Letters: The Ponds isn’t where the privileged play golf

11March 2021

Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough is shamelessly injecting the issue of race into the debate over whether to shut down and redevelop the county’s Ponds Golf Course at Battle Creek. Those neighbors and golfers fighting to save the course hardly represent “white privilege.” Privileged whites are playing at Town and Country, Midland Hills, North Oaks and other private country clubs around the region, not the Ponds.

The nine-hole Ponds course primarily serves seniors, young people and other folks at the lower end of the economic scale. Too many public short courses in the area already have been gabbled up for new development, eliminating much-needed park and open space in the process.

If I lived in Ramsey County, I would be very leery about giving that county board more opportunities to test their economic and redevelopment theories  Their efforts at the West Publishing, Twin Cities Arsenal and Union Depot sites all have been colossal failures.

Steven Dornfeld, Woodbury


Subsidizing incompetence?

State Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka claims he opposed appropriating funds to aid Minneapolis in providing security for the Chauvin trial because the need itself, he feels, exposes the incompetence of the Minneapolis city council’s ability to run the city’s affairs, and non-metro residents would be hard-pressed to support such incompetence.

Over 60 percent of state revenue is raised in the seven-county metro area, while no more than 50% is spent there. The disparity for the city of Minneapolis is, I’m willing to bet, even greater. Following Gazelka’s thinking, I guess it’s time we metro-area residents stop subsidizing all the evidently incompetent leaders of all those outstate jurisdictions.

Tom Baldwin, Falcon Heights



In a Pioneer Press report last week, Judge Castro seems to be at odds with the sheriff’s plan to track career criminal behavior in Ramsey County. This may explain why a young offender was recently arrested for his 21st carjacking.

The county chose to close Woodview Detention Home and Totem Town because they had more important priorities, such as additional bike trails, balloon releases and group hugs. Perhaps that might change if they were carjacked.

Jim Hannegan, Roseville


The journey of democracy

I love my country dearly which is why I served. The past four years have forced us to think deeply at what the idea of America is. It has not changed for me. It has been and always will be a journey, not a destination.

What this veteran witnessed this past January was an attack on the democratic processes of the country I served, the journey. There is no moral equivalency between Jan. 6 and the riots of this summer. None whatsoever. That is my absolute truth. That is my moral line where my moral courage stands. Before I entered the Navy, my hero, my father, a Korean War veteran, reminded me that I had to be a better man then those I serve, that my oath is first to that journey.

As my father reminded me, democracy is a journey, not a destination. I do not know what that oath means to others, but I know what it means to me. I took the oath to protect and defend that journey. I took the oath to be the guardian of the door into that journey. Those doors to our local courthouse, our city hall, our state capitals, our federal capitol, our polling stations.

In the final months during one of the great democratic institutions of my country, our elections, I witnessed political calculation, not moral courage. In my lifetime I had always believed we were better, that we understood the why and how of Normandy and Iwo Jima, the meaning of the heart and soul of the Constitution and its blanket of grace given to us for that journey and defended with the blood of men and woman.

Did that lesson die with the greatest generation? I hope not.

I hope that Jim Hagedorn, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach, Collin Peterson and Pete Stauber would honor that door and all of those who died on the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima. The door to the journey of democracy requires moral courage to protect and defend. As my father reminded me, “There will be a time when you will need the moral courage to turn around and face those that you lead.”

That is the meaning of the oath I took, and it saddens me as a veteran deeply that our journey was violated.

Mark Baird, Oakdale

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