Tom Goldstein for Saint Paul
Dear St. Paul Resident:
Imagine where we could be as a city if we focused on sustainable development practices; prioritized investments in our parks, lakes, and libraries; viewed our riverfront as more than just another commercial opportunity; and repaired our aging infrastructure—rather than subsidizing luxury condo projects or providing corporate handouts that only serve to increase the tax burden on everyone else.
If we invested in a citywide fiber network that ensured affordable, high-speed internet access for every resident, business, and nonprofit institution in St. Paul.
If we treated education as a citywide commitment in which resources are available to children throughout the community that will give every student a chance to graduate from high school prepared for college—or the technical skills necessary for joining an apprenticeship program, attending a trade school, or entering the work force.
If we treated climate change as a very real problem that requires green building practices, greater transit options, and a focus on alternative energy uses like wind, solar, and geothermal wherever possible.
If we stopped talking about “diversity” and “communities of color” in a vacuum but actually instituted inclusionary policies that insure opportunities for everyone to fully participate in our government and the local economy.
Somehow we can find money to fund a minor league ballpark that yields no new revenue or property taxes for the city—and pay infrastructure costs for a soccer stadium that will also be tax exempt—yet need to raise the property tax levy nearly 8 percent to cover basic city services and upkeep of our parks?
We can do much better than that.
With nearly forty percent of our residents living below the poverty line, an unacceptable achievement gap in our schools, limited opportunities for young people, and a zoning code heavily skewed in favor of developers, business as usual is no longer acceptable in St. Paul—unless the primary purpose of city government is to only benefit those with the right political connections.
So—together—let’s figure out how we are going to create the thousands of livable wage jobs we need to help lift people out of poverty.
How we’re going to provide micro loans and start-up funds so that entrepreneurs and business owners can access the capital they need to realize their dreams and provide for their families—particularly in our low income neighborhoods and communities of color.
How we’re going to instill accountability and transparency in city government rather than pay lip service to residents’ concerns.
As a long-time advocate for neighborhoods, a lawyer, small business owner, and former School Board member, I can be the change agent we need at City Hall who will help ensure that local government works for us rather than the other way around.
With your support we can achieve the kind of progressive reforms that will focus on the needs of neighborhoods and small businesses rather than corporate interests; align our city resources to ensure better educational outcomes for every student; and realize the potential in our cultural communities so that St. Paul becomes a truly great city that works for all of us.
People before Politics. It’s much more than a slogan for me.