Duluth Mayoral Candidate Reinert Addresses Larson’s ‘State Of The City’

DULUTH, Minn. — Duluth Mayor Emily Larson’s leading opponent in the mayoral race is Roger Reinert.  On Thursday evening, one day after Larson’s State of the City Address, Reinert held a formal press event at Clyde Iron Works to respond to that address.

About 100 people were on hand to hear Reinert’s thoughts on where the city is and where it is headed. Reinert said he based his remarks on what he has heard from residents in one-on-one and small group meetings.

Reinert said the top issue he’s hearing is about the city not doing a good job at its core functions.

Reinert referenced a piece of information from Larson’s address that said her administration has made progress in road reconstruction, going from two miles when she took office to 17 miles last year.  “We are doing more new miles, but the bad miles are becoming terrible miles because we’re not able to do routine maintenance. We don’t have the staff, we don’t have the capacity,” Reinert said.

Reinert said in the 90s there was a staff of 54 street maintenance workers, while today that number is 34.  He said there are about 20 percent more roads to plow and repair. He pointed out that the city did not call one snow emergency this year when the city had near-record snowfall.

“It’s not rocket science. The number one — communication, number two — adequate staffing. If one person is out, then that section of the city is not plowed until all the other sections are done and they go knock it out,” Reinert said.

In addition to street and snow removal, Reinert also addressed issues with downtown public safety concerns and changing the culture at City Hall. He said it has to change from simply saying no, to finding a way to say yes.

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