December 4 Crystal City Council Meeting Part 2

December 13, 2012 at 12:12 am 1 comment

By Andrew Richter

Now, it came to the meeting. There was a group of about a dozen of us who attended and about six of us were going to speak. We waited through the budget talk and everything else before the Green Step Program finally came up. The first thing that happened was we got a little presentation from city engineer Tom Mathisen who presented a nice two page puff piece with no detail at all.

Mathisen; “The Green Step Program is a program initiated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The overall goal is to get cities involved in energy efficiency and environmental issues like climate change etc.”

Sounds harmless, right? Of course he gave no detail, gave no examples, and neglected to share the whole story of this program. I’m sure that was by accident.

He then explained that there is “peer pressure” to join this “club.” So in other words, let’s do because everyone else it!

Mayor Bowman then asked if there were questions for Mr. Mathisen. Mark Hoffman raised his hand.

Hoffman: “There been a lot of chitter chat going back and forth today. I guess a big question is what are the money implications for the cit of Crystal over the next four or five years as far as meeting this program in new standards and new spending for whatever that might be.”

Now, the comment about “chitter chatter” was probably a reference to me…..oh well no big deal. I also have no problem with Mark Hoffman personally. I disagree with him on some issues, but I don’t have a dislike for him. Believe it or not, when he ran for mayor in 2004 I voted for him.

And he actually asked a fair question of Mathisen;

Mathisen claimed the program was “voluntary” and gave examples of new lighting in city hall and public works buildings. He then claimed that there are “other initiatives that don’t cost anything” but failed to give an example of any.

Julie Deshler came next and asked another good question;

Deshler: “I’m just curious, it seems like we’re already doing these things, is it really necessary to join another “club” and my other question would be if we don’t join this club will there be ramifications down the road with grant money from the state because we aren’t toeing the line.”

Here Mr. Mathisen had no answer except to site a Star Tribune article about Greenland melting. What that has to do with this I still have no idea. He also said it “was part of nationwide movement” so we better get on board!!

What happened next is one the big problems in Crystal. Dave Anderson made a motion to adopt the resolution! Mayor Bowman immediately seconded the motion.

Now folks, keep something in mind here; nobody who came to speak before the council had even had a chance to speak yet and a motion to adopt and second has already been made! This happens all the time and proves what I’ve been saying all along; the council already knows what they are going to do before any public hearing and the majority doesn’t care what you think or have to say! We only get the mic for three minutes. Then they can talk for as long as they want so why can’t they let us speak first.

Mark Hoffman then spoke yet again. He said he didn’t consider himself “green” but “where he can he practices it.” Hoffman also spoke of how the fire stations have been relighted and that will save us money.

Again, that misses the point. This program is all-encompassing; it involves land use, transit, parks, bikes, trails, housing….you name it. It’s not just about energy efficiency. He also announced that he too was voting for it! So a third person announces they will vote for something before the public has a chance to speak!

After Janet Moore and John Budziszewski gave quick comments, Tom Mathisen claimed that all the light bulbs were changed out that saved the taxpayers money. Of course, I didn’t see a property tax reduction because of this “savings” did I?

Mayor Bowman then finally allowed the public to speak on this matter. With a glare on her face, she called me to the podium. What happened next and how did the council vote? Check it out in our next post!


Entry filed under: Agenda 21, City Government, Crystal, Environment, Transportation.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. wants2know  |  December 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Found it fascinating to hear that 21 people had hijacked the process with no acknowledgement that 3 people were attempting to do exactly that. Nice to see a group of well informed residents present a civil but firm request to delay this decision for further public review.


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