Labor Union Funds and the Ford Plant: A backdoor way for the City of St. Paul to pay for its 121 acre mass density vision

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“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

                                                                                                         –          Joseph Heller

As I have watched the City of St. Paul continue its headlong effort to pack up to 10,000 residents, workers and visitors onto 121 acres of land known as the Ford Plant site, I have had to ask myself, “Why?”

Not only will such an abomination wreak havoc on existing neighborhoods and roads in the proximity of the site, with anywhere from 7,000 to 8,000 more cars trying to navigate roads that are already overburdened, but it will immediately depress the property values of tens of thousands of residents in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The City doesn’t even own the land.

So, why spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money on studies, consultants, public relations firms and others to create a zoning plan that no developer in his or her right mind would actually agree to?

For that matter, why create the potential for even more costly litigation with Ford Motor Company who will see the City’s zoning plan as onerous and detrimental to its efforts to sell its land at the best price possible?

And, if Ford Motor Company doesn’t sue the City you can be sure the developer who purchases the land will when they realize what the City is demanding be built is not only unprofitable for them but will likely saddle them a 140-acre white elephant.

Then it hit me.

The City intends to buy this land.

The City intends to be the developer.

More specifically, the City may direct the St. Paul Port Authority to purchase the land and become, in essence, the developer. 

How else to explain the unexplainable?

The City is pushing a development plan that makes no economic sense to a private developer. 

It clearly makes no economic sense to the taxpayers of St. Paul.

It makes no sense to the residents in Minneapolis and St. Paul who will be negatively impacted by the chaos and congestion that will pour into the streets from cramming up to 10,000 new residents, workers and visitors onto 121 acres of land.

However the City chooses to conduct this purchase and become the ad hoc developer of the land this much is true:  It is the only way they can get their politically conceived development plan at the Ford site built.

So, then, how will they find the money to build this plan?

They don’t actually have the money.  The fact is there are significant projects throughout the City that aren’t being addressed because they don’t have the money.

Yes, there is money for bike lanes.  Money for any of the pet projects of the City Council.  But, there isn’t any money for the City to buy the Ford site.

Candidly, the City won’t even find money to hire more police and community service officers despite historic increases in violent crime and shootings in the City.

But, they will find the money to buy the Ford site.

Union money.

Yes, that is right. 

More specifically, union funds from union dues that sit in a bank account that union leaders can direct to help purchase this tract of land.

Why would unions agree to this?

Because they believe that every single job created by building the City’s dystopian vision on 121 acres of land will be a union job.

They would have to be if the unions gave the city the money they need to buy the land.

Now, for this to happen Ford Motor Company would have to be complicit, as well.

Ford is now under new leadership.  My guess is that 140 acres of land in St. Paul, Minnesota is not a high priority of theirs at the moment.

Avoid the hassle of getting caught in the political crossfire between the City and the neighborhoods the city will destroy and just come up with a price and let the City use union funds to buy it.

Do I know any of this to be true?

No.  I don’t. 

In fact, none of it could be true.

It may just be hypothetical.

But given the circumstances and the facts, including the fact that the City has cut off any further public comment on this project, one can be forgiven for speculating.

The City of St. Paul and those advocating for this mass density nightmare that will destroy communities to build a city of up to 10,000 people on 121 acres need a way to implement their plan.

By using union money and buying the land themselves and developing it themselves they not only remove the middle man from the process.

They remove the power of tens of thousands of taxpayers and voters in the neighborhood impacted by this plan from fighting back.

For the city, problem solved.

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