LWV Debates

By Andrew Richter

Just so everyone can see it; here are the League of Women Voters Debates from Crystal and New Hope

Crystal Debate

New Hope Debate

Please watch them and stay informed.

October 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Making Sense Of It All

by Jason Bradley

Let’s face it. I’m no Carnac. I can’t bend spoons with my mind like Gellar. I can’t pick your card out of a deck. I think, however, I’ve got a pretty good handle on this year’s city council race in Crystal. Why? Because it’s weird, and I know weird. We are looking at races where all three incumbents lost their primaries. Now, they are all trying to downplay this fact, and saying that the primaries are not important. I beg to differ. This is the only city in the state, that I’m aware of, where all of the incumbents barely escaped their primaries. We’re not talking about a close election here. They failed to even get a third of the votes.

The incumbents wanted to get out the message that the primaries were a three-way race. Generally speaking, you try to get at least a third of the votes in this situation. Here, however, in Ward One, the third place finisher had six votes. In Ward Two, he had forty votes. It played little to no effect on the election. In Section Two, John was eight votes away from elimination, as he and his third-place opponent split just over fifty percent of the vote.

What does this mean going into the general election? Let’s look at 2012. Former mayor, ReNae Bowman, barely won her primary… but she won. Here’s what happened in the end. Both of the challengers carried voters that were fed up with the status quo. Those votes went the way of Jim Adams, and it was enough to flip the race.

I’m not sure that happens here for the second place finisher. Olga Parsons is, and Karen Lincoln was, running a campaign whose major issue was the unresponsiveness and lack of transparency of the incumbents running for election. I don’t believe that John will get Karen’s base’s vote. He is the object of her supporters’ biggest gripe. If anything, Olga picks those voters up in a hope to fix the City’s transparency problems. Remember, John came in third in vote totals in his own precinct.

So with all of the problems these incumbents have (i.e. the shellacking in the primary, lack of transparency, lack of respect for citizens, condescending attitude, and wasting your money), I believe they are in real trouble. Remember, as well, that the challengers have been out-door knocking and out-lit dropping the incumbents, while the current councilmen have relied on party and special interest endorsements. In 2010, former mayor ReNae Bowman endorsed Joe, Mark, and John. She hasn’t had much luck, as of recent. I point to the losses of Tim Hoppe, Dave Anderson, and herself as evidence. Things may tighten up some, but I don’t see how the three incumbents win. The tide seems to have turned in Crystal.

That doesn’t mean that everything is fixed. It just means we have a new group to learn about and keep accountable. I’ll take that any day, however, over getting someone I know I won’t be happy with. What will happen? We’ll see. Good luck to everybody involved.

October 27, 2014 at 7:54 pm Leave a comment

Former Mayor Bowman Accuses Jeff Kolb of Stealing Signs, Calls Him “Dirty”

By Andrew Richter

So it is said that a picture is worth 1000 words

Wow! All this from the former mayor who complains about “name calling” and “dividing the Community” so on and so on. Isn’t she a jewel? I’m sure she’ll read this (everyone reads this blog) and shake her head, make faces, and probably consider this my fault. By the way, there is no evidence Mr. Kolb has stolen anything. Oh well……

October 25, 2014 at 6:32 am 1 comment

What to Look for Tonight

By Andrew Richter

Well tonight is the big debate here for the three city council seats that are up in Crystal where the three incumbents John Budziszewski, Mark Hoffman, and Joe Selton are facing stiff challenges from Olga Parsons, Elizabeth Dahl, and Jeff Kolb. The debate will take place tonight at Crystal City Hall. So I thought I take a few moments to tell our audience what to look for tonight.

*The incumbents will attack

The incumbent candidates all embarrassingly lost their primaries. They combined to win 29% of the vote in the primary which was perhaps the worst showing in the state and in the campaign overall, they’ve been out yard signed, out door knocked, and outworked. It doesn’t mean the November election is over, but it does mean that they’ve been working from behind. So look for them to come out swinging. This, of course, could backfire like I think it did against Johnny B in the first debate where his performance really hurt, but I don’t think these three can help themselves. The challengers will have to maintain their composure.

*Look for planted questions

The incumbents and their friends will try hard to stack the deck with their dumb questions to make the incumbents look good. Look for questions about solar panels, the 281 referendum, and what committees people have served on so the three council members can get softballs.

*Look for the DFL Endorsement to be Mentioned

It’s funny how Community Solutions is often accused of “dividing the community” be certain former mayors yet it’s this group of councilman that have tried to turn this election into partisan warfare. I think, though, the incumbents think that “being DFL endorsed” is the key to winning so look for them to say that over and over and over and try to portray their opponents as radical conservative/libertarian in a desperate attempt to score partisan points with scare tactics.

