Readers write: 2040 plan, how to deal with Russia, state tax refunds

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The recent court ruling to stop Minneapolis’ 2040 plan is a step backwards for our efforts to fight climate change (“Four Mpls. projects pending after judge stops 2040 plan,” June 18). Surprisingly, the plaintiffs pushing us into climate denial with this lawsuit are those who claim to be defending the environment. This egregious dereliction of duty warrants a closer look at the 2040 Plan they unveiled and the harm they caused last week to our air, our water, our natural environment and our future.

To put Minneapolis on a climate-friendly path, Plan 2040 adjusted our building plans to encourage more walkable neighborhoods, more housing near transit, and more types of housing density. Around the world, these solutions are widely accepted to decarbonize urban life. The thought is simple; Building a city where walking, transit and cycling are accessible will make a low-carbon lifestyle more convenient and affordable. Higher housing density correlates with a lower carbon footprint. Getting by without a car in my neighborhood (Whittier) is fairly easy with public transit, good walking, and relatively high housing density. As a result, the people who live in my block probably have one of the lowest carbon footprints in Minnesota.

The 2040 Plan aims to replicate these successes by encouraging the construction of homes and neighborhoods that enable low-carbon lifestyles. Sadly, the so-called “environmentalists” who halted the 2040 Plan with a frivolous lawsuit are now joining the ranks of climate deniers and fossil fuel advocates who have no interest in addressing the risks that climate change poses to the world. Minnesota.

Danny Villars, Minneapolis

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I want to thank Carol Becker for her very honest comment on the 2040 Plan, noting that her panic is mostly about “protecting… our most valuable tool for wealth creation, our single-family homes” (“A funny thing happened produced on the way to 2040”, Opinion Exchange, June 21). Personally, I think we should have enough houses for everyone to live in, instead of deliberately making them scarce so owners can make more money out of them. If I disagreed, I certainly wouldn’t demand that the city guarantee the scarcity of a human need and then call it “fairness” or “economic justice,” as his comment does.

But let’s be real about our zoning plan: Even with Minneapolis setting a housing construction record in 2019, and even with rents stabilizing, single-family home prices have risen 30% in the four years since entry. into force of the plan. So, honestly, Carol, how much profit are you enough for other people to have a place to live in?

Noa K. Levi, Minneapolis

RUSSIA

In his June 21 commentary, Professor Thomas Blaha suggests that the West’s behavior towards Russia, such as NATO expansion, has humiliated Russians (“To make peace, mend the wounded Russian soul “, Opinion Exchange). By offering Russia incentives such as eventual reintegration into Western institutions (such as the G-7), he believes we can lessen this humiliation and move towards peace in Ukraine. It seems naive.

If Russia wished to reintegrate with the West, Blaha’s suggestion might work. And, I certainly believe that a reintegration of Russia into Western institutions would benefit the Russian and Western people. But the interests of its people are not what drives Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

In fact, the real cause of the war is not the humiliation that Russians feel vis-à-vis the West. Nor is it the military challenge that NATO or Ukraine posed. Rather, the reason is that any Ukrainian success in establishing a functional, market-oriented democratic state in a former part of the Soviet Union is a direct challenge to Putin. His crony capitalist, authoritarian rule is what has ensured Putin’s near-unrivaled wealth and power. Quite simply, Putin wants to maintain this diet because it works well for him.

Therefore, Putin has little interest in joining the West. Instead, he wants to “offer” (or, if possible, impose on others) a competing model which, fundamentally, is not free and of which he is the undisputed leader.

Given this, there is no easy way to stop the horrors of this war. The best thing the United States can do is continue to support Ukraine for the long term. If the Ukrainians still have the will to fight (and it looks like they do) and Russia remains aggressive, that support may have to last for decades.

Our goal must not be the humiliation of Russia and its people. This shouldn’t even be Putin’s overthrow. Instead, we want the average Russian to feel the futility of this war of aggression. Only then will peace be possible in Ukraine.

John Lampe, St. Paul

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I agree with all the letters sent to comment on Blaha’s comment in the Star Tribune. I was born before World War II and lived under German occupation for five years – four with German naval officers living in our house! First of all, Blaha never mentions the fact that Russia attacked Poland in 1939 from the East about a month after Germany had attacked Poland from the West. What a sad thing … it really touched the soul of the Russian people!

After the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, the Russians occupied Eastern Europe. All of Western Europe saved, with the exception of West Germany, was returned to the original occupants and West Germany was created as a “new” country! On the Eastern side, these poor Russian souls continued to control countries from East Germany to the Urals…until Mikhail Gorbachev toppled the wall in 1989.

Now Blaha is looking for some form of lenient behavior to soften the blow to the Russian soul and ego! On the contrary, he should hope that the Russian soul and people will have the heart to muster the democratic force to get rid of the tyrant who is now sending more good Russians to kill good Ukrainians. Blaha should talk to Poles, Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians, Romanians, Yugoslavs (as they used to be called), Georgians, Moldovans, etc., to find out what they think of this poor Russian soul!

Marnix LK Guillaume, Wayzata

STATE TAX REBATE

Following the distribution of trillion of federal stimulus dollars, the last thing the citizens of the state need is another $1,000 or $2,000 in tax refunds from the state (“Rebate checks, tax reductions, both? Walz and GOP are at odds”, June 23). We are currently experiencing inflation over 8% year over year (which I predicted) and this is going to remain at the same high levels for several more months. Dumping more funds into the hands of citizens (without an offsetting increase in productivity) is the very definition of inflation. Here’s why it’s a bad idea:

The trillions of federal stimulus dollars are simply the result of printing money and distributing it to the public. Again, this is the very definition of inflation. The inflation we are seeing now is causing price increases that will not go away, even if inflation rates return to around 2%. The population, in general, will see an increase of about 8% and their only compensation is to increase their base salary by at least this amount. We all know that’s not going to happen, and the result is that everyone who received the federal stimulus checks will be worse off than before the pandemic started. We are seeing this now and the gap between inflation rates and wages will continue indefinitely. The distribution of tax refund checks will compound this problem with a corresponding negative impact on the general population. This is the exact opposite of what this “relief” is supposed to do.

No one wants to turn down “free” money, but I promise you, it will do you more harm than good. Tell the governor to reallocate that funding to something with a better return.

Robert Dufek, Eagan