Big Votes Coming Up


By Andrew Richter

Folks if we want to stop the Bottineau light rail line we have two chances left. The municipal consent votes in Crystal and Brooklyn Park are coming up! Crystal has a public hearing on February 16 and a possible vote on February 29. Brooklyn Park has a vote coming up on February 21. These are the only two cities with any chance of saying no to light rail. The city councils of Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, and Minneapolis are just lap dogs for Hennepin County and the Met Council! We need to pack the rooms at these meetings and say NO to Bottineau!!!!

February 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm Leave a comment

This is Why I Hate the Chamber of Commerce


By Andrew Richter

This group is pathetic! From the Sun Post;

The recent forecast of a $1.87 billion budget surplus is a perfect backdrop to our season of holiday cheer. State coffers continue to grow on the strength of the hard work and success of Minnesota employers and employees.

Um no. There’s no such thing as a budget surplus. What this means is that Minnesota employees and employers overpaid their tax bill.

By all accounts, tax relief will be center stage when the 2016 Legislature convenes in March. The budget surpluses the state has enjoyed since the permanent $2 billion tax increase in 2013 signal it’s time to bring taxes on Minnesota employers to a more competitive level.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce leads the statewide United for Jobs Coalition, which represents more than 75 local chambers of commerce and business associations including the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce, the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce, the North Hennepin Chamber of Commerce, Richfield Chamber of Commerce and TwinWest Chamber of Commerce.

We recommend the governor and the 2016 Legislature focus on reducing the state business property tax, which will benefit Main Street businesses in every community. Also left undone from the 2015 Legislature was transportation funding.

What? That’s your recommendation? How pathetic! First off, property tax should be a local issue not one that the state dictates on. How about our income, gas, and sales taxes? Where are you on those?

By law, one-third, or $665 million, of the surplus must be transferred to the budget reserve. The remaining $1.2 billion surplus offers ample opportunity to provide sustained and strategic investments in roads, bridges and transit systems and provide meaningful tax relief. 

Once again, transportation is not roads and bridges no no! It is transit as well and probably bike paths and sidewalks and dog parks etc.

Unlike homeowners and most other properties that pay only local property taxes, businesses also pay the state levy that goes into the general fund. This state property tax is about one-third of a business property tax bill.

So then you should be advocating for getting rid of this provision. Cutting this tax means the next legislature can raise them right back up.

Property taxes for Minnesota businesses are among the highest in the nation – second highest for rural properties and sixth highest for metro properties. Minnesota business property taxes exceed some of our neighboring states by more than 200 percent.

Most Minnesotans may dismiss higher business property taxes as out of sight and out of mind. The taxes don’t come of their pocketbooks, so why be concerned? Higher taxes are ultimately paid by consumers in higher prices for goods and services. Higher taxes limit what’s available for employee raises, reinvestment in the business, expansion and potential job growth.

Couldn’t you say the same thing for income taxes, or gas taxes, or sales taxes? Aren’t we higher there than any other neighboring state?

From a small business restaurant owner in Rochester: “I can remember when property taxes were manageable, but now they represent our sixth largest cost. At one of our facilities we have to do 20 weddings a year just to pay the property tax, and this is 25 percent of our weddings. We offer free meals to our employees along with life insurance. That is all being looked at to get cut because of rising property taxes and the Affordable Health Care Act. ”

Competitiveness matters. Minnesota regularly wins high marks for its quality of life, and we celebrate that. Why not start to lower our high tax burdens that hinder the ability of Minnesota businesses to compete? Getting off the top of the “top 10” tax lists will sustain and build our state’s economy.

How about advocating for spending cuts, education freedom, health care choices, welfare reform, and local control? Instead you argue for more spending and and a “business property ax” without even arguing for any roperty tax reform!!

Minnesota employers want to live and work in this state, but there’s a distinct difference between simply staying here and investing to help the economy change and grow. Our favorable “quality of life” rankings deserve a collective “high five. Look beneath the headlines, however, and there are troubling facts. The costs for doing business are among the highest in the nation.

Economic growth will ultimately come from a strong business climate that encourages employers to reinvest in Minnesota. That benefits employers and employees alike.

Doug Loon is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which leads the United for Jobs Coalition, unitedforjobsmn.com.

And you guys are as useless as a $3 bill!

 

January 16, 2016 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

How Clueless Can You Be?


By Andrew Richter

Folks, we haven’t posted much about District 281 here. Personally, I consider public education a lost cause. That said, I’m at a loss for words after reading this Sun Post article;

A group of parents, school district administrators, and educators gathered Dec. 3, as part of Robbinsdale Area Schools’ reviews its middle school programming and facilities.

Suggested changes for the district’s two – soon to be three – middle schools included avoiding a “cookie cutter” approach to teaching, making middle schools a “hub” for the community at large, and intentionally recruiting more teachers of color.

With all do respect, if you don’t want a “cookie-cutter” approach then get rid of the public school system! Only the free market that can react to changes can possibly avoid a one size fits all approach. And what is this “recruiting teachers of color intentionally crap?” As bad as the district has become, the parents are getting even loonier;

“We still have white middle class women teaching students who aren’t,” said Mandy Tiegland, a parent of a student at Crystal’s Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource School.

What a racist! What if this person said they “only want whites teaching her white children?” A good teacher can teach and a good student can learn regardless of how many chocolate chips we put in this vanilla shake.

Other concerns included building “authentic” relationships between teachers and students, promoting the social, a communal aspect of schooling, and making sure every child is recognized for an achievement.

What? Authentic relationship? Social and communal aspects? Huh?

Attendees at the Dec. 3 meeting of the school district were asked to discuss a series of questions related to middle school programming in the district.

“Every kid should be able to come home and say ‘guess what?’ to their parents,” said Alicia Oldenhof, a Zachary Lane parent. “No matter how big or how small, if every child gets chosen and feels worth something … I think it’s important to make every kid feel that, and not just the ones who are chosen for everything.”

Come on! Are you serious? You picked your nose and didn’t wipe it on anyone, here’s a sticker! School is about learning not “feeling good!”

Meeting attendees were asked to contemplate seven questions:

 

 

• How do we define excellence in our middle schools?

Honestly if you don’t know the answer to that, then why are kids in school at all? Just think we have a school district that can’t define the purpose of middle school!

• How can our middle schools be more connected to the community?

• What do we want all our middle schools students to experience?

Ah, maybe learn something.

• How do we ensure an equitable educational experience for every middle school student?

Impossible; some kids learn better and faster then others. That was the case 100 years ago and it will be the case 100 years from now.

• How do we know students are doing well?

Um, check out their grades and test scores.

• What is going well that we need to continue and why?

• What do we need to stop doing and why?

You don’t know the answers to this?

The Dec. 3 meeting was the task force’s first public gathering since it began its work several weeks ago.

A Sun Post data request for agendas and materials supplied or otherwise used at the series of internal meetings resulted in a handful of documents, one of which is already available on the district’s public-facing website. The documents make several allusions to a Google Drive folder with additional materials, but those were not supplied as part of the request.

The task force itself is part of the district’s effort to slow down its long-range facilities plan, the first phase of which was approved by the school board last summer.

The second phase of the three-phase plan drew criticism from parents and community members, who questioned the wisdom of putting alternative learning and community education programs in a mothballed elementary school building in Plymouth. Community members also questioned the plan’s taxation and funding implications and more.

The school board approved phase two in early autumn, but deliberately left specific decisions about programming and building usage out of the approved resolution – hence the creation of the task force and advisory group.

The task force is charged with providing middle school program recommendations to the district superintendent for Robbinsdale Middle School, Plymouth Middle School, the recently-conveyed FAIR Crystal school and its Sandburg Learning Center, which is set to open as a middle school for the 2017-18 year.

As a District 281 graduate, I’m appalled at how clueless this district has become. Lord, give us vouchers now!

Article 

December 24, 2015 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

New Hope New Hope New Hope!!


By Andrew Richter

Look out now New Hope taxpayers but not only did the city pass a HUGE tax increase but their Space Needs Task Force is recommending a new city hall AND police building. And hell the cost is only estimated at $17,402,000!! Way to cut those costs New Hope!

Check it out;

Task Force Report

And you have to love the tax increase they passed on November 30 by OF COURSE a unanimous vote. It’s New Hope after all dissent is a foreign concept. The tax increase ended up being 7.6%!!!!!

Budget Meeting 

 

 

December 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

We Won’t Be Silenced on Refugees


By Andrew Richter

I want to share a great piece from our friend AJ Kern calling out our race-baiting governor on refugees;

During your Oct. 13 visit to St Cloud, hosted by the NAACP, you deflected legitimate inquiries on refugee resettlement by making divisive and inflammatory accusations in your opening statement, “If you are that intolerant, if you are that much of a racist or a bigot, then find another state.”

Governor, your name calling was inappropriate and undignified for the office you hold.  As the state leader, you purposely manipulated an overdue discussion by banking on the silencing of citizens.

The American system of government doesn’t work successfully by directives from the top down.  This tactic may work in Germany, but not here.

Reasonable concerns

Concerns over the number of refugees and immigrants the St. Cloud area may reasonably absorb and support certainly isn’t racist.

Census reports the past several years confirm what residents have known for years. Thousands of Somali immigrants have moved to this area within the past decade.

St. Cloud State University’s School of Public Affairs Research Institute provided “An Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, Threats for City of Waite Park Land Use Study,” Sept. 10. The analysis cites a higher crime rate and higher number of police officers per 1,000 residents than the Minnesota average and identifies an increasingly high ratio of rental/ownership of housing units, perhaps explaining lower average home sales than the state average.

A city of St Cloud study supports the same observation of an increase in rental properties, in addition to rising poverty.

