Lights for commuters

Contrary to what the Dec. 26 letter writer thinks about lighting on Midtown Greenway, the Greenway needs to be lit and could even use more lighting.

Most Greenway users are not out for a pleasure ride, but are using their bicycles as transportation -- even through the coldest and snowiest nights of winter. No one would seriously suggest that regular city streets should go without lights. Why should it be different for cyclists?

Lights help deter crime, which is especially important as the Greenway is a trench that runs through some of the rougher neighborhoods of Minneapolis. I bet Greenway users would argue for more lights and a stronger police presence rather than fewer lights in the name of saving energy. Besides, I'm sure that my bicycle commute, even with street lights, still uses less energy than a motorized vehicle.



A precipitous ban

A Dec. 27 story regarding the ban on Sugar Gliders tells us that the St. Paul City Council "not[es] that it's hard to tell in advance whether someone will be a responsible pet owner. And that, they said, is what inspired the ban."

I would argue that it is also hard to tell who will be a responsible car owner, just as it is hard to tell who will be a responsible gun owner. If our government is going to entertain itself by banning the ownership of items by private citizens, perhaps it could focus on things that are actually a danger to the public.



And Minuteman Corps

In his Dec. 12 commentary, "What's a Minnesota politician doing with the Minutemen?" about the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) and its invited guest, state Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna, immigration reform advocate Javier Morillo-Alicea failed to tell readers that Day was invited to observe not only the Minuteman Corps but also the U.S. Border Patrol.

Day risked his life by observing areas where drug cartels traverse the desert regions of southern Arizona. He also observed several illegal aliens apprehended and detained by Border Patrol agents. His action was both patriotic and heroic.

Morillo-Alicea, the president of the SEIU 26 and a longtime supporter of open borders, characterized the Minuteman volunteers as "gun-toting vigilantes," but provided no facts to justify his claim. He also assassinated the character of Day. His crime: fraternizing with U.S. patriots who want to see our laws enforced, much the same way any Neighborhood Watch group wants.

Minnesota has become ground zero in the Midwest, as its undocumented alien population grows each year. It now ranks sixth for sexual predators, and, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 85 percent of all predators are foreign nationals.

Morillo-Alicea also took aim at Dave Bertrand, a MCDC volunteer, by taking statements from Bertand's personal blog out of context, thereby causing paranoia to the general public with deceptive statements. Bertrand has an international family of children with Colombian, Cuban and Japanese heritage. His family supports him 100 percent.

What many open border advocates do not want to understand about the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps is that it supports legal immigration and opposes illegal immigration -- just another small detail Morillo Alicea failed to note.

Ron Branstner, Cathedral City, Calif.


Be as resolute as Bob

"All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten," Robert Fulghum wrote over 20 years ago. I was reminded of this thought when my daughter Sally and I flipped through television channels over the holidays. We stopped briefly, hearing Bob the Builder ask, "Can we build it? Yes, we can."

Our challenges often seem beyond solution. Certainly, complex problems cannot be solved through simple phrases alone. At the same time, commitment to clear principles and beliefs can lead to breakthroughs and progress.

Bob the Builder reminds us that confidence and determination are foundations for success in meeting challenges. Today, our roads and bridges need significant improvement. Everyone from MnDOT staff and line workers to county commissioners to commuters and travelers knows that Minnesota must act, especially in light of construction costs that will continue to rise much more rapidly than inflation.

Can Minnesota bring strength and safety back to our transportation system? Yes, we can.

It will take honest, responsible planning and years of hard work. It will take investment today to save money, time and lives tomorrow.

Nobody should doubt Minnesota's determination and strength of spirit to get this job done. Let's resolve to act this year.



Take control

Minnesota employers are capping the amount of money they will spend on employee health insurance while limiting insurance package options for their employees -- and we all are feeling the pinch.

A recent letter writer correctly points out that many people may forsake needed medical care for themselves or their children because they don't have the money. However, his recommendation to expand government insurance programs, starting with covering all children, and increasing taxes to all as a social investment will not address how to bring health care costs under control.

There are specific steps that we can take to bring health care costs under control and expand competition among providers of insurance coverage: Take away current employer tax breaks and give these to individuals, open up Minnesota insurance options to out-of-state insurance companies for competition to our unique Minnesota nonprofit insurance oligopoly, and actively promote transparency of medical fees and insurance payments.