Time For the DNR to Go?


By Andrew Richter

OK, my friends and enemies; I’m not feeling well so I’m going to be extra mean.

You all who know me know that I believe in small and limited government and no state has more unnecessary than Minnesota. Now, I’ve discussed my dislike of the unconstitutional Met Council, and as much as I can;t stand the Met Council, the Department of Natural resources or DNR is perhaps just as bad or worse.

Just ask the folks over at Mille Lacs Lake;

There was anger, sadness and a bit of resignation Sunday when the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced it was shutting down walleye fishing on Lake Mille Lacs midseason for the first time in history. The cutoff, aimed at protecting a record low walleye population, was 10 p.m. Monday. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr called it “a dark day for anglers in Minnesota.”

The brunt of anger from Mille Lacs resort owners was directed at Gov. Mark Dayton, state conservation officials and the eight Chippewa bands that have treaty rights dating back to 1837 to share fishing on the lake. “I feel like nobody listened,” said Linda Eno, owner of Twin Pines Resort in Garrison. “I was sitting with some customers when I got the text … they are sick about it, sick. Everybody is disgusted, saddened and sickened.

Ms. Eno maybe you should contribute to the Alliance for a Bitter Minnesota. That might get the governor’s attention.

I’ve already had cancellations, multiple cancellations. I’m hoping that people already booked will be OK with fishing bass and perch.

Ha! I’m sure they will go somewhere else! Never fear though, like all good government bureaucrats, the DNR commissioner “understands.”

“We all understand the gravity of this situation,” Landwehr said. “It’s traumatic for anglers and for those who rely on fishing.”

Wow, how riveting! I know I feel better!

John Odle, owner of Rocky Reef Resort in Onamia, said, “The commissioner needs to resign or quit or be fired … They need to go. The whole system has to be redone.”

Good luck with that!

Just three years ago, the quota for walleye on Mille Lacs was a half-million pounds. This year, it was 40,000 pounds. About two-thirds of that quota — or 28,600 pounds — was for sport fishermen; one-third was for the tribes. Anglers this year have been limited to one walleye per person. On Sunday, Landwehr and fisheries section chief Don Pereira said the sport fishermen’s allotment already has been exceeded by at least 2,000 pounds. Not included is 750 pounds of walleye that succumbed after a recent catch-and-release tournament and an unknown number that will die as hooking and releasing continues through Dec. 1.

Can I ask a question? How do you know what has pulled out and what hasn’t? I fished on Mille Lacs over the 4th of July and nobody weighed or even looked at what I caught (and I didn’t walk away empty-handed) so I’m wondering where these numbers come from.

Landwehr and Pereira repeatedly stressed Sunday that the smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskie fishing on the lake remains “outstanding.” 

Yeah then there will be a bass or northern “crisis.”

That failed to satisfy Greg Fisher, who owns Fisher’s Resort. “It’s a walleye lake — that’s the thing,” he said. “People just don’t want to switch. If we can get people to switch to bass or northern, that will be good, but I don’t know if they will.”

Just wait until you hear the Governor’s solution;

Dayton was in Isle for a town-hall meeting Friday, where he reiterated his plan for short-term financial help for area businesses hurt by the walleye season shutdown and a special legislative session if needed.

So the solution is to turn the Mille Lacs area into a welfare state.

He said big leadership changes are coming for the Aitkin office of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and he announced that the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe would forgo its walleye harvest next year.

Big changes are coming! And those are……

Landwehr and Pereira said Sunday that the DNR plans to put a research and stocking station on the shores of the lake in the future, while adding research and management muscle — such as a full-time biologist — right away.

Add another government employee and do a study; those are some new ideas!

The biggest problem appears to be that something seems to be killing the young fish, officials said. Predation by larger fish, including walleyes, too-high water temperatures, zebra mussels, spiny water fleas and invasive plant species all were mentioned as possible contributors. “They’re not out of the woods until they’re 2½-year-old fish,” Pereira said.

Maybe you should solve that then!

Since the DNR began doing assessments in 1983, he’s “never seen walleyes this low,” Pereira said. Fishing by the bands is still a little under their quota, but their take of walleye is not the problem, Landwehr said. The Mille Lacs Band’s decision was “a good-faith effort,” he said, but is “not going to make a significant difference in the harvest or significant recovery of the lake.”

So the bands fishing for walleye are not the problem, but everyone else fishing for walleye is the problem. That sure makes a lot of sense.

