If we’d known then what we know now …

My daughter attends the University of Minnesota, and we are all aware of the massive growth in crime on campus (“U students take their crime fears to Senate hearing,” Dec. 11). In considering an institution that brings so much money to the area, I’m appalled by the lack of even the most basic amenities for students.

For example, many upper-class students live along the streets surrounding campus. You could drop an atomic bomb in the area and not hit a quality streetlight. I can tell you it makes me sick with worry every night my daughter walks home along dark streets after a late class.

Also, my daughter called recently to say her bus hadn’t shown and that she was waiting in subzero weather for another. There are very few structures to protect students who use these buses regularly in inclement weather.

Also, the dorms are expensive, old, cold and ugly …

If the over-the-top crime had been occurring when we were selecting a college, you can be sure the U would not have been on our list.




Rebound in receipts is nothing to celebrate

Front-page news that gambling is on the rise again is disturbing (“Charitable gambling rebounds statewide,” Dec. 10). Charitable-gambling proceeds amount to only 3 percent of the $1.1 billion spent on various forms of gambling now sanctioned by Minnesota. Really not much of a payoff considering the ravaging damages that gambling addictions wreak on lower- and middle-class family budgets.

Justifying gambling habits by reasoning that youth sports benefit is unwise. Using quotes from pulltab operation employees, who receive tips from winning patrons, who relate that people want to have fun, again, is ridiculous. Why would these people say anything else? Where are the comments from therapists who work with gambling addicts?

If Minnesotans who choose to gamble by playing pulltabs want to help charitable causes, why not designate 3 percent of their paychecks to the United Way instead? Then charities would not be so strapped that they have to jump into bed with gambling interests, and people could not kid themselves that their gambling is anything more than selfish.

Gambling on the rise is not a reason to celebrate the improving economy. Families having the means to visit a state park an extra weekend in the coming months and breathe some of this fresh air Mother Nature is sending us would provide a much longer-lasting benefit.




Cuba’s role deserves no special recognition

Bah, humbug (“Cuba conspicuously absent in coverage of Mandela,” Dec. 10). Fidel Castro sent troops to Angola and identified AIDS as a threat to the African continent. He needed the propaganda. He also created in Cuba a different kind of apartheid that is not only of race but of values, beliefs and freedom. He submerged Cubans into a sea of despair and fear. He condemned the people to accept the norm of “resolver,” which means to do whatever — including stealing (mostly from the government) — to make ends meet. His regimen condemned an island that was prosperous and diverse and had one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean, indeed in South America, to one that is devastated by poverty, a dearth of freedom and the most basic human necessities.

Let him be absent!

R.I. REINA, Eden Prairie



Spare at least part of existing building

The Minneapolis City Council should consider saving at least a portion of the Star Tribune building (“Mpls. committee rules in favor of Star Tribune building’s demolition,” Dec. 10). The inverted limestone horseshoe around the four columns of windows and the building’s entrance — which sits at the south side of the proposed park area — would save the six featured medallions and would be a limited example of 1940s architecture in the city. This five-story portion, about 120 feet wide to the corner and 80 feet deep inside, could preserve the Art Deco lobby and elevators. It could include a rooftop observation deck from which to view the new stadium to the east and the two-block park and downtown buildings to the west. The position of this limited portion of the building would not interfere with the view of or from the stadium.

TEDD JOHNSON, Minneapolis



For Vikings? OK. But not for citizens in need?

I find nothing wrong with the police escorting the Vikings to the airport (“For $300, cops provide Vikings safe passage to away games,” Dec. 9). They aren’t doing it for free, and I’m sure they could use the money. And I was glad to learn from the story that police are there to escort huge transport vehicles and help with downed power lines. That would go under the heading of public safety.

Then I got to the paragraph stating that the State Patrol does not, in general, escort a private vehicle rushing an injured person to the hospital. What could be more dangerous to the public than a frantic driver trying to get through city streets and traffic signals? I don’t call that escorting a private vehicle, I call it helping a citizen during an emergency.

Sometimes I just have to shake my head.

GINGER COLLYARD, Brooklyn Center