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Readers write: urban 'cool' and gentrification, changing Army Ranger standards

Letters to the editor for the Feb. 23 weekly magazine

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    Downtown Baltimore is a mix of refurbished and modern buildings. It has become a magnet for Millennials who want to live in hip, urban neighborhoods.
    Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor
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Urban ‘cool’ and gentrification
Regarding the Feb. 2 cover story, “The new ‘cool’ cities”: The article would have benefited from a more critical approach to the issue of gentrification, the unspoken subject of the article. The article does not consider why these neighborhoods are suddenly available for redevelopment (foreclosure, housing speculation, cycles of divestment/investment), and how longtime neighborhood residents fit into the new development of lofts and trendy bars (displacement). It also neglects mention of the large populations of Millennials already living in these cities – in particular, young people of color in underserved communities. This error is particularly egregious in the case of St. Louis, the metro area hosting Ferguson and the epicenter, along with Staten Island/New York City, of the burgeoning “Black Lives Matter” movement, a major force that has received scarce coverage in the Monitor.
Sarick Matzen and K. Qilo Matzen
Oakland, Calif.

Changing Army Ranger standards
Regarding the Feb. 5 online article “In a historic first, five women qualify for Army Ranger school” (CSMonitor.com): I was an Army Ranger for 13 years and an instructor at Ranger School for three years. It seems as if once every decade the Army tries to find women who can meet the standards of Ranger School – and decade after decade the standards for completion of Ranger School get lowered. 

When I attended Ranger School in 1990 there were four phases (Benning, Mountains, Florida, and Desert) and it lasted 96 days with only one meal per day. Now there are only three phases (with Desert removed in the ’90s) and it lasts 61-plus days with two meals per day. I have no issue with a woman being a Ranger, but no one can tell me that the new requirements, which help facilitate a woman graduating, aren’t political. I personally saw the decline in standards, and with it the decline in significance of earning the Ranger Tab, from when I graduated in 1990 to when I was an instructor from 1998 to 2001.
Steve Holbrook
Fort Worth, Texas

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