We Don’t Need Another Regional Trail


By Andrew Richter

Now if you want to ride a bike in Crystal, I have one question; what is stopping you? We have bike lanes on our major streets, sidewalks, parks etc. But, of course, that’s not enough for our “professional planners.” No, no, we need the Basset Creek Regional Trail now!

Of course the proponents of this claim it should go ahead for two basic reasons; it has been planned for years and it will “connect” French Regional Park and Theodore Wirth Park (I wonder how many people will really go back and forth). Back in 2011 the Three Rivers Park District predicted that 176, 425 visitors! How they come up with that is beyond me, but they basically estimate that anyone living a 1/2 mile from the Regional Trail will make 9.53 annual visits with 8% of those coming in the months of December, January, and February!

If anyone out there is naive enough to believe this, take the estimates for the Crystal Lake Regional Trail. In case you’re wondering where that is (and judging by the usage of this you don’t know) it is along Highway 81, which I have to say is not the best place for families to bike or walk. The Robbinsdale portion is set to be done by the end of this year. Does anyone know the estimate of how many people were going to use this in a year? The answer is;

When fully constructed, the Crystal Lake Regional Trail is projected to generate 288,000 annual visits

288,000 thousand? Now that’s 789 per day! That number includes every day; winter, holidays, days when it rains etc. If you think that is happening I suggest you drive down Highway 81 and count how many people you see walking and biking along the road. Trust me, you can do it on one had.

So here’s the question; why doesn’t anyone challenge the Park District? Why doesn’t the media do it? Why doesn’t any city? Why do they just roll over and let these people carve up our cities?

Our only chance to stop this wasteful government spending lies with the Crustal City Council. New Hope has to approve this too but that will be a 5-0 vote. I wonder if they will even talk about it for more than 2 seconds.

It won’t be easy for Crystal to this; there will be pressure from everywhere to conform and rubber stamp this. The Met Council, Hennepin County, the Three Rivers Park District, and other gutless cities will all gang up on Crystal if this is rejected.

I suggest you contact your council members and let them know what you think!

 

April 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Who Is A World Without Genocide?


By Andrew Richter

OK so this Saturday is the “big” event to “end genocide” in Crystal, New Hope, Robbinsdale, and Golden Valley. In an article two weeks ago, I did some research on Ellen Kennedy, the speaker that these cities are paying to speak about ending genocide with your tax dollars. Now I want to analyze the group she represents a little bit; A World Without Genocide.

This group advocates very little that will stop genocide. Most of what they talk about is symbolic or it is aimed at criticizing the United States. A good example of this is making April “Genocide Awareness Month.”

Recognition of Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month is also urged for cities, municipalities, schools and universities, to engage fully in making ‘never again’ truly mean ‘never.’

Municipalities? Um, I don’t think any genocide is going on in cities around here. Why don’t you go over to the Middle East and get them to “be aware of genocide?”

In April 2013, both the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives passed bills declaring April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month in Minnesota. This was signed into law by Governor Dayton in 2013.

And the bill was carried by DFL Senator Sandy Pappas who is also on A World Without Genocide’s Board of Directors as a vice chair. How is that not a conflict of interest? She’s on the Board of Directors of an NGO while serving in the Senate?

BOARD

In September, 2014, New Hampshire became the fourth state to pass a bill designating April.  In addition to Minnesota, California and Texas have passed similar bills.

And so far what genocide has that prevented?

Now here’s what they “advocate” to “end genocide”  internationally. You’ll notice a common theme; the United States is to blame.

At a global level, we encourage the United States to join with nearly all other nations of the world in ratifying two very important United Nations resolutions.  Ratification requires support from the U.S. Senate.

1. Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is often described as an international bill of rights for women. The Convention defines what constitutes discrimination against women, and creates an agenda for action to end such discrimination. The Convention ensures women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life – including the right to vote and to stand for election – as well as education, health and employment. Countries that have ratified the Convention are legally bound to put its provisions into practice.

Only seven nations have not ratified CEDAW yet, including the United States.

Hmm…..so they want to end discrimination against women huh? Well let’s take a look at how that’s working. Here are some of the nations that have signed on to this worthless treaty:

Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Iraq (under Saddam) among others. How are women’s rights working out in those countries? Why don’t you go over there and tell them to treat women equally?

