St. Paul mayor receives racist threats over trash collection vote

The mayor has been forced to increase security in the wake of the threats.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has been the subject of racist threats concerning the city's upcoming vote on organized trash collections.

In the past few weeks, Mayor Carter's office received two letters containing racist attacks, as well as a phone message that threatened the mayor's safety.

The first letter, received on Oct. 7, contained a newspaper clipping that had written on the back of it: "This is what we got for electing a [expletive] [racist slur] Melvin Carter. No vote ever again for this jerk."

The second, received four days later, also contained a clipping with writing saying: "This is what we get for voting a [racial slur]."

The phone message meanwhile contained a warning regarding the upcoming organized trash referendum, saying that in the event of a "yes" vote, the mayor would pay for it, and would need "bullet proof" glass on his home, according to St. Paul PD.

Another letter sent to Carter, the city's first African American mayor, in June contained the message: "This is B.S. you [expletive] [racist slur]."

Carter's office has said it's taking steps to ensure the mayor's safety in the wake of the threats. 

The trash collection vote

The move to organized trash collections wasn't even a Carter policy, having been started under previous mayor Chris Coleman.

Under the previous system, St. Paul residents would have to contract with a trash hauler personally, but the new system sees trash collection organized by the City of St. Paul, with residents designated their hauler based upon location.

The new system was launched in October 2018, with the city entering a five-year arrangement with a group of trash haulers to provide collections from city households.

But the move prompted backlash from a group of residents who sued the city, and obtained enough signatures to trigger a referendum that will be held in November.

Supporters of organized collection say it results in fewer trash trucks on city streets and reduces illegal dumping, but those against it say their costs have risen, and argue that the new system doesn't benefit those who produce less waste.

Check out this MinnPost piece for a more extensive explainer.

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