I read with sadness of the three deaths resulting when a teen driving an SUV full of other teens early Sunday T-boned the victims’ vehicle, presumably at a very high rate of speed, based on the photos from the south Minneapolis scene (“Teen fleeing in stolen SUV crashes, killing 3,” Sept. 24).
I was also sad to hear the blame laid at the feet of the State Patrol (“Relatives of one victim question policy, wisdom of police chases,” Sept. 24). I disagree. The State Patrol has seen, heard and responded to a growing trend of breaking off pursuit when it’s likely to result in innocent loss of life. In this case, the patrol said it broke off pursuit after four blocks along Cedar Avenue S. once a patrol helicopter began tracking the SUV from above.
The SUV fled past the tent encampment of indigenous Americans at Franklin Avenue E. It sailed past the Little Earth residences at E. 24th Street. At 26th, it crossed a major westbound one-way street. At 28th, a major eastbound one-way. How fast was the SUV going when it flew across Lake Street?
Then 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th. Finally coming to rest on the three souls lost at 35th. The problem isn’t the State Patrol’s evenhanded response. The responsibility lies with the killer — a reckless teenager at the helm of an SUV.
Andy Mason, Edina
How can we accept that people without homes is part of city life?
On Sunday, I passed by the homeless encampment on Cedar Avenue S. in Minneapolis and was truly awed by the size of it. It reminded me of when I was in Delhi five years ago and saw families living in makeshift tents along major thoroughfares. We have become hardened to the plight of these people because, as Jared Goyette said in his Sept. 22 “10,000 Takes” essay, “Meet the tent dwellers on my Minneapolis block,” we have accepted that “living in proximity to people without homes is part of life in the city.” Not far from the homeless encampment, new apartments at market rates have been constructed and there are plans for more. Why is there no affordable housing being built? Inadequate wages and high rents have placed many people one car repair or health crisis away from losing everything. I have met people in homeless shelters who have full-time jobs. Have we become a nation that believes that some must starve so that some can feast?
Anne Straka-Leland, Excelsior
Two takes on more service to Chicago: Let’s go, and not so fast
According to a new Minnesota Department of Transportation study (“New steam for St. Paul-Chicago rail service,” Sept. 24), a second daily train from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Chicago is viable. Not only is it viable, I would argue it is essential.
Viable rail transportation requires a reliable time schedule, something almost impossible when the eastbound Amtrak train originates more than 1,500 miles away. In August, my wife and I and another couple drove to Chicago rather than ride Amtrak’s Empire Builder as planned. Amtrak’s scheduling app showed frequent delays from St. Paul’s Union Depot, with some trains being hours late. Surely a second daily train, limited to service between here and Chicago, would make schedules more reliable and no doubt generate increased ridership.
Better service would also make Amtrak a good alternative to flying. A few years ago my wife and I were in our seats awaiting departure from Chicago’s Midway airport when the pilot announced the flight would be delayed because of snow and wind closing Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. We made a quick decision and booked seats on the Empire Builder. We enjoyed a smooth, comfortable ride home through the bad weather, including dinner in the dining car.
Reliable passenger rail service between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago is both vital and viable. Let’s start by providing a second daily Amtrak train. And then let’s keep our wish list alive for eventual high-speed rail, perhaps including Rochester, that would bring us up to 21st-century rail standards and provide a welcome alternative to driving or flying.
Bill Steinbicker, Minnetonka
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A “study” was conducted regarding a projected cost of up to $169 million, and there was uncertainty how this rail will be funded. What organization conducted this “study”? Was the work scientific or like the “informal query on Twitter” also mentioned in the article?
What does a locomotive cost? How about passenger rail cars? What is the projected cost of the fare? Who would actually operate the rail? The article states that “next steps for rail supporters now include funding to pay for … an environmental review.” Since the rail line will travel mostly through Wisconsin, and since previous “studies” have projected population and economic growth along the 418-mile corridor, are Wisconsin officials all aboard?
Wayne Dokken, Robbinsdale
Keep an eye on a quiet tiger
China is not a sleeping tiger as some portray, but rather a quiet tiger, cautiously and strategically, pouncing on resources whenever it can (“A chance to focus on main rivals: Russia, China” and “China is not America’s next great enemy,” Opinion Exchange, Sept. 24). Do you buy Smithfield Ham or our local Hormel products? If your choice is Smithfield, you have just paid your money to China instead of supporting jobs in Austin. AMC Theatres, GE Appliances, Hoover, Motorola and Legendary Entertainment are Chinese-owned. I don’t see the case of China and Russia as “either/or” but rather we as American voters and consumers should be aware of a two-front war. We should be worried about Chinese companies and especially those controlled by the Chinese government buying not only retail and commercial businesses but companies that are mining, drilling or cutting for natural resources.
Russia is less the quiet tiger than the noisy and grunting bear, and we perhaps are more cautious with it, as its noise alerts us to what it is doing. The quiet tiger of China may keep us blithely ignoring it since it seems less aggressive than the Russian bear, but make no mistake, the tiger needs to eat and feed its millions. We, however, do not need to be the meal.
A Chinese publication in 2005 in English bragged that with interest payments on American debt the country could buy one U.S. corporation every month. What happens when our natural resources are owned by China? Among companies with a strong presence in Minnesota, Schwing America, Cirrus and Cleveland-Cliffs have Chinese ownership.
Marjorie Williams, Lake Elmo
With Johnson, Minnesota would no longer be a high-tax state
One must wonder about the conclusions in “Johnson’s tax cuts will have a price” (Sept. 23). The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has already pushed our economy into over 4 percent GDP growth. According to the Wall Street Journal (May 2018), “Minnesota is on pace to have a $329 million surplus.” Also, from the WSJ: “Minnesota budget officials expect the state’s income and job growth will continue through 2019, further padding revenue.” Will increased revenue keep up with the high level of spending? One can only wonder, but Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson knows there is waste, fraud and abuse that can bring large savings to the state and thus to hardworking taxpayers. Residents and small businesses want tax relief. Johnson will deliver on that.
Linda Stanton, Woodbury