By Andrew Richter
It’s been brought to my attention that a certain former mayor recently ripped us in the Sun Post for being “anti-government” and “having no ideas.” Truth be told, nothing could be more wrong, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that we do a great job talking about what we don’t like. So perhaps I should take some time to tell what we WOULD like to see.
*City Government Reform
1) We would like to eliminate the city manager/weak mayor style of government. We favor a strong mayor set up where the mayor is an executive with the power to veto. This ensures separation of powers and gives us the checks and balances that our state and federal governments have.
2) We stand for even year elections. Under no circumstances do we support odd year elections. Even year elections only ensures that more people are paying attention and it keeps costs down by not having to hold elections every November. We favor this for cities, counties, and school districts. The same goes for school referendums.
3) We stand for Wards in every city; NO at-large elections for anything other than mayors. This ensures that every section of a city gets representation.
4) We oppose ranked choice voting as an expensive and unnecessary change. Minneapolis elections are just a circus. It’s a solution in search of a problem.
I should note that in each of the above principles we favor the lowest form of government making up their own minds, not the state or federal government forcing any of these changes.
*Free Market Principles
1) We oppose Public-Private Partnerships as crony capitalism. No company should receive favors from government. All businesses should be treated equally.
2) We opposed collectivization of garbage hauling since that would create a monopoly for a service. Free markets should determine the prices not a government contract.
3) We oppose forcing citizens to be on city utilities and we support allowing the use of private wells for water.
*Community Development and Land Use
1) We think the government should be the last resort to buying property not the first.
2) We oppose the creation of light rail. We support an expansion of the bus service. Bus transit is cheaper and more flexible to meet the transit demand.
3) We oppose the Livable Communities Program as an attempt to force high density housing on communities.
4) We opposed having to submit a comprehensive plan to the Met Council and support cities going their own way with planning.
5) We oppose the use of eminent domain under most circumstances and believe that city charters should define a “public good” so citizens know their private property rights.
1) We support televising work sessions or audio recording them
2) We support readable and understanble financial documents, not just throwing the budget up on the website
3) We support budget hearings BEFORE the councils begin their work, not in December after it is done
Now, this is just a sampling. There are many other things we support but these have been some of our major themes. So the next time anyone charges us with not having any ideas or solutions tell them to put all this in their pipe and smoke it.
By Andrew Richter
Well it looks like our Amber Alert for Carla McPipe seems to have worked. I promised I’d publish any statement she made about missing the debate on July 22 and being the great man that I am, I’m going to do that. McPipe:
I apologize for my late response, I was unable to attend the debate last Tuesday. I had to work and unfortunate for me I was unable to get it off. Once again I would like to say sorry for not being able to a attend, but if anyone has any questions or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more then happy to respond.
Since Council meetings are on Tuesday nights I hope you get that schedule changed……I also see she has updated her personal and campaign facebook pages and my city spies told me she was at the Crystal Frolics Parade. It’s amazing the effect we have.
Anyhow, I hope I see everyone out at National Night Out on Tuesday August 5! All candidates need to out there as well. Voters need to pay attention to who is out there campaigning and who isn’t. Which candidates come to you and which candidates want you to contact them? Think about it…….
By Andrew Richter
Well, I see in the paper that John Budziszewski still says he’s allegedly against property tax increases despite repeatedly voting for them. He did so again at the July 15 Crystal City Council Meeting. The Council voted by a 4-3 margin to go ahead with the a 60/40 split for the Winnetka Hills Mill & Overlay Project. To explain this better that means 60% of the cost of this project will be assessed (or taxed) to property owners in that area and the other 40% will be paid for by the taxpayers.
So this is two tax increases. Voting against the measure was Casey Peak, Julie Deshler, and Mayor Jim Adams. Voting for it was Mark Hoffman, Joe Selton, Laura Libby, and YES John Budziszewski. Funny I thought he was against tax increases. To add insult to injury, the four members who voted for this to be 40% on the tax rolls couldn’t identify one cut they’d make between the four of them. Libby went so far as to say she couldn’t think of anything to cut. Look for a huge tax increase this year with this majority running things.
I wonder how Mr. Budziszewski will vote on that? Of course the final budget will be in December, long after the elections this yea if he is somehow still there.
The truth is there is nobody on this council who can claim that they’ve never raised taxes. All I’m calling on is council members to be honest about it. Claiming you won’t raise taxes is a LIE and will continued to be called out if claimed. I look forward to Mr. Budziszewski telling citizens what he we will cut in the budget to make up for the 40% of this project so there will not be a levy tax increase.
Good luck getting answers……
By Andrew Richter
Politics is where we shamelessly promote ourselves. Tune in THIS Sunday July 27 at 1PM on AM1280 as Mitch Berg fills in for Brad Carlson and interviews me (Andrew Richter) about the recent events here in Crystal. Topics will include John Budziszewski’s behavior at the June 17 council meeting and at the recent debate on July 22, Mark Hoffman’s July 15 work session tirade, my Planning Commission resignation, as well as an examination of Mr. Budziszewski’s voting record and his claims that he “doesn’t want to raise taxes.”
Tune in for fun and fireworks!
By Andrew Richter
It’s very funny to watch John Budziszewski claim he is some small government conservative (while working with the DFL, Mark Hoffman, Joe Selton, and former mayor Bowman behind the scenes at the same time). His latest bizarre facebook rant states that he would “NOT increase taxes, period!”
You can see his rant HERE starring me among others.
Well let’s examine if his actions match his words……..surprisingly they don’t!
Now again, remember the definition of a tax; “a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc”
This means everything government does to raise “revenue” is a tax in some way, shape, or form. There’s no such thing as free money. That means property taxes, assessments, licenses, fees etc. are all taxes! Mr. Budziszewski would like you to just stare at the operating budget until you can’t see a forest in the trees. We’re not that stupid.