As for short-term help for the businesses that rely on the lake to earn a living, Landwehr said Explore Minnesota, the Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Department of Revenue all are involved. Explore Minnesota already plans to spend $30,000 to tout the beautiful beaches and countryside and great fishing (besides walleye) in the area. Other help could include short-term loans or property-tax abatements, DNR officials said.

Good God!

The DNR is not keen on stocking the lake for walleye, but isn’t opposed to it, either, if the spawning population falls below a threshold. “Our messaging has been pretty clear,” Pereira said. “Walleyes are doing just fine producing new fish. If we can’t stem this declining trend in spawners, we’ll have to come in … and take eggs from Mille Lacs and collect those and put them back. It’s what we had to do in Red Lake in ’99 to bring those fish back.” It’s what we had to do in Red Lake in ’99 to bring those fish back.” It’s too soon to say what the outlook for 2016 is, Landwehr and Pereira said. The DNR will assess walleye numbers in August and September. If the numbers aren’t sufficient, 2016 could be a catch-and-release year, and the Chippewa bands then would do only ceremonial fishing, the officials said. Pereira said that, in the past, they have seen elevated mortality levels on Lake Kabetogama and in the western basin of Lake Vermilion, but those situations never reached the dire state of Mille Lacs.

Now, nothing said here makes any sense here. I fished on Lake Kabetogama last year and caught tons of walleye but I could hardly keep a thing thanks to the dumb DNR slot rules! The walleye population is clearly up yet they don’t change the rules. Also if there are no walleye in Mille Lacs then why not let people fish for them? They shouldn’t catch any if there are none there right? You ever fished a day in your life Mr. Pereira?

To me, the time has come to debate the usefulness of the DNR. They hold tremendous power that affects businesses, sportsman, travelers, and cabin owners and a debate about their power is long overdue. For now, I feel bad for the people on Mille Lacs who are being shut down by government pencil pushers.

DNR Article

 

August 17, 2015 at 8:12 pm 1 comment

Bowman and Libby Attack!


By Andrew Richter

Well, I said partisanship would get worse in Crystal. The left hates being out of power and views the city council seats as their possessions. Former Mayor ReNae Bowman’s hatred is reaching a diabolical level and sadly Laura Libby is following suit.

From the former mayor’s facebook page;

Transparency is so important to democracy. How many Crystal citizens know that a budget work session was held last Friday night by Crystal’s council? It may have been posted (back pages of the sun post which they know few citizens relieve on a regular basis) but a sneaky way of doing business.

The former mayor is a liar. The work session occurred on Thursday, August 6, not Friday. Check the date HERE if you don’t believe me. Work sessions were held on Thursdays when you were the mayor and I don’t remember you complaining. I would also point out that our work sessions are recorded (we are the only city I know of that does this). Were the work sessions recorded when you were the mayor? No they weren’t, yet you have the arrogance to complain about transparency!

They hired a communication director to control all the messages, too bad it did not include information about local taxes. Mayor Adams and council person Kolb drank Andy Richter’s Kool-aide, they are systematically bankrupting the city (reserves now totally spent) in an effort to lower taxes.

Fist off my name is Andrew, not Andy. Andy is a childhood nickname that close friends and family once called me. I don’t think the former mayor qualifies as either. The council did not hire a communications director. They directed the city manager to do this, she hired this person. The former mayor knows this; she’s trying to get you to think that the council is Adolf Hitler and the communications person is Joseph Goebbels.

And for the record, we DID NOT bankrupt city reserves. The balances are not $0! The council chose to spend the money rather than borrow to pay for a new building. This saves us millions of dollars in the long run.

Let;s see; lower taxes, less government, less debt and borrowing; what horrible things for this city.

This is going to cost us. My water bill went up considerably to pay for repairs to a broken water main. What they are not telling you is that there was money in the reserves to pay for these repairs. Now I am being doubled taxed because they took all the money and used it for a new public works building.

Oh yeah, water bills never went up when you were mayor I forgot.

Rather than use sound financial tools so that citizens pay over time they are making all of us pay for it today. Not very friendly to our Seniors who have paid over the year and will now pay to make some homeowner in the future, pay less.

So we should screw everyone equally! How about all the special assessments you dumped on seniors? How about the Highway 81 levy that added over $500,000 a year in new taxes? Yeah you were the supporter of seniors!

They are hiding and doing business in the dark.

