Surely the PR team would have stepped up

Regarding the ill-advised arbitration tactic woven into a marketing program by General Mills (“General Mills moves to limit lawsuit exposure,” April 17, and “General Mills reverses its terms,” April 21), I was truly amazed. Doesn’t this hugely successful company have an in-house public-relations counsel as well as agency service? Were the aforementioned people actually involved (I hope not) in developing the ploy to deprive unsuspecting customers of their right to sue? If not so involved, were they at least consulted about the idea, and did they have the opportunity, status and courage to strongly recommend that the plan be dropped, which was the eventual decision?

Initial strategy can misfire for anyone, at any executive level, in any business, including PR. But still, any competent PR counsel would surely have known that attempting to trick consumers is a public-relations disaster just waiting — in fact, begging — to happen.

Robert K. Krishef, St. Louis Park



Sudden move on water births ignores evidence

The revocation of water births at Allina Hospitals (“Allina halts all water births,” April 24) came as an abrupt surprise not only to the women counting on those services but to the providers who deliver at those hospitals as well. Both the Star Tribune and Allina’s decisionmakers, however, left out the most important part of the story — the evidence-based information on the safety of water birth. It is nothing new; it has been done in Europe for decades, as well as in birthing centers and hospitals in our own country and in this community. There are many studies that describe the safety of water birth. If we are going to make decisions on hospital policies, let’s use the evidence-based data all the time, not just when it is convenient.

Georgeanne Croft, Minneapolis


The writer is a certified nurse-midwife.



Careful with that broad brush; many are good

The assessment in the April 21 Letter of the Day (“Taxi alternatives to be expected, given poor service”) was unfair. There may be some taxi drivers out there who are “surly” and who drive with “unkempt interiors” and the like, but it is hard to believe that this is a general thing. My experience with taxis is mostly in St. Paul, where I have found the drivers polite and accommodating, with clean cabs. It is not an easy job, with drunks messing up the interiors and customers who run without paying. I even heard of a case where the driver was caught in a drive-by shooting.

Donna Mirocha, St. Paul



Would it be so bad to understand neighbors?

If the writer of the April 24 Letter of the Day (“Redevelopment: Would it be so bad to feel the winds of change?”) had taken time to engage with the folks holding the vigil in front of the Orth House instead of penning his snarky letter, he might have found we are not as myopic as he suggests.

He would have met people, both old and young, who have fought tirelessly to stabilize the Lowry Hill East neighborhood of Minneapolis and make it a safe and pleasant place to live. He would have met people concerned about crime, social justice, diversity, education, parks and recreation, and, yes, about the very sort of local, national and international issues he suggests we would ignore.

I don’t know about the writer’s activities, but before I joined the vigil the other night, I had already invested two-plus hours in a meeting planning the annual Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk that benefits some 8,000 people with Down syndrome across our region.

Maybe if the writer would stop “wondering” about us and would come out to meet his neighbors, he would come to understand that it is the houses and the folks who live in and love them that make Lowry Hill East a nice place to live.

David Forney, Minneapolis



Your trickle of savings can actually matter a lot

The April 23 Letter of the Day about LED bulbs and natural gas flaring (“Individual energy use: A trickle compared with industry waste”) was interesting. Apparently replacing one light bulb with an LED will, over a 10-year period, offset about 30 seconds of flaring waste. Doesn’t seem worth the effort.

But let’s do a little more arithmetic. Suppose you replace 10 bulbs in your house; that’s a five-minute offset. There are about 24 houses on a city block; if they all pitch in, that’s about two hours’ worth of offset. A square mile is about eight blocks on a side, or about 64 blocks. They could offset about 128 hours — about five days. If all families in the Twin Cities replaced 10 bulbs, we could offset four years’ worth. If every family in our nation of 300 million did so (“one country, indivisible”), it would be about 1,200 years’ worth.

This doesn’t mean that the flaring is good or that we don’t need to prevent it. But it does mean that small national policy changes can have an incredibly large change on energy usage. Replacing a few light bulbs is no big deal for a family, but when multiplied by the number of families in the country (world?), it is a really big deal.

Dick Hendrickson, Minneapolis



Oh, yes, indeed: The president has options

Where would President Obama send the Guantánamo detainees if he closed Guantánamo? (“Oh, like Obama has all these alternatives,” Readers Write, April 23.) He would send them to whichever federal prison facility he designated. To transfer an armed robber from Lewisburg to Sandstone or a tax evader from Atlanta to Rochester does not now — and has not ever — required the consent of Minnesota. Nothing prevented Obama from exercising his executive powers to designate a wing at Leavenworth for the detainees and promptly transferring them there. He simply did not keep his explicit campaign promise, and his breach of that promise cannot be passed off to the states.

David K. Hackley, Minneapolis