Posts filed under ‘Agenda 21’

Jason Lewis’s Met Council Reform Bill is Wrongheaded; We need Elimination Not Reform


By Andrew Richter

Ah…..Minnesota; the cold weather California! Taxes and big government are simply here all the time with no end in sight. Political “leaders” simply don’t have the stomach to change that. And when they do propose something they almost make it worse. Nothing symbolizes that more that efforts to “reform” the Met Council.

Our opposition to the Met Council has been well documented on this blog and on our podcast. Republican politicians have long promised to rein this government monster in, yet they never deliver. They won’t this year and I don’t believe any of the governor candidates that say they will. And when they do have ideas, they almost make the situation worse.

This is the case with the “reform” proposal by  Minnesota Congressman Jason Lewis. First of, let me say that I’m a long time fan of Mr. Lewis going  back to his days on local radio here. I’d vote for him if I lived in District 2. But his proposal to reform the Met Council is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to see anything positive about it.

From Alpha News:

U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) is taking on the Metropolitan Council, proposing a provision that would require a majority of the governing members to be elected officials.

Lewis’ proposal, an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 2018, would end the noncompliance and require the Met Council to have locally elected officials on the governing board. Lewis highlights the Met Council’s independent authority to raise taxes, saying having local elections is a necessary step to increase the accountability of the governing board.

Now that all sounds great but there are several problems with this. First off, having locally elected officials “appointed” to be Met Council would be a disaster. These folks have been trained by the League of Minnesota Cities that “smart growth” is the way forward so look for the same polices to be pushed ; high density housing, transit, roundabouts, complete streets etc. there is little diversity of opinion.

Also this is not possible due to conflicts of interest. How does one represent their city or county and at the same time represent a regional board? How can you work for the Yankees and the Red Sox? You can’t serve two masters; either you are on a regional board and represent the “region” or you are on a city council and represent a city.

Lewis goes on to assure big government proponents that he has no interest in reining in the Met Council’s power.

Our amendment does not seek to change the operations or scope of the Met Council,” Carter Moelk, Deputy Press Secretary for Rep. Lewis, said in a press release. “It does not attempt to change the activities of the board. It simply requires that for a board to be in compliance they need to have locally elected official representation consistent with every other MPO in the country.”

In other words, the Met Council can continue to tax, have authority over local planning, and push their agenda to destroy suburbs and make every place the same with their new urbanism. If Mr. Lewis wants something to do how about you repeal the 1960’s laws that require regional planning boards? How about you refuse to give federal money to these boards? How about you get rid of the Department of Housing and Urban Development? No such luck there…..

This is not the right solution. Furthermore, I’m worried that this may take some steam out of the movement to eliminate this unconstitutional body. The Met Council needs to be eliminated. Hold the Republicans accountable if they fail to do this yet AGAIN!

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May 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm 1 comment

St. Louis Park Nightmare Part 1; Mayor Jake Spano


By Andrew Richter

Well, St. Louis Park is quickly overtaking New Hope as the worst city government outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This is the first in a series of articles on the matter starting with the politics and ambitions of their mayor.

Feom the city website:

Jake Spano was elected as Mayor in 2016 after a four-year term as Councilmember At Large B (2012-2016). His day job is as Deputy Secretary of State to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

What? He serves as the deputy Secretary of State as well as mayor? How is this not a conflict of interest? Can the Education or MNDOT commissioner serve as mayor somewhere? You can’t serve two masters.

Prior to that, he was the marketing director for the City of St. Paul in Mayor Coleman’s administration and before that he served with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar overseeing statewide policy and leading her four state offices and staff.

In other words, he’s a DFL rising star. Look for this guy to run for higher office…..maybe soon.

To prove this we can see him speaking everywhere to promote his left-wing City. Here he is speaking at the CD5 DFL convention on St. Louis Park’s radical carbon cutting program.

 

Spano is also obsessed with liberal buzz words like “racial equity.” I’ll get into that in a future post but check out this statement from him:

As we conduct city business and make decisions that affect our community, we want to hear from the full range of people who represent our community.  To make that happen, it is important that we are deliberate and intentional about reaching out for input from people who were historically not part of the decision-making process. The result of St. Louis Park’s work on racial equity will result in more effective delivery of city services to all of our neighborhoods and make our community a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming place to call home.”

