Don’t rush the Rush Line project

The Rush Line Bus Rapid Transit project is not the answer for sustainable transportation needs. We all want safe, reliable and available transportation that gets us from our homes to exactly where we want to go, when we want to go and at a fair price to all. The Rush Line does not provide that because it needs to be on a dedicated bus line, not does not just use available and flexible city streets. If the project used only our current city streets, it would not qualify for federal subsidies to help pay for the line, so they’re going to destroy a pedestrian and bicycle trail and turn it into a high-speed bus road and a safety concern for bikers. This government solution only goes from point A to B in a fairly straight line. If the needs of the bus riders change from point B to C, the dedicated bus line can’t be moved or be rerouted to service the riders. It also needs to use special bus loading docks that cannot be used by our current city buses due to the height of the passenger platforms. This means that in downtown St. Paul, we will lose more of the existing street parking because of these special bus ramps and that will harm small businesses because of poorer customer access. Based on the original projected Rush Line cost and its expected operating costs after subtracting income from rider fares, Rush Line passengers will be subsidized by taxpayers $5,000 per year to ride the bus. You could lease those bus riders a car that would take them anywhere they needed to go. We may never see the number of past office workers returning to downtown because of the work-from-home option. Most of the current downtown workers hold government jobs as the government grows and private business shrinks. Considering the changes to how people work from home and the health and safety concerns of mass transportation, the Rush Line should be placed on permanent hold. 

Craig Johnson

Vadnais Heights

 

Writer has hidden agenda

This is in response to the letter by Tim Cheesebrow browbeating Council Member Urban with regard to fearmongering with rising crime and, more alarmingly, the willful and cavalier label slapping of the racist tag, which he never said. I have a message for you, too. Cut it out.

I know that you have an agenda that you’re carrying, as part of the uber secret society of Vadnais4Change group, which has ties to the DFL Party and further ties to DFL PACs. It’s obvious that you love to tarnish anyone’s character that does not agree with your own. There is evidence of rising crime, and evidently you conveniently overlook it because the ends justify the means to take every opportunity to mudsling against the next up-for-grabs council seat to win with another DFL puppet. 

If the public doesn’t seem to realize it, let me inform that a few years back, the DFL party decided to begin a strategy for nonpartisan seats in councils, school boards, sheriffs, DAs and even judges. In the last November race in Vadnais, there was a very coordinated and highly placed effort with intimidation, mudslinging through social media, group letters, DFL roster mailers, door hangers and social media blitzes that were never claimed as having any in-kind value for marketing by the two DFL-endorsed sitting City Council members in Vadnais, to influence the race by the DFL party. No big deal? They have to follow big blue’s agenda.

I visited most residences in Vadnais in my nonpartisan race attempts for council, and there were a number of “hotspots” whose homes were burglarized in broad daylight while the owners were at work, whose garages were brazenly broken into, mounted security cameras everywhere, sawed off catalytic converters, of numerous packages/mail being taken, stolen cars, I could go on.

Sheriff Fletcher just sent out a notice to Neighborhood Watch Captains warning of the increased crime in Ramsey County. But then, that’s an inconvenient truth. Public safety is a focus of councils. Come 2022, your somewhat veiled threat of DFL council replacement is chilling, or is that just another dog whistle?

Bob Morse

Vadnais Heights

 

Need solutions to crime trends

In response to the particularly nasty recent letter from Tim Cheesebrow, it remains true that Vadnais Heights is one of the safest cities in Ramsey County. Unfortunately, Vadnais Heights has not been immune to the rise in crime in our region, particularly when it comes to property crime. Property crime in our city increased by 17% last year and thefts from automobiles at our parks increased from two in 2019 to 46 in 2020, a whopping 2300% increase!

I am not sure how many reports of stolen packages, car break-ins or catalytic convertor thefts I am supposed to read before Mr. Cheesebrow believes the issue should be discussed. Perhaps Mr. Cheesebrow should have that discussion with the grocery store worker I met last week who now has to choose between replacing his stolen catalytic convertor for his car or paying rent. His idea that having this discussion is “barely concealed racism,” is disgusting.

Last week, the Ramsey County Sheriff reported 14 carjackings in the east metro, which included a particularly violent armed carjacking in broad daylight in neighboring Little Canada. The regional crime trends are clear, and they are concerning. We do not live in a fairytale land and I will continue to present real-world solutions to real-world problems.  

