Wednesday October 20th 2021

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‘Letter to the Editor’ Archives

Letter to the Editor: Responding to “Ebenezer Land”

Public Housing: The Best-Kept Secret I think it's worth noting that the summary of the article on public housing that you quoted from us was "The best-kept secret about public housing is that most of it actually provides decent, affordable housing to many people. Properly run, it remains one of the best options for housing the poor." The quote you selected describes not something intrinsic to public housing, but what happens when it is designed and funded in a cynical manner by people who would like to see it fail. I encourage readers to explore the full article. Miriam Axel-Lute CEO/Editor-in-Chief Shelterforce

In This Time of Need, Minnesotans Have Stepped Up; It’s Government’s Turn

In This Time of Need, Minnesotans Have Stepped Up; It’s Government’s Turn By Allison Sharkey, Felicia Perry, and Chad Kulas This guest commentary first appeared in the Minnesota Reformer The civil unrest that unfolded in the wake of George Floyd’s murder has had a deep and lasting impact on the Twin Cities. Buildings burned, family-run shops were robbed, and local health care clinics and nonprofits were broken into and damaged. The places where people lived, worked and relied on for essential services were destroyed and entire communities were left reeling. During the summer of 2020, KB Balla stands near what remains of Scores Sports Bar at 2713 E. Lake St. in Minneapolis. Photo by Hannah Black/Minnesota Reformer. In this moment of pain, Minnesotans did what they do best: They lent a hand and got to work. Volunteers swept the streets and sidewalks. People organized pop-up food shelves. Donations — of $5, $20 $50 — came in from across our state and the country to help small businesses. This generosity has accomplished a lot. Thanks to these donations, local nonprofits like the Lake Street Council, the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, and the Midway Chamber of Commerce have been able to provide more than $10 million in grants to more than 400 small businesses. We have seen firsthand how these grants have helped repair building damage and replace lost inventory and equipment. These donations have supported local business owners’ abilities to reopen their doors and hire back employees. But rebuilding our cities cannot be done through philanthropy alone. Together, Minneapolis and St. Paul sustained more than $500 million in damages. As the Star Tribune previously noted, this makes the Twin Cities riots the second most costly civil disturbance in our country’s history, behind the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Entire buildings were [...]

Stop the Violence against Asian Americans

Stop the Violence against Asian Americans

By NINA, an 8th Grader at Jefferson Community School Art by Nina An article from 1907 says, “We must exclude the Chinese, Hindu and Koreans, and even the Japanese, if necessary.” Blatant racism is shown in connection to a disease and now we’re seeing history repeat itself. Currently, Asian Americans are still being attacked and blamed for the virus, which is why the government should be working harder to find solutions to stop hate crimes against Asian Americans. Government officials hold the responsibility to stop violence against Asian Americans and it will bring security to the Asian community in addition to reducing the normalization of racism against them. The first reason the government should find solutions to stop all this violence is that it will bring peace of mind and security to Asian Americans across the country. With all the violence, Asian American university students are dreading going out. For example, in The Diamondback, Dominic Escobal states “It feels like I have to look over my shoulder sometimes.” Similarly Judy Lee from the San Francisco Chronicle says she was out grocery shopping when she was met with two racist remarks. While nothing got physical, she was worried for her older parents and other Asian elders, saying ““I worry for them, I don’t want them to get attacked ever or be in the same situation.” The last example comes from PBS NewsHour; in March of 2020, a Burmese American family was attacked in a Sam's Club with the attacker spouting racist ideas about Chinese Americans. These are only some examples of what Asian Americans face every day. Congress should write new legislation that protects Asian Americans against hate crimes so they can feel somewhat secure. Secondly, the government should be searching for solutions to end violent crimes against the Asian American community because it will reduce the normalization of racism against Asian [...]

Can You Say “Tuskegee Experiment?

Can You Say “Tuskegee Experiment?

