The Nov. 15 article “In St. Paul, a glimpse at the future of Ford site” coaxed me to put pen and paper to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s numbers. If you take 122 acres, less roughly 20 percent for roadways, sidewalks and private/public easements, you are left with about 100 acres. In order for that to produce $22 million in annual tax revenue, as the politicians seem focused upon getting their hands on, the governmental grab would be roughly $200,000 per acre. That means each acre would need a building worth $5 million, taxed at 4 percent of that value. Now say that four homes, shops, gas stations or office buildings are squashed in per acre. The governmental fee for roads, sewer, schools and salaries would need to be $50,000 per building owner. Ouch!
Hopefully, the city won’t allow developmental blight to occur, as Bloomington has, by pushing four- to five-story wood-construction apartments covering every allowable inch of property, while leaving inadequate parking and open space. If there isn’t another employer to replace the lost Ford jobs, why not build a few 30- to 40-story condo/apartment buildings? Then maybe add a hotel, with mixed retail to serve the new residents, with the remaining 70 to 80 acres left as a park similar to New York with its Central Park?
C.W. Howard, Minneapolis
The writer is a real-estate broker.
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
‘Discontent in the Heartland?’ Yes, but not the kind proposed
Scott Gillespie’s Nov. 15 analysis of the election results in Trempealeau County, Wis., (“Clinton failed to grasp discontent in the Heartland”) can’t see the forest because he’s afraid to call it trees.
Unfilled jobs and needed workers who were willing to process chickens and milk cows, according to Gillespie, began to change the look of the “virtually all-white town.” Local employers likely tried to fill job openings from “small government” and “Second Amendment advocates” born and raised in the area, but apparently they find certain jobs distasteful. Rather than close their businesses and move elsewhere — causing economic devastation to the county — the employers use “strong verification systems” and hire those willing to work.
What has happened in Trempealeau County is a growing local economy, a local population unwilling to fill the jobs and resent of those who are willing to take them. Then, as they see faces of an unfamiliar color, often bilingual, like the newly hired priest, they tap into their “high suspicion” and listen to a candidate who calls out to their fear and racism.
That is what Gillespie and the Clinton campaign failed to recognize. That a small rural county experiencing strong job growth not filled by the local residents would resent those willing to fill the void, not because they are jobless vagrants, but because they look and sound different. One campaign counted on our Better Angels. The other, Building a Wall.
Todd Embury, Ramsey
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Democrats need to rebuild after the drubbing they took nationally in Tuesday’s election, and N.Y. Sen. Charles Schumer, who is expected to be the Senate minority leader, supports Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota as head of the Democratic National Committee. Talk about alienating the base, much less trying to expand the base. Republicans have to be dancing in aisles. Which we are!
Jim Farrell, Bloomington
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Regarding efforts to rebuild the Democratic Party so it can rise from the ashes of its defeat in the presidential election, I have a suggestion: How about being more inclusive? They say that liberalism is all about tolerance. Try telling that to the many good Democrats who were tossed out of their party for being prolife.
Many assume that only conservatives oppose abortion — this is a bad mistake. There are many in the center and left who are prolife. Many of whom believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death (consistent life ethic). Many right-wingers favor abortion — they believe in the theory of eugenics — Hitler was a big supporter of that theory. I hope and pray that the party of Robert F. Kennedy will return someday, so that I can once again refer to myself as a Democrat.
Kay Kemper, Crystal
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My wife and I started out very poor. I ran a punch-press in a Minneapolis factory, and my wife stayed home with our two children. I worked full time and went to computer technology school at night. Eventually I worked my way into management in the computer business. Because of my “roots,” I have always considered myself to be a blue-collar man. My father also worked in a Minneapolis machine shop.
I vote for Democrats. Democrats fight for the common man. Democrats fight to increase the minimum wage. In hard times, they fight to extend unemployment benefits. They fight for bigger budgets to educate our children. Democrats saved General Motors and Chrysler when they needed help. Democrats help labor unions keep the ability to bargain for their workers. Democrats fight to preserve Social Security benefits.
Republicans have always fought against these causes. After this election, where blue-collar voters determined the outcome, I am completely bewildered. Where do I fit in now?
Michael Thomas Burns, Prior Lake
THE TRUMP TRANSITION
A sad signal has been sent; it’s time for us to stand up to bigotry
Our president-elect has chosen a white supremacist as his top adviser in the White House (“From the fringe to the White House,” Nov. 15). This is not OK on any level. I urge everyone who is horrified by the choice of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president-elect to visit the website of, and donate to, the Southern Poverty Law Center — www.splcenter.org. This organization fights racial and social injustice by tracking hate groups in the U.S. and reporting their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public. It teaches tolerance, and it uses the courts to help victims of discrimination and hate crimes. If we do nothing, we are accomplices to the elevation of hatred and bigotry.
Rebekah Richards, St. Paul
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Remember why the process was designed in the first place
Yet again we had a presidential race where the popular vote doesn’t agree with the Electoral College map. Thus the rational thought is the Electoral College must be outdated and is a poor system. The Electoral College is in place because founding fathers James Madison and Alexander Hamilton feared that “factions” of society would become too powerful and vote in their preferred choice. Also, a states’ rights balancing act was essential to the formation of our current form of government. So, when you are part of an Electoral College conversation, simply remind yourself and others that if it were not for the Electoral College, the voices of the majority could drown out the voices of the few. Places like California, New York, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania could decide the president if we scrapped the Electoral College for a true form of democracy.
Chris Lund, Hamburg