MILITARY MIGHT

Others don’t see U.S. intentions as benign

Several letters have responded to the Jan. 7 Letter of the Day (“A militarized United States has made the world a better place”). Before we all get too carried away with our own self-importance, we should take note that this year, as in years past, a survey conducted across 68 countries by the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research and Gallup International found that a large majority of people see the United States as the most significant threat to peace on the planet. The U.S. received that designation from 24 percent of respondents; Pakistan, from 8 percent, and China, from 6 percent. Even Iran and North Korea placed behind the United States, with just 4 percent seeing them as a significant threat.

When discussing issues of war and peace, it is always helpful to look beyond our own borders to see what our militarized country actually looks like to those our policy of militarization is auspiciously designed to protect. People beyond our borders have a firsthand view of the effects of what a policy of militarization means.

BRYAN HAUGEN, Mayer

 

SOUTHWEST LRT

A back-burner solution would hurt the corridor

I’m really frustrated with comments from my neighbors in St. Louis Park regarding light rail — primarily “move on to the Bottineau line” and “let SLP rest.”

I’ll be the first to say that maybe I was a bit naive to believe that the Metropolitan Council and our local and state officials would be able to come to an agreement on an alignment that would be best for the commuters and communities in the Southwest Corridor. I really believed that this would happen.

Now, I’m not so sure.

I make no claim to know the right solution. I expect my elected officials and the experts to use the vast knowledge and tools available to make the best and most equitable decision.

I’m a bus commuter. I ride the bus daily from St. Louis Park to St. Paul. My commute has been at best 45 minutes, and at worst — during some of the coldest weather — three-plus hours. Bus service from St. Louis Park is infrequent and unreliable. Southwest LRT would provide a reliable commute, run more frequently and provide much more comfort.

Property values in St. Louis Park have remained high for single-family homes. The same cannot be said for the condo market. An LRT station within walking distance from many condos in SLP could change that market.

I understand the concerns, but there has to be a way to get this done — to not leave St. Louis Park, and the other communities on the line, behind.

SARA MAASKE, St. Louis Park

 

ADOPTION

Meeting a need; making contact

After reading about an American couple’s adoption ordeal overseas (“Adoption ‘dream come true’ becomes nightmare in Congo,” Jan. 10), I am once again left confused. As a foster parent, I became aware of the astounding number of children in the United States that need loving homes. Can anybody tell me why Americans need to go to other countries to adopt children?

BONNIE C. BLANKHOLM, Eden Prairie

• • •

The heart-wrenching story “Mother and daughter reunite after 71 years” (Jan. 5) is not unfamiliar to older adoptees who want their original birth certificates in order to know the truth of their own birth. One by one, states are restoring access to original birth certificates to adult adoptees. Last month, Ohio became the newest state to pass legislation that was supported by Ohio Right to Life.

A Minnesota bill (HF848/SF981) in the 2014 session would grant access to original birth certificates to all Minnesota-born adult adoptees. As the judge in the Jan. 5 story said: “Yep. It’s been long enough.”

PENELOPE NEEDHAM, Eden Prairie

 

CAMPUS SAFETY

Student representatives appreciate the attention

More than ever, ensuring the safety of the University of Minnesota community, both on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods, is a shared responsibility.

On Jan. 7, on just her second day on the job, newly inaugurated Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges visited with university students and leaders about this important topic. Together with the Minneapolis Police Department’s Second Precinct, City Council members and university officials, we shared our insights and ideas about how to best move forward.

As the mayor said, the steady 11-year decline in crime on and around campus shows that the university and the city have the tools to effectively fight crime. The stronger this partnership grows now, the quicker we can stop the robberies we have seen the past few months.

We were pleased to hear Hodges’ continued commitment to solving this problem, especially as more and more students call the neighborhoods around the Minneapolis campus home.

The U is one of the nation’s great universities partly because of its location — situated in the heart of a vibrant city and metro area. But we need it to remain safe to protect the area’s culture, innovation, talent and tax base — contributed to significantly by U students, employees and alumni.

We thank Mayor Hodges for engaging with us directly, and for renewing the city’s commitment to this fundamental partnership. It is critical to improving the safety of the places where we study, work and live.

 

This letter was signed by Brittany Edwards, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly; Matt Forstie, chair of the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition, and Mike Schmit, president of the Minnesota Student Association, all of the University of Minnesota.