Regarding the June 15 article touting the revitalizing effect of two new sports facilities (“On Minneapolis’ west and east sides, change is the game”): On the west side of Minneapolis, businesses and housing were flourishing while baseball was still being played at the Metrodome. The one resident interviewed moved to the location before the ballpark was in the offing.
On the east side of Minneapolis, development was happening well ahead of any prospect of a new stadium: The American Academy of Neurology, the Aloft hotel, and numerous condominiums and apartments long preceded a new downtown football stadium. In fact, many of them went up as the team was still looking at the Arden Hills location. Yes, the Star Tribune finally sold its land, something developers have been after for a long time, because it could get a premium from speculators hoping to cash in on the stadium.
Stadiums and professional sports do not create economic opportunity; they are a sign that times have been good, or at least that’s what they should represent. More often these days, they are political pipe dreams and publicity stunts.
What’s probably been the major catalyst for change in downtown Minneapolis? Something that’s a much better public investment than stadiums, and should have been the headline: Better transit.
Sam Catanzaro, Minneapolis
In praise of parents, no matter their gender
The image of the Robergelunds with their son, Joe, is very powerful (“First-time fathers,” June 15). As a 40-year-old, conservative, Christian male, my initial instinct is to cringe when seeing a homosexual couple raising a child. I don’t apologize for that; it’s been groomed into our culture since well before I was born. But I too am, ahem, evolving. The more I look at the photo, my antiquated views fade until all I see is a loving family. Well done, guys.
Ryan Sheahan, Minneapolis
Access is still costly for some, so let’s do more
Great news: Most Minnesotans now have health care insurance (“95% in state are now insured,” June 12, and “ACA is paying off with access for all,” June 15). The not-so-great news is that many of those will still be unable to go to the doctor because of high copays and high deductibles. Many of those with new health care coverage will still be getting their health care via the emergency room because they cannot afford the copay to visit the doctor’s office and they know they cannot be refused care at the ER. Many will still be unable to afford their prescription medications, again due to the high copays. Many of the 95 percent will struggle just to pay the premium for their new health care coverage. Many were unable to get help with the premium because they work for companies like Wal-Mart, which offer them coverage but at outrageous cost compared with what they are paid.
Nobody should get free health care, but all should have access to health care. It’s time we seriously look at a single-payer-type health care. One where everybody pays an affordable premium. One where everybody can see a doctor when ill. One where a person does not need to go to the ER for care better handled in the doctor’s office. Let’s put medical decisionmaking back in the hands of doctors — not the insurance companies.
The Affordable Care Act is a start, but we must not stop there. We must fine-tune and make it work for everybody. We cannot continue to have Americans dying because they cannot afford care. It’s not the American way.
Deborah L. Mathiowetz, Eagan
Why don’t we just buy the new riders a car?
Fascinated by the actual construction costs of our new Green Line, coupled with Metro Transit’s ridership projections. As reported in the June 15 Star Tribune (“A rail of 2 cities”), I drew the following conclusions:
We are eliminating two bus lines that drew 23,800 riders daily in 2010. In their place, taxpayers have spent roughly $1 billion to build the downtown-Minneapolis-to-downtown-St. Paul train line. Net result: 3,700 new daily riders. The cost of construction for each of those additional riders amounts to $270,000. Factoring in the line’s estimated $35 million annual operating cost, taxpayers will be paying $9,459 per new rider per year.
Is it not too much to ask of our local, state and federal bureaucrats that they consider the alternative of literally giving every one of those additional 3,700 riders a $20,000 car, at a total cost of $74 million? Given auto replacement rates, those vehicles will be driven almost 10 years. Total annual operating costs of the Green Line over those same 10 years? $350 million.
In short, light rail is a taxpayer nightmare. The vast majority of us prefer to drive our own vehicles on the routes we prefer in order to work, live and play as we choose.
Mark H. Reed, Plymouth
• • •
I’m tired of hearing from suburbanites with cars about the failures of the Green Line. This large, taxpayer-funded project doesn’t serve them directly or benefit their interests in a tangible way. I get that. I felt similarly when tax money was spent to make yet another very large space where balls are thrown around.
The beauty of policymaking is that — in a perfect world — it serves the entire population’s needs. However, the suburban, car-driving crowd has been disproportionately on the receiving end of this policymaking for quite a while now. Happily, their concern is unnecessary.
This new transit system that gives unprecedented access to the Twin Cities for frequently underserved neighborhoods is good policymaking as well. It’s just meant for other people.
Sam Weisberg, Golden Valley
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
Performers deserved being in the spotlight
The article that you did on my high school at Spring Lake Park called “Friday night footlights: The story of a real-life high school musical” (Variety, May 4) was great. I really enjoyed reading it. Being in the pit orchestra myself, I knew full well what the performers were going through, and this article really highlights to the public exactly what high school kids often have to deal with in their day-to-day lives. I truly wish I could see more and more of these articles, because many people around our state do not realize exactly how hard kids work to pull off these kinds of performances — especially high school kids.
Calvin Kettering, Fridley