Letters to the editor

Halloween 2010 — absolutely shocking!

Each year, we see fewer and fewer trick or treaters.

This year proved to be very different! Just when it seemed that the tradition of kids donning costumes and going door to door in their neighborhoods to trick or treat was a thing of the past, we saw huge numbers this year.  

Oh what fun until a group of kids — all in their early- to mid-teens — showed up. For years, kids show up in our neighborhood that we don’t recognize. It’s always been fine with us until now.  

Once the group had received their treats and the door was shut, my husband returned to the kitchen. A minute later we heard a faint sound coming from the front of the house.  My husband went down the hall only to find a kid in our house stealing the candy, bowl and all. He chased the kid on foot but he had too big of a head start to catch him.

A block away, my husband caught up with the group of kids who claimed not to know anything about the theft while they bombarded him with profanity.  

Soon, one of our neighbors showed up only to tell a few of the kids, “Honey, I know you guys didn’t do anything, go on now.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing until she repeated it. I confronted her telling her she had no idea what was going on.

In response she said, “Oh it’s only candy.”

What? Only candy? What kind of a person has so little regard for their neighbor’s property? She will likely think differently when this kid returns to her house next week, month or year from now and steals her car, or worse, breaks into her house and holds her and her kids hostage in exchange for money.  

When this happens, she should not expect any assistance from me, after all it’s only property and money.

To the kid who illegally entered my home and stole from us, you and your friends are no longer welcome at my house next Halloween (or ever)! My neighbor up the street will welcome you with open arms though!

Carrie Bloedel
Tangletown

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Thank you, voters

A heart-felt “Thank You” to all the Hennepin County voters who supported me this General Election.  

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with you in your front yards, backyards and homes. You welcomed me and allowed me to share some of the accomplishments of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, as well as, plans for the future.

It is my great honor and privilege to serve you as County Attorney. We will continue to bring swift and just prosecution for violent crimes, and targeted crime prevention. Programs like be@school that reduces truancy, the Domestic Abuse Service Center and Community Prosecution will continue to be expanded.

I also want to thank all the volunteers who gave their time and effort this summer.

Again, thanks for allowing me to serve again.

Michael Freeman
Hennepin County Attorney

Letters to the editor

A response to Daniel Hertz’s plaque letter

I read Daniel Hertz’s letter to the editor in your Oct. 18-31 issue with some bemusement. While there was some distortion of facts relative to how People For Parks dealt with Mr. Hertz’s memorial plaque query I will not deal with those here. Suffice it to say we have exchanged several phone calls and e-mails since August.

What is not mentioned in his letter is the fact that his mother’s name is now and has been listed and displayed on a new donor display put in place in the People For Parks Kiosk last summer. (The kiosk was relocated in May of this year to its current location adjacent to the Lake Harriet Bandshell.) Since the original kiosk displays had weathered badly over the last 20 years, People For Parks opted to begin a one-year upgrading process for the kiosk after the move. We gave priority to the donor memorial display Mr. Hertz references. Our intent was to keep faith with all those past contributors who had donated to the purchase of spectator benches. After review, we opted to print the donor names and inscriptions on a white, durable, display board replacing the metal plaques and black backing formerly used.

This new donor display was put in place at the kiosk last July and lists all of those who contributed to the purchase of spectator benches for the Lake Harriet Bandshell from 1986 through 1992. In doing so, we used the same inscriptions that had been inscribed on the original plaques.  

I was at the kiosk last evening and easily located the printed inscription — “In honor of Barbara Banks Hertz” — as one example. Mr. Hertz’s prefers the original plaque format be retained. To this date he is the only person who has voiced dissatisfaction once apprised of the upgrade effort and having taken the time to view the new display.

In closing, I invite your readers to visit the People For Parks Kiosk at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. It is located just west of the concert stage. The bench memorial display window is on the west side. Our upgrading of the kiosk displays continues and should be completed by May of 2011. Rest assured People For Parks has been (since 1979) and will continue to be an “effective” and trustworthy vehicle for people to assist with maintaining and improving Minneapolis Parks.

Jeff Winter
President
People For Parks

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A counterpoint to Council Member Betsy Hodges’ commentary

Minneapolis Council Member Betsy Hodges’ commentary (Oct. 4th) attributes part of the increases in homeowners’ property tax bills to “disproportionate” relief granted to business property owners by the Legislature.

As a Minneapolis homeowner, as well as a manager of commercial-industrial properties in the metro area largely occupied by small businesses, many struggling to survive, I would like to offer a more accurate perspective. The reform legislation passed in 2001 did, in fact, reduce the effective property tax rate (property taxes paid as a percentage of value) on commercial-industrial properties from an all-time high of 5.94 percent in 1995 to 3.33 percent in 2010, part of a bipartisan effort to make Minnesota more competitive in terms of business climate and job creation.

The reform package also reduced the effective property tax rate for all other properties in Minnesota, with homestead properties particularly benefiting. As a result, the effective tax rate for homeowners statewide this year is just 1.12 percent. In addition, the reform legislation expanded the property tax relief programs for homeowners, lowering their net taxes payable even further.

However, Minnesota’s commercial-industrial properties and the businesses who occupy them continue to bear a disproportionate share of the total property tax burden relative to their market value share. As a group, these important job providers pay three times as much per dollar of market value as homeowners — $3.33 per $100 of value in 2010, compared with just $1.12 paid by owners of homes of the same value. (Contrast this with Wisconsin, where both properties — business and residential — are taxed at the same rate, $1 per $100 of assessed value.)

For me and every other Minneapolis homeowner, this means that businesses of all sizes, from the largest to the smallest, even the coffee shop down the street, subsidize the total cost of the public services we, as homeowners, all want and enjoy. If not for their willingness to pay this “disproportionately” larger share of the total property tax burden, all of us would face far higher property tax bills on our homes than we do today.

Mark W. Reiling
Bryn Mawr