In Minneapolis, we hear what is politically expedient but that probably won’t help.
Platitudes won’t help; we need shift in values
On the subjects of Minneapolis disparities and racial equity, the Star Tribune on May 12 published a Short Takes item by City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden and a letter by former City Council Member Paul Ostrow. Subscribers were presented classic political platitudes — threat to the health and prosperity of all in our state; focus on racial equity and eliminating racial disparities; providing opportunity; willingness to make tough choices on transit, education and jobs, and a road map for the future.
One is currently reminded of Tal Fortgang, the Princeton University freshman whose recent, now-famous Princeton Tory essay was about the subject of “privilege,” being told to “check” it by the school’s liberal enforcers of public mores — mores such as meritocracy is a myth and our nation runs on racist and sexist conspiracies.
The primary constituency for which the City Council members’ opinions are relevant is distinguished by a high percentage of children born to single mothers and a high percentage of abortions. Underlying facts point to cultural tradition and secularism.
As stated by Fortgang, “It’s not a matter of white or black, male or female or any other division … but a matter of the values we pass along, the legacy we leave …”
Until there are able leaders within the subject constituency who are committed to long-term attitude adjustment and some degree of spirituality, incremental legislation and litigation (though politically expedient) are probably pointless.
Gene Delaune, New Brighton
Edina residents grasp the value of concrete
Conducting transparent, fair competition based on unbiased engineering, maintenance and cost analyses is the best approach for Edina’s pavement choice issue. (“Concrete fans take debate to the streets,” May 11). Concrete pavements are frequently overdesigned, making them thicker than residential street traffic requires. At the same time, asphalt maintenance intervals and costs are typically underestimated, particularly given recent market dynamics affecting oil prices.
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s 2012 year-end index report, asphalt pavement costs have increased 89 percent since 2005; concrete pavement costs declined 1 percent over that same period. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 44 percent increase nationally in asphalt paving mix prices since 2008.
The city’s actual maintenance and service-life records with updated cost analytics will reflect the true cost of both pavement types. It appears that the taxpaying citizens of Edina already have an understanding of the longevity, economy and sustainability of their concrete streets.
Douglas Burns, Jordan
The writer is executive director of the Portland Cement Association-North Central Region.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.