Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Letters on Bicycle Coordinator

This morning, the Star Tribune ran three letters on the bicycle coordinator kerfuffle they created yesterday. The most striking was from Harry Hull, Audrey Hull's father. It's heartbreaking:

My daughter, Audrey Hull, was recently killed by a truck while riding her bicycle at the corner of 15th Av. and 4th St. in Minneapolis.

If the city had hired a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator years ago -- a position that exists in many comparable cities -- the changes now proposed for that demonstrably dangerous corner might have been in place on April 21, 2011, and Audrey might still be alive.

I urge Minneapolis to proceed with its plans to hire the bicyclist and pedestrian coordinator so that fewer families will have to bear the emptiness that I now carry in my heart.

Jim Skoog, the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee member representing Ward Four, called the Strib on its shoddy, sensationalistic coverage:

The article misleads readers into thinking that the firefighters are being fired so that a bicycle/pedestrian coordinator can be hired. This type of journalistic laziness is expected from basement bloggers and not from a reputable publication.

The timing of the firefighter layoffs and of the coordinator job announcement is purely coincidental. There are two separate stories here:

• Why is the city laying off firefighters?

• Why is the city hiring a bicycle/pedestrian coordinator?

Now, try again, reporting on them separately.

And there was a letter from a Minneapolis resident who is appalled that the Council and Mayor are laying off firefighters and... teachers?

That the mayor and City Council in Minneapolis can lay off firefighters and teachers and still have the gall to hire a "bicycle coordinator" is an appalling example of the disconnect between the current leadership and the needs of the community ("Despite fiscal woes, city aims to hire bike coordinator," Aug. 25). The taxpaying community, that is. [Emphasis added.]

That's quite a feat, seeing as how the Council and Mayor don't control the schools or make decisions about whether or not to lay off teachers. That's the School Board's responsibility. I guess it just goes to show that when a major media outlet sows confusion, its readership ends up confused.


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