Reach out further on headquarters building

On April 27, the third-largest school district in Minnesota is poised to make a historic decision: choosing a location for the Minneapolis public schools headquarters. The decision promises to create economic vitality in the chosen area and a dedicated commitment to the neighborhood. But this decision is taking place at a time of continued economic uncertainty in our community and at a time when taxpayers are increasingly concerned about how public funds are prioritized and allocated.

There are three proposed locations, including one in downtown Minneapolis. Two sites -- one in northeast and the other in north Minneapolis -- demand intervention from the decline of home values, mortgage foreclosures and other issues that negatively affect the community.

These are two important communities in the city. Which will be left with a sense of abandonment and disinvestment by our school system?

We need a solution that engages our community. Until now the focus of the discussion has been on the three potential locations, rather than on a holistic evaluation of all of School District property to maximize flexibility, opportunity and frugality. The school board and its administration could develop a blue-ribbon task force of professionals to join city partners, foundations, corporate leaders, our mayor and our legislators to find the best solution.

The decision the school board is considering should not be done in isolation. A board decision with able and willing partners and the leadership in Minneapolis could revitalize our neighborhoods and our schools in a direction that does not attempt to pit one area against another. We urge school board members to consider such a solution.


diane hofstede, Third Ward council member;

kevin reich, First Ward council member

unitedhealth ceo's pay

Compensation based on stock options exercised

Your headline ("Hemsley's pay last year: $102 million," April 15) left a wildly inaccurate impression of Chief Executive Steve Hemsley's 2009 compensation. It is a fact that the UnitedHealth Group board did not compensate Hemsley in that amount in 2009. The Star Tribune improperly included the value of options that Hemsley was granted in 1999, and exercised last year, as 2009 compensation. By standard total compensation calculations, Hemsley received $8.9 million in 2009.

We welcome discussion on compensation levels, but the right number must be used as a basis for that conversation.

If your intent was to inform readers on what a CEO's current compensation is, and whether boards of directors are making appropriate decisions for shareholders, your reporting on this issue does them a real disservice.


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Regarding the UnitedHealth Group CEO's pay:

This is yet another example of the unethical and unjustifiable disbursements that are part of the American health-care system.

As an independent who has never supported "Obamacare," I may reconsider which side of the fence I sit on so long as people like Steve Hemsley and his rubber-stamping board of directors aren't held back from enriching themselves off our health-care system problems.

President Obama will gain support for his health-care objectives so long as he does three things: First, retain a reasonable level of free choice in the marketplace so that the best of the American health-care model is retained; second, create a reasonably priced safety net that covers American citizens and that ends the pre-existing condition restrictions and other abuses that most people do not support; third, rein in those who grossly enrich themselves off the health-care system at the expense of others.

Most reasonable and ethical Americans would surely support that.


earthquake in tibet

Chinese government: Allow aid and media in

Minnesota is home to the second-largest Tibetan community in the country. Our community is mobilizing in support for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Kham region of Tibet ("In a race against time, rescuers rush to find survivors from quake," April 15).

Our urgent concern is that immediate access to the affected areas of Tibet be granted by the Chinese government to international aid workers and media.

Historically, Chinese policies of tight military control, media censorship and harsh treatment of Tibetans in general make the prospect for this disaster's impact especially worrisome.

Already, reports from Tibetans in the affected areas indicate that the Chinese military did not mobilize search-and-rescue efforts on an emergency basis as one would expect in such a disaster, leaving Tibetans to fend for themselves.

Please urge Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and others in our government to pressure the Chinese to allow international aid as well as media into Tibet on an urgent basis.

Donations for earthquake victims may be sent to the Tibet Fund via its website, www.tibetfund.org.


star tribune

Serialized story, movie listings, are appreciated

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting the entire movie listings back in the paper. It's so nice not to have to make multiple phone calls and Web searches to set up a movie date. Now it's nicely laid out in one spot.

This is especially appreciated by my family members who don't have access to a computer, or when one is out on the run and just wants to see a flick on the spur of the moment.


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I would like to commend you for running the serialized story "Menace on Horse Creek Trail" in the Variety section. The 30 residents at our Care Center look forward to reading another exciting chapter each day. Thank you for caring about promoting reading among the elderly.