Transit focus ignores a certain reality

Of all the options for meeting the population’s transportation needs (“Growth on wheels,” editorial, Sept. 29; the last of the four-part “Growing Minneapolis” series), one was missing — cars and roads, even though the graphic from Metropolitan Council showed that 88.3 percent of commuters are now using road transportation to get to work.

As long as the “visionary planners” continue to ignore improvements on the metro road system, be it for truck or auto transportation, we the public are stuck — either in traffic, or utopian dreams, or maybe both.


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I must object to editorial’s assertion that the “growth is great news.” Where are we growing to? When will we stop? Stability would be a better goal and would make for a better city.

JOAN PHILIPS, Falcon Heights

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The Star Tribune Editorial Board got it wrong when it blamed nonmetro legislators for derailing the transit plan that was considered in last year’s legislative session.

I was one of the nonmetro members of the House of Representatives who supported — indeed championed — a balanced approach to meeting Minnesota’s transportation needs. That means increased funding for roads and increased funding for transit.

Nonmetro members of the House advocated for the metro sales tax to finance a modern transit system for the metro area, and our metro colleagues advocated for new funding to improve roads in rural Minnesota. We worked together to try to accomplish both goals.

I will continue to work hard with metro and nonmetro members of the House to build support for a comprehensive approach to improving transportation throughout Minnesota.

State Rep. Clark Johnson,

DFL-North Mankato

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Why are incumbents on the ropes exactly?

The Sept. 29 article “Incumbents on ropes …” was really incomplete. It mentioned immigrant community organizing and youthful challengers as posing a problem for city government incumbents in Minneapolis. But not one word on the big public resentment about giving a billion dollars of public money to a New Jersey billionaire for his crystal palace. Considering the money the Star Tribune will get for its related land sale, perhaps this is not a surprising omission.

Consider the facts: Of the seven council members who betrayed us, several will be looking for new jobs. Sandra Colvin-Roy is pulling out after being denied a DFL endorsement. Meg Tuthill and Diane Hofstede actually lost their endorsements to others. Even the mayor is headed for greener pastures. Let’s get real here. These council members and this mayor did not do their due diligence on the costs vs. benefits of this massive project, and their poor decisionmaking will hamper our city for a generation. The public is responding by finding better representation.


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I found your choice of photos for the story amusing — three dour incumbents and three smiling challengers. If I were a Minneapolis voter (which I’m not), I wonder whom would I vote for — grumpy or happy.

I suppose these choices supported the article theme, but it didn’t feel like balanced journalism.

R. HOYT, Kenmore, Wash.

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The coverage it gets can hardly be enough

Thanks for breaking the press conspiracy of silence with Bonnie Blodgett’s Sept. 29 commentary (“Blithely we stride toward planet’s doom”). Indeed, humanity faces a crisis like none before — not economic, not political, but spiritual.

On the same day, Paul Douglas’ weather column reported that the second cargo ship to make it through the Northwest Passage now opened by retreating ice had passed north of Canada. Its freight? Fifteen thousand tons of coal. No comment was needed.


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Events demand an elegy for days gone by

Osmo Vänskä, the finest musical director of the Minnesota Orchestra in my lifetime, resigned last week. The members of the orchestra and the board of directors would not come to a negotiated settlement after a year of bickering. Egos abound in every direction. No one wins. Everyone loses. The music died.

I know that life goes on. The autumn leaves will turn their majestic hues. Autumn will transition into winter. The cycle of nature and of life will continue. Yet this day, something has been lost. Like an old friend moving away, like the last page of a great novel, something of exquisite value is gone.

In the case of the orchestra, the problems were not simple, the blame not one-sided. Across the board, people made mistakes in the months and years past. But these were not insurmountable. What was insurmountable was the uncompromising attitude, the arrogance and the narcissism of those who had the power to rectify the problems and move on. What was missing was a focus on the common good. The past generation, although imperfect, worked for the common good. They were willing to sacrifice and fight for its preservation. Our generation has embraced narcissism and entitlement.

We have chosen to step off a cliff from a place where the sun shone a bit brighter, the air was a bit fresher, the vision a bit clearer, and the music resounded in our hearts.