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SOC 2008

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State of the City 2008

St. Paul Logo.jpg
As part of his 2008 State of the City address, Mayor Chris Coleman hosted a series of town hall discussions in various parts of the city. In addition, Mayor Coleman invited members of the St. Paul Issues Forum to engage in an online discussion about the State of the City.

The following topics/questions were raised during the discussion. We've included short quotes from each topic along with a link to the original post that started the topic.

Click here to watch the Mayor's State of the City Address.

Please, feel free to edit this page and add additional details / links.

Mayor's Welcome


Voices at Rondo Library

In addition, we collected video statements from patrons of the Rondo Community Outreach Library and posted them to YouTube (video is about 4 minutes long).

The ISSUES / The Questions

Buying Local (Beer, Etc)

Can't we do something to get local venues including the X to offer up local brews?

"Can we raise the tax on Anheuser-Busch and Miller products and make Summit, Finnegan's, Flat Earth, and Great Waters beer tax-free? What about other incentives to reduce 'redundant imports'? What about hiring people to 'dismantle' old homes (to reuse the studs) instead of knocking them to smithereens?"

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2DEqcul7TQvb1xHJPcGNn2

Education - Young Learn From Old and Vice Versa

Find more opportunities for inter-generational learning

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2DEqcul7TQvb1xHJPcGNn2

Off-Leash Dog Parks

There is just one off-leash dog park in the city - Arlington/Arkwright - and folks would like to see another. Perhaps a fee collected from dog owners could help defray some of the costs.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/4gudlyRj3PW7pRruDe00sM

Other resources

Mayor's Response

On-Street Metered Scooter/Motorcycle Parking

You can get a bunch more bikes in one space than cars. Convert (or add) metered motorcycle parking downtown where space allows.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/6Q2EvWlDuLYTmMXPnaQ3cc

Expand Metered Parking

Perhaps to Grand Avenue, and elsewhere

"Why are there no parking meters on Grand Avenue?"

"Metered parking would generate revenue, even the playing field between downtown and Grand Avenue and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And it could be done without expensive parking meters for every parking spot by using the one per block ticket machine system used in Manhattan and most European cities."

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/23i72XsT7aEEM7MKb15tQS

Smith Avenue Small Business Support

In addition to the attention focused on Stryker on the West Side

"With regard to Invest Saint Paul, I have heard that Stryker is one area of interest. But it seems that Smith is in even greater need of an economic boost. On a recent tour up Smith Avenue given by a Stryker Av business owner, I was shocked to hear about the demise of so many small businesses, and to see all the vacancies."

Please consider Smith instead of, or as well as, Stryker.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2kr9FghrysJcprUw8CQ11p

Mayor's Response

Connections from the North Suburbs

With congestion increasing each year on Snelling Avenue, is there discussions about how best to relieve/accomodate that? Are there discussions about park and rides or other improvements to connections with Central Corridor?

What's the City's plan for its network of arterial streets and how is this coordinated with the County and State? How might this network look different after the next ten years?

Even more specifically:

Does the city have any plans to work with the County and/or State and provide alternative(s) to Snelling Avenue? While the problem is exacerbated by shifting traffic due to the closure of the 35-W bridge, it seems like the traffic volume on Snelling increases each year. But the existing alternatives (Lexington, Fairview, Cleveland, etc) are pretty limited if you're driving to or from Rosedale, the State Fairgrounds, Highland Park, Grand Avenue, etc. and need/want to go north or south.

Once the Central Corridor is in place, will there be park 'n ride locations for both commuters and non-commuters to use if they want/ need to drive to one of the University Avenue stops and ride into either of the downtowns or the University?

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/6yQfmdg9zvWkZUCBJDfYwL

Reducing the Trash Around the City

is it possible to use educational campaigns/outreach to clean up the litter throughout our city, to make it more livable?

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/69XwUfTVmyxQBvWGfKeo9G

Retail Attraction to the Urban Core

It takes hard work to make progress in places like Frogtown, but keeping the eye on the long - term, we are making progress

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/4eotorFSB20p1GvPaImhJz

Narrow The Achievement Gap

What's being done, and what can be done to ensure we give all children a solid foundation to grow from?

I hope Mayor Coleman can address ways city government can help narrow the educational achievement gap in the St. Paul schools. What efforts have been successful? What are some of the mayor obstacles? What is the city of St. Paul planing on doing during the coming year?

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/5Ro59ztow2EDvpowX71IcQ

Mayor's Response

Housing for Convention-Goers

Is there a way to take foreclosed upon properties and make use of them during the RNC?

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/6OWhsIn31e2zdUWhZa4GSa

Responsible Economic Development

We should be careful not to dig ourselves a hole by oversubsidizing developments

We need honest discussion about how to attract private investment through sensible public investment. The idea behind any investment is to create a greater return over the long term.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/7MqlF1VP03Q1uW8V59Kcb7


The Ford Plant

Public ownership of the Ford Plant to save the jobs at the plant, and help stabilize our part of the auto industry

"I warmly point out that I call on Mayor Coleman to convene an emergency moratorium on the closure of the St. Paul Ford Plant. The necessity of public ownership and the nationalization of the St. Paul Ford Plant as a means to guarantee job security and prevent the plant closure must not be taken off the table. The Mayor could draft emergency "plant-job saving legislation" or other creative ways to prevent the closure of the plant and the loss of union jobs."

