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In the Reader

In Barb Olson's column this week:

"'We support the vision of a Lakewalk for everyone,' Beacon Pointe Condos resident Judy Gordon tells the Council. 'But we don't consider it appropriate to have a Lakewalk right in front of everyone's patios.'"

(Apparently, the "everyone" she is referring to is "everyone" in Duluth who currently owns a million-dollar condo.)

Also, on page 5 is another blow-open-the-scandal article (actually, a letter) about the Red Plan. Seems Duluth Architect Robert Aho thinks Johnson Controls is trying to pull some shady, "possibly illegal" stuff with regards to bilking taxpayers. Or rather, the school board basically told him that's what they were doing. Read it and weep. Then get pissed and do something about it before it's too late.


if only it were that easy.

the board's basically thumbing their noses at the city, because they don't have to let us vote.

I'm sure Judy was referring to the slippery slope involved. If we let people traipse through the views of the rich, we'll soon accept strolls past the porches of the middle-class. Soon we'll have joggers going right past the poor... and gawking no doubt. Is that what you want? a bunch of joggers gawking at poor people?! For shame.

Not to mention the worst part: that the people will be using the walk during the summer. That's the SAME time that the residents will be in their condos. Poor planning all around.

That ragamuffin and her parents are blocking my view of the lake.

Can't these people afford yachts like the rest of the civilized bourgeoisie? At least put that poor child in boarding school.

The humanity.

is everyone aware of what this quackery Red plan will do to property taxes and endangerd eagles? I'm not for the Red plan...yet will likely still be perceived as a communist when i ask: is there some way that this can be levied per # of children per househould? and what is then the plan for Central High School? community based art space or oodles of cash back for the 'developer's?

I really cannot think of a big enough wise ass comment to make about Judy Gordons plea to the city for the bourgois not to be subjected to such proletariat acts like taking a walk on public property on a nice day in the summer. I eish that was my big worry in life, that someone might walk past my million dollar home and I may have to say hello to someone, oh the agony. I guess the late great Notorious B.I.G. was right "mo money, mo problems".

i support the vision of a Lakewalk for everyone, but i don't consider it appropriate to have a fucking private patio right in front of my lake.

may these people all have invested much money, only to have it be swallowed up by the lake they have so affronted.

Red plan affects endangered eagles? Please explain.

let's see: expanded space will be demanded by their plans for Ordean. apparently, getting more "up to snuff" requires tearing down all contiguous woods nearby, which happen to contain at least one bald eagle nest, possibly two. not to mention the various homes that will be demolished.

i think what's most offensive is that this "plan" is really about making the new school more in line with modern suburban schools, which means loads more space and loads more parking. it's a ridiculous attempt to crowbar the wrong kind of sprawl-imitating landscape that we should exactly be getting away from rather than emulating.

IMO, we can get all freaked out about the money (apt) or the handing over of control to Johnson Controls (also apt), but we should also be examining the cultural assumptions that are inherent in what they mean by "modernizing" a school--it's not about using space ecologically in the slightest, but more about spreading out in the fashion of the 90s. it's the wrong thing to do, at exactly the wrong time.

this doesn't even take into consideration the reality that by doing all this, we will be making our schools bigger. which is exactly the opposite of what studies say should be done.

which is why i advocate homeschooling for everyone. schools and schooling are going in the wrong direction, and have never met the needs of most students. time to abandon this outdated hulk of a beast.

I don't recommend homeschooling, as it takes a certain amount of dedication and commitment that I, for one, don't think I could provide to my child. But I really support small neighborhood schools that children can walk to, like hbh I'm disgusted that houses are being torn down to provide more parking spaces. What the hell? Can't the schools provide better busing options, including vans, perhaps for kids who live less than half a mile from school, and can't walk? How about more bike racks, so we can have kids biking to school and cutting down on childhood obesity some by getting them exercising? I just feel that this Red Plan could be modified so that it works for everyone.

Does anyone else think it odd that the most modern and up to date of schools on the MOST SPACIOUS of lots is actually being closed here? I am an East high Alum and it is sad for me, but I really think it should just be closed. If we are going to do two schools then they should be closest to the populations centers ... hence Denfeld and Central. But naturally, that would mean more people from the fringes of the city would have to let their kids mingle with us rabble in the Hillside and Lincoln Park.

Classist and racist? The lakewalk extension issue is a bad one, but in my opinion, the Red Plan actually takes that cake for elitism, corporate welfare and worst of all ... perpetuating the illusion that this city is divided between east and west. Wake up already folks, the Timber and Rail Baron days are over ... It doesn't need to be that way anymore.

Also a shout out to Barb, Aho, and the Reader for being independent, local voices and getting people talking about real things in this community!

