Conspiracy theory on Summit Ave.
Regarding: “Save Our Street accuses city of hiding harm from Summit trail” (MyVillager, February 8):
Save Our Street (SOS) is an ideological fringe group advancing conspiracy theories. With no evidence, SOS claims that switching the position of the bike lanes and parked cars on Summit Avenue will destroy hundreds of trees. This despite the fact that the street isn’t being widened. Then they claim to be champions of bicycle safety even though none of them has ever shown up for a public meeting about bicycle issues in Saint Paul or lifted a finger for bike infrastructure in this city in any way, at least not in the 15 years I’ve been involved.
SOS members constantly bring up the number of driveways on Summit. Yes, there are driveways on Summit. Cyclists currently have to deal with them and will have to deal with them in the future. But if the city’s plan is approved, cyclists will actually have more room to safely react to cars entering or exiting those driveways.
SOS claims that switching the position of the bike lanes and parked cars will destroy the historical character of Summit Avenue. But when Summit was built, there were no bike lanes and no cars, let alone parked cars. If they want to accurately preserve the historical character of Summit, they should travel exclusively by horse and carriage or penny-farthing (an 1880s-style safety bicycle), and they should rip up the pavement on Summit and just have a dirt road.
Now SOS is accusing city staff of committing some bizarre conspiracy against them. I don’t understand why MyVillager gives SOS so much ink. Does the editor believe them, or does he just like to stir the pot and create a little controversy? If folks want the facts on the Summit Avenue planning proposal, they should watch the city’s short video about it at youtube.com/watch?v=Ok9UnKOu6-o or read the entire plan at engagestpaul.org/summit.
Andy Singer, Volunteer Co-Chair
Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition
Editor’s note: The writer is a resident of Macalester-Groveland.
Reject 36% cap on interest rates
Recently, legislation was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature (House File 290) which would place a 36 percent cap on the rate that lenders could charge consumers for short-term and small-dollar loans. This is terrible news for Minnesota consumers, especially those who have difficulty accessing credit. What rate-cap activists don’t want consumers to know is that the core element of their messaging just doesn’t work when you apply basic math.
Annual percentage rate (APR) is not the only way to evaluate financial products. Annualizing the interest rate on a loan repaid in less than a year artificially inflates the interest rate to eye-popping numbers.
On cost basis alone, very few people would insist that a $100 loan with $10 in interest repaid in 30 days is unreasonable. However, when the interest rate on that loan is annualized, it amounts to more than 121 percent—well above the artificial threshold that rate-cap activists decry as usury.
Rate cap legislation would make short-term and small-dollar lending unprofitable in the state and thus would eliminate what is often the only source of credit for many Minnesota consumers. Clearly, Minnesota lawmakers would be wise to reject House File 290.
State of the Union in 2023
It was disheartening to watch and listen to President Joe Biden read the lies and misguided propositions written for him in his State of the Union address. It was actually difficult. He meant none of it and didn’t believe any of it.
None of us can in good faith deny that he is our fault. Voting is said to be a precious right, yet millions of Americans exercise it with no seriousness or care whatever. Still, we have some reasonable basis to feel sorry for ourselves. Our country is the greatest in recorded history, and there is none with more virtuous and generous people. We, simply put, deserve so much better, and it is unjust to have to suffer such a complete fraud and a man so shallow. I find it beyond my imagination that his political party will allow him to be their nominee in 2024, but maybe it would be good to give the American voters the ultimate saliva test.
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Statements such as “Save Our Street (SOS) is an ideological fringe group advancing conspiracy theories” and “SOS is accusing city staff of committing some bizarre conspiracy against them” really do not contribute constructively to the civic dialogue on an issue important to many people. Demonizing the opposition is a great tactic but reflects more on the person making the attacks than the intended target.