Since I was appointed in 1994, I have presided over family court, and over adult criminal and civil cases. But right now my assignment is in juvenile court. From my perspective, honest to goodness, if we did this kind of education, not only would we save a lot of taxpayers' dollars for services that go into fixing situations, but it would probably in the long run create a much more fair society, where distribution of wealth would be more equal. And we'd probably have a lot less juvenile crime.
I'd bring about a greater level of civic pride that would manifest itself as beauty in architecture and beauty in diversity and beauty in public works and in art and in friendliness. Not boosterism, but genuine civic pride. I think it exists in places--San Francisco, say, or Portland, Oregon. It seems like people here get held back by the climate, or maybe by their ethnic heritage; there's just a reserve that keeps us from expressing our pleasure about living here together.
There's really not a lot I would change about the Twin Cities. In fact, there's less I'd change here than anyplace else I've lived. But there is one thing that might sound strange to someone who's been here a lot longer than I have: I wish the Cities would live up to their winter-weather reputation.
You can tell I'm a newcomer, can't you? But I moved here in part because I like cold weather. During three years in Florida, I had a tough time handling the heat. I missed the change of seasons and, yes, even snow. But this is my second December here, and from what I understand, the third consecutive late-arriving winter. I'm beginning to believe this whole harsh-winter story is just propaganda to keep everybody from moving here. So I'd change our weather into what the rest of the country thinks it is--at least for one winter.
I would invite everyone to a picnic at Powderhorn Park. We would sit together around a big table and we'd eat each other's food (tamales, ribs, tuna casserole, pho, some of that good Somalian lamb stew) and we'd listen to each other's music (salsa, rap, polka, Hmong music, gospel) and the sun would shine and the birds would sing and the egrets would fish in the lake.
director of strategic initiatives for St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman
First I'd eliminate the property tax on people's homes. And I would prohibit social-action political organizations from naming themselves after nuts, trees, nouns, dead people who nobody knew, or living people that we'd all like to forget.
While I don't have a magic wand, I do have a trick knee. That aside, I'd like to see more shade trees planted. There is a burgeoning population of elves looking for affordable housing. Barring that, I think the city could use more cup holders. And side airbags. Enjoy the winter. And remember, I believe in you.
What's the one thing you'd change about the Twin Cities? Grind your ax, cure your pet peeve--and please, we've covered the big picture here, so think small and give us the fine print. How? Send your suggestions to us at theCity Pages Wish List, 401 Third Street N., #550, Minneapolis, MN 55401. Alternatively, fax us at (612) 372-3737. Or better yet, beam it to us electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your daytime phone number for confirmation purposes.