SOMETHING I SAID By DWIGHT HOBBES You couldn’t throw the COVID-19 or any other number vaccine on me in a bucket of water. Can you say Tuskegee Experiment? The research for which African Americans were used by the United States Public Health Service as lab rats to explore the effects of syphilis. That was far back as 1932 but medical science hasn’t progressed so far today that we don’t have one Dr. Jean-Paul Mira, chief of intensive care at the Cochin Hospital in Paris, France. In April of last year, he asked the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research director Camille Locht on French television channel LCI, “Shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa where there are no masks, no treatment, no intensive care, a little bit like we did in certain AIDS studies or with prostitutes?” Locht responded, “You are right. We are thinking of a parallel study in Africa to use approach with the BCG placebos.” Placebos. The same ruse this government perpetrated, in a study that went on until 1972, years with not one infected patient being treated with penicillin despite that by 1947, the antibiotic was widely available and had become the standard treatment for the disease. The program killed 128 of its 600 participants letting them die from syphilis or related complications. Mira and Locht might well have got away with similarly disregarding black humanity but for the outrage on social media condemning their comments. There is no telling how many men, women and children would have died a miserable death as Mira and Locht blithely went on about their business. Admittedly, there’s no evidence that US doctors will follow that lead. No smoking gun. On the other hand, there’s also no reason to believe they won’t, the medical profession conducting another Tuskegee-style experiment and simply being smarter about keeping it under their hats. Time after time this country has [...]

Compassion and Courage During the Coronavirus

LETTER TO THE EDITOR By LEE LEICHENTRITT During the month of March, when John Charles Wilson and I came down with the coronavirus, two brave people came to our aid. Marge Beard and Ben Painter brought us food and drinks in a socially distanced manner, which made our COVID-19 ordeal manageable. The fact that these two people showed compassion for us during our illness is something to be lauded. Ben Painter said that his friend Scott H. brought him groceries when he had the coronavirus last year, so in keeping with Scott’s spirit of selflessness Ben decided to “pay it forward”, in his own words. Marge Beard puts others’ needs front and center; her compassion and courage comes from her upbringing and faith. I am sharing our story with the readers of the Alley to show our gratitude for the people who helped us. Remember that you can perform socially distanced acts of courage and kindness for people you know who come down with the virus.

Re-Doing Lake Street

LETTER TO THE EDITOR By Shirley Heyer Metropolitan Transit continues its projects for improving bus service with a Lake Street Line B (Lake/Marshall/Selby/downtown St. Paul) fast bus. Work start is planned for this fall.  Because longer wait times, increased walking distances, redesign of all traffic lanes are major changes, Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association, Inc. (MPNAI) questions if the changes are equitable, necessary, beneficial, accessible, and include the Chicago Transit Station. Line B will make stops every 10 minutesLocal buses every 30 minutes, + 10 minutes leeway if late or earlyTraffic lane design varies from block to block; cross streets and less on-street parking can cause confusion, congestion MPNAI welcomes nearby neighborhoods, residents, workers, businesses, and organizations to 3 virtual engagements. Dates to come. Contacts: MPNAI (He can send you a 15+ page PDF detailed plan description)

Letter to the Editor

How the Militant Right Are Destroying Our Nation and the Anarchist Left Are Destroying Our City My hope and prayer is that our nation is learning some lessons from forty years of unfettered Republicanism that ended up creating unfettered Capitalism. This year it culminated in what we witnessed in Texas, where from the time of the George W. Bush governorship to the present, the Republican Texas state lawmakers put their trust in the “hidden hand of the market” to provide their citizen’s utilities, just one of the many human disasters caused by far-right Republican policies, leading to the unfettered Capitalism that will destroy our nation.         For several years Donald Trump with the help of news networks like Fox has continued to perpetuate an alternative reality to his base that has strengthened and sustained a militant far-right constituency. The nation looked on in horror as this far-right, militant, terrorist movement reached its pinnacle with the storming of the Capital in a violent attempt to over-throw our government and kill legislators. It is dangerous and if not vigorously checked, will destroy our nation.          In so many categories our city and state have been rated at the top due to the foresight of those who have governed through the years and the progressive policies they put forth. However, things aren’t so great for the people of color who live here. The top ratings our city and state receive are up-side-down for those who aren’t White. Minnesota is at or near the bottom of every category for people of color. Joseph Jealous, a former Director of the NAACP called Minnesota, “Mississippi with snow.” Systemic racism, often hidden by “Minnesota nice,” has plagued our city for as long as I can remember. The murder of George Floyd should have surprised no [...]

Letter to the editor: Garbage!

Letter to the editor: Garbage!

