EDITORIAL BRIEFS COL Rochester still a great place

We shouldn't read a whole lot into Rochester's free fall through Money Magazine rankings, which this year put the city at No. 67.

Through the 1990s, Rochester was consistently ranked in the top five, after having been labeled by the respected financial magazine as the top city in America to live in 1993.

Since then, Money has changed the way it ranks and rates communities -- primarily, it seems, to get more communities into the rankings.

Could it possibly be that things in Rochester have worsened so much in the last decade that we're no longer one of the top 50 places in the country for people to settle down.



Rochester, after all, continues to thrive. Our economy is strong and continuing to diversify, our population is growing, the crime rate is low and the weather... Well, we'll never hit No. 1 in that category, no matter what they say about global warming.

This year, two Minnesota communities ranked ahead of Rochester -- Eden Prairie, at No. 10; and Blaine at 54. Both are nice places, but would you rather live in the traffic-choked Twin Cities suburbs or in Rochester. Depends on your priorities.


; Downtown reinvents itself

A masseuse in the Peace Plaza? What's next, mimes, jugglers and guys on stilts?

Actually, we're refreshed by the ever-increasing life and vitality we're seeing on the plaza, especially at midday. This summer, there have been musical acts performing in the plaza. Customers at Mac's restaurant are dining outdoors by the dozen, and others are eating boxed lunches on the steps of the plaza. There's even a hot dog vendor there now.

Overall, it's a pretty happenin' place.

Now, the city council has approved a temporary permit for a massage therapist to give seated chair massages on the plaza.


These are all signs that there is hope for Rochester's downtown as it seeks to reinvent itself as a primary destination for residents and visitors.


; Cover-up dooms candidacy

Matt Entenza is out. At literally the last minute the DFLer withdrew from the race for Minnesota attorney general. It was the right thing to do.

Entenza dropped out because he could no longer hold his balance in the political swirl surrounding reports that he hired a private investigative firm to dig up dirt on fellow DFLer Mike Hatch, but also because of his questionable explanations about the investigations.

So often, this is how it all comes down. A rising political star put low, not so much because of the deed, but because he could not come clean.

To mix Nixonian and Clintonian past political jargon: It's the cover-up, stupid.



; Let Israel retaliate

President Bush is right to give Israel room to hit back against Hezbollah attacks coming from Lebanon.

Reports and speculation suggest that the Bush administration will give Israel a few more days before it becomes engaged in talks to seek an end to the violence.

Such reserve is correct because while the shells and missiles are flying tit for tat, there is a clear instigator in this latest round of turmoil that has the world on edge.

Hezbollah, and not to be forgotten, Hamas, which has attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip, caused this latest blood shed with unprovoked actions against Israel.

Israel is also being accused of a disproportionate response. It is a false charge. Proportionality is what has contributed to this situation by allowing past murderous actions by Hezbollah and Hamas to go sufficiently unpunished.

It is becoming clear that the only language Hezbollah understands is swift and painful retaliation.

Bush is right to give Israel room to punish its attackers. As it does, Israel is acting for the world.

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