Even worse, A World Without Genocide is calling for citizens in the United States not to buy electronics from the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Yet Congo is a signatory of the CEDAW! The United States should have nothing to do with this garbage!

2. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). CRC defines the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The Convention protects children’s rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services. By ratifying CRC, national governments have committed themselves to protecting and ensuring children’s rights and they have agreed to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community.

The only two nations that have not ratified CRC are Somalia and the United States.

Oh so that mean Iran, North Korea, Egypt, Syria etc have all signed on to this. How are kids being treated in some of these countries? Some are used as soldiers, some are prostituted, and some are used for suicide bombers! But they signed this treaty so they are “committed to the rights of the child” right? What a joke.

3. We also urge the United States to ratify support for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

To date, 122 nations have ratified participation in the ICC. 

Why? We already have criminal courts in the United States. Why should we cede our sovereignty to an ICC. My guess is so that people we prosecute can’t face the death penalty.

Here’s another great idea;

Since 2002 it has been illegal around the world to use children as soldiers. Unfortunately, the number of child soldiers has hardly changed since then. There are still about 300,000 children used in adults’ wars in at least 30 countries.

Since it’s hardly changed, your advocacy much not be doing much good.

In order to protest this tragedy, more than 350,000 red hand prints have been collected in over 40 countries worldwide. And this campaign is continuing – the goal is a million hand prints!

Hmm, I bet the 30 countries who are using children as soldiers are all signed on to the Convention on the Rights of the Child! I’m sure hand prints will scare them.

Perhaps more worrisome for me is this groups migration into left-wing academia.

Here is a “partial list” of their academic partners;

Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN

College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN

Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN

Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Hamline University, St. Paul, MN

Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN

Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, MN

St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN

University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA

University of Tampa, Tampa, FL

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN

Benilde-St. Margaret School, St. Louis Park, MN

Champlin Park High School, Champlin, MN

Columbia Heights High School, Columbia Heights, MN

Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN

Edina High School, Edina, MN

Edison High School, Minneapolis, MN

Lincoln International High School, Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis, MN

St. Paul Academy, St. Paul, MN

St. Peter Middle and High School, St. Peter, MN

I even got an email from the Robbinsdale School District promoting this event! What are kids being “taught” exactly about genocide. Am I the only one concerned about this?

Well, I’m picking up garbage on West Broadway this Saturday morning, and I’ll be far more productive than I would be by attending this!

Groups’s WEBSITE if you want to read it.

April 16, 2015 at 9:58 pm Leave a comment

2014 MCA Tests in Reading Put Local Districts Near the Bottom


By Andrew Richter

Well, 117 districts had at least 100 10th grade students and the districts in this area didn’t very well. The Robbinsdale district ranked 101 with only 51% of 10th graders proficient (ie; students who “meet” and “exceed” standards.) Brooklyn Center District 286 ranked dead last. Once again, Minneapolis and St, Paul are near the bottom ranking 113th and 116th respectively. This of course despite the unbelievable spending levels.

You can see the chart HERE

It is sad to see such terrible results in the area in which I call home. Worse yet, nobody in education seems to have any answers other than “more money, lower class size.”

 

April 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

Mike Opat’s Soccer Stadium!


By Andrew Richter

I think it’s fair to say that Hennepin County Dictator Mike Opat has never met a tax or a spending bill he didn’t like. Now he’s throwing he support behind a new soccer stadium, as if we need that!

Back in December he came out unequivocally in favor of a soccer stadium in an interview with Channel 5.

Mike Opat, Hennepin County Board Chairman, tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he supports the idea of an outdoor downtown Minneapolis soccer stadium.  Right now, Minnesota Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf has made a strong pitch to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to Minneapolis. Wilf has met with MLS officials in New York and gave them a presentation on how the new Vikings stadium would host a new soccer team.

But, another group headed by former United Health CEO William McGuire is putting together a plan that would include an outdoor soccer stadium built next to the Twins’ home, Target Field. Opat says he is now supporting the McGuire group because they have a “long-standing commitment to soccer in Minnesota.” Opat says McGuire has already had a proven track record as owner of the Minnesota United soccer team and “his experience with professional soccer is a known commodity.”

