David Haas is a candidate for St. Paul City Council Ward 5. The ward covers the North End, East Side and Como residential areas. Haas talked about why he is running for City Council on a recent broadcast of Conversations with Al McFarlane.
Pictured: David Haas
David Haas is a candidate for St. Paul City Council Ward 5. The ward covers the North End, East Side and Como residential areas.
Haas talked about why he is running for City Council on a recent broadcast of Conversations with Al McFarlane.
DAVID HAAS: We moved into the North End about six years ago. I'm thirty years old. I'm a financial planner for a business my father started about thirty years ago. He actually grew up on the West Side of Chicago and moved here in his twenties. My wife is an architect; she graduated from the University of Minnesota, I graduated from St. Thomas. The reason why I decided to run for city council is that I believe we need a council member who will listen, learn and lead. I think we also need someone who will address the issues of the entire ward. We have three communities, and you just mentioned them -- Como Park, North End and East side. They all have different sets of challenges, and I think my background as a financial planner and dealing with people on an individual basis -- knowing what are their goals, their objectives, their hopes, their dreams and their fears and trying to get from point A to point B, I think I would work well in that position with such a diverse grouping of people.
AL MCFARLANE: How diverse is the community?
DH: Very diverse.
Actually the North End and the East End are sixty percent minority, so a majority of the people in the ward are minorities.
We have about 14% Hmong. We have about 14% Laotian, 12% African American.
AM: What are the key challenges are there for the Ward 5 community?
DH: Well, specifically on the North End and the East Side what we're dealing with is public safety and capacity issues as far as housing. Right now we have over fifty percent rental properties in the area. We need to do something to bring investment back to that area. Also we're losing recreation centers and libraries; essentially we need the city to get back to basics in these areas and provide the essential services that we rely upon the city for. When you look at some of those areas, the recreation centers and the libraries are one of the few places where kids have a safe place to learn and play.
AM: You're losing them now, though?
DH: Yep. The recreation centers and the libraries; last year they cut three-hundred thousand dollars out of the rec department budget and they're looking at another 200 thousand. The budget is actually up in about thirty minutes or so, so we'll find out how big they're going to be.
AM: I think they read major cuts for rec centers, and it's ironic because last night I was at a community meeting on Rice Street talking about some issues that they're having at the rec centers with youth, groups of young men that don't have supervision; you know there are more socioeconomic issues that are causing these problems, but we're not providing them with positive avenues, and unfortunately, what's going to happen is we're going to spend that same amount of money that we're cutting from recreation centers and libraries on police and public safety. And incarceration.
So I think the city, whatever it plans to save cutting these basic resources, they're going to end up spending them elsewhere and in the end it's going to be our community that suffers.
AM: Describe those three neighborhoods again, for those who aren't from St. Paul or don't know the community, what are the boundaries of the North End, the East Side and Como relative to downtown?
DH: It's the north side of town. It goes from Lexington Avenue all the way over to a couple blocks east of 35E; it goes all the way up to Larpenteur Avenue and then all the way down to Como