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You can fool me once, or twice ... but not again! I thank the reporter of "Blue Line cost could exceed Southwest's" (Feb. 29) for her straightforward front-page review of the Metropolitan Council's dismal record on light-rail costs and scheduling, and for documenting the remaining estimated list of Green Line costs to Eden Prairie and schedules yet to be satisfied.

The same unelected and unaccountable council, whose project will be supported by the Federal Transit Administration funding 49% of an estimated $2.9 billion cost, is ready to tax metro residents again and to spend $1.4 billion to reach Brooklyn Park via the proposed Blue Line extension to the northwest of downtown. Further, the council projects 11,500 to 13,000 riders per day when finished. Question: How are the LRT system ridership estimates doing for this year? I know they are reporting ridership is going "up," but is the council on target with current actual ridership (or behind)? Are total operating costs systemwide on plan or over budget?

Per Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle, "This project is different. We are taking an approach that is methodical and prudent ... ." Was the council not methodical and prudent in the past?

Why would we trust the Met Council again, if current operating budgets aren't covering projected costs, or until the Green Line is finished? Show me major success first — you simply haven't earned my trust.

Not again!

Dennis Sellke, Minnetonka


We now know the estimated cost for the Blue Line extension to Brooklyn Park. It goes without saying that $2.9-plus billion is a heck of a big trainload of cash, and every dollar needs to be thoroughly accounted for. That's why I'd like to lay down a challenge for the Star Tribune: Whenever you report on changes to that price tag, you need to note the original estimate along with the elements that are causing the price to rise. I think we all expect opposition along the way and the public needs to have every last nickel of added cost put into proper perspective.

Dale Jernberg, Minneapolis


Stop blocking families' choices

The recent article on affordable housing ("Middle-income buyers struggle to find a house in their budget in most Twin Cities suburbs,") tells a familiar story. People want to live in neighborhoods they choose. This means being close to family, friends and amenities.

Cities must make sure residents can age in place and stay in the area they love. We can't expect retirees to shovel snow and mow the lawn forever. Instead, let's build more housing options, like condos and townhomes. The one-size-fits-all model, where single-family homes are the only permitted option in many places, is not working. It makes housing more expensive, neighborhoods less accessible and keeps families further apart.

The "missing-middle" housing bill currently before the state Legislature would help solve this housing shortage. This bill would create more housing options for all Minnesotans, no matter where we choose to live.

Anton Schieffer, Minneapolis


Legislators should not be stampeded into passing a law to relax local zoning control by vocal activists. This proposed change looks to me like a prime example of a simple solution to a complex socio-economic problem that will not work out as envisioned and is doomed to fail. Relaxing excessive and nitpicking zoning in suburbs is different from doing so in a nearly fully developed, densely populated city such as Minneapolis. The proposed law should send a chill down the spines of Minneapolis neighborhood home occupants.

Suburbs have more open space compared to inner cities. Redevelopment in Minneapolis will surely mean a lot of teardowns and disruptions anywhere developers can buy properties, in order to build higher density housing. I wonder where the Minneapolis memorial landfill will be.

Housing and rent costs are getting too high due to ever-higher property taxes and insurance rates, among other factors. Higher density will increasingly impact the quality of life in Minneapolis in a negative way. And environmental concerns should not be casually dismissed. Those concerns about quality of life are very real. Residents should not have the right to force the local government to address real concerns, and to stop projects before damage is done, taken away. Projects will be slowed down or not attempted at all as a necessary component of our representative democracy. That is a good thing for residents.

Redevelopment should be limited to areas that can produce the most benefits with the least disruption, which is what difficult zoning decisions are meant to accomplish.

John O. Wild, Minneapolis


Not dysfunctional to have opinions

Laura Yuen's column on Feb. 25, "The dysfunction of our disrespectful politics," is disrespectful to my community, journalism and me.

Yuen reports on my comments and conduct at Minneapolis City Council meeting on encampments. Yuen may have watched portions of the recording, but she did not attend the meeting. She did call a male colleague about me, but she didn't bother to call me. Apparently to Yuen I am just an angry Black woman who launches into "tirades."

Had Yuen attended the meeting, she would have found lots of disrespect from a pack of frenzied City Council members who rudely berated top-level city staff on their efforts to deal with encampments, a fact Yuen fails to mention.

Yes, I expressed my opinion about the horrors of these encampments: the rampant drug use and addiction, their unsanitary nature and the harm they cause to neighbors. I've been in the encampments; what's happening there is worth getting angry about. Most of my colleagues don't seem to be up for hard conversations about what is really happening there. They talk about the homeless problem and admire it, but they won't solve it.

Council Member and committee chair Jason Chavez cut me off because my truth didn't fit the narrative he wants. And now Yuen cuts me down by saying this debate is about civil conduct? Who is kidding who?

Maybe next time, Yuen will show up for a meeting. Maybe next time Yuen will call me and ask what happened before she repeats the angry-Black-woman trope.

LaTrisha Vetaw, Minneapolis

The writer is a Minneapolis City Council member for Ward 4.


Way to shrink the fan base

I know it's a lot more complicated than an old man can possibly understand (I'm a boomer, OK?) but it seems to me that what our local sports teams need to do is get more of their games on over-the-air television in addition to whatever other possibilities they might offer. I know antennas are going the way of the dodo, but if you want to see what sports success looks like, just consider the NFL. Professional football has been available absolutely free, except for some select streaming-only games, to anybody with any kind of television set and any kind of antenna — from aluminum-foil-assisted rabbit ears to 100-foot towers with rotators — since the 1950s. And look at the money it's raking in. I realize that has taken 70 years to establish such a sports and societal juggernaut, but how can any team or sport hope to find new admirers and new fans if watching the games has become so restrictive? I guess, like so many businesses these days, sports teams just want to make as much money as they can as soon as they can. Me, too.

But I fondly remember being able to watch the Twins, the North Stars, and the Vikings on my little 12-inch, black-and-white, rabbit-eared TV many times when they played back in the day. And I was a fan. Now? Not so much.

Mark Storry, Minneapolis


Everyone loves a new record, and Caitlin Clark surely set one when she surpassed Kelsey Plum's NCAA points total. However, she will never surpass Pete Maravich, who set his NCAA points record in just three seasons with LSU at a time when there were neither three-point baskets nor shot clocks to force teams to give up the ball. Clark and Maravich both played basketball in college, but the game has changed. Isn't it enough to say that both Clark and Maravich are/were exceptional players without forcing a competition where there is none?

Christine Dahl, St. Paul