I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It’s a formerly nice place that’s presently going downhill at a rapid clip.
If you do a search for Saint Paul & Initiative you will see that our city government is doing much to provide a savings account for every child born in the city, moving to have more low-income housing, and a host of feel-good issues.
But shootings are at a near-record level, it’s not safe to be in a parking lot on the East side of the city, and the streets remind me of Port Au Prince after a heavy rain.
Exaggeration you say? Well, stand outside in many parts of the city after 9 in the evening and you can hear gunfire. Beatings and robbery are endemic to the mass transit waiting areas. The street in front of my house has more ruts and bumps than the one in front of the mission house I stay at in Haiti.
Why? I’ll tackle the street issue first. You see, in a city that will have winter for 5-6 months each year (November, December, January, February, March, April & usually October) they came up with the brilliant idea this year not to plow after the first snow fall. You know, the one the media described as the heaviest snow in almost 20 years? Yeah, that one.
So, as it works with snow, cars and trucks drove over it and compressed it. Now, follow closely, that causes it to go up in temperature a bit, and then refreeze when the compression ends. Repeat a few hundred times and 8 inches of snow becomes 4 inches of ice. Then, days after the street in front of the mayor’s house gets plowed, the rest of the peasants get plowed.
But, for those of you in warm climates, the plow just bounces along on top of ice and doesn’t do anything useful. Nature then sets in and the sunny spots on streets, and above manhole covers, start to melt. This leaves 2-4 inch divots in the icy surface. It’s a bit jarring to drive along to say the least.
We have had some warm days, and some of the streets have melted a bit. But the fact is that it’s winter in Minnesota and they gambled with our money on this one. Economy you know. Need to save that money to squander it later. Don’t plow if you don’t need to. Here’s some math for the geniuses at City Hall: If you are rolling dice, and planning on getting a pair of sixes, the odds are not in your favor. That’s what you do when you don’t plow.
The same mathematical logic is in progress regarding crime. No new cops, just train the outnumbered and overworked force a little smarter. Yeah. That’s crap. We’ve essentially decriminalized most misdemeanor crime in the city, and the police are still merely responding to calls – they have no time to proactively work the hot spots. So, if you are out and about, you’d best be carrying your own gun, because the people around you with ill intent surely are. That’s why we have had a record setting pace on bullet wounds this year in my city.
Finally, when you get right down to it, it’s priorities. Now, having had this argument with city employees before, they will tell you it’s all because of the budget process and they can’t do anything about it. However, when my street is not plowed, but the ice rink across the street, and the parking lot at the recreation center adjacent to it is freshly plowed after every snow fall, I’m a bit miffed.
We live in a liberal city where basic city services – Police, Fire, Street, Water – all take second place to cultural enhancement. Strangely, I contend that without the basics, cultural enhancement is wasted. People continue to flee the city. People like me who grew up here and love a lot about the city.
But it isn’t very safe anymore. And it’s getting worse every year. We’re becoming a Detroit with nice parks.
Sorry, but the siren call of Florida is getting louder. I’ll sell my snowblower, get some sunshine, and leave the lunatic left here to finish the destruction of my birthplace.
Retirement is possible in a mere 167 days according to my employer. Barring a broken back from the rutted roads, or a gunshot wound while waiting for the bus, it looks like my run in this city is coming to a close.
Subject to change, but I think I’ll look at that Florida real estate website again before lunch. A guy has to have hope.