, Mr. Lewis?
Henry Ford knew that if his employees couldn't afford his cars, then he wouldn't have a market, so he made sure they made a decent wage. That's something conservatives like Lewis have forgotten.
JOHN C. HEEGARD, MINNEAPOLIS
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Thanks to Paul Riedner for so eloquently stating my opinion ("Among Iraq war's many losses: Trust," Dec. 14). I, too, am heartsick over what we have lost in the name of protecting our national security.
As the situation with Iran continues to deteriorate, I fear the distant drums are rumbling again. It's my hope that the American people have learned a lesson and will no longer be so easily duped.
JAN WOLFF, BLOOMINGTON
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In an effort to promote passage of the marriage amendment to the state's Constitution, Archbishop John Nienstedt wants area Catholics to recite a special prayer during mass.
Just last week, a priest in our archdiocese was convicted of criminal sexual misconduct. Despite having the same information as the jury that convicted him, the archbishop assigned him to a parish 40 miles away from his supervision.
In addition, the archbishop responded to the courageous victim's concerns over the placement, according to the trial testimony, with the hurtful words, "trust your shepherds." Mass always begins with a penitential rite.
I would propose a prayer at the start of archdiocesan masses asking forgiveness for these failings.
THE REV. MICHAEL TEGEDER, MINNEAPOLIS