Just what the area needs: more retail shopping space, another high-rise condo or an office tower (“Southdale Library’s fate up in air,” Jan. 13). But a library, a non-revenue-generating building dedicated to the public good on that “ very, very expensive land” — ridiculous! And then there’s that “anachronistic design,” presumably so called because it is actually architect-designed.

I find the building a pleasure to look upon amid the structural rubbish that surrounds it. And what a shame that the $16.5 million previously set aside for renovations “went elsewhere.” Rather shortsighted, if not calculated, considering the current discussion. And what about the convenience of the government service center’s location there for the public’s use — driver’s licenses, passports, vehicle registration, etc.?

Fred L. Klein, Minnetonka


Views on carpool lanes, speed cameras

I thought that the adding of carpool lanes was to improve traffic flow. If that is the case, I believe that the rules need to be modified. They should include all commercial trucks. Getting these heavy haulers out of the regular lanes should help. It is well-known that they do not deal well with congested traffic. Plus, they pay enough in commercial taxes to justify shorter travel times.

The two-or-more-occupants rule should be changed to two occupants of driving age. Sorry, but I just do not see how a person with an infant or child qualifies as a carpool. Also, the law about crossing double white lines should be enforced more. This would go a long way in relieving anger and frustration in people who obey the law, as they watch scofflaws drive past them and cut in line down the road. Either change the laws or enforce them.

H.M. Gabriel, Brooklyn Center

• • •

Based on the Jan. 12 letter in response to a previous article about speed cameras, I am under the impression that the writer thinks that the electronic signs scattered throughout the metro area that tell drivers how fast they’re going are ineffective. Never mind that some motorists may ignore them, but I think such signs work as a common-sense alternative to Orwellian speed cameras.

Dan Wicht, Fridley



Do Minnesota boaters need training or not?

The Minnesota law requiring an invasive-species test, fee and boat decal when trailering a boat — set to go into effect July 1 if not repealed first — represents shortsighted government and may have dubious origins (“Invasive species effort is assailed,” Jan. 10).

The testing portion requires a retake every three years. Am I going to forget what I have learned? You renew your driver’s license only every four years, and without a test.

Where did this idea originate? Was it lake property owners who seek methods to keep boaters off “their” lakes?

The law’s economic impact on resorts will be measurable. Outstate tourists will say: “Why bother?” The law will accelerate the trend of fewer fishing license being purchased, which in turn means fewer dollars to fight invasive species.

I already have an invasive-­species sticker on my boat. I have been checked at many boat landings and never have had a violation. A test and another sticker is going to improve on that?

Do more boaters need to follow these regulations? Yes! Do lake property owners need to do their part when moving docks, toys, etc.? Where is their test? Focus on research and enforcement — not some test.

Mike Opatz, Maple Grove

• • •

To put it simply, the boaters we have seen at ramps are not conscientious and do not know the rules. We could give a lot of examples at ramps we have used all over the state — from Lake of the Woods to the Zumbro River in southeastern Minnesota. The best way to see this would be to go work at a ramp for a day. The real reason fines are not being levied is that we need to work on education.

Jeff K. Thorson, Minneapolis



More people should serve; it’s beneficial

Benjamin Luxenberg (“Uncle Sam wants you, you and you,” Jan. 12) describes very well the problem created by the United States having a professional (all-volunteer) military. We send them to fight our wars, with the vast majority of the citizenry having no “skin in the game.” It is no wonder that this leads to the social divide described by Luxenberg.

When I graduated from college in 1968, the Vietnam War was raging. My draft board told me that I had two choices: enlist or be drafted. I chose the former, went to Navy Officer Candidate School, received my commission and spent three years on active duty on a ship home-ported in Long Beach, Calif. I never considered making the Navy my career, but those three years played a key role in shaping the rest of my life.

Being in service to one’s country, military or civilian, engenders a sense of honest patriotism — not the American-flag-on-the-lapel-or-back-bumper type of patriotism, but a deep sense of being part of a greater whole. It is unfortunate that such a small percentage of Americans choose to have this experience.

Robert W. Carlson, Plymouth

• • •

I don’t believe Luxenberg’s commentary made a convincing argument for the rich and famous, politically connected, and highly educated to serve in the military. The volunteer service of today attracts military families and those who need the opportunity for well-paid work and education benefits.

My father fought in World War II as an enlisted officer in a defensive war of good cause supported by our entire country. My generation was generally drafted for the Vietnam War, which had little support and provoked constant protest. As in World War II, many of those fighting were probably not the best fit for military service, but they still bravely served their country. The volunteer military of recent years fights controversial wars and defends our country. It is well-trained and professional.

Military service is not for everyone. It requires mental and physical fitness, commitment, teamwork, intelligence and enthusiasm for the cause. Unless the volunteer service fails to fulfill our military needs, there is little point in forcing those not possessing the strengths required to participate. Hopefully, all citizens will serve their country and each other through their work, faith, family, active social interaction, commitment to volunteer work and contributions to the needs of others throughout our world.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis



Here’s your takeaway message for the day

In this time of fundamentalism, intolerance and strife, the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi offers this reminder: “Love is the religion, the universe is the book.”

Rick Carlson, Minneapolis