To the editor:
The urban or suburban choice Bruce Christensen poses (“Edina’s future: Urban or suburban,” Edina Sun Current, Dec. 26, 2019) is an outdated paradigm that ignores the climate crisis, an historic legacy of racial and socioeconomic exclusion engineered through low-density zoning and building height restrictions, younger generations saddled with low incomes and high debt levels who can’t afford or reject suburban lifestyles, the need for less car-dependent, healthier lifestyles, and slower population growth forecasts (“Minn. growth to crawl into next decade,” Star Tribune, Dec. 29, 2019).
The column also illustrates a fear-based version of politics that traffics in disinformation and conspiracy theories, i.e. that Councilmember Mike Fischer and Mayor Hovland plotted to promote a high-density “urban” agenda for the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. He implies that they single-handedly engineered that outcome and are now “distancing themselves” from it.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Christensen cannot accede to the fact that the full city council and its staff created and implemented a highly successful multi-year citizen engagement process involving hundreds of Edina residents and multiple city commissions in the plan’s creation. This broad, inclusive, and democratic effort resulted in strong support by the vast majority of Edina residents, and in its winning final approval.
It’s time for Mr. Christensen and his We Can Do Better Edina crowd to tone down their negativity and fear-mongering and tell us, instead, how their slow-growth agenda, in a slow-growth environment, will promote Edina’s economic competitiveness, achieve its affordable housing and diversity and equity goals, and retain its high quality of life into the future.
The letter writer serves as coordinator for the Edina Neighbors for Affordable Housing.