Would bus rapid transit work in this corridor?

The Nov. 4 article “Southwest foes flex political muscle” described well a current money-.vs.-need argument, if in fact there is a need for a light-rail connection between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. The candid reporting connected donors and desires, describing how influence is peddled.

Since it is true that people who would ride light rail frequently will not ride the bus, perhaps an experiment with spacious, comfortable rapid-transit buses should be conducted. I understand why cramming 50 passengers in a conventional bus is unappealing to commuters, but if the buses were as spacious and comfortable as light-rail cars, with features like off-board fare collection and platform-level boarding, bus rapid transit might succeed.

BRUCE A. LUNDEEN, Minneapolis

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The debate over the Southwest light-rail routing is reminiscent of the arguments over routing the interstate through the city back in the 1960s. In that day, however, the affected residents didn’t have the clout (read: money) to prevent carving freeway canyons through the heart of their neighborhoods.




For these readers, the humanity was present

The author of the Nov. 2 Letter of the Day (“ ‘Captain Phillips’ didn’t give Somalis the nuance deserved”) is correct that not all Somali people are hostile and violent, but do not condemn the production of a film that shows accurate depictions of violence by Somalis. After all, it seems to me that the great influx of Somalis to America occurred because they fled a country where unprovoked violence and killing were perpetrated on citizens of Somalia by violent men.

JO BRINDA, Crystal

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Since I am an older white male born in the United States, it is hard to argue with the letter writer’s perspective as a young Somali person. However, as someone whose only knowledge of the Somali community is via the news media, I have to say that the movie “Captain Phillips” gave me my first glance of the Somali people as real human beings. I found myself empathizing with the Somali characters, beginning to understand their plight and cheering them on, even though I knew the tragic ending.

ED JANES, Eden Prairie



Cuts punish farmers, grocers as well

GOP House members are no doubt beaming with pride. The decision to let needed funding of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (food stamps) lapse will teach all those bums they cannot look to the government to support them. Yet this action punishes more than the sluggards. Yes, in addition to some 40 million of the poorest among us, millions of farmers whose industry and hard work produces food for the nation are also taking a cut. Even representatives from farm states (such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa) have chosen to ignore the impact of the cuts for family farmers, not to mention for the thousands of independent grocers. It is ironic that the party that claims to champion small business is just fine with the decision. All this at a time when food shelves are already overwhelmed.

I also find it ironic that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget committee who has described himself as someone raised in the Catholic tradition, is a leading proponent of the cuts. He must have missed the lessons of the New Testament, as well as the exhortation of Pope Francis to focus on the poor.




Insurers choose; so can you, business owner

Yet another small-business owner claims the Affordable Care Act is going to cost his business thousands of dollars over the next year to cover his employees (Letter of the Day, Nov. 4). Something he fails to mention is that the changes made to his coverage are actually being made by the insurance company, not the ACA. You no longer have a multitude of choices for doctors or locations? Now you only get 50 percent paid after the deductible? It’s your insurance company making those changes, not the ACA. I would suggest shopping around if you’re not satisfied with the options your insurance company is providing.




Fiduciary duty requires adaptability

In response to Ken Cutler’s Nov. 1 letter defending his fellow Minnesota Orchestra board members, stating that “endowments should never be invaded,” the situation actually calls for strategic investment in entrepreneurial and exponential growth — banishing the belief that there is a shrinking pie to be sliced into increasingly smaller pieces. For instance, drawing down a small portion of the endowment to create a new Minnesota Orchestra “learning and access” division (similar to the thriving Chicago Symphony) would help develop cross-sector and education partnerships, thereby broadening the audience and donor base. And, have you ever heard of a successful business diminishing the quality of its product (in this case the musicians of the orchestra) to promote growth?

The board’s fiduciary responsibilities require prudence, but also necessitate operating with a proactive vision to lead the Minnesota Orchestra to success as a relevant cultural organization in tune with its times.

NATHAN DAVIS, Golden Valley