It’s often been said that you can’t fight City Hall.
Yet, last evening, more than 200 of my neighbors showed up at a neighborhood bar to affirmatively state they can, and they will.
The issue? The City of St. Paul’s incessant drive to rezone the former site of the St. Paul Ford Motor Company Plant into one of the most unremarkable and unoriginal mass density development projects in recent memory.
Not since the State of Minnesota built something called The Metrodome has such a hideous vision for the future been foisted upon the citizens of a community. Imagine if you will up to 10,000 people crammed onto a piece of land that is 0.21875 of a square mile. Goldfish have a better chance of thriving in a cereal bowl than 10,000 people do on 0.21875 of a square mile.
Last night more than 200 of my neighbors from throughout St. Paul came together to make it clear that they will not give up in their efforts to stop the City of St. Paul from implementing a zoning vision that will fail the “Once-in-a-Lifetime” opportunity on the Saint Paul Ford Plant site.
We were joined by six candidates for St. Paul Mayor: Trahern Crews, Elizabeth Dickinson,Tom Goldstein, Pat Harris, Timothy Holden and Dai Thao.
Each of these candidates took time out from their campaigns to spend time with constituents, listening to them, not giving speeches.
It was a remarkable opportunity for citizens to get one-on-one personal contact with the men and women who may become our city’s next Mayor.
It underscored just how valuable it is in a democracy for the people to have these intimate moments of communication between those who are our elected officials, and those who seek to represent us.
Also in attendance, even though this project is nowhere near her City Council Ward, was 7th Ward City Councilmember Jane Prince.
Like the candidates for Mayor who attended, Councilmember Prince came to listen and learn – not to endorse the vision or position of any particular person or group.
One cannot be more proud of elected officials like Councilmember Prince, and Mayoral Candidates Crews, Dickinson, Goldstein, Harris, Holden and Thao for taking the time to do just that: Listen and learn.
We stand at a remarkable point in time as it pertains to the St. Paul Ford Plant site. On one hand you have a zoning vision that does not have the support of the vast majority of the community.
On the other hand you have the Ford Motor Company dictating to some on the Saint Paul City Council, and presumably the Mayor’s Administration, what they will or won’t do to clean up land they polluted on the banks of the Mississippi River...
Not to mention surrounded by thousands of families and children who call St. Paul our home.
Fighting City Hall is never an enjoyable experience. It is frustrating. Maddening.
It sometimes challenges commonsense.