If the Beacon Point residents have a problem with the lakewalk going past their condos I think they need to take that issue up with the developer. The lakewalk in that location was a part of the original permitting for the development and if the residents weren't informed of that when they bought the condos they should be suing whoever sold them the units, not whining to the city.

This cracks me up about the homeowners who don't want the hoi polloi gaping at them as they walk by on the Lakewalk. Hello, if you don't want people looking in at you on your patio, why are you living in the city? Why not just build your fancy condo in the country? Or, build a wall between the walk and your patio -- oh, it'll cut off your view of the lake? Too bad. I live on a street that's pretty heavily trafficked with students walking to and from Chester Creek Cafe and to the U. I love sitting on the porch, watching the world go by. My dearly departed cat used to perch on the lawn near the sidewalk so passers by would stop and pet her. I met some cool kids that way -- these condo owners should try it, maybe they could pass out flights of wine to passersby, and make new friends. Their attitude reminds me of a student in a rental across the street from us who demanded that my husband not park on the street in front of her house, b/c it's her house. Hello, does this person also own the curb? God almighty, some people's chutzpah and selfishness amazes me.

Thank you everyone for the comments... keep 'em coming.

As Art Johnston pointed out in his analysis published by the Reader two weeks ago, the cheapest option that would give the district state-of-the-art schools would be to leave all three high schools intact and perform the necessary renovations and maintenance on the existing buildings. It is only a sleight-of-hand numbers game that JCI uses to make it appear like one school should go to cut costs.

jill, your suggestion of a per-household levy isn't communism (as an unabashed communist, I should know). It's just the opposite, and it wouldn't work for working families whose kids need education--they would be buried. I think in this country we sometimes take education for granted or equate it will all that's wrong with the school system--we don't realize that the right to public schooling is a human right fought for and won by activists against child labor, and without it the class divisions between rich and poor become more cemented. If our society was built around support for good education as it should be, we wouldn't have most of the problems that alienate kids from school and parents from paying taxes to support it.

hbh, great point about the Red Plan promoting out-of-place sprawl. JCI really doesn't give a crap about what works best in this city or our ecology. I didn't know about the eagles; thanks for enlightening us.

I want to reiterate that this behemouth boondoggle isn't a done deal yet, there's still time to stop it. But it's going to take organizing and protest, starting, like, now.

I "work" on the lakewalk in the summer. It is AWESOME watching the mixture of humanity that strolls, bikes or runs along their. those condos are like 100 feet from a freeway, 20 feet from storm central on Lake Superior and literally in the HEART of a populated area. What were they thinking it was Walden Pond or something. Get over it ...

I didn't read the article on the sleight of hand used by Johnson Controls or whatever, but it just doesn't seem right that cutting down all of that forest around Ordean and (and even) gutting the neighborhood around Denfeld for PARKING would be the wisest,m most sustainable way forward. It is totally counter intuitive ... unless you're JCI and you want to skim off the top of the dough thats being spent on construction, surveying, planning and ... the list goes on and on ...

Claire: Not only do the schools not have bike racks, but when I attended school here at least, biking to school was not allowed. It's probably still the case.

Also, the cut-off distance for obtaining a bus pass is TWO MILES. So you live 1.8 miles from school and it's -20 outside? Tough it up and walk, kid.

Barrett, that's really screwed up that they don't allow bikes and that if you live less than 2 miles from school you have to walk -- even the nuns at my catholic elementary school weren't so insane. Whatever the case, it's sick of a school district to evict people from their homes to build parking lots for schools.

how about this: what would an education system, if we must have one, look like if we were truly making an effort toward ecological decency? if we spent about 20 times more effort in reducing emissions and saving energy?

that idea is one of the major reasons we homeschool and work from home. (spending most of our "free time" attempting to figure out a way out of the educational dead end we're jammed into.) but let's operate under the assumption that most people aren't inclined in that direction.

can we at least make an effort toward a "vision" for schooling that is looking toward what we need in an information age that will be seriously hampered by a need to reduce "footprint"?

The center of the school-age population is 14th Avenue East, for what it's worth. I'm a little surprised by the magnitude of the Red Plan, but I'm not convinced referendum-style democracy is always an optimal method for public policy-making. I grew up in a town with three high schools; in a period of crashing enrollment, the one in my area was slated to be closed. Angry people got the Board to reverse its decision, and the district continued to limp financially happily ever after.

I do think the trees & eagles-for-parking lot plan is twisted. a) high school kids can survive with fewer of them driving; b) if we absolutely can't live without those parking spots and need to gobble up some land via eminent domain, I've noticed that the country club has a whole lot of largely flat, treeless land right across Superior Street that doesn't seem to be serving any useful purpose.

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