Two score and Ten years ago today a crowd descended upon Washington. They were assembled as a movement that traversed the South with Freedom Riders, sat-in at segregated lunch counters, and refused to move to the back of the bus. It was a black crowd that filled the Mall that day, but it was also a white crowd as well. It was an American crowd. The movement crystalized into a moment when Dr. Martin Luther King spoke.
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But the threads of history ran deeper than that moment, as Dr. King explained.
I believe that I am due a few vacation daze in the summer, especially when I’ve had a long, bad day. Here is a piece on my city from 2010, in part to commemorate National Night Out.
I came home from a meeting with a client and there they were. A whole team of guys with buzzing and growling equipment filling Irvine Park with motion and clouds of dirt. It wasn’t an unusual scene, since the Parks Department does their share to mow regularly – but these guys were different. It was some private company out trimming and mowing and generally making our li’l park look better than it has in a long time.
What makes this a Saint Paul Moment wasn’t clear until I asked one of them what happened. Did the city contract out the maintenance? No. “The owner of our company’s son is getting married here this weekend, and he wanted it to look nice.” So he just set his crew loose on our public park and made it look great. That is a Saint Paul Moment. You just do it. Continue reading
Transit planning. If the phrase gave you a cold shiver as it called up memories you’d rather repress, we should talk. It’s been a real horror show here in St Paul as a parade of officials and hired engineers have stood in front of citizen committees and neighborhood gatherings telling us whatever they thought we wanted to hear and never (never!) listening. The decisions were always made long ago by people more interested in chasing pots of money, appropriate or not.
The same shiver went up my spine when I heard that the West Side was holding a meeting on their own transit plans along Robert Street (or US52). I read up on the materials, talked with people, went to the meeting and … I have to tell you, I think this is gonna be allright. And when we get our plans going in the West End soon we have every reason to hope this will work out. Here’s why.
It’s Pledge Drive time at Minnesota Public Radio! That means one thing to me – I better get my own Pledge Drive in while I can. It’s been two years since I tried an in-blog pledge drive, and the results were mixed. But I have to try again.
Welcome to another Barataria in-blog Pledge Drive! There’s a survey at the end where you can tell me just what you think anonymously and easily, whether you give or not.
As the water from Hurricane Sandy receded, tens of thousands of homes remained without power for weeks. New York Governor Cuomo was livid – “The utility system we have was designed for a different time and for a different place,” Cuomo told a news conference. “It is a 1950s system.” The ConEd grid is, of course, managed entirely by private money, but it is a highly regulated utility. You can bet that the hammer will fall on them as they are forced to rebuild a completely new system in areas where the old one was more or less washed away.
Down the coast in Washington there is a different focus, one that highlights how a developed nation can have such a terrible problem with antiquated infrastructure. There, the talk is about how to avoid a “Fiscal Cliff”, a political problem focusing and complicating a very real problem with excessive deficits built not around long-term investment but merely keeping the government running.
The divide between the two is bigger than the 3 hours 25 minutes it takes the Amtrack Acela to cover the distance. It is the gap between the reality that infrastructure investment has an incredible immediate impact on the economy, pays for itself in the long term – but remains neglected as too expensive.