The articles “Mpls. bets on walking, biking, transit” (March 10) and “City seeks $20M for riverside theater” (March 11) demonstrate a greater need for alignment between Minneapolis goals and developments.

Walkability of a city requires destinations in proximity to each other. To illustrate the current state of walkability within the city, one can imagine visiting its museums. The Mill City Museum is centrally located downtown. The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is located a mile and a half to the east (and over the Mississippi River), the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is two miles to the south (and over Interstate 94), and the Walker is two miles to the west. They are spread across the city at distances that promote more driving to, from and in between — not the walking espoused.

The proposed amphitheater at the Upper Harbor Terminal in north Minneapolis continues this development pattern with its placement alone on its own — two and a half miles north of downtown. To make a truly walkable city, Minneapolis needs to consider the placement of new projects in context of other destinations and how this contributes to walkability. The status quo ends up requiring more lanes for traffic and parking garages.

Ronald S. Hobson, St. Louis Park


A good dose of fear is what we need

Folks, I’m here to tell you that a little bit of fear is a good thing. Regarding the coronavirus, it’s the people with a cavalier approach to this pandemic who just might be the ones spreading this illness around! For crying out loud, sometimes it’s not all about you — others caught in the crossfire of this contagion are vulnerable. I beg of you to think of your elderly grandparents or those with underlying health conditions who could die if exposed to this virus. In fact, the coronavirus may be 10 times more deadly than the annual influenza. The other day, a doctor on the news qualified this statement by explaining that stocking up on essentials, for example, is not panic; it’s practical. The spread of this illness could take several weeks or several months depending on our diligence. Everyone must listen, learn and take all necessary precautions now! After all, it is so much better to be safe than oh-so-sorry.

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover

• • •

A well-oiled phrase attributed to Mark Twain states that the problem with common sense is that it is just not that common. Paul Gazelka, majority leader of the Minnesota Senate, seems to be just the latest example of this aphorism.

While Gov. Tim Walz has wisely proposed to bank most of the projected state surplus and beef up this year’s bonding bill, in part as a hedge against the economic slowdown sure to come from the COVID-19 outbreak, Galzelka wants to give seniors and others a tax cut and offers an exceedingly small bonding bill (“Time for budget austerity, caution,” editorial, March 13).

Here’s where the common sense part comes in: Currently the cost of borrowing money, especially for government entities such as Minnesota, with its excellent credit rating, is as close to zero as we can expect to see in our lifetime. Speaking for at least one senior citizen, take the few dollars per month you want to give me, and build something.

Tom Baumann, Isanti, Minn.

• • •

This is how nuts our society has become over the coronavirus. We are told to pursue social distancing (“When should we start social distancing? Now,” Opinion Exchange, March 12). But panicked people will submit themselves to a lot of social interaction at every Costco in the Twin Cities so that they can buy up all the water and toilet paper there is, even though it will not help in the least with the virus.

Paula Erickson, Brooklyn Park

• • •

Bravo to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their efforts in keeping America safe. The left seem to think that the federal government is responsible for the first line of defense and in some cases it is. Shutting off incoming traffic from Asia and Europe, for example, definitely stems the tide, and our leaders did just that. But stopping the spread locally is the responsibility of local government and business as well as individuals.

Good judgment and common sense by all of us will win the day. Sniping at each other politically will only extend the problem. We cannot prevail when one side attacks the other, not when we are all in this together. Rocking the boat, as some are doing right now, will eventually cause all of us to go down.

Bob Huge, Edina

• • •

The administration’s partial travel ban to Europe might have had an impact on the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. earlier this year, when our president was saying things were fine and he had a hunch the problem would subside in April. A travel ban now is simply closing the barn door after the horses are out. Policy missteps like this are, I think, an outcome of having a president who consistently prioritizes surrounding himself with advisers who are loyal rather than seeking advisers who have expertise (or even experience) in a given area.

Lisa Pannell, St. Louis Park

• • •

What if we lived in a rational world? What if Joe Biden had come on television and said, “I have plenty of policy issues to debate with the president in the coming months, but now is not the time to second-guess the administration as it confronts the coronavirus pandemic. While I certainly would have done some things differently, that is irrelevant at this point. Now it the time for all Americans to come together and do everything possible to control and defeat this deadly virus”? (“Biden, Sanders offer contrasts to Trump in outbreak,” March 13.) Do you suppose that would have been more effective than his political attack on the president?

Howard Haugen, Hutchinson, Minn.

• • •

A payroll tax cut, which would decrease funding for Social Security and Medicare, is not what Americans need in the midst of a viral pandemic.

These services, especially public health resources like Medicare, are more critical than ever, and taking away funding for them will hurt some of the people most at risk for this virus: seniors, who may also have other health conditions.

Americans don’t need a tax cut, we need paid sick leave so those infected can recover without exposing others to the virus at their workplaces, and so those who have come into contact with infected people can self-quarantine.

We need real help.

Dan Shuman, Chisago City, Minn.


Sure, it was advertising, but ...

I found the full-page ad promoting the book “Dark Agenda” in Wednesday’s Star Tribune highly objectionable. The publication is straight from the depths of the hard-right fever swamp. Mainstream media talks about the need to mend our country’s divisions. This book simply pours gas onto the fire. I am a Christian and I find this brand of “Christianity” very offensive.

I simply log my displeasure. I have tolerated many full-page ads placed in your paper by Christian fundamentalist organizations and businesses. But this one takes the cake.

Yes, it is a free country; we have the First Amendment and all, I get that (and all money is green). I pray most people are informed enough to not believe in this poppycock — fearmongering and hatred on the Christian right.

Michele Kessler, Plymouth

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