Readers' views for Jan. 7
Not all retirees can afford to help Duluth pay its debt The Dec. 28 editorial, "Retirees, like rest of Duluth, must play role to end debt," missed a very important point. I'm glad retired head engineer Clyde Narhi was in a financial position that...
Not all retirees can afford to help Duluth pay its debt
The Dec. 28 editorial, "Retirees, like rest of Duluth, must play role to end debt," missed a very important point.
I'm glad retired head engineer Clyde Narhi was in a financial position that allowed him to give the city money back ("Retiree thanks city with $9,000," Dec. 14). As I recall, he was a very nice man. He was also the head engineer for the Water and Gas Department. Again, no problem. I'm sure he worked hard to get where he was -- making a very healthy salary -- with an equally healthy retirement.
But I'd like to talk about a rather large segment of retired city employees who, like me, were on the lower end of the compensation rung. Many of us were single parents, overwhelmingly female, and worked for much less than we could have made in private industry. The lure of the city's benefit package was great. Don't get me wrong.
I enjoyed working for the people of Duluth for 30 years. But I retired with certain expectations and promises. For the administration to come back now, years later, and change the rules strikes me as totally unfair -- and a very oppressive burden on those of us in the lower-income levels. The retiree health-care problem is so large now because previous administrations didn't address the issue, not because of the greed of employees.
The city shouldn't change the rules after the game is over.
Steven A. Johnson
Development of forested land allowed at huge price
Again urban sprawl is rearing its ugly head in Duluth.
A proposed development in the Lester Park corridor threatens seven more acres of beautifully forested urban land ("Lakeside clinic gets commission's approval," Dec. 12). The proposed project is another example of a trend in Duluth to allow unrestricted development of Duluth's forests and green spaces. There is no doubt in my mind that this is only one step in the further development of the Lester Park area.
Development is necessary in Duluth, but at what cost? Is Duluth really willing to sacrifice its forested areas in the name of progress? Duluth is nationally renowned as a great urban area to live because of its undeveloped green spaces. It's true that Duluth needs development to increase tax revenue and stimulate job growth, but I would like to think that the people of Duluth are able to see the larger picture. Duluth does need these things, but at the same time, we in Duluth are not in a position where we need to cave in to every development opportunity that is dropped on our doorstep.
Once we develop green space, we cannot get it back. As a community, we should demand more progressive, environmentally friendly and sustainable development from developers. Destroying seven more acres of forested land goes against what the people of Duluth are known for.
I urge the people of Duluth to oppose this development, and I hope that in the future developers of Duluth's land will be more creative with their plans. Destroying forested land is a poor choice.
When it comes to development, if we in Duluth hope to retain our status as a great urban area in which to live, we need to oppose projects that destroy wonderful outdoor areas. This project proposal only furthers Duluth's dive into the black hole of urban sprawl.
Klobuchar unhelpful when need was expressed
I noticed Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was on the Iron Range ("Klobuchar opens Virginia office," Dec. 28). Among other things, she talked about the economy and how interested she was with the people.
It's too bad she doesn't seem to think of Duluth in the same way.
I've written her three times for help with a building for our Police Department. I explained to her how I've tried working with the city's administrators but couldn't get anything from them. The building was built in 1922 and has not been changed since. There's no air conditioning or windows, and six people work in an area of 10 feet by 10 feet. I've tried working with the mayor, the City Council and the governor.
When I received a call from Klobuchar's secretary, she was rude, abrasive and seemed to have no respect for me whatsoever. She flat told me that Klobuchar would not help. She blew me off like I was not even a citizen.
I don't feel we need a person like Klobuchar in the Senate.