Kate Mackin’s very lovely photo of the skyline reflected on U.S. Bank Stadium (“In Focus” feature, True North page, Variety, Dec. 10) is worth a thousand words on why architects should stop designing buildings that kill birds.
Nancy Hengeveld, Preston, Minn.
THE FRANKEN SITUATION
I add my Republican voice to others’: Let process play out
As much as I am entertained by the cries for U.S. Sen. Al Franken to resign, mostly from his own party, and as little as I usually agree with him on the policies he would use to change the system, I must add my personal Republican voice to align with other principled Republicans, including former Gov. Arne Carlson, in a plea that we stop convicting people through the rule of the mob (aka, social media) and return to the rule of law. (“Former Gov. Arne Carlson says that Franken should stay in office until the legal process is completed,” Dec. 11. See Carlson’s reprinted blog post in Tuesday’s Opinion Exchange.)
I and other conservatives, by our nature, see process as a fundamentally important political value, and one that is worth the price of not having a Republican representing me in the Senate (for now). The law is what separates us from both the passions of the mob (populism) and the whim of tyrants (the imperial president), and our struggle to fight back against the populist cry for street justice continues. Unfortunately, the political calendar drives much of our system, and the timing of the senator’s announcement, and the means (promising future action), seem cynically manipulative, and I wish that I could believe that Franken’s timing was not simply a politically timed play to work the system. But I also wish that the senator (and others) would demand the process be followed, because the best service to our society that an accused can do is to insist that we, the clamoring observers, demand the process be followed in the name of fairness to all.
Bruce W. Morlan, Northfield
• • •
Several recent letter writers expressed dismay at Franken’s resignation announcement. One (male) writer said, “Franken has apologized for his relatively minor lapses in judgment. He is accused of no crimes or misdemeanors.” It might be easy to think of Franken’s actions as “minor lapses in judgment” if you’re a man. But women, often on the receiving end of these “lapses,” know their impact.
A male co-worker once purposely unhooked my bra while hugging me in the middle of our office. Another evening, two young men followed me for nearly three blocks as I walked home, saying, “Hey girl! Slow down! I want to get to know you!” I have dozens more stories like these, and so does every woman I know. Men’s “lapses in judgment” have made me feel humiliated, degraded and terrified. Even if these men didn’t mean to make me feel that way. Even if they’re better people now. Even if they were just joking around.
Yes, I’m disappointed about Al, too, but it’s about time we started recognizing that on the other end of a man’s “lapse of judgment” are real women experiencing direct threats to their personal safety and well-being. Let’s continue to give weight to women’s lived experiences instead of excusing men, even if those men align with our political beliefs.
Rachel Enwright, Minneapolis
MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA KERFUFFLE
Here’s what I witnessed at the Rufus Wainwright show
Manny Laureano is getting way too much attention for walking offstage during a Rufus Wainwright performance (“‘Center-right’ trumpeter on being center of controversy,” Dec. 9). I was at that concert. Rufus did not go on a tirade. He briefly, and I do mean briefly, shared concerns regarding the tax bill. The audience clapped in agreement. That was it. I did not notice Manny walking off, and I was close to the stage. Classical musicians came and went all night long; that is what musicians do. Everyone in that audience knows who Rufus is and what he believes politically. Manny acted unprofessionally and should be disciplined — not given all this media attention. He is a paid professional, not a victim.
Wendy Gaskill, Minneapolis
Streetcars are the way to go
After long and careful review, the Ramsey County Riverview Corridor study has proposed a modern streetcar line for its draft locally preferred alternative. Local officials will be voting on it this week, and I believe it should move forward for a variety of reasons, including environmental impact and energy use.
Transportation is responsible for a large portion of the greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere. An electric streetcar can produce two-thirds less emissions than equivalent travel by single-occupancy vehicle. Compared with buses, nearly one-third less. The overall energy use in general terms is also lower per person than other travel options.
With a push to use more sustainable sources of electricity, streetcars can be a more environmentally friendly option. Even the immediate impact to local residents can also be lessened by using streetcars. Streetcars would be less noisy and won’t smell like diesel exhaust, and the air quality would be improved with fewer particulates in the air. Streetcars have been shown to bring in more transit users than buses, so there is potential to dramatically reduce the number of cars on W. Seventh Street. I urge the approval of the modern streetcar option because it would allow for many more people to choose a less environmentally impactful mode of travel.
Tyler Teggatz, St. Paul
POTENTIAL TRANSIT STRIKE
Driver safety is a real issue
Having been a former Metro Transit employee for 21 years, I find the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005’s request for driver safety to be very justifiable (“A Met Transit strike would mar Super Bowl,” editorial, Dec. 11). Our entire family worked/works for transit in several job areas. Asking for safety should be of utmost importance to all concerned. Approximately 30-plus years ago I was sent to the George Meany Institute in Washington, D.C., for a schooling process. Many drivers attended from Brooklyn, in New York. At that time the drivers, all women, told me they drove their buses in protective cages. It’s not too late to start following suit.
It’s a total case of being safe rather than sorry. Please do something before the Super Bowl. There has been more than enough tragedy lately to justify the cost of prevention.
Mary Ann Prudhomme, Backus, Minn.
Good job, MnDOT workers
I think that the Minnesota Department of Transportation workers who repaired the Interstate 694 sinkhole leak deserve to be commended for their hard work and late-night hours, and for having to endure the recent snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures to get a stretch of damaged highway reopened in record time (“I-694 in Oakdale is repaired, reopened,” Dec. 10). Even though I do not drive that route, I’m sure other drivers would agree on my deserving accolades.
Steven Teener, Minnetonka
Something for the senses?
An important distinction should be made between the current Bitcoin mania and the tulip mania (“Bitcoin volatile days before [futures] trading begins,” Dec. 8). In 1637, an investor got a tulip bulb.
Michael DePompolo, Golden Valley