I appreciated Rick Nelson’s article “Dreaming of a food marketplace” (March 29), and he’s right: In the middle of America’s breadbasket, with several large international agribusinesses, Minneapolis should have a fabulous food emporium. I just think there might be a better place to locate it than the riverfront post office site discussed in the article — the old downtown Minneapolis Armory.
Perfectly located along a light-rail line, across the street from what will be a new park and near to the Vikings stadium, the building is ideal for a food emporium with a year-round farmers market. It’s accessible to trucks and vehicles, is large enough to include restaurants, eating and drinking areas, and has lawns on both the north and south sides. It would rival any national or international food emporium that exists today and create a new amenity for downtown residents and visitors alike.
Let’s keep hoping that some visionary in the city — City Council Member Jacob Frey or some other politician — can convince someone that the Minneapolis Armory is the ideal location for a food and drinking emporium that would do Minneapolis proud.
Stephen M. Dent, Golden Valley
In addition to higher wages, alter ‘spend-down’ policies
I appreciated Lori Sturdevant’s March 29 column (“Funding for disabled and elder care? It’s personal”), and I applaud Sen. Kent Eken’s commitment to funding adequate wages for home-health-care workers.
I understand how important well-paid, qualified workers are to ensuring quality care for the thousands of people with brain injuries whom our organization serves. These critical services allow people to remain independent and build their own high quality of life.
Equally important, and often missing from conversations about funding for disability services, is the personal impact of state policies on the lives of adults with disabilities themselves. Consider the current Medical Assistance “spend-down” policy that forces adults with disabilities deep into poverty just so they can qualify for the support services that the home-care workforce provides. It’s counterintuitive that a program to help people with disabilities rebuild their lives and remain in their communities expects them to live on $730 per month to access that program.
Reforming Medical Assistance is the top priority of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance. Raising the Medical Assistance spend-down standard would immediately help 12,000 adults with disabilities who want to live independently. It is incredibly important to understand both sides of the disability services funding coin.
David King, Roseville
The writer is executive director of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance.
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Sturdevant’s column was special in more than one way. The article highlighted state Sen. Eken’s proposal for funding, a proposal at least partly inspired by his intellectually disabled brother, Kyle. His parents refused to institutionalize Kyle, and instead raised him at home. My wife’s parents did the same thing with their disabled son, Ron, many years ago. Ron provided benefits for sisters and brothers in a family that was already strong. In that sense, Ron’s dependence on family was really interdependence. Siblings benefited immensely from experiencing love for Ron. And older sisters learned because of him. They took over various responsibilities that allowed Mom and Dad to tend to their brother.
Sturdevant’s column on March 22 (“An ailing paid-leave bill and the ripples of good health”) was also about interdependence. Sick employees need paid sick leave for their sake and ours. If workers with illnesses work because they lack sick leave, they can spread illness to the rest of us. In the meanwhile, they are depending on us to support measures that will help provide paid sick leave. One legislator proposes paying for the leave through 1-cent contributions. Each employer and currently uncovered employee would contribute only a penny to the program for each $10 paid in wages.
Let’s not only accept interdependence, but actually embrace it. It’s good for the soul — and each other.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
Why McGuire fell from grace, and how he can restore legacy
Thanks to reporter Mike Kaszuba (“McGuire’s ‘gut move’ is bold bet on future of soccer,” March 29) for reminding us of who Bill McGuire really is and how he became one of the richest people in the state of Minnesota. There is no question that McGuire was involved in the backdating of several hundred million stock options in the period from 2000 or sooner to 2007 or later. The lingering question is whether the former CEO of UnitedHealth Group engaged in these activities at the expense of the company’s patients, its professional staff, its stockholders or the taxpayers of Minnesota. Let’s not forget that this individual who is bringing Major League Soccer to Minnesota is the same person whom Kaszuba has called to our attention.
Sid Mott, Minnetonka
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The fall from grace for our newest soccer team owner had a very soft landing due to the golden parachute he fell with, to the tune of $286 million. I wish he would have used his talents and experience in the health insurance industry to assemble a team of the best and brightest in the field to run a universal health care system for the great state of Minnesota. He could rise to fame again and leave a significant legacy to benefit everyone in the state. The business community would applaud him, because it could shed the outrageous cost of covering employees. The private insurance companies would be happy, because they wouldn’t have to participate in the Affordable Care Act they so vehemently opposed but are now all jumping into. Everyone in the state would have coverage, and McGuire could feel good about himself once again. We could call it McGuire Care! Just a thought.
Bob Anderson, Bloomington
CATHEDRAL OF ST. PAUL
Let us also praise the architect, and a key group of contributors
The article about the commanding majesty, beauty and spiritual importance of the Cathedral of St. Paul was of great interest (“The people’s cathedral,” March 29), but it lacked one essential piece of information — the name of the great French architect who designed it and the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, Emmanuel Masqueray, who trained at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The “concept drawing” of the cathedral illustrating the article was drawn by Masqueray. Creators of great art and architecture should always be acknowledged, for without their vision and talent our built environment would be far more barren.
One other interesting piece of information. In the archives of Mount Zion Temple at the Minnesota Historical Society is a personal note from Archbishop John Ireland to the congregation’s rabbi, thanking him and the congregants for their contribution that allowed for the completion of the cathedral’s dome.
Marilyn J. Chiat, Minnetonka