That’s what to look for…..I’ll have a recap as soon as I can!

October 23, 2014 at 5:16 am Leave a comment

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

By Andrew Richter

Well is really a shock, after all light rail is for us “little people.”

Most members of the Metropolitan Council rarely use the public transportation system they are in charge of overseeing, based on transit pass usage and a Star Tribune survey of the 17-member body. Met Council members receive a free transit pass as part of their appointments to the board. Information obtained through an open records request shows that 10 of those passes were never used in the past year. Five council members swiped their cards between 10 and 21 times, while just two registered more than 70 rides.

They get “free rides” do they? It’s not free……it’s paid for by taxpayers.

By comparison, a full year of two-way weekday commutes would rack up closer to 500 rides. “We should ask whether members of the council have sufficient expertise about transit … to be managing a transit system. Do they understand the problems at a deep level?” said University of Minnesota professor David Levinson, who researches transportation systems and has written about the need for transit decisionmakers to commute on their own product.

The information is not entirely complete, since members occasionally flash their pass to a bus driver, board light rail without swiping or pay another way. The data provided by the Met Council showed pass usage, but did not connect a pass to a specific user. One newer member who commutes by bus frequently was not aware members were entitled to the pass. But interviews and e-mails with each member show that few incorporate public transit into their daily lives — if they use it at all.

Some Met Council members said they try to take a bus or light rail once or twice a month, while others reported very limited usage. Those who are not retired or working from home said they drive because their jobs require them to make frequent midday trips. Several also cited lower frequency service in their suburban locales as a major hurdle.

“I know that my colleagues, even those who may not be using transit themselves, are listening to and being responsive to constituents who are frustrated that there could be more and better transit service,” Council Member Jennifer Munt said.

Senior staff at Metro Transit, who participate in a friendly transit usage competition, fared significantly better. The 33 staffers in the challenge have averaged 127 rides since January, with general manager Brian Lamb racking up 617 rides on the bus or light rail.

The Met Council is perhaps the most powerful unelected body in the state, and also the most scrutinized. Appointed by the governor, its part-time members oversee Metro Transit — a division of the Met Council — in addition to regional transportation planning, waste water and regional parks. They represent districts scattered across the metro area, stretching from Chaska to Mahtomedi and Ham Lake to Lakeville.

Met Council board members are not the only ones facing scrutiny for their ridership. Similar questions about how often transit board members use their own systems have arisen recently in other cities, including Chicago, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C. A man’s challenge in September to have Utah Transit Authority board members depend on transit for one week was largely ignored, but generated local headlines. Twenty years ago, San Francisco voters even passed a ballot measure urging their public officials to ride more.

Typical of Limousine liberals……it’s like sending sending your kids to private school because you have money and power and then preventing others from doing the same.


October 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

Mark Hoffman’s Desperate Campaign Literature

By Andrew Richter

My friends I’ve been around the block politically. I’ve seen good and bad candidates, I’ve seen good and bad yards signs, I’ve seen good and bad lit pieces. Crystal Ward 1 Councilman Mark Hoffman’s smear job on Elizabeth Dahl is hands down the worst.

Quite frankly, this is sad to see. Like I’ve said before, I’ve had a grudging respect for Hoffman over his time on the council and when he ran for mayor in 2004 I voted for him. Despite his slander against me last summer, I still don’t have feelings of hatred for him despite what is said about me. But things change. Mr. Hoffman’s power is on the line and he is desperate to keep it. That’s what happens to people. The same thing has happened to John Budziszewski. 

When this happens, someone’s real personality comes out and with Hoffman we are seeing the true him. We’re also are seeing the state of this race. Mr. Hoffman is obviously worried he’s going to lose. 

If you got this lit piece, you’ll need your reading glasses. The print is so small and the piece is so wordy that you’ll need either reading glasses or a microscope. Hoffman may want to fire his campaign manager if he has one. The piece starts off innocently going blah, blah, blah about how Crystal is a nice safe place to raise a family and that he’s fiscally responsible and conduct himself in an open manner. That’s funny enough but then comes a hilariousline;

Let’s keep Crystal a great community and not experiment with ultra-conservative thinking.

Mr. Hoffman this shows how little you know; you take credit for being fiscally responsible or you could word that fiscally conservative, then he rips on conservative thinking. The fact is that Hoffman is a tax and spend career politician. He votes for every spending thing in front of his face. Fiscal responsibility means that you have to say the word NO to something. I don’t know what is “ultra-conservative” about wanting lower taxes, a smaller city code, and a more responsive representative. To Mark Hoffman that is a radical concept that has no place on our city council. I guess people who disagree with you should just shut up and move out, they clearly aren’t welcome in Crystal.

