Talent, education and quality of life have historically been Minnesota’s competitive advantage. Today, they are not enough. We must compete holistically.

For years, robust financial incentives in other states have overshadowed our talent and quality. In 2014, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development was given resources that at least gave the state a seat at the table, when we were otherwise not a consideration. Thanks to the Minnesota Investment Fund and the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, we’re a leader again — named by CNBC as the No. 1 state for business in 2015. Despite ranking in the bottom third in cost of doing business, these programs have helped bring clearer focus to our top rankings in education and quality of life. A little goes a long way in Minnesota.

Now we’re back on the bench, caught in an election-year legislative session that revoked more than $20 million from these “competition funds.” More than 70 projects in the pipeline are now at risk, along with all future opportunities. This is not a compromise that Minnesota can afford. These funds should be restored during the upcoming special session.

In Medical Alley, these funds made the difference on new headquarters, including those of Smiths Medical, Cardiovascular Systems and Ability Network, and in expansions like that of Beckman Coulter. These funds made the difference in attracting Heraeus Medical Components and the Olympus Surgical Innovation Center to Minnesota. The breakthrough cell company Stemonix chose to revolutionize personal medicine in Minnesota, not California.

Minnesota’s Medical Alley ranks as the world’s No. 1 health technology innovation cluster. Staying No. 1 means staying competitive.

Shaye Mandle, Golden Valley

The writer is president and CEO of the Medical Alley Association.


Praising it over one-party control is merely a theoretical exercise

In theory, Republican Joyce Peppin’s vision of divided government may sound like a reasonable idea, but in practice, all it means to everyday Minnesotans is that nothing important gets done in the state during the constitutionally mandated legislative session (“Republican legislative hopefuls file en masse,” June 1). To Peppin’s partisan claim that “one-party control did not serve Minnesota well” two years ago, my response is this: Please tell us how failing to achieve the compromise that divided government requires served Minnesota well this year. Legislators failed to deliver on all three of their priority issues for this session: transportation, bonding and Real ID. Why should we give them another term to do nothing?

Ann Berne-Rannow, Eden Prairie


The undignified, unnecessarily difficult death is too common

Jan Dietrich’s June 1 counterpoint “Death needn’t be a struggle” really hit home, since I went through a similar situation with my father three years ago. He was 98, clearly at the end of his life, wracked with skin cancer, and he had asked me several times to take him to Oregon, which has a Death With Dignity law. This would allow a terminally ill patient to end his or her life with a doctor-prescribed medication. This was not a possibility, so my father died at home under hospice care, suffering greatly until the end even though highly medicated — exactly what he didn’t want. Similar to Jan’s son Todd, my father was choking on fluid filling his lungs and gasping and, as in Todd’s situation, I was told, “Oh, he doesn’t feel anything.” If that were true, why was the attending nurse working so desperately to stop his choking?

The truth is I believe my father died in agony. He lived in California, and on June 9, California citizens will have their own End of Life Option Act. My father would have had a “choice” in dying. That should be everyone’s right. We must pass the Minnesota Compassionate Care Act.

Dave Sturgeon, Tonka Bay


History’s regrets should inform today’s city decisionmaking

The May 28 “Streetscapes” column about ridding Minneapolis of its Skid Row in the early 1960s by leveling 20-plus blocks in the Gateway area of downtown made me think how decisions made by city leaders can reverberate for decades. We’re still witnessing the repercussions from two other decisions from that era: building freeways through the heart of the city and ripping up our streetcar system.

Looking back at the intended and unintended consequences of past choices makes me wonder what will result from the decisions we’re making today. Perhaps today’s decisions are on a smaller scale, but collectively they can reshape the city in both good and bad ways. Should we continue building out light rail? Are height restrictions in historic areas a good idea? Are we going to properly fund our parks? Where should low-income housing be built?

I would hope that when confronted with decisions, city leaders will remember the past and think long-term rather than only about what is immediately or politically expedient. Tearing down Skid Row dispersed the “undesirables” and wiped away what was considered blight, but did anyone stop to think what might happen after that was accomplished? We lost our beloved Metropolitan Building in the process; the beautiful intersection of Hennepin and Nicollet Avenues vanished, and 55 years later, some of the blocks still sit empty.

Steve Millikan, Minneapolis


A win-win situation

Having just completed my third year as a weekly K-2 classroom volunteer at Anne Sullivan School in Minneapolis, I encourage others to get involved in this worthwhile activity. Classroom volunteers give students the benefit of extra adult attention and guidance and provide useful support to teachers. They also benefit from the stimulation of working with and getting to know the diverse and ebullient young people who are the citizens of tomorrow. While we often read about the challenges facing our public schools, my time at Sullivan left me impressed with its capable teachers, supportive staff, excellent learning materials, and pleasant and well-maintained facilities. To learn more about volunteering in the Minneapolis Public Schools, go to volmps.mpls.k12.mn.us.

Rudy Brynolfson, Minneapolis


War monuments are provocative

My wife and I recently returned from a European trip that included extensive visits to various World War I historical sites and cemeteries. We were overwhelmed by the courage and perseverance demonstrated by the soldiers of all involved forces; we were crushed by the catastrophic loss of human life. It is instructive to read about the thousands of missing and/or never identified casualties, but it reaches a different dimension to view a monument with 50,000 names of unidentified men from just one battle. This contributes to the depressed realization that the human condition has not materially improved over the past 100 years.

We would also like to acknowledge the work of the American Battle Monuments Commission that is the federal agency responsible for the design and maintenance of American monuments and cemeteries. The design, landscaping and maintenance of these sites was consistently meticulous and breathtaking. One could only hope that other federal agencies could discharge their responsibilities in a similar manner.

Brad Shinkle, Minnetonka