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Thank you to Brian Whiting and Telos Group (“Plans detail a ‘destination’ Dayton’s,” Oct. 22, and “Big cost, ambition for Dayton’s site,” Oct. 24). Too many major city downtowns have lost their historic, beautiful one-of-a-kind department stores. We all bemoaned the loss of Dayton’s flagship store on Nicollet Mall. Yes, we were dismayed to lose our city’s iconic downtown destination. Knowing that it would become a bland building with no redeeming interior features hurt even more. Remembering the glowing wood flooring, shimmering chandeliers and glittering glass display cases, we knew we lost more than a name on the store.

Reading about the new plans for the site has affected me in a surprising way. Whiting said, “I always say it would be easier to just tear it down and start again, but then you would lose all that history and culture and nostalgia that is what’s attracting people.”

I realize, as an aging resident of a city I unabashedly love, that I’m proud and hopeful when an aging building gets the respect it deserves.

Andrea Bolger, Minneapolis

The writer is a teacher and guide for Experience the Twin Cities, a local tour company.

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

Thrivent lawsuit is concerning: another paradoxical institution?

As a member of Thrivent Financial, I am heartsick to read the Oct. 21 article about Gregory M. Smith (“Black exec says race was factor in Thrivent firing”). It would appear that there is, yet again, an institution we believe has integrity but behind the scenes there lurks the ever-present ugly face of racism.

I go to Nicaragua with my husband on a Habitat for Humanity trip once a year, and this trip is partnered with Thrivent. We wear T-shirts that say “Live Generously” sponsored by Thrivent. Live Generously means to me that we are open not only to give of time and money, but to live with an open heart to all persons, regardless of race, creed, gender identity, culture and economic status.

Our financial adviser has always been kind and gracious to us. But he and we are white.

It is one thing to lay off an employee because he or she is not performing properly. This appears not to be the case with Smith, who was exceeding his goals.

As a member of Thrivent, I need to hear and understand all the facts of this case because it sounds very disturbing.

Dawn Strommen, Anoka

• • •

Does appearance make a difference in the business world? A Forbes magazine article once questioned whether looks mattered in hiring, and the conclusion was that they do. This is blatant discrimination, because it is not based on ability or competence. One study of the country’s top male CEOs found that 58 percent were nearly 6 feet tall, while the average American male is 5 feet 9 inches tall. The obese take a big hit, with an estimated wage loss of 12 percent. For example, in one study the average callback rate was 30 percent across all of the résumés submitted. But the average callback rate was 54 percent for attractive women and 47 percent for attractive men. This is another example of the significant advantages gained by being “beautiful.” This behavior on the part of human resources and management has been called an “unconscious prejudice.” As a high school senior looking at a business career, I would dislike being discriminated against because of my appearance.

Elizabeth Hanson Roe, Melrose, Minn.

PROPERTY TAXES

‘Taxes’ is wrong sympathy plea for those who can afford cabin

Having been a renter or homeowner in Park Rapids, Minn., since 1987, I read with interest the Oct. 22 article “Cabin owners revolt on taxes.” Park Rapids and Hubbard County have long prided themselves on water protection, so it was surprising to read that there is a garbage operation near Hinds Lake against which the local homeowners have been protesting for years. This is not a taxation or “cabin owner” vs. full-time resident issue. This is a water and environment protection issue about which all citizens should be concerned. The article focuses on an owner of a cabin on Hinds Lake, but it doesn’t mention if he is a member of the Hinds Lake Association or if he participates in COLA (Coalition of Lake Associations), organizations dedicated to lake and shore protection.

However, the crux of the article is taxation, and I find it difficult to shed much concern for those of us who can afford more than one home (myself included) when in many locations people cannot even afford one. In Park Rapids, 49 percent of residents are renters and 37.8 percent are considered overburdened by the cost of their rent (Affordable Housing Online statistics). And it is the owners of homes who reap most government taxation benefits. According to Matthew Desmond, author of “Evicted,” the homeowners mortgage income tax deduction, if repealed, would provide enough money to fund the departments of Veterans Affairs, Education, Homeland Security, Agriculture and Housing.

John Fredell, Minneapolis

MENTAL HEALTH

The way out of the state’s costly, harmful stasis on needed change

The Oct. 15 article on the state’s mental health system (“Bottleneck traps patients, costs state millions”) reminded me of my time on the State Advisory Council on Mental Health in the late 1980s. We had quite a few discussions on the bottleneck that kept people in hospitals longer than necessary. Here we are more than 30 years later having the same discussion, and the situation might be worse now than it was then.

My suggestion is that only the governor can break the bottleneck by appointing a work group with representatives from the Legislature, the counties, rural and urban, law enforcement, a psychiatrist, providers, advocates, nurses, social workers, and the Department of Human Services. Keep it small enough to be workable, but representative of stakeholders. The group should be charged with bringing specific recommendations to the Legislature.

That might work. Otherwise, I think we’ll see the same article 30 years from now.

David L. Nass, St. Paul

SENATORS WITH A CONSCIENCE

Not buying it

To be clear, Sens. Jeff Flake, John McCain, Bob Corker and others in the GOP who have criticized President Donald Trump recently have no problem with his hateful and hurtful agenda; they all support it essentially in its entirety. They are simply trying to inoculate their own legacies against the irrational ways in which the president tries to enact it before they cast their lockstep votes.

Mike Supina, Eagan

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

Good news: Drivers do care!

While I’m recovering from hip-replacement surgery, I have been enjoying outdoor walks, using crutches. Having heard so many stories of pedestrians being hit, I was somewhat apprehensive about crossing the streets. I’m thrilled to say that every driver was attentive, some even stopping short of the crosswalks to indicate their awareness. One driver waved me through even before I was quite ready to cross. I thank you, and my orthopedic surgeon thanks you.

Katie McCurry, St. Paul