What happened in St. Paul on Sunday is a metaphor for the state of government in Minnesota. Because it can’t get out of its own way, it doesn’t work.
The problem was a pile of filth near 10th and Wacouta streets that nearby residents have been trying to get the authorities to clean up since they kicked out homeless people who had been living at the site near Interstate 94.
They might as well have saved their energy.
The site is owned by MnDOT, the Pioneer Press says. So the city of St. Paul wouldn’t send in the Parks and Recreation Department to remove the junk.
“We’ve been trying since December to get this cleaned up,” Robert Humphrey, a spokesman with the St. Paul Department of Safety and Inspections.
MnDOT apparently said it would solicit bids. Bids? Just clean it up.
Finally, the residents got tired of waiting for government to do its job, so they did it themselves.
Erich Mische, the former chief of staff to mayor, then senator, Norm Coleman, documented the clean-up on his Facebook page.
“It took 60 bucks… 2 1/2 hours… three adults.. and two children to do what the City of Saint Paul and the State of Minnesota could not and would not do for over four months.. pick up garbage!” Mische wrote.
The group also found an open drain hole that could easily have trapped a young child. They covered it.
There was just one problem: What to do with the collected trash?
The Pioneer Press’ Julio Ojeda-Zapata found out. Mische dropped it at City Hall.
“If City Hall won’t come to the garbage, we’ll bring the garbage to City Hall,” Mische told Ojeda-Zapata.