Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Hillsider asks Melanie Ford to talk about injustice; and her favorite spot in our coverage area

Melanie Ford Incumbent County Attorney
The Hillsider ask St. Louis county attorney candidate Melanie Ford three questions:
  1. What things in the County Attorney’s office would you like to see change, expanded or improved upon.
  2. What is the greatest injustice that needs correction?
  3. What is your favorite place in any of the three neighborhoods that we cover, i.e. Central Hillside, East Hillside or Lincoln Park.

County attorney office changes or improvements
1. First, I want to continue reforming our juvenile justice system, creating successful outcomes for our children and increasing the community safety. This means eliminating the disparate impact of detention on youths of color, creating home and community-based alternatives, and developing culturally appropriate programming.

I want to create a culture of zero tolerance for violence against women. I will continue to reform our domestic violence prosecution policies and strengthen our community response.

Third, I want to expand our specialty courts. Our drug and DWI courts are already in place and are succeeding. If we add mental health and juvenile dependency courts, we can keep even more offenders from reoffending and save the citizens of St. Louis County additional tax dollars.

Great injustice needing correction
2. Sadly, states’ average spending on incarceration is 2.8 times as much as K-12 education. Education is a key to crime prevention, and I believe we need to invest in keeping kids in school from the earliest age. This is why I will continue to collaborate with school districts to improve school attendance and create a “culture of graduation.” It is also why I will keep advocating at the state level to move money away from costly detention and towards child development programs.

Favorite spot
3. Hard to choose! I have a special place in my heart for Chester Creek, just above 4th Street, because that’s where my daughter’s high school graduation pictures were taken. I love Cascade Park, too. As a member of Duluth’s League of Women Voters, which adopted the park, I get to help keep the gardens beautiful for all to enjoy. I also have strong feelings for the Lincoln Park area, both its business environment and proximity to the park. It’s where my husband’s business and my re-election headquarters are located.