The city of Minneapolis has said that George Floyd Square, at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, is to be reopened after Derek Chauvin's trial. It is urgent that this happen much, much sooner. A March 15 article highlights widespread suffering there from gun violence, describing the mental health suffering of a Black business owner, an elderly woman sleeping in her bathtub afraid of being shot at night, chronic pain aggravated by stress and bullets "zinging" by ("A cry for help as violence plagues 38th and Chicago," front page).
Last Sunday, I attended a small backyard birthday gathering just two blocks from the square. In the middle of eating, a spurt of gunshots rang out, and we rushed inside hoping for greater safety. I was alarmed and troubled. The neighbors who live near the intersection are subjected to gunshots and fear constantly. Walking outside feels unsafe. People are completely on edge and neighborhood tensions run high. As a social worker, I worry for mental health. Chronic fear for one's safety is a sure contributor to anxiety, stress and depression, affecting people of all racial and ethnic identities alike. This unreal, disconnected situation cannot be allowed to continue, and the intersection must be reopened immediately.
If the square remains closed through the Chauvin trial, more people may be killed. And the people in this neighborhood will continue to be harmed due to constant fear, tension and anxiety.
Nancy Rodenborg, St. Paul
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Monica Nilsson's commentary in Tuesday's Star Tribune ("Revolution by day, devolution by night," Opinion Exchange) should concern everyone who resides in or intends to visit the city of Minneapolis. The violence that now permeates the area surrounding 38th and Chicago that Nilsson so eloquently details is a disgrace to this once-great city.
I visited the George Floyd memorial last summer with my daughter and grandson. We walked around the area along with many families with children, some in strollers. While I was not in full agreement with the memorialization of Floyd, I recognized its importance in bringing to our attention the need for fair treatment of African Americans by the police. Those who have allowed the area to turn into an autonomous zone that is now riddled with crime and violence have destroyed the very purpose for establishing the memorial. Who is to blame for this sad state of affairs? Nilsson answers that question accurately by her use of the noun "devolution," which is defined as, "the transfer of power to a lower level, especially by a central government." We can only hope the Minneapolis City Council is listening.
Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley
Reform, not apologetic payouts
At what point do our City Council and mayor stop sending payouts to victims of police crimes? What will it take next time — $100 million to make our city leaders feel less guilty? Even though the George Floyd settlement will come from a rainy day account, we still paid it out of our taxes ("Mpls. digs deep for $27M payout in Floyd case," front page, March 16).
Meanwhile, the businesses on Lake Street still have to struggle to reopen and repair. There still are few ideas on how to reform the Minneapolis Police Department.
Put a cap on settlements so there can't be emotion and guilt in payments, and retrain the police with that rainy day account.
Cynthia Syndi Syverson, Minneapolis
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The $27 million payout should come from the City Council's salaries. It's easy to virtue-signal by giving away taxpayers' money.
Jim Bendtsen, Ramsey
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Why are we holding the city of Minneapolis entirely responsible for the massive Floyd payout when most of the culpability rests with the MPD union and its training practices? The union continued to provide its warrior training program for free even though the city had disapproved of the program. This unapproved training can be linked directly to the actions and attitudes taken by the officers now on trial.
Mark S. Andersen, Wayzata
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Minneapolis is dipping into its rainy day fund to cover the $27 million settlement following Floyd's death. This follows the $20 million settlement after Justine Ruszczyk Damond was killed by MPD. The city is currently facing other lawsuits for police misconduct, such as shooting a reporter in the eye with a rubber bullet.
If you need to use the rainy day fund this often, it's time to replace the roof.
Matthew Byrnes, Minneapolis
No to corruption and pollution
Former Gov. Mark Dayton's commentary ("Sulfide mining has no business near the BWCA," Opinion Exchange, March 10) relative to banning copper-nickel mining near the BWCA is excellent as far as it goes. Unfortunately, he fails to mention the PolyMet mine just 8 miles away. Twin Metals and PolyMet will emit the same poisonous effluents into valuable waters, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior, respectively. Further, both are shell corporations spun out by foreign conglomerates, Antofagasta and Glencore, and both have extensive records of alleged international corruption including breach of contract, bribery, money laundering, child labor, etc. Unbelievably, the state contracts are with the shells, which have no financial capacity to pay for likely damages, while the wealthy parent companies escape liability, thereby leaving the Minnesota taxpayer on the hook.
In January 2019, a holding dam in Brazil burst, killing 270 people and causing over $7 billion in damages. The consultant for the design of that dam is now working for PolyMet on its dam in Minnesota.
Not a single elected official nor the media have given any explanation why one project is acceptable and the other not. Further, the Legislature, controlled by both parties, and the governor have refused to hold public hearings or respond to any questions including the absence of a health study, the failure of the contract to hold either Antofagasta or Glencore responsible, or even tell us, the public, why we are doing business with such corrupt companies.
We agree with a moratorium, but for both projects and while a comprehensive water study is conducted, preferably by the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic.
This letter was submitted by Arne H. Carlson, a Republican governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999; Tom Berkelman, a DFL member of the Minnesota House from 1977 to 1983; Janet Entzel, a DFL member of the Minnesota House from 1975 to 1984; and Chris Knopf, executive director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
The church's missed chance
Our daughter and her spouse are college-educated with careers in education. In the years they've been married they have both served on foundation boards to educate and support single mothers and impoverished children and teenage girls. They have year after year supplied homeless families with winter outerwear and monetary needs. In recent years they have given emotional and monetary support to a friend with cancer, organized yard cleanup for an elderly couple, and have donated to several charities and benefits.
In the meantime, they have raised two adult children, and are now raising two teenage nephews who have no parental support. Also, they have been giving timeless hours and care to two sets of parents who are dealing with Alzheimer's and other health issues.
Oh, and did we mention that our daughter's spouse is a woman? They have been legally married for almost 20 years. Living in sin? Hardly!
The Catholic Church would have benefited greatly from the time, talent and treasure of these two women, if they'd been accepted. ("Vatican says priests can't bless same-sex marriages," March 16.)
As a former pastor once told us, "Let God be the judge."
Kay and Dick Breen, Brainerd, Minn.
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