Soren Stevenson's counterpoint "Mpls. must walk, bike its way out of the climate crisis" (Opinion Exchange, Sept. 23) left me rather confused as to what point he was trying to make. He touched on several topics ranging from electric vehicles to walking shoes to the 2040 Plan and tall buildings. His conclusions seem to be that cars are bad, walking is good, high-density housing doesn't interfere with solar panels or trees, and that walking shoes emit less carbon than cars or electric trains.
Stevenson seems not to realize that not everyone is willing to walk or bicycle wherever they want to go or need to go. Bus and light-rail lines mainly lead to downtown. If an Uptown resident works in the suburbs, or has family or friends in the suburbs, or has regular social activities in the suburbs, that person needs access to a car. The question is not whether electric cars are cleaner than shoes, but whether electric cars are cleaner than gasoline-powered cars or diesel-powered buses. Walking is fine for trips of a few blocks but not for longer trips. Most walkers average about 3 mph. Bicyclists might average 12 or 13 mph. This severely limits their range. Another thing that urban planners seem to ignore is the harshness of Minnesota winters, when the bicycle lanes they so love are virtually deserted and sometimes impassible. Even walking is precarious during winter, especially for older folks like this septuagenarian writer, who does walk and bicycle recreationally during the warm months.
We cannot go back to a 19th-century lifestyle, and planners need to accept that. Cars are here and are not going away. Electric cars will eventually supplant gasoline-powered cars, but most city residents will still need to either own or have access to private cars. Charging and parking needs must be considered by urban planners. Engineering traffic gridlock is not a wise policy.
Donald Wolesky, Minneapolis
The ongoing push to replace the gasoline engine with an electric vehicle is fraught with assumptions, misdirected goals and mixed messaging. In the piece "Going EV: A long and bumpy road" (Sept. 25) we see that Minnesota's goal of getting 20% of cars to be EVs by 2030 will not even come close to fruition. Anyone patterning public policy after what California is doing needs a major reality check.
I am surprised how aggressive funding is pursued for tax breaks and charging stations when most EV owners represent at least upper-middle-class white folks. Where are the social justice warriors? Or does this transcend that argument?
Numerous court battles have been waged to stop the exploration, drilling and processing of crude oil. It apparently is the scourge of the earth. But the alternative to this, green energy, is not all that "green." In order to build a new energy infrastructure, massive amounts of concrete and steel are needed. Where does that come from? Obviously both are products mined from the earth. Battery storage is of paramount concern — witness "Lithium race hinges on battle over mine" (Sept. 25). Thacker Pass in Nevada has a very abundant supply of lithium, but the environmental/Indigenous tribe/rancher lawsuits have already begun. You can't build millions of batteries needed for energy storage without lithium and other minerals. Northeast Minnesota is rich in copper, cobalt, lithium and nickel, but we can't mine there because of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
How confused are we when everything we have or need for energy either should be eliminated (fossil fuels) or can't be mined (lithium plus other rare earths)? Do we really want to rely on other parts or the world to supply these limited minerals? Where few or no environmental rules exist but child and slave labor are commonplace?
America must face reality. We cannot build any energy infrastructure without the use of our earth's resources. Going "green" sounds virtuous until you look a little deeper — say, under the hood?
Obviously this issue has turned political, which means the future will be inefficient, confusing and very expensive.
Joseph Polunc, Waconia
The Friday cartoon showing an EV driver unhappily tethered to a wall outlet does not reflect reality. I say this based on my four-year experience owning an EV. The vast majority of my driving is within 50 miles of home, and I never come close to running out of charge. As for long-distance driving, this past winter my spouse and I drove to California and back, and are now in Seattle awaiting the birth of a grandson. For this type of road trip, a high-speed (Level 3) charging station is necessary, and they are being installed around the country (near major highways) at a record pace. Oh, and did I mention that we've enjoyed four years of zero regular maintenance on the car with zero breakdowns of any sort? Climate change is now unstoppable, deadly and merciless. EVs can play a big role in humanity's efforts to slow it down. Let's drive them into a brighter future.
Laurel Regan, Rochester
Your legal vote counts
Language matters. I have been an election judge for over two decades. If two people in the same household vote, one for a Democrat and the other for a Republican, their votes do not cancel each other out. They are properly recorded, and they count. They balance each other out. When in a recent Texas election thousands of absentee ballots were rejected due to changes in election laws that make it harder to vote, those ballots were not counted and were therefore canceled. In an age where extremists from one party are sowing doubt about the security and veracity of our elections, it is important that we remind potential voters that every legal vote is counted.
Dan Solarz, Minneapolis
Good for the country, bad for Dems
The idea of offering a conditional pardon of former President Donald Trump is a reasonable one ("Do it, to rid us of him," Readers Write, Sept. 24). However, members of the Democratic Party of today are not the statesmen and stateswomen of the 1970s like Gerald Ford, who pardoned Richard Nixon for the good of the country despite knowing it lessened his chances of re-election in 1976.
Today's Democratic Party members want to keep the prosecution and Trump relevant because they believe and probably are correct that Trump staying relevant helps their chances of maintaining power at the expense of our country.
For many of us, the choice today between Democrat or Republican is not good.
Where are people who really care about working together for the benefit of most everybody?
Mark Paper, Wayzata
It was suggested in Saturday's letters to the editor to pardon Trump to get rid of him and his family so we don't have to put up with them now and in the future. The letter writer cited the Nixon pardon to support his idea to rid the nation of Trump.
I suggest that Trump learned from Nixon's pardon. He learned that no matter what actions he engaged in, he wouldn't have to worry about being held responsible for them. Some Republican senators said after voting against the first impeachment of Trump that they believed Trump had learned a lesson. He sure did.
He incited a mob to attack the Capitol to overthrow our government so he could remain in power. Once again Trump Republicans refused to hold Trump accountable for his actions.
Trump has allegedly broken numerous laws in private life and while in office and thrown the country into a deeply divided democracy. He is encouraging his supporters to resort to violence if the government tries to hold him responsible for allegedly stealing top-secret documents or any of the other potentially illegal actions while in office or not.
If President Joe Biden grants Trump any pardon, it will send a clear signal to the next mob boss that running for public office will guarantee a free pass on anything they try to do while in office. If overthrowing our democracy results in a pardon, what crime would it take to require accountability? It might rid us of Trump for now, but what about someone even worse in the future?
Dale Trippler, Blaine