While I applaud the zero-waster who can contain a week’s worth of garbage in a quart jar (“Waste not,” May 2), I can fill a kitchen garbage bag with litter in one afternoon while walking my Whittier neighborhood — especially now after the snowbanks have melted. Most of this is recyclable. Assuming those who litter also don’t recycle at home, we have work to do. For starters, how about putting recycling bins on streets throughout the city? It may not stop those who litter, but it would make it more convenient for those who care about keeping the materials off the streets.
Joanna Krause-Johnson, Minneapolis
‘THE KOREAN THAW’
If looking to give credit, consider Asian leadership
The headline on a May 2 commentary by Daniel W. Drezner asked: “Who or what should get credit for Korean thaw?” Drezner’s answer: President Donald Trump, partly; other factors, quite significantly. But what about the biggest East Asian player of all, China? About a month ago, President Xi Jinping summoned Kim Jong Un of North Korea (aboard his armored train) to head to Beijing for talks. China and North Korea being what they are, we have no transparent report of what that visit was all about. It would not be surprising if Xi used the visit to take Kim to the woodshed and to tell him to shape up. Xi had both the leverage to do so (North Korea is hugely dependent on China) and the motive (China does not want another armed conflict at its back door when it has so much to lose as it marches toward becoming the world’s largest economy). We may not so much be seeing further American muscle in the region, since we may be witnessing Asians deciding to take the lead in solving the North Korean mess.
James A. Bergquist, Bloomington
It should be about opportunity, not guaranteed outcomes
Amy Kramer Brenengen’s May 2 commentary bemoaning the lack of sufficient progress on gender bias and leadership (“A woman’s place is ... just in the Variety section?”) was so passe. At least 30 years of investments in affirmative action (and often reverse discrimination), government statutes and legal action have precipitated huge changes in women’s leadership roles and pay. And there has also been total reversal in how women are depicted on TV and in the movies from being underrepresented in leadership and action roles to being cast out of proportion to reality. No longer can young girls watching TV not feel that women can do anything they want — from routinely tossing men around to leading an infantry unit in combat to filling the highest office in the land.
Yet, some activists just can’t admit that there are no longer artificial barriers holding women back. We continue to have laws that deal with outright discrimination and pay equity violations when they occur. There have been numerous studies attributing most of the generic gender pay gaps to nondiscrimination factors.
Why do folks like Ms. Brenengen refuse to acknowledge that both men and women have the freedom to prioritize pay and the pressure of leadership roles in their career choices? It should always be about equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
John Nerdahl, Lakeville
An ‘Equity Blueprint’ is in the works, and you can help create it
As the fourth-generation co-owner of our family farm in Mille Lacs County, I heartily applaud the Star Tribune and Tom Meersman for the front-page story “State’s rural residents voice their top worries” (May 2), about the substantive and legitimate needs and frustrations in greater Minnesota. To all greater Minnesotans feeling left behind and underinvested in, I invite you to Granite Falls this June 27-29 to join with your rural and metro neighbors at the statewide gathering Thriving by Design — Rural & Urban Together (see www.growthandjustice.org) to create the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint.
The Equity Blueprint will be a unique rural-urban social contract to address regional, racial and economic disparities together and to embrace the economic interdependence of rural and metro Minnesota. We believe it will be the first comprehensive approach to community and economic development policy statewide since the 1980s, when Minnesota faced similar challenges. Minnesotans joined together then with philanthropists and state policymakers to create a string of catalysts and funding institutions, including rural and urban initiatives grants for targeted business development, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, to name a few key elements. A few years later came the Center for Rural Policy and Development and Minnesota Rural Partners, one of a nationwide network of rural development coordination councils.
Today we need all voices across the state united to help create the next generation’s “One Minnesota” policy framework, a theme the Star Tribune’s Lori Sturdevant initiated in a series two years ago (“Better Together,” December 2015; see tinyurl.com/mn-better-together). We must focus this time on statewide equity and interdependence, embracing strategies that shift us away from a divisive and destructive urban vs. rural mind-set toward a shared economic future.
Jane Leonard, St. Paul
The writer is president of Growth & Justice, a policy research and advocacy group.
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I am confused by the article regarding the concerns Minnesota’s rural residents have about things like the cost of health insurance, infrastructure issues and the unavailability of broadband. I would question, in response, the positions of the elected officials for whom these residents voted. If a resident voted for a candidate who promised to repeal Obamacare in order to lower insurance costs, what specific replacement program did the candidate offer? If the resident voted for a candidate who promised to cut tax rates, how, specifically, did the candidate propose we pay for infrastructure improvements or broadband? If the candidate offered no specifics, and the resident still voted for that candidate, I would ask the resident why he or she is surprised by the consequences of his or her vote.
David Klaiman, Medina
Is the ‘need’ funding, or is it something more fundamental?
In his May 3 commentary “Minneapolis district must go big or go home,” Peter Hutchinson uses the word “need” seven times in one paragraph, then in the next paragraph states: “The only way to get them is to invest.” Ummm, I think another way would be to attract families that actually care about education. If you have that, all students will succeed, regardless of whether we give the Minneapolis Public Schools more money or not.
Jeffrey Krasky, Minneapolis
We’re talking real money
In the photo of the e-pulltab player at the 1029 Bar that appeared with a recent story and letter, there appeared to be a “bank stack” of $100 bills in the foreground. If there are 100 bills in a standard bank stack, that’s $10,000. In cash. Sitting. On. The. Bar.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
Chris Boone, St. Paul