Posts filed under ‘City Government’

Uh Oh, We’ve Got MADO


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What has ten parts, covers Minnesota, and ruins everybody’s fun? Give up? It’s MADO! What is MADO, you ask? It’s the Minnesota Association of Development Organizations! Now I know you’re all excited. You heard about the Northwest Regional Development Commission (NWRDC) in my last blog post. Well, that’s only one of ten regional planning organizations in this group. You can’t run, and you can’t hide. This organization covers all of Minnesota, except for a narrow strip from about St. Cloud to the southeastern corner of the state. A big chunk of that area is Met Council territory. You heard me right; the Met Council isn’t even included in these ten regional planning organizations.

Other than the aforementioned NWRDC, there are nine other groups, that combined, control the majority of Minnesota’s landscape. Just to the east of the NWRDC is the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) based out of Bemidji, and then the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) is to the east of that, based out of Duluth. To the south of the NWRDC is the West Central Initiative (WCI) out of Fergus Falls. To the east of the WCI is the Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) based out of Staples, and to the east of that is the East Central Development Commission (ECRDC) based out of Mora. South of the WCI is the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC) based out of Appleton, and to the east of that is the Mid-Minnesots Development Commission (MMDC) based out of Willmar. South of the UMVRDC is the Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC) based out of Slayton, and lastly, to the east is the Region Nine Develpment Commission (R9DC) based out of Mankato. Is your head swimming? Good, because it should be! In fact, the map looks like this:

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So, ten regional planning organizations all under one umbrella, being centrally planned. What can go wrong? I hope to look into and explore each of these organizations in the future, but first, let’s look into MADO. What is it? What does it do?

MADO’s purpose is to create economic development in greater Minnesota. It is a network of Regional Development Organizations (RDO’s), state and federal agencies, and communities. The various RDO’s are governed by a board of directors of elected officials and special interest groups. RDO’s were authorized by the Minnesota Legislature in 1969 (thanks, guys), and are designated by the United States Department of Commerce. There are federal funds in the form of grants at the very least. Some of the services they provide are: community development, comprehensive planning, grant writing, transportation planning, housing planning, emergency planning, and environmental planning.

MADO has constructed the Develop MN 2016 Plan (Comprehensive Development Strategy for Greater Minnesota). We will  tear this plan apart in another blog article, but here’s what you need to know right now. MADO put this plan together to align greater MN under four priorities: Human Capital, Economic Competitiveness, Community Resources, and Foundational Assets. These are all designed to foster shared prosperity among the communities of greater Minnesota. They also talk about the need to have a strong and credible, collective voice. Collective? Shared? Those aren’t accidental words, and most hard-working folks in greater Minnesota would never anticipate their true origin. This is, however, all about an equalizing economic agenda. My friends, regional planning has run amok in Minnesota. It matters not where you go. You can not escape it. We will have more on this. You can be sure of that.

 

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.

Connect with Jason on Google+

Jason on Google+

March 19, 2017 at 9:26 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

Introducing The Northwest Regional Development Commission


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For quite a while now, we have discussed the ills of regional planning as implemented by the Metropolitan Council. They issue faulty population projections, force light rail and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) on communities, and require one-size-fits-all comprehensive plans from Cities, under threat of discipline. Is the Met Council alone in their actions? Are there other regional planning groups in Minnesota that do the same type of work? Let’s explore… introducing the Northwest Regional Development Commission.

The commission was created in 1973 by local government units under the authorization of the Regional Development Act of 1969 . Like the Met Council, it is an unelