Letters to the Editor - April 2004

My brother wrote this to my daughter, Sarah, for her birthday and I felt it should be published, if you’d care to take the time.  Thanks.

Diane

Dear Editor –

I’m one of the many who have relied on our public transportation system for mobility.  Without it, I’m feeling a definite cut into my lifestyle.  I hope you will print this and others might be encouraged to write this paper and others.

I’m really frustrated by this bus strike. I’m doing a LOT of walking, and I have to line up so many rides—rides to school, rides to the bank, rides to the grocery store. About the only place I don’t need a ride is to church. I can walk there because it’s only a mile away.

The strike nine years ago didn’t hit me this hard. At that time, everything was close. I could walk 2 blocks to work, one-half mile to the bank, and three-quarters of a mile to the grocery store. My situation is different today.

Once the strike started, I asked around at church and was able to get some rides lined up. My neighbor gives me a ride to school. It’s three and a half miles away. Someone else from my church has to give me a ride home. My church has really become my backbone, since my family lives too far away to help much. I’m getting help from a lot of good-hearted people.

But things can’t go on like this.

One problem with getting all these rides from all these different people is that there’s no room for slip-ups. If one ride falls through, I’m out of luck. A week ago my after-school ride fell through, so I had to walk home. I pretty much walked the routes of buses 71-A and 3-B, starting on Chester in St Paul and going down to West Lafayette, then over to Plato. From there I headed west to Robert, north to Kellogg, west to Wabasha, and north to 12th. I cut across the lawn over to Rice Street, and walked up Rice to Como. Then I went west to Western, north to Front, west to Lexington, and north to Jessamine. Then I went over to Hamline and finally to Wynne, the street I live on. I know it probably sounds like a complicated route, but I wasn’t at all worried about getting lost. I’ve been riding the bus for 24 years, so I know the city pretty well. I left school at 3:50 and got home at 6:10. I keep saying that I wouldn’t do it again, but I suppose I would if I had to. I mean, it took me nearly two and a half hours, and I got a blister on my toe.

The blister is gone now, but I have two other blisters from all my walking around. Since I’m not cutting out any parts of my life, I just have to find rides and walk more. Every two weeks I have to walk to the bank. It takes me an hour each way. A lot of my friends are in the same situation. My shoes are wearing out in the process of walking and my feet are always sore.

But I’m not giving up. I’ll get right in their face. Friday afternoon I’m going down to Meers Park and protest, right there at the offices of the Met Council. This is just getting ridiculous. It has to be resolved.

David Harris,

St. Paul, MN

___________________________

“Sarah –

Your mom told me that for your birthday present you would like a new president. That is what I wished for when pulling apart a wishbone recently! We have a cute photo of Grahama on the day of the California primary wearing a Kerry button. Our country elected President Bush when he had the opportunity to pretend to be someone he isn’t. Now that we know who he is, if we re-elect him, it’s our fault. I refuse to believe that 51% of Americans are greedy, homophobic, uncaring people who are willing to ruin the lives of the next generation for their short-term gain. All over the country, people like you are getting involved in politics. If speaking truth to power, the pen being mightier than the sword, not being able to fool all of the people all of the time, etc. are more than empty slogans, this guy will be belched forth like Noah on the beach and our national case of indigestion will be markedly improved. Thanks for cheering me up!

Uncle Dick”