By Andrew Richter
Well since we now have a citizen representing Crystal on the West Metro Fire Board (yippy!) it’s now time for New Hope to stop stacking the deck against the people they represent by doing the same.
City Manager Kirk McDonald (fresh off his 3rd straight 5% raise) and councilman and local DFLer Dan Stauner are already on the Board so there is no reason they can’t have a citizen fill the “citizen representative” role.
Come on New Hope, take a break from raising taxes, forcing high density housing, and jacking up utility costs to give US citizens a voice on OUR fire board!
By Andrew Richter
Well the alleged conservative Robbinsdale school board member Mark Bomchill is beginning to show his real colors. Not that I thought he was ever conservative to begin with, but with the Robbinsdale school district planning a large referendum this November and his re-election on the line, he is making sure to line up his DFL support.
Here is his facebook cover page photo:
Now what conservative would have a picture of himself hugging Hillary Clinton on his facebook page?
Mr. Bomchill is also a member of the SD45 DFL facebook page
Here are some of his facebook likes;
Keith Ellison, Ann Rest, Mike Freiberg, I AM the NEA, Mike Freiberg for State Representative, and the best of all Renae Bowman for Crystal Mayor! Any conservatives there Mr. Conservative school board member?
Here’s another hilarious Bomchill facebook post;
Law makers are arguing right now if we cut military budget we compromise national security. Oddly enough, these are the same people who advocate cutting public education, and then blame the teachers and union for all problems.
Cutting education my ass. Oh no, some people actually want results for their money or accountability but of course, that would run counter to teacher’s union for which Bomchill is their patsy. Just give the unions whatever they want right? This shows Mr. Bomchill has no business on our school board. It is NOT your job to represent the unions, they have representation. It is your job to represent the TAXPAYERS! If the Board and union are all using one brain, who represents the people????
Even funnier ReNae Bowman commented on the post;
As has been said before, I wish Washington would fully fund education and utilize bake sales and other fundraisers to fund war.
Washington “fully fund education.” Really? yeah let’s send our money to Washington and then have them send it back to us with strings attached. Wow, what a new idea!
So when Mr. Bomchill runs for re-election this year claiming he’s conservative show him this post!
By Andrew Richter
When you listen to the brainless idiots at the Met council and Hennepin County you’d think everyone is demanding more transit but here is a story that contradicts that;
The Five Cities Executive Committee met Feb. 26 and unanimously voted to discontinue the Five Cities Transportation program. Faced with diminishing demand for the service and increased costs, the committee – comprised of the New Hope, Crystal, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, and Brooklyn Center city managers – voted unanimously to end the program, which helped seniors citizens in those cities get to grocery stores, doctor’s offices and more.
Declining demand and increasing costs? Sounds like Northstar and Hiawatha.
The decision came after the PRISM social service agency, which supplied buses to Five Cities, cancelled its own similar transportation program in mid-October 2013. PRISM’s decision put Five Cities in the position of being a transportation program without any means of transport for its clients.
At a Dec. 12 meeting, the committee weighed its options and generally agreed that the program was heavily subsidized and was serving a diminishing number of riders each year.
All transit is heavily subsidized!
Each city contributed roughly $14,000 annually to Five Cities. Most of the money went towards subsidizing round-trip bus rides, which typically cost riders only a few dollars each. Because ridership had been steadily declining, thus providing less fare money to make up the difference, the amount subsidized per ride had steadily increased.
In 2011, Robbinsdale Recreation Programs Manager Pam Schmitz said, the organization subsidized between $6.80 and $7.06 per ride. In 2012, the number rose to between $7.37 and $7.62 in subsidy per ride.
$8 in subsidies!!!!
Five Cities served 413 riders in 2011 and 474 riders in 2012, according to documents supplied at the Feb. 26 meeting. The organization served 793 riders in 1995, and with the exception of a peak in 2001 when 747 seniors used the service, ridership had steadily been declining since that year.
At the Feb. 26 meeting, Robbinsdale City Manager Marcia Glick mentioned that the program, which started in 1986, was conceived of in a time when many seniors were less mobile. Senior women, she said as an example, often relied on their husbands to drive them. “That need is not the same need as there is today,” she said.
All five city managers mentioned that they had received little feedback since announcing the program’s possible cancellation in December. “I’ve heard nothing,” said Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey. “One email,” said Golden Valley City Manager Tom Burt. “Either the demand is no longer there or they’re finding other alternatives,” Boganey said, referring to seniors.
Then let’s get rid of MORE transit! No Bottineau!!!!!
“I don’t mean to sound heartless,” prefaced Crystal City Manager Anne Norris, before saying that she sympathized with former riders, but didn’t think the program could continue at its current heavily subsidized rate.
