Cool Hennepin County!


By Andrew Richter

We’ve posted before on Hennepin County being a “cool county.” But what does that mean exactly? Well, if you are a regular reader of this blog (and I know you are) it will sound familiar to you…

Hennepin County is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 as part of the Cool County Initiative.

Interesting…..same goal as in Agenda 21 and ICLEI…..but of course it’s not a conspiracy. I have an idea for you idiots; how about you reduce government spending by 80% by 2050? Or maybe 1%??

The initiative will rely on reduced and cleaner energy consumption through energy efficiency and the generation of renewable energy. The effort will include green building design, more efficient vehicle fleet management and transportation practices and other targeted greenhouse gas emission reduction programs.

Where have I heard that before?? Oh right the Green Step Program! This was basically copied from them who probably in turn copied it from somewhere else. Green Building design? That of course came from the World Green Building Council with LEED standards.

Hennepin County is a founding member of a coalition of counties across the United States that are taking action to eliminate the causes of global climate change.

I thought it was global warming? Of course their “actions” aren’t about the environment; it’s about using the environment to grow the size of government.

Of course Hennepin County is there with all the propaganda to make sure we conform to the globalists;

Like windows in a greenhouse, carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere traps the sun’s heat and insulates the planet. Minnesota’s carbon dioxide emissions have increased 37 percent over the past 20 years, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

And of course they have no agenda…..

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are warming the planet. Carbon dioxide comes primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, such as exhaust from vehicles and coal burned to generate electricity. Changes in the climate pose significant environmental and economic threats to communities in Minnesota and throughout the world.

Aren’t you scared now?

Minnesota has warmed an average of one degree Fahrenheit during the past century. Parts of northern Minnesota have warmed five degrees Fahrenheit or more during the winter months. As the warming continues, northern cities like Hibbing may develop climates more similar to the current climate of Albert Lea or Des Moines, Iowa.

Oh My God!!! We’ve warmed one degree!!!!! I sure felt that this winter! Hibbing will have the same temperature as Albert Lea? Maybe people in Hibbing would like that. So it will be -10 in Hibbing instead of -15….big deal!

Precipitation has increased by 20 percent since 1990 in parts of Minnesota, especially southern Minnesota.

So precipitation has gone up and that’s bad….should we have a drought instead? Oh no wait, that’s would mean global warming too!

I don’t even want to go on…..you get the picture; scare people on the environment equals more government!

Hennepin Cool County Moron Site

 

April 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm 1 comment

Sign-up for Local Candidate Training


The page is now up to sign-up for our first ever Local Candidate Training. You can click on the tab above or the link below, and read all about it! We promise to make it worth your while. Thank you for your interest!

http://communitysolutionsmn.wordpress.com/local-candidate-training/

April 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Podcast of Sunday’s Radio Interview


Here is the link to the podcast of the interview Andrew and I did last Sunday on Brad Carlson’s radio show on 1280 am. Enjoy!

http://salem-wwtcam.media.streamtheworld.com/audio/narn_brad_102646171.mp3

April 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm 1 comment

Public Hearings Coming on the Bottinueau Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement


by Jason Bradley

Here is the Hennepin County press release for the public hearings on the Bottinueau Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Please make sure to attend at least one of these meetings. I know “public hearing”, in the past, has meant that the public gets to hear what Hennepin County is going to do despite your opinion. I have heard plenty of stories where folks have been marginalized, shut down, and even brought to another room to “address” concerns away from other interested ears. Yet, these meetings are important. If we don’t show our opposition, they can claim there was none, and look justified. If we don’t make them shut us down, we can’t tell the world about their behavior. We need to make a public display of their willingness to move forward, oblivious to how citizens feel. Just because they are in government, they do not have the right to do as they please to you. Most of these folks are employees, and are not responsible to us for their decisions. You know who is though? Mike Opat and the other Hennepin County Commissioners are responsible, and they can be voted out of office, if people were willing to show their outrage.

 

For release: April 3, 2014

Contact:

Kayla Bromelkamp, Public Affairs, 612-348-8536
Brent Rusco, Public Works, 612-543-0579

News release 

Bottineau Transitway Public Hearings in May 2014

The public is invited to a series of public hearings in May for the Bottineau Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS). An open house will be held in conjunction with each formal public hearing.

Federal and state environmental rules require an environmental impact statement (EIS) be prepared for the proposed Bottineau Transitway project. The process includes the preparation of a draft EIS which must be made available for public review and comment. The draft EIS discusses the purpose and need for the project, the alternatives considered and the impacts, and the agencies and persons consulted.

