There’s no question that my councilman, Steve Laraway, wears rose-colored glasses. At least, there isn’t any question about that after reading Mr. Laraway’s recent LTE.

In his LTE, Mr. Laraway sneered down his nose at his constituents, saying “We have just gone through an election season that once again focused on division and negatives about the candidates, their voting record, how they might vote or how poorly they represent their constituents. In the campaign for St. Cloud City Council, we consistently heard how bad things were in St. Cloud. Quite honestly, I love living in St. Cloud. I put together a list of 10 things I love about St. Cloud. This list is not all-encompassing, but are my thoughts. The list includes:”

  1. Munsinger and Clemens Gardens and all the other parks and trails in St. Cloud — top tourist attractions right here;
  2. Entertainment venues such as The Paramount and Pioneer Place;
  3. Our proximity to the Mississippi River, the river brings history and beauty every day;
  4. Outdoor gatherings such as Summertime by George, Fifth Avenue Live and the Cathedral Block Party;
  5. The beautiful and diverse neighborhoods;
  6. The Stearns History Museum and the Great River Regional Library: Both allow us to learn from our past;
  7. The YMCA and Whitney Senior Center;
  8. The St. Cloud Hospital and CentraCare;
  9. World-class music options: We can listen to music as varied as the Fabulous Armadillos or the St. John’s Boys’ Choir; and
  10. Higher education: We have access to top-notch higher education opportunities.

First, it isn’t surprising that Mr. Laraway praised CentraCare since he sits on their board. Next, people must wonder what solar system Mr. Laraway is from if he thinks that “we have access to top-notch higher education opportunities.” What Mr. Laraway didn’t mention is that St. Cloud’s economic metrics are terrible.

According to the Census Bureau’s website, the median household income for the state of Minnesota is $63,217 in 2016 dollars. The percent of people in Minnesota living below the Federal Poverty Level, aka FPL, was 9.5%. By comparison, Hibbing’s median household income was $42,004 while 18.2% of its residents lived below the FPL. Sartell, St. Cloud’s neighbor to the north, has a median household income of $71,959 while 4% of its residents live below the FPL.

Sit down before you read this set of statistics. The median household income for St. Cloud was $45,223. An astronomical (and frankly immoral) 23.2% of St. Cloud residents live below the FPL! How dare Mr. Laraway suggest that St. Cloud is a great place to live when one-fourth of its population is living below the Federal Poverty Level. For that matter, Dave Masters should be ashamed of himself for saying that St. Cloud already was a great place to live.

Masters and Laraway are delusional or dishonest. At this point, it’s possible they’re both.

2 Responses to “Laraway’s rose-colored glasses”

  • Kate Omalley says:

    It is sad that these two remain on the council since they do not serve the city well. They are a couple of dinosaurs who prefer to wallow in the pit of ignorance instead of getting educated. We almost rid ourselves of them and got some far better representation in Dr. Palmer and Mz Baklaich…..however, sadly this time around we narrowly missed our goal. But stay focused because in 2020 we will have the opportunity to again vote off more council members and the Mayor and regain control of the city we love

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