Legislature can take a huge step to help

When you compare the state’s average cost of living for a single parent with one child ($37,956) to what those parents actually earn, it becomes crystal-clear why single moms — and an increasing number of single dads, too — are struggling to simply get by (“Left behind: Lost in the economic recovery” series, April 6).

Recent research on the status of women and girls shows that the median family income in the state for single moms with kids is $12,000 (American Indian), $14,000 (African-American), $18,000 (white) and $22,000 (Asian-American), respectively. From 2000 to 2012, the number of Minnesota families with children living below the poverty line rose by a whopping 64 percent.

Low incomes, coupled with a lack of affordable child care and housing, means that these hardworking parents are getting nowhere, fast. Thankfully, sound policy solutions are brewing at the Legislature. The Women’s Economic Security Act represents the first time in state history that policymakers — Republicans and Democrats — have set this priority as a key to the state’s economic security. The 15 bills that comprise the act represent a comprehensive effort to address root causes.

Let’s jump on this opportunity to remove barriers and create supports for women. By doing so, we build stronger communities and a sustainable economic foundation for all.

Lee Roper-Batker, Bloomington



It was inauthentic for mayor to wear hijab

I respect the fact Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is communicating with many different sectors of communities that represent the fine city of Minneapolis (“Hodges’ 1st 100 days,” April 6). I am from one of the surrounding suburbs, love Minneapolis and support many of its businesses. But I find it shallow that she entered a meeting with Somali leaders and businessmen wearing a hijab.

She, too, entered the meeting as a community leader. Would she have required those same men and women to change their type of clothing for her? Would they have done so? Honor and respect are shown by demeanor and words, being who you are, accepting others as they are, and solving problems together

Let’s maintain our own beliefs and personalities while entering negotiations and meaningful dialogue with those around us. My belief is that the men and elders whom Hodges met with had that in mind.

Pamela Mayfield, Burnsville

• • •

Our metropolitan area has two African-American groups. One of them, immigrating here over the past couple of decades, is courted by the political establishment — and incidentally, Mayor Hodges, you’re meeting in Minneapolis, not Mogadishu. The other, enslaved and discriminated against here for five-plus centuries, is ignored by the political establishment, and incidentally Mayors Hodges and Chris Coleman, there is relationship-building and more needed with them.

John Ammerman, St. Louis Park



How about a revolution (best of both) instead?

D.J. Tice, perhaps gulled by commercials of sleek cars cruising empty highways, denies the crowded, frustrating reality of metro traffic (“The trouble with transit? Automobiles,” April 6). The liberating effect of American wheels ended 100 million Americans and $3.50 a gallon ago.

Tice, a marketplace romantic, ignores the public-subsidy aspect of the love affair. The expansion of the roadway grid has ended. Revenues are inadequate to maintain the roads we have, and every maintenance project diminishes available roadway.

As the horse could not have sustained our transportation needs through the 20th century, we are due for another revolution. There is a technology called personal rapid transit (PRT). Our civic leaders pretend to be logically impaired: We can’t back a revolution that’s never been tried! The reality is that corporate-toady Republicans and corporate-stooge Democrats can’t figure out how to graft private profit to this utility.

Mark Warner, Minneapolis



Outsource the ones that rake in the money

It’s encouraging that the idea of professionalizing college sports that I suggested on these pages in January of last year is beginning to take hold (“College sports as private enterprise? Just do it,” April 6). However, I believe that only revenue-producing college sports should be outsourced. It will be very hard to find entrepreneurs who want the rights to the golf team, for example. Complete outsourcing might lead to greatly reduced opportunities for the students who want both academics and athletics. The money obtained from outsourcing football, basketball and hockey could be used to support the remaining, non-revenue-producing athletic program, and universities would be freed to focus on their academic mission.

P.T. Magee, St. Paul



To me, those bonnets were an emblem of love

I read Aimee Blanchette’s comment about being “stuffed into nightmarish frilly dresses” in her “Beyond the bonnet” article (Variety, April 10) and wondered what sort of Easters she had to suffer through. I grew up in the ’60s, when the world was definitely changing. However, I recall the hours my mother spent sewing Easter dresses for my sister and me, how we watched and waited as each piece of lace and ruffle was sewn onto the dotted Swiss or linen fabric and as bows and ribbons were applied to our bonnets. I can still see my mother’s joy at the excitement my sister and I had as we put on our Easter outfits.

Perhaps the dresses Blanchette was forced to wear were nightmarish; for my sister and me, they were beautiful works of art that have become loving memories of our mother.

Sue Rohland, St. Paul