The Bottineau Transitway is a proposed project that will provide for transit improvements in the highly-traveled northwest suburbs of the Twin Cities. The Bottineau Corridor generally follows Bottineau Boulevard (County Road 81), extending approximately 13 miles from downtown Minneapolis through north Minneapolis to the northwest suburbs of Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park.

The public hearings will be hosted by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority.

=============

Meeting dates and locations

Wednesday, May 7
Golden Valley City Hall
7800 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55427
6 to 7 p.m. public open house
7 p.m. formal public hearing

Thursday, May 8
Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC)
2001 Plymouth Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55411
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. public open house
5:30 p.m. formal public hearing

Tuesday, May 13
Brooklyn Park City Hall
5200 85th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. public open house
5:30 p.m. formal public hearing

Wednesday, May 14
Crystal Community Center
4800 Douglas Drive
Crystal, MN 55429
5 to 6 p.m. public open house
6 p.m. formal public hearing

All meeting locations are accessible for persons with disabilities.

Comments on the draft EIS will be accepted from April 11 through May 29 and may be submitted the following ways:

  • By speaking in person at a public hearing
  • Filling out a comment form at a public hearing
  • Sending written comments by email to bottineau@co.hennepin.mn.us 
  • Sending written comments by mail using the address:

Hennepin County
Housing, Community Works & Transit
Attn: Bottineau Transitway
701 Fourth Ave. S., Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55415

=============

Documents available for review

The draft EIS document is available for online review at http://www.bottineautransitway.org. Copies of the draft document will also be available for public review at the following locations by April 11:

  • Hennepin County – 701 4th Avenue S., Suite 400, Minneapolis
  • Metropolitan Council – 390 Robert Street North, St. Paul
  • Maple Grove Library – 8001 Main Street, Maple Grove
  • Osseo Library – 415 Central Avenue, Osseo
  • Brooklyn Park Library – 8600 Zane Avenue North, Brooklyn Park
  • Brookdale Library - 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center
  • Rockford Road Library – 6401 42nd Avenue North, Crystal
  • Golden Valley Library – 830 Winnetka Avenue North, Golden Valley
  • North Regional Library - 1315 Lowry Avenue North, Minneapolis
  • Sumner Library - 611 Van White Memorial Boulevard, Minneapolis
  • Hennepin County Public Library – 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
  • Minneapolis City Hall – 350 South 5th Street, Room 203, Minneapolis
  • Golden Valley City Hall – 7800 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley
  • Robbinsdale City Hall – 4100 Lakeview Avenue North, Robbinsdale
  • Crystal City Hall – 4141 Douglas Drive North, Crystal
  • Brooklyn Park City Hall – 5200 85th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park
  • Maple Grove Government Center – 12800 Arbor Lakes Pkwy North, Maple Grove

Auxiliary aids, services and communication materials in accessible formats and languages other than English can be provided by contacting Brent Rusco at 612-543-0579 or via email at brent.rusco@hennepin.us. Please make requests no later than two weeks prior to the public hearing date.

                                                             – 30 –

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at www.hennepin.us/news.

April 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Community Solutions MN to Appear on 1280 am This Sunday!!!


Yes, it’s all true! Andrew and I (Jason) will be defending our tag-team titles on Brad Carlson’s radio show on 1280 am tomorrow (4/5/14) at 2 pm! We’ll be talking local politics, Met Council overreach, and why everyone needs to start caring about the battle at the local level. Maybe Andrew will even discuss his tips for starting petunias while snow is still on the ground (ha ha)! We’ll also be breaking the details of our upcoming Local Candidate Training, so you don’t want to miss those details.

 

Pass the word and tune in!!!

April 5, 2014 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Spending Our Money to Get More of our Money


By Andrew Richter

Here comes District 281 for our wallets!

It may be March, but Robbinsdale Area Schools District 281 is already gearing up for November.

The district is hoping voters will approve all or a combination of three potential property tax levies: a renewal of its existing operating levy, an increase of that operating levy made possible by recent legislative changes, and a technology levy that would support several nascent programs in the district.

Just what we need; more programs!

To that end, the school board heard the results of a poll conducted by the Morris Leatherman Co. that gauged residents’ willingness to approve each of the potential taxes, two of which would result in increased property taxes.

Just over three-quarters of district residents expressed support for renewing the existing operating levy, 58 percent supported increasing the operating levy by $2.7 million and 61 percent supported a $2.5 million technology levy, according to documents supplied at the board’s March 3 work session. 49 percent of likely voters polled expressed support for all three.

