Just repave Summit Ave.
I’m an avid, albeit seasonal, bicycle rider. During the warmer months, I find myself on Summit Avenue several times a week. It’s my major east-west route to many other trails around the Twin Cities. As such, I find myself in complete agreement with the guest editorial in the November 23 issue of MyVillager (“Summit Ave. trail plan overlooks needs of serious cyclists”).
I don’t know where the impetus to rework the street with some kind of separate bike path is coming from, but I have a simpler solution: Just repave the street. The new blacktop between Snelling Avenue and Lexington Parkway, which was laid down late last year, is marvelous. Just finish the job: Repave the pot-holed, tooth-chipping, rugged, patches-on-patches sections between the Mississippi River and the University Club, and I’ll be delighted.
Every time I encounter a bollard-separated, two-way bike trail like the one on Pelham Boulevard, I think, “What a waste.” I understand how riding in traffic can intimidate less experienced riders, and I love to see riders of all ages and abilities biking, but there are many streets parallel to Summit—Portland, for instance—that are much safer for families and slower riders.
So save the money and do something that makes sense for everyone, bike riders as well as motorists. Just repave Summit.
Follow the money
A separate bike trail is likely to be built on Summit Avenue because the Metropolitan Council will not fund an on-street bike lane. What the funder wants, the funder gets.
Rent control vs. rent stabilization
MyVillager and other news media in the Twin Cities have been gaslighting their readership about the issue of rent stabilization. I’m disappointed that I have to use the loaded term “gaslighting” to gain attention, but the harm that has been done to the public discussion of rent stabilization is real and ongoing.
Rent control refers to dictating set dollar amounts for rent. Rent stabilization refers to defined percentage increases in rent per year. Saint Paul enacted rent stabilization, not rent control. Using the wrong term distorts the public’s understanding of the situation. Rent control connotes dictatorial rules imposed upon landlords. Rent stabilization focuses our attention on affordability for renters, which research has proven results in housing stability.
Saint Paul voters endorsed rent stabilization for tenants. Since the passage of the ordinance, the coverage I have seen in MyVillager and in the majority of news media focuses almost exclusively on other stakeholders in the housing market—developers, investors, landlords and city government— not renters.
General editorial policy has likely weeded out the renters’ perspectives because editors insist on printing “new” news. The reactions of the other stakeholders to the passage of the rent stabilization ordinance is new, so their perspectives get aired. But this gives the public the impression that renters’ problems have lessened in relation to the others’. This is not true. Articles about inflation and increased demand at charitable food shelves attest to the ongoing hardships of people with lower incomes who primarily rent.
The scarcity of renters’ views on this issue is not entirely due to editorial policy. The next most likely inhibitor is self-censorship. The skewed news coverage has not only gaslighted the general public about rent stabilization, it has gaslighted renters into believing that their rent concerns don’t matter.
Discouraged by DFL dominance
It sure beats the heck out of me why Minnesota voters elected more DFLers to the state House and Senate, leading to increased doom and gloom, more homelessness and more guaranteed poverty. Democrats have governed and continue to govern by dictatorship, not democracy, and tend not to work for the best interests and financial well-being of we the people.
For climate resiliency
As a certified flood plain manager with 19 years of experience in civil and water resources engineering, I work directly with Minnesota communities to mitigate the threat of major flooding from heavy rain and other severe weather. Since 2000, there have been 35 weather events in Minnesota that caused more than $1 billion in damages each, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration. These events hurt businesses, damage private property, strain public infrastructure and threaten public safety and national security.
Many states and municipalities have created chief resilience officer positions to lead efforts to increase resilience to natural disasters. A coordinated resilience strategy helps communities design stronger flood infrastructure, develop smart growth strategies, put limited resources to work and guide emergency responses. However, the federal apparatus around extreme weather preparedness is disjointed and redundant.
Thankfully, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to introduce the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act (HR-6461, S-3531). NCARS would establish a federal chief resilience officer to guide the creation and implementation of a national resilience strategy that streamlines federal support, leads with science, leverages nature areas, and addresses historical inequities to help communities mitigate the threat of disasters more efficiently. NCARS would equip local leaders with the resources, data and tools necessary to successfully plan for future risk of flooding and other disasters.
Congress should pass this legislation. Communities across the country will be better off if they do.
Your eyes and the internet
“What’s wrong with people?” is a catch phrase used when we notice someone’s inexplicable behavior. What is wrong with people? One problem is that we stare at our screens rather than engage in eye-to-eye contact, and text rather than converse. If the eye is a window to the soul, what happens to that soul when it communes with electronic devices more than family?
We carry our precious devices with us wherever we go. They demand our attention and get it. We can hardly imagine life without them. I am not anti-technology. The evolution of the typewriter to the personal computer has been beneficial. But too many people are culpably ignorant of the dangers of the internet. These devices are the tools pornographers use to entrap children into a lifelong addiction to pornography. Young children are especially vulnerable.
Covenant Eyes and the Canopy App are two ways families can protect their loved ones. In addition to apps, there exists a free alternative—ungluing our eyes from our screens by exercising self-control.
Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Christian Action League of Minnesota.
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