Huh? Is there a racial aspect to city services? Do whites have priority over 911 calls or do their roads get plowed first? This is just politically correct garbage that means nothing. Is this in your charter?

Mayor Spano is well-financed as shown HERE

So he has raised serious money and you can bet that he is seeking the support from the usual left-wing environmental groups, unions, and supporters of rannked choice voting.

This guy is a dangerous radical and needs to be stopped. Mr. Spano you will be watched here!

 

 

April 30, 2018 at 9:50 am Leave a comment

A Great 21rst Century Way to Destroy a Community


By Andrew Richter

And here is how our country is being ruined…….

The Golden Valley City Council met in a work session Jan. 9, to address the need for affordable housing in the city and how local governments can protect low income renters.

The lack of affordable housing has become a worrisome housing trend throughout the city, the metro area and the entire country as a whole, according to Emily Goellner, associate planner for Golden Valley. The state of Minnesota has addressed this downward trend by requiring cities to provide affordable housing opportunities — specifically to establish plans and programs that meet the existing and projected regional housing needs and to develop strategies to promote the development of low- and moderate-income housing.

Really? So people are coming to council meetings demanding lower rent or you got a talking points memo from the APA or the Met Council?

Beyond that, the Metropolitan Council — the regional policy-making body, planning agency and provider of essential services in the Twin Cities region — has studied how much affordable housing the region needs and has allocated a portion of that need to communities throughout the region so they can incorporate needed land into their overall comprehensive plans to make affordable housing possible in Minnesota suburbs. State law, however, does not give the Met Council the ability to force cities to build affordable housing.

Not yet anyway……

Golden Valley’s action plan

The city began addressing the need for more affordable housing in January 2017. The council met to discuss the housing shortage with staff again in April and August.

“Since August, we committed to completing six items immediately,” Goellner said. “We did accomplish all six of those items.”

The city’s six goals included monitoring the housing conditions in the city and taking inventory of housing stock; including strong language in the city’s comprehensive plan to address affordable housing policies; adopting a mixed-income housing policy; attending and establishing good relationships with the Safer Tenants and Renters program; promoting the Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing program with the Greater MN Housing Fund; and expanding the legislative priority of affordable housing.

Huh? What the hell?

While affordable housing is difficult to define, conversations in Golden Valley referred to such housing as households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income. The average rent in Golden Valley is more than $1,200 monthly, according to city staff members. To address this housing shortage, the city has formed a community housing team, comprised of residents, renters, congregations, social service agencies, landlords and housing advocates, to push for the preservation of affordable housing, prevent displacement of neighbors and create access to new affordable housing.

Housing shortage? I thought the rent was too high?

Furthermore, the city has been actively participating in the Affordable Housing Preservation TOOLS work group. The city work group includes representatives from member cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Edina, Richfield, Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Park; along with Hennepin County and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. The city work group seeks to implement initiatives to help protect low-income families by preserving affordable housing.

Let me translate that; you are going to manipulate the housing market by playing favorites and handing out subsidies and changing zoning laws.

“We’re researching four policies right now,” Goellner said. “The first is the advanced tenant notification. This policy would protect tenants once the sale of a NOAH property has occurred.” The policy, Goellner said, would give tenants and local government entities a 90-day advanced notice prior to the sale of the property.

“For 90 days, under this policy, there can be no substantial raise in the rents, no additional screening criteria and no non-renewals of those existing leases,” she said. She explained that, at the end of the 90-day period, some of those actions could be taken, but it would at least allow the tenant 90 days to make alternative housing arrangements, as opposed to only 30 days to make arrangements.

So even if a lease is up and ownership changes hands, the tenants will now get an extra 90 days? This is a breach of contract!

In conjunction with this policy, is a policy in which NOAH property owners would be required to notify the city of the sale. The intent of this policy is that it would allow the city to keep a database of NOAH properties that are for sale and potentially reach out to preservation buyers with the goal of keeping the property affordable. Goellner explained that this would prevent one of the potential causes for the shortage of affordable housing — developers buying old buildings in mixed-income areas and increasing the rent.

