Gender balance is about more than perception

Gov. Mark Dayton has expressed a need for gender balance when picking a running mate to succeed Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who is not seeking a second term.

Let’s face it: The two top spots are far from equal.

Putting a male at the top of the ticket with all the power, staff and authority while inserting a female beside him with no staff, no real job description and no budget is not gender balance.

Balancing the ticket, so to speak, has been the norm for 32 years in Minnesota. Doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of insanity.

Either the Legislature should assign actual responsibilities to the office of lieutenant governor along with a funding stream attached, or the office should be eliminated.

Let’s quit kidding ourselves into thinking that putting a woman there balances gender.



The writer is a former state representative who represented Hopkins, Minnetonka and St. Louis Park for three terms.



Change happens with or without developers

Recent letters would lead people to believe that developers have driven small, family-owned businesses out of Dinkytown. Correlation is not the same as cause and effect. This simplistic view ignores the complexity of operating a business in a constantly changing retail landscape.

Dinkytown is constantly changing. More than a century ago, there was a blacksmith, but streetcars and autos replaced horses, and the blacksmith disappeared. A couple of decades ago, there was a Musicland, and five years ago, a Hollywood Video. Now music and movies are downloaded or streamed, and very few record or video stores operate in the Twin Cities. Many stores and restaurants have come and gone. This is not a new phenomena driven by developers. Nor is it exclusive to Dinkytown.

Rarely is it one factor that leads to a business closing its doors. Competition from the Internet and big-box stores; minimal advertising budgets; lack of parking; loss of lease, and changes in consumer demands are among the challenges small businesses face. Some businesses survive, adding Internet sales, changing inventory, or moving to a more advantageous or cheaper location. Others, unable to overcome the lack of revenue, make the sad decision to close.

TAMMY HENRY, Minneapolis



Mississippi River is also at risk

The fact that the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that oil trains be routed away from major population centers because of the concern that “an accident could cause a major loss of life” (Jan. 24) is a bit shortsighted. We all should be worried about the increasing number of oil trains traveling along the Mississippi River. I hate to think about the damage that would occur if one of these trains were to derail and spill gallons of oil into the Mississippi. It’s time that we recognize the risks we are taking to feed our addiction to oil.




Here’s a better way to fix them

A recent article (“I-394 has a bumper crop of potholes,” Jan. 25) and an earlier letter to the editor referred to the deplorable conditions between downtown Minneapolis and Hwy. 100 — “like driving on the moon, so many potholes.” The article failed to mention a proven technology that would enable long-lasting repairs to Interstate 394 to begin immediately. The University of Minnesota Duluth, in cooperation with Microwave Utilities of Monticello, Minn., has developed a pothole-repair technology that uses microwave energy. This method can be used in any weather conditions, including during a snowstorm and in subzero temperatures. Instead of using a cold mix, which is almost immediately popped out by traffic and by snowplows, with the microwave technology a hot mix is produced in situ, and the pothole is repaired permanently.




Something to consider as the president speaks

In anticipation of tonight’s State of the Union speech, reportedly centering on equality, I offer the following:

Equal people are not free, and free people are not equal.

P. ALAN GOODWIN, Minneapolis



Anti-religion, pro-pot on these pages …

Once again, the Star Tribune and L.K. Hanson have published a cartoon lamenting the ignorance and uselessness of religious people — and this just one week after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On MLK Day in 2011, the paper and Hanson felt quite differently, publishing a reverential drawing of King with this quote: “The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

I, for one, would trade a million scientists for one more Dr. King. I believe that on his better days, Mr. Hanson would, too.

MIKE WALTER, Bloomington

• • •

With regard to Steve Sack’s cartoon on the Jan. 26 editorial page, it is simply idiotic to propose to any thinking person that no accidental deaths have occurred as a result of marijuana intoxication.




Columnist must have slept right through it

Jim Souhan (“Love can lead stats, but can he lead team?” Jan. 26) further erodes his sportswriting credentials with the ridiculous declaration that no Minnesota professional team has advanced in the playoffs since the Vikings in 1999.

• Minnesota Lynx, WNBA championship, 2011.

• Minnesota Lynx, WNBA championship, 2013.