In opposing a paved trail through Lebanon Hills Regional Park (“Everyone loses if Lebanon Hills master plan is approved,” Feb. 18), Maryann Passe begins by restating the original purpose of regional parks — then proceeds to ignore that purpose throughout the rest of her article.

As a regional park, Lebanon Hills is intended as “recreational open space for public use.” It is not intended as a neighborhood nature preserve for those who live within a mile of its boundary. Instead, its nearly 2,000 acres should be enjoyed by all — even those for whom an uneven dirt trail is a barrier, not a path.

Although Dakota County is home to an eighth of metro-area residents, only 1/ 20th of the metro’s regional park visitors are from Dakota County. This is despite the fact that Lebanon Hills is set like a jewel in the heart of the county.

The citizens on the planning commission (2013) and a diverse citizen panel (2014) reached the same consensus: The park should include protected wilderness, enhanced nature preservation efforts — and one paved, low-speed, greenway connector trail. After the trail is built, the wilderness will remain — but then, it will truly open for public use, as originally intended.

Nate Reitz, Lakeville

The writer is a member of the Dakota County Planning Commission.

GOV. MARK DAYTON

Push for pay raises is out of touch

Gov. Mark Dayton has defended his position supporting cabinet-level pay raises in order to attract and hold onto top-quality state officials. I have heard this same argument working in the airline industry for 35 years. In the interim, every major airline has filed for bankruptcy at least once. There’s also Wall Street, with its high-priced CEOs, the gridlock in Washington and the ineffectiveness of our own state government. This is what we get for having highly compensated officials?

Despite my lack of a college degree and inexperience in the corporate world, as well as having no political background, I assure you I could have done all of the above at a much lower wage. It’s obvious that high compensation does not attract the most talented people, nor does it give us the most effective results. Dayton is miffed only because he thought he had a behind-closed-doors deal, and it became public. So much for government transparency.

Ty Yasukawa, Burnsville

 

MEDICAL EXAMINERS

Should this role really be contracted out?

“A wake-up call on tribal autopsies” (Feb. 19) addresses how society needlessly trampled on the religious traditions of Native Americans, twice. It did not address how private enterprise trampled on society as a whole by putting a private contractor in a position to perform an unneeded autopsy and charge the public. Needless autopsies were avoided this time, but how many times have we been charged for such activities?

Jim Strand, Plymouth

 

CABLE MERGER

Comcast ought to be called to account

The article “Comcast horror stories jeopardize $45B merger” (Feb. 16) could have described pretty much all Comcast customers. I have pages and pages of documentation dealing with all aspects of the company. Why is Comcast not expected to provide service like any other utility? If the gas companies or electric companies operated like this, I suspect the government would step in. It’s time to regulate this company and make it provide the services it is charging for.

Anne McGrane, Minneapolis

• • •

For the past five years until recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defined “broadband” as a speed of 4 megabits per second (Mbps) down, 1 Mbps up. The statement in the Feb. 16 story that the combined company resulting from the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger would have about a third of the broadband market is incorrect, being based on that obsolete standard.

According to the FCC (per Ars Technica), 83 percent of today’s Internet subscribers have access to speeds of at least 25 Mbps down, 3 up. Accordingly, the FCC voted last month to redefine broadband as 25 by 3 with a fixed connection (excluding mobile and satellite). Under the current regulation, Comcast has a 56 percent broadband market share now, and Time Warner has about 1 percent.

Broadband was redefined because 25 by 3 has become the practical standard. CenturyLink is rolling out gigabit speeds in the metro area. Google, Verizon and other firms offer gigabit in other parts of the country; dozens of cities competed to become Google’s first gigabit installation. In this context, is it risible to suggest that customers don’t need or want anything more than a speed of 4 by 1 or 10 by 1, or that adopting the new standard was “hostile” or anti-merger?

Brian W. Smith, Roseville

 

MILITARY AND FITNESS

Peaceniks can play at this game, too

I breathed a sigh of relief to learn from the Feb. 19 letter “Biking and walking leads to a strong future military” that should I ever be drafted in an emergency (I am 78), my regular 4-mile walks in and around Roseville Central Park will help make me fit to fight the enemy, whomever that may be.

I only hope those pesky peaceniks didn’t read the letter signed by two retired U.S. brigadier generals because that would help make them all the stronger to conduct antiwar marches and other demonstrations, which are the last thing America needs in its benevolent, endless, taxpayer-funded mission to bring peace, freedom, democracy and capitalism to the entire world.

Willard B. Shapira, Roseville

 

DANCE CONTROVERSY

OK, I’ve heard enough

Hey. All you dance team antagonists: This is a perfect example of what can only be termed a First World problem. Trivial. Get over yourselves. You have food, shelter, clean water, plumbing and heat. Find something better to do with your lives.

James Wallace, Eden Prairie

 

VERMONT’S MOTTO

It’s not just any Latin

I hate to be pedantic (my friends might disagree), but Vermont’s proposed Latin motto — stella quarta decima fulgeat — does not mean, as so many news reports have stated, “The 14th star shines bright.” Fulgeat is subjunctive, so it means “may the 14th star shine bright.” The Vermonters aren’t proudly stating it as a fact, but modestly hoping for it. They aren’t Texans, after all.

Jon Sutton, Minneapolis