The other problem, she explained, is that many developers approach cities with the intent to build new, luxury apartments in mixed-income areas, contributing to the displacement of the community’s low-income households.

“Another policy that we’re still pursuing is the prohibition of the discrimination of Section 8 voucher holders in the city,” she said. The Section 8 Protection Ordinance prohibits the denial of prospective tenants simply for using Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers or other subsidies to help pay rent. The ordinance would prohibit the denial of prospective tenants simply for being a Section 8 recipient.

So that means that they are going to make everyone take Section 8? No freedom of choice!

Currently, housing providers can refuse to rent to individuals solely because they have a housing choice voucher. Goellner explained, this voluntary approach makes it difficult for families to access housing, particularly housing in opportunity-rich communities and neighborhoods.

“This ordinance ensures that voucher recipients are assessed as any other applicant would be,” she said. “This allows families that rely on housing vouchers to have an equal opportunity to acquire housing. The last policy that we’re working on right now is that non-renewal of leases must be for cause.”

The Just Cause ordinance prohibits a NOAH property owner from terminating a tenancy without good or just cause. Just cause reasons for terminating a tenancy would include nonpayment of rent, violating the lease, damaging the apartment, disorderly behavior or disturbing the peace, hosting an unapproved holdover subtenant or having chronically late rent payments.

Currently a lease can only be terminated for a just cause, however, state law allows for no-fault, non-renewal of leases with only 30 days of written notice. Therefore, residents with positive rental histories can receive notices to vacate or non-renewal of leases for no reason, known as involuntary displacement. Extending the just cause requirement would require the same reasoning for lease non-renewal, Goellner said.

So what you are entitled to a live at a certain place? Owners can’t decide who they want as tenants?

Council’s thoughts, next steps

One of the suggestions made by Golden Valley city staff members during the meeting was to set aside a portion of the general fund budget to cover the cost to conduct housing inventory within the city every five years.

“We have the smallest staff and HRA budget of the nine cities involved in the city work group which will affect our ability to enforce and administer these policies,” Goellner said. “When you first look at these, they seem quite simple, but as you start to think about different scenarios in how we would begin to enforce and administer these programs and how they would be defended in the case of a lawsuit, there’s a lot more work that we need to conduct. While cities have a very important role to play, there are some state laws that act as barriers to some of the policy ideas that we have. There’s a lot we can do to enable and encourage affordable housing.”

Why don’t you just stay out of the free market!

The majority of the council members were in favor of having a discussion about potentially setting aside levy funds to boost HRA assistance and provide some kind of financial incentive for property owners to update or remodel affordable housing units, but the members were not prepared to have that discussion that evening.

“We simply don’t have the bandwidth as a city in terms of leading the charge on some of these issues,” Councilmember Larry Fonnest said. “We don’t have the staffing or budget to be at the forefront of this charge, but we are definitely at the table. I think it’s a discussion worth having.”

Councilmember Joanie Clausen said she would not be prepared to discuss the potential of designating tax payer money to such a cause until she’s heard from all stakeholder groups and residents.

“We have a lot of priorities in the city and we need to sit down and address those priorities,” Clausen said. “We have debt we’re really trying to tackle. We have a responsibility to hear both sides and all of the information so we can make an informed decision.”

Clausen said she wanted to hear from affected property owners and urged the council to approach the Section 8 ordinance with caution as the City of Minneapolis is currently facing a lawsuit on the issue. She reminded the council that each member has been entrusted by the residents to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars and that these types of discussions can not be rushed.

“I do not want our city to be facing a lawsuit,” she said.

Mayor Shep Harris asked the council to give staff members one of two directions — to continue meeting with the work group and see what comes from it or to move forward and try to present a draft ordinance on the just cause and advanced notification pieces separate from the work group.

Councilmember Gillian Rosenquist said she would be in favor of the just cause and 90-day notification ordinances. The Section 8 piece, she said, needed more attention because of the litigation and unknowns.

Oh God…..