He then shows a picture of him standing by solar panels that you can barely see with the following paragraph;

The solar panels installed value is $997,946.00

Huh? Installed value? You mean they COST $997,946.00! Why the word games? 

Through the use of energy credit and grants, Crystal total cash outlay was $66,000.00.

Now this isn’t really about solar panels, it’s about attitude and spin. Tax credits and grants are your tax dollars under a different name. Tax credits are subsidies from taxpayers and grant money is tax dollars from another form of government. Of course, Mr. Hoffman thinks this is “free money” and has no respect for this as YOUR MONEY. YOU ALL paid every sent for this project. And how about bonding for the public works building which is going to cost much more than paying cash? Is that “fiscally responsible?” How much money in interest will that cost taxpayers Mr. fiscally responsible?

Then comes the ReNae Bowman like cheap shots;

My opponent called this frivolous spending.

Really? Where and when did that happen? I’d like some documentation of this. This has been called a “feel good” project by Council Candidate Jeff Kolb and who was he quoting? That would be YOU sir! Just so people know, this statement is a complete and total lie.

It is only frivolous if you have never worked on a city budget, or worse yet, never attended any of the Annual Budget Work Sessions, to which she was invited. 

God, do all of you just lock step say the same thing? First, ReNae, then Johnny B, then Hoffman. Is this all you can come up with? So Elizabeth Dahl isn’t at your boring meeting where you, Joe Selton, and Johnny B don’t have one idea between the three of you. Is it possible she is door knocking and listening to the meetings when she gets home? Is that allowed?

My opponents Libertarian philosophy is not to spend on community benefits or expand anything at the governmental or environmental levels.

Do I even have to comment here? Again, this shows are how little you know. I’m not a libertarian spokesman, but libertarians often argue for personal liberty and constitutional government. And what are your views on the limits of government again Mr. Hoffman? Oh yeah this;

“You know, the City, we can tax anytime we want to, and for any reason we want to. We can tax, and cover our butts.”


Mr. Hoffman also put on his piece “darn right I feel good.”

Oh yippy! Hey my wallet is lighter but who cares, you feel good and since you’re the most important person on earth, that’s all that matters!

Now, I know some of you are probably angry reading all this and that was my initial reaction as well. But, the more I think about it, the more this smells like desperation. The whole piece is a defensive diatribe that reeks of someone who thinks they are losing, Show me a candidate that was up 20 points who’d put out a lit piece like this?

Will this work? Who knows, I’ve given up predicting this stuff. Clearly, though, Hoffman is trying to win using labels and smears. That’s all he has for his 20 years on the council. 

I suggest you call Mr. Hoffman and tell him what you think of his tactics 763-536-0385

Emailing him is worthless since he never answers but you can try MrkHoffman@aol.com

Do I have to remind you to vote November 4????




October 20, 2014 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

You’re Here to Listen? Come on……

By Andrew Richter

OK I’ve watched all the candidate profiles for the three city council races in Crystal and I’m perplexed with what I heard from the three incumbents (you can go to the News 12  youtube channel to see them). All three of them go on and on about being responsive to citizens and listening to their concerns.

Now, I know during election time everyone cares, everyone listens, everyone is concerned but this is off the Richter Scale (not named after me). I can tell you first hand that I have emailed this city council steadily for the past 6 years and Mark Hoffman, Joe Selton, and John Budziszewski have never responded to my emails once! I know that these three don’t like me, that’s fine. I know they disagree with me on the issues, that’s fine also. But, perhaps in six years you could respond at least once?? Is that too much to ask? John Budziszewski is one of my “representatives” on top of that.

When my colleague Jason Bradley emailed the city about speeding on his street last summer, Mayor Jim Adams, Council Person Julie Deshler, and City Manager Anne Norris all responded to him and guess who didn’t; oh that’s right old Johnny B! All the while this guy takes credit for “traffic calming measures!” I guess he only cares about traffic if you vote for him!

I’ll say this too; even former Mayor ReNae Bowman despite her dislike of me, always responded to my emails even if the exchange was less than friendly. I can handle that though, what I can’t handle is the untruths about responsiveness.

By the way, I had a great time at the Light of Crystal event a few days ago. Thank you to Shawn Smith for his dedication in putting it on. It was also great to see Mayor Adams and Councilperson Deshler there. Council candidates Jeff Kolb and Olga Parsons also stopped by. I had a great conversation with former candidate Karen Lincoln. Missing in action were Hoffman, Selton, and Budziezewski. I don’t know why, but you’d think coming and chatting with a group a residents would be a good thing to do three weeks before an election seeing as they want to “listen to us.” Whatever……



October 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm 1 comment

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