What could you do with a million dollars? How about a million and a half? That’s how much the city of Duluth has given to Spirit Mountain recently to help “keep it afloat”. And not only have City Councilors Emily Larson and Howie Hanson freely loaned this money to the downhill venture, Hanson wants to forgive the loan.

 

I know what I’d like to do with that money, help drive drugs and criminals from our city. According to the Human Resources page of the city’s website, a police officer’s minimum salary is $41,424. With the money given to Spirit Mountain, we could pay seven officers $42,000 a year for five years.

 

 

I’d like to see seven more cops on the streets. Instead the city struggles to staff thepolice department. The number of police cases has more than tripled since the 1970’s, but there is still the same number of officers on the streets.

In Chief Ramsay’s April 15th blog article he confesses that many officers are stretched thin and getting burned out. It isn’t just the number of cases; it’s the ever-expanding nature of the crimes– internet crimes, increased child pornography, and sex trafficking.

 

There’s something wrong when we’re trying to attract more and more population, but so many other things are not increasing proportionally.

 

In May of this year 41 people were indicted for a drug trafficking ring operating in northern Minnesota. Less than a month ago three men from Chicago were arrested for selling heroin in a park zone. It’s time we take our city back from the thugs coming here to traffic drugs from Detroit, Chicago, or other big cities.

 

And it’s time to take back our parks.

 

Just think of what we could do with a million and a half dollars at our parks and community rec centers. We could hire ten people at $30,000 for five years. We could start staffing our centers and giving our kids and our seniors a place to gather again. A place that neighborhoods can call their own. A place of pride and camaraderie, safe and free of drugs.

 

Or we can keep giving money to attractions that simply cannot be self-sufficient.