Thanks for excellent journalism in the story on the division in the antiwar movement over Ukraine ("Antiwar activists split on Ukraine," June 5). The reporter wrote a balanced, well-researched article. One addition to this article would be how we got to this point.
While the left tends to distrust "mainstream media," some activists place too much trust in "alternative" sources that often have a pro-Putin analysis. Once-respected Chris Hedges was openly paid by Vladimir Putin's Russia for six years when he had a show on RT (Russia Today), a Russian government media outlet.
Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal and others are repeating Putin's excuses for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Because they write from an "anti-imperialist" point of view, their articles resonate with peace activists who are accustomed to protesting U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
But we have to look at the facts and not just trust "alternative left" writers. Mitchell Hamline School of Law lists the reasons Russia's war on Ukraine could be called a genocide. It is not Putin's defensive war against NATO. If we're looking critically at "mainstream media," let's extend our critical eye to "left" articles as well.
Terry Burke, St. Louis Park
Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, I have been to Ukraine four times as a humanitarian volunteer and military adviser. Many U.S. military veterans are volunteering to train Ukrainian soldiers. We help turn boys into men.
Many years ago I took the "Never again" pledge at the U.S. Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., while we organized to advocate for an intervention in the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
After Syria, I knew Russia would continue its pattern of war crimes in Ukraine. Putin is a terrorist targeting Ukrainian hospitals, schools and mass transit centers with his terror-from-above campaign, just as in Syria.
As moral agents and global citizens, we must stand with Ukraine to fulfill our "Never again" pledge. Since the Holocaust we see again and again our global community fail to protect innocent civilians from these dictators and despots who belong behind bars at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Howard Dotson, Fridley
Allina can't be the catchall solution
Readers have been blasting Allina Health recently for clamping down on patients who are not paying their bills ("Allina cuts care for patients who owe," June 2). Yes, Allina is a nonprofit, but that does not mean it is set up to provide unlimited health care for the needy. It has been cutting patients some slack but since it is running a business, it does have its own budget and needs to draw the line somewhere. I don't necessarily suggest it turn away patients having an emergency (or upon their first visit) for a medical situation. But perhaps these people should be suggested or requested to go to our wonderful county hospital since these are in effect subsidized by our taxpayers. The resultant costs in excess of revenue collected at the county facility could then be spread around within the county government budget rather than burdened upon a private business like Allina. Food for thought, anyway.
Richard Foley, Edina
Ice cream, anyone?
Regarding a bus-free Nicollet Mall: How about enticing small shops, more restaurants and even an ice-cream parlor to the mall before rerouting the buses ("A vision for a livelier, bus-free Nicollet Mall," June 7). I guarantee those of us who live downtown would be first to beat a path in spite of the bus traffic!
Jean A. Heberle, Minneapolis
After witnessing several rebuilds of Nicollet Mall over the last 50 years, I realized Hennepin Avenue is and has always been the entertainment center of the city. It is Minneapolis' Broadway.
Broaden the sidewalks, put restaurants between the theaters. Put vendors on the streets. Nicollet does not have, and has never had, the cultural backbone to support entertainment. That place is Hennepin Avenue.
Chris D. Raudenbush, St. Paul
One possible solution to the ongoing safety concerns on Nicollet Mall is to reinstate loitering laws. Years ago, those laws were rescinded with predictable results. Police downtown can watch troubling behavior but cannot remove people until a crime has been committed. As long as Nicollet Mall is an unpleasant destination, safety-conscious people will stay away.
Carole Wilson, Minneapolis
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was quoted saying the time is right to envision Nicollet Mall as a "pedestrian-only zone." I believe "It's about damn time" would've been more accurate.
The 2017 $50 million mall planter-box-and-saplings approach was a myopic anti-pedestrian/anti-cyclist missed opportunity. It was as obvious then as it is now that buses had to go. Unfortunately, city leaders were too timid, shortsighted, or both.
I wrote commentaries and voiced a plea to my City Council representative before the 2017 planter box/bus route resurfacing project. I asked city leaders to please look at places such as Church Street in Burlington, Vt., while considering the addition of a street-level Habitrail entrapment tunnel exit/entry staircase or two.
Nearly a decade later, they are still delusionally talking about Times Square instead of Church Street.
But progress is positive even if it's progress at the speed of Minneapolis.
Nick Dolphin, Minneapolis
TRAIN TO DULUTH
Use Union Depot, for Pete's sake
I absolutely agree, the Duluth train is a great piece of infrastructure that will provide expanded markets, opportunity and economic growth for the North Shore ("Train to Duluth gets a $195M nudge," June 5). It will bring a lot of people to the resorts, canoe liveries and scenic beauty of the area. For Duluth it isn't about tourists but business. From the port, manufacturing and now a growing IT sector, Duluth is open for business.
But, as with all projects here, you break free with nothing in front of you but green grass and drop the ball on the 5-yard line! Why does the train start at Target Field Station, where the Northstar commuter rail ends? Well, I mean, I know why. The infants of Minneapolis see a bright shiny new toy, pound the table and pout "I want, I want, I want — MINE MINE MINE." But if you look farther than one mile beyond your front door, this is really dumb. The Empire Builder comes into St. Paul Union Depot, and in the same plan as the Duluth train are two more Chicago trains. Putting the terminus miles away is just stupid. Something not on any plan, yet, that would be nice is a Rochester train. Duluth to St. Paul to Rochester sounds like a good idea.
I know I can argue until I'm blue in the face. Nothing is going to change. Northstar will always end in the middle of nowhere, the Green Line will always have five stops too many, and this train will go to Target Field/Northstar. To paraphrase Galileo, "It's stupid nevertheless."
Steven A. Balcken, Minneapolis