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Thursday's commentary "Planning for a livable, beautiful Minneapolis" (Opinion Exchange) by Tim Keane was spot-on.

In 2021, the California Legislature passed a new housing production bill called Senate Bill 9. The legislation allows homeowners to convert a single-family home into a duplex — or split a single-family lot into two parcels with the potential to build a duplex on each. No need for discretionary approval from local government (a streamlined approach often referred to as "by right").

The results?

A year after the law took effect, the housing production pipeline resulting from SB 9 was dismal. According to the Los Angeles Times, SB 9 produced only 282 applications across 13 major cities in California. Only 100 of these applications were for a lot split — the mechanism enabled by the bill that holds the most promise for adding significant amounts of housing.

Supporters of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan wildly exaggerate the impact it will have on generating affordable housing. How many people have the money — or interest — in building a second home on their property? It's a big risk in a city that makes renting a property difficult and expensive.

Second, according to the Metropolitan Council, Minneapolis is set grow by only 11% in the next 20 years. Has the mayor and City Council even asked themselves whether the 2040 Plan is necessary? The Star Tribune published a story this week ("Growth fastest in outer suburbs," June 16) that showed people will be moving to the suburbs for the foreseeable future.

Green areas help in our battle against pollution of both air and water (as well as climate change). We need more green for our kids. Not less. The 2040 Plan is unnecessary.

Jim Piga, Mendota Heights


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Tim Keane, writing in the June 20 Star Tribune, was correct in pointing out the flaws of single-factor housing density solutions for improving environmental impact. Solely considering increased housing density without the multitude of other factors that go into livability and desirability of environments for human habitation, as well as other living things, is doomed to failure. Merely building tall buildings to increase density decreases plant life, as well as quality of human life. We frequently look to European cities as examples of higher density and more walkable, livable environments, but frequently the height of the buildings is limited to four or five stories and, in many cases, an abundance of parks and desirable features allow quality habitation. Trying to rush through a last-minute legislative requirement bypassing local input was a terribly misguided process that would have likely doomed the success of reaching increased population density in a very desirable urban environment.

Jon Dennis, St. Cloud


POLICE CONTRACT

Don't put discipline up for negotiation

As a labor leader and someone actively involved in police reform, I am very much in favor of the new police contract proposal. I am also disappointed to hear that there is going to be a council presentation — outside of the regular comment process — from a community group that offers one-sided comments on the contract. I did not hear that this offer was extended in a fair and transparent way to other community groups or members to weigh in with an extended presentation.

Ahead of this presentation, some of us in the community are hearing that those opposing the contract want the discipline matrix included in it. As a union president, I do not understand how this makes sense. Why would the city want to allow the Minneapolis Police Department to negotiate its discipline? The current contract that needs to be overhauled includes many provisions on discipline that those of us working on the issue have identified as one of the major stumbling blocks to reform. It is clear that some on the City Council, and some community members with megaphones handed to them by our council, do not understand how contracts work. If the discipline matrix is in the contract, especially for a multiyear contract, the city would have to open up the entirety of the contract each time we want to change that matrix to meet our needs for change. This opens the door to a lot of unintended consequences.

Putting discipline back into the contract simply does not move us forward. I would ask that the City Council give thoughtful consideration to this police contract, as it has been negotiated by the city and the federation, and pass it for the good of our community. We all deserve to have equitable public safety, which includes a fully staffed police force and alternatives to policing to best serve our residents. City Council members cannot continue to disregard the wishes of all community members and still ask for our property tax money to fund these initiatives. We all deserve to be heard, not just a few.

Latonya Reeves, Minneapolis

The writer is an AFSCME union president and public safety professional.


WALZ ADMINISTRATION

Mealy-mouthed reaction to fraud

In response to the Office of the Legislative Auditor's scathing report on the failures of the Walz administration in connection with the Feeding Our Future grand-scale fraud, our governor notes that "we can always do better" and suggests we can all take solace in the conclusion there is no proof anyone in his administration was guilty of malfeasance ("Gov. Walz defends agency after fraud," June 20). That there's no proof the governor's appointees are crooks is not an excuse for their abject incompetence. And "we can always do better" is a carefully chosen trope meant to convey the thought we were doing OK before. Which could not be further from the truth.

Charles Spevacek, Minnetrista


LIFE JACKETS

Yet another reason to wear one

I just read the Star Tribune Editorial Board's piece about the necessity of wearing a life jacket ("Yes, you need to wear a life jacket," June 20). The editorial offered multiple reasons for wearing one, including for those who are good swimmers. However, one key factor was missing, and it is the most critical of factors: cold water and the effect it has on your strength.

Fifty years ago, a friend and I were running a set of rapids on the opening weekend of fishing season — the middle of May in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Admittedly, it was a risky thing to do, but we were both 18 years old and thought it was a good challenge. Fortunately, we were smart enough to be wearing our life jackets. The bottom of the canoe got hung up on a rock and swung us sideways, and we were immediately in the water. The first thing I remember was darkness, but my life jacket brought me to the surface. The current pushed us and the canoe to shore within a few minutes. Here's what people need to understand: We had absolutely zero strength due to the cold water. We didn't even have the strength to stand up and walk out of the water. The cold water basically paralyzes your entire body. Without a life jacket, you lose all ability to function.

Patrick Bloomfield, Chisholm, Minn.


WILLIE MAYS

Factor in his military service

I've been following the coverage of Willie Mays — an athlete I've admired since the early 1960s. The article in the print edition on Willie Mays ("Baseball's 'Say Hey Kid' dies at 93," June 19) left out an important part of his story. I saw other media outlets miss it, too. Yes, he's considered the best all-around player, mastering the five physical categories of speed, throwing, fielding, hitting for power and hitting for average. His exuberance, moves and overall star quality have been mentioned. What was missing was that Mays served in the Korean War. He served his country — and missed almost a full two years in his playing career. Considering his production at the plate, had he played those games, I think the discussion of who is the greatest player of all time would be different.

Michael Lavin, Minneapolis