A regional plan or a regional power grab?

Thank you for publishing Katherine Kersten’s great commentary “The Met Council will burden you now” (April 13). It was the best expose of the Metropolitan Council yet, falling short in only one area: She did not call for the reformation of this nonelected group to be returned to its origins of sewer management and stripping it of all other powers.

The Met Council has no business imposing its utopian ideas on suburban communities regarding development, growth and transportation. Local officials responsible to the electorate oversee these matters. The council has ridden roughshod over suburban communities around the Twin Cities for far too long, and it is time a movement begins to rein in their power and authority. Thanks to Kersten for hopefully waking up a large number of sleeping taxpayers who were unaware of the nefarious roll this organization plays.

Russ Prince, Apple Valley

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Every day I read the paper. Most articles do not apply to me. Politically charged issues often leave a bad taste in my mouth. So when I read Kersten’s article about the effect the Met Council has on transportation, I was overjoyed. Next time I renew my subscription, I will be glad to pay for all those bad issues if I could get just one article each year like “The Met Council will burden you now.” The issues raised were spot-on, without any mention of a political party. Insight into how our government operates was provided without the need to get to the bottom line. Many citizens are better informed because of Kersten’s work. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Tom Hatton, Minneapolis

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Kersten frames her critique of the council’s Thrive MSP 2040 plan on the allegation that it will take away choices from Minnesotans. But what she ignores is that our region currently severely limits the choice of anyone who wants to live in a dense neighborhood with urban conveniences, or who prefers biking, walking or transit to driving for transportation. In 101 of 190 metro-area municipalities, more than three-quarters of the housing stock is single-family detached, illustrating the lack of possibilities for those who prefer higher-density living.

Kersten herself acknowledges that transit is not a choice in the Twin Cities, since, as she notes, “the average employee can reach only 7 percent of jobs by transit in 45 minutes.” She shows herself to be opposed to choice in transportation in the same breath by opposing the Southwest Corridor light-rail line, which will add 10 percent of metro-area jobs to the transit grasp of the average employee.

Meanwhile, 61 percent of the metro’s affordable housing is concentrated in the central neighborhoods of Minneapolis and St. Paul, leaving affordable options in the suburbs few and far between. Thrive MSP 2040 is a welcome step toward offering choices for the Twin Cities, not limiting them.

Alex Bauman, Minneapolis

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The largest segment of the population, millennials and baby boomers, are freely choosing to live in vibrant, high-density, walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods at ever increasing rates. Private developers can hardly keep up with demand in city and suburb alike. The Met Council is not leading us anywhere, if anything, they’re following us by recognizing our choices and giving us what we want. Kersten can lament the declining popularity of the sprawling, car-oriented suburbs all she wants, but she only has her fellow citizens to blame, not a government agency.

Steve Millikan, Minneapolis

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I decided to read the Thrive 2040 plan for myself. I was stunned — stunned — to find a very thoughtful document based on trends, demographics, data, economic feasibility, with input ranging from individuals to entire communities. This document is 130 pages of ideas on how we can cope with everything from infrastructure and waste water, to parks and, yes, freeways, as we become older, more populous and more diverse. It is a plan for our urban core and our suburban communities — even a plan for (gasp!) sprawl. The final piece of my research led me to see what Kersten’s seemingly beloved Atlanta was doing about regional planning, and my goodness, the Atlanta Regional Commission has a plan, too. It is called PLAN 2040 and it reads just like ours, save for one exception: It has more emphasis on mass transit.

Brian Hols, Minneapolis

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I have driven through both Atlanta and Houston (Kersten’s examples of good, unfettered development) and would not want to be a commuter in either area. Also, she gives statistics about demographic changes in certain areas, but they don’t show why people left Minnesota or why they went to other cities — it could have been weather, jobs or caprice — but it probably wasn’t because they were seeking out areas with poor urban planning and no zoning laws.

Ann Stokke, Minneapolis



Thriving — but not native to Minnesota

The Outdoors article “Rise of the wild turkeys” (April 11) was informative, with one major exception: It obviously did not reference Dr. T.S. Roberts’ monumental and authoritative work “Birds of Minnesota” (1936), which states: “There is absolutely no positive evidence that the Wild Turkey ever existed in Minnesota. No eye-witness has left a written record so far as can be found and no Minnesota specimen is in existence. The tales of a few old men, which were passed on to the generation fifty years ago are all the remain.” Thus for the article to say that “settlers first encountered them in southeastern Minnesota in the 1800s, before they were extirpated by unregulated hunting and logging” is misleading. The information given and quoted by Nick Gulden about the situation since 1971 is very accurate.

Robert B. Janssen, Golden Valley


The writer is the author of “Birds in Minnesota.”