I was disappointed to read about the St. Paul City Council's rejection of the hotly contested Alatus project along Lexington Parkway in the Union Park neighborhood near the Green Line ("St. Paul rejects building apartment complex on vacant lot," April 8). The primary reason: gentrification and the fears that it would put nearby rental prices out of reach for local residents. But gentrification is a much more nuanced concept than the debates would have one believe. According to the economist Joe Cortright, "the persistence and spread of concentrated poverty — not gentrification — is our biggest urban challenge." The urban planner Jeff Speck notes in his book "Walkable City Rules" that people often confuse gentrification with displacement, and he states that "more displacement actually takes place in our poorest neighborhoods than in neighborhoods that are gentrifying." He acknowledges that displacement is a "crisis deserving dedicated policy" and outlines a number of approaches for limiting it.
From where I sit, it appears that the Alatus team was working with the neighborhood to incorporate affordable units into the project. Team members were also committed to making an active and well-detailed public realm that would supplant a completely degraded pedestrian environment. A project like this should be not be evaluated based on a single issue. Like the neighborhood in which it would have been located, this project is multifaceted and can contribute to community health and character in many ways. Walk no further than to University Avenue from this site, and there are numerous examples of purely affordable multifamily housing that have been built along the Green Line, with more on the way.
A city is a collection of parts, all of them important, that together have the potential to make a community livable and inviting. The Alatus decision closes the door on a project that would have strengthened the neighborhood by adding diversity on an underutilized site without directly displacing anyone.
Bob Close, St. Paul
It's a city; we use all of it — that is, if the city lets us
Regarding "Businesses fear losing parking on Hennepin" (April 4): I worked at Honeywell's corporate offices when they were just off Interstate 35W at 28th Street in Minneapolis. My colleagues and I would drive into Uptown for lunch and would patronize shops there as well on our way home. It was a great place to transact commerce. We'd even go there on the weekends. (Dudley Riggs, Uptown Bar, etc.)
But I no longer go Uptown, and the primary reason is the traffic and parking. It's worse than San Francisco, and that's nothing to be proud of.
In an age in which I can buy groceries from the Wedge Co-op via Instacart, or meals from any of Uptown's restaurants via GrubHub and the like, why on earth would I endure the hassle of going there in person? And to someone whose family has lived in the city since the 1930s, the sad thing is that the same thing is now happening in Northeast.
Mark Tarnowski, Minneapolis
ARTICLE ON TRIBES, UNIVERSITY
Was that a quote or 'air quotes'?
The article "Tribes seek answers" (April 4), pertaining to the University of Minnesota's history with Indigenous nations, included the following sentence: "Freeman said he was appalled to learn of the 'unethical' research."
Readers deserve an explanation of the punctuation. The sentence might be quoting William Freeman, a former Indian Health Service research director, or it might indicate that not everyone thinks the research done at Red Lake was unethical.
We should be very clear that withholding treatment we believe will prevent a serious illness, in a child no less, is unethical. Performing procedures with significant risk on children without clear indication, without explanation to parents or consent from them, is unethical. (Kidney biopsies are painful and can cause catastrophic internal bleeding.) Withholding information that would help other doctors effectively treat their patients is unethical.
Dr. Carol J. Winter, Grand Marais, Minn.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IN HEALTH CARE
The Minneapolis example
An April 4 letter describes early attempts in the late 1960s to address health care disparities in New Jersey at a clinic established and operated by medical students. Here in Minnesota, the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic has served the same purpose with volunteer students from several health disciplines. The financial support has been precarious at times. As a medical student, our oldest daughter served as the co-chair for the first two fundraisers for the clinic ("The Art of Caring" at the Weisman Museum). These real-life applications of social justice need secure financial support so that our actions back up our words.
Michael W. McNabb, Lakeville
GOP LEADERSHIP FIGHT
Well, that was entertaining
It's been amusing to see Jennifer Carnahan and Mark Koran engage in a squabble over the future leadership of the Minnesota GOP ("Carnahan fights to stay atop state Republican Party," April 9; on Saturday, Carnahan won re-election to the post). Since they were both, according to the April 9 article, "ardent Trump supporters, offering no pushback to false claims of a rigged election," it was like watching two rabid fans arguing over pro wrestling rankings.
And since the article raised the issues of identity politics and race, consider this: A few years ago Carnahan complained about facing racism and sexism within the party. Those complaints are disingenuous in view of her continued support of race-baiting former President Donald Trump. She says that she faced discrimination as a child when she was told to "go back to China" and asserts that racism afflicts both parties. Where was her outrage when, in 2019, Trump called for four congresswomen of color to "go back" and fix the "crime-infested places from which they came"? Of course, three of the four were born in the United States. Nothing but silence from Carnahan then — and now.
Amy Rosenthal, Minneapolis
SPORTS AND POLITICS
I'll have none of it
Baseball is a game and is played for money to entertain paying fans. Without fans, there would be no baseball. Baseball is not a part of politics nor any part of a political game.
As I started reading La Velle Neal's April 4 column about Major League Baseball's response to Georgia's new voting law ("Decision to pull All-Star Game is the right one"), he stated support for baseball getting involved in politics. I did not finish the column, and I will not read anything written by him in the future. As the NFL is experiencing since it and its players have involved themselves in political agendas, some fans have stopped supporting the league and have stopped watching NFL football. I haven't watched any Vikings football in almost two years. If baseball is going to go down the same path, I will separate myself from the Twins and MLB.
If major league players want to support political agendas, they should do so away from the playing field and as individuals, not as athletes. MLB and its franchises should remember what they exist for.
Bill Winters, Brooklyn Park
• • •
Too bad the Chicago Tribune's John Kass ("Biden throws out a pitch for America's new pastime: race baiting," Opinion Exchange column on President Joe Biden's role in the baseball/Georgia decision, April 9) does not approve of ethical businesses. Standing up for justice could become our national pastime.
Barbara Vaile, Northfield
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