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Although the "blogger-begging" point was weird, I agree, it was a good column.
Couple of points:
1. I've worked or played in Downtown Minneapolis for 30 years. I would term begging a minor annoyance at worst. I can't remember being hit up more than once on any given day/trip and never to the point of ruining my day. Other experiences may be different, which brings me to ...
2. Kersten's column: Sam Grabarski is a pressure group. As head of the Downtown Council, his job is to get more cops for Downtown. For green "journalists" like Kersten, he's a good go-to guy for a horror story. But his primary job is getting more cops for his members. Again, I don't want to pooh-pooh anyone's real victimization, but Downtown is the safest place in the city, statistically. As Downtown gets $500,000 for more cops this summer, the Fifth Precinct (my home) gets the equivalent of one cop. I don't want to say it's hellish here either - there are bigger problems elsewhere in town - and I know Downtown is a city cash register, but when I read columns like Kersten's, I just imagine police resources being sucked excessively out of the neighborhoods. Which brings me to ...
... Does Downtown have a special service district to pay for cops? If they don't, that it seems like that's where the Downtown Council should put its energies. All precincts, including Downtown's 1st, should be fairly staffed, but one area should not excessively tilt the balance. Special taxing districts can make things better and fairer.
A few years back, when I was editing the Downtown Journal (formerly Skyway News), we ran a "context" story about Downtown's relative safety. Even though the facts were never disputed, it got Sam so mad he quit doing his column. I've always thought that was a brittle and immature reaction, and made me more skeptical about future utterances.
From: Jordan Kushner [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 9:44 PM
Subject: [Mpls] Nick Coleman takes on beggar bashing
And i would say is quite on target, putting Kersten, Rybak and
company to shame.
Jordan S. Kushner
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