California did something like that, and here’s what happened.
The article about two proposed plans to provide free community college education (On the Beat, July 15) caught my interest. While living in Los Angeles in 1990, I decided to pursue a new career path, and my local community college offered two introductory-level classes. After Proposition 13 passed, California’s junior-college system went from free to almost free. Textbooks cost about the same as classes, free parking was available and my total investment for 16 weeks of college was about $120. My classroom building was new, both teachers were incredibly helpful and interesting, and their classes were challenging. The state had made a significant investment in providing postsecondary education to everyone who sought it.
So many students crowded into our first class meetings that we had to find extra chairs. By the time we took our midterm exams, crowds had thinned to half. On the day of our final exams, there were seven of us in one class and nine in another, supporting my belief that people do not tend to value things that are given away.
College costs have gone through the roof, no doubt about that, and something needs to be done. But maybe financial aid should come in the form of repaying shorter-term student loans for those who actually complete their course of study, rather than making free education available to dabblers.
Joan Graham, Albert Lea, Minn.
A job well-done, fireworks and all
A tip of the cap to Minnesota baseball fans who attended the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. They were first class all the way in their enthusiastic welcome of players at both events. It was heartwarming to see and hear their appreciation for Derek Jeter, for players from all of the teams, and for their own, past and present, such as Justin Morneau during the HR Derby.
Amid all of this I found it ironic that Bud Selig attended his last All-Star Game as commissioner at the home field for a team that was nearly “contracted” in 2002. Twins fans know and respect the game. I will make it a point to visit in the near future.
Robert Jenkins, Chevy Chase, Md.
• • •
The uproar over the late-night All-Star Game fireworks show is embarrassing and shows a true lack of perspective on the part of Minneapolis residents. I, too, live downtown, and I, too, was startled from my slumber by the colors and noise. And, yes, my dog was frightened. But as I watched from my window, it was certainly memorable, if also a bit surreal.
As for perspective, I wonder what the shellshocked citizens of Gaza would say if they knew Minneapolitans were outraged by a fireworks display at an inconvenient hour. And what must north Minneapolis residents think as they continue to witness deadly violence in their neighborhoods yet see mass indignation not about gun deaths in the city but instead regarding a bit of disrupted sleep.
Many major issues in our city and world today are worthy of true outrage and demand action. A fireworks show is not one of them.
Craig Hollenbeck, Minneapolis
ROADS VS. TRANSIT
The cars-only crowd misses the big picture
Many letter writers are against the Southwest light-rail line and its expensive construction cost. One (July 16) said she prefers roads. Does she think it’s possible to build enough highway to accommodate all of the people who need to drive? Go behind any of the sound barriers along freeways in the city, and you will see homes with almost no front yard and not much sunshine. The tall barriers block the noise and the daylight. Cars are polluters, and there is no way to provide enough lanes on freeways to keep traffic flowing, especially in rush hours.
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