Dear RT and Peter,
I am SO sorry I haven’t gotten back to you guys before now, but I’ve been swamped, what with work, family, volunteer stuff and watching the zaniness of “Joey” on NBC (have you seen that show yet? What a hoot!).
Anyhoo, you’ve both been kind enough to send me scores of letters and emails regarding your interest in the mayoral position. It’s high time I write you back! You’ve asked me to ring in with my greatest concerns about the city. Here’s my response, and I have no doubt that I speak for thousands of Minneapolitans. Well, hundreds. OK, at least for my wife and myself (and oftentimes, not even her).
Oh, and by the way, I did vote for one of you in September’s primary, but I did so reluctantly. In these closing days, the one who addresses these following matters is the one who will get a very firm vote from yours truly, no reluctance whatsoever!
– Work with the governor. I know Tim drives you and me nuts, but like it or not, you gotta work with him, at least for the next year. Tell me HOW you’re going to work with him so that he stops punishing us for being a solid DFL city. He and his House friends have simply written us off, despite their bragging about Minneapolis’ stature as the economic engine of the Upper Midwest whenever they go out of state.
– Tell me how you’re going to help improve our schools. For those of us who have kids enrolled in the Minneapolis public school system, this is a very big issue. In reading all your missives to me, it feels as if you’re missing a key issue here. Think class size. My 4th-grader is in a class with 32 other squirmy children; my 5th-grader enjoys the company of 34 of his closest friends. That doesn’t work. Tell me how you’re going to help address that issue. My guess is you’re going to need some help from Tim – be nice!
– Tell me how you’re going to help the libraries. Our libraries only have two problems, but they’re doozies. They no longer have enough staff and they no longer are open enough hours (I warned you they were doozies!). Tell me how you’re going to work with the Library Board and the governor on this important issue. Think leadership!
– Parks. I know the parks, like the libraries and schools, don’t technically fall under your responsibility, but after all, you’re the boss of the city! (Remember when George W. said New Orleans wasn’t his responsibility – oy!) Come on, jawbone, man. Wouldn’t it be cool to have an actual, green park somewhere downtown? Imagine it right where that nasty old parking lot is in front of the new central library. This brings me to my final point.
– Vision. You two guys are getting so bogged down in details, that you’re not painting the big picture for me. Tell me your vision for this city in five, 10, 20 years. Are we the Green City? The Arts City? The Business-Friendly City? What do you see for us? That’s what I’d really love to know. You’re asking for the steering wheel, pal; I’m asking you to tell me where we’re going, that’s all.
Well, guys, that’s it for now. I look forward to your letters and email. Oh, and good luck on Nov. 8. You’re both really good fellows. Just tell me your answers to those questions above, and I’ll give you a big, ol’ sincere vote, nothing reluctant about it.
Glenn Miller lives, votes and writes from Fulton.