Um, how many people were in this “survey?” Where was my survey?

Obstacles

William Morris, President of Morris Leatherman, noted that there was a large swath of voters who might not feel particularly engaged with the district in one direction or the other. Around 18 percent of those polled were “unsure” about what they liked most about the district, for instance, and the survey identified 56 percent of respondents as “persuadable” with regard to a tax increase, rather than staunchly for or against one.

Morris explained that the large amount of noncommittal responses could be a problem because a decisive portion of the electorate could still be persuaded one way or the other. “We have found that, while nature may abhor a vacuum, opponents love them,” he said, adding that those “vacuums” can be filled with “juicy” bits of information that might change a referendum result.

Opponents love them? What is this idiot talking about?

Morris said that the phrase “laser toilets” still lingers in the Wayzata School District’s popular lexicon due to a recent technology levy there. A levy opponent coined the phrase to denigrate the district’s plan to install automatically-flushing toilets – which use a laser to determine when the user has moved away – and other high-tech features with levy money.

The burden is on the district to show WHY this levy is “needed” and where the money will go. If they fail at that, it isn’t the fault of levy opponents.

District 281 may have a similar problem: several years ago, it briefly employed taxis for student transportation. Several school board members at the work session mentioned that they still hear about the taxi use and Morris Leatherman’s polling encountered several respondents who mentioned it, too.

“The term ‘laser toilets’ has never been dropped from the folklore out there,” Morris said of Wayzata. “The taxis are something that’s ingrained in your folklore now.”

Folklore? If the taxis were there at taxpayer expense how is it then folklore? Isn’t it fact?

Strategies

An effective argument for the technology levy, Morris said, would be to emphasize that the programs it funds could enable district teachers to teach more effectively.

By doing what??

The survey showed that District 281 teachers are held in high regard amongst residents: 82 percent of survey respondents gave teachers and other instructional staff a “favorable” rating, compared to eight percent “unfavorable.” “The tie-in to the teachers is key,” Morris said. Encouraging teachers to promote the technology levy, he later added, would be an effective way of drawing public support.

Let me translate that; get union support! Of course the Board is supposed to represent the people not the unions but 281 often blurs that line.

Evoking envy of neighboring districts, many of which already have technology levies in place, was another strategy Morris outlined in his presentation to the board. The Wayzata, Osseo, Hopkins, and Fridley school districts all have similar technology levies, according to documents supplied by District Executive Director of Technology Dennis Beekman.

Typical local government; copy each other! Monkey see, monkey do!

Of those four, Hopkins has the highest levy of 7.69 million dollars per year and Fridley has the smallest at $651,000. Survey respondents were gauged on their support of a hypothetical 2.5 million dollar technology levy for Robbinsdale Area Schools. Of the 14 school districts in Hennepin County, only four lack a technology levy, including District 281.

State-wide, 34 of 332 districts have a technology levy in place. The majority of those districts are located in or near the metro area. Around 41 percent of survey respondents, regardless of whether they ultimately support the technology levy itself, said they were “much more likely” to support the levy when surveyors presented them with the argument that it would offer technology initiatives similar to neighboring districts.

“It’s not as effective an argument as it once was, but it’s still there,” Morris said.

Next steps

The district will now have to decide how much money it wants to ask for from its residents. The operating levy renewal would mean business as usual for residents’ property taxes, while the increased operating levy and new technology levy would result in tax increases.

Morris Leatherman’s survey indicates that 18 percent of respondents would approve an increase of six dollars per month in property taxes due to a higher operating levy and 17 percent would approve an increase of four dollars per month from a technology levy.

So how about the other 65%?

“You want to make the decision early enough,” Morris said.

The board will discuss the survey results and weigh the pros and cons of different levy amounts at its next work session, said Supt. Aldo Sicoli. The next work session is April 8.

A second “brush fire” survey will be conducted four to six weeks prior to election day. A brush fire survey is a more targeted version of the general survey in March and would gauge specific ways the district could sell the referendum to blocs of voters.

The initial March survey will cost $14,000-16,000, depending on the number of questions asked, and the brush fire survey will cost $7,000.

So $23,000 of our money will be spent to get more of our money!

Voting on the potential referendum would take place Nov. 4.

Article

 

April 1, 2014 at 10:50 pm Leave a comment

To Save or Not To Save


By Andrew Richter

From the Sun Post;

New Hope is celebrating a savings of $96,381 after just one year of energy upgrades as part of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement with McKinstry, a full-service design, build, operate and maintain firm.

