EMPLOYMENT GAP

Preaching to the choir or just preaching?

I finished Dane Smith’s commentary on the racial/ethnic gaps in Minnesota feeling, paradoxically, more hopeful than I have in a long time while reading the paper (“The ‘why’ and the ‘what to do,’ ” June 16). This is the power of a good root-cause analysis. By respectfully explaining the different challenges historically faced by white and nonwhite immigrants, unintentionally complicated by Minnesota’s “helper” nonprofit sector, Smith describes what I believe to be at the heart of our problem. He doesn’t assign blame, but points out multiple efforts at work on solutions. He also suggested more concrete steps that can and should be taken to preserve Minnesota’s quality of life for future generations of all colors.

TERESA LEWIS, Minneapolis

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Smith should get off his pulpit and end his preaching. He makes it sound like all white people are insensitive and only care about themselves. The biggest point he makes is about education, but the state wants to eliminate basic testing for high school graduation. Employers who hire these graduates end up having to train them in simple math and how to compose a clear, concise paragraph. This isn’t a color problem; it’s an education and responsibility problem. Employers don’t care what color the prospective employee is. They only care if employees can use their God-given smarts, show up on time for work and help the company be successful.

ED KOVACH, Excelsior

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STUDENT HOUSING

Granite countertops and calculus, too

Upscale apartments at the University of Minnesota? Wow. Just what the world needs is another egocentric 20-something who hasn’t known anything but air-conditioning and granite countertops (“Student apartments go upscale at the U,” June 15). Shame on the parents who shipped their sweet young daughter off to college, no doubt with designer handbags and $30 lip glosses. The rest of us will end up having to deal with her when she hits the real world for a job.

JANE CHRISTENSON, Minnetrista

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Are the students living in upscale apartments the same ones we’re supposed to feel sorry for with their large debt after graduation?

CRYSTAL QUIRING, Chaska

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STREETCAR LINE

Will Minneapolis waste taxpayer money?

The Minneapolis City Council wants to redirect property taxes (general fund money) to help pay for a new streetcar line to run on Nicollet and Central Avenues. Federal, state or regional funds would also be required to pay for the $200 million project, and the council wants the Metropolitan Council to operate the line (“Minneapolis council gives initial OK to streetcar line,” June 19).

This project isn’t needed and adds no value in terms of meeting transit needs over the proposed 3.2-mile route. Thus, we get nothing that buses cannot provide at a fraction of the cost. Those general-fund dollars would be better spent on streets, sidewalks, sewer and water projects, fire and police services, and reducing the need for property tax increases in the future.

MIKE HOHMANN, Minneapolis

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I moved to Minneapolis from Cleveland, Ohio, in 1963. Streetcars were common during my childhood, and I enjoyed riding them. But the infrastructure and superstructure for them is undeniably ugly — poles at short intervals with wires stretched across and along the routes.

Furthermore, the tracks in the street restricted lane width and made changing lanes treacherous, especially when the streets were wet. For many years, the legacy of Minneapolis streetcars was obvious, with pavement deteriorating over the abandoned tracks.

Slowly the tracks have been removed, though there may still be some around. As wonderful as the cars themselves may be, the negative impact on the city’s livability should be carefully assessed. I’m opposed to making our beautiful city ugly on purpose.

DR. LAWRENCE A. LOCKMAN, Minneapolis

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RESCUED CHILD

Teen cared, but why didn’t drivers stop?

I read about the day care owner who admitted to drinking vodka and taking prescription cough syrup on the day a child in her care was rescued by a teen who spotted the child wandering into traffic on a nearby highway (“Day care owner drank before tot walked off,” June 18).

The teen said that cars swerved to avoid the child. My observation? If this child had been a mother duck with its ducklings tagging along behind it, good Samaritans would have immediately stopped their cars, blocked traffic and helped them cross the road. If we can stop for animals in distress, why not for a 2-year-old child?

LARRY DAHLEEN, Kiester, Minn.

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THEATER REVIEW

Critic failed to grasp ups and downs of aging

Perhaps Graydon Royce doesn’t really know anyone like us, or perhaps he had a bad day, but as seniors living in the type of cooperative portrayed in the musical “The Geriatrical Theatrical” at Plymouth Playhouse, it’s hard for us to believe he saw the same show we did (“This old age stuff is no fun,” June 17). For us and the cheering audience on opening night, the play was spot-on. We laughed and cried.

Since we actually live with the ups and downs portrayed so well, it was therapeutic for us to relive them with this stellar cast. But it could also give younger people a better understanding of their elders. We hope this review will keep none of them away.

RONALD A. and BETTY LOU NELSON, Minneapolis