Excerpts from presentations on conversations with Al McFarlane Monday Leadership Sessions on Facebook Live | New

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“I am proud to have grown up and worked all my life in the third quarter. The Rainvilles are an inherited family whose legacy in business and politics has benefited many Minnesotans. I have helped increase the number of libraries and theaters while serving on the Northeast Arts District Board of Trustees. I have volunteered for the St. Anthony Western Neighborhood Group. The community policing project on Essentra allowed me to form valuable new relationships. We just continued the work and our commitment to our community and to the city because this is how the Rainvilles have been raised, generation after generation. They always said that whatever we do for a living, we have to do a little more for the place where we live.

“We realized 20 years ago that not all of our children have internet access. We took care of the problem. The park council had been housed in the BF Nelson building. I was able to contact someone from the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago. They came, tested the soil, and helped the park secure a former industrial site that has become a park. We also set up a police station on Hennepin Avenue East, near the university, and we had a cop. I got to know the businesses, residents, customers and people who were here to steal and rob. It was a very safe area until the police department collapsed due to understaffing.

“The (Rainville) family had a lot of disagreements over our Thanksgiving table, but we always pulled it together. We had good jobs and unions with an aunt and cousin who played a major role in the formation of the Farmer-Worker Democratic Party. We were good, strong Democrats and involved citizens. The difference was that we were listening. These were not personal agendas. A member of an inherited family? Yes. But I am my own person. I have a voice.

“The current city council is not transparent. They have their own ideas. They don’t care what we think. And it is wrong. What happened to being and listening to concerned and involved citizens? I might be an old man, but I still have a lot of miles left. My decades of experience and my energy can help transform our city. I want to stand with Reverend McAfee and Bishop Howell; with Chief Arradondo and Inspector Charlie Adams. This is where the leadership will come from. Listen, research, plan and take action! Our young men and women in our neighborhoods should be sought out and encouraged to turn to service jobs such as firefighters, police, and teachers. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough investigators to follow up on serious crime, and gang leaders know it.

I am totally different from my incumbent. There is no evidence that there is an understanding or compassion for the impact of rising violence on daily life. The city and the people can work in everything – housing, employment, education. We can work together to make change, but we can’t do it overnight. It will be a process. The pressing reality is that there is nothing we can do if we do not live in safe neighborhoods and communities. The city center will remain an empty hole. If we are not a safe community, the downtown will be an empty hole. We are not going to bring back the tax revenue that we once had. And whether you’re a tenant or a landlord in the community, we’re going to have to start paying a lot more in taxes because of a dysfunctional city inaction.

“In meeting candidates Wheeler, Zea-Aida and Moore, I would like to thank them for entering the political arena. It’s not an easy job, but a lot of people need to be brave enough to care. Look at what Mayor Melvin Carter has accomplished in St. Paul since 2018. You recognize, as I do, that many people in our city are suffering. It’s a wonderful city when it works, but racial reconciliation and economic justice won’t happen if we can’t bring gun violence and the killing of our children under control.

“I bring skills, a work ethic, positive community relations and a desire to work and witness the positive changes we can achieve together. I also bring incredible endorsement to my campaign from former Minnesota Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton.


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