Doing business in the dark? How do you figure that? What has been in the dark? The fact is the former mayor is an angry and bitter person whose hatred of the people who ousted her and her buddies from office is borderline certifiable. The former mayor needs to change her medication.

Next, the Green Party seems to be afraid OF Laura Libby being defeated for re-election;

Crystal City Council Member Laura Libby is facing a tough re-election battle next year after a conservative takeover of the rest of the council.

Conservative takeover? You mean after opponents of the previous council organized and defeated the incumbents.

Libby has turned her facebook page into a partisan a cheap shot fest;

Two days ago the Republican majority on the Crystal City Council introduced an amendment to remove the point of sale inspection that is required when selling a home, which I feel keeps Crystal’s property values strong. I disagree with repealing this ordinance. As the lone ‪#‎Green‬ on the council I will continue to advocate for protections that sustain our cities vibrancy, unlike the council of members who are working to dismantle our city. You can see this happen at minute 36, and at minute 55 you can see the Republican majority begin a discussion to withdrawal from the Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council.

The Republican majority? Why are you making it partisan? Personally, I think Libby is channeling her inner ReNae Bowman. She’s trying to make people feel sorry for her by playing the victim (she’s the lone ranger fighting for you). Here’s another one:

“I am the lone ‪#‎progressive‬ voice on the ‪#‎conservative‬ dominated Crystal City Council that is trying to spend our entire city’s budget. We have spent down all our cash assests when we have historically low bonding rates. This is reckless.”

Personally, I think it’s pathetic to listen to a public official be a cry baby. And being partisan won’t help you Ms. Libby. If you don’t believe me see john Budziezewski, Mark Hoffman, and Joe Selton. I understand Libby being afraid she’s going to lose; she should be.

I told you all this would get worse and worse. Look for the partisan cry babyfest to continue.

Bowman on Facebook

Libby’s Personal Page

Libby’s Council Page

 

August 14, 2015 at 7:04 am 2 comments

Meet the Greens!


By Andrew Richter

Boy I’ll tell you this is exciting!

So we get to meet the Greens! Apparently there are problems with “multi-member districts electing candidates in proportion” and “freedom of expression” at the voting booth. What? Don’t you just love how every “green group” is identified as “non-partisan?”

Well they must be getting some attention; the DFL Sun Post ran an article on it;

Crystal City Council Member Laura Libby and Golden Valley City Council candidate Andy Schuler will host “Meet the Greens,” an open event about green policies 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the Golden Valley Library, 830 Winnetka Ave. Featured speakers include former Green Party gubernatorial candidate and founder of the nonpartisan group Ecology Democracy Network, Ken Pentel; and Executive Director of Fair Vote Minnesota Jeanne Massey, who led the successful 2006 Minneapolis Rank Choice Voting campaign.

Article

Mark it on your calendars!!!!!

 

August 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm 1 comment

Shep Harris to Run Again! Yippy!


By Andrew Richter

Well, our old friend Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris is officially running for re-election! I know I’m excited! The 5 foot 3 inch DFL political insider recently took credit in the Sun Post for everything except the sun coming up in the East.

Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris has announced his bid for re-election to a second term Nov. 3. “I am running for re-election because I believe that we have made tremendous progress as a city over the course of the past four years, but I know that this progress is not yet complete,” he said. “I want to help Golden Valley prosper even more in the coming years.”

No you’re running because you have higher political ambitions!

Over the course of his first term, Harris said that Golden Valley succeeded in many areas: housing and economic development, improving the city government’s engagement with Golden Valley community members and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of city services. Harris said these areas would remain his top priorities for a second term. He has seen progress on these goals including the approval of more than 1,000 new housing units, the creation of the Golden Valley Business Council, the reopening of the Golden Valley DMV and the reform of the city’s emergency dispatch system that saved city taxpayers nearly $150,000.

Just what Golden Valley needs! More high density housing!

Harris also made an effort to include the voices of all Golden Valley residents during his first term. Harris wants to revitalize Downtown Golden Valley, including the development of a new grocery store in the area. He also wants to expand upon the 17 neighborhood meetings he held in his first term in order to keep residents informed and engaged on city issues.

You’ve listened to all voices! Come on!

Notice he doesn’t mention Bottineau Transit anywhere…….

Hopefully Golden Valley votes out this joker.