By MYRTLE LARSON  Myrtle Larson was approximately 80 years old and lived on 16th Avenue near 28th Street when she wrote this letter. The new Garbage Transfer Station was never built.  “Over fifty years ago I took a course in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. The professor who taught the course was Dr. I. William Geiger. He was very special. He was a dedicated conservationist and environmentalist. He taught us that waste materials could be transformed into useful products. One such product is methanol which could be used for energy to run automobiles. We asked him why methanol was not being produced then and he said, “Oh, I suppose it is easier just to drill a hole in the ground and pump the oil out.” And, of course, he taught us that waste could be transformed into fertilizer to return to the soil. And so, we have been pumping out our precious deposits of fossil fuel at an alarming rate---not only for gasoline but for myriads of other things. It is difficult to look around and find something that does not have some relationship with fossil fuels. I have been practicing Dr. Geiger’s teaching for nigh onto a half century. It has been a rewarding, fulfilling, flourishing life. The fruits of frugality are mighty sweet. I am over 80 years old now and I am still making compost to return to the soil. The people of this country have become wasteful, extravagant and careless. I am deeply concerned about what the future holds in store for us. Unfortunately, those who share this concern are in the minority. This minority must now be heard. Now, Hennepin County proposes to build a five story garbage transfer station right in the heart of the residential and food distribution area 28th Street and Longfellow Avenue. It is proposed that each day 280 garbage trucks will bring 400 to 700 tons of municipal waste to this station. This waste will be unloaded, compacted, and re-loaded into 20 ton trailers and routed to the downtown [...]

Letter to the community: Corrected Minneapolis water facts

To all this Concerns:  I commend the STEP-UP interns who worked with the Backyard Community Health Hub this past summer and for your in-depth study of water this summer! (Water is life: Drink and live, Sept 2019 issue) I believe that Water is the foundation of all wellbeing, so I am very grateful that you brought forward many ways of Water’s importance to the functioning of our bodies. I also like that you made a strong case against the preposterous popularity of Water sold in plastic bottles. Thank you so much for this good work you have done. Unfortunately, there is a mistake in the blue box of  “Additional Water Facts & Sources” that might lead readers to think that bottled water is cleaner than tap water, and I think that is not your intention. In this box of facts, you have the question. How often does tap water get tested??? The answer in your box says simply: “Tap water is tested roughly every year in the Twin Cities.” In truth, our Minneapolis Public Water Works performs approximately 500 tests each day on tap water! ….500 chemical, physical, and bacteriological tests, each and every day!! (  This is vastly more than the testing of Bottled Water that is regulated by the FDA. Alley Newspaper readers ought to hold this corrected fact in their head and hearts.  There is no reason in Minneapolis to purchase Water in plastic bottles!  WATER IN PLASTIC BOTTLES IS NOT HEALTIER!   A purchase of water in plastic bottles adds to environmental degradation with the awful build up of plastic in our water streams and landfills! A purchase of Water in plastic bottles is much more expensive than tap water and because most plastic is made from oil, purchasing bottled water also ultimately supports oil industries. DON’T BE FOOLED BY ADVERTISING to purchase Water in plastic bottles! Instead, thank our Public Water Workers [...]

Letter to the community: Pesticide pollution is perplexing: Arsenic 1938 to 2019

Letter to the community: Pesticide pollution is perplexing: Arsenic 1938 to 2019

The StarTribune article entitled “Superfund Site Mostly Clean,” Aug. 1, 2019, B1, page 1, is incomplete and leaves questions unanswered. For example, reporting that there are only nine property owners who refused soil testing does not tell the whole story.Though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tracking this, the number of properties refusing testing puts the onus or blame on the property owners as if they are the only problem remaining. When the EPA tested a total of 472 yards, it refused to test outside a three-quarter mile radius of the original site of contamination at 28th and Hiawatha. This three-quarter mile parameter limits our knowledge of how far out arsenic soil contamination extends. So, we do not have a true measure of how far out and how many properties are still contaminated with arsenic. In addition, the StarTribune article refers to East Phillips alone, as if the wind only blew the arsenic pesticide in one direction from 1938-1968 when the Reade pesticide plant was in operation. There are other surrounding communities where 18 inches of topsoil was removed in Seward, Longfellow and Corcoran as was done in Phillips. And, as can be seen in the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) photo of the Arsenic Triangle at E. 28th St. and Hiawatha Ave., the contaminated soil was removed but relocated to where? What community received this contaminated soil? Early on during testing the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reported that ground water was contaminated, as there are aquifers below our community. The results of monitoring these aquifers are not given by the MDA. There is a potential for groundwater cross-contamination where local existing wells can contaminate from one aquifer to another. While wells are not utilized today for potable drinking water use, there are still wells in south Minneapolis that are used, [...]

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