At both the Dec. 12 and Feb. 26 meetings, committee members were in general agreement that seniors also used the program as a social outlet. While no plans have been finalized, the idea of using city money previously dedicated to the transportation program for senior social programs was floated. “Folks can find ways to the gas station. It’s that social side,” Burt said.
Oh yippy! More money for the cities to spend!
In a Feb. 27 phone interview, he said that the money Golden Valley will get back after the dissolution of the program will go into new senior programming, details for which are in development. Those new programs will, hopefully, be implemented as soon as the fall of 2014, but may have to wait until 2015, Burt said.
A letter is being drafted to Five Cities’ riders notifying them of the discontinuance. In 1985, the cities of Brooklyn Center, Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope, and Robbinsdale entered into a Joint Powers Agreement to sponsor a program offering transportation to their adult population age 60 and older and persons with disabilities. That agreement will be formally dissolved at future council meetings of each of the cities entered in it.
And the failures of transit continue……
By Andrew Richter
The group Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) was at it again at the Crystal City Council meeting last week, embarrassing themselves by shouting and screaming at the council and causing the meeting to be shut down. If you ask me the group was intentionally trying to cause a scene in the hopes of getting arrested and becoming martyrs. Kudos to Mayor Jim Adams for not falling for it.
I don’t want to give this group the satisfaction of more attention by recapping the meeting. I may do that later. But one thing that has bothered me about this group is their relationship with Crystal councilperson Laura Libby.
Now, first let me say this; everyone comes to political office with their set of beliefs. But, once you are elected your obligation to represent citizens that elected you outweigh your personal pet projects. you’re no longer an advocate, you are a city official. Laura Libby’s relationship with the group CUAPB seems to blur that line.
This group has called the city council members vile names, accused them of covering up the truth, trashed the police chief and the city manager, is suing the city, and suing a council member, yet Ms. Libby doesn’t hesitate to get in bed with them.
Her website actively promotes this group and the police officers involved; Alan Watt And Rob Erkenbrack;
She promoted their website, encouraged people to attend a rally for the officers, and even linked to two news stories about the case from channel 5 and the Star Tribune.
Also on her website Libby writes about an August 5 work session that “The Crystal City Council will be discussing these officers leave tonight at a closed work session immediately following the Crystal City Council meeting. I am hoping for some answers and information from the city, which we have not really received.”
Hmmmm….sounds harmless until you go to the facebook page of this group where I found this picture;
Does this look like a council member who is seeking the “truth?” Or does this look like an advocate for a cause? How can Ms. Libby be objective in an investigation regarding these two officers, yet at the same time be their advocate?
Of course CUAPB lauds Libby for her stance, but let me propose a question; what of there was a “rally” in support of the police chief or the city manager and Mayor Adams or another council member attended? What would this group be saying about that? They’d be calling them names and claiming that they can’t be objective. But it’s OK if Libby does it for CUAPB.
The group’s facebook page contains several posts blasting the city, its officials, and police department.
Here is a photo Ms. Libby ‘liked” of the two officers (one with a “just bring it” shirt) and CUAPB outside agitator Michelle Gross.
Rob Erkenbrack’s wife has made several posts calling for “good to triumph over evil” in which Libby has also “liked.”
Mrs. Erkenbrack also made a post where she was “tired of holding her tongue” (even though when one reads her posts I don’t know where she held her tongue) and claimed that Police Chief Stephanie Revering and City Manager Anne Norris of “playing games with two officers lives.”
Libby liked that post as well.
When the city council called a recess at the February 18 meeting, Libby refused to leave with the council. Instead she sat in the council chambers while the CUAPB members (where very few live in Crystal) sat there and told her how great she was. Libby wasn’t apologetic for staying. Later on the group’s facebook page Libby said the following;
“The council should not have walked out. I do not think that is right on so many levels.”
“I do believe that remaining in the council chambers when they all walked out exerted some power and a message that I do not think that walking out on citizens while they are speaking is the right thing for elected officials to do.”
Now does Laura Libby have the right to sit in the council chambers? Answer yes I suppose. Does she have the right to sympathize with these two officers? Answer yes. Is Laura Libby a corrupt person? Answer no. Is she a bad or dishonest person? Answer no. I am not attacking Libby’s character, I’m questioning her actions. I think she is an honest advocate for the causes she believes in but she’s a council member now, not a private citizen.
I do believe however, that she doesn’t seem to understand the difference between advocating for a cause and representing people as an elected official. This group has all but declared war on the city of Crystal and we have a council member that has joined with them.
I’m sure I’ll get attacked for this post but so be it. My challenge to Laura Libby is to explain her actions and tell citizens of Crystal how she can be objective in this.
Just one man’s opinion folks…..let the comments beating begin.
