Each week, Patch users contribute numerous insights, opinions and observations. The following is a collection of the most thoughtful, moving, controversial or just plain funny comments that appeared on Patch sites in Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Richfield, Shakopee, Plymouth, St. Louis Park and St. Michael. Click on the headline to read the full story and join in the conversation.
(The comments below are not meant to reflect the opinions of Patch or its staff.)
Edina Property Owners Stuck in School District Boundary Limbo
After handing off more than 400 signed petitions for detachment to the Hopkins School District, the members of Unite Edina 273 are stuck playing the waiting game.
The group of Edina property owners have been working to switch their homes from the Hopkins School District to Edina for quite some time now, both by talking with the two districts and by lobbying the state Legislature.
The petitions are actually addressed to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, though current statute requires consent from the detaching school district before the matter can go to the county. The group hopes to officially file those petitions with Hennepin County later this month, meaning a hearing could take place before the end of the year.
Patch user Kimm R. Kraai said she believes residents should have freedom to switch school districts if they're unhappy with their child's education:
If the Hopkins School District cannot maintain standards high enough to retain a majority of students from certain neighborhoods, they should not be allowed to prevent that neighborhood from detaching. With open enrollment available and several neighboring districts providing substantially better levels of instruction (resulting in better opportunities for students) the families in these neighborhoods will continue to seek alternative public and private options for their children.
The point that Cathy Ovsak makes is true. Property values do increase inside of certain districts. In fact, many of the people who own homes in the Hopkins district were willing to pay a premium price simply to be in the district because it was considered the "gold standard" in this part of the metro at the time that they purchased their home. When a whole neighborhood is in agreement about detaching, whether it is about property values or school district preferance, the residents of the neighborhood and the preferred school district should be able to make that decision, not the current school district, especially in the case where the residents live in the city of the school district that they would like to be attached.
Full disclosure: We specifically bought our MTKA home because it was in the Hopkins District. After 2 years, we open enrolled our student to MTKA schools, as have many of our neighbors. Families shouldn't be punished for the choices of the school board and superintendent.
Meanwhile, reader Amy M wondered why the Edina residents were surprised by their district of residence:
I ask this.... These boundary lines for the school district are not new, why did these families move into this area and now dispute where their property tax dollars go? Why did they not purchase homes within the Edina school district lines if their intention was to send their children there? Does this mean that all property taxes for all out of district children be sent to the school district they now attend?? This sure sets up some interesting challenges/questions for our out of district open enrollment throughout our state doesn't it?
Tonight: Public Meeting At Four Seasons Mall
Walmart held a public meeting Oct. 10 at the nearly empty Four Seasons Mall off Highway 169 and Rockford Road in Plymouth. Many residents attended, but before the meeting sounded off on what they thought if the company built on the property it owns.
RD Taylor wrote in opposition to having not just Walmart, but any kind of superstore at that location:
I live just off Pilgrim Lane, about three blocks from the mall. Anyone who thinks "most traffic" will exit to Rickford Road is fooling themselves. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows a secret back route though a quiet neighborhood somewhere, to avoid dealing with traffic and/or poorly timed stop lights. Pilgrim Lane will become the de facto escape hatch for frustrated drivers trying to get back to 169.
It is not a "Walmart" I am opposed to. It is 170,000 square foot superstore, of any flavor, I oppose. It is entirely, I repeat ENTIRELY, inappropriate for that location. What city planner or city council person could honestly look at such a proposal for that site and say, "Yea, that's a great use for that piece of land."
I'm sure the folks in western Plymouth think this will be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, if it goes through, I hope you enjoy the property tax hike to cover the loss of value that will impact the entire Pilgrim lane neighborhood.
DFL Directed Journalist to GOP Challenger’s Court Records
Patch found out that the Minnesota DFL is responsible for alerting a local news outlet about a dismissed 2006 temporary restraining order against 5th District GOP challenger Chris Fields.