In fact, governor, the day you came to town and admonished residents, Stearns County commissioners eliminated a foot clinic service for seniors which has existed for almost 25 years.

We’re not rich

Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey stated during the meeting, “America is a rich country.”

That’s a myth.  America isn’t rich.  For the first time in American history, the current generation will be handing over an unprecedented $20 trillion national debt to the next generation. The federal government’s latest budget has estimated a deficit of $474 billion.

Unquestionably America is the most generous country in the world, providing humanitarian assistance without discrimination.  The U.S. has provided over $1.5 billion in assistance to Somalia alone since 2009.

I counter that we cannot continue to be responsible for the rest of the world.  Politicians irresponsibly borrowing from our children is not compassion. We are no longer taking care of our own seniors, veterans and American minorities.

A 2015 U.S. Census Bureau report projects, for the first time, the immigrant population will account for more than one in seven U.S. residents (51 million) by 2023.  Along with new immigrants is a demand for increasing taxpayer funded services and grants.

According to the federal Domestic Resettlement Program, the Office of Refugee Resettlement in fiscal 2013 received $999.4 million.  Approximately 74 percent of refugee households received food assistance, 23 percent received housing assistance and 47 percent received cash assistance.

Refugee-immigrant-asylee numbers are increasing while the standard of living for the average American is decreasing. Governor, next year there will be no cost-of-living increase for tens of millions of our senior citizens in their Social Security check.

And despite billions of dollars budgeted for improving veterans access to medical care, veterans still face major delays in gaining access to medical services.

Education impacts

The GAO admits, “Refugee students can negatively affect performance outcomes for school districts because they often have limited English proficiency.” (Underperforming schools affect home values.)

Our state never solved the achievement gap, governor.  Now we are spending millions to assist an increasing number of English language learners.  Where is the voice of American minority parents?

When the United Nations, politicians and non-profits make decisions resulting in over 20,000 immigrants who may need English skills moving into a community of less than 115,000 people — a community that had no voice in the decision making — you’re going to have a problem.

We get it.  Democrats seek new Democratic voters while establishment Republicans seek cheap foreign labor, which also provide additional corporate tax exemptions.

And by the way governor, Minnesotan’s have a right of not only free speech but, the right to preserve our American culture.  The adults in the room will not be silenced by the battle cry of diversity and accusations of racism.

Thank you!

Article

November 13, 2015 at 8:56 am 1 comment

Golden Valley’s City Council Race!


By Andrew Richter

In addition to the mayor’s race there are six candidates going for two spots. HERE is the Sun Post article on it. I’ll let you read it and come to your own conclusions but here is my quick take;

*Carol Barry is very critical of the high taxes in Golden Valley as well as the large debt and she says she’ll donate her salary (I’d rather she just not take it) but she also seems to favor more transit along Highway 55.

*Hattie Bonds seems to have little to say on the issues and has the worst yard signs in the history of western civilization.

*Joanie Clausen is a person that many people seem to like personally. She’s very critical of Mayor Shep Harris which of course we love, but I’ll never forgive her for her flip-flop on Bottineau Transit.

*Steve Schmidgall is useless.

*Andy Schuler is most curious. He seems like a decent guy but he’s endorsed by the Green Party. As we’ve learned with Laura Libby in Crystal, that means he has his own agenda. His facebook page is covered with articles about legalizing pot which has nothing to do with being a councilman. Look for him to care about his Green issues and be indifferent to anything else.

*Paul Scofield  is the most conservative criticizing Golden Valley’s tax increases and debt.

The election is tomorrow everyone!

November 2, 2015 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

Golden Valley Mayor’s Race: Political or Personal


By Andrew Richter

Citizens of Golden Valley go to the polls this Tuesday in their strange odd year election. Their mayor’s race between “professional DFL politician” Shep Harris and challenger Marti Micks has been interesting. When reading about the candidates. The race seems to be more about personalities than policy. The Sun Post recently did a work up;

Sun Post Article

We all know Shep Harris is horrible; he’ll vote for higher taxes, more government, Bottineau Transit, and it’s our opinion that he is using his office to gain higher office.

Marti Micks is the harder one to figure out. She seems to really dislike the mayor personally. In the Sun Post she stated “I am concerned that as paid lobbyist, the current mayor can have a conflict of interest as a voting member of the council.”

She does have some good points; She’s opposed to the new community center, seems to oppose the development of high density housing, and paying off debt. All that seems great but then again I look at her background and wonder how much change she will really bring. Here is the experience she has;

“Golden Valley City Councilmember and Housing Redevelopment Authority commissioner for eight years; Open Space and Recreation Commission for three years; Golden Valley League of Women Voters, member, president for 10 years; Golden Valley Historical Society.”

League of Women Voters? Former councilmember? Does that sound like much change to you?

I guess we’ll find out tomorrow Golden Valley!

 

November 2, 2015 at 9:56 am Leave a comment

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