A possible solution to the protests that are continuing to disrupt citizens in the Twin Cities, and especially now at the governor’s residence (“46 arrested at governor’s mansion,” July 27), may be quite simple.
There are those individuals exercising their right to peaceful protest. However, there are many more whose only intent is to agitate and who have no desire to come to a peaceful resolution. I would suggest that those who are arrested for breaking the law be required to pay some restitution in addition to their bail and fines. The cost to the taxpayers, which is currently estimated to be several million dollars for extra policing required in these situations, should not be solely borne by the taxpayers of Minnesota. Why are these situations allowed to continue indefinitely?
Linda Stinar, St. Paul
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In a written statement to residents near the governor’s residence, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said, “I understand some of you are unsatisfied with [the protest’s] impact on you as neighbors of the governor.” But you know what? Some things are worth some noise and inconvenience if we want to live up to being the country we say we are. The Greensboro, N.C., sit-ins lasted from Feb. 1 to July 25, 1960. The Montgomery bus boycott lasted Dec. 5, 1955, to Dec. 20, 1956 — more than a year. You can bet people in those cities felt inconvenienced and disrupted. Progress took time and inconvenience. But in the end, the courage of protesters prevailed and needed change happened. We have a chance to be on the right side of history again. Yes, it’s messy sometimes. That’s what real democracy is like. As neighborhood resident Renee Lorrain put it in a July 27 article, “This is a far bigger deal than … inconvenience.”
Carrie Pomeroy, St. Paul
In the ongoing focus on e-mail, discordant and odd melodies
I agree with a July 27 letter writer’s cited facts from the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail practices during her time as secretary of state. I disagree with much of the speculation and excoriation (“here we go again”) that follows. Yes, I hear the outrage and disgust. As a prickly-eared feminist, I also note the undertone of yet one more Clinton critic relishing one more Clinton mistake. To be clear: I, too, am prejudiced, not to mention sexist.
Here’s my perspective. Will we ever hear “I made a mistake” from the most recent nonblack male president, the one whose inability to wait for all of the facts to come in led to thousands dying in Iraq? Where was the outrage and disgust of eight congressional investigative committees into that truly historical lack of judgment? Does it matter that the actual vote for authorization was not the actual finger on the button? But, of course, you guessed it. “I’m with her!”
Judith Monson, St. Paul
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I have voted in 14 U.S. presidential elections, and I’ve seen strange campaign tactics, but I would never have guessed that I’d see the candidate of a major party call upon the Russian intelligence apparatus to help him win an election (“Trump dings both Clintons in rollicking press conference,” StarTribune.com, July 27). What will Donald Trump owe them if he’s elected? Complete control of Ukraine?
P.T. Magee, St. Paul
Resistance has passion, but the evidence doesn’t back it up
In her July 27 commentary, Bonnie Blodgett decries media coverage of the anti-TPP protests at the Democratic National Convention (“A trade-deal critic watches the proceedings …”). I can understand her passion and that of other trade-deal critics. When one focuses on the impact of free trade on Rust Belt communities and workers, there is obviously real pain that needs to be addressed. But in doing so, one needs to also take into account the benefits of free trade and the extent to which free trade is the real cause of domestic manufacturing jobs lost.
These points were recently addressed by economist Michael J. Hicks (“ ‘Bring back jobs’ promise? It is, quite simply, a lie,” May 7). Among his findings are the facts that domestic manufacturing jobs peaked in 1977, but that domestic manufacturing is currently at record levels despite a decline of 7.5 million jobs in that industry. Most of this job decline is the result of technological innovation, not free trade. Hicks calculates that innovation cost about 6 million jobs, whereas free trade fewer than 1.5 million. At the same time, nonmanufacturing job growth over that same period was roughly 75 million jobs. And for every job lost as a result of free trade, 100 have been created elsewhere.
The solution to Rust Belt job loss is not a continuation or erection of trade barriers, but assistance to communities and workers that have been affected by changes in the economy.
Lee Rau, Reston, Va.
‘URBAN PARADISE’ PROPOSAL
Context in support of closing off a residential block to autos
Two letters to the editor on July 26 cast doubt on the “Urban Paradise” street-closing concept in south Minneapolis. Their remarks indicate limited understanding of the plan’s components. One letter mentioned lack of precedence. The other letter cited neighborhood traffic problems.
Lack of precedence is not accurate — the most relevant example is the very successful Milwaukee Avenue. I directed the urban design of that pedestrian mall integrated into its facing four blocks in which we designed a very pleasant walkway, a favorite car-free community space for Milwaukee Avenue’s residents and nearby neighbors. Vehicular parking is accommodated in peripheral parking spaces. Most important, Milwaukee Avenue’s area has a wonderful sense of community. Most people along the street know each other very well and hold many community social events.
Members of the Urban Paradise community asked me to perform site design for their area on the principles of Milwaukee Avenue. The Urban Paradise plan has garnered near-unanimous support of those households affected. This part of the Longfellow neighborhood is ideal for a similar multiuse street space, and our proposed design contains Milwaukee Avenue’s components — a 15-foot-wide walkway/emergency vehicle lane alongside generous planting and landscape areas, peripheral guest parking spaces, and backyard parking spaces behind each residence.
The current low vehicular use in this area would cause a minimal traffic increase. The plan has, as does the Milwaukee Avenue area, access to convenient parking. Residents on adjacent streets will find their own use of the lane welcome and enjoyable.
Very important: Many city residents today have found alternate transportation means, making conventional streets in many areas of Minneapolis at least partly obsolete. They can be adapted in several ways to be multipurpose spaces, which city planners are working with other neighborhoods to consider.
Bob Roscoe, Minneapolis