So then why don’t you reduce city spending by $96,381?

In September 2011, New Hope entered into the energy savings agreement, the start of a $4.4 million project to decrease the city’s energy consumption. As part of the project, the city was issued a Technical Service Agreement guaranteeing the city would save the “total guaranteed savings” at the least in utility, operation and maintenance.

Now am I reading this right? New Hope has “saved” $96,381 but they plan to spend $4.4 million?

The company estimated the annual guaranteed savings to be $71,144 for utility costs and $122,227 for operation and maintenance, figures that are conservative according to Trish Curtis of McKinstry. “We’re conservative when we estimate,” she said. “So, it’s not uncommon to see (the savings) a little bit above (our estimate) but we’re always delighted when they’re several thousand dollars above.”

Government is always conservative in estimates so then they can call something a success.

Upgrades

McKinstry worked to install new interior light fixtures in several city-owned facilities such as City Hall, the police department, Milton Honsey Pool, Public Works, the golf course and ice arena. Not only did the upgrades improve the quality of light, they reduced the electric utility consumption within each facility by 48 percent, or $12,418 annually.

And what was the cost of these fixtures? I’m guessing they aren’t free….

Many of the facilities within the city are older buildings, which means cracks and crevices that allow for air to escape and impacting heating and cooling bills. McKinstry worked to seal exterior wall and roof crevices, seal door sweeps and add weather stripping and caulk around windows. These efforts saved the city $12,924 in the first year.

OK but how much did the seal wall and door sweeps cost?

In addition to replacing interior lighting, the exterior lighting was targeted. The existing light fixtures were replaced with LED technology, which emits brighter, whiter light, consume less energy and have a longer life. This effort raked in $5,355 of savings within the first year.

McKinstry even went so far as to adjust the vending machine controls in city buildings. The machines will now lower the frequency of compressor run-time when buildings have fewer occupants. The small gesture will save the city $703 annually.

Water consumption is an issue in public facilities that see significant traffic throughout the day. Upgraded plumbing fixtures utilize less water while maintaining adequate flow. The efforts to control water usage saved $4,778 in the first year.

OK I ask again what was the cost of the plumbing fixture? Is New Hope paying $25,000 to save $4,4478?

McKinstry also replaced the roof of the north rink at the New Hope Ice Arena, adding increased insulation, therefore saving energy and money. The roof saves the city $661 annually.

I’m guessing replacing the roof costs more than $661? Ya think?

The ice arena received one more upgrade: a new refrigeration system that will provide adequate cooling to the individual rinks and utilize the heat generated by the compressors for general heating purposes. This effort will save the city $58,806 per year.

The final effort to conserve energy and save money came with the replacement of a number of traffic lights. New LED lights were implemented at the intersections of 49th Avenue North and Highway 169 as well as 36th Avenue North and Jordan Avenue North. That step saves the city $708 each year.

Only one year after implementing the upgrades, the city has seen a savings of $96,381 in utility costs, which is $25,237 more than the guaranteed savings predicted by McKinstry. It is also expected that the city saved a minimum of $122,227 this year in maintenance and operation costs thanks to the upgrades.

The improvements equated to a total savings of 21,358 Therms, 949,800 killowatts per hour and 4,448 gallons of water or a combined 25 percent reduction in total energy usage for the affected buildings.

“It was a huge success,” Curtis said.

Moving forward

After the successes were reported, several council members and city staff saw no need in continuing the services through McKinstry. The agreement cost New Hope the nearly $7,500 annually for McKinstry’s services.

New Hope spends that much money every hour!

“I think it’s a great idea to end the service agreement assuming we don’t think this savings is a fluke,” said Councilmember John Elder.Curtis assured the council that other cities have both ended their agreements after one year or have chosen to continue for another, either way each city is continuing to see savings.

Councilmember Daniel Stauner was reluctant to end the agreement since he was not entirely convinced just one year could adequately portray the types of savings the city would see for years to come. Ultimately, the City Council agreed to end the agreement.

“I’m really impressed with the energy savings,” said Mayor Kathi Hemken. “I guess I’m ok with letting this (agreement) go. It seems we could use the $7,500 for something else.”

Something else? Well, we know one thing, New Hope will spend it, they’d do anything but give it back to the taxpayers.

Anyhow, I’m curious what is the cost of all these upgrades? How do we know how much we are saving when we don’t what this costs to do?

Of course all the Greenies don’t care what anything costs, nature come ahead of man in their world, but this is at taxpayer expense. That information should be provided…….we used to call that journalism.

Article

 

April 1, 2014 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

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