The views of the Nicollet Mall renewal by Frank Edgerton Martin (“In search of the real Nicollet Mall,” Variety, March 28) are perfect and should be digested by everyone who cares about the mall. Martin is totally correct in his views against spending to give us something the spenders are calling the “The Nicollet Mile.” What a joke! The Nicollet Mall is now and should remain a splendid retail street that is open to the public in good weather and in bad as we look at it from our wonderful skyways. I spent a good number of years writing on this subject for this newspaper, and I sincerely believe that the “simpler and more basic parts of the Mall’s proposed design” are what all of us want and need. As Martin points out, “[L]et’s not fall for the idea that art and redesigns alone can make a great street thrive.” Let’s pause now, think it over and then get it right.

Barbara Flanagan, Wayzata

The writer is a former columnist for the Star Tribune and its predecessor publications.

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Concerning the remake of Nicollet Mall: Until all motorized traffic is removed, it is Nicollet Avenue to me.

Robert W. Carlson, Plymouth


It’s the steppingstone to success. It was for me.

In 1959, I was accepted at the University of Minnesota as a freshman. The only problem was I needed to take a “bonehead,” “Mickey Mouse” — whatever we called it — math class.

I returned to Morris, Minn., and told my high school counselor I was too “stupid” to go to college. He told me to take the course, for after all, he said, “you have been out of school for five years.” (I’d served in the U.S. Navy.)

I took the course, then passed all of my math classes, with the lowest grade being a C. I feel that had the university not required me to take that remedial course, I most likely would never have passed the other math classes (“Reformers ask state to scrap remedial college courses,” March 30).

And the rest is history: I not only graduated from the university, I also earned a master’s degree from Syracuse University.

That is why I think our colleges need to require remedial courses when the student has been out of high school for a few years, or when the high school did not prepare him or her for college courses.

Ted Storck, Surprise, Ariz.



The last thing we need is judges who slaver over polls

Erik Kaardal and Tom Dahlberg (“All power to the populists,” March 30) misunderstand or, more likely, misrepresent the historic American understanding of the judicial role in democracy. The founders were aware of the “tyranny of the majority” and the need for laws to protect minorities. They never would have demanded “that federal laws be democratically interpreted” — whatever that means — “by judges who are democratically elected.” If the people’s faith in the objectivity of the courts has indeed eroded, as Kaardal and Dahlberg claim, the incessant campaigning by people like them for partisan judicial elections has had a large part in it. This decades-old push by a Federalist-Society-inspired elite to put us on the same road as Wisconsin should be judged by its results in that state, and by the Michelle MacDonald fiasco here, not by its populist rhetoric. Better to put Charlton Heston in Abe’s place on the $5 bill than to replace real judges with two-bit, poll-driven charlatans.

Stan Keillor, Mendota Heights



I’ll take these two any day

Dorothy Fleming (“Cinderella’s one gal to look up to,” March 28) states that “Cinderella always acts with courage and kindness.” I like that. However, in the next line, Fleming unkindly offers out-of-context quotes from two high-profile women (Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton) who happen to be Democrats and who happen to have had highly successful careers in public service, presenting them as “models for our daughters” that “we” don’t want. I didn’t have daughters, but I am proud to have Clinton and Pelosi cited as role models for my six granddaughters. Brains and commitment to public service beat Swarovski shoes any day.

Judith Healey, Minneapolis