The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 12, 2014

N. Mankato should see plan before zoning vote

The Mankato Free Press

---- — If you do not know where you are going, how do you know if you are heading in the right direction? If you are going to Antarctica, do you pack the same clothes that you would pack for Florida?

Does North Mankato know where it is going? A strategic comprehensive plan for the city can provide that “destination” by specifying the city’s long-term goals and objectives. Once we know where we want to go, only then can effective action steps for reaching that destination be developed and implemented.

On Aug. 19, 2013, the City Council voted to pay $28,904 to WSB to develop such a plan by May 2014. Obviously, the plan is not complete yet.

Yet on Jan. 21 the North Mankato City Council is planning to vote on major zoning changes for the Central Business District along Belgrade Avenue. This decision will change the essential historic character of the area by allowing developers to build high-density apartment complexes without applying for variances.

The comprehensive plan should serve as our guide. Zoning decisions should be the action steps to get us there. Why does the North Mankato City Council feel the need to make immediate zoning changes before the plan is ready? Why are we wasting $28,904 of the taxpayers’ money to develop a comprehensive plan if the council is ready to ignore it before it has even been created?

How can we move “forward” if we do not know where “forward” is taking us? Do we really want to be wearing our bathing suits in Antarctica?

I urge the North Mankato City Council to postpone making a decision on these radical zoning changes until the comprehensive plan is completed.

Bess Tsaouse

North Mankato

ACA needed,not power grab

I read Kermit Swanson’s Jan. 4 jaw-dropping letter. He supposes that Democrats are engaging in a massive “power grab” by enacting Obamacare. Then, he throws in allowing women to “…have babies for $4 a month or even go to college or strive for a better job or income..,.” as part of that power grab plot.

I mean, how dare women ask for such a thing. They should naturally expect bankruptcy as a possibility of childbirth, or maybe expect no medical care. Of course, ignorance, and being barefoot must follow. That’s the Republican way.

He seems angry that Democrats are expanding their base by offering such things. Figure that one out will you. Imagine gaining power (votes) by offering wanted and needed things to people? What a novel approach. I guess Mr. Swanson expects Republicans will win elections by depriving people. The more you deprive, the more votes? I guess that works in the GOP bubble.

You see, I thought Government was about “We the people…”; you know that of, by, and for the people thing? Of course, that includes the constitutional “…promote the general welfare….” thing. I think we have lost our way as a country if greed and selfishness rule the day.

The preaching of the new Pope is particularly poignant in these times. While our Constitution seems to partition government from religion, the Constitution seems to embody Christian values, one being caring for the least among us. Certainly, it isn’t Christian to covet what is thy neighbor’s.

Dan Conner

North Mankato