If the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board shares its lobbyist’s tainted view of regional parks in Minneapolis, constituents need to set commissioners straight.
Last week, the MPRB lobbyist urged a room filled with other lobbyists, regional parks staff, locally elected officials and state representatives to oppose the “Legacy of Nature” bill. He claimed that shifting legacy spending toward natural resources would not bode well for Minneapolis parks because there are no forests, no prairies and no wetlands on Minneapolis parklands.
In truth, our Minneapolis parks include many acres of woodlands, bird sanctuaries, savanna and oak forests, prairies and even a quaking bog. Our lakes, ponds, forests, prairies and wetlands are home to a rich diversity of plants and wildlife, including rare, endangered and threatened species, and they offer critical habitat for bees, butterflies and birds. Many volunteers contribute thousands of hours every year to help tend these areas.
These natural resources are degraded and at risk of further degradation by lack of management of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species, and also by the seemingly endless desire to expand the built environment within our nature-based parks.
I urge voters, commissioners and legislators to support the “Legacy of Nature” bills, HF 2703 and SF 3511.
Michael Hauser, Minneapolis
How about a half-hour compromise?
I was surprised to read in the daylight saving time article that there are only two options being considered for a permanent change (“Time may be short for time change,” March 5). Last year I wrote to our senators and in the Star Tribune regarding a third option — split the difference. Go forward half an hour in the spring and leave it. I realize in some circles “compromise” is a dirty word, but I am surprised that the article did not consider that as an option. You get a little less light in the evening in the summer and a little less light in the morning in the winter.
I think it makes sense to split the difference. I don’t know if the studies that talked about biorhythms considered moving 30 minutes. Why does it have to be daylight savings or not — what is the magic about moving a full hour? If you look at times around the world, there are some that are 30 minutes different from ours. If we are really serious about getting rid of daylight savings and keeping the same time year around, shouldn’t we at least consider splitting the difference?
Steve Hawrysh, Aitkin, Minn.
Socialists lose, but their ideas don’t
A recent letter to the editor about how socialist candidates fail to get elected got it half right (“Socialism has a long history in our country — as do its electoral failures,” March 6). The candidates may not win, but their ideas do. And candidates who oppose those ideas often lose.
Steven Conn, a history professor at Miami University in Ohio (who recently gave a Minnesota History Forum talk about “big government”), argues that government programs enacted in the name of “the common good” — what many might call socialism — have a long, varied and valued history.
“Socialist” government subsidies built the country’s transportation infrastructure, from the railroads to the Interstates. Our higher-education system has been hugely enhanced by government programs, from land grant universities to the G.I. Bill. Government support of agriculture began before the Constitution was written and continues today. Communications networks, from the postal service and the telegraph to the internet and social media, grew out of government-funded research.
While Americans may have a visceral reaction against “socialism,” they strongly support socialist programs. That’s why leaders like Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, neither of whom would have embraced the label of “socialist,” were able to enact them.
And those who opposed them paid the price. As Conn reminds us, in 1936 Alf Landon ran against FDR on a promise to repeal Social Security. He lost in the largest political landslide up to that point. In 1964, Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson with a platform centered on opposing Medicare. He lost in an even greater landslide.
Doug wilhide, Minneapolis
Take census as chance to fix gridlock
As post-census redistricting approaches, our legislators should grab the chance to reduce future partisan gridlocks. They can do this simply in a way that advantages neither party. The key is to stagger when odd-numbered districts have their two-year term in the 10-year redistricting cycle.
Right now, all districts elect senators for two four-year terms (in years ending in 2 and 6) and one two-year term (in years ending in 0). A simple change to the state Constitution (without needing further implementing legislation) can move the two-year term for half of the districts (all odd- or all even-numbered) to fall immediately before redistricting instead of after it. This will refresh half of the Senate membership every two years. It allows the Senate to continue as a ballast to prevent wild swings in public policy, but it reduces the likelihood after swings in public sentiment that the Senate will be a set of “concrete boots” to sink essential legislation.
Paul Farseth, Falcon Heights
Want change? Use your vote wisely
Wow, I was disheartened to read April Salchert’s opinion piece “Moderates wield their ‘electability’ as a weapon” (March 6). The doctoral candidate doesn’t want the Democratic Party to “force [her] into a corner as it did in 2016” to vote for someone other than her choice.
Just wow! This 74-year-old white woman wants her vote to count, too. But I sure as heck am not going to throw my vote away because my original choice is no longer in the race or because she/he is not at the top of the ticket.
It is incredibly naive to think that your vote would make the difference you are out to make when, in fact, it would not support the change you claim to want.
That’s why I encourage Salchert, and anyone else who was supporting a different candidate, to vote for whomever the eventual endorsed Democratic candidate is.
The current occupant of the White House has got to go!
Barbara La Valleur, Edina
LAKE STREET KMART
Nicollet Ave. will finally reconnect
Last week brought fabulous news: For only $9 million from the city of Minneapolis, the Kmart will finally be demolished so that Nicollet Avenue will again become a continuous street (“Mpls. buys out Kmart to reopen Nicollet,” March 6). Hip, hip, hooray!
S. Doré Mead, Minneapolis
The writer is a former member of the Minneapolis City Council.
• • •
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey smugly decries the Lake Street Kmart as “one of the worst urban planning decisions in our history.” I wonder where he’ll be years from now when a future mayor smugly states that Minneapolis 2040 Plan is “the second worst urban planning decision in our history.”
How many grand initiatives have been launched by misguided city officials in the past that have fizzled (i.e., Block E?). More important, how many are currently on the drawing board? (Fill in the blank.)
Let’s dial down the smug and increase thoughtful foresight to ensure the next Kmart in the middle of the street never happens again.
Mike Beer, Minneapolis
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