“In looking at Ms. Goellner’s list of possibilities of things that we could be doing, a lot of them are only possible with an HRA or some kind of financial foundation,” Rosenquist said. “If we’re not doing what comparable communities are doing in terms of an HRA, we need to be having that discussion. We’re at a turning point in this city. I’m not prepared to move forward, but I know that this is something very important to our community.”

Rosenquist concluded her comments by requesting staff members “stay the course.”

“Staying the course doesn’t mean let’s see what happens in five years; the pace has actually been impressively fast,” she said. “We are making a sea change.”

Clausen echoed Rosenquist’s comments and said she was not prepared to direct staff members to start drafting potential ordinances before gathering more information. Councilmember Steve Schmidgall and Fonnest agreed.

“What’s been critical to me all along is that I consider this more of a regional thing,” Schmidgall said. “I think it’s absolutely critical that our community move forward in step with the other eight or 10 communities involved.”

Oh Schmidgall must have been awake for this meeting…..

“This is an issue which has long-term implications, not only for our city, but also for the entire region and the state and it will affect the quality of people’s lives,” Fonnest said. “With the exception of one meeting with property managers and landlords, folks that are in those positions within our community are not at the table. We can build a castle in the sky, but if the property owners are not on board, there’s going to be a lot of push-back and a lot of effort that may not bear fruit.”

So you are going to improve Golden Valley by adding more low income housing and by forcing in more section 8 vouchers! That’s a future I can believe in!

Fonnest requested that city staff members make a concentrated effort to inform managers and property owners in the city of these discussions, explain the city’s long-term goals and present a plan illustrating how the two parties can work together.

“I’m supportive of the advance notice and the just cause ordinance, but I think we have to be practical in our pursuit and realize that there are legal hurdles out there that others are going to have to jump on our behalf,” he said.

Harris said he was in favor of beginning to draft ordinances to address the three points — Section 8, just cause, and advanced notification.

“My biggest fear is that we have another NOAH property that turns,” Harris said. “To me, one of the number one priorities as a city is to ensure people’s safety. To use a scenario, let’s say I am a victim of domestic abuse and I need to make numerous calls to the police. Fortunately, I feel comfortable calling the police because I know under state law, I’m not going to get kicked out immediately. However, I am not going to call the police because when my lease is up for renewal there’s nothing to potentially protect me from having my lease not renewed. Even though our city has ordinances when it comes to nuisance and state law does not count domestic abuse as a nuisance, there’s still little protection for individuals. Though domestic abuse does not count as a nuisance under state law, there’s nothing preventing a landlord from not renewing that lease because of the repeated police calls to their property and that puts me in a position,” he continued. “I’m being abused, my children are being abused; this is the only place I can stay right now. And now, I have to choose between picking up the phone and calling the police and possibly being kicked out of this apartment in six months when my lease is up and having to find another place for me and my kids to live or just continuing to take the abuse. Unfortunately in some cases, the decision is not to pick up the phone. Do I have any facts that this is happening in our community? No, I do not. But, is it a potential? Yes. And that concerns me.”

OK can anyone tell me what he just said?

Before moving on to the next agenda item, the council heard from Christine Hart, community developer and community action partnership.

“We are a service agency working with low income residents,” she said. “We have homeless prevention services and we do provide services around housing stability and getting people out of the shelter system and into housing. That being said, we are able to help seven families a month across the entire county and we get over 100 calls per month. This isn’t going to change without some systemic solutions.”

To learn more about Golden Valley’s housing market visit weblink.ci.golden-valley.mn.us/Public/2/doc/645176/Page1.aspx. City staff members have developed a 43-page document outlining the supply, cost and demand of housing in Golden Valley. To listen to the full audio of the council/manager work session visit: goldenvalleymn.gov/council/manager-meetings.php.

Residents are also invited to attend The Community Housing Team monthly meetings. Contact Ruth Paradise for more information at ruthparadise40@gmail.com.

Good Lord…..you poor people in Golden Valley are just going to continue to watch your city decline…..this is the way it’s done; slowly change ordinances, zoning, density requirements, and use taxes as a way to manipulate what happens. There’s no freedom of choice, no free market principles, and no personal liberty or responsibility. If you are in Golden Valley get out now!

