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Letter: Sophistry and Red Wing City Council

Soph·ist·ry: noun

1. the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving

Sophistry is one of those words that no one uses and yet can be so perfect for describing a situation.

For example, on April 24, Red Wing City Council approved the Lab USA project to mine the Xcel ash pit. They did it by calling the Lab USA facility a "public works storage and maintenance yard." Minnesota defines Lab USA as a "solid waste transfer facility." Using the state's definition, Lab USA should not have been permitted to locate its facility in a residential zone.

By the city's own definition, a public works yard is "publically owned" and "provides Public Works services." The Lab USA operation fails to meet either definition.It will be mining Xcel's ash for metals, selling the metals and splitting the income with Xcel. The City will receive none of the income. Brent Dubois of Lab USA has been very adamant that Lab USA has nothing to do with the neighboring city storage yard.

So, we have the state saying this facility is something other than a "public works yard," Lab USA saying they have nothing to do with a "public works yard" and the city's own definition not fitting the Lab USA facility.

When challenged, the city's response was "Red Wing is different."

This is dophistry at its best.

My compliments to Dean Hove and John Becker for recognizing Sophistry when they smell it and voting "no."

Mark Walsworth

Plymouth, Minn.