My wife and I recently bought Minnesota Lynx tickets to their first playoff finals game against the Indiana Fever. We planned to show our support by wearing Lynx T-shirts to the game. The Lynx are Minnesota’s most successful professional team, having won two championships in the past five years and nearing a potential third, so how difficult could it be to buy some Lynx merchandise? Turns out, very difficult.

Store after store informed us that it didn’t carry Lynx gear, but that it did carry gear from every other professional Minnesota sports team. No Lynx gear at the major sporting chains, like Sports Authority, or even the smaller local sports stores. Despite being the sponsor of the arena in which the Lynx play, no Lynx gear at Target, either. We could find Lynx gear only at two stores: ProImage at the Mall of America carried a few things, and the Timberwolves and Lynx ProShop at Target Center. That’s it.

We started wondering:  What’s the deal with Minnesota sports stores not supporting the Lynx? Do other states support their WNBA teams better? We called around to sports stores in Indiana to see if they carried gear from the Lynx’s opposing team, the Indiana Fever. We called Finish Line, the main sponsor of the Fever. Surely, they must carry Indiana Fever gear. But alas, they don’t, even though their logo is front and center on the Fever jerseys.

We are disappointed by this, but not surprised. Inequality in women’s sports has long been the status quo. Whether it’s inequality in pay, time spent covered in the media or media portrayal as sex symbols vs. athletic heroes. Add lack of available merchandise as one more inequality on this list. Some sports stores may argue that this is an issue of supply and demand and that there simply isn’t the demand for Lynx gear. However, even in 2011, the first year the Lynx won the championship, Lynx merchandise was nowhere to be found. In other words, has there ever been a supply to even test the demand?

We’re not going to fix the gender disparity in professional sports overnight, but we don’t think it’s too much to ask for our local sporting stores to support all of their local teams. So what do you say sports stores? Perhaps carrying the gear of our Minnesota champions, the Lynx, would be a step in the right direction.

Jordan Rullo and Amy Westberg, St. Paul

Editor’s note: The Lynx will play the Fever for the WNBA championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Target Center.

HEALTH CARE

Let’s take it a step further; make MinnesotaCare a public option

I appreciate the Star Tribune Editorial Board asking for a smarter debate on health insurance price hikes (“Smart debate needed on health care hikes,” Oct. 11). We should explore the opportunity we have in our state of converting our “Basic Health Program,” MinnesotaCare, to the country’s only state-run public option. One of the greatest shortfalls of the Affordable Care Act is that there is no public option. We really have no competition to keep the private insurance companies from gouging us with ever-escalating premiums.

MinnesotaCare should be opened up to all Minnesotans, regardless of age or income. This would help balance out the risk pool. The MNsure exchange would have real choice. Consumers could use federal subsidies to help purchase MinnesotaCare.

The costs of this plan could be reined in by creating a purpose-driven health insurance plan instead of a profit-driven plan. The agency could be a public/private entity that could use the strengths of both models. All of us are consumers of health care, so in the long run we will all benefit from affordable coverage — especially as we reach our retirement age. We should at least include this in the dialogue.

Robert Anderson, Bloomington

 

GRAND AVENUE

How $2 parking meters will hurt neighborhood residents like me

St. Paul’s proposed use of parking meters on Grand Avenue between Ayd Mill Road and Dale Street was made with no transparency nor consultation with neighborhood residents or businesses (“Meters make sense for busy Grand Av.,” Oct 12, and “St. Paul mayor to talk meters,” Oct. 13). Slipped into the draft budget to supply a revenue stream, it shows disdain for democracy — and for the impact on our daily lives. Meters requiring $2 in the evening at each location to visit the hardware store or to buy a loaf of bread pushes us away from our local merchants to ones with big parking lots and more stormwater runoff. Our neighborhood is not just a tourist destination; it’s been my family’s home for 27 years. While we do appreciate its architecture, amenities, bike racks and schools, we have many people who aren’t rich but who put a lot of time and energy into making the community ecological and supportive of each other. Seniors, new parents and renters can’t afford an added tax. They need a place to park a car that they use for basic mobility, work or just to cart their infants when picking up necessities. Icy uphill streets, street crime and infrequent bus service (nonexistent on weekends) on St. Clair Avenue make it very unlikely that meters will cause a mass conversion to buses or walking to Grand Avenue. And to tell the truth, when was the last time the Star Tribune Editorial Board members with arthritis in their knees or the budget planners carried a 40-pound bag of potting soil home on their backs?

Susanne Spitzer, St. Paul

 

STATE CAPITOL ART

Cleansing period paintings — now that’s reprehensible

I am at a loss as to why some art, which is a depiction by the artist of the time, should be sent to storage because one person finds it problematic (“Scholar argues art in Capitol is ‘problematic,’ Oct 13). Certainly, the paintings are not photographs. They present the artist’s perspective, imagination and interpretation of the subjects. To have these pieces (or any others) ultimately shuffled off to shortage somewhere until someone with a broader mind and an art history background will pull them out and have them once again displayed is sad. Cleansing galleries, government buildings and other monument areas of period art because one professor says so is reprehensible. I recall seeing photographs of American Indians in all walks of life, going back to the late 19th century, and I must admit the individuals look a little grim. Perhaps no one told them to “Smile and say cheese.”

Gail Van der Linden, Minneapolis

 

MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL

Where is the logic in any of this?

A suggestion, and a question, for the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges: If the purpose of Indigenous Peoples Day is to honor them, then I suggest you proclaim an entire month, not just a day, and use that month to educate and honor. If business owners will have to give 14-day notice to employees, will employees have to give some sort of notice to employers before taking a paid (or unpaid) sick day? How much notice will employees have to give employers regarding an emergency medical leave? I just do not understand the complete lack of common sense regarding both issues.

Bruce Blumenthal, St. Louis Park