As I type this, it’s a downpour outside, and for over two months the Minnesota River Valley has been flooded, including where a proposed paved trail is to be built. Not only will the Minnesota Valley State Trail be unusable when it’s flooded, it won’t be plowed in the winter, which means for around half the year this trail can’t be used. Why are we spending millions (phases 1A and 1B of the proposed trail are estimated to cost around $4 million) on this when that funding could be put to much better use?
A couple years ago Hennepin County repaved Old Shakopee Road through West Bloomington, yet they left the sidewalks as-is, crumbling and being taken over in some places by mud. That’s one of many sidewalks in Bloomington that are crumbling and too narrow. There is also the fact that with climate change, the Twin Cities region is expected to receive more rainfall throughout the year, which means more flooding and more time the Minnesota Valley State Trail will be unusable.
If Bloomington and Hennepin County are spending money on bike and walking facilities, priority should be placed on where people need to go. People don’t need to go to the Minnesota River Valley (and if they want to, there are already three access points in Bloomington: Old Cedar Avenue, Lyndale Avenue and the Bloomington Ferry Pedestrian Bridge); people need to go to the bus stop, light rail station, library, school, grocery store, etc. Building a trail whose sole purpose is for recreation does not mean your community is bike-friendly; building better sidewalks, trails and bike lanes where people live and work makes your community bike-friendly.
Eric Ecklund, Bloomington
Where is the veteran outcry for placating the president in Japan?
The White House has reached a new low in instructing the Navy to cover the name of the USS John McCain (“White House aimed to shield Trump from USS McCain,” May 30), which was in Tokyo Bay during President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Japan.
Where is the outcry from veterans organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, to mention two? How can the chief of naval operations and other U.S. Navy leaders stand mute when the president displays such narrow-mindedness and continues to disrespect one of our nation’s greatest war heroes?
How can my fellow veterans display their earlier military service by appearing at Trump rallies?
The president has ridden roughshod over our military leaders, disparaged Gold Star parents and has the unmitigated gall to take credit for the positive changes at our VA hospitals and VA benefits, which President Barack Obama initiated.
I hope my brother and sister veteran colleagues will remember this when they cast their ballots in 2020.
Max Fallek, Golden Valley
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The commander-in-chief is so insecure and sensitive that the White House wanted a Navy ship named after a person he does not like (and had passed away several months ago) to be shielded from his possible view while on a visit to Japan. And, the sailors manning that ship were given the day off! I read that article in disbelief that the occupant of the Oval Office could be predicted to have such a childish reaction. What is next, a campaign and a series of Twitter rants to rename Navy ships that carry the name of someone he dislikes?
Ron Bender, Richfield
Trump may be helping farmers, but he forgets the rest of us
Since President Trump tweeted May 5 that he was escalating the trade war with China, the world’s economy is showing signs of slowing down, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen almost 1,500 points, and farmers continue to suffer. Remember when Trump promised us in March that “trade wars are good, and easy to win”?
Trump may be helping farmers with billions in support, but I don’t see anything to help businesses that are hurt by the tariffs, or the retirees and others who have seen their portfolios drop substantially since the escalation of the trade war. Let’s face it, Trump has no idea what he is doing in foreign relations, trade, the economy or national defense (recently stating he knows how we should change our aircraft carriers?!).
Trump has the reverse Midas touch — everything he gets involved in goes to garbage.
Douglas Wobbema, Burnsville
Planting wildflowers is good, but banning killer pesticides is better
Bee lawns are all well and good, and planting untreated, pollinator-friendly seeds across the city is an excellent first step to creating a safer habitat for bees (“Turning to lawns as a boost for bees,” May 30).
However, beekeepers and owners of bee lawns do not have much knowledge or control over where their bees choose to forage. With the widespread use of bee-killing pesticides (neonicotinoids), bees will continue to die off at appalling rates. Even with an increase of pro-bee lawns, neonicotinoids are a seemingly addictive poison for bees that will keep killing colonies.
The same people who set aside $900,000 to help homeowners maintain bee-friendly lawns also have it in their power to push strongly for a ban on neonicotinoids.
Eamon Kant, Minneapolis
Legislative whims can’t dictate rights
When I moved to Minnesota in 2004, I was genuinely shocked to learn that this state only had seven abortion clinics. Now it’s down to just four.
Over the past couple decades, we have come to tolerate abortion restrictions that would have been unthinkable in 1973 — restrictions that are in large part responsible for the steep decline in access to reproductive services in this state. It’s not Alabama, but give it time, a complacent public and a single election cycle: former Gov. Mark Dayton had to veto several new abortion restrictions during the eight years he was in office. If we’d had a different governor, people in need of reproductive health care would be even worse off.
People’s rights shouldn’t be so fragile, subject to the whims of a legislature that shifts radically from year to year. Thank goodness for the new lawsuit filed Wednesday (“Minn. abortion laws are contested,” front page, May 30). It’s time for an approach that will protect our rights.
Stacey Burns, Minneapolis
State senators get a do-over, while those who die without insulin don’t
The commentary by five Republican state senators (“Let’s find a solution for the insulin crisis,” May 30) reveals more than they intended.
Their intention is to excuse their votes against the Alec Smith emergency insulin bill. In pushing out the essay, however, they reveal panicky second thoughts, probably because so many of us find their position lacking common decency.
Our dysfunctional health care system, wedded to free market nostrums, has allowed the price of vital drugs to skyrocket without intervention or controls. Smith was among those who could not keep up. So, he died.
State Sen. Melissa Wiklund’s bill would have established an emergency supply of life-saving insulin, a notion that both houses had previously approved. After some legislative confusion (which the five senators overemphasize, presumably to escape responsibility), one party largely voted in favor while that of the five authors largely voted against. End of story.
I read the essay by the senators as a lame attempt at a do-over. Alec Smith did not get a do-over. Neither should the senators.
Joel G. Clemmer, St. Paul