Sunday, May 24, 2009

An Open Letter to Ralph Remington

Dear Council Member Remington:

Time is ticking; before you know it your time in the Minneapolis City Council will be up. No more dealing with annoying people, or at least no more need to put on a diplomatic front befitting of a City Council member. No more Happy Hour with Ralph – just plain old regular happy hours. You’ve put up with a lot; complaints from angry Ward 10 residents who think you’ve sold them out on the development front, complaints from other Ward residents who think you’ve sold out to the NIMBY crowd, probably countless calls and emails from grumpy residents whining about everything from parking to liquor licenses to whatever else floats their boats.

You’re not running for reelection; why not lose some of that Minnesota reserve and just tell it like it is? Polite is fine, but I, for one, would really appreciate some straight-to-the-point answers and opinions.

Imagine the possibilities:

Neighbor: Someone is parked in front of my house!! I need permit parking on my street!
Remington: What were you thinking, living in Uptown? Uptown is an urban neighborhood. Cars come with the territory. Don’t like it? Move. Rent a garage. Just stop complaining to me about it. I don’t want to hear it; I live here, too, remember?

Neighbor: There was a drunk person on my street making noise last night. Can you make the bars close at midnight, or better yet, ten? Oh, and no more liquor licenses to anyone, please. Booze is the root of all evil in Uptown.

Remington: Drunk people are a problem, especially if behind the wheel. But wasn’t that you I saw sipping a glass of wine last week at Barbette? Why is it okay for you and your friends but not for anyone else?

Neighbor: Someone built a five-story building near Lyndale and Lake, and now I can’t see the sky. My pedestrian experience is diminished.
Remington: You picked the wrong neighborhood, my friend. Ever been to a real city? A five-story building isn’t going to kill you, and lots of Ward 10 residents love them. Want me to bulldoze all those tall, leafy elm trees on your block while I’m at it? Those darn trees really get in the way of watching the clouds, let alone the eagles...

Neighbor: You betrayed me! You’re in bed with the developers!
Remington: Funny, the last caller said just the opposite. Can’t make up your mind, can you?

You can tell me what you think, too. If I call or email you with a question I’m fine with getting a direct answer – “I can’t do that because I’ll be bombarded with calls and emails from annoying CARAG zoning committee members and their allies, and I just don’t want to deal with that anymore,” or “I think your suggestion is absolutely nuts, and I’m only granting you the courtesy of this email because I have to be polite to my constituents, even the crazy ones,” or whatever. Unrealistic, I know, but oh, how I love the idea of an elected official going out in a blaze of direct, straight, no-holds-barred glory…

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