Having recently enjoyed The Hold Steady’s concert at the Minnesota Zoo, I had an idea for the Twin Cities metro area that would allow for more of these types of events. What if we had an outdoor concert venue similar to those found in Chicago (Ravinia Festival) or outside of Boston (Tanglewood)? My wife and I had the opportunity to picnic on the grounds of Tanglewood while enjoying the sounds of the Boston Symphony Orchestra on a summer evening. The show was followed by fireworks, and it was in a beautiful setting. With two world-class orchestras in our Twin Cities; “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Wits” from public radio; perhaps a show by the Guthrie, and a number of musical acts, we’d have the makings of a beautiful outdoor venue where families could picnic on the lawn or sit in the amphitheater seating area. I’m not sure where this could be built, but it should be accessible via mass transit, making it an attractive option for everyone. I believe it would further our reputation as a desirable location to live and help attract new residents to our area.

Jonathan Beck, Minneapolis

BORDER CRISIS

Compassion is easy. Now do what’s hard.

As I watch the invasion on our southwest border unfold and hear the voices saying “these are children; we need to take care of them,” I can’t help but draw a parallel to the prolife movement.

Prolifers condemn abortion. But until those people raise their hands to take responsibility for the unborn, unwanted children, they will not be successful. Until they say “we will raise these children, for the rest of their lives,” they have no standing.

The same goes for those who want to allow undocumented children to come into our country. Those who believe we should open our borders to the underprivileged should get in line to take care of those children for the rest of their lives.

Put your money where your mouth is or shut up and sit down.

Peter Doblinger, Mound

 

PUBLIC PENSIONS

Alternatives may not be so great, either

In the article “State pensions still need reform, group says” (July 17), the Center of the American Experiment describes state unfunded liabilities as “a ticking fiscal time bomb,” while the deputy director of Minnesota’s Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement calls the concerns a “nonissue” — the 2010 reforms are shoring up the balance sheet. I’m not sure who is right, but there is no doubt that the real agenda of the Center of the American Experiment is ideological — it wants the state to replace public pensions with 401(k)-like plans in the future.

Did the people at this organization sleep through the recent financial debacle, when many 401(k) savings were wiped out, leaving those dependent upon them devastated? Or does their allegiance to Wall Street and the free market make them indifferent to the suffering of real people whose retirement security would depend upon volatile markets?

Such plans could work fine for the rich, but what about the middle class and the poor?

George Muellner, Plymouth

 

SEN. AL FRANKEN

His feel-good ads leave me feeling wary

Well, another political election season is upon us, and Sen. Al Franken has three TV spots (so far) touting his merits for re-election. In the first two, he has two “Republican voters” telling of how he helped their situations — the implication being that’s very bipartisan. But Franken has voted with President Obama somewhere above 95 percent of the time. Even best friends do not agree with each other that much.

In the third ad, Franken talks about how Wall Street had “the game rigged” and how he “reached across party lines” to rectify the problem. However, he goes on to say: “I don’t work for them, I work for you.” I’m not so sure about that. If the senator is working for us, I want to know where he has been in all of the scandals of the Obama administration. Where was the outrage over “Fast and Furious?” Or the IRS investigations? Or the NSA spying on us? Or the shameful Bergdahl-terrorist prisoner exchange?

In these and other most difficult situations, Franken has, at best, been very silent. I hope Minnesotans see through his false “I’m bipartisan” ads and vote him out of office. Six years has been enough.

Bill Corrigan Jr., Spring Lake Park

 

MENTAL HEALTH

Transport discretion won’t erase the stigma

An unmarked car may decrease the stigmatization of a mental health hospitalization, but this experiment by hospitals and local officials in Minnesota does little to decrease the stigma itself (“An unmarked ride to psychiatric care,” July 17). The stigma of mental illness is a product of society’s discomfort and ignorance. Efforts to make treatment less visible may make it easier for those who are suffering to get help, but it is not going to change how people think about it. We are offering unmarked cars because there is stigma, not as a way to reduce it.

Dr. Walter Rush, Minneapolis

 

JESSE VENTURA

Don’t tell us about him; tell us about this

Please tell us why another of the many stories about Jesse Ventura rates the front page (“Witnesses rebut Ventura’s assertion that fight was a lie,” July 16), yet when the state’s largest private employer and one of its crowning achievements is ranked No. 1 in the nation (“Mayo Clinic ranked as top U.S. hospital by U.S. News”), the Star Tribune buries the story under the fold in the Business section?

We all should be extremely proud and thankful that we have the great Mayo Clinic in our state and thank the people there for producing the best medical institution in the nation. This is far more of an achievement than one more story about a has-been like Ventura.

Jim Tegan, Plymouth

 

CANCER CARE

Lower costs? Good, but what of quality?

Coverage of the study described in “UnitedHealth sees way to lower cancer care costs” (July 14) seems to miss one rather large question: Are cancer patients benefiting from these money-saving measures? The insurance company is experiencing savings, and doctors are getting feedback and lump-sum payments per patient, but not one word is mentioned about the patients or their standard of care under this new system. Reducing the price tag for cancer treatments is clearly a benefit to the health care system, but one must wonder how these changes benefit the patients.

Christine Zonneveld, Wayzata