About Us

Community Solutions MN is an organization that has spent over nine years learning the ins and outs of local, nonpartisan politics. We took on the existing power structure in our own city, that was not listening to residents and not acting in their best interest. Through the use of new media techniques and old-fashioned elbow grease, we worked to replace every sitting member of that seven person council within three election cycles.

After the success in our hometown, we soon found out that existing networks have made it so that most localities have many of the same issues. We felt that Community Solutions MN was no longer just for our little corner of the world, but that the entire state of Minnesota could benefit from what we have to say. In our travels, we have found out that most people have no idea and no one else is doing what we do.

You see, special interest groups are going all over the state to try and get local governments to adopt policies that can’t pass the legislature. As a result, there are many issues that we are being confronted with in our communities. We want to put a stop to this end-around and put people back in control of local government, not special interests. We do that through not only our blog and weekly podcast, but also through giving keynote addresses to interested groups. We have developed training to help BPOUs, activist groups, candidates, and newly elected officials to get started. We provide consulting, strategy, and mentorship to help organically grow our movement. We want to cut down your learning curve on these issues, so that you can save time on self education and start putting your action plan into place.

We can do this, Minnesota. We believe that we live in a state that has the ability and raw talent to make a difference. If you want to to know more about anything listed above, or you want to know more about getting on an advisory commission or running for local office, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Questions and comments can be emailed to us at commsolutionsmn@gmail.com

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner  |  June 3, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Please add me to your mailing list.

  • 2. Ardi Keim  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Yes! Community organization and leadership — so much better than politics.

  • 3. Michelle Gross  |  November 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you for your ongoing coverage of the Ramirez family saga. I wanted to share with you the letter we sent to the city council and members elect yesterday. We consider this an open letter:
    Communities United Against Police Brutality
    3104 16th Avenue South
    Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407

    November 21, 2012

    City Council Members
    City of Crystal
    4141 Douglas Drive
    Crystal, Minnesota 55422

    Dear Crystal City Council Members:

    Thank you for listening to our concerns at last night’s city council meeting.

    We write to reiterate our concern with the lack of a neutral
    investigation into the criminal suppression of an investigation into
    crimes committed against the Ramirez family. The individual hired by
    Crystal to investigate this matter is not a law enforcement officer
    and has no ability to bring charges for any criminal conduct that may
    be uncovered in the investigation. Further, because she is being paid
    by the city, she has an inherent conflict of interest in that she has
    a financial incentive to reach whatever conclusion the City desires.

    To cover up police crime is a crime. Therefore, the City of Crystal
    should conflict this matter out to another law enforcement agency,
    preferably one that did not participate in the Metro Gang Strike
    Force. This is not only professionally proper, but it removes the
    appearance of impropriety. Please see the attached article in which
    Burnett County Sheriff’s Department was discovered to have covered up
    allegations involving one of its deputies. They properly conflicted
    the matter out to another county for investigation.

    It is clear that the city has had no interest in investigating the
    original crimes against the Ramirez family and, in fact, police
    management took steps to cover them up. Therefore, it is imperative
    that Crystal conflict out not only the investigation of the
    suppression but the investigation of the original crimes against the
    Ramirez family as well as whoever currently possesses the stolen
    property. These matters have never been investigated.

    The Ramirez family were residents of Crystal at the time these crimes
    were committed. They deserve to have the crimes against them
    investigated appropriately. The buck stops with you.

    For justice,

    Michelle Gross

    C: Jim Adams, Casey Peake, Laura Libby

    Here’s the link to the article we referenced:

  • 4. Michelle Gross  |  December 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Are you aware of two very hot issues in Crystal? The first is City Manager Anne Norris’s contract, which is so legally flawed it is laughable. Not only does she make over 20% more than the Minneapolis mayor, but her contract has no end date and there is no way to end it or fire her without paying her 50% of her salary. One section even says that if the city wants to suspend her, they need her permission to do it. The community is worried that the city will sign this one-sided contract again.

    The second issue involves Councilmember Julie Deshler. In addition to being a city council member, Julie Deshler is the operations director (according to her council website) of Uniforms Unlimited. Uniforms Unlimited has an account with the City of Crystal to provide police uniforms and equipment. This company has received over $116,000 of Crystal taxpayer money since 2009. With that kind of money and the account controlled by Anne Norris and Stephanie Revering, how can Deshler ever vote independently, especially if her vote would go against one of those two?

    A complaint was filed with the mayor by 13 Crystal residents and one person who works in Crystal over two weeks ago. To date, the mayor has not even acknowledged this complaint and no word as to any investigation in this obvious conflict of interest.

    People will be raising these issues at tomorrow’s city council meeting. I hope you’ll take interest in covering these issues.

  • 5. communitysolutionsmn  |  December 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I’m well aware of Anne’s contract but I;m not done analyzing it. I’mnot sure the contract is “legally flawed” but I would call it one-sided. I have no personal grudge against Anne, I would just like to see the city manager spot eliminated.

    Julie Deshler is someone I know fairly well and she’s worked for Uniforms United for a long time. Her company (which she does not own) has received money from the city of Crystal…yes that’s true but the real question is whether Deshler has received anything from being on the council. If the answer is no, then I don’t see a conflict. You’re making a serious allegation and I suggest you dig into it more before make such an allegation at a public meeting.

    i can also say thins on Julie’s behalf, she hasn’t been afraid to cast a dissenting vote. She’s done so over an over so i don’t think removing Anne or Revering would be something she would hesitate to if she really thought it was warranted.

  • 6. Michelle Gross  |  December 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I would be happy to present you with copies of Norris’ contract and our analysis of it (which was reviewed by attorneys). However, I don’t see any way to attach a file. If you provide an email address, I can send it to you. Feel free to email me off list at mgresist@minn.net.

  • 7. Michelle Gross  |  December 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    For more information regarding my posts above, please see (and join if you like it) the Justice for Crystal Cops Erkenbrack and Watt Facebook page. Great news–Alan Watt just got his job back, thanks to great work by the community!


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