COMMENTS of the WEEK | Present, past and future of…

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There are so many ways of l writing about the past, comparing it with the present and looking to the future. We had articles last week that did just that for two very different subjects — collective bargaining in modern America and neighborhood family life in North Minneapolis. Each of them inspired a slew of reader comments.

Macalester College labor historian Peter Rachleff wrote about changes in labor-union priorities and strategies since the mid-1930s. He took the just approved teachers-union contract with St. Paul Public Schools as a significant example of professional employees challenging traditional management prerogatives. The article was long, but people read it; half a dozen readers appreciated the historical perspective and wrote briefly to say so. For example,

David Poklinkoski • Excellent examination of the past and a pointing out of the direction workers must head.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 17 comments came in on a much shorter, more personal Community Voices piece, Memories of the Northside. Here Shatona Kilgore-Groves wrote with pride of days when “hundreds of youth” could hang out safely on Plymouth Avenue “without the disturbance of the police” and when folks from St. Paul would come to the Northside “just to socialize with us.” Then she matched that nostalgia with pained regret that it later “became taboo to say where I was from.”

Both the nostalgia and the pain struck a chord with Daily Planet readers. Here are typical comments:

Amy B. Nelson Mingo • Thank you for writing this. I moved here with my husband 3 years ago. He grew up here and tells me all the stories from back in the day. I can’t understand why North isn’t a more popular, cared-for place to live. It is close to downtown, the river, and has great homes and neighborhoods. It could be a shining gem in Minneapolis but is instead ignored and tossed away. It just doesn’t make sense.

Trevor Matthew Corbin • The city treats the North like it’s dumping ground and let’s it rot. Our council members need to accept and treat this neighborhood as valuable as the rest of the city. Instead of wishing it away and ignoring it. Great article.

Michelle Lewis • The city has the tools it needs to integrate the Northside into the community life of the city—they are exactly the same tools that are used to make the rest of the city safe and livable. Through equitable inspections, the city could be holding landlords accountable. Through equitable use of the justice system, the city and county could be investigating crimes and holding the few individuals who hold our neighborhood hostage accountable. But time and time again, we are told that the decision has been made not use these tools because of “low community standards”. Who has determined the we have low community standards? The city. And guess what–the city has created exactly the result they were after.

Leslie Knudsen • Beautiful. I recently moved to the Northside from the burbs. Even as is, I love it here. There is a community feel and I dare say, the suburbs do not have that feel. Loved your writing.

Remember, reader comments are the lifeblood of community conversation in the Daily Planet. Join in. Agree or disagree. Praise or criticize. Be brief, be civil, be heard!