In Dinkytown, let’s remember the past

Decades of development have driven small family-owned businesses like House of Hanson, Gray’s Drug, Ace Hardware, the Needle Doctor and Nelson’s Office Supply out of the Dinkytown area of Minneapolis. Now, Target is proposing to build a mini “TargetExpress” there to provide the goods and services these businesses once provided. Also, the City Council is considering a proposal to destroy more small businesses to allow the construction of a boutique hotel. Thankfully, the Heritage Commission has vetoed the proposal, but the council could still override that recommendation.

Minneapolis has a history of knocking down buildings considered unimportant and later ruing these decisions, among these the entire Gateway District, the Metropolitan Building and many others. Now, I’m not saying the buildings on SE. 4th Street are architectural marvels, but with the destruction of the old Marshall-U High and with the hundreds of new luxury rental units that have appeared in the area seemingly overnight, the character of Dinkytown and the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood already has been changed forever. It would be a shame to lose the little slice of history the remaining buildings and businesses in Dinkytown represent. And if we ever lose Al’s Breakfast, I fear a revolution!




A bottom-line culture contrast

The Jan. 23 front page features two misfortunes, one in the free-enterprise sector and one in the public sector — “besieged Target” lays off employees, and MNsure’s “flaws run deep.”

Free-enterprise financial remedies require generation of incremental revenue by competitive advantage, productivity improvements and/or cost reductions. Failure to vigilantly do so forces contraction or liquidation. Public-sector financial remedies are, essentially, levied revenues — and rarely are based on cost reduction or productivity improvement.

One sector is perpetually challenged to increase the value of goods and services; improve operating efficiency, and grow stakeholders’ return on investment. The other is perpetually challenged to politically explain uncompromising growth — without consideration of operating efficiencies or return on investment to stakeholders.

In one sector, the bottom line determines survival.

In the other sector, the bottom line is irrelevant.

Guess which sector is which?

GENE DELAUNE, New Brighton



A top facility would have easier parking

On Tuesday, I was privileged to attend the naturalization ceremony for more than 1,500 new citizens. It was a joyful event, attended by family members and supporters ranging from babies to septuagenarians, with roots in 120 countries. Imagine, then, the frustration and dismay we felt to be trapped in Minneapolis Convention Center parking garages for more than an hour after the ceremony because the center’s leadership can’t seem to figure out how to move vehicles out in any reasonable fashion. The center boasts of its exceptional facility. Are the garages not a part of this? Isn’t the Convention Center concerned about visitors’ parking experience — or about having them return?




Don’t give up on a better idea

As a member of an Uptown family with one car, I wanted to comment on the Jan. 21 article “Mpls. seeks more people, not more cars.” Run light rail down Lake Street and connect it to Nicollet and/or Lyndale Avs. in order to serve the greatest amount of people. Residents of the Uptown area who have cars would rethink this if light rail were only blocks away. If the new light-rail line is run along the Kenilworth Trail, it will not serve enough people or businesses, and it will disturb a great asset to our beautiful city. Please rethink the light-rail line and consider Lake Street as an option.

MEG BECKER, Minneapolis



Not the place to get your history

Several movies that have been considered for Academy Awards are based on real events. The key word is “based.” There’s an excellent source that separates fact from “dramatic license.” It’s at What follows are just a few examples:

• In “Lone Survivor,” the real Marcus Luttrell’s heart didn’t stop. He wasn’t able to walk after the battle and had to crawl for seven miles instead. He wasn’t almost beheaded. A boy didn’t save him. The extra battle at the end never happened.

• In “12 Years a Slave,” the early encounter between Solomon Northup, the slave, and a woman in bed with him never happened. The fellow slave on a ship with the real Northup wasn’t killed by a sailor, but by smallpox. One slave owner, William Ford, was definitely not a cruel man.

• In “Captain Phillips,” the real Richard Phillips never offered himself to save the crew. In fact, several crew members have sued the shipping line, partly because they claim Phillips was reckless taking the ship into pirate-infested waters that he had been warned about.

• In “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” the real butler’s mother was not raped by a plantation owner and his father was not shot. The real butler had only one child, and that son was neither a radical activist nor a politician. The son served in Vietnam, but was not killed. The butler’s wife was not an alcoholic and was faithful to her husband.

JIM BARTOS, Brooklyn Park