Article

August 7, 2015 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Say it Ain’t so Golden Valley


By Andrew Richter

And people complain that I’m hard on Golden Valley;

Golden Valley City Council and staff completed a strategic planning process this spring focused on the failing infrastructure of the city, but some comments that arose from the sessions has ruffled feathers. To begin the strategic planning process, council members and department directors completed a SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – analysis. Each individual documented his or her thoughts on each category anonymously.

Sounds like a bunch of wishy-washy stuff but wait it gets good;

From the responses regarding strengths and weaknesses came a list of top priorities for the city. Priorities include targeted development and redevelopment, effective governance, infrastructure maintenance and enhancement and financial stability. Strengths identified during the analysis include amenities, good service delivery, Golden Valley’s reputation and willingness to partner with neighboring cities and staff.

Where’s Bottineau on that list?

Staff is specifically described as having great skills, training and experience, being responsive and considerate, knowledgeable about inner city workings and innovative.One anonymous comment claimed city staff as Golden Valley’s greatest strength. Weaknesses listed in the analysis include deteriorated infrastructure, debt, not sticking to codes and policies, misinterpretation of city codes and ordinances and even the council itself.

The council itself?

One individual described the council as “cowardly, ignorant and self-absorbed.” Another said a major weakness within the city is the lack of leadership and dysfunctionality of the council, mentioning Mayor Shep Harris specifically.

According to one anonymous writer, the city council is the greatest weakness and a liability for the city. That same individual said several council members hate to deal with conflict, do not understand government processes, violate open meeting laws regularly, disregard the city attorney’s advice and make changes to the rules based on resident complaints.

Like Austin Powers said; ouch baby, very ouch!

The council was also criticized for its inability to make a decision in a timely fashion, according to another writer. When the council reviewed the strategic plan at its July 14 meeting, Harris took exception to the negative comments regarding him and the council.

“I wanted to say that I am very troubled by some of the comments that were put into part of this that are directed specifically at us as a council,” he said. “I thought they were pretty inflammatory. I think, if anything, they create more of a problem than solutions.” He was concerned that candidates for city manager and city council would likely view the comments. “It’s a little unfortunate, I think,” he said.

Poor Mayor Harris, are you getting criticized? How about you play the victim?

Harris chose to support most of the strategic plan. “In no way am I endorsing or supporting those comments,” he said. “I think they were isolated and anonymous comments.”

Of course they are anonymous, that way you can’t retaliate against them!

According to Harris, the city’s issues are average compared to any of its neighbors. He preferred instead to look at a recent city survey where 92 percent of the community said they think Golden Valley is going in the right direction.
“I put more weight on that,” he said. “I’m not pointing fingers and I want to move forward.”

Yeah just focus on what you like!

Councilmember Joanie Clausen said people had a right to their opinions. “When we did this strategic planning, we were asked to do certain things,” she said. “On our second round when these comments were made, people were just being honest. People were being honest because that’s how they felt.” Clausen claimed her comments were focused solely on the infrastructure and finance portion of the plan. Although she admitted some of the comments did not sit well with her, she accepted them as part of the process. “I think people should see them, they read them,” Clausen said. “We are all accountable for what we do here.”

Now, I’ll never forgive Joanie Clausen for flip-flopping on Bottineau but she’s right on here.

Councilmember Andy Snope had minimal concern about the statements. “I think some of the comments are a little hoarse and rough, but I have no problem adjusting them and making them a part of the report,” he said. “I think it’s just part of growth.”

Huh?

Neither Councilmember Larry Fonnest nor Councilmember Steve Schmidgall responded to the comments. Harris finished by pointing out there was no direction included in the document to improve the working relations between council and staff but hopes the new city manager can help with that.

Sure there is, it’s called your resignation.

City Manager Tom Burt will retire from his position Nov. 17. Following the meeting, Harris provided the Sun Post with additional comments. “The city council has learned a great deal from this proposed strategic plan,” he said. “While the city has made significant progress over the past several years in certain areas, this plan will help the city council move Golden Valley further in addressing needs in areas of development, infrastructure, governance and financial stability.”

What?

The strategic plan was brought back in front of council for formal approval July 21, after this edition’s writing deadline. The strategic plan, including staff and council comments regarding strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, was published in full in the July 14 agenda packet available at goldenvalleymn.gov.

Golden Valley you have a chance to vote in November and you can do yourself a favor by electing a new mayor!

Article

July 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm 1 comment

Point of Sale to Set Sail!


