Monday, January 23, 2006

Is there a Ford in your future?

For now, yes - the long-feared announcement from Ford Motor Co. came down today and, for now, the St. Paul plant that has been manufacturing Ford Rangers has managed to survive the ax. So the workers will continue to report to the facility, the developers will sigh and put their plans back in their hip pockets and new St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman can go back to worrying about more pressing matters, like crippling the Payne Ave. bars with smoking bans and other Nanny State initiatives.

And yet, the stay of execution hardly seems a reason to celebrate. There's a pretty compelling argument to be made that it would simply be better if the plant were to close now, rather than dragging the matter into the indeterminate future. As difficult and disruptive as it would be to those families who rely on Ford for their tidy incomes, many of the workers at the plant would simply be able to take early retirement and end up with a better overall financial position. Meanwhile, younger workers would be better off facing a future without Ford now, rather than waiting until they are older and potentially less able to adapt to new circumstances. Meanwhile, it's a matter of location, location, location for potential new developments at the site; a mixed use development with offices and new (read: expensive) homes could generate significantly more tax dollars for the city and surrounding area. And St. Paul will need the additional revenue once the bars close down because of the smoking ban.


Execu-bot said...

To fix the loss of revenue from the smoking ban: Why look for a solution elsewhere? Why not just overturn the ban?

Mark said...

Why not just overturn the ban?

Sounds good to me. It will take a while, but St. Paul is about to learn what Hennepin County has been learning - lotsa places allow smoking in Columbia Heights and lots of drinkers are smokers. And the smoker money is going somewhere....