They must be giving you campaign contributions.

Opat says the county would support the outdoor stadium concept, but that will not likely include any general fund tax money. 

Oh I see, so you’re going to bond the project or create a new tax. I guess I should feel good that you want the public to subsidize this but it won;t come out of the general fund. It will come out of a different fund instead! Yippy!

Opat says the county would get behind the outdoor stadium in a much “smaller capacity”, but did not specify what that commitment would look like.

Wait until he is re-elected, then he will tell you.

Channel 5 Story

When the group that Opat supported buying the new team got their franchise, Opat reiterated his support for a new stadium, though that has seemed to put him at odds with Governor Mark Dayton.

It is a process that will require considerable massaging given the political landscape, though the group is expected to commit substantial private resources to build the expected $150 million stadium. Minnesota governor Mark Dayton told the Star-Tribune earlier this week he did not support any form of public subsidies for the new stadium, while Hennepin County commissioner Mike Opat said the new team will likely need to fund the new stadium with limited public financial support.

Article

Being the consummate politician, Opat won’t commit even now to anything specific;

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, who aided the effort to secure the franchise, remained mum late last week about what — if anything — he might propose relating to the area around the stadium. “Nothing is imminent,” Opat said.

Another commissioner, Jan Callison, said stadium funding is a “challenge.” “People are wary to say the least, and in some cases clearly hostile to the idea of a public subsidy into a stadium,” Callison said.

Ya think? How many stadiums have we fricken built? Since 1990 we’ve built Target Center, Target Field, XCel Energy Center, TCF Bank, a new Saints park, and now a new Vikings Stadium! How much is enough!

Article

HERE is yet another article on Opat’s support for a new stadium and his hilarious little cat fight with the governor.

As with everything about Mike Opat, this is all about him. He wants to be governor and probably thinks he’s a shoo-in to be re-elected next year. Don’t bother calling or emailing Mr. Opat; he doesn’t care about those he represents. All that matters to this guy is his personal ambition! We will stay on this issue and not let this guy get away with dancing on this issue!

April 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Crystal to Review City Code


By Andrew Richter

Well this is nice to see! Our new council in Crystal is appointing a task force to review the city code

Job Description

Purpose:

The Crystal City Code contains regulations for municipal operations and administration, building, planning and land use regulations, public health, public utilities and streets, public safety as well as business and trade regulations and licensing such as liquor licenses.

The Crystal City Council has determined that a task force should take the leading role in reviewing the provisions of the City Code and recommend changes to the City Council.

The Task Force will review all sections of the City Code except Section 425, Property Maintenance, which will be reviewed by the City Council.   The purpose of the Task Force is to review the City Code to recommend changes which streamline, update and remove unnecessary or dated provisions.  The Task Force will present recommendations to the City Council and the City Council will consider and determine final changes to the City Code.

Membership: 

The Crystal City Council has authorized recruitment of a 10 member task force consisting of:

  • 7 Crystal residents
  • 3 representatives from the Crystal business community

Meetings: 

The Task Force is anticipated to meet monthly, one week night a month (date and time to be determined by the Task Force) to review the City Code.  Members of the Task Force may be asked to periodically present recommendations to the City Council at additional work session meetings.

Responsibilities of Task Force members:

  • Attend meetings
  • Read meeting materials prior to meetings
  • Participate in Task Force discussions
  • Listen to and respect the viewpoints of others
  • Serve as a conduit of information to and from the greater community

Isn’t this great! A city council that actually cares about cutting the city code, decreasing regulation. and restoring our personal liberty?

Thank you to Mayor Jim Adams and the council for this! This would never have happened under the old council who were uninterested in this subject, despite giving it lip service during election time. We’ve been calling for code review here at Community Solutions for years and it’s great to see it happening!

If you want to apply click HERE 

You can bet that I’m applying!

April 9, 2015 at 7:47 pm Leave a comment

Opat Takes Credit for Teen Birthrate Decline!


By Andrew Richter

You have to love Hennepin County. If anything good happens, they credit themselves!

