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EDITORIAL: There's still value in an old-fashioned boot and a bus ticket

Home construction at 1018-1024 John Ave. signals a new beginning for parcels formerly rented by troublemaking dopers who made life miserable for their neighbors.

Home construction at 1018-1024 John Ave. signals a new beginning for parcels formerly rented by troublemaking dopers who made life miserable for their neighbors.

It was a goal of Mayor Dave Ross to rid Superior of such perpetual lawbreakers, and in this case, he has succeeded, but not without some criticism. There remain some who argue there must be a supply of inexpensive housing for those who can't afford better. That's true, but programs exist to provide such housing. Nobody should have to rely on slumlords who turn a blind eye to housing codes and nefarious tenant activities.

This construction also represents a new beginning for the city -- a fresh attitude that will "just say no" to stoned slackers who ignore the rules of civility and law.

Once that kind of resident establishes a local foothold, it can take years to send them packing, as was revealed in the Wednesday indictments of 29 Twin Ports-area drug dealers. A multi-jurisdictional investigation took three years to complete. During that period, it's estimated the drug ring distributed up to 132 pounds of cocaine and crack cocaine in Duluth-Superior area. Much of it moved through a business, Hot Gear Cold Grills & Beauty Supply, on Duluth's West First Street. For years, that area of downtown Duluth has been a hangout for homeless kids, jobless alcoholics and, as we now learn, drug users, who have greatly tarnished its business reputation.

As usual, one of the ring leaders has multiple criminal court files -- 25 to be exact -- already in his resume. Obviously, society gained nothing through its leniency and hopes for rehabilitation.

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And the same can be said for owners of problem properties. Far too many of them hope to make a quick buck while ignoring their responsibilities to tenants and neighbors. The result is predictable. Because their product has little to offer, they make little money, fall behind on their taxes and accept virtually anyone as a tenant. It's a recipe for trouble that no city should ignore. Superior is justified in facilitating their demise.

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