It’s clear that the writer of the Nov. 16 lead letter (“Pretty high hopes for Ford site”) didn’t attend St. Paul’s Nov. 14 public meeting on the former Ford site. The writer oversimplified the economic analysis, urging the city to consider much-higher, 30- to 40-story condo/apartment buildings in order to theoretically enable greater open space/park provision. Perhaps he didn’t realize that Hidden Falls Regional Park lies just below?
I attended the public meeting, and, like many others I spoke to, was impressed with the city’s multiyear public engagement and planning process for the Ford site. The letter writer might not be aware of the complex dynamics on-site. While the location is fantastic, there are extreme constraints, such as strict limits on maximum building heights due to proximity to the Mississippi River, in addition to undevelopable areas with residual contamination that will be capped.
As a nearby resident, I appreciate the city’s ambitious renewable-energy goals for the site, the daylighting of Hidden Falls creek, the connecting of the site to the existing street grid, the provision of bike connections, and the new housing choices, including much-needed senior housing. It’s clear the city wants to get it right with this “once in a century” development. Hats off to the resident task force and community leaders who have worked so hard to advance this vision.
Martha Faust, St. Paul
The writer is executive director of Minnesota Brownfields.
The most important point about Medicare
Once again the Star Tribune Editorial Board misses the most important point on Medicare and the solutions to costs, as it has in the past on Affordable Care Act current rate increases and coverage limitations by insurance companies. The Nov. 18 editorial (“Medicare ‘reform’ for some, but not for all?”) talks about the plan by House Speaker Paul Ryan to provide vouchers for seniors to buy private plans. Well, the entire reason we got Medicare in 1965 was that the private system would not take on this coverage, and if you think ACA rates are high, you don’t need to be an actuary to realize they would be totally unaffordable to seniors if they had to pay full price with a modest voucher, even if the private insurance industry were to offer it.
Today’s senior supplements are very affordable due to the fact that they overlay a very rich Medicare plan that acts as a subsidy to the private plans that are now being offered as Medicare Advantage plans. The attempt at cost control would be better spent having Medicare and also Medicaid using their buying power to negotiate drug prices, which Medicaid used to do before the Part D drug program and the VA continues to do very successfully. With respect to ACA, it is past time for the Star Tribune to start teaching the public that what is missing is reinsurance to help the private insurance system, which we continue to embrace, so that private insurers are protected from adverse losses they were bound to suffer when the floodgates opened to all manner of folks, sick or healthy.
The folks who pay out-of-pocket and the insurance companies are both in the same sinking boat without life jackets.
Cary Shaich, Plymouth
Liberals of course only want civility to work in their favor
OK, let me see if I understand the point of a Nov. 18 letter writer’s response to Dennis Carstens’ Nov. 17 commentary “The liberal elites finally got their walking papers”: She believes one side should stop marginalizing the other side by ceasing to use the hurtful labels like “snowflake” and “smug.” Hmm. Seriously? Following 18 months of ad-hominem attacks of racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, stupid, backward deplorables, I think “snowflake” is pretty mild, almost endearing, in comparison, but maybe it’s just me.
Elizabeth Anderson, Minnetonka
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I remember how conservatives were so upset about the quotes attributed to President Obama’s firebrand former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Can you imagine if, instead of repudiating Wright, Obama had installed him in the White House as a close adviser? Several of Trump’s appointments make Wright seem comparatively moderate. Is there still any wonder why so many people have taken to the street to protest the radical Trump regime?
Paul Oman, Brooklyn Center
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Emotions have run high on all sides since the election. Many people are, with good reason, worried about what this election means for free speech, civil rights, international trade, the Paris climate agreement, the rule of law, appropriate use of military resources — and on and on. However, Donald Trump is not certain to be our next president until Dec. 19, when the members of the Electoral College cast their votes.
The founders designed the Electoral College as a buffer to prevent the installation of someone unfit for office as president. Arguably, there has never been a candidate less prepared to hold this office. The Hamilton electors are working to persuade the more than 160 Republican electors who are not legally bound to vote for Trump that a Republican can still take the presidency but that a more reasonable, qualified “compromise candidate” can be put into office. If 21 Republican electors do not cast their ballots for Trump, he loses the needed 270 votes to gain the presidency. They do not need to vote for Hillary Clinton; they could vote for anyone. The choice of president would then be put into the House of Representatives, which almost certainly would choose a Republican.
Now, I am not a Republican. However, there are plenty of Republican leaders with whom I do not agree, but who do not frighten me. The might of the U.S. military and nuclear codes at the disposal of the famously thin-skinned, vengeful Trump is truly terrifying. The Electoral College is our last hope to put a voice of reason in the White House. Changing the outcome of that vote is not as far out of reach as some think.
Tamara Jackman, Cannon Falls, Minn.
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The presidential election of 2016 has taken the wind out of the sails of both political parties. Most of my Republican friends feel just as much despair as the Democrats — President-elect Donald J. Trump reflects what they disdain as thoughtful, thinking voters, not what they champion as traditional conservatives. They now sit defeated as supporters of respectable conservative values, while those who voted this man into power are increasingly stunned at what they’ve wrought.
This election revealed an alarming number of voters who have lost faith in both parties, but we can create an upside to the calamity if we come together with the will that grew this great country. We can win ourselves back.
Those who have been silent must have the courage to speak up; those who have slipped into blind party loyalty must develop the will to see; those who have championed the righteousness of their personal convictions must realize and repudiate their arrogance.
To begin, instead of throwing our hands up in despair, we must work honestly and diligently to ethically affect meaningful causes that develop within the Trump administration — one after another; small pieces for a grand mosaic that will reflect who we truly are. Through this dedication, we can ultimately create a powerful third party — perhaps unnamed until its face begins to form. There is authority in majority.
Shawn Gilbert, Edina