Regarding the July 9 front-page article “Malls facing a revolution,” I suggest stores stop blaming Amazon and start asking the customer why they are not enjoying the experience. Have you shopped recently? I went to buy clothes for my granddaughters a few weeks ago. It was intrusive and not a pleasant experience.
Every store I entered had a salesperson trying to become my best friend. Not all of us are extroverts. Asking if they could help me find something is telling me they may not want me to stay. If they tell me they don’t carry it, I leave. Wouldn’t they rather I stay and browse or get new ideas? Every store offered me a credit card along with bonus sign-up points, sale prices and future offers. This is not the retail business. This is the banking business. Most of the stores did not have the sizes I needed but told me the items could be ordered online. Then I should stay home. Let’s hope I don’t need the item today. Every store wanted my e-mail to notify me of specials. I delete free advertising online. Most of the stores carry unflattering items all resembling each other at similar price points. I want something unique, fun, colorful and that fits well. I doubt very much a noisy bowling alley, a Ferris wheel or free water will get me in the door, but who knows.
Julia Fink, Wayzata
FORD SITE REDEVELOPMENT
Engaged neighbors are wary, and columnist is condescending
Many better writers than I will point out the patronizing tone in Lee Schafer’s July 9 column about the plans for the Ford Plant site (“Ford site rhetoric exaggerates the risks”). From what I’ve read, people in the area chiefly oppose the extreme density of this plan, and it doesn’t help to mention the anomaly in the area: the 23-story apartment building that has always caused people to rub their eyes and wonder what planners could possibly have been thinking. It stands very much alone and seems a monument to an entirely different time, a time when Ford could dump paint into the river and no one said a thing. It’s ugly and inappropriate.
Personally, I like the world better now, at a time when people get involved and care about the long-term implications of their actions. Neighbors have every right, and I would say a duty, to contribute their views to this development plan, and to have them taken seriously. Schafer writes, “But let’s concede car traffic on Ford Parkway and Cleveland Avenue becomes busier.” How very generous to acknowledge that adding more than 7,000 residents to 135 acres (about 52 people per acre) might add to the traffic in that already-busy corner of the city, exactly where one of the precious bridges crosses our big river.
Also, it’s not true that buildings of this size (110 feet) look “a lot like the rest of Mississippi River Boulevard.” There is, besides tax money (as Schafer mentions), only one other reason to promote this radical density, and that is to enhance the profits of developers. At what cost for the people who live around there? I applaud those who get involved in this and other civic issues, attempting to make a better urban environment, one that’s healthier, safer, more humane and more beautiful. Good government means listening to all concerned, respectfully and without condescension.
Connie Wanek, Minneapolis
A moving, important story. Please, more like it, so we know.
My thanks to the Star Tribune, and especially to Judith Meisel and her family, for the July 9 article “Final witness recalls a Nazi hell.” It was an incredibly moving story of love and courage.
As I concluded my heartfelt reading, I became compelled to urge the Star Tribune to regularly — e.g., monthly — publish similar stories, with relevant photos, from current and relatively recent atrocities humans perpetrate on other humans. In aiming to encourage readers to better understand the tragic underbelly of the human condition. In the hope that we each, in our own ways, will take action to help diminish the seemingly ongoing efforts by groups of humans to wipe out other groups of us.
The efforts in Syria to use poison gas to kill fellow citizens comes to mind. Even as simple as contacting our U.S. senators and representatives to encourage our country to do even more to stop such tragic carnage.
James L. Cox, Circle Pines
DFL’s focus is concerning to this lifelong party member
Great analysis of the DFL and Republican parties by Larry Jacobs (“The battles within,” July 9), in which he highlights matters of internal strife that will likely affect, let alone determine, the results of the 2018 election in Minnesota. Granted, the Republicans have the Trump albatross around their necks that they have to deal with. On the other hand, as a lifelong DFLer — and proud of it — I am only concerned about the issues within the DFL Party that Jacobs noted in his article. That is, the big focus, essentially, on identity politics that may fly well in Minneapolis and the Fifth Congressional District but that make no sense to the many voters outside of that area who used to support the DFL, most of whom left the party in 2016.
Too many of my fellow DFLers — especially, far too many of them in the volunteer leadership structure of the party — have become too concerned about being politically correct and not stepping on anyone’s too-long political toes, thereby helping to assure more losses at the polls. The DFL has always prided itself on being the party with the big tent housing a coalition of folks with different viewpoints on many public-policy issues of the day but generally with a common set of values and beliefs about government, community and so on. It is extremely disappointing to me to see the party so dominated by volunteer leaders who think that by singing kumbaya during a group hug while holding hands, it will make everything just fine and will help us win elections when, of course, it will not!
Norm Hanson, Roseville
PHONE USE IN PRISONS
If one of our goals is ‘correction,’ de facto isolation is poor strategy
Thanks to Gail Rosenblum for her July 9 column on phone reform justice. Prohibitively high costs (up to $8 for the first minute) for prisoners to maintain phone contact with family and friends are fundamentally antithetical to the correctional goals of incarceration. Fitting back in after being released is typically full of challenges. Effective rehabilitation necessitates ongoing communication with those to whom prison inmates hope to return once they have been released. Lack of ongoing conversation and/or debt accrued due to extraordinary phone bills worsens an already challenging re-entry into postprison life and may indirectly increase the likelihood of reoffending.
While the expressions “prison” and “correctional institution” both refer to a place where people who have broken rules are isolated from others, the second term connotes an intentional change in addition to isolation. It is in Minnesota’s moral and fiscal best interests to focus on bringing about positive change through an effective system of support that guides first-time offenders toward a happier and more productive path. An affordable means of maintaining contact among families is an integral part of that journey.
Stephen Harlan-Marks, Robbinsdale