Here's a thought: If the zipline across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is so popular as an event during the city's Super Bowl activities, why not leave it in place and operate it as a permanent attraction all year round? Judging by the article in Saturday's paper ("A super start," front page), people are willing to come great distances to experience a zipline. A permanent zipline would encourage tourism and provide a unique experience for visitors. And the city could generate income from it and use that money toward city expenses. A win-win situation all the way around, in my opinion.
Willis Woyke, Columbia Heights
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The Minneapolis Park Board has a winner in the Lake Harriet Kite Festival. On Saturday, thousands of Minnesotans came out to enjoy a relatively mild January day walking on the lake, flying kites of every persuasion and admiring the beauty. Unfortunately, the festival is a victim of its own success. So many folks tried to come that there was gridlock for miles around the lake, in Linden Hills and all the way back to Hennepin Avenue. Some families returned home unable to find a parking spot. Might the Park Board consider running this free, delightful event for two days next year on both a Saturday and a Sunday and for more than four hours?
Jan Lane, Minneapolis
It's pretty quiet downtown, and business is not so super for us
I own Max's Café, a small, independent coffee shop/cafe in the skyway system at the intersection of 2nd and Washington avenues S. Several of the businesses located near my restaurant have told their staff to work from home because of the Super Bowl events. Because of this, my business has been down about 20 percent from where I am usually at on a Monday morning. I would expect this trend to continue for the week. I am fairly close to all of the events, but I am not in the immediate impact area. Parking was priced at the regular rate today. Local people are avoiding coming downtown because they are trying to avoid crowds and traffic that simply were nonexistent through most of the city, and the tourists are sticking to a small area of downtown. I am downtown, so I get to charge the extra 3 percent downtown sales tax, making us the highest-taxed city in the country at 11.025 percent. Businesses near me are not expecting a positive economic impact from the Super Bowl.
Max Broich, Minneapolis
Recalling when Minneapolis went overboard on cameras
Vina Kay's thoughtful concerns over the "culture of surveillance" reflected in heightened security for the Super Bowl here is a stark reminder of how the authorities can go overbroad in the use of technological devices inflicting "surveillance and discrimination." ("Will they keep watching us? And if so, why?", Jan. 27).
The deployment of numerous security cameras may be prudent for law enforcement purposes in connection with the big event, but their continued post-Super-Bowl placement and use, especially in and around the downtown area, raises troubling questions. They are not new ones.
A decade ago, the city of Minneapolis was stung by a pair of court rulings that barred use of the poorly conceived and implemented series of traffic cameras, installed mainly on the outskirts of downtown and near areas of high minority concentration. The Minnesota Supreme Court in 2007 ruled them to be illegal, and a subsequent federal court class-action lawsuit a year later required the city and state to refund $2.6 million in fines wrongfully extracted from some 15,000 drivers who were improperly ticketed for running red lights due to the dubious and often-inaccurate devices that were regarded as violating their constitutional and civil rights.
Hopefully, the officials have learned their lesson that some surveillance may be appropriate, but can be costly if done in excess.
Marshall H. Tanick, Minneapolis
The writer was one of the attorneys for the ticketed drivers in the class-action case.
There was no 'ban on mineral exploration,' as letter asserted
Regarding the letter to the editor "Who could do anything right with an opposition like that?" (Readers Write, Jan. 29):
The last sentence states that "[t]he prospecting permits were denied, and while an environmental-impact statement study was conducted, a ban on mineral exploration on thousands of acres of federal land in the Rainy River Watershed was imposed from 2006 until 2012."
This is false and easily shown to be false. There was no "ban on mineral exploration"; there was significant copper-nickel and gold exploration across northeastern Minnesota between 2006 and 2012. In fact, during the supposed "ban," the Forest Service approved a significant drilling program by PolyMet for its proposed copper-nickel mine and approved a drilling program for Duluth Metals, then owners of Twin Metals. The Superior National Forest website also shows approval of a number of other mineral exploration proposals during that time by other companies.
Aaron Klemz, Fridley
The writer is communications director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.
Don't lump these three guys together as 'crusty old cave trolls'
Heidi Christenson's letter (Readers Write, Jan. 29) lumped Garrison Keillor, Harvey Weinstein and U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan together, suggesting they committed similar levels of abuse — in fairness she left out Larry Nassar, the vicious child molester. She then attacks their appearance as, well, pretty nasty. She doesn't think they really would have a chance with younger women, and thus she is boggled by their "self-regard."
But the three cases are very different, and in Keillor's case, allegations only are in play — allegations that Keillor is contesting and that have yet to be clearly identified.
I'm presuming that to bolster her "progressive street cred," she goes the extra mile and labels them all as "crusty old cave trolls" — not worthy of young female attention or, likely, any female attention.
I wonder what the male equivalent of "hag" might be? I'm not sure, but "crusty old troll" seems close. This is creative and shrewlike name-calling. Christenson has coined a new expression. She clearly deserves her own high self-regard. "Crusty old cave trolls" — it is very descriptive if not all that concise.
If "allegations" were made against women performers and men then talked about them as "withered old crones," I'm betting many would find that pretty offensive, but Christenson thinks doing so is OK and the letter made it into print. Why would that be? Maybe it is for the same reason that allegations alone of an unknown degree of offense are now enough to destroy the career and legacy of any man — the key concept being "accused man."
Paul Bearmon, Edina
Larry nassar sentencing
Judge's treatment of doctor was totally justified
In response to the letter writer who took issue with the judge in the Larry Nassar case (Readers Write, Jan. 27), I have to disagree, vehemently. Nassar is a physician who hurt, humiliated and debased multitudes of patients under his care. We will probably never know how many. It's bad enough that he did this as a person. It is a gross betrayal of his duty as a physician. I find it completely justifiable that he, too, was humiliated in open court by someone who had power over him. And better yet, that person was a woman.
Nancy T. Boyum, Stillwater