Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame and Mayor Jacob Frey have proposed a major real estate development for the more than 90-space parking lot behind the Red Sea restaurant in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Proposals from interested developers are due Jan. 10, 2020.

The request for proposals recognizes the neighborhood’s unanimous call for adequate affordable replacement parking for existing immigrant businesses and theater venues, but it does not require it. It also ignores community concerns, led by a group of Somali mothers, about the proposed mall that will anchor the new development. The mall would be the third in the neighborhood, and the other two are magnets for gang activities. The mothers see another mall as dangerous for the neighborhood and a bad influence on many of the young men in the community.

The West Bank Community Development Corporation is a community-based nonprofit developer that has been active in Cedar-Riverside since 1973. We object to the steamroller approach taken by Warsame and Frey. A meaningful discussion with neighborhood residents and businesses before issuing a request for proposals would have improved the project and potentially mitigated the strong opposition to the project by members of the neighborhood.

And the steamroller approach to development in this diverse and exciting neighborhood will likely lead to gentrification and sterilization if it’s successful — and decay and abandonment if it is not. Without affordable commercial parking a big part of the existing African and arts village will be displaced to make way for a new and probably franchise-dominated African Village. This would be a waste of an authentic regional neighborhood that is a unique attraction in the state of Minnesota.

Tim Mungavan, Minneapolis

The writer is the executive director of West Bank Community Development Corporation.


The GOP abdicated its responsibility

Democracy — the clear and simple definition of the principle that the majority view carries the day, one of the bedrock principles upon which the United States Constitution was founded — counts among its most ardent supporters in 21st-century America members of both sides of the political aisle. Since no one among us holds a monopoly on the best ideas, I know, expect and accept that despite the certainty of my position I will from time to time find myself uncomfortably on the minority side of a given political issue. Under those circumstances, my options are to re-examine the majority position to see what I’m missing and then possibly reconsider my own position. Failing that, I have to acknowledge that there are more people opposed to my thinking than those in line with it and move on, or I must seek more persuasive means of articulating my position. That is how democracy is supposed to work. When opposing views are expressed with sincere conviction and appropriate respect, it is neither helpful nor healthy for me to resort to indignant belittling or demonization of those whose views differ from my own.

Watching the U.S. House impeachment hearing, while I was struck by some of the passionate and eloquent expressions of views from both sides, it quickly became apparent that some Republican opposition to the articles of impeachment had nothing to do with serious examination of the charges against President Donald Trump and everything to do with holding on to power while turning, obstinately, a blind eye to his transgressions. And in doing so, rather than offering substantive rebuttal of the charges, those Republican representatives demonstrated no hesitation in belittling and demonizing Democrats who were carrying out their obligation to defend the Constitution. The charges were serious and warranted, but the overall manner of House Republicans’ opposition did little but exacerbate the stark polarization of modern American politics and further weaken the principle of democracy.


• • •

If everything the House says is true, why is it afraid to send the impeachment articles to the Senate? (“Impeachment turns to standoff,” front page, Dec. 20.) Are the representatives not sure of the outcome? Let’s get this thing moving along. We need it finished! I’m sick of it all.

Judith Schnarr, Minneapolis

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I believe that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delay in moving articles of impeachment to the Senate is a wise decision. It could serve as a check on Trump’s behavior. Further violations of his oath of office that might cross a threshold that some Senate Republicans wouldn’t tolerate could be met with a quick removal from office. Holding this over his head is certainly a better outcome than a sham trial he could claim vindicates him.

Paul Oman, Brooklyn Center

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I will be interested to see the size of the front-page headline in the Star Tribune when the U.S. Senate trial of Trump concludes — that’s if the House has the courage to send its impeachment vote over to the Senate. Will the headline “Acquitted” be the same size as “Impeached” was on Dec. 19? And, I wonder in November 2020 if the Star Tribune will proclaim “Re-elected” using the same font and size of its headline on Thursday? Just wondering.

Vernal Anderson, Woodbury


Women can be despotic, too

Did Star Tribune Opinion publish Nancy L. Cohen’s article on misogyny to provide readers some comic relief from the grind of the impeachment news cycle? (“Americans, be a global example. Elect a woman president in 2020,” StarTribune.com, Dec. 17.) Ms. Cohen suggests that the world’s political troubles are caused by men being in power. She lumps President Donald Trump in with a group of despotic dictators, as if to suggest that Trump’s abhorrent graces are on par with the murderous machinations of such despots as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ms. Cohen’s solution to this misogynistic problem? She states that, “Our best hope for reversing our alarming descent into authoritarianism is to elect a woman president in 2020.”

Apparently, Ms. Cohen, as a historian, is unaware of the many female heads of state that can arguably be considered despotic in their own right. Some examples conveniently overlooked by Ms. Cohen include Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina. Argentina has been an economic basket-case for more than a decade because of Ms. Kirchner’s alleged corruption. Other examples include Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Jiang Qing of China and Aung San Suu Kyi, who has redefined the word “quisling” because she looks the other way as the Rohingya population undergoes genocide in Myanmar.

So, the fact that there exists both male and female despotic world leaders debunks Ms. Cohen’s ludicrous theory that today’s political ills are the result of the Y-chromosome. Ms. Cohen’s prescription of electing a woman, any woman, to be the next U.S. president is certainly not a valid cure. A more cogent approach to selecting our next president should be on the merits and skills that she or he will provide us as a nation.

Mark Kelliher, Arden Hills




The caption on a Dec. 14 Readers Write photo of a nuclear plant in France should have stated that the country produced about 72% of its total electricity using nuclear power in 2018.

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