LETTER to the Editor
Fear of change?
Some weeks back a Journal reporter questioned Mayor Dailey about why there is opposition over the Mississippi Dunes. Basically, Mayor Bailey attributed the difficulty to a reluctance to change. He said people get used to open land and zoning designations that have been unchanged for many years. He went on to say people get scared when change occurs near them, and he understands that. He sees his role is to educate the non-changers to the benefits of change. Guess what, Mayor Bailey? We understand the benefits and don’t need that kind of support. His remarks are stunning in their short-sightedness and oversimplification The mayor has been informed several times that dissenters are not against growth per se, but that they do object to development of the Dunes area. He minimizes their concerns or relegates them to silence. He gas-lights it away labeling “it fear of change.” This essentially implies we need to get our act together and go with progress. This thoroughly undermines and subjugates the compelling arguments that have been made to the contrary. Actually, the disagreements are about protecting this unique property from destruction. The Mayor and Council have been informed of the real reasons for doing so, by multiple knowledgeable people and organizations. It is obvious from his comments that he declines to offer credibility to the legitimate concerns of the dissenters. He never mentioned these concerns at all in his recent statement. Not one of the governing boards have voted contrary to development. This seems odd given the compelling science. It seems there is only one voice in our city government and everyone else jumps on board. In the meantime, the strategy seems to undermine our constituents by labeling them as ‘stick in the muds’ that should “get with the program.” Does this smack of underestimating the educated and interested citizens with undeserving condescension? Maybe the people that are opposing this are actually ones that are ahead of the times.
Our Mayor and Council have lied and said they had no choice because of private property ownership. Not True. They have been confronted about this, but their helpless answer remains perpetuated. The December 23rd Journal published an editorial by Colleen O’Connor Tuberman, a knowledgeable representative of the Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR). The organization has successful outcomes helping Cities do exactly what many of our citizens are hoping for, i.e., protecting the river and adjacent habitats. This help was offered to our city government. It would have guided the Council and mayor to additional options, but the offer was ignored, apparently never entertained. FMR was involved on efforts to buy more land from the owner and seek additional partnerships for funding. The city could have legitimately provided the project a moratorium to attempt this. Ms.O’Connor Tuberman listed many options the Council could have endorsed. They did have choices and could still reap the benefits of development from the many other housing projects in our area. The citizens could have the benefits of both but that was a golden opportunity never explored This is abhorrent given that our once vast natural world is disappearing. It is likely that in some really scary ways we will learn that it isn’t nice to fool Mother Nature, her thunder, fire and fury. Could it be that the wrong people are being charged with a reluctance to change? Perhaps our current practices need to be revised to attach green choices, such as, enhancing habitats, low CO2 home emissions, power stations for electric vehicles, encouraging growth of rare plants, not destroying the prairie. We could give rebates to homeowners that demonstrate environmentally friendly changes in heating, air conditioning, and appliances.
We can work proudly on 2040 Master Plan indicative of the city’s leadership in this regard. People Will Notice! They will want to come and live with their children in such an environment. We would get bragging rights about the right choices for all the right reasons. The opposition is about change, after- all, Mr. Mayor.
Barb Schwartz Cottage Grove