Saint Paul’s business sector is collapsing. If downtown business occupancy rates are under 30%,it’s only because state government has been renting so much of it; the City is also party to the destruction of the downmarket but once-at-least-breathing University Avenue business strip. Crime is rising, the school system is garbage (although the superintendent is doing the usual fine job of pre-emptively foisting the blame on the taxpayers), and with over 1,000 vacant properties (with many more forfeited via one path or another to the city, which is busy dumping them on the market for peanuts after filtering them through the non-profit system that helps install so many of the City Council in office), it’s impossible to sell a house without getting the fiscal Abner Louima treatment.
The Saint Paul Council, and Mayor Coleman, are at a loss for a response other than “tax the living crap out of whoever in the city still pays taxes”. And building indoor ice rinks and traffic roundabouts and bike expressways.
So when it comes to the whole “run a responsible city government that doesn’t impede the city’s success”, the Saint Paul City Council is a big fat flop
But everyone’s got their sweet spot. The St. Paul City Council does excel at worthless smug symbolic frippery:
St. Paul became the first city in Minnesota to formally resolve that federal military spending needs to be trimmed.
A resolution sponsored by St. Paul City Council member Amy Brendmoen unanimously passed the seven-member board Wednesday, Oct. 10. It asks the state’s congressional delegation to support shifting funding priorities from military operations to the needs of local communities.
“The bottom line for me is that federal spending impacts the money that goes to local initiatives,” Brendmoen said.
Of course, some of our old friends are involved (emphasis added):
Wednesday’s council meeting was attended by members of various anti-war and social justice groups, as well as state Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, and anti-war activist Coleen Rowley.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor [shouldn't that have scare quotes? - Ed.] of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, said that if every American taxpayer received a bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, St. Paul taxpayers’ share would total an estimated $1.7 billion over the past decade.
I guess you have to be a highly-educated “peace studies” “professor” to think “military spending” is done in the form of “government goodies” coupons that can be redeemed for more ice rinks and light rail trains.
But what if that putative 1.7 bill had been available for local spending, rather than exacted by the IRS or borrowed from China?
With people like Sandy Pappas and the Saint Paul City Council in charge, we’d have gotten $1.7 billion more in ice rinks, drinking fountain art and electric cars for city employees.
This sort of thing is apparently all the rage among PC liberal circles these days:
Other major cities to pass resolutions in favor of trimming military spending are Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Hartford, Conn. Rowley said peace activists have approached the city councils in Eagan and Lakeville but have yet to receive responses. They also plan to approach Apple Valley, Inver Grove Heights, Shoreview and Mounds View officials in coming days.
If we could trade “trimming the defense budget” with “sending the city councils of Saint Paul, Philly, LA and Hartford to Afghanistan”, I think it’d be a fair trade for everyone.