I sincerely hope Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ plans for citywide climate action extend beyond sharing energy-saving tips and strategies with local residents (“Pope inspires, fires up the mayors,” June 22). The impact of individual lifestyle choices is minuscule compared with that of corporate “citizens” who continue to get free passes to pollute and oppress while the rest of us are reminded to turn off lights and buy reusable water bottles.

We need to transform the way we live, and nothing short of bold leadership will do in this 11th hour of the climate crisis.

What actions will the mayor take to transform business as usual at Xcel Energy? Target Corp.? How will she champion a swift transition to clean, renewable, distributed energy? How will she make sure that the city’s most vulnerable populations neither shoulder the burdens of the transition that’s needed nor are left out of the green jobs it will create?

I’m glad the mayor’s mind was blown on her trip to the Vatican. Now we need her to attack this issue locally with the bravery and emphasis it desperately needs.

Timothy Harlan-Marks, Minneapolis

• • •

City-by-city action is commendable, but don’t forget that Pope Francis recommends that climate change be addressed worldwide with taxes on fossil fuels. Unilateral action by citizens or cities is not enough.

Jeanne Johnson, Alexandria, Minn.



The bad (at Fort Snelling) and the good (in Minneapolis)

Are we to understand from the July 23 article “From a fort to a home” that federal, state and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources parkland next to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is being given to private developers of a for-profit venture, along with substantial tax credit grant money?

How does this benefit us taxpayers? Is another overpriced government “pork” project with expensive ramifications happening covertly in front of our eyes?

No doubt five, 10 or 15 years from now, there will be lawsuits for sleep deprivation, lung damage and hearing ailments from all of the jet and freeway traffic to line the pockets of a few class-action attorneys.

Earlier in the week, the Star Tribune and others detailed the urgent need for airport expansion planning now in order to accommodate the traffic increases predicted through 2035.

Why the conflicting support?

The airport area is for industrial and recreational use, not residential. It could better be a site for a pro soccer facility, especially since the lack of applicable property taxes would possibly let the thing stand on its own legs without the tax credits being requested by developers.

Surely, there are many other sites for subsidized housing that would not strangle airport and job growth and choke the project’s inhabitants.

Chris Howard, Bloomington

• • •

I’ll bet you thought no one would do the math:

$100,000,000 / 190 = 526,000

That is enough to buy each of these “low-income residents” an average house and pay for most of the expenses for 10 years.

Somebody is going to make out like a bandit.

David Brandt, Minnetonka

• • •

I began to read the article with a sense of optimism. Having worked in the field of social work for the past 25 years, I am well aware of the scarcity of affordable housing.

My optimism faded quickly when I got to the portion of the article that cited the proposed rental rate of $900 for a one-bedroom unit. I invite a representative of Dominium (the developer) to find a single “low-income” adult who considers this to be an affordable option.

Mary Morrison, St. Paul

• • •

It was thrilling to read the article (“High tech, low cost,” July 21) about the Rose, an affordable-housing complex being constructed near Franklin and Portland avenues in Minneapolis. Thrilling because of the high quality of the materials being used, along with a focus on energy efficiency. Thrilling, too, because the Rose is named after Rose Tillemans, a Sister of St. Joseph, who established Peace House on the same corner in 1985. Peace House provided a home where many people of the neighborhood gathered each day for conversation, prayer and a good meal. To make room for the housing development, Peace House moved to 1816 Portland Av., where staff continue to provide the same services Rose provided and where neighborhood people work to create a vibrant community.

Mary E. Kraft, St. Paul



Serving is heroic, no matter the role, no matter the cause

The article by the Vietnam veteran about not being a war hero (“So what if you weren’t a war hero?” July 22) was very interesting and thought-provoking. I believe that if this soldier served anywhere near the battle lines and did medic duties, he probably helped save lives. This work would indeed be heroic, in my opinion. It is sad that he had such a rough life after the war. It is great that he has apparently turned his life around, just by the existence of his wonderful writing.

Like him, I was also “conned into serving my country at the time,” except I was fortunate to serve only in Southwest Asia — Turkey. Also, like him, I went through a rough patch after getting out, but was fortunate to have had three years of prior college and got out early to go back to school and finish on the GI Bill.

The reality is that this war, and others that followed, created so many veterans who ended up either disabled, homeless or addicted to drugs, or turning to life-destructive behaviors like domestic abuse, violence, other crimes and even suicide. From my perspective, the VA has been doing a credible job with veterans, including my late father, who was a POW in World War II. The problem is that there are too many members of Congress, mostly who are not veterans, who have stalled increasing funds for this great and helpful veterans program.

Gary Thompson, St. Paul

• • •

I was saddened by the article by the veteran who felt he had been conned by our leaders, tricked into taking part in the war in Vietnam. I won’t argue about that part of his feelings, but I will disagree with him about one thing: He was, indeed, a hero.

It does not matter how worthy, or unworthy, the cause might have been. But with the exception of the occasional sons of high-ranking politicians or rich men, who are sometimes promised safer duty if they join up — everyone else who agreed to go and serve their country was indeed a hero.

Everyone who joined up — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, volunteer or draftee — went in with the knowledge that he or she could very well be sent to a place that might kill them.

If you believe that a hero is someone who agreed to face danger in order to serve his people or his country, then every one of them started out their hitch as a hero, and whatever might have happened later can never change that!

Dave Wixon, Apple Valley