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Letter sets the stage for change

One recent letter struck every REaders' Board member as especially pertinent and worthy of the Golden Quill. They found Bill Federbusch, Art Kenyon and Robert Hedin's Nov. 4 letter cohesive, coherent, thoughtful and essential to the public debate.

Monday's vote was unanimous.

Interestingly, Readers' Board members Nancy Harris and Don Regelman served on the Red Wing City Council when it formed the Port Authority in the 1980s. Regardless of where they stand on the Port Authority's current problems, they and the other board members concurred that what happens to the agency --and how its $1.2 million debt is resolved -- will be of critical importance to the city. They commended Federbusch, Hedin and Kenyon for addressing this major issue.

REaders' Board members also appreciated that the letter offered tangible solutions. It's easy to point out a problem, but much more difficult to provide answers. The writers carefully researched several options and took equal care in crafting how they presented them to the public.

The three men report hearing similar comments on the street.

"The prevailing thought from people is that we desperately need a strong EDA, but we are not receiving value for the taxes we pay for this," Federbusch said, adding, "The city needs the right business model."

Board members noted that the letter was timely, appearing five days before the City Council voted on the port's request to raise its levy.

Did the letter make a difference? You can't show cause and effect, but council members started a broader discussion and denied the request.

That vote wasn't the crux of the letter, of course. The writers gave options for long-range improvements and real changes. Who knows, maybe the new Mayor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Economic Development will consider them as its work begins.