A reader responds


Bill Cottrell wrote to me, “What a one-sided newspaper you operate and write for. I am disappointed with your clear bias and lack of any effort to present a fair and impartial paper.” So I invited Bill to write 300 words to present his point of view. But first, I want to deal with his criticism that we are a biased and one-sided newspaper. All news is reported from a point of view. The Star Tribune reports news from the perspective that the status quo is good. We generally report news from the point of view that the status quo needs changing. It’s a mistake to believe that just because you agree with the perspective of a newspaper, that doesn’t mean the newspaper is not biased. It just means you agree with that basic analysis.

Failing cities—what to do?


Google any major city. They are all facing incredible problems with homelessness, crime, record drug overdoses, low morale among city employees, including police, while education scores are dropping. I just read about San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Detroit and Atlanta. Include Minneapolis/St. Paul. Folks do not feel safe. Homelessness is on the rise.
Students do not feel safe. Check out 38th and Chicago. Go there at 9 p.m. or even during the day. Do you feel safe? I doubt it. Lawlessness. Not enough police to round up the bad guys. Murders in the Twin Cities may be slightly down since last year’s onslaught, but reports of gun shots echo through the night. Street racing and carjackings abound.
Does the fact that single moms raise their children with little income affect crime? You bet it does. You do not need a statistician to see what is happening. Our morality is suffering. People do what they have to do to get by. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure was what Ben Franklin suggested to Philadelphians in 1736. We seem to have lost that idea. We are a society that reacts instead of acts.
So as my dad said—do good things! Don’t do dumb things. Love your neighbor. Actions speak louder than words (such as these).
Get involved, work hard, be diligent, be humble, don’t accept the status quo, and for heaven’s sake only resort to government aid and public assistance when all else fails. Be resourceful, find a job or create a job. Get up early, be healthy and be wise.
I just don’t know what else to say. We can’t just sit and listen. We can’t just be idle while our cities crumble.
God bless!

Bill Cottrell is a former resident of South Minneapolis for 30 years.

Feedback from Ed Felien:

Bill, I’m quite disappointed. You don’t define the problem. You don’t offer concrete solutions. All you offer us are your father’s aphorisms—“Do good things.”
What does that mean?
I’m sure we have different notions of “good things.”
But we do know what the problem is.
We know what causes homelessness and crime.
And we know what causes poverty—the unequal distribution of goods and services.
There’s enough to go around. We just have to learn how to become better at sharing it.
Andrew Yang, the founder of the Forward Party, wants to give every U.S. citizen $1000 a month. Would that solve the problem of poverty, crime and homelessness? Probably not. Drug addicts would spend it on drugs. Alcoholics would spend it on alcohol, and single parent moms still wouldn’t have enough for rent.
No. The answer isn’t in giving poor people money. The answer is in making money unnecessary.
Three of the biggest expenses for a family are shelter, health care and education.
We need much more public housing where rents are one-fourth of your monthly income.
We need free medical care for everybody. We already have this for the very poor. If you have no money, Allina hospital has to take you in because they received federal money from the Hill-Burton Act that stipulated they have to provide medical services to those unable to pay. The rich and the very poor have medical care. We need it for everybody.
We need free public education at colleges and universities.
And I am offended by your racist fearmongering about 38th and Chicago. I live six blocks away. My nieces and nephews live four doors down from Cup Foods. We like it just fine.

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