Thank you for the "Prophet and healer" profile of Michael Osterholm in the March 21 Star Tribune Magazine. I would like to add "courageous" to that. Some years before his speaking against quarantining AIDS patients in 1986, he was among the few who met with gay social groups and their support groups explaining the risks of AIDS and emphasizing the importance of safe sex measures. I am among those likely alive because of his bravery and diligence.
Ron Linde, Burnsville
Minneapolis is stronger than its naysayers seem to think
Regarding "Downtown recovery isn't a sure thing" (editorial, March 21): As a Minneapolis resident I appreciate all helpful comments offered, a few of which are by fellow Minneapolitans. We do have a real leadership problem and hopefully we can do something about that in the upcoming city elections. And yes, we'll have police. Don't believe all the doom and gloom about how dangerous it is, blah, blah, blah, by people who never come into the city anyway. Right now (Sunday), every restaurant patio downtown is packed, people are walking on the Stone Arch Bridge, and if the Twins were playing the stadium would be full. When the Guthrie reopens it will be packed again too. Can you get mugged? Of course, it's a freaking city! You can also get mugged in Brainerd; just pay attention!
So I am fairly confident that we will be OK. Minneapolis is a beautiful city, with terrific amenities — the arts, restaurants, sports, colleges — and involved citizens. Yeah, we have hit a real tough stretch, but what city or town doesn't? I suspect that in a few years when the dust settles on all these issues and we see what the new normal is, the city will be just fine.
Let's face it, humans have been urbanizing for over 3,000 years so it's hard to imagine that it will all come to an end over things as relatively minor as these — pandemic notwithstanding. I predict in five years a lot of people who moved out to the sticks for the quiet tranquillity (and because they have few of "those people" around) will tiptoe their way back to civilization. If they're smart they might try to get in on the bargains that are about to abound in the meantime. Think I'll go get a deal on one of the beautiful condos on the river!
D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis
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I take issue with the editorial characterizing the citizen urgency for a restructuring of public safety through a city charter amendment as a "misguided effort." It is a last resort after repeated failures by the Minneapolis Police Department to achieve substantive reform. In 2016 Minneapolis was one of six cities selected for a Department of Justice program to reform policing through implicit bias training, community dialogue and engagement in racial reconciliation. The failure of these reforms is demonstrated most spectacularly by the killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, one of the MPD's training officers. The fault is not with Chief Medaria Arradondo, but with the toxic culture of the current MPD fostered by the tactics of the Police Federation.
The charter amendment proposed by the City Council would include law enforcement services that would be staffed by carefully selected police professionals trained and temperamentally suited for this important and exclusive role. They would not respond to every 911 call, as it does not take armed officers in a squad car to take the report of a garage that's been vandalized. Other public safety staff would do that. Mental health professionals would respond to calls indicating mental health crises. The city would no longer be obligated to employ police based on a ratio to city population, so there would be flexibility in how public safety dollars would be spent. And the city could start afresh in publicly negotiating a transparent contract with the Police Federation.
Patrice C. Koelsch, Minneapolis
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Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the social unrest after the death of George Floyd, Minneapolis was prospering despite its dysfunctional City Council. Residents, investment dollars and jobs were flowing into the city due to demographic factors that were reviving central cities across America.
Immigrants were bringing young families and an entrepreneurial spirit that revived neighborhoods largely abandoned during the suburban exodus of the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time, many young upwardly mobile people were choosing Minneapolis over outer-ring suburbs, and some of their empty-nest parents or grandparents were doing the same. Real estate investors and employers responded to these trends by bringing development and jobs to downtown and elsewhere in the city.
The City Council, with the misguided goals of stopping "gentrification" and "over-policing" put up many obstacles to these favorable urban demographic trends, imposing burdensome regulations that discouraged business formation and development and ignoring the increasing crime and social dysfunction downtown. But people kept moving into Minneapolis with developers and employers following close behind despite, not because of, city leadership.
In the post-pandemic world, downtown Minneapolis still has much to offer employers with its metro-centric location with freeway and transit access from all directions and its many sports and entertainment venues. Further, as companies need less office space, they might follow the example of Deluxe Corporation, which is replacing its sprawling suburban campus with compact downtown office space this fall. But to encourage such trends and ensure the future success of downtown, Minneapolis needs new city leaders who encourage rather than inhibit economic vitality and favor crime victims over criminals. It's up to the voters to decide this November which path they want to take.
Jerry Anderson, Eagan
Put fans first and hammer out a deal
Regarding the article about the Fox Sports North streaming fight and Twins President Dave St. Peter's frustration with the issue: Major League Baseball should remove the blackout rule. ("FSN-streaming fight galls fans and teams," March 21.) I looked into getting MLB TV since I could not get FSN on Dish, but due to the blackout rule I would not be able to watch the Twins games. I am willing to pay for MLB TV, so it's not like I'm trying to get something for free. MLB is losing viewers who don't want to jump from subscriber to subscriber to find a service that will meet with Sinclair's demands.
I've been a Dish Network subscriber since the mid '90s and have been happy with it. I was going to subscribe to YouTube TV, but it, too, dropped FSN. Chasing subscribers just to watch FSN is ridiculous. It is like going to an auto-parts store looking for a part for my Chevy and being told I need to go buy a Ford to get that part.
Since this has been going on for almost two years, I'd like to see the government: 1) provide binding arbitration between Sinclair and service providers and 2) work to get changes to the blackout rules. I believe there is a role for government to settle a dispute like this. MLB could show that it really does care about the fans and remove the blackout rule.
Steve Hawrysh, Aitkin, Minn.
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The Twins, Wild and Wolves need to take a proactive role in solving this problem. The costs are much greater than they realize. I am a lifelong Twins fan; I grew up listening to the Twins on the radio with the occasional game on TV. After switching streaming services a few times to get FSN it wasn't worth the family disruption to switch again. My kids are not going to listen to the radio — the way they will build a love for the game is on TV. If this is not an option, they won't become lifetime fans. If they are not into it, I am not going to buy season tickets or go to more than a token game on occasion. The bottom line is the Twins have a relatively short window to hook kids otherwise they risk their long-term bottom line.
Perhaps this is a carry-over from 2020, but honestly this is the least excited I have ever been for a Twins season — and they should be fun to watch. If I only could.
Aaron Snyder, St. Paul
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