After reading “This is what a potential school shooter looks like” (March 10), I thought about how maybe we are approaching the troubled kids in our society the wrong way. I have considered some of the kids in our world “bad kids” for a long time, but after reading your article, your story led me to look at those kids in a whole new light. One way that I have changed the way that I look at those kids is that I have realized that they are not just the “bullies” and the “troublemakers.” They have a reason they act the way they do. Is it because they are lonely? Is it because they get bullied? Or is it because they simply aren’t loved?
Thank you, Aaron Stark, for sharing your story. You have made me realize that if somebody is considered a “bad guy,” then they are probably hurting inside and need to be loved.
Viveka Thomas, age 11, Plymouth
Arguments for and against the fourplex zoning proposal
A Minneapolis resident quoted in the March 11 article “Mpls. fourplex idea draws mixed reaction” opines that apartments are only good for college students and old people who can’t keep up a yard. Preposterous! As a 26-year-old Minneapolis renter, I know many, many people (master’s degree holders, six-figure-earning professionals) who would highly prefer renting an apartment in perpetuity to owning a home, whether because they have no desire for a place “to plant their own rosebush” or because they already live in a building that allows dogs (two of the reasons cited by the resident quoted in the article). I hope to own a house one day myself, though I am well aware that not everyone shares my preferences. This all is not to mention the fact that owning a yard in which to plant a rosebush is unaffordable to many already in the city.
I think the fourplex idea is a fantastic one, though I can imagine some useful restrictions, including prohibitions on building fourplexes in lots narrower than a certain width (e.g., 35 feet). These small lots would be more conducive to duplexes.
Make no mistake: The city is growing, quickly. And we can’t stop it. If we don’t allow developers to build more units (supply and demand, folks), we risk becoming more like the expensive metros everyone has heard plenty about.
Robbie Latta, Minneapolis
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I have owned and lived in three different homes in Minneapolis the past 45 years, the current being in the most dense neighborhood bordering commercial businesses, and would far favor the peacefulness of more remote single-family-housing neighborhoods. Over neighborhood objections, a 20-unit high-end rental apartment complex was recently completed at the end of our block, but that has been surprisingly quiet with its adequate underground parking. The commercial businesses attract a lot of traffic and tight parking that often nearly blocks our driveway access.
I don’t like the idea of random fourplexes throughout Minneapolis, due to their potential for unstable turnover rates, more chances for bad neighbors, many more vehicles and traffic problems. On the other hand, renters may not like a neighbor with barking dogs; noisy children and gatherings; and choking, smoky fireplaces or backyard campfires. It can often work both ways for strained relationships.
If the objective is affordable density, continue to build up at various levels of rental affordability in the 33 percent of the city where fourplexes currently are allowed, which should meet all long-term needs. The law of supply and demand will play out in the single-family-dwelling neighborhoods to establish fair-market pricing to accommodate most family needs, and the always-optional greater Twin Cities will continue to expand. The population of Minneapolis is already growing fast enough, so random fourplexes are simply not needed.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Has abandoned poor whites, or just has principles to uphold?
I was confused by the March 12 letter writer who suggests that Democrats have abandoned poor white Americans. It is Democrats who fight for a higher minimum wage, better public schools, affordable child care, paid time off for birth or adoption of a child, illness and the care of family members, and access to affordable health care, including access to contraception, for all Americans, including white Americans who need these benefits (as do all Americans). It is Democrats who fight to protect the air all of us breathe, the water all of us drink, the food all of us eat and the environment all of us cherish. It is Democrats who fight to protect consumers from corporate greed and predatory lending. If the writer really means most Democrats do not support most Republicans’ desire to control a woman’s right to manage her own reproductive choices, desire to let any person over 18 own an assault rifle and desire to permit some people to discriminate against others of a different race, religion or sexual orientation, that has nothing to do with abandoning white Americans. It has to do with a commitment to equality and justice for all; I am proud to support those goals.
Ellen Sampson, North Oaks
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I applaud the spirit of the March 12 letter writer but would like to take him to task about his use of the term “ignorant racists,” whom he accuses the left as stereotyping. In any day and age, it is most definitely ignorant to be a racist. As he aptly pointed out, many black and brown people are excelling, and the longstanding connection between poverty and minority is being diminished. Good for us all!
I would invite him to look deeply at the “white privilege” that now demands that the Democratic Party should change to embrace poor whites who flock to a demagogue who blames minorities for their lot in life. No, thanks — they can stay with the Republicans. We will just have to eventually outnumber them and actually get out and vote. President Donald Trump has used racism for political benefit. Fine — he can have all of the racists.
Cathy Bailly, Edina
Well, my experience rocked
I was prompted to write after reading a March 10 letter writer tell of his awful experience with the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS). I had the opposite experience.
After reading and hearing how the MNLARS system was so bogged down, I decided to send for my license tabs shortly after I received my notification. I mailed my check and application to DVS Renewal on Wednesday, Feb. 28. My tabs arrived the following Wednesday, March 7.
Can’t beat that for service!
Joanne Menke, Shakopee
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Regarding the MNLARS fiasco, a March 12 letter writer erred in advising that accurate software estimation comes from taking the initial estimate and doubling it.
The accurate formula: Add 50 percent to the number and go to the next higher unit of time. So if the initial guess is four months, the actual estimate should be six fiscal quarters.
Bob Lewis, Minneapolis
The writer is a business/IT consultant and the author of “Bare Bones Project Management.”
BASEBALL ‘BARGAIN DEAL’
And, if necessary, use air quotes
When you report the Twins signing of Lance Lynn for a mere $12 million (“Twins land Lynn in bargain deal,” March 11), Minnesota Nice requires that you put quotation marks around “mere.”
Jack Kohler, Plymouth