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Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Comments cover everything from ‘condo calamity’ to glamour babies

Check out the first of our occasional round-ups of readers’ thought-provoking comments about recent stories and posts:

Matty Lang offered this perspective on Molly Priesmeyer’s Tuesday story about growing problems in the Twin Cities condo market, “A condo calamity in the making?”:

I think a part of the problem here is the lack of price diversity in the market summed up in the last sentence of the story. The other major part (in my opinion and in my experience) is outdated evaluation tools employed by lenders. The city’s policies of encouraging mixed-use development along transit corridors is on the right course as transportation costs will continue to go up in the future. The problem with the lenders is that they are not including the transportation savings of living in a mixed-use development where a private automobile is not needed in their due diligence in making loans.

Having the condo market full of upper end units obviously limits the numbers of potential buyers in the market. One way to bring more buyers into the market is to decouple auto parking from the condo like Portland, Ore., has done. Structured automobile parking in an urban environment can cost up to $40,000 per stall. Giving potential buyers the chance to purchase the unit without the parking can help increase affordability. I own a condo in a mixed-use development and I tried to buy it without the parking as I don’t own an automobile. City ordinances prevented the developer from selling me the unit without the parking.

I can’t comprehend how lenders could evaluate mixed-used being risky in any long-term economic picture. I can see it short term, but in the long term the single family home in the exurbs which requires its owner to drive a personal automobile back and forth for all of its daily needs is the obvious loan default risk. The mixed-use dweller has far greater control over their transportation expenditures, especially if the development is truly mixed-use and all needs can be satisfied on foot, by bicycle or on transit.

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Pat Sirek offered a pithy comment on Christina Capecchi’s Friday post about the infant “glamour shot” market, “Baby’s First Christmas = Baby’s First Makeover”:

Funny. The “after” picture dehumanizes this little girl, doesn’t it? She looks like a plastic doll.

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Bernice Vetsch commented on Susan Albright’s Tuesday analysis of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, “Despite Bush’s continued stand, Iran report changes debate completely, suddenly and surprisingly”:

We all know about the neocon plan for world peace based on U.S. military power and their naming of both Iran and Syria as members of the “axis of evil” that must be destroyed in order to get that oil. Excuse me, to make the Middle East safe for the oil companies. Oh dear, I mean to make the Middle East a peaceful place.

Some months ago, Seymour Hersh warned that Dick Cheney was having intelligence on Iran routed through his office, much as he did on Iraqi intel before the invasion in 2003.

On November 13, Gareth Porter of the Inter Press Service News Agency ( reported that the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) “had been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.”

I believe we may have witnessed a piece of courageous honesty on the part of CIA officials who refused to AGAIN be used to help create phony conditions for war where no real conditions existed.

Why the Congress has not impeached Cheney is hard to understand, despite their talk about impeachments taking valuable time away from lawmaking. What laws could be more important than getting rid of, first, Mr. Cheney, and then (to my great delight) George Bush?? The Bush press conference this morning sounded like the Cheney Attack Plan (3-day bombing blitz) is still in place for implementation at the earliest opportunity.

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Jim Meyer offers this analysis of David Brauer’s Monday post, “The curious case of Zach Puchtel and no news coverage”:

Personally, I found it refreshing that the mainstream media made no big deal of ZP, and thought that maybe, just MAYBE, its low-key handling was a cultural milestone, a turning point for the press. But then I awoke to a partial summary of Larry Craig’s alleged sexual contacts over the decades. Maybe both highly dissimilar reporting approaches are correct under their circumstances, strange as it may seem. I’d respect Larry’s privacy, if he’d respect everyone else’s, but Zach is just Zach being Zach. Larry is not being Larry. (Or is he?) Am I making sense?

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Dan Hoxworth commented on Sharon Schmickle’s Friday article about Rep. Betty McCollum’s role on dealing with Iraqis who have fled their country, “Iraqi refugees face a crisis — but where will they go?”:

Thank you for this excellent article. I commend Rep. McCollum for bringing this issue to our awareness in Minnesota.

We in Minnesota are #2 in the nation in absolute numbers of refugees resettled in 2005; only California takes more in. We have developed a wonderful infrastructure of nonprofit organizations and religious congregations that extend their open arms to our refugee communities.

Like the Hmong and the Somali communities in Minnesota today, Iraqi refugees have met their fate due to the interventionist policies of our democracy. We, as Americans, must demand that our government fully fulfill its obligations to the people our actions have impacted, particularly those who showed loyalty to the cause. We did this for the Hmong in accepting them from refugee camps beginning in the late 1970s. Further, we passed the Hmong Naturalization Act to allow Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War and subsequently their spouses to have an easier pathway to citizenship. This bill also had Minnesota ties as Rep. Bruce Vento was the House sponsor and it was in honor of him and with the support of Senator Paul Wellstone that this major milestone legislation came to pass.

May we, as Americans and Minnesotans, again demand that our government be held accountable for its actions and open our arms to Iraqi families and their children. From all accounts, they have experienced more trauma than any human being should have to.

Unfortunately, much of that trauma could have been avoided had we put together a plan to handle the after-effect of the fall of Saddam Hussein. It is distressing to add yet another example of the total incompetence of the administration in bringing our nation into war and for not preparing for the foreseeable consequences. How will we ever hold our President and Vice President accountable for their incompetence and the lives lost due to it? Perhaps only an international tribunal will be able to do that.

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Michael Quinn had this reaction to G.R. Anderson Jr.’s Monday post on the latest shakeup in the Minneapolis Police Department, “Loesch family reacts to Adams demotion: ‘It’s shameful and disgraceful’ “:

Just a couple comments, Jerry. I worked with Charlie, not for him. As far as Amelia Huffman’s abilities to do the job — I think it is a disservice to put someone in charge of the biggest egos on the department (no disrespect intended) when she hasn’t worked in that unit as a full-time investigator. It is a very tough job and it takes years to develop those skills.

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Michael Gerber had these comments about Jay Weiner’s Friday post on the Vikings escaping their first blackout in many years, “Minnesota Vikings’ brush with blackout doesn’t mean fan interest is waning”:

Nice post, Jay. My family has held Viking season tickets since the inception of the franchise. I’m old enough to remember having only 4 TV channels to choose from, and also when the end of the halftime highlights on Monday Night Football meant it was time for me to go to bed (Don Meredith, we miss you). Our seats are in section 109, directly below the press box, almost right on the 50-yard line.

I have been selling all of my tickets for the last few years. Not scalping, but just face value. The in-stadium experience simply does not match the cost. The crappy stadium, the lines, the overpriced concessions, the cost of parking and especially that damned noise make it extremely difficult to justify the money and effort it takes to go to a game. Not to mention the off-chance of getting yelled at by Grampa Sid for leaving the game before it’s over. Yes, I’ve had that pleasure. Add all that to seeing the team owned by people like the Gang of Ten and Red McCombs, and run by people like Mike Lynn (who can still be seen lurking in the concourse along with Herschel Walker’s ghost), and it just becomes too much.

Now that the Pohlads have reached into our pockets without asking, why would someone like me even consider paying for a new stadium with the extra costs like “Personal Seat Licenses” that are sure to follow? All we want is the simple pleasure of a weekly diversion from life. I guess that’s too much to ask without the addition of annoyingly loud “in-game-hosts” that sat on the sideline and screamed at us during timeouts and between quarters, and the ads for people like that snake-oil-salesman/loser who pimped his “New York Blues” on the JumboTron a few years ago. Sorry, Ziggy, but some of us just aren’t entertained by such mindless drivel.

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