The number of Hennepin County adolescents giving birth saw a significant decline in 2013, according to a county statement. Based on a Hennepin County study, the county saw a 15 percent dip in births by teenagers, which continued a six-year decrease that began in 2007. Hennepin County’s 2013 decrease compares to a 9 percent decline in the state of Minnesota, and a 10 percent decrease in the United States.

Of course if this is true then its great news, but guess who takes the credit for this?

The county attributes this dip to successful programs that discourages young people from engaging in risky sexual behavior, or at the very least help them stay safe when they become sexually active.

Yes, big government is saving us all!

One such initiative is the Better Together Hennepin project, which helps young people in delaying parenthood with support such as evidence-based sex education, connection with supportive adults, accessibility to reproductive health services and other healthy youth development opportunities.

Is there any evidence that young people who entered this program have seen a decrease in teen pregnancy? If the answer is no, then how can you claim this program is a success?

According to a 2012 report, 701 births in Hennepin County were attributed to mothers ages 15 to 19. That year, the teen birth rate was 19.6 births per 1,000, compared to the 32 births per 1,000 in 2007, marking a 41 percent decrease in five years.

Hennepin County dictator and egomaniac Mike Opat showed not a shred of hesitation in taking the credit.

“Teen parenthood is devastating to the potential of young people and leads to higher taxpayer costs,” said Hennepin County District 1 Commissioner Mike Opat in a statement. “I’m proud that Hennepin County is outperforming the rest of the state and country with these persistent declines.”

Since when do you care about taxpayers costs?

Hey Sun Post why don’t some journalism next time!

Article

April 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

Preventing Genocide? What? Who is Ellen Kennedy?


By Andrew Richter

OK, people who follow this blog know I’m not a fan of city Human Rights Commissions. I don’t see what legitimate city-wide purpose they serve. What these commissions are now up to reinforces that belief. The Human Rights Commissions of Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope, and Robbinsdale are promoting an event to “prevent genocide” at the Crystal Community Center on April 18. View the flyer HERE

Now, if you’re like me you’re scratching your head. What does this have to do with city government? I don’t know the answer but I decided to do some research; both on this speaker and this group that our cities are promoting.

First let me say something; when I think of genocide I think of the Holocaust, Stalin, Pol Pot, Communist China, Rwanda, or Bosnia. But, upon reading information on the guest speaker and this group, I must live in a different world. The special guest speaker is the Executive Director of World Without Genocide, Dr. Ellen Kennedy. Now who is Ms. Kennedy? Well, you can read the groups’ WEBSITE talks about her vision, values, and goals (and notice that she serves on Keith Ellison’s Foreign Affairs Roundtable). but I found an interview with her that shed a different light.

She was spotlighted in an article about international NGO’s (non-profit organization) in Minnesota.

The full article can be seen HERE

Focus on the bottom part of the article and check this out;

Here is Kennedy talking about the need for genocide awareness;

“I believe that most people want to be upstanders,” Kennedy said, “but they don’t feel like they know enough about genocide or what they can do about it. But people can help.”

OK, I’m somewhat lost already. I’m not sure the problem with genocide is that people don’t know enough about it. But wait until you hear her “suggestions” to prevent genocide in the future;

1) Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

No folks, I’m not making this up!

The reasons why genocide happens can be hard to decipher. Kennedy distinguishes between proximate and ultimate causes. Proximate causes are race, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin — “the causes that allow us to point a finger,” she said. But the ultimate causes are more complex and have to do with “people’s access to what sustains their lives” like food, water, and fuel.

Huh?

“When people are hungry, that’s when we see violence, when we see a psychology of violence accepted. People are more reluctant to engage in violence when they feel like they have a future.” She notes that the genocide in Rwanda occurred a year after the country experienced a drought that wreaked havoc on agriculture and caused caloric intake to plummet. Other genocides have followed similar patterns.

So the Hutus and Tutus started attacking each other because of a drought?

Because global climate change leads to droughts, floods, and extreme temperature change — things that make food, water, and fuel scarce — it can exacerbate violence and, hence, genocide.

You have to be kidding me!

As a result, individuals can help by reducing their carbon footprint — via carpooling, use of mass transit.

Oh I see so the genocide in Rwanda could have been prevented if the people had more bike paths, high density housing, and light rail! It sounds like Ms. Kennedy is using “genocide” and all the images we associate with that term, to push a left-wing agenda.

