Target’s new “centers of excellence” will be a great opportunity to create new synergies, intent thinking outside the box, maximize input and take Target to the next level; Target 2.0 (“Target starts tearing down walls,” March 12). “Centers of excellence” team players will no longer just spitball ideas or throw concepts up against the wall to see what sticks. No, before recommendations are run up the flagpole to see who salutes, the company will have to de-silo and integrate across a complex, matrixed decisionmaking environment that taps the hidden potential of individual contributors and focused teams. Looking at the project from the 30,000-foot level, this reorganization will be a game-changer, a win-win that will enable Young Turk rock stars, under the guidance of their gurus, to push the envelope right to the bleeding edge of retail sustainability. At the end of the day, this new paradigm will be a value-add. And as long as team members give 110 percent, Target can pluck the low-hanging fruit and futureproof its deliverables. Hey, it ain’t rocket science or brain surgery.

Those who do not learn the absurdity of buzzwords are doomed to reuse them.

Jack Sheehan, Eden Prairie

LEBANON HILLS

So, an overwhelming majority is nothing to public policy?

So members of the Dakota County board have approved a paved trail in the beautiful Lebanon Hills Regional Park despite the fact that 97 percent of the people who submitted comments about the plan were opposed to it. It sounds as if the board members took the fact that only 690 people responded as silent approval of their intentions. No! The people who didn’t respond are not park users or are not passionate about the park. Why not listen to those that really care?

This flawed decision only throws additional fuel on the fire for the similar proposal in Bloomington to pave the river bottoms, a similar wild area, despite thousands of protests from hikers, birders and mountain bikers. What’s next — will we be paving the Superior Hiking Trail and some of the portages in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness? One of the Lebanon Hills Park users said it best in the article: “We have so few open spaces. We don’t need more asphalt.” Let’s hope board members reconsider their decision.

Dave Mott, Minneapolis

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Many are responsible; the military has also been helpful

Duane Cady (Opinion Exchange, March 10) points out that war is bad for the environment, and that is demonstrably true. But the same charge could be levied against every major economic sector, whether it’s agriculture, health care, transportation, the built environment, coal-burning power plants, manufacturing and you name it. In fact, the military has been at the forefront of warning us of the dangers of climate change to international stability and leading the way in adopting clean technology right on the battlefront.

Rather than beat up on any one sector, we have to concentrate on stopping the use of fossil fuels, and the best way to do that is with a carbon tax that will drive adoption of clean tech and create millions of jobs to boot.

Jeanne Johnson, Alexandria, Minn.

 

POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY

Legislative power grab would corrupt the process

The attempt by the certain elements of the Legislature to exercise rule-making review, taking it away from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is a bare-knuckled effort to unfairly favor certain industries, businesses or local water plants (“Dayton, safety rules get blasted,” March 11). The MPCA uses science-based standards to create one set of rules for everyone similarly situated. The new bill opens the door to influence-peddling and vote-buying. It is quite cynical and must be defeated.

Robert Lyman, Minneapolis

 

TEACHERS

‘Last in, first out’ looks shoddy from student’s perspective

Minnesota has some of the best educational facilities in the nation; however, the rules regarding teacher layoffs have always been mediocre. The number of years a teacher works in a certain district in no way correlates with their ability to be successful. Seniority does not control how the students respond to a teacher or how engaged they are during the lesson; the abilities of the teacher do.

I have seen a fair share of teachers get laid off, and I recall a teacher of mine whose layoff came as a shock to the student body. She was the last one hired in the science department, thus she was the first one laid off. We were appalled that it did not matter that she was one of our favorite teachers, or that she was a fantastic teacher.

I understand that sometimes layoffs need to occur due to budget cuts, but it is time that we start laying off teachers because of quality of performance and not the quantity of years they have worked in the district.

Stephanie Skonieczny, Eden Prairie

• • •

Judging from the March 8 editorial “Change LIFO law to benefit students,” you’d think that elected politicians are experts on education, but they’re not. Laws that benefit students and affect teachers should be made at the local level by school administrators and school boards. Period.

The recent proposal by conservative Republicans to reform teacher tenure laws is popular because it doesn’t cost any money. But it is nothing more than a green light for school administrators to fire teachers who are more highly paid because of years of experience and knowledge, while replacing them with younger, inexperienced teachers with a pay so low that they’ll leave education within five years. The House of Representatives ought to address more universal problems and leave the management of education issues to knowledgeable and experienced educators and professionals at the local level.

Scott Werdahl, Chaska

 

VETERANS EAGER TO FIGHT

That mercenary impulse can be turned in our favor

I read with interest the article “U.S. veterans volunteer to help repel ISIL” (March 12). Those brave Americans are following the tradition of Crockett at the Alamo, Hemingway in the Spanish Civil War, and Clair Chennault in pre-World War II China with his Flying Tigers. I think there is a connection with this willingness of former soldiers to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the fact that our country’s recent military forces in Mideast civil wars were composed of maybe 50 percent private contractors — paid by us. Let’s have our oil-rich Mideast friends hire our mercenary contractors directly to fight their wars, so we can apply our tax dollars to domestic problems. Republicans and Democrats should be able to get behind that idea.

David Craig Smith, Minneapolis

 

MEAT RAFFLES

Careful, article writers, with your use of the royal ‘we’

So “we” love meat and “we” love gambling (“Wiener takes all,” Variety, March 12). I beg to differ. Many Star Tribune readers who are concerned about animal cruelty hate the very idea of meat. And many readers despise gambling.

So please do not include us in your “we.”

Elaine K. Murray, Minneapolis