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January 20, 2018 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Annexation


By Andrew Richter

Folks we’ve been harping on the Met Council and the League of Minnesota Cities lately, so I thought it was time to check out what is happening in Greater Minnesota by looking into what the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is up to. And what did I find???? Check this out: They want Greater Minnesota to oppose Senate File 1795 because…..

SF 1749 prohibits a city from pursuing an annexation if the potential annexation area is covered by an orderly annexation agreement with another city

On paper this may sound reasonable, but what happens in practice is that a township will often put two cities against each other to get the best deal for the township, rather than what is best for the region’s development.

What? Best for the region’s development? And who is to decide that? Doesn’t a township have the right to decide for itself what is in their best interest?

Let them know that SF 1749 is harmful because:

  • It stifles economic development, particularly in Greater Minnesota.
  • It will prevent cities from having a say in how they develop, and instead gives townships disproportionate leverage in negotiating orderly annexation agreements.
  • It would be a stunning restriction of property owner rights:
    • A landowner could be denied the right to connect with city services when building a home.
    • A business owner could be denied the right to build or expand a business.
    • A city may not be able to include property purchased for public purposes—such as for wastewater treatment, water supply or an industrial park—in its own boundaries.

Yeah right! What bunch of garbage! First off, economic development is not stifled by elected local government acting in the best interests of the people who voted for them. They have no obligation to cater to regional planners. Some of these towns and townships want to stay small, they don’t want to be carved up into bike paths and bus routes.

Townships have disproportionate leverage? Shouldn’t they? Cities should have it easier to “annex them?” If townships have no leverage, then eventually they are all going to be eaten up by the nearest big city.

A property rights defense are you kidding? Cities deny permits to build or expand all the time and they deny many communities the right to privately use well water, instead forcing residents “on the system.” And wouldn’t it be terrible that a city couldn’t use eminent domain or buy land. Doesn’t the government own enough?

Read the article HERE 

There’s plenty more where that came from!

April 29, 2017 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

More TOD Coming to Brookyln Park


By Andrew Richter

Guess what is coming to Brooklyn Park!

The Brooklyn Park Economic Development Authority unanimously voted to authorize staff to purchase surplus righ of way land leftover from Highway 610 construction. The parcel, at the northeast corner of the Highway 169 and 610 interchange, will be bought with the intention to sell it to Target Corporation for their north campus development.

The cost to purchase the approximately 23 acres of land will be $2.2 million. Currently, the land is owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Target has an existing development agreement with the city stipulating that Target has a right to buy this land from the development authority when MnDOT makes it available for purchase. Moreover, the agreement stipulates that if Target buys the land from the development authority, Target will purchase the land at the same price the authority paid, and cover all of the city’s out-of-pocket costs. Target will have 180 days to purchase the parcel from the development authority. If Target does not purchase the land within this period, the city can land bank the parcel until it is needed for the later development of the Oak Grove Parkway light rail station.

Oh yippy!

Jennifer Jordan, senior project manager for the city, said the costs to hold the land would be minimal, and would primarily be for mowing and potential waste removal. Target cannot purchase the land directly from MnDOT. Councilmember Mark Mata said the city should not mow the parcel if it purchases the land. The city should lease the land to a farmer until development, if possible, he said. Jordan said an MnDOT lease on the land with a farmer has expired, so the city could explore leasing the parcel to another farmer. Councilmember Bob Mata agreed with Mark, and said the city should lease the land to a farmer.

Funding for the parcel would come from tax increment funding, Jordan said. To her knowledge, after Target purchases the parcel from the city, the funding would be returned to the tax increment fund.

Did I ever express how much I hate TIF?

By the why does Target keep getting these little sweetheart deals?

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March 7, 2017 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

Brooklyn Park Does Not Need More Affordable Housing!


By Andrew Richter

This is totally out of the Twilight Zone:

African Career, Education and Resource Inc. and Asamblea de Derechos Civiles hosted a regional housing forum to address housing discrimination, displacement, development and otherwise undignified living conditions in the northwest metro. The meeting was held Jan. 12 at Zanewood Community Center in Brooklyn Park. The meeting attracted the attention of elected officials. District 36 Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), Brooklyn Center Councilmember Marquita Butler, and Brooklyn Park Councilmembers Lisa Jacobson and Susan Pha were in attendance.