Here is suggestion number 2!

2) Buy Conflict-Free Electronics

Again folks I’m not making this up!

The Democratic Republic of Congo has seen intense conflict, including genocide, for over a decade. The country is rich in minerals like tin, coltan, tungsten, and gold, which are used in consumer electronics. Buying these electronics often indirectly funds armed groups that use violence, child slavery, and other atrocities to extract the minerals. 

World Without Genocide supports the Enough Project, which has a national campaign that encourages consumers to be selective about the electronics they buy. The project has ranked electronic companies on their efforts to manufacture “conflict-free electronics.”

Better check where you got the IPhone 6! You might be supporting genocide!

Now, reason number three is a but more relevant:

3) Think Locally

Gender violence, including sex trafficking, “is a systematic problem that’s always at the heart of genocide,” Kennedy said. And whatever crimes exist globally also exist locally, in our own communities.  

Minnesota has one of the nation’s highest rates of sex trafficking. The FBI has identified the Twin Cities as one of 13 US cities with a high incidence rate of child prostitution. The reasons are multifold: a computer-savvy population (perpetrators often lure people via the Internet), a large northern border, an international airport, the Mall of America, and more.

Now, folks I’m 100% against human trafficking, prostitution, and violence against women, but those things are crimes not genocide. This is why we have law enforcement.

The typical victim is a 12 to 14-year-old female runaway. Once trafficked, she may remain trafficked for years, even a lifetime. Some stay mired in trafficking due to financial necessity; victims often have minimal education and job skills. Additionally, traffickers use drugs and threaten violence to control or ‘break’  their victims. “For many women and girls, a life of being trafficked will be nearly impossible to escape,” Kennedy said. 

One way to help is to refer to those being trafficked as “someone who’s being prostituted,” not “a prostitute.” This simple wording change aids in efforts to prosecute traffickers and to see those who are trafficked as the victims that they truly are.

Yup, even here we have to deal with the language police. 

Raising awareness of this issue, especially in high school settings, is also important; World Without Genocide routinely does outreach to educators, telling them about warning signs to look for like a student who’s suddenly alienated herself or is acting out or dressing differently. “People who suspect trafficking need to call 911 and report it,” Kennedy said. 

Perhaps we should police our border, deport criminal illegal aliens, or lock up these sex traffickers for life! Wouldn’t that be better?

Kennedy says she is “optimistic” about the future but strangely she seems to believe the problem is the United States!

Looking ahead, Kennedy would like to expand World Without Genocide’s reach by creating regional offices. She’s committed to continue changing the way America views and responds to genocide.

“No American president was ever forced out of office for failing to prevent genocide,” Kennedy said, describing ways that the United States lags behind other countries on human rights issues: America hasn’t ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or the Ottawa Convention (to ban landmines). Neither is the United States a member of the International Criminal Court. But this could change.

No international treaty will prevent genocide or war. If you don’t believe me look up the Kellogg-Briand Pact. People who want to kill mass amounts of people don’t respond to words. Got back to the Nazis; The Allied nations tried to negotiate with Hitler, they tried to appease him, they passed resolutions at the League of Nations. Any of it work?

“Genocide happens because we let it happen,” Kennedy said. “Genocide is not a tsunami or an earthquake. Genocides are manmade crimes; they can be prevented. Everyone can be an upstander.”

We let it happen? It’s our fault? Hmm, not a word about Iran, or Syria, or ISIS? Why am I not shocked? If you want to prevent genocide Ms. Kennedy, and you’re serious about it, why don’t you go talk to the people who are committing the genocide? Take some nice vacations to the Middle East rather than criticize people who buy electronics.

Now, of course, Ms. Kennedy is entitled to her views. Nobody here is trying to shut her up. But this is more than that. This lady was invited to speak here (I assume anyway) and her organization is being promoted by four cities in our area! She has the same free speech rights that I do but we don’t have to give her a platform. Imagine if a christian group was promoting ending genocide and Pat Robertson or Gary Bauer was the guest speaker? I bet that would NEVER be promoted my any human rights commission.

So who is this group Ms. Kennedy represents and what are they advocating for? Find out in our next post!

March 31, 2015 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

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