A March 5 letter writer addressing layoffs at Target Corp. (“Once again, workers will take the blow”) states that he is “tired of seeing good workers fired because of ineptitude of corporate leaders.” Target leaders were indeed inept at accurately projecting the growth of their business. That led to excessive hiring, which put an unsustainable strain on the bottom line of Target. Rather than being criticized in their attempt to “boost the bottom line,” the new leadership at Target should be commended for stabilizing the bottom line through layoffs, and other cost-cutting measures, so that it can continue to attract capital and provide sustained job growth in the future.

Mark Plooster, Plymouth

AIRPORT PROFILING

Toss the broad brush, keep your perspective

If we are allowing the actions of a few to determine how we treat all members of the race to which they belong, then I propose we consider a few statistics.

• Number of people killed by James Holmes in Aurora, Colo: 12.

• Number of people killed by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary: 26.

• Number of people killed by Wade Michael Page at a Sikh temple: 6.

• Chances that any racially profiled flier is a Muslim terrorist: 1 in 8 million, by liberal estimates (“The Trouble with Airport Profiling,” Forbes).

People want racial profiling to keep us safe from those who “slaughter innocent victims” (“Somalis simply shouldn’t be upset,” Readers Write, March 8). I think we’re forgetting that danger comes in all colors, and choosing one to focus on is merely a continuation of the institutional racism we’ve tried so hard to push away.

Muskaan Goyal, Apple Valley

 

RACE AND JUSTICE

Five straightforward steps for peace

Black lives count. Instead of dying, agonizing, suing and protesting, the solution is simplicity itself:

1) Obey the laws.

2) Skip alcohol and drugs.

3) Do not resist, attack or fight a police officer, even if you are provoked.

4) Save your frustrations and complaints for court.

5) Know that you are not less a man for not defending your reputation or pride. Gandhi, Mandela, King and Selma show us the power of nonviolence.

Fred Everett, Le Sueur, Minn.

 

STUDENT TESTING

Whatever we do, we must be consistent

During the last legislative session, Minnesota required all students to take a series of college-readiness tests. During the current legislative session, the governor has proposed scrapping them (front page, March 7). Whatever you think of the testing debate, we need some level of consistency if we are to support and drive significant improvements in educational outcomes, especially for low-income students and students of color. During the decade that Massachusetts became America’s unquestioned educational leader, that state maintained consistency in key policies across both Republican and Democratic governors and through significant changes in the composition of the legislature. Unfortunately, our leaders in Minnesota today show no similar willingness to think and act seriously in the long-term interest.

Kent Pekel, St. Paul

POLITICS

Exactly the sort of sniping we don’t need

With so much going on and so much work to do, what we need right now is comity. What we absolutely do not need is an ill-conceived, ill-timed, unsubstantiated, junior-high-school-finger-pointing, blame-and-shame type of article from a “leader” of one of our political parties meant to paint a picture of “high crimes” allegedly committed by the other major party (“The DFL Party and the culture of corruption,” Opinion Exchange, March 7).

Why on earth state Senate Minority Leader David Hann wants the nation to believe that Minnesota is some hotbed of fraud is beyond me, but it is a ridiculous waste of time. Did former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, current Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, current House Minority Leader Paul Thissen — or anyone — dance a jig (publicly) or write shaming letters while the GOP was busy burying itself in debt and scandal these last several years? How many lawsuits are still pending against the GOP for unpaid bills?

So, how about getting to work? Unpurse your little face and learn to compromise. I am sick of bumpy roads and am sick to death of this partisan nonsense! From either side!

C.K. Peterson, Minneapolis

 

MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS

GOP plan is at least a step toward movement

While Senate Minority Leader David Hann’s suggestion to break the Minneapolis Public Schools district into six smaller chunks may not be the perfect, or even best, solution, it at least begins the dialogue of change. We all know the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. If I were a parent in the Minneapolis district, or even a taxpayer in the city, I would be furious about the sub-50-percent graduation rate. This outcome ultimately affects the whole community, as well as generations to follow. Whether six smaller districts are the answer or not, whatever has been done previously needs to get undone.

Rita Maehling, Plymouth

 

SOUTHWEST LRT

Co-location of rail types works elsewhere

A March 7 letter suggests that locating the Southwest Corridor light-rail track alongside the long-extant freight railroad track in the Cedar-Isles area is dangerous due to the remote risk of 10-mile-per-hour freight trains derailing with hazardous cargo.

The letter fails to note that LRT lines are co-located with both main line and yard freight tracks throughout the United States and Canada, in cities as diverse as Edmonton, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Trenton, Denver and Salt Lake City. This has never been a problem in any of these cities, and in San Diego, the South Line actually shares track with a local freight railroad. In Germany and other countries in Europe, LRT services sometimes operate with perfect safety on mainline railroads in mixed traffic.

Co-locating is no more, or less, dangerous than allowing gasoline tanker trucks to drive on Minneapolis city streets in mixed traffic.

Andrew Selden, Edina