The riverfront sites in downtown St. Paul and at the old Ford plant sight are truly exciting opportunities for the city on the heels of the construction of the new Saints stadium and the enduring revitalization of the Lowertown district.
I hope the county and city will do something genuinely beautiful that is an asset to the city as compared to the lost opportunities of several other previous area developments, e.g., Town Square; City Center and Block E in Minneapolis; (the Vikings stadium); or even worse, the riverfront Hyatt Hotel in Savannah, Ga., a blunder that dominates that city's historic area but looks more like a maximum-security prison than a hotel, an enormous eyesore where something beautiful could have been.
Do something well in St. Paul. Be green. The world is full of beautiful places that people travel from far and wide to see, while the ordinary is abandoned or tolerated at best.
St. Paul is a beautiful, historic city. The two riverfront development sites should tie together the best of the old and new. Approve quality projects that optimize the sites, optimize revenue and feed the tax base of the city. That ultimately benefits everyone, St. Paulites and visitors alike.
Cherie Doyle Riesenberg, St. Paul
No assessment of risk is complete if it excludes ethanol
"Preparing for a rail disaster" (June 15) had some useful information, but the figures were incomplete: The calculation of how many people live in the blast zone (the "designated half-mile-wide evacuation corridors on either side of the tracks") needs to include trains carrying ethanol. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that ethanol and Bakken oil are equal risks to public safety. New federal safety rules for hazardous freight transport refer to the inherent flammability and growing shipment of both oil and ethanol. As the Star Tribune reported in February, the federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds.
Katherine Low, Minneapolis
THE SUPREME COURT
Column was wrong about both key upcoming decisions
I found D.J. Tice's June 14 column ("Two key court cases, two occasions for restraint") more than a little amusing as he tried to find justification for the U.S. Supreme Court leaving the Affordable Care Act provision before it alone. Many, including me, feel the wording that authorizes subsidies only in connection with exchanges "established by the state" was a blatant power move calculated to force states to establish exchanges that did not work. Tice follows up with: "Pretty clearly, they made a mistake in writing the statute — perhaps a political mistake in underestimating resistance in state capitols to setting up local exchanges." However, the Democrat-controlled legislative branch's mistake or underestimation does not mean that absent a change in the law the federal government can offer these subsidies. "Established by the state" has a specific meaning, and all of the language gymnastics in the world cannot change that.
Loren Berg, Rio Verde, Ariz.
• • •
One April morning, a majority of my classmates at Eden Prairie High School sat in class. I, along with 39 of my peers, did not. We skipped. Now, it may not be a great idea to confess truancy in the newspaper, but we had good reason. That day we stood on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, nearly all of us, regardless of political affiliation, rallying for gay marriage and drowning out yells of hatred and ignorance from the radicals who opposed our rally.
Reading Tice's June 14 column reminded me of this experience, and of arguing with social conservatives with the Bible in my right hand, a copy of the Constitution in my left and an American flag draped over my shoulders. What Tice missed about the legalization of gay marriage is that it is not merely a social movement or a legal argument. It is all of those things. No legitimate legal argument can strike down the First or 14th amendments, and in addition the mass ocean of support that same-sex marriage has among Americans is undeniable.
In 50 years, we will look back at this decision much like we do now at the civil-rights movement and Brown vs. Board of Education. I know my classmates and I will remember being on the right side of history; now it's time for the Supreme Court and the rest of America to ponder one simple question: What side will you be on?
Sam Pahl, Eden Prairie
TRUMP AS CANDIDATE
Wealth is otherly focused, compared with yesteryear's
About a hundred years ago, there were a couple of very wealthy men with a lot of power in the United States. However, Andrew Carnegie and J.D. Rockefeller became two outstanding philanthropists. It could be argued that their financial dealings were not always ethical. It is hard to find fault with their generosity we enjoy even today. They built libraries and other public buildings, and set up foundations and scholarships that have helped millions.
Today, we have the likes of Donald Trump and the Koch brothers, who it appears want to use their wealth only to gain the presidency, either for themselves or for a yet to be named toady.
Tom Leary, Mendota Heights
Must every last enterprise go upscale and price us out?
That's it, I'm closing the bunker door! You can upscale every apartment building, housing complex, restaurant and store in America but you can't toss me out of Disney World, too! As noted in the June 15 Business page ("Disney parks set a high-end theme for rising prices"), raising the base price to $100 for admission to the theme park just about rules out the average family (whatever that means anymore) from ever visiting the place. It is the perfect metaphor, however, for the American economy; things are terrific for the top 10 percent — everybody loves you! — but for the rest of us? Not so much. Mickey Mouse, you're a real louse.
D. Roger Pedeson, Minneapolis
Charge for carry-ons; checked bags free; problem solved
Regarding recent discussion of carry-on bags and possible airline policy changes: If the goal for airlines is to hurry along the boarding process, have they considered charging for carry-on bags that won't fit under the seat in front of you, and having checked bags be free of charge? I imagine that passengers bring so many carry-on bags to avoid charges and the inconvenience and time involved in retrieving bags from baggage claim. Business travelers would still bring their bags on the plane, and their employers would pay the charge. People who are traveling for pleasure would save money, and may have more time to spend at baggage claim. It's worth a try!
Nancy Duncan, St. Louis Park