Let’s follow his lead and be tolerant of others

Pope Francis said, “The Catholic Church shouldn’t interfere spiritually with the lives of gays and lesbians.” So can we end the debate? Remember, the pope said this.

JACK PARKER, Eden Prairie

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Congress, let’s not play this game again

So Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, thinks “We’ve got to play the game” (“House GOP raises the odds of a shutdown,” Sept. 18). I have news for you and for Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, who sees blocking funding legislation as “a win for the American people.”

This game you play affects the lives of millions of Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike. It’s the well-being of our people and the reputation of our country at stake. I hope all Republicans contact their representatives and tell them to quit playing games.


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University of Minnesota made a bad decision

The University of Minnesota’s decisions to partner with Teach for America (TFA) and offer five weeks of training for these teaching candidates should cause concern (“U training adds to the Teach for America debate,” Sept. 18).

Sending undertrained young adults into difficult teaching environments is perhaps providing more opportunity to the TFA participants than it is for the students. Alternative licensure is great for expediting training of potential teachers in hard to fill posts like, say, Arabic, or for supporting licensure of teacher candidates of minority communities to build a workforce that better reflects the student body.

However, more than 60 percent of TFA participants, according to their website, are white and at least middle class. They will enter classrooms as teachers of record with limited support. Who wins? Who loses? National service programs like AmeriCorps are a better idea for young idealists.

JEN VANEK, Minneapolis

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Too much money is wasted on advertising

I find it very disturbing to see advertisements on television about various clinics for cancer care.

I have lost several friends to cancer, and I am only 56 years old. I can’t help wondering how many dollars paid for care are going to fund advertising. Every patient with cancer has a different history, a different doctor, a different location, different insurance.

All of these factors are what truly contribute to survival. So let’s not have all those valuable monies for treatment being channeled into advertising, as if to say that if you visit “our clinic” you’ll have a better chance of survival.


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Keep its character; city changes too much

Maybe the greatest crime of the renovation of Nicollet Mall isn’t who has been sought to change the face of our city, but rather that anyone has been sought at all. The mall isn’t unappealing, but just a place in a little disrepair.

Does the face of Nicollet Mall need to be changed, or do we just need the sidewalks and street repaved and the lampposts made functional? Minneapolis has always been an evolving city, but residents need to take a look around and see that the character of the city has suffered because of constant change.

Very little of Minneapolis’s history is preserved on the streets today. The project’s website says its goal is to transform Nicollet Mall in the name of modernization, and the City Council has approved a plan to secure funds for a streetcar.

Streetcars are a great idea, but let’s not forget there used to be a fantastic trolley system that ran from downtown all the way out to Lake Minnetonka until it was dismantled in the 1950s to be replaced by buses.

We must ask whether the renovation at hand will cause an invaluable piece of the city’s character to be lost.


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Don’t force them on probation officers

I’m opposed to making bullet resistant vests a requirement for probation officers (“Counties work to keep probation officers safe,” Sept. 17). First, probation officers have a good sense of when an offender will be dangerous or not. Second, most officers won’t wear the vest if given the choice. Ramsey County shouldn’t waste our money on buying each officer a vest. That said, I am in favor of buying enough vests so that there’s always some on hand for officers who want them.


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Let’s learn the secret to slim Italian eating

Frank Bruni claims that Italians are thinner than Americans largely because they eat smaller meals (“We eat too much. Simple as that,” Sept. 18). Nonsense. During our recent stay in Rome, my wife and I were stunned by the huge amounts of food most Italians consumed at dinner in restaurants.

It was routine to watch as two fit and trim Italians each worked their way through large-proportioned appetizers, generously sized pasta entrees, followed by pizzas for each that can only be described as extra large, and often a sweet custard dessert.

When we limited ourselves to a single serving of pasta, our waiters always asked us why we didn’t like the dish, as we could never finish all of it. If we want to solve our serious obesity crisis, it’s time that our best nutritionists spent time in Italy to learn their secret.

MARK H. REED, Plymouth