Regarding “City seeks another $45K for mall PR” (Oct. 17): Who are these people? If Minneapolis City Council members OK this additional expense for the Nicollet Mall project, they should all be voted out. They are over budget and out of time. Between the free press and some free internet publications, that should be enough to cover any events to mark the milestones of the project. The relief of having the mall opened and the response from shopkeepers and shoppers will be enough. Another outlay of any amount will confirm how poorly this project was managed. Shame on them.
Joyce Suek, Minneapolis
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One sentence in the Oct. 14 front-page article “As barricades fall, spirits rise: A remade Nicollet Mall nears its November finish line” in my opinion defeats the entire purpose of a mall: “The street will remain a bus thoroughfare when it reopens.”
I live and work downtown, and from my observation, the rerouting of buses to Marquette, Second and Hennepin avenues during mall construction has been absorbed successfully. Therefore I’m surprised and disappointed to learn they are being returned to the mall, where they clearly disrupt the atmosphere the mall is intended to create.
Neil Naftalin, Minneapolis
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Did any of the planners of the new Nicollet Mall visit European cities? The cities I have visited (large and small) have vibrant, people-filled areas with shops, cafes and sites that are fully pedestrian — no buses in the middle of streets. I think that most people would be fine with buses on the cross streets, and not in front of restaurants at which they are eating and conversing. Why do we need buses in the middle of the mall?
Suzanne Walters, New Brighton
In weeding out ‘lousiest,’ how is ‘high-performing’ being defined?
Neel Kashkari deserves the respect he gets as a key central banking authority, but his Oct. 19 commentary “We must weed out Minnesota’s lousiest charter schools” seems naive. He uses terms like “excellent” and “lousy” without any definition of what they mean. He lauds “high-performing” schools without citing any basis for judgment, something his colleagues would never countenance in his usual professional role. If he means how students do on standardized tests of math and English, that is way too narrow a base for judging whether students are learning from their school experiences. Who would evaluate a new car just on gas mileage?
Curt Johnson, Edina
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I agree with Kashkari, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, that the state needs to weed out the lousiest of charter schools. I would ask him to also agree with the idea to weed out the lousiest of traditional public schools.
Richard Naaktgeboren, Maple Lake
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I hope that Kashkari’s study of charter schools looks at more than math and English. Students in public, charter and magnet schools still need social studies and art to function fully in our society. We used to hear that when education officials across the nation were deciding on establishing tax-supported education, the reason was to provide for an educated electorate, and economic prosperity for the student and the nation would ensue. We should say “yes” to science, technology, engineering and math excellence in all of our schools. But social studies teach us how to live with one another, and the arts make us want to learn. In this day and age, for example, saying “the sun rose 7:34 today” and having it called fake news shows that we have been distracted from learning how to focus on important things that move us forward.
Luke Maas, Edina
It’s not the deduction that should inspire giving, anyway
The Oct. 18 commentary by William Dolan and John James on tax reform (“Tax reform, as proposed, threatens charitable giving”) was a bit insulting. To imagine that the only reason people make charitable contributions is because they are tax deductible is wrong. A number of years ago, I was involved in asking people to contribute their money to a worthwhile effort in an “upcountry” village in Sierra Leone in West Africa. If someone asked if a contribution was tax deductible, I stated that if that was the incentive to give money, then I did not want theirs. People should share their resources because they are touched by the need and wish to respond to it. I shared with contributors how their money was used.
If the standard deduction is increased to the point where people no longer itemize their deductions, it does not follow that charitable contributions will suffer. My wife and I rarely itemize deductions but continue to make charitable contributions simply because a need exists and one should respond to it. When people have more disposable income, they also have a greater capacity to assist others. That is a reality!
I would hope that people help others simply because they can.
John Strahan, Brooklyn Park
STATE EMPLOYEE CONTRACTS
I’m proud to work for my fellow Minnesotans; I’m not getting rich
I was stunned by state Rep. Marion O’Neill’s Oct. 19 counterpoint (“Incomplete, inaccurate data sank state pay deal”). She took a 45 percent pay raise for herself as a legislator and gave massive tax breaks to big corporations and her wealthy buddies. Now she wants to take away a cost-of-living raise from state employees and blame us for the budget mess Republicans created.
Wages and benefits for all state employees account for only 2 percent of the state budget. We are not the problem. We are your friends, your neighbors and your customers.
I’m proud to do Minnesota’s work. I plow roads, patch potholes and fix bridges for the Department of Transportation. I don’t get rich working for the state, but I make a difference every day by keeping motorists safe.
Republicans say that government needs to be run like a business. I’ve worked in the private sector, and no boss ever treated me with so much disrespect.
Mike Lindholt, Roseville
ST. CLOUD AND REFUGEES
A pause on resettlement is desired and would add clarity
Many of us in St. Cloud are in total agreement with City Council Member Jeff Johnson (“St. Cloud discusses freeze on refugee resettlement,” Oct. 18). He is asking for a moratorium (pause) in the Refugee Resettlement Program, which is what many of us believe to be crucial for our community. Why is Council Member Steve Laraway afraid of the blinkers being taken off and our community being made totally aware of all the issues we are concerned about being made public?
Kate O’Malley, St. Cloud
LITTLE BLUE LIBRARIES
An excellent example of police officers’ commitment to city
I sing loud hosannas to the Minneapolis women and men in blue for launching Little Blue Libraries (“Launching Little Blue Libraries: Some Mpls. officers will hand out books from squads-turned-bookmobiles,” Oct. 18). No better way to create and affirm community than to encourage every one of us, especially our children, to read more. Those who read learn to dream together — the stuff of building and rebuilding long-lasting relationships. Many thanks, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo — and to all Blues!
Judith Monson, St. Paul