Greg Urban

Vadnais Heights

 

 

Thanks to first responder

One of the first responders on the scene of a recent car accident at Highway 61 and County Road F was Bridget McMahon. Her hometown was White Bear Lake, and she resides in Vadnais Heights now. I was tending the injured and I heard her voice, a voice I recognized.  She is a nurse, and where she came from, I don’t know — she just appeared. She just took over helping the injured. A great job she did. She was that helping angel. Much thanks, Bridget. 

Pamela Rude

White Bear Lake

 

Why is company still here?

We would like to publicly acknowledge our appreciation for the White Bear Area Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group’s efforts and hard work. They have held Water Gremlin and the MPCA accountable for the toxic poisoning that has been going on for over 20 years in our neighborhood, according to the recent White Bear Press article. As neighbors of Water Gremlin, we were shocked to learn the extent of their irresponsible and illegal behavior that put many White Bear citizens at risk. We just have one question for our government leaders. Why is this toxic company allowed to continue in our community?

Craig Miller and Paul Moss

White Bear Lake

 

Lack of interest a sign of disrespect

Our high school English teacher, Brother Richard (an excellent teacher), was giving a lecture. My classmate, Mike, was obviously bored to tears, slouched, facing down, shuffling papers.

Still lecturing, Br. Richard approached his desk. “Mr. Miller, I am sorry for boring you. I spent some time preparing for this class. Perhaps you could come to my office and help me make it more interesting. Right now, you are being rude and disrespectful to your classmates and me. Could you at least feign interest?” Message received.

I recalled this incident on Feb. 9. I heard on MPR Stacey Plaskett eloquently describing the events of Jan. 6. She vividly brought back to me visions of that day. Watching the news that night (Feb. 9) I observed senators sitting apart from the proceedings as if distancing themselves from the trial. Some were looking away, some shuffling through papers.

The Senate should hire Br. Richard.

I wanted to scream, “You smug, entitled, rude people! Who the hell do you think you are? Could you at least give a token of respect to your colleagues? At least, could you do it for all of us who elected you? If not, do it for the four police officers, the 140 wounded, who provided you the luxury of sitting here today acting like you don’t give a damn! Your political gamesmanship is shameful. Do it for the 44 civilians who gave their lives on 9/11, crashing a plane headed for this very building. Some of you were here that morning. Stacey was. Your cavalier attitude dishonors them.”

Please do not model this rudeness to my children and my grandchildren. You are better than this. If you are not, please sign up for Basic Decency 101.

Bob Bartlett

White Bear Lake 

 

Support Clean Cars Minnesota

In 2007, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act. The law requires Minnesota to reduce our air pollution emissions by 80% by 2050 and sets interim goals to measure progress. Although we have made some progress, we have fallen behind the goals and will not meet them without renewed effort. We currently have an opportunity to take a big step toward getting us back on track.

Transportation is now the biggest source of climate pollution in Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has proposed a new rule called Clean Cars Minnesota. The standards of the proposed rule will help to reduce carbon emissions and will increase the choices Minnesota consumers have when shopping for a new vehicle.

We’re not alone. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have already adopted the same clean car standards and two others are currently considering them.  

Clean car standards are critical for protecting the health of community members. Greenhouse gas emission and particulate matter from vehicles reduce overall air quality and have been attributed to serious illness and thousands of premature deaths annually in Minnesota alone. 

The new standards would also require more low and zero emission vehicles to be available for purchase in Minnesota. Only half of the electric vehicle options sold in the US are available within our state borders. Bringing more electric vehicles to Minnesota means we can continue to build out our vehicle charging infrastructure. Building this infrastructure provides jobs, and electric vehicle owners save money due to the lower cost of electricity compared to fuel, and a stability in pricing and lower maintenance costs. 

The proposed rule does not apply to heavy trucks or farm vehicles, does not apply to vehicles currently on the road, and doesn’t require anyone to buy an electric car. 

The rule is currently being reviewed by an Administrate Law Judge and the MPCA is accepting comments on the rule until March 15. For more information, visit Minnesotansforcleancars.com or pca.state.mn.us/air/clean-cars-mn-rulemaking. If you would like to express your support for it, please contact your state senator or representative.

Richard Johnston

White Bear Lake

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