By Andrew Richter

Well, it’s nice to see less government somewhere! At the July 14 city council meeting the city council voted to end point of sale inspections in section 425 of the city code by a 5-1 vote (Olga Parsons was absent). Removing this unnecessary nanny-state regulation will be a great thing for our community by letting the private sector deal with home buying and selling.

Laura Libby was the lone dissent. Removing one government regulation is one too many i guess. She also accused the other council members of “playing politics.” if you want to see an example of playing politics I suggest you see the Libby-led Green Step incident from last November where she and the three outgoing councilmen jammed that down our throat. That’s how the left acts when they lose power.

Of course, this was just the first reading of the ordinance change. There will be a second reading on August 18. I suggest you contact your council person and encourage them to vote YES to remove big government inspections!

July 22, 2015 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Three Strategies To Immediately Impact Your Local Government


Community Solutions MN

by Jason Bradley

I used to have a number of misconceptions about the way my City government was run. In fact, I probably yawned just like you did, and got ready to say “next”. Let me stop you right in your tracks for a moment. You see, what happens at the local level is really the most impactful to your everyday life. It may not get the headlines that the federal and state governments get, but I argue that the resolutions and ordinances City and County governments pass restrict your freedoms more and are more easily enforced. The fact that none of this hits the news should worry you greatly.

You see, I’ve been watching this for a long time, and I was completely blown away when I discovered how much of what is done at the City (and County) level is done “behind the curtain”. That’s not to say that they are making changes illegally, it just means that you are watching the wrong hand. Here are three things you can do right now to tip the scales in your favor:

  • Stop thinking that City Council meetings are where decisions are made. What do I mean by that? You can watch a City Council meeting, and see them vote on an issue right before your eyes. Yes, but did you notice how most of those votes are unanimous, or at least consistently in favor of a certain group of individuals on the Council? Did you also notice that they can (sometimes) make big decisions, or spend a lot of money without much discussion? It is because they have already put hours of time into talking about the topic, and you didn’t even know it. This is what has led to the old phrase “You can’t fight City Hall”. Public hearings are held on a subject only after the Council has had a chance to discuss it and come to a consensus. How can you fight that? You have to be present and involved in your City Council meetings (or at least be at some and watch some online). It lets your Council Members know that someone is watching them, but that only scratches the surface.
  • You need to have eyes and ears on the City work sessions. This is where the real work gets done. As one former Council Member in Crystal put it, this is an opportunity to talk freely about his/her opinions. Why? Because work sessions are almost never recorded. They are open to the public, but people very rarely attend these meetings. In Crystal, Mayor Jim Adams, was able to decide to just start recording them and put them on the City website. This was because there was so much information at these meetings that people weren’t hearing. It was from a work session that we were able to discover the proclivities of a local Councilman that believed that he could raise taxes anytime he wanted to, for any reason he wanted to, and that he preferred borrowing money to having cash. It is in these meetings that City staff presents their ideas, City Council people candidly discuss them, and a consensus is reached. The information that is often presented in the City Council packets is one-sided sales literature that supports the staff’s positions. If you were going to attend work sessions or City Council meetings, I’d choose the work sessions, and watch City Council sessions online. I’d also press to have at least the audio from work sessions available on the City website.
  • You need to get on a City Commission. Commissions are made up of groups of citizens approved by the City Council. They each review and provide a recommendation on a specific sector of City business. Various groups you might see are Charter, Planning, Parks and Recreation, Human Rights, Water Shed, and Environmental Quality commissions. There are also other iterations that vary from city to city. These commissions get the same ideas from staff as the Council, and often the same limited information. They are then tasked with recommending, recommending with changes, or not recommending the resolution, ordinance, or charter change. The Council often follows these recommendations, but not always. Being on one of these commissions gives you a chance to find out what is coming down the pike long before the public ever hears about it (which is a huge advantage), and allows you the opportunity to advise your City Council. Most commissions meet one night per month or less. These seats are also a great place to get experience for a run at a City Council seat someday.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider here. These three simple strategies can give you the ammunition you need to eliminate surprises, alert the public, and defeat dangerous ideas early in the process before they grow legs. It is difficult to change things that are well on their way to becoming law. Each City has got to have a handful of people that care enough to keep tabs on what their government is doing.

If that is you, e-mail us through our contact page, and we’ll be in contact to help you further!

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.

Connect with Jason on Google+

Jason on Google+

July 14, 2015 at 11:31 am 9 comments

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