Mouthpiece of the people

It has been an honor to get to know the members of the Macalester-Groveland Community Council through various activities and meetings. Every person on the council’s board and committees is clearly dedicated to the betterment of the community. However, there seems to be some confusion about who we ultimately serve.

Time and again I have heard, “The city wants…” or “We board members want….” What I am not hearing enough of is what the people want. I know that everyone in their heart feels they are doing the best thing for the city. However, this is not our role. It is not for any of us to make personal choices on how we want things to be in the community.

If all of my neighbors told me they wanted things a certain way, I could not in good conscience vote in opposition to them. Our job is to be the mouthpiece of the people. That is the essence of democracy, and it is why the district councils were formed. If 100 community members showed up at a meeting and all of them were opposed to a certain project, there should be a 100 percent chance that the project would not be accepted. How can it be any other way?

There is a great and growing resentment at the disregard shown to the average citizen. We are better than that. No matter how much we may personally want something, no matter how good we might think it would be, we have no right to impose our personal will on others. We have chosen to serve.

Ann Dolan
Macalester-Groveland

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of several of the Macalester-Groveland Community Council’s committees.

Riverview analysis was flawed

We should not be spending $500 million or more to build a light-rail line that serves only as an express between Downtown Saint Paul and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (“Modern streetcar does not measure up to Riverview’s needs,” Villager Viewpoint, March 31). It really would not be that useful, and would be a waste of money to whet the inferiority complex of Saint Paul while ignoring the actual transportation needs of its residents.

The Riverview Corridor should improve transit access between Bloomington, the airport and Davern Street. It should allow for downtown office workers to eat lunch at Shamrocks Grill and Pub. The Riverview Corridor should do all sorts of things. Shoving it over to Shepard Road and the old Ford CP Rail spur does none of that.

The highest ridership on Metro Transit’s 54 bus is between the airport and Davern Street. Using the CP Rail spur would ensure that the Riverview Corridor serves that segment worse than today’s bus. The next highest ridership is leaving downtown Saint Paul. Using Shepard Road would not serve that need either.

I understand the appeal of using the CP Rail spur, Shepard Road and other bypasses for a nice pretty train to get downtown hobnobs to their flights faster. But these plans do not serve Saint Paul nor its residents. The options on Riverview stand with streetcar/light-rail and improved bus service. Choose either mode, but choose a path that leads forward instead of dipsy-doodling around Highland Village.

Joseph Totten
Ramsey Hill

Digging Minecraft

Saint Paul public libraries should have a dedicated room where people can play video games, especially Minecraft. Minecraft is an interactive game that you can play with your friends. It lets you build almost anything, which promotes creativity. You can also complete cooperative quests with your friends, so you don’t have to be together in person during the pandemic.

Justin Libbus
Macalester-Groveland

Not so Grand

I’m looking at the artist’s rendering of the proposed building at the Dixie’s site at Grand Avenue and Saint Albans Street (Villager, March 17 and March 31). This is supposed to revitalize Grand Avenue? Are you kidding me? Grand Avenue is supposed to be quirky and fun.

I love Dixie’s, and not just for the black-and-blue burgers and beignets. It has ambience and a choo-choo train. This new structure has all the charm of a government building circa 1960. Add a chain-link fence, and one can envision men in orange jumpsuits milling about the yard. No wonder the neighbors don’t like it. I’d be upset, too, with this stone mega-pile.

Yes, I agree, Grand Avenue needs a fresh coat of paint. Leave it to developers to destroy a neighborhood by pretending to save it.

Regina Purins
Highland Park

Health of the homeless

We have reached a new low in Highland Park. There is a growing garbage dump on the corner of Saint Paul Avenue and Davern Street, where there is a ramshackle encampment on city land known as McDonough Park.

According to Saint Paul officials, Governor Tim Walz’s Stay-at-Home Order 20-20 directs municipalities to discontinue displacement and removal of unsheltered homeless encampments. Effective immediately, the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections will stop clearing unsheltered homeless sites in order to preserve and maximize the health of homeless occupants during the COVID-19 crisis. This means that this mess will continue unfettered and unsolved by our fearless leaders.

If this is Governor Walz’s idea of preserving the health of our homeless, then God save us from the government. Our taxpayers deserve better as they watch the Twin Cities become more unsafe and unlivable for all.

Jeanne Condon
Highland Park

Nothing but the best for city

Melvin Carter III was elected mayor of Saint Paul in November 2017. He was sworn into office in January 2018. My research on the internet regarding the Most Livable City in America revealed that since Mayor Carter took office, Saint Paul has not been the Most Livable City in America.

This November, I expect Saint Paul voters to be much wiser in selecting a new mayor. A mayor who is more qualified, more independent, more moderate or more conservative. A candidate who will work for the best interests of the people and lead us off the current, steady, downhill path that Saint Paul is on to becoming a ghost town.

Sue Shetka
Macalester-Groveland

Editor’s Note: According to U.S. News and World Report, Minneapolis-Saint Paul was ranked as the 22nd best place to live in the United States in 2020-21. The Twin Cities were ranked sixth in that category in 2019-20.

Prioritizing public health

A letter to the editor criticized state Representative Dave Pinto for following Governor Tim Walz’s dictum of preserving, as much as possible, the lives and health of the public from the COVID-19 pandemic (Villager Inbox, March 31). Nobody likes having businesses and schools closed. We’re all more than aware of societal problems caused by the closings. However, causing illness and death by having children and adults unknowingly bring disease to home and community is shameful.

Governor Walz and Representative Pinto, thank you for understanding the rationale of health for the whole public.

Dorothy Lipschultz
Highland Park

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