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2e2CnVn1o8mtFcsLm221j5

Other resources:

Mayor's Response

Small Business Insurance Support

Insurance costs challenge small businesses, but perhaps the city could help some get off the ground by encouraging a pooling of costs

Healthcare insurance represents an area of great difficulty for establishing and running a viable small business. One possible cause of business failure (and with bankrupcy for many people) is the cost of uninsured (or insured but denied coverage of) healthcare expenses. The City of St. Paul could become more of a small business incubator if it helped small businesses face these issues. I am not talking about subsidizing healthcare insurance costs. Perhaps the city could work to form an insurance pool of eligible businesses. There would be strenght (and lower cost) in greater numbers.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/HtVOXHGvqq7XppY9hPJz2

Math & Science Education

"A second issue is education. I am not talking about general NCLB education, but about our schools turning out students that have great understanding of and ability to use math and science. We live in a country that revels in living better by technology but does not develop kids with backgrounds that can produce that technology. Just look at the students in graduate school programs in science, math, and technology: More than 50 percent will be from countries other than the US. Before 9/11, these students would often stay in the US and work in our national and local high-tech industries. Now, more often than not, they are returning to their home countries or other more welcoming nations. We need home-grown talent. And there is no better place to start than at home in our St. Paul schools. The eventual consequence will be talent that will start businesses in and around St. Paul, small businesses that may grow into large businesses. Our future lies with our investment in education and a high-quality woek force."

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/HtVOXHGvqq7XppY9hPJz2

Rec Centers

"I'm not sure if this has been discussed in SPIF before, but apparently in an effort to keep 7-8 Rec Centers open that might otherwise have been forced to close, while dealing with budget shortfalls - the city has actually turned to community partners to provide programming in some rec centers.

If I understand correctly, the city will maintain ownership of the centers and maintain the grounds, while community partners will provide staff and programming for youth in the centers."

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/topic/20QhxEyZvS2IjQEWnhVmWg

Other resources:

Mayor's Response

Multiple Kinds of Neighborhoods

how can we create parts of the city that are more pedestrian and transit focused, while retaining the strong character of existing neighborhoods that has made St. Paul great?

"If I had one wish for our City, it is that we create several different models of community, including several neighborhoods where one is at least very able - and hopefully even encouraged - to live an apartment building or condo or rowhouse, and without a car. I don't so much care where we do that, though downtown and parts of University Avenue seem to be good candidates to begin."

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/79BqzZF6roeoTVk4rhJEcw

More Urban, More Natural...

The City uses these terms to talk about the Riverfront. Why aren't these terms - "more urban and more natural" contradictory? Mustn't we choose? Or is some crank trying to get me to balance competing values with one another? Why can't this be a zero-sum game?

How are folks applying this to all the stuff happening along the river? The West Publishing redevelopment? The Ford plant? The Xcel Plant conversion and redevelopment? This Great River Park thing? And how's that going, by the way?

And as we redevelop elsewhere, should we hope the rest of the City becomes more urban and more natural too?

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2ubWca0jxS00XPtJ1o3dR3

Other resources:

Flags in Every Classroom - Mandatory Pledge

"I would like you to mandate that in every classroom within the City, public or private, an American flag of at least 3x5 size be prominently displayed. And further mandate that every morning lead by their teacher, every American student stand and pledge their allegiance to the United Sates of America. This is so inexpensive, simple, and basic to the preservation our American way of life that no further comment is needed."

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2GnNa4kIunROLj0K9m1oNG

Unfunded Mandates

I would like you to take the radical (but necessary and reasonable) stand to NOT implement within the City ANY Federal, State, or County 'mandate' until it is fully funded by that Federal, State or County. Period.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2GnNa4kIunROLj0K9m1oNG

Surveillance Cameras

Finally, I am concerned with cameras watching every move we make. I would like you to make the following regulations covering EVERY public or private surveillance type camera within the city.

  1. Each camera must have a flashing light visible within 300 yards that flashes whenever the camera is taking pictures. The light on any private camera would be blue and the light on any public (government run) camera would be red.
  2. All photos or images must be stored for at least 90 days.
  3. Any city resident, as verified by a MN drivers license address, can view and / or get a copy to view any image(s) from any camera.
  4. A minimum 4" x 6" size placard readable at eye level be affixed to every camera location. The placard will identify who owns or controls the camera and images: their contact information; and location and times where images can be obtained or viewed.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2GnNa4kIunROLj0K9m1oNG

Broadband

"However, one of the few things that could lure me away from the city is access to fast, cheap broadband networks. St. Paul suffers from a duopoly and shows no promise for faster networks from the private sector. Both AT&T and Verizon are making the investments our incumbents aren't.

For a variety of reasons, I think St. Paul needs to make some smart investments in this area. I think the first step should be for the city to invest in a fiber network that will meet the needs (dare I say as well, the desires) of the City, the Public Schools, the County (within St. Paul) and the State (within St. Paul)."

http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/4cgZg4QGK80rrajGmgQQeF

Other resources:

 

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