The Aug. 1 letter about Minnesota’s cabin culture (“It’s joy and magic for aficionados, but it’s no treat for the planet”) cries out for a response, but where does one begin? Let me start with the commuter issue; the letter writer apparently has decided, in classic elitist form, that 50 miles or farther is the magic boundary at which each commuter’s carbon assault on our globe must cease.
Would he then suggest, in all fairness, that any non-cabin venue — e.g., Orchestra Hall, the Guthrie Theater, the “Bank,” to name but a few — must also be within a 50-mile commute for their visitors or “tough luck” for those who find it too far to walk or bike? Further, are those who dare exceed his 50-mile limit to attend a Vikings or a Twins game also “a large, extended middle finger” to his “reality” that man’s consumption of fossil fuels, as symbolized by weekend commuters to lake cabins, is making the world uninhabitable “for our children and grandchildren?”
Finally, and it discloses volumes while adding nothing to the central theme of the letter, he states that while the cabin commuters may invigorate the rural economy, they do so “despite the loathings of the rural locals.” If he is true to his own protestation, he obviously does not travel to cabin country, so it would be fair to ask how he could know what locals are thinking? More to the point, as a rural resident of lake country myself, he certainly does not speak for me, and I have not heard his viewpoint given voice by other rural locals in the 25-plus years that I have been here.
So, I think the writer doesn’t really have a point, but even if he did, it’s clear that his children and grandchildren — for whose benefit he has nominated himself, one might say, Keeper of the Carbon Footprint Boundary — will never get to experience the preserved wonders of Lake Itasca or the Boundary Waters, let alone the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or Glacier national parks, or almost countless other venues that are too far away, unless, of course, those descendants of his bike or “hoof” it.
Jan Moe, Lake Shore, Minn.
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Perhaps we can pair up the sense of American entitlement with personal responsibility. In other words, it’s not that Joe and Mary chose to have a second home and commute to the cabin, rather: How am I choosing that diminishes everyone else’s right to choose?
We’re all better at calling out others’ wrongs. It’s our own excesses that we could do better at recognizing and repairing.
Barbara Vaile, Minneapolis
The gentrification debacle of other places is hitting here
Regarding “Families in the Whittier neighborhood plead to stay ...” (Aug. 4):
This kind of reprehensible behavior by real estate investment companies that swoop into the Twin Cities and gobble up properties that they plan to improve to turn a profit isn’t surprising when you look at current property values in the home states of the investment companies, such as California. Minnesota properties are relatively less expensive than those found in many other states and are very attractive to out-of-state investors looking to turn a profit. Minnesota must enact stronger protections for our renters (as can be found in California and especially in various Los Angeles communities) so that they are no longer victims to avaricious landlords interested in “gentrifying” neighborhoods and pushing out residents responsible for making these communities attractive.
Julia Baustert, Excelsior
Court ruling demonstrates how wrong Klobuchar has been
Just this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly and prematurely removed protections from gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states, indicating that there is more work to do to recover wolves before stripping them of federal protections (“Great Lakes wolves are back on endangered list,” Aug. 2).
This finding is a direct rebuttal of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s constant attacks on wolves.
The senator has routinely introduced legislation — most recently S. 164 — to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Minnesota and the other Great Lakes states before they are fully recovered.
Klobuchar’s legislation would effectively put our nation’s most imperiled wildlife in the hands of politicians rather than scientists. But even more disturbing than her efforts to bypass the science-based decisions required under the Endangered Species Act is her cynical attempt to block concerned citizens from ever challenging the government’s actions in court. Her legislation directly attacks a significant, fundamental right of all citizens to access the courts and hold the government accountable when it breaks the law. In the era of Trump, the courts are our only check against an administration running amok.
If Klobuchar’s cynical attempts are successful, it will set a very dangerous precedent that would be disastrous for endangered species and concerned citizens across the country.
Barbara Greenwald Davis, Minneapolis
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I would like to know why some people worry about the populations of wolves in northern Minnesota. If we had alligators in our lakes, would people worry about their population? I moved to northern Minnesota in 1971, and for the past 45 years I have hunted deer at our camp. The past seven years, the deer are all but gone, and the problem is timber wolves. I can’t understand why some government agencies think we have to have a large supply of wolves here in the north to satisfy some people in Minnesota. What is the advantage to have 3,800 timber wolves here in the north? If the wolves moved down to the Twin Cities and homeowners lost a few hundred cats and dogs, they would rebel. If I had a choice, I would eradicate mosquitoes and wood ticks. What purpose do they provide?
The wolves really have no friends here in the north; they eat baby deer, nice does carrying nice baby deer and nice young calves, and I know a friend who lost a 1,900-pound Brahman bull and a horse one winter to timber wolves. I wish I had the power to move them south to the Twin Cities — they would find a lot of nice little cats and dogs to eat.
Gene Madsen, Bigfork, Minn.
A COLUMN ABOUT NOTHING
And, yet, about something every time. That’s Lileks.
Just wanted to say how much I enjoy James Lileks’ columns. They never fail to elicit a smile or chuckle from me. Just like “Seinfeld,” his columns are about “nothing” and “something” at the same time — a “something” most Minnesotans will recognize as familiar and real. It might be a shared irritation, feeling or observation we all know but that’s been under our radar. Once illuminated by Lileks’ absurdly clever and quirky take on it, you can’t help being amused by the kernel of truth you recognize in it. I’d say that’s what makes for the best kind of humor. Thanks, James! I’m a fan.
Jeff Spielman, St. Louis Park