Readers Write: (July 29): Racial assumptions, city-owned utilities, Southwest light rail

  • Updated: July 28, 2013 - 6:29 PM
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RACIAL ISSUES

Stop assuming, start listening

In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, it has been interesting how many people who are not black have suddenly become experts on being black. For these “experts,” black people have a culture of “victimhood.” They know this normally based on the uninformed opinion of talk-radio hosts and despite the fact that they might not have a meaningful relationship with a single black person.

While black people have problems (just like all people), the vast majority of us don’t see ourselves as victims. As much as people like to trot out the negative statistics, there is also the amazing rise of the black middle class in the last 50 years and the almost routine breakdown of barriers.

I often hear people say we need to have a national discussion about race, but until people stop assuming and start listening, it will not accomplish anything but a shouting match.

Craig Hewitt, Crystal

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CITY-RUN UTILITIES

Remember, the city didn’t want to do Wi-Fi

There is talk that Minneapolis may take over the services of Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. I personally agree with the idea of public ownership of utilities. What I’ve never understood is why the Minneapolis City Council, under the leadership of Mayor R.T. Rybak, basically gave away what should have been publicly owned. In 2006, Wi-Fi was a technology waiting to be born, but the council and Rybak rejected city ownership. Now the council seems to be in favor of taking over long-established utilities.

The Wi-Fi contract ended up going to US Internet. The development has been less than remarkable. There are many dead spots, including City Hall. Wi-Fi is pretty much useless to the police and firefighters.

In 2011, the same US Internet began building a high-speed fiber-optic network in the city. Just as with Wi-Fi, fiber-optic has been far from a success. Two and a half years after starting the fiber-optic service, less than 20 percent of the city has such service.

If the city does take over Xcel and CenterPoint, I certainly hope it can manage these utilities better than a private company does with the service we gave away in 2006.

GREGORY STRICHERZ, Minneapolis

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I live in an 800-square-foot loft apartment. Heat is included in my rent, and I use the air conditioning sparingly. My electric charges from Xcel Energy for the last 12 months are 51 percent higher than they were for the same period seven years ago. While I am not a big fan of the government running anything, in this case I’d be willing to take my chances.

MARK WEBER, Minneapolis

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