A CUP of prejudice

“Ma’am, no student feels welcome in your neighborhood.” That was the response of an African American student when a University of Saint Thomas (UST) neighbor asked whether the student felt welcome in the neighborhood. The response was made at a meeting of a UST leadership panel following a racial-slur incident on campus in 2017.

Prejudice is an assumption or opinion about someone based on that person’s membership in a particular group. Discriminatory restrictive deed covenants based on a person’s occupation—student—were put on 30 homes in the Macalester-Groveland and Merriam Park neighborhoods between 2005 and 2013. These covenants are required by Condition 10 of the 2004 Conditional Use Permit (CUP) between the city of Saint Paul and UST.

Saint Paul’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan states, “We are a city that creates opportunities for all residents to achieve their highest potential.… We are a city that welcomes all, where everyone feels safe and empowered to participate in decisions that impact them.”

The covenants were a topic at the December meeting of the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee. The argument was put forward at that time that students are not members of a protected class. That is not a condition of the 2040 Plan, nor should it be a condition of the CUP. Prejudice should not be tolerated in our city, yet the city of Saint Paul and UST have been governed by a CUP that discriminates against students for 18 years.

I invite our community to come together to help Saint Paul and UST leaders remove Condition 10 and its 30 restrictive deed covenants. The time has come to let everyone know that they are welcome to participate in community decisions that make our neighborhood a great place to live, work, learn, play and worship.

Catherine Plessner

Taking a shine to purple pride

You may have noticed the purplish streetlights that have popped up around Saint Paul the past six months. The city’s Public Works Department notes that this is a manufacturer’s defect. They plan to replace the bulbs as they appear.


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I personally oppose this plan. The purple lights are not harmful, nor do they create any safety issues. If anything, they give the city a unique charm. Minnesota dons purple proudly and should continue to do so with the street lights. I implore, write to your City Council member and demand more purple streetlights. 

Patrick Henry
West End

Editor’s note: According to the city’s website, the purple-colored streetlights are the result of a manufacturer’s defect and a failure of the LED bulb in many of Saint Paul’s “cobra style” streetlights installed between 2017 and 2019. The city’s Public Works Department is asking residents to notify the Lighting Division at 651-266-9777 to report the number and location of any streetlights that have a purplish hue.

Return the surplus to taxpayers

All of Minnesota’s nearly $18 billion budget surplus belongs to the taxpayers. We are being overtaxed. All of the budget surplus should be returned to us, the taxpayers. But we know that is not likely to happen with a DFL governor and DFLers in control of the state House and Senate. Nevertheless, I believe the first order of business during the current legislative session is to ensure that taxpayers receive a refund check by mid-February. I would like single people with or without children to receive at least a $1,500 check and married people with or without children to receive at least a $2,500 check.

Sue Shetka

Slow traffic leads to safer trails

Regarding the proposed Summit Avenue Regional Trail:  After living in Saint Paul for 20 years, I moved to Vermont and have been working with local towns toSummit install bike and pedestrian loops on paved roads for both commuting and sight-seeing between towns. Our conclusion has been, if you don’t slow motor-vehicle and bicycle speeds, you’ve failed to gain a pathway for safer travel.

Making it harder for motorists and bicyclists to go fast is our low-hanging fruit. Changing speed-limit signs or increasing the number of speed traps does little to decrease speeds. However, narrowing the traffic lanes forces vehicles to slow down and keeps everyone safer. If drivers are fearful of damaging their cars, they will slow down. Intersections are safer when everyone is going slower.

I urge everyone to review videos on “advisory bike lanes.” There are three such bike lanes in Vermont, one in New Hampshire and I think one in Minneapolis.

Good luck and keep on fighting for slower speeds and community building.

Larry Buck
New Haven, Vermont

Enforce fares for all on transit

Regarding Bill Hosko’s letter about rising crime and homicides on or near public transportation (“No honor among crooks,” MyVillager Inbox, December 21): I’ve been using local buses and trains for nearly 50 years. I quit using the Green Line, then the Blue Line, a couple of years ago due to safety concerns.

Mr. Hosko is correct: An “honor” system of payment has not worked and will never work on Metro Transit buses and trains. The Metropolitan Council’s “courtesy” policy opens the door for misbehaving riders to endanger the safety of the drivers and the passengers. Light-rail trains are now pot lounges and criminal “fish bowls”—a mixture of the hapless homeless and hardened criminals thrown together with an occasional hardworking individual who was forced to take the train after the No. 16 bus was eliminated on University Avenue.

Minneapolis is losing residents faster than marshmallows melt over a fire. Rampant crime is the main reason; rising taxes is another. Many Minnesotans have just had enough.

Some days I wonder if a bus commute is worth the risk it involves. I have witnessed innumerable violent incidents on the trains and buses. The Blue Line and the Green Line should be scrapped. University bus routes that were axed should be returned. At the very least, the “honor” system for paying on the trains and buses should be abandoned.

Ann Redding
Fuller, Minneapolis

Do write, won’t you?

MyVillager welcomes letters to the editor and longer guest editorials. All commentary must be signed, indicate the neighborhood in which the writer lives and include a phone number for verification purposes. Please, send your commentary to MyVillager, 241 S. Cleveland Ave., Suite V, Saint Paul, MN 55105, email it to letters@myvillager.com or submit it via our website at myvillager.com/editorial. The views expressed are not the views of MyVillager.


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