Twin Cities suburb has second thoughts over light rail line
It might be too late to pump the brakes on the proposed Blue Line light rail line through the Twin Cities suburb of Robbinsdale pointing north. But city leaders, including…
A friend of mine who watches the Met Council and LRT, sent me a Star Tribune headline this morning, “Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin is denied DFL endorsement: No one got the DFL nod for the Hennepin County seat, but Angela Conley came closest.”
In case you do not know, Peter McLaughlin is the engine behind all things light rail in the metro. My friend knew I would perk up reading the article, which began, “For the first time in his 27 years on the Hennepin County Board, Peter McLaughlin failed to receive the DFL endorsement during his party’s convention over the weekend.”
I was enthused at the idea that McLaughlin might get knocked of his perch at the Hennepin County Board representing Minneapolis (where he makes over $133k a year). He is a policy opponent of the Center’s on LRT, regional planning, size of government—you name it. He votes to raise the taxes of Hennepin County residents at every opportunity. His wife is a successful attorney. He is a rich unabashed leftist, and part of the Minneapolis elite. But apparently he is now the wrong color, and it does not help that he is male and straight.
I sent the article to a friend who shares our commitment to defeating McLaughlin’s Southwest LRT from Eden Prairie to Minneapolis. He said, “Could be good, could be worse.” McLaughlin is relentless in pursuit of 19th century fixed rail to force a downtown, city centric model, with all lines and roads leading to Minneapolis. He wants Minneapolis elites to control the metro. I would say that his partnership with the Met Council has been quite productive.
It would be good for McLaughlin to get sent packing, even if he hung around, fighting for LRT (he would; it is his life’s work). Maybe his successor would focus on solutions that actually serve the people of Minneapolis who rely on, or want to use, public transit—like good old buses. They are less expensive, and they can be moved around to meet demand. SWLRT does not serve poor or lower middle-class neighborhoods; does not even come close. It is not what they call “an equity train.”
The person who beat him, Angela Conley, is a black woman, a lot younger—she came close but fell just short of the votes needed so it’s off to the primary. “There are a lot of progressive Democrats looking for change, and I would bring a presence to the board on racial disparity, affordable housing and environmental justice,” she said. “I’ve experienced these things personally, and people want to see that represented in the highest level of county leadership.” She works for the county, “in job assistance.”
Conley could not be more expensive in terms of tax hikes, or more leftists on policies, than Mr. McLaughlin. I will bet she knows more about what regular people need for transit, though.
The article, written with no sense of apology for its blunt focus on race, age and sexual preference, with little reference to policy positions, went on the describe other changes or potential changes in the guard in Minneapolis city and county positions. Nothing on addressing street crime, congestion or fixing pot holes, for example.
Not that I am counting him out but let’s just say it helps to get elected in Minneapolis if you are not an old, white, straight male. Sorry, Peter.
You can read it here, then ask yourself, how did these people take over our beautiful City of Lakes? And how do we minimize the influence of the Minneapolis elite outside the city the city walls? Now there is an idea: a wall!
Photo by RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER, STAR TRIBUNE