Sometimes, the market is the best arbiter

With regard to Ross Douthat’s March 4 column (“Gay marriage and pressure to just give in”) — almost 30 years ago (Good grief! Has it been that long?) my husband-to-be and I went to a jewelry store to purchase wedding rings. After some confusion, the salesman explained that the store “didn’t have anything like that” for same-sex couples. So we thanked him and went across the mall to a competitor’s store, where an older saleswoman cheerfully showed us a tray full of wedding bands.

If there’s only one lunch counter, only one pharmacy or only one photography studio in town, sit-ins and protests and legal actions are appropriate. But sometimes, it may be just as effective to let the free-enterprise system work its magic.

JEFF MOSES, Minneapolis

• • •

Despite cries from readers that indicate otherwise (Readers Write, March 4), a Sunday cover photo of a married couple sharing a moment of affection in 2014 is rather ordinary (“State confronts profound change from gay marriage,” March 2). If that’s an act you find repulsive or abnormal, that’s all on you.

BEAU LARSON, Minneapolis

• • •

Regarding the picture in Sunday’s paper of the soldier and his partner: I think anyone serving our country in the military and putting his or her life on the line is entitled to show a public display of their affection to the person he or she loves. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

CHARLES D. NOVAK, Minneapolis

• • •

Let me be clear. I agree that in our society people can choose whatever lifestyle they like, even if their decision is clearly morally and biblically wrong. But the Star Tribune could have run the story without such a picture, and I would have looked at it as just another liberal story from the same liberal newspaper, and I probably could have left it at that. Instead, the editors chose to print a picture that would unquestionably be offensive to a certain number of readers. What is even more disappointing to me is that if there were a different picture that might clearly be offensive to a different group of readers, the editors likely would not have printed it.

DALE SMITH, Cambridge, Minn.



Discord threatens U.S. Space Station efforts

One very possible outcome from the political situation in Ukraine and the increased tensions between the United States and Russia has been largely overlooked. Our government recently made the decision to abandon a manned spaceflight program, and we have been without a manned space vehicle for the first time in more than 50 years. We are currently paying Russia $50 million for a seat on its spacecraft to ferry our astronauts to the International Space Station. With the increased tensions, I can see the door closing on this service in the very near future, and then our multibillion-dollar investment in the Space Station will be lost to the Russians — we have no way of defending it or, due to lack of foresight and commitment, sending our own people there. We may ask the Russians on a future mission to place a plaque on the station: “A gift from the American taxpayers to the people of Russia.”

KEITH REED, Rosemount



Thank goodness for a thoughtful City Council

“Placemaking” deserves praise. Placemaking — maintaining a unique area identity — relies on preserving character where it exists, like in the heart of Dinkytown, on 4th Street and 14th Avenue SE. in Minneapolis.

Our City Council signaled support for the placemaking planning it has almost finished and a historic designation study already underway. The city’s market study showed that Dinkytown’s health depends on maintaining its historic character and its brand of small, diverse businesses, and that its core buildings are essential elements of its vitality.

Placemaking will be even more critical to Dinkytown as the pre-World War I business district competes with the university area’s post-LRT commercial hubs. Put simply: Dinkytown’s competitive advantage is its character: low-rise, brick buildings at its crossroads.

The draft Dinkytown Plan proposes expanding the commercial area around the historic core. To attract investment, the plan recommends defining the historic assets clearly and adopting design guidelines.

Our pro-planning City Council is now being blamed for a “no-growth mind-set” (editorial, March 3). What is the alternative to thoughtful planning?

Cordelia Pierson, Minneapolis


The writer is president of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association.



Adapt removal rules to our harsh winter

Dennis Anderson’s March 2 column about efforts to free fish houses from ice and deep snow shows another area where the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is totally out of touch with the people it’s supposed to serve. Would it hurt to extend the date for getting fish houses off the lake by a couple of weeks? Those of us who enjoy winter fishing will still be driving our vehicles on the ice in two or more weeks due to the adverse winter that Minnesota has experienced. It seems as if someone in the DNR or Legislature could figure out that this regulation needs updating, especially this year.

PETER KLICK, Maple Grove



Hamsters of the world, delight!

How did Jim Walsh manage to write an entire article about companies literally putting their workers on treadmills (“Steps to productivity,” March 4) without expressing even a hint of irony?