NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Sunday January 23rd 2022

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Open Letter to the Community Historic Community Protection Legislation is studied locally by North Mpls. and nationally by CA”“Re-Elect Responsible Lawmakers

With regard to a post on Mpls.e-democracy forum suggesting we sweep all the incumbents from the legislature, I just received a note from a friend in north Mpls. telling me to hang on to Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Berglin. My friend”'s neighborhood is facing exposure to becoming host to a hazardous waste site and is aware of what Rep. Clark, Sen. Berglin and many neighborhood folks have accomplished together to bring about a first-in-the-nation environmental justice zone protective of the Phillips”' population through a bill in the legislature. The legislation requires far stricter guidelines than currently exist to protect a large section of the urban core neighborhood of Phillips, based on poverty statistics, already existing area pollution, health challenges and intense diversity. Phillips and Clark/Berglin”'s high profile protective bill are being watched from as far away as California for implications and responses. The bill is historic on the environmental justice scene.

Beyond this Rep. Clark has been in the forefront of work at the legislature on the Xcel Energy”'s high voltage power line issue, the project being hosted only by Phillips though furnishing amplified and steady power to the far broader benefit areas of the more affluent Lake District, South Mpls. and beyond. She has helped articulate the justice issue in the legislature regarding this project, namely that one of the poorest neighborhoods in the metro should have bear the entire negative burden of either high voltage overhead lines or buried ones with the dislocation and dirt that requires and for a benefit that residents here don”'t really need. She has pressed through the legislature a controversial requirement that a certificate of need be produced first.

She carried to success the bill that provided funding for the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center so a park empty of most anything except pimps and prostitutes might have a life of programs and recreation for the city”'s most diverse and poor residents, when help to accomplish this could be found nowhere else.

And when asbestos was recently found in the building excavation, threatening to stall the project, she instantly went to work and succeeded in cornering a major portion of the funding to provide for the remediation.

She also carried the controversial bill to try to refund the coffers of the NRP program so residents could continue the good work of rebuilding Mpls. neighborhoods as they have done for 20 years, and bore the criticism from some quarters for doing so.

These are only some of the insightful, brilliant, remarkably wise and courageous pieces of legislation Rep. Clark has created and gotten through the legislative maze to full passage.

And then there is the legacy of progressive compassion in the health care legislation fostered forward for years by Senator Berglin with too many bills to mention here, all of which help to remove fear and medical-bill-impoverishment from the lives of average citizens.

In both cases, this has been done by these women on the shoestring of financial resources that their districts”' people can provide. People in Phillips and Whittier give what they can…but, I can testify, this is very little compared to more affluent districts where elected officials can build large war chests for their campaigns and even hand some off to others to bolster their voice.

These things are only a small part of what our legislators have done. The lists are on the legislative website. But would we even think of cleaning house with Rep. Clark or Sen. Berglin, when constituents elsewhere are looking at their records on behalf of their districts with envy? What is the case is that we want them to continue serving us for another 30 years and will do all in our power to make this so.

Clean house, but only some quarters…not all…not where the jewels are. Don”'t even think it.

Carol Pass, East Phillips

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