December 4 Crystal City Council Meeting Part 1
OK Andrew Richter back…..I want to now start my series of posts on what happened at the City Council meeting on December 4, 2012.
Now, first off, what brought me to the council meeting was the fact it was supposed to be their annual truth-in-taxation hearing. This is where they attempt to explain the budget and tell you how hard they’ve worked and that there is nothing they can cut without the city going to hell in a hand basket.
I went to the city website to read over the budget the Friday before. One problem, I couldn’t find it. I clicked on “budget” and it went to the 2012 budget not the 2013 “proposed budget.” I also looked at the “news” area of the city’s website and didn’t find any reference to a truth-in-taxation hearing set for December 4. That’s not much transparency.
Finally, on Saturday December 1 the agenda posted. I took a few minutes to read it over. I noticed that item 3 of their regular agenda was a “resolution regarding Crystal’s participation in Minnesota GreenStep program.”
I asked my self “what is the Green Step Program?” I had never heard of it. I had never heard this item discussed and here the council was set to vote on it! So I spent part of the afternoon doing some research on what the Green Step program was and I was shocked at the content.
I found out that the Green Step Program is being pushed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. It is an all-encompassing program to force change in our cities. the program covers energy, housing, transit, roads, land use, parks, and economic development. It has 28 “best practices” and hundreds of “sample ordinances.”
Check it out for yourself
Now forget what you think of global warming (oh excuse me, climate change) and just concentrate on one thing; is it really fair to vote to enter a program that involves all of this with no public discussion whatsoever? I checked the previous agendas of earlier work sessions and all I found was that is was on the “work session agenda” for November 20.
So I called a few friends and had them do some more checking. We only had three days to do something about this. We decided that we had to go to and try to delay this. By Monday night we had about 12 people committed to going to the meeting.
Still, I felt I needed more information. I didn’t want a confrontation with the city council. So on Tuesday morning I email the council, Mayor Bowman, and the city manager Anne Norris. I asked where the hell the budget was and what was up with this Green Step business.
Anne Norris shot back first saying that “the budget” was on the FAQ’s page. It won’t be on the “budget page” until it’s passed. So we have to pass it to find out what is in it. And that the resolution regarding the green step program was to “recognize the conservation and sustainability measures we’ve already taken with various projects as well as those that are already in the works.”
Now that’s bull. This was my response; The resolution plainly says “The Council will consider a resolution regarding Crystal’s participation in Minnesota GreenStep program.” It does not say that you are going to “recognize the conservation and sustainability measures.” This tells me we are going to JOIN other green steps cities. Is that right??
After that Norris admitted that yes we intended to join. Mayor Bowman then chimed in that I was “paranoid” and that I was promoting the “agenda 21 takeover.”
Now I don’t how the conversation veered to that direction but I should have just dropped it at that point. I made the mistake of responding to it. Needless to say, the conversation got way off track. I tried to express my frustration about how all these forms of government advocate the same things; high density housing, transit, more bike paths, more sidewalks, green energy, and so on. I’m worried about who or what is being pushed. I feel I’m not being listened to.
Needless to say I should have just dropped it. The mayor shot back with a diatribe about how I should “move out to the middle of nowhere” and that they are practicing “good government” and that I don’t respect her. My writings are “vengeful” and that she’s the “victim”. I also listen to too much Glen Beck.
That’s the background.
Stay tuned for part 2…….