Make public safety a priority

A woman on Osceola Avenue had to convince armed carjackers recently to allow her to get the toddler out of her car before they stole it. This event gave us pause to ask, “When is public safety going to get better?” There have been too many victims and stories. It is past due for our elected leaders to have a plan on how to address this woeful situation. While some say that the trends for homicides, thefts and carjackings are up across the country, we’re not satisfied with that explanation for why we continue to experience inordinate amounts of crime in Saint Paul.

Our Ramsey Hill neighborhood felt the increased crime rate acutely in the spring of 2020. A spree of unrelated carjackings and robberies hit the blocks between Selby, Dale, Grand and Western avenues. Men and women were attacked for their cell phones, keys, wallets and cars while walking on our quiet blocks, getting in a car to run an errand or parking in their garage.

Recent news coverage has focused on platitudes and generalities from Mayor Melvin Carter, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and the Ramsey County Board, pitting these officials against Sheriff Bob Fletcher, Police Chief Todd Axtell and the Saint Paul Police Department. We hear how COVID has shut down schools, leaving kids to their own devices, and how the closing of Totem Town has put juvenile offenders on the streets.

We have also been told that COVID has created a backlog in the criminal justice system and dangerous environments in our jails and prisons, which has put repeat offenders of all ages back into our communities almost as quickly as they are caught. We’ve learned that violent crimes are prioritized over nonviolent crimes due to budget constraints, all while prosecutors are making it abundantly clear that many minor felonies will not be prosecuted at all.

There is no doubt that such initiatives as restorative justice, community ambassadors, data-driven crime prevention and crime prevention through environmental design are admirable, long-term tactics for strengthening the community. We don’t forget that most of the crime we describe above has been endemic in less-privileged neighborhoods for decades. When will this sense of lawlessness go away for everyone? When are all the residents of Saint Paul, Ramsey County and the Twin Cities metro area going to feel safer? Little that elected officials and law enforcement officers are saying provides the public with hope of not being afraid to play at a playground, walk a dog, take out the trash or park a car.

We encourage our neighbors across the region to do the same two things that we have. First and most important, support Twin Cities organizations that work with young people. Second, contact local officials and ask them what their plan is to make public safety their priority.

Cathy Maes, Jason Patalonis, Bryan Whitaker
Ramsey Hill

 

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Editor’s note: The writers are the president, vice president and crime prevention chair, respectively, of the Ramsey Hill Association.

Cities’ quality of life is slipping

The mayor of Saint Paul imposes mask and vaccine mandates on restaurants and public places and businesses licensed by the city. MyVillager publishes a sugary article on the vaccine mandate for restaurants and other entertainment venues, quoting only restaurants and patrons who think this is a peachy idea (MyVillager, January 26). But many establishments do not think this is a peachy idea, and these businesses are suffering.

During the COVID-19 shutdowns, so many people lost the life savings they invested in their shops and restaurants. Well, everyone I know is just going out to eat in a suburb or purchasing items on-line or in a suburb. I can go to an athletic event all around the country with no mask or vaccine, but not in Saint Paul. The mayor chooses once again to pick on the hospitality industry.

If the mayor and his henchmen actually did some research rather than reciting the mantra of the day, perhaps they could learn the truth. The vaccinated are spreading the disease. The vaccinated are filling up the hospitals. And a plethora of research has proven that masks do not work.

I have lived in the Twin Cities for 51 years and in Saint Paul for 47 years. Many of us came to Saint Paul and invested in homes in the city while people were fleeing to the suburbs in the 1960s and ’70s, and we have been rewarded with huge property tax increases. We are expected to ride our bikes or take a train or bus to get around. But our stores have been razed for the soccer stadium or left vacant due to crime, so we have to go to the burbs on our bicycles or a bus or a train.

We no longer have any department stores or even a Walmart. The city has removed 110-year-old houses and replaced them with ugly, cubist-style apartment buildings, losing the quaintness and charm of our city. Now we have to wear a face diaper and be vaccinated to shop or go out to eat.

I no longer have a reason to live or shop or eat in Saint Paul or Minneapolis. Keep this up and the cities will become ghost towns. So very sad. We should not have to spend our lives protecting ourselves from our elected officials’ stupid ideas.

Nancy Hone
Merriam Park

Stop taxing Social Security

Minnesota seniors and retirees must stop tolerating the bullying and abuse of our state government. Since the state has a budget surplus of $7.7 billion, now is the time to abolish taxing our Social Security benefits income. This must be a priority. If repealing the taxation of our Social Security benefits income is not accomplished by the end of the 2022 legislative session, the governor must summon a special session to get this done. Otherwise, our governor and any legislators seeking re-election are at risk of losing a lot of voter support in November.

Please, speak up regarding this taxing issue by contacting Governor Walz (651-201-3400), House Tax Committee chair Paul Marquart (651-296-6829 ), Senate Tax Committee chair Carla Nelson (651-296-4848) and your state representative and senator.

Sue Shetka
Macalester-Groveland

A jolly good idea for carnival

Why don’t we invite some real royalty to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival? How about Prince Andrew of England? He’s charming, good looking and funny, not like his dull and boring brother. We could crown him king. If Charlie “Super Mayor” McCarty were still living and mayor, he would say, “I think it’s a jolly good idea, my boy!”

Steven Horak
West End

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