I just read about another tragic shooting death in north Minneapolis. As a resident for 12 years, I would like to offer my perspective on how to best clean up the neighborhood.

It starts with livability crimes. The little stuff that sets the tone for a block. Can’t we fine people or landlords whose property is strewn with litter blowing into neighboring yards? Or how about handing out tickets for insisting on playing your music too loud all day long, despite several police calls where they were told to turn it down? I really think setting a tone of strict law enforcement down to the small stuff would begin to turn the tide of general disrespect for others that permeates the area.

By and large, it is the rental properties that are the most ruinous. Landlords should have to be worrying about their rental licenses when selecting tenants. Is there anything we can do to enable more homeownership, which brings pride and care for a block? Let’s make it a place where misbehaving is just no fun anymore.

James Roettger, Minneapolis

• • •

Steve Martin’s death is a loss for the entire Minneapolis community. He lived by and died for the Biblical injunction: “Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened” (Leviticus 19:16, New Living Translation). We are all encouraged not to be bystanders when we witness bullying, fighting or petty crime. But when being a good man and a good citizen means possible death, how can we do what the Bible and our own instincts tell us?

Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis

WASECA TEEN PLOT

Consider this wake-up call on mental health

Because he is behind bars, John LaDue is now free (“On audio, teen coolly tells cops of bomb plot,” June 25). Unlike so many recent murder-suicides, LaDue has the opportunity to find out what’s been killing him before he’s gone — “I think I’m just really mentally ill and no one’s noticed and I’ve been trying to hide it.”

How much has to disappear for us to realize the invisible nature of mental illness and take a proactive, preventive approach?

Go find yourself and your loved ones a good mental health professional today before tomorrow finds you scratching your head and wondering, like LaDue’s uncle, “What, what, what happened?”

June Thiemann, Minneapolis

 

CARBON TAX

A revenue-neutral plan all parties can love

It gives me great hope to see an opinion piece by a Republican, Henry Paulson, who not only acknowledges that climate change is happening and is a crisis, but who also supports a carbon tax, an action that most experts believe could significantly reduce global warming (“Climate crisis calls for action,” June 24).

Although Paulson doesn’t mention the advantages of passing a revenue-neutral carbon tax, making it revenue neutral would involve giving rebates to citizens in order to offset the increased price of fossil fuel, while resulting in no growth in the size of government. It would also create 2.1 million jobs over a period of 10 years, according to a new study by Regional Economic Models Inc.

What’s not to love about that, Republicans, and Democrats, as well?

Eleanor Wagner, Edina

• • •

While Shawn Otto gets to feel smug about his cool new Tesla (“Putting the brakes on gas,” June 25), the rest of us who can’t afford a car that can “travel coast to coast free” can ponder how he and his spouse, DFL State Auditor Rebecca Otto, rationalize not paying gasoline-related taxes that fund maintenance of the roads that the stylish Model S traverses.

Yes, when the coming carbon tax forces the rest of us to abandon our gasoline-powered cars and move into high-density housing adjacent to light-rail lines, it will be comforting to know that the Ottos can reside with a clear conscience on their acreage in Marine on St. Croix, having done their part to save the planet from the poor schmucks who never had the disposable income to consider purchasing a $70,000 electric vehicle.

Judd Swanson, Minneapolis

 

BREAST CANCER

Many risk factors, so why single out one?

Joseph Tashjian is correct in suggesting that increased mammographic density is a modest risk factor for the development of breast cancer (“Knowledge is power on cancer, too,” June 25), but why is this risk factor singled out? We understand that there are many other risk factors associated with breast cancer, but we are not required by law to inform women of these risks. We have no law requiring us to inform women who have their first child after age 30 that they have an increased risk of breast cancer. We do not write letters to women telling them they are overweight or obese and have an increased risk of breast cancer. Why is mammographic density different?

This legislation is likely to increase the use of mammography and other breast-imaging techniques as women become concerned that they are at “high risk.” Perhaps these are the reasons that the Minnesota Radiological Society supported the bill. With the recent recommendations that mammography can be done less often, if at all, most mammography units have seen a decline in usage.

In the end, we need better science to predict which women are at greater individual risk for breast cancer. Of course, screening is most useful in women who are at highest risk, for example those women with known inherited genetic risks. Mammographic density is just one of many risk factors and a small one, at that. Without showing how this legislation will decrease death rates from breast cancer, this bill seems unwarranted.

Dr. Douglas Yee, Minneapolis

 

The writer is director of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

 

HOUSE LAWSUIT

At least I didn’t run with scissors

When I was in elementary school, I brought home a report card that noted that I “did not play well with others.” At the time, I felt sorry for not being a better classmate. Now I’ve learned from the House Republicans that I should have just sued that teacher (“Boehner to sue over Obama executive moves,” June 26).

Steve Mark, Minnetonka