I’m confused by Gov. Mark Dayton’s reaction to the arrest of six men from Minneapolis who planned to join the terrorist group ISIL. “I think we need to do a better job … in providing a lot of good reasons for young Somali youth to see their better future here in Minnesota,” he said. As I understand it, these young men had a place to live; attended public high school, with the plethora of free or low-cost extracurricular activities those schools offer; attended religious services; sought free legal counsel; had access to the beautiful natural spaces and rich cultural opportunities (again, many free) our community offers, and four of them attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College. In what way do we need to do better? It seems these young men had access to every freedom and opportunity that thousands of Twin Cities young people take advantage of every day, including the freedom to not engage. And the freedom to choose another path.

Sarah Barker, St. Paul

AMAZON IN SHAKOPEE

Can I get in on some of that generous tax break action?

Five million dollars in proposed tax breaks to Amazon for a facility in Shakopee that “might someday” employ 1,000? (“Amazon will soon ship from Shakopee,” April 22.) That’s $5,000 per employee. I have a 14-person manufacturing facility in Blaine, and we may be moving soon. I will submit my demand for a $70,000 tax break from Shakopee, and I look forward to the city’s acquiescence, though I probably shouldn’t hold my breath.

Brent Younkin, Minneapolis

• • •

Holy cow! Somebody needs to tell Amazon that it’s planning its new distribution center in the wrong state. This is Minnesota, where the governor and a DFL-led Legislature raised taxes on the top earners. Companies moving to or expanding here are ignoring the helpful warnings of Republican politicians who keep redoubling their efforts to make it clear that raising taxes kills jobs and drives companies out of our fair state.

Amazon, aren’t you listening? Why not expand into Wisconsin, which Gov. Scott Walker declared open for business. So what if he has fallen short of his promised job goals? So what if Wisconsin is facing a shortfall of $800 million?

Walker is taking care of that. He plans to cut the budget of the state Department of Natural Resources so that it no longer has to pick up the deer carcasses along Wisconsin’s roadways (Nation+World, April 22).

Come on, Amazon — surely you can build a distribution center in a state where Amazon Prime means customers can get a prime cut of deer carcass delivered right along with their packages. It’s the right thing to do.

Theresa J. Lippert, St. Paul

 

TRANSIT

Support goes hand in hand with Met Council and its mythmaking

I wholeheartedly agree with the group of suburban, mostly DFL, Met Council-affiliated mayors that “A growing, prosperous metro area needs transit” (Opinion Exchange, April 21). What do these 10 people mean by “transit”? I think their answer would be Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council. The overwhelming majority of us might counter with roads and bridges, especially for rural, outstate Minnesota.

Their claim that $2.8 billion in development has been generated along the Green Line might have been inflated by the Met Council. This is the organization that is supposed to be transparent, providing the highest level of utility and safety for our hard-earned tax dollars. These 10 mayors should revisit a May 2014 article that appeared in the Star Tribune: “Green Line’s role as a growth engine is so-so.”

Wayne Dokken, Robbinsdale

• • •

Once again, as a staunch Democrat, I find myself agreeing with much of the Republicans’ proposed transportation bill (“House OKs $7B transportation bill,” April 22). The defunding of the Bottineau light-rail line from Brooklyn Park to downtown Minneapolis may actually allow for a future line to service areas that need and want transportation. The current proposal through Golden Valley and skirting the far south edge of north Minneapolis makes little sense. There is no room for development along this route, and it neglects areas that are in need of redevelopment and reliable transportation. If the current plan is implemented, it will simply benefit drivers who use the parking near these stations to avoid the high price of parking downtown. I also wonder how many people without a vehicle are going to walk eight, 10 or 12 blocks in the dead of winter to these stations when the current bus system can get them downtown in a fraction of the time.

Transportation is important. If you’re going to spend millions on transit, get it right to begin with.

Dane Anderson, Golden Valley

• • •

The North Side has been shortchanged for years in development and resources. The Bottineau line would benefit a portion of north Minneapolis and all of the first-ring suburbs out here. I am a strong proponent of light rail and have waited eagerly to see construction begin.

The cutback in bus service once again is a shot at the low-income folks in our community. The GOP movers and shakers apparently have no idea how the working poor depend on these services. Neither do they appreciate the value of transit service to workers in the city who otherwise would drive, adding to traffic congestion and having to pay for costly city parking.

I ask our legislators to provide full funding for transit. Indeed, north Minneapolis needs a similar transit plan serving the core of the inner city.

Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park

 

ENERGY

Our efforts to reduce carbon use must be both public and private

Tim Reckmeyer’s invitation (“Free-market solutions to pollution,” April 22) to push for a carbon fee system for incentivizing reductions in fossil fuel use goes hand in hand with Jay T. Nygard’s question about the omnibus jobs and energy bill (“Why would Minnesota choose to backslide?” April 21). Net metering is an essential economic incentive for small producers to participate in the renewable-energy economy. Large-scale programs like the Schultz carbon-fee-and-dividend plan will move the needle on the large emitters using the natural economic incentive that Adam Smith would recognize. Unfortunately, when we see the wealthy petroleum interests allied with the flat-earth climate-change deniers in Congress blocking progress and trying to roll back existing incentives, the only remaining path forward is regulations that the president can implement through the Environmental Protection Agency.

The irony of this is that it was Republicans who signed the bills that set the stage for the current regulations. Today’s Republicans seem to have lost any sense of public purpose. Meanwhile, the carbon load continues to increase, to our mutual detriment. It’s going to take both public policy and private initiatives to shift from a carbon-based energy infrastructure to a renewable, low-carbon future.

George Hutchinson, Minneapolis

 

SPOTTED COW BEER BUST

Step away from the lunacy

As a relatively new resident of Minnesota, I have to laugh at the extraordinary efforts conducted by the state to prosecute a small Maple Grove bar for “importing” Spotted Cow beer to its establishment (it is a felony, after all). In today’s global economy, in which items are transacted between countries thousands of miles apart, why can’t we even transport and sell good beer between states? Yes, I know it’s all about taxes, but come on. This takes me back to the 1970s when we used to shuttle Stroh’s beer (from Detroit) to get Coors beer (from Colorado). Not to take away from the excellent beers brewed here in Minnesota (and excellent they are), but this is mind-boggling.

Mike Austin, Chanhassen