Saturday, September 03, 2011

Discordant headlines

Today's StarTrib is filled will headlines that just scream in opposition to each other.

'Deal saves four Minneapolis firefighter jobs' -The city of Minneapolis will cut 6 firefighter positions because of 'frozen state aid', even though they seem to have enough money for a 'bicycle and pedestrian coordinator', whatever the heck that is.  This is the city's annual drama to try to bring public pressure to bear on politicians to keep the gravy train flowing to Minneapolis.

Also on the front page, the Minneapolis school district has been forced to report their graduation rates accurately. 'New 4-year formula slashes high school grad rates', which lets parents in the city know that less than half of the kids on Minneapolis high schools graduate.  Unless of course you make the standard 6 years-then it is still a pathetic 73 percent.  Think on that; 1 in 4 will fail even when they doctor the numbers.  If the situation in the school district gets much worse, Minneapolis parents may be guilty of child neglect for sending their kids to public school.

But never fear Minneapolis residents, the cure to all your ills is on the horizon-in the midst of the Central Corridor disaster for businesses comes word that the Feds give preliminary OK to third light rail project, linking Minneapolis to the south west metro suburbs.  Clearly light rail has been a life changing benefit to Minneapolis residents since its construction (or life-ending in too many cases), so more light rail will no doubt be better for Minneapolitans, right?  Curiously, though, the projected cost will be $1.25 billion dollars, almost 100 million per mile, and twice as much as the amount the Vikings are looking for in government funding, yet no one has called for a public referendum on this public boondoggle.

Last headline and back to the bad news for the city, Minneapolis sees diminished clout at Capitol, with the passing of career politician Linda Berglin.  With all due respect to the late senator, who by all accounts served honorably on behalf of her constituents, this nation was founded on citizen legislators, who would temporarily put aside their livelihoods to serve in politics.  38 years in the legislature is a failure of imagination, and the chaos left by her departure shows a lack of leadership.  The loss of political power that the district is now dealing with clearly shows that Minneapolis has had far too much power for far too long.

So there you have it Minneapolis; when the city burns because bicycles were more important than firemen, your illiterate kids can escape the city by light rail.  Just don't count on much money from the capitol to rebuild.

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