Wow! What a shock that a race-baiter like Susan Pha would be there.

Pha said she attended, in part, to hear feedback on affordable rent for new developments in Brooklyn Park. Jacobson said she is regularly confronted with housing issues, as she is executive director at Hope 4 Youth, an Anoka area homeless shelter for young people age 23 and younger.

Participants testified that affordable housing with livable conditions are exceedingly difficult to find, and said landlords can exercise unethical and discriminatory policies towards people of color and the impoverished. Alfreda Daniels, Brooklyn Park resident and community organizer for the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation said she was “terribly disappointed,” after moving into The Willows apartment complex in Brooklyn Park, and that landlords take advantage of rental residents. Rents are raised yearly without making any improvements to the apartments, she said.

Oh so if rent goes up its racist! How about the price of homes? They go up too! How about the city of Brooklyn Park stop raising property taxes on landlords who just pass off the cost to their tenants.

Within two weeks of moving in, she said she had difficulty with mice. “I’ve called the city actually, twice. I called the city two days later, and there were people that came over for inspection, but to my surprise, they were checking out my smoke detectors,” she said. If a resident of the complex is paying their rent on time, they must either pay in-person at the head office in Minneapolis or mail a check, but late payments with interest can be made on-site, Daniels said. “What about my neighbors who don’t have a car … and work [late]?” she said.

If you have mice why are you calling the city? If your neighbor doesn’t have a car can’t they ride a bus? How do they get to work?

Carol LaFleur, a Brooklyn Park resident, has rented houses with mold issues that caused her child health issues resulting in hospitalization, she said. She said city officials did not step in to address the issue. She lived on a fixed income, and raisin her family to other properties in the city, she said. Antonia Alvarez, co-founder of Asamblea de Derechos Civiles (or Assembly for Civil Rights) is a resident of Lowry Grove Mobile Home Park in St. Anthony. Alvg rents forced her to movearez has been a leader in the fight to save Lowry Grove from redevelopment. The park was sold to The Village, a developer, in June 2016.

Under state law, mobile home residents have the right of first refusal in the case of a mobile home closure. That is, if 51 percent of park residents can organize and match the terms and conditions of the buyer’s offer, they can purchase the park. Lowry Grove residents worked with Aeon, a nonprofit in the housing field, to offer the same $6 million that The Village offered. Park owners sold to The Village rather than to Aeon. The legality of the park’s sale is currently being reviewed in the courts.

So then change the law if you don’t like it!

Alvarez said Lowry Grove is the only affordable housing and immigrant-friendly community in St. Anthony.
“We need affordable houses; Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Bloomington,” she said. “Are you ready in Brooklyn Park to fight for affordable houses?” she asked, with the crowd replying “Yes.” Application fees are used unjustly by landlords, participants said. Landlords will accept applicant fees already knowing they will not offer housing to the applicant, they said. Several residents said coded racial language is used by landlords and developers to segregate neighborhoods, or otherwise turn away potential renters of color. “It’s impactful to hear, I mean these are real life stories, this is really what’s happening,” Hoffman said. “It causes one to think, ‘Well, alright, how deep is this issue? How systemic is it?’ You have folks from different parts of the community that are all experiencing.

Unreal, now a fee is racist! What are you; entitled to housing in a certain city?

Statutory language would need to be looked at to see how to address the issue, “especially on the discrimination side,” Hoffman said. “It’s real, and it’s happening right in our backyard.” He said if statutory language already does not allow for discrimination based on factors such as race or poverty, then city housing authorities would need to look at what can be done to provide relief. The forum broke into workgroups to discuss their personal experiences and possible solutions. Tim Moriarty, an area resident, said cities should require developers to include low-cost or subsidized housing in their new development proposals. Rather than separate and stigmatize these renters by separating their housing, thVey should have low-cost or subsidized housing mixed with unsubsidized housing, he said.

So the solution is to pass of the cost of real estate on to the taxpayers!

