In response to the June 6 letter “Masters of self-sabotage,” the big party machines don’t like competition, but thank goodness for Minnesota primaries. The 1,000 people who attend the DFL convention do not represent the more than 500,000 people who vote in a primary. Primaries always make for stronger candidates in the general election. Primaries allow vastly broader participation and inclusion of more diverse viewpoints than an insular caucus of 1,000 people. A robust primary on the DFL side will make for a better and stronger candidate in the fall, and personally, I am encouraged to see Lori Swanson and Rick Nolan running for governor and lieutenant governor. These are progressive voices who speak for a broader population of Minnesotans than just the so-called activist class.
Jonathan Lamont, Minneapolis
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A few hardy insiders lament that the DFL primary has gotten bigger. In 2006, Lori Swanson got 1,131,474 votes for attorney general, a statewide office. That same year, Tim Pawlenty got 1,028,568 votes for governor, a statewide job. Democrats should be happy that Swanson got into this race.
Jon Sander, Minneapolis
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Regarding Republican leader Kurt Daudt’s comment likening the large number of Democrats filing for office on Tuesday to a “dumpster fire,” I humbly disagree. I call this democracy in action. Being the House speaker, Daudt should realize this, but apparently he doesn’t, which is no surprise.
Craig Brown, Bloomington
Child separation meant to ‘send a message,’ which is kidnapping
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions intends, he says, to “send a message” to would-be immigrants, to discourage them from fleeing very real threats in their homelands and crossing the U.S. border with their children in the hope of finding a helping hand in our country. (See a transcript of a May 7 speech of his at tinyurl.com/sessions-ice.) To send this “message,” he is directing the Justice Department to abuse very young children by separating them from their parents for months and more. This, he says, will discourage other parents from seeking refuge for their families here. The public is not being permitted to learn how these children are faring in captivity, or what they are being told, but the act of forcibly taking children from their parents is an atrocity, directed against both child and parent.
International conventions recognize kidnapping as a crime against humanity when it is done as a government policy directed against an identifiable segment of the population with the objective of coercion. If that doesn’t describe these actions of this administration, I don’t know what does.
Stan Kaufman, New Brighton
Bike lanes and freeway closures and reconstruction: Told you so
Through letters to the editor when the subject came up of lobbyists demanding bike lanes on Park and Portland avenues in Minneapolis, I tried to warn city officials to choose other streets from these one-ways, which are heavily used already and will be increasingly so with closures on Interstates 35W and 94 (“Drivers on I-35W face epic headache,” June 6). Now, Robin Hutcheson, director of Minneapolis Public Works is described as being worried and bracing for increased traffic on these local routes — where there will be bus-only lanes, one bike lane and barely two traffic lanes — for a very long time.
Don’t forget, city officials, you voted “yes” to bike lanes. Ambulance drivers and motorists urged your “no” votes. Remember, people, elections are coming. Get registered now.
Barbara Nylen, Minneapolis
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I find it hysterical when public officials and spokespeople for the Minnesota Department of Transportation make pleas for commuters to abandon their cars and use public transit to avoid their overly ambitious boondoggles. This nation was built on the freedom of the automobile, the ability to go wherever I choose at the drop of a hat. The convenience is why cars will always be king.
It takes me 24 minutes to get from Bloomington to my job in Minneapolis with a car. If I were to take public transit, the time would double. How exactly is that in my best interests?
Not to mention that the overhaul of I-35W, for all its necessity, has a net gain of almost zero for most commuters. All it does is add more bus stops, bike lanes and a single MnPass lane on each side. The whole thing stinks of another giant push to force people onto mass transit by simply infuriating them.
Tyler Dale, Bloomington
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I was very disappointed in the article about the I-35W closure into downtown. The map showing a green arrow for the detour was frustrating. What route are you indicating? You state that the work will “close three exits into downtown and leave just one open.” Which one? Can’t you come up with more helpful advice than sending everyone down city streets on Park, Chicago, Cedar? You need to make a bigger effort to get people to follow the official detour via Hwy. 100, which is not even shown on your map. Also a comment to MnDOT: I studied the website last night and was unable to find information on this exit closure. This is a major, major interruption — the information should be easy to access as we plan alternate routes.
Susan Lampe, Bloomington
Editor’s note: The remaining open exit to downtown is S. 3rd St., as indicated by the green arrow on the map published June 6. The closed exits, as listed and highlighted in red, are 11th Street, Grant Street and 5th Avenue. See the map at tinyurl.com/35w-downtown. Project information on MnDOT’s website is at dot.state.mn.us/35w94.
WEISMAN ART MUSEUM
A quibble: It didn’t put Gehry ‘on the map.’ He was already there
Thank you for your appreciative article about Lyndel King and her tenure at the Weisman Art Museum (“Weisman’s pioneering director to step aside after 40 years,” June 6). She accomplished many things and we are grateful for her work.
However, the commission for the Weisman building did not put Frank Gehry “on the map,” nor was it his first major commission. He was a well-established star architect, with many major commissions, including museums, and had won the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s foremost award, before the Weisman.
He did begin exploring the curved metal geometries he would later use to great effect in the Bilbao museum at the Weisman, and this is certainly of interest. But he was already a major force in architecture before the Weisman came his way.
Fritz A. Nelson, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired architect.
Would that spin go way of dodo
The defense of leaf blowers offered by the president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (Readers Write, June 5, responding to “Would that those noxious leaf blowers go the way of the dodo,” June 2) fell a little short on believability. Particularly ridiculous was the scaremongering line “tick-infested leaf piles that pose a fire threat and choke our streets and drains.” Beware the marauding caravans of tick-infested leaf piles! And I’ve never seen a street “choked” by leaves; that must be a real sight.
Look, trees drop leaves. The leaves decompose and fertilize whatever they lie on top of. That’s natural and normal. What isn’t normal is a chemically treated, neon-green bed of grass, devoid of any other plant life, blown clean of offending particles. I’m constantly shutting windows as neighbors loudly play at blowing leaves around for hours. A rake could do the job in half that time or less. Efficient? Quiet? Normal? Are you kidding?
Travis Anderson, Minneapolis