Why was new Little Canada clinic hidden in the closet?

| April 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

One of my wife’s favorite stories about growing up as one of the big sisters in her family has to do with the innocence of her younger sisters — and their guilt.

She was the baby sitter one day when the littler ones seemed awfully quiet. And, as any good baby sitter and any parent knows, that can mean mischief is under way.

As she called out to the girls, a muffled voice replied, “We don’t have water in the closet.”

Every time she tells the story we laugh at the naiveté of those little girls in the closet, but it’s an anecdote that opens another door, one that illuminates two things:

The first is that we know pretty early on in life when we are doing something we aren’t suppose to, that is, we’re guilty.

The second is that we hope we can get away with it.

The water-in-the-closet anecdote came to mind with an incident in the Twin Cities suburb of Little Canada that Johanna Holub recently reported in the Lillie Review.

A patch of land was primed for development along Rice Street and Highway 36 last summer, and the corporate real estate firm The Davis Group purchased it with the intent to build a clinic on the site. The city administrator told the five-member Little Canada city council that he was told the development would be a “general practice” clinic, and that The Davis Group had a tenant “lined up,” but that tenant was yet to be named.

Who wouldn’t OK a clinic?

With those facts in mind, the city council approved the sale of the land July 9, 2014.

The following month, The Davis Group got approval to build after the city’s architectural review OK’d the plan for the new clinic, and construction is under way.

That would be the end of the story if — if — the clinic was the kind of clinic that the Little Canada city council had in mind when it approved the sale of the land.

You see, the clinic that’s going to occupy that new building on the patch of land on Rice Street in Little Canada is a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Oh.

Kept in the dark

An incoming city council member said knowledge about the clinic’s tenant first came from an unusual call in mid-January from a Planned Parenthood executive who seemed to be gauging the temperature of the city for having one of its clinics in that suburban community.

The fact that the new building would be a Planned Parenthood clinic — not a general practice clinic as anticipated — became public knowledge recently when the mayor wrote his State of the City report in a newsletter sent to all Little Canada residents.

The mayor told Holub that a Planned Parenthood clinic wasn’t the ideal clinic the city council would have liked to see on the site, and he said there likely would have been “more of a discussion” back in July when The Davis Group was seeking approval of the purchase of the land.

The facts are, though, that the Planned Parenthood clinic complies with the site’s zoning, and a municipality wouldn’t be able to discriminate against specific businesses or organizations as long as the use of the building followed the zoning code.

But. Isn’t it interesting that the developer chose to keep the folks in Little Canada in the dark about the tenant it had lined up when it first went to city hall for the approval of its land purchase and building plan?

Isn’t it interesting that Planned Parenthood wanted to test the climate in the community about its clinic?

It’s obvious why The Davis Group was less than forthcoming in working with Little Canada.

Planned Parenthood can keep spinning its benefits to women’s health, as they would call it, but everyone knows Planned Parenthood means birth control and abortion.

And even pre-schoolers know that if you’re doing something wrong, you’d better hide in the closet.

Zyskowski, former editor and associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit, can be reached at zyskowskir@archspm.org.

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