So often the argument from those who oppose name changes (of lakes or buildings) is something along the line of “we shouldn’t ‘whitewash’ or attempt to ‘rewrite’ history” (“Name change dishonors past,” Readers Write, May 2). And then we get caught up debating the past.
I suggest we look at these name changes differently. We’ve all known of companies that have changed their names or their company logos. They call it “rebranding.” I even know of churches that have changed their names. Many women change their names when they marry. By doing so, they aren’t denigrating their past or denying the complexity of their history, whatever it may be. They may even be quite proud of their past. But the direction they are focused on is their future. They ask: “What name fits me/us now, and will best serve me/us from this point onward?”
Whether speaking about buildings at the University of Minnesota or a lake in south Minneapolis, what are the best names for these now, given our current culture, values and ideals? What names best reflect the future we hope to build? People change, and names change, too.
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
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The Star Tribune’s April 30 editorial (“Unity in history: Decisions on names for Fort Snelling and Lake Calhoun fail to recognize the state’s native peoples,” May 1) was both disappointing and disconcerting. The Editorial Board claims the decision is an affront to those who worked for years to build support for the name change. What’s really an affront is the blatant disregard — shown by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Hennepin County Board, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and now the editorial page — for the Minnesota statute that requires legislative approval for a name change on a body of water when the name has existed for 40 years. If you don’t like the statute, recommend a new one or a new process, but don’t flout a law simply because it’s not selectively convenient. The Editorial Board laments that the state must now deal with this fresh controversy, but Minnesotans are the ones to lament as they suffer from the hubris of the Park Board that disregarded its own attorney, who warned back in 2015 that the name change needed to go through the Legislature. And lest Park Board President Brad Bourn (who claims that “we” pay for the signage around the lakes) forgets: The Park Board pays for nothing; we the people do.
Susan Hitchner, Minneapolis
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In “Court says it’s Lake Calhoun” (front page, April 30), “Save Lake Calhoun” attorney Erick Kaardal was quoted as saying, “We don’t have to pronounce Bde Maka Ska.”
If they don’t want to learn Bde Maka Ska, perhaps they can pronounce “misplaced indignation.”
Evelyn Reilly, Minneapolis
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Repeat after me:
1) Bidet (a bathroom fixture)
2) Macaw (an exotic parrot)
3) Ska (a musical genre that helped bring about reggae and punk)
Now say them all together. Congratulations! You have just successfully pronounced Bde Maka Ska.
Now, was that so hard?
Elizabeth Rosenwinkel, Minneapolis
Low Twins attendance isn’t complicated: Just do the math
Regarding sportswriter Michael Rand’s analysis (“Fewer fans in the stands,” May 2), is Twins game attendance really down due to weather? Forget it!
Here’s why attendance is down: Have you seen what tickets cost, not to mention drinks and snacks?
Decent seats are in the $60-$70 range. Want a beer and a hot dog? Add $20. Parking adds even more to the cost. That’s $200 for my wife and me to go watch America’s pastime. No, thanks.
The Saints offer a much better value proposition. We’ll take our business to St. Paul.
Joseph Allen, Coon Rapids
Chicken stunt in House distracts from real issue: Mueller report
I was deeply disturbed/disgusted by the attempt at humor by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., in placing a ceramic chicken and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken at Barr’s empty seat at what was supposed to be a very consequential and critical hearing in the House. We are experiencing very serious, troubling, divisive times in our democracy — for all of us, no matter our party. I felt this was grossly inappropriate and embarrassing for those who are seeking to unveil and discover the truth about what the Mueller report is trying to tell us. It’s simply not funny. Actions like Cohen’s set us back and negatively distract from and impede the critical issues. We need to seriously focus on resolving issues put forth by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his report and making progress toward civil discourse between all parties. This attempt at “humor” only portends to further divide us. We don’t need that!
Mary Lynn Leff, Buffalo, Minn.
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Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee hired an outside counsel to question Christine Blasey Ford during the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, then a Supreme Court nominee. Do House Republicans and Attorney General William Barr really think that a citizen, scientist and survivor of a sexual assault is better able to handle questions from a highly trained lawyer than Barr, who is an accomplished public official and is also said to be one of the top lawyers in the country?
Jim Wolfe Wood, Stillwater
How can building an entire world cost less than a registration system?
“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is a bestselling video game released in 2011. It’s a fantasy role-playing game set in a part of a world called Tamriel that’s a bit like Minnesota, but with mountains. You can play as many different races and specialize in all sorts of things. You can build a house. You can craft your own custom weapons and armor. There are more than 200 quests and 150 different dungeons. You can fish on the banks of a river whose currents shift based on the wind and look up at the northern lights while watching a dragon fly by. It takes like 35 minutes to walk straight across the whole map.
Skyrim cost about $100 million to make. (It made more than $1 billion.)
How does MNLARS cost $173 million? License plates? What?
Nick Magrino, Minneapolis
At the end of the day, black is black
The distinction to explicitly focus on black people with roots in slavery made by Village Financial Cooperative (“Redefining black identity,” front page, May 3) is somewhat troubling for me. As an African-American, I have always identified as a Pan-Africanist and stand in solidarity with the global diaspora.
The details of our histories are different, but both African-Americans and African immigrants have been seriously exploited and disenfranchised. African-Americans were the victim of 300 years of slavery, followed by 100 years of segregation. The continent of Africa has been, and continues to be, exploited by American multinational corporations for natural resources.
The path forward is together, not divided. At the end of the day, to the oppressors, black is black. As a global community, we must focus on building a prosperous future and not quibble over the differences.
Robert Harris III, Minneapolis