By Andrew Richter
After reading the article about the proposed development of the former Kmart site, I can’t help but feel that this is a lost opportunity for the City of New Hope to redefine itself as something other than just another generic suburb. As people are rethinking and reanalyzing the requirements of what they are looking for in the places they live, urban-style neighborhoods are experiencing a renaissance.
These urban-style neighborhoods provide benefits such as being pedestrian and bicycle friendly, having easy access to public transportation and providing an abundance of local retail and restaurants. None of these benefits are located anywhere in the current proposal.
I’m sorry what stops someone from riding their bike or walking? We live in Minnesota!! You can’t walk or bike everywhere all the time!
In the Twin Cities and across the country, walkable neighborhoods are where people are moving to raise their kids and grow deeper community bonds that they find are hard to develop in the suburbs. This isn’t a trend, this is the future of where cities are going.
Ah, no it isn’t. People are moving further AWAY from public transit, out of the city and first and second ring suburbs.
The plan the city council voted for is another generic, vehicle-dependent, cookie-cutter, suburban development. Instead of pushing the City of New Hope forward, the council is dragging us down by focusing on an outdated model of what makes a place great to live.
Wait a minute, cars are out-dated and walking isn’t?
A grocery store and the 500-650 estimated jobs it brings won’t matter if people don’t want to live here.
Why can’t they drive to the grocery store from where they live?
It is hard to understand why the council is locked in on a single large retail tenant when that is the gaping hole that they are looking to fill.
They have already bet on the suburban model with their selection of a bland housing development at the former Winnetka Learning Center site. Now they are doubling down with their selection of the Anderson Companies’ proposed plan for the former Kmart site.
Instead the council should focus on planting the seeds of change for the future of New Hope, growing smartly and organically with an eye towards more mixed-use zoning and development.
Smart Growth??? NOOOOOOO!!!!!
As people we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes while changing and adapting for the future. My hope is that city leadership will realize their error and take time to think about what they really want New Hope to be when it grows up. Maybe in time the city will even live up to its name.
Sounds like this guy has read Agenda 21!
For once I’m on the side of the New Hope City Council……despite the fact I think they could screw up a one car parade.
By Andrew Richter
Well, here’s Brooklyn Park’s version of corporate welfare. From the Sun Post;
The company has been constructing two new eight-story buildings since 2012, and adding the new employees will mean Target could meet criteria to receive full tax abatement under an agreement with the city.
Oh isn’t the great news!!!
The company has not hit its construction and employment targets to receive reimbursement on its city property taxes, but the completion of the two buildings and addition of 2,400 workers, both expected to occur by the end of the year, would mean the company would once again meet criteria for receiving the fullest reimbursement possible, according to Amy Baldwin, business development manager with the city.
Addition of 2400 jobs?? You mean the transfer of 2400 jobs, you know I have to correct the Sun Post
Target added a building to the north campus in 2006, and planned on adding more under an agreement with the city, but the economic downturn led to slowed construction and employment plans, which led to some unrealized tax abatement for the company, Baldwin said. Then, Target planned construction of two additional buildings in 2011, which the 1,200 workers will begin moving into this month, according to a company representative. Another 1,200 workers are expected to move in this fall.
Again, these are NOT new jobs, they are jobs being transferred!
Tax abatement was established as incentive for the company to expand its 150-acre north headquarters campus. It was set up in 2006 on a receding scale. The agreement began with 100 percent tax abatement in the first year if Target met the established marks, followed by 95 percent the following year and then 90 percent abatement beginning in 2011, according to Baldwin.
Since 2008, Target has received a total of $522,000 in tax abatement payments, according to Baldwin. The company was initially on track to meet its goals, receiving $90,000 in abatement from the city, but it has dipped as low as $16,000 in the past few years, Baldwin said. Its last abatement amount was $38,000,
She said the company could begin reaching 90 percent abatement if Target fulfills its 2014 plans.
The abatement agreement is on city taxes only, not on other taxes such as schools and county taxes, Baldwin said. In 2013, the total valuation of the north campus was $50.7 million and the company paid a total of $2.1 million in property taxes, according to Baldwin.
Well, that makes me feel better…….
The two new buildings total 650,000 square feet, which will bring the campus to 1.3 million square feet. The estimated assessed value of the two new buildings is expected to be approximately $50 million, Baldwin said.
The company owns 336 acres of land north of Highway 610, but it currently has no other plans for development in the area, Baldwin said. There are about 2,600 employees and contractors based at the north campus, according to Target spokesperson Eddie Baeb.
And, I’m sure Jeff Lunde considers that “job creation” and another excuse for that stupid Bottineau Transit.
Target did not comment if the 475 company-wide layoffs and 700 unfilled positions that were made public earlier this year would impact the north campus.
No comment? I’m shocked!