Part II: We Read Ford Site Hearing Comments So You Don’t Have To

Reading the Comments

Reading the Comments

When controversy happens….when tempers flare….we read the commentsso you don’t have to.

Previously, we read the comments from articles published around the time of last week’s first hearing. The second hearing was on Wednesday night, and there were speeches and votes and thus articles and comments. So here we are, once again: Reading the comments.

Everything we said before still applies: This is a big opportunity and big opportunities bring out big support and big NIMBYism and random weirdos!

We read the comments and rated each media outlet on a scale of 1-5 stars, where 1 means “reading these made us feel dumber,” and 5 means “we have hope for our civilization, even if some dude recommended the Ford Site become a golf course.”

Star Tribune: Ford plant site plan approved by City Council on 5-2 vote



  • Fact free comment: “Your “both sides” reporting on this is pretty lazy. The reporter went to the city council meeting and “some support” and “some don’t.” Are you kidding? Sentiment in Highland Park is overwhelmingly against this plan.” Various data isn’t that conclusive.
  • User “leftwingnews,” who we met in the last comments, announces his/her intent to move out of Ramsey County entirely. Probably to Anoka County. (Ed. note: Comment reader lives in Anoka County.)
  • “Sell your home and business now Highland Park residents. The Village you knoe and love, is no more. Remember this when it is time to vote again. Tolbert and Coleman, your days in office are numbered.” Coleman isn’t running for mayor again, so there’s that!
  • “Once again, Highland gets the love and the Eastside gets the shaft.” So. As a former East Sider (this post was about my house), I will say this is complex. The city completely screwed up planning the 3M site near Minnehaha and E7th. There are other opportunities to be addressed. But! The nature of this very large site is that it is near Highland and the river, and it absolutely had to be addressed. The issues are not actually well-linked. The city needs to look at the East Side more (ahem, Jane Prince), but can’t just neglect a generational site like this one.
  • “just legalize bud already and make it a giant pot field.” O the children! (Also, pro tip: You can find ditchweed galore in Hidden Falls.)
  • Couple mandatory Amazon references.
  • Suggestion it be a community garden or linear park.

Score: 1?. The “winners” of last night were clearly at Tiff’s in Highland Village celebrating, and the salt of these comments is quite salty! No references to unicorns or kombucha. Lots of tangents that don’t really connect, like East Side references, kind weed, etc.

KSTP: St. Paul City Council Approves Master Plan for Ford Site

So, we cheated here and looked at Facebook for comments. There were 5.

Not much to see. Couple sad emojis, and a comment that the soccer stadium should have gone there. (No, it shouldn’t have. Rail access matters a lot.)

Score: meh

WCCO: St. Paul City Council Approves Proposal For Highland Park Ford Site

1 comment.

Commenter laments that sometimes cities approve development and that it can change the character of a neighborhood. She moved to Dakota County.

Score: meh

Pioneer Press: St. Paul council approves sweeping plan to redevelop former Ford plant

A fine Frederick Melo piece. Lots of council quotes! His Twitter was en fuego last night too.

42 comments. We doubt we will find the answers to life, the universe and everything in these comments, and more likely stuff in the vein of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where Rule 42 requires all persons over a mile high to leave the court. Only applied to buildings, of course.

Let’s see:

  • mikesonn salutes the outcome. (Hi Mike!) Someone claims Mike owes them $250.
  • “I personally thought the plan was way short on what I would have liked to see. More apartments and $10/hour jobs don’t seem like a great use of what was touted as a “special” opportunity for our neighborhood.” Not sure what people wanted instead. Another park?
  • “20%. That is a lot of low income housing. That is 1 out of every 5 homes. Unless, they are placed in distinctly different sections within the development I don’t envision high end homes selling well.” Several complexes along Shepard Road integrate lower income housing pretty well. And you can rent section 8 IN HIGHLAND (shock!). I really think people do not know the range of “low income.” It’s not just immigrants and poor people! It includes people who work and bag your groceries. Anyway, here’s betting all that low income housing ends up being senior rentals. Everyone loves low income senior rentals.
  • “This move by the city will turn this area into a higher density level than New York City!” Depends on how you measure stuff. Manhattan this won’t be.
  • “This is a slap in the face of every hardworking family that sacrificed to move into an area that is a good and safe area for their families. “
  • crime crime crime freakout crime
  • More Amazon stuff. A user rightly points out that Amazon jobs wouldn’t solve the low income housing thing by giving those people jobs: “Hahaha. Yeah, Amazon’s six-figure HQ jobs are totally being earmarked for low-income, poverty-stricken adults. All those unemployed and destitute accountants and IP lawyers and logistics specialists.”

Score: 0 ?. Once again, no good kombucha references, and complete disregard for what affordable and low income housing really represents. I bet a lot of these people like to stop at Starbucks in the morning. Many Starbucks baristas count as low income because the wages suck! Being able to walk to work (avoiding vehicle expense) and have a place to sleep (not their vehicle) is good!

And look, y’all: I lived in Highland for several years. I also have lived on the North Side (not far from Maryland and Larpenteur; the local drug dealers once helped my mom while she was lost) and on the East Side (previously mentioned, near the Dari-Ette, represent!). The NIMBYism and simultaneous angst about tax rates (but not adding good tax base) makes me really quite sad. Housing demand in the cities is sky-high, and even as everyone asks “y no Amazon on Ford Site” they neglect the impact of what such an HQ does to housing markets if housing isn’t built (and what it would do to traffic, well in excess of this development).

Now, let’s all wait for the Livable Saint Paul lawsuit. It’s coming.

About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!