Readers Write: (May 6): Thwarted massacre, ride sharing, Jim Oberstar, capital punishment, swimming lessons, orchestra

  • Updated: May 5, 2014 - 6:15 PM

What is the role of the media in terms of the “Columbine effect”?

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THWARTED MASSACRE

Dutifully sustaining the ‘Columbine effect’

John David LaDue “wanted the same, shocked attention” (“Schools confront the ‘Columbine effect,’ ” May 4). Without killing anyone, he did get quite a bit of notice: a large photograph of him top and center of the Sunday edition of the largest newspaper in Minnesota. That may be another facet of the Columbine effect.

Robert Owen, Bloomington

 

RIDE SHARING

Established taxis offer something concrete

I’ve been watching the ride-­sharing debate and have come to several conclusions:

 

1) What transportation network companies (TNCs) provide is by definition taxi service.

2) Uber and Lyft offered nothing but fluff at the City Council regulatory committee public hearing on April 29. The taxi industry, on the other hand, presented factual information concerning, among other things, the lack of proper insurance and the noncooperative nature Uber and Lyft have exhibited in other cities.

3) Many taxi companies in Minneapolis use the same technology as Uber and Lyft. The differences, therefore, between TNCs and taxis are that taxi drivers are professionally trained and that taxis have commercial insurance. Uber’s and Lyft’s insurance is suspect, and their drivers do not receive professional training administered by an accredited training program.

4) Uber and Lyft are attempting to skirt the rules that other transportation services are required to follow, such as providing transportation to wheelchair-bound customers.

5) I would feel safe putting family members into a cab. I wouldn’t feel the same way about placing loved ones in a vehicle not properly inspected or insured with an amateur driver at the wheel.

 

Granted, I work in the taxi business, but no one has yet disputed the veracity of the points I have made. Taxi reform is way overdue in Minneapolis, and we should thank TNCs for unwittingly prompting it. But let’s keep in mind that it’s much easier to reform a homegrown and already-regulated transportation industry than it is to control an elusive and historically uncooperative entity with no roots in the community.

Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis

 

The writer works for Rainbow Taxi.

 

JIM OBERSTAR

He was a champion of transportation

The Associated General Contractors of Minnesota and Minnesota’s construction industry lost a great friend with the passing of Congressman Jim Oberstar.

It didn’t matter that he was Democrat or Republican. He was committed to transportation as a means to better living.

He believed that building and upgrading transportation systems improved Minnesota’s quality of life — connecting communities, creating jobs and spurring economic development.

His contributions to the building and transportation industries are immeasurable, and we are forever indebted to him as a public servant who placed Minnesota’s welfare above his own.

Dave Semerad, St. Paul

 

The writer is CEO of AGC of Minnesota.

 

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Authority is derived from high standards

A May 3 letter writer noted that even though the Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett was botched, Lockett deserved less compassion than his victim. There is no argument that Lockett’s crime was heinous, but is that our new standard: We are cruel killers, but at least we’re a little bit better than the guy we’re executing?

Whatever you think about the death penalty, we get the moral authority to apply it by being better than the people we’re executing and by following the rule of law and not some perceived right of vengeance.

Joe Garrick, Anoka

 

SWIMMING LESSONS

They’re available, if families make the effort

How I remember standing in the cold with my mother waiting for the bus to take us downtown to the YWCA for swimming lessons (“Drowning is sad reminder of inequities with pools,” Gail Rosenblum column, May 1). I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s in Crystal. We were a family of modest means. There were no pools near our home. The question is not “inequality” (please define that; there are six YMCA or YWCA facilities with swim lessons in Minneapolis proper). Rather, it should be: Do families value swimming lessons for their children?

Heidi A. Jensen, Waconia

 

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Not nearly enough coverage in this paper

In the May 5 issue of the Star Tribune, yet another letter writer laments the publication of another article on Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, rather than devoting the space to the all-important subject of sports. Ironically, that same issue of the Star Tribune devotes 12 full pages to sports but not even an inch (except for the writer’s letter) to the Minnesota Orchestra.

Wayne Gisslen, Long Lake

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