Ugh! Take it from me folks; there’s tons of housing in Brooklyn Park. These people don’t want housing, they want to race-bait to get housing at a lower cost or on the taxpayer’s dime.

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January 30, 2017 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

My Official Acceptance


By Andrew Richter

I am happy to accept this appointment;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sept. 20, 2016

CITIZENS LEAGUE ANNOUNCES NEW TRANSIT STUDY COMMITTEE
Is there a better way to govern, plan, and fund a transit system to strengthen the region?

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Citizens League is convening a new study committee to look at transit in the region through the lens of governance, policy, and funding. The study committee will be chaired by Peter Bell, former Met Council chair. Ann Lenczewski, former legislator and chair of the Minnesota House Tax Committee, will serve as vice-chair.

This focus on transit—defined broadly to include all modes—is the result of a more general study of the Met Council that the Citizens League completed earlier this spring with a 19-member task force of community members. In that final report, the task force reported that while experts maintained that the region’s system of transit governance, planning, operating, and funding worked well despite its seemingly fragmented and complex nature, there remained important questions related to accountability and transparency, efficiency and effectiveness, and equity. Given the limited time the previous group had to review these issues, it recommended that the Citizens League undertake a separate study.

“As our transit system continues to expand it is important to make sure that our funding structure is adequate, equitable, sustainable, and transparent,” said Peter Bell.

“Almost everyone agrees that we do not currently have a sustainable system for addressing long-term transit needs related to both workforce changes and aging,” said Sean Kershaw, Citizens League Executive Director. “In the last session, transit funding questions ultimately prevented a number of other funding and policy issues from being addressed. Instead of limping along, we want to study the current system to see if there could be a better way to plan for a stronger region now and in the future.”

Through recommendations and an open call to all Citizens League members, the new transit study committee will include the following members:

Chair and Vice-Chair
· Mr. Peter Bell, Former Metropolitan Council Chair (2003-2011) (Chair)
· Ms. Ann T. Lenczewski, State Government Relations, Lockridge Grindal Nauen and former Minnesota House of Representative, Chair of Tax Committee (Vice-Chair)

Members
1. Mr. Abou Amara, Director of Public Policy, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
2. Mr. Michael Beard, Scott County Commissioner, District 3 and former legislator
3. Mr. Bill Blazar, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
4. Mr. Patrick Born, former Regional Administrator, Metropolitan Council and current Citizens League Board Member
5. Mr. James Erkel, Attorney and Director of the Land Use and Transportation Program, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
6. Mr. Ethan Fawley, Executive Director, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and member of Transportation Advisory Board
7. Ms. Mary Giuliani Stephens, Mayor of Woodbury
8. Ms. Elizabeth Glidden, Vice President and Council Member (Ward 8), Minneapolis City Council.
9. Mr. Jason Grev, Director of Government Relations, Ecolab, Inc.
10. Ms. Mary Liz Holberg, Dakota County Commissioner, District 6 and former legislator
11. Ms. Nancy Tyra-Lukens, Mayor of Eden Prairie
12. Mr. Scott McBride, Transportation District Engineer, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
13. Mr. Jim McDonough, Ramsey County Commissioner, District 6
14. Mr. Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner, District 4 and Chair, Counties Transit Improvement Board
15. Ms. Kenya McKnight, President, Black Women’s Wealth Alliance and member of the Transportation Advisory Board
16. Mr. Vayong Moua, Director, Health Equity Advocacy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
17. Mr. Andrew Richter, organizer for Community Solutions MN, former planning commission member for City of Crystal and former chair of the Crystal city code task force
18. Mr. William Schreiber, former legislator and retired lobbyist with Messerli and Kramer
19. Ms. Patty Thorsen, Member of the Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee, Metropolitan Council

The transit study committee will take on this effort this month with the goal to release a report by February 1st to inform the 2017 legislative session. 

Well my friends I know some of you probably think I’m crazy for accepting this appointment but unless sceptics of transit get their feet wet at this level we will never change things. I want to thank the Citizens League for this appointment and for their willingness to bring in transit opponents. Look for my updates very soon!

September 20, 2016 at 7:44 pm 1 comment

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