Home » Editorial » Target has failed Brooklyn Park residents

City council needs to serve the people, not corporate greed

By Boyd Morson

Guest Commentator

 

After reading the very interesting article about Target Corp. and their unwillingness to hire criminal offenders deserving of a second chance [“Target is targeted for hiring practices,” MSR, May 24], I found the story relevant and necessary to holding them accountable and making it known to your readers and to the world.

This sort of unacceptable, inexcusable and unprincipled corporate behavior is indicative of their constant abuse of the system, a detriment to our communities if unchallenged. It also demonstrates their unwillingness to reach out to those who unfortunately made some previous bad choices at some point in their lives and are unfortunately being punished again after rightfully serving their time.

Target has not only put controversial language and policies into practice; they’ve also contributed $150,000 to the Republican Party and $120,000 to the GBLT community to say they’re sorry. And yet, they have failed the residents of Brooklyn Park miserably.

The taxpaying residents of Brooklyn Park originally agreed to give Target a 20-to 25-year tax abatement for their North Campus Office complex in exchange for a shopping retail district, community library, and 100 new homes and jobs to Brooklyn Parkers. Still today they have failed to honor their original agreement at much cost to the taxpayers.

Target was forgiven and then allowed to amend their original agreement during a nine-month planning session with the City of Brooklyn Park’s Long Range Planning Department. Their recommendation was then approved by the City, allowing Target to enter into another amended agreement to expand on their existing campus in Brooklyn Park — again without fulfilling their original obligations to us, the taxpayers.

Unfortunately, this comes during a period when our seniors and retirees, who are on fixed incomes, along with our middle-class families are all struggling and feeling the pinch. Many, many fine families are losing their homes to foreclosures, and our children are without things to do, like being able to swim in a community pool. Putting off the conditions of their tax abatement mean our children will continue to attend an overcrowded and outdated community library.

In addition, we have to battle over the lack of jobs and opportunities, because those jobs and opportunities are being taken by unemployed adults simply trying to survive the huge unemployment crisis in the midst of continuous corporate greed.

We, the taxpaying community, have been paying Target biannually over $100,000 just to be here, without holding them accountable to the taxpaying community, as Target alleged that the economic downturn was the driving force preventing them from fulfilling their obligations to the taxpayers of Brooklyn Park.

That was also true for our taxpaying community. However, nowhere to my knowledge was the original agreement entered into subject to change based on the economy’s woes. And yet, in spite of their alleged financial crisis, Target is still enthusiastically spending over $3 to $7 million on the new North Campus Development Project.

So we, the taxpaying people of Brooklyn Park, suffer. Now, where oh where did they find that money to further their cause while not being held accountable to the taxpayers to come up with any funding to meet the needs of our city and taxpayers?

Brooklyn Park City Council, wake up! We, the taxpaying community, need to hold Target and the Brooklyn Park City Council equally accountable for ensuring that this amended agreement will be fulfilled and completed in a timely manner regardless of the economy.

Someone in our leadership needs to act like they have an obligation to the people who elected them and not be wimps to corporate greed as they sit back with their don’t-rock-the-boat attitudes and watch our youth, families and community suffer and struggle.

We need Target to help strengthen our future economic viability. Just think: Either one of those donations could have gone to the development of a community pool for our youth and/or to the groundbreaking efforts for a new community library.

Target should have an obligation to put our Brooklyn Parkers to work, including our deserving second-chancers. They should be obligated to reserve at least 30-50 percent of their jobs for our residents. This commonsense approach will only help strengthen our community by putting them back to work, therefore allowing them to help pay taxes and allow Brooklyn Parkers to meet their needs.

Under this new agreement, language should guarantee construction jobs to minority companies and youth training opportunities to help them develop a skill and/or trade working on this project. Come on, city council, wake up and begin working and thinking for the people and not feeding the greed of Target.

 

Boyd Morson welcomes reader responses to boydmorson@ya hoo.com. 

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