I have been in these Twin Cities for 62 years, after deciding to live here after my U.S. Army service. In that time, what used to take 10 minutes to drive has been stretched to an hour or two or more. I know some people who need that much time to drive to work.

While I am not planning on being here in 20 more years, traffic will again multiply. Buses are not the answer, because they also get tied up in traffic, which defeats their purpose. The answer is more light rail. I believe that the state portion of funding for the Southwest Corridor should be approved this year. I would have preferred to see the line routed along Lake Street, with a stop at the Lake Calhoun beach, then continuing southwest through higher-density areas, so that it would be where more people are and thus replace more auto traffic.

Light rail is very expensive to build, but what is much more expensive is to be tied up in traffic for two or three hours a day, and I believe that is the choice that our legislators need to make. Gov. Mark Dayton is 100 percent correct in wanting this done now.

Alan Stone, Minnetonka

• • •

The light-rail trains that run on 5th Street through all of downtown Minneapolis seem to have completely destroyed the traffic light synchronization system. This, together with the hodgepodge of construction projects, has turned our fair city into the scene of the worst traffic jams I have ever encountered that did not involve at least an 8-inch snowfall. It should not take me 45 minutes to get from 9th Street and 3rd Avenue to Washington Avenue so I can even escape the city.

Over the past several weeks, I have made a number of attempts to log a ticket to report the problem via the city’s Public Works website. I was unable to do so, because launching the ticket application simply clocks and clocks and clocks — not unlike the traffic control system in the city.

Do city leaders have any plans to fix this problem, or are they waiting for it to just go away?

Pamela Conrad-Martin, Mounds View

NORTHSTAR RAIL

Extend it to St. Cloud so more can enjoy the ease of experience

I had the good fortune to ride the Northstar Line from Big Lake to Target Field recently. My wife and I drove from Wadena, Minn., to meet family. Our group of eight then drove from St. Cloud to the Big Lake train station. Buying tickets was easy (friendly advice offered by a conductor); the train cars were clean; the stops along the way were quick, and we thoroughly enjoyed the trek. My grandson, who is almost 3, was thrilled to ride the train. Upon arrival, we walked a few steps to our seats in the ballpark. No metro traffic. No parking issues. What a deal!

Stretch the Northstar to St. Cloud, please! (Other Views, May 6.) I travel to Minneapolis often for work and fun. The Northstar Line would fit nicely into those trips.

Dan Sartell, Wadena, Minn.

NORTH MINNEAPOLIS

Police commander’s suspension is a blow to the community

I was disappointed to read the recent news that Minneapolis Fourth Precinct police Inspector Michael Friestleben has been placed on paid administrative leave and is under investigation (“4th Precinct’s veteran leader is suspended,” May 3). From the various claims in circulation, it’s clear the administrative leave far exceeds any alleged incident.

When it comes to community policing, Friestleben has been engaging the North Side community in ways we’ve never seen from the police before. His work is the epitome of what community policing can and should be. Having him as a partner, out in the community working with our neighbors, is vital to the citizens of north Minneapolis.

While there is a process that must be followed, I urge Police Chief Janeé Harteau to address the issue appropriately, end the administrative leave and reinstate the inspector as the commander of the Fourth Precinct as quickly as possible.

I can honestly say that Friestleben has done more to engage the community than we’ve seen in a generation. The sooner he gets back to work serving our community, the better and safer we’ll all be. With the recent shooting of eight people, it has never been more clear how much we need the type of community policing he’s been doing.

State Rep. Raymond Dehn, DFL-Minneapolis

SEX-ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS

Colleges aren’t jury and judge; they ought to follow the law

Last week, the Star Tribune reported the story of a young man who was suspended for a year from the University of St. Thomas because a young woman charged him with sexual assault (“Student sues over assault case,” May 3). The scenario where men are charged with rape or major sexual impropriety in campus settings, then tried and punished by school administrations, has manifested itself frequently across the country.

A young man expelled as a rapist will experience lifelong ramifications, as will his family. But no legal trial is now necessary to forever label someone as a rapist or sexual assailant. A fair trial is the basis of justice for any country respecting the rule of law. It is enshrined in our Sixth Amendment, which establishes the means and right to a fair trial in a legal setting. That this is being ignored on our campuses and recently in other settings is a very dangerous development — now for men, later for anyone accused.

This isn’t about cheating or plagiarism; it is about a terrible criminal act that requires strict adherence to a legal process to best ascertain guilt or innocence and proper consequences if guilt is established. Women charging rape or assault have the right to pursue a fair trial in a court of law. And so do the men charged.

Paul Bearmon, Edina

OSSEO SCHOOLS

A safe learning environment has not yet been widely achieved

The members of Education Minnesota-Osseo were surprised with the tone and content of the recent front-page article on student discipline policies in District 279 (“Osseo schools work out ways to reduce bad behavior,” May 2). It’s wonderful to celebrate the successes at schools such as Fair Oaks and Park Brook, because they are doing great things with behavior intervention strategies. Unfortunately, those schools are not the norm for District 279.

Osseo teachers, support staff and clerical staff have been extremely frustrated about the issue of safe schools precisely because we feel the district hasn’t done enough to create a safe learning environment for students and a safe working environment for educators. Two weeks ago, our members packed a school board meeting to express our concerns. We sent hundreds of postcards to school board members, outlining specific examples of safety issues and suggestions for improving the learning environment. We invited school board members to visit our schools to see for themselves what is happening. Two board members, Linda Etim and Bob Gerhart, took us up on our invitation.

Educators here will continue to work with the district to find positive solutions for our students. What we need are more timely and appropriate intervention strategies, more mental-health services for our students, and more training for all staff, including substitutes. We have told the district all of this, repeatedly. We have a long way to go before every school in District 279 can say it is as successful as Fair Oaks or Park Brook. But educators in Osseo are committed to getting there.

 

This letter was signed by Kelly Wilson, president, Education Minnesota-Osseo Teachers, Nurses, Kidstop Instructors; Becky Hespen, president, Education Minnesota-Osseo Educational Support Professionals, and Gale Theroux, president, Education Minnesota-Osseo Administrative Educational Support Professionals.