Fact: Last year property taxes were raised $54,444. If Mr. Budziszewski is a man of his word, he would have voted against it right??? Wrong!
Answer: He voted YES for a property tax increase
Fact: On November 5, 2013 the council raised our utility bills by 5%. Mr. Budziszewski didn’t vote for that did he? He wouldn’t raise our water bills……..Wrong!
Answer: He voted YES for a 5% increase
Fact: In June and again in October the council voted to put expensive and unnecessary solar panels on three city buildings; the community center, city hall, and the Crystal Pool (a building we use 9 weeks out of the year) at a total cost of over $100,000 to Crystal taxpyers. He’s never vote for this kind of spending right? Wrong!
Answer: He voted YES for this wasteful spending and was the DECIDING VOTE 4-3
Fact: In April 2013 the council voted to do Phase 13 in city reconstruction projects. The council voted 4-3 to overcharge residents for the special assessment. The assessment was a property tax increase on the average of over $5000! Mr. Budziszewski would never vote for this. It is a property tax increase AND an overcharge. It was also a 7.5% increase over 2012. This could never get his vote right? Wrong!
Answer: He voted YES for a HUGE property tax increase and to overcharge people. And again he was the deciding vote 4-3.
Now, folks there’s more……much much more. Way too much to put in one article. As you can see in just four votes Mr. Budziszewski voted for a property tax increase, overcharged his fellow residents for a special assessment, voted to increase our water bills, and voted for wasteful spending.
We can sure trust him can’t we?
I should note that Mark Hoffman and Joe Selton also made the exact same votes as John but they aren’t campaigning saying they would “NOT increase taxes period!”
I’d like to know; am I maliciously lying about this? Can anyone produce evidence that what i have stated here is wrong?
More to come folks……..hold on to your seats….or wallets!
by Jason Bradley
So, I guess I’m some kind of a celebrity now. A lame one, I’ll grant you, but my phone and email have been blowing up since Johnny B mentioned me in the MN League of Women Voters debate. I thought it was odd he’d bring up our conversation, since I already wrote about it here: https://communitysolutionsmn.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/a-strange-visit/. As you see, he accused me of supporting property tax increases, and I responded to him with those tricky things called “FACTS”. Yet he chose to perpetuate a lie that, I’m sure he has been spreading all over Section 2 of Crystal. You see, he wants you to believe two things: 1) That just because something is added to the property tax levy that it is a tax increase, no matter if you cut other spending or not, and 2) that spending through assessments and bonding is not a tax.
Really? First of all, a tax increase only happens when the total amount of the levy increases over time. As I wrote previously, I don’t know (and neither did John at the time of my writing) what Olga Parson’s view was on the Mill and Overlay funding, or how to pay for the Public Works building, because it wasn’t published anywhere. The one thing I know about Olga’s position (and as I told John before he told me to “have fun with my thoughts”) is that she wants to cut overall spending. That doesn’t sound like a tax increase.
Secondly, how can you honestly say that you are not increasing spending? How is an assessment not a tax? Webster’s says a tax is, “a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.” Sounds to me like if a government is demanding money from a resident or business for the maintenance of roads or construction of a public works facility, that is a tax.
Let me say that again, because I think it bears repeating; an assessment is a tax. Bonding is a tax. They are more expensive forms of taxation, as well. Payment is often delayed, resulting in large amounts of interest to be paid to return the money floated up front for the project. Guess who pays for that interest? You do. The devil is in the details. You see, when things are bonded or assessed, politicians can say they are keeping the budget even, because these types of taxation are not found on the budget, but on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) that comes out in June. That’s the dirty trick that John won’t tell you. I mean, what did your parents teach you about big purchases; save up for it, or charge it? We need to use common sense.
We don’t even have to bring up all of the spending he voted for (despite his claims to do otherwise), like the solar panels on the Community Center, raising liquor license fees, alleyway projects, or choosing to overcharge residents $200 on the street reconstruction project a couple of years ago.
Let me say this. John Budziszewski has to be a smart guy. From what I understand, he works in finance. I’m certain he understands all of this, but decides to give you a different story out on the campaign trail. That just makes him dishonest. Do we really need another dishonest politician?
Let me also remind folks that John was endorsed in 2010 by ex-Mayor ReNae Bowman. She saw something in John that she liked. You all saw something you didn’t like in her and gave her an early retirement. It all makes sense now. The eye-rolling, the wild accusations, attacking an opponent with no record at a debate, misstating facts, and insulting people… these are all tactics employed not only by John, but by our favorite former mayor (whose own bizarre behavior at the debate; mocking the non-incumbent candidates and arguing with debate attendees earned me more calls and emails). I think we know who’s man John really is.
By Andrew Richter
Folks as promised here is Crystal Debate reply schedule on comcast channel 12;
Thursday, July 24 at 7 PM
Friday, July 25 at 10 PM
Saturday, July 26 at 10 AM
Sunday, July 27 as 4 PM
Monday, July 28 at 10 PM
Saturday, August 2 at 7 AM
Sunday, August 3 at 7 AM
If you would rather watch it on Youtube you can see it HERE
I want to thank MOST of the candidates including Mark Hoffman and Joe Selton for their respectful conduct. The one exception as always was John Budziszewski who slammed Mayor Adams and told vicious lies about Olga Parson and Jason Bradley. I apologize that you have to watch him try to lie his way to a win. It shows how desperate he is. I recommend muting when his talking to keep your blood pressure down.
We will be repudiating Mr. Budziszewski from now until hell freezes over if we have to.