Emily B thought it reflected badly on the state of politics:
As someone who plans to vote for Keith, I find it incredibly disappointing that the DFL didn't keep this info to themselves. It is irrelevant to the election and its rather distracting, not to mention that the polls show this type of low level campaigning is not necessary - not that I ever personally support trash campaigning from either side - but Keith has quite a lead, so I just find this sad. Honestly, this is one of the reason I have never and won't ever contribute financially to any party or politician.
UPDATE: Authorities Release Name of Man Killed In Officer-Involved Shooting
After a man was shot and killed by Richfield police on Oct. 5, some readers accused Richfield officers of being "trigger happy" while others defended the department.
One reader, only identifying himself as RFS, went beyond the deadly incident and alleged the City of Richfeld and the Richfield Police Department was a little shady:
why are there no black police officers in richfield? they usually on have 1 token woman? the turn over rate of rookie cops is high! what's there problem? the only ones around are the ones w seniority probably so they can hurry up retire & collect there pension!!! I think they discriminate! look @ the other employees you see wkg for the city. you very rarely see anyone other than white people. even the road crews! If there are minorities, where are you hiding them, or are you just hiring the minimum? Seems suspicious to me!
HSUS President's Visit Concerns Some Minnesota Farmers
On Oct. 9, Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle visited Golden Valley's Animal Humane Society to talk about his new book and address other local animal care issues, like the treatment of animals raised for food and Minnesota's wolf hunt. Pacelle's views of animal agriculture had some animal agriculture leaders concerned that he was give the wrong message to listeners and consumers.
The Humane Society of the United States and an egg farming trade association are currently trying to pass federal legislation that would require farmers to expand laying hen cage sizes.
Britt had this to say about the legislation:
If the legislation passes I hope we don't see all of the small family farms close up shop. It is a daunting task for the next generation in the egg business to figure out how to obtain the money necessary to complete the production changes laid out in the legislation. Egg farmers just want to provide safe, quality, wholesome eggs to America's families.
Letter: 'We Have A Clear Choice In This Election'
Jeff Simon of Eden Prairie submitted a letter to the editor supporting candidates running for election on the Eden Prairie City Council, Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate races that he said are conservatives.
Michael Altieri said in response:
Mr. Simon hits it right on the head with his opinion piece. A few years back we attended the 4th of July events on Lake Bemidji. We were camping with a large group so there was a mixture of those that lean left and those that lean right. As we entered the area where the rides and games were, I heard one of our group say "Look at all the diversity of the poeple in the crowd". This told me all I needed to know. Where she saw the differences in people all I saw was people. That is the problem with those on the left. They want to group us into catagories against each other. White vs Black, Men vs Women, Young vs Old, Rich vs Poor, Gay vs Straight. By seperating people into different catagories they can then start using the old "victimization" argument and thus make the case the there has to be more government intervention to keep the playing field level. Both my Mother and Father legally immigrated to the US in the 1930's to flee the rise of Facism. They both knew that freedom was the only answer for them and the family of six children they were to adopt. I support those candidates who beleive in the the 4660 words in the Constitution of the United States. That is why I support Councilmen Aho, former Councilman Duckstad, Rep Loon, Rep Stensrud, Sen Hahn, Kurt Bills and Mitt Romney.
City Still Negotiating With Property Owners Over Highway 7 Land
The city of St. Louis Park is still negotiating with seven property owners over land needed to build a new Highway 7 bridge over Louisiana Avenue. If all goes smoothly, construction could start next spring, with the bridge opening by fall of 2014.
Guy Davidson questions whether all of this is worth the effort:
I'm not totally convinced anything needs to be done at all there... Someone else must be in a hurry.. its just a stoplight in my mind. Am I missing something?
Presidential Debate: What Would You Ask Obama and Romney?
If you have a question for the candidates, submit it in the comments section below and it could be asked during the televised Oct. 16 Town Hall Presidential Debate.
Minnetonka Patch readers had some great questions, like this on from Patricia Kerekes:
According to Federal News Radio, the U.S. government agencies spent $135 billion in 2008 on cost-plus type contracts and this number has continued to increase. What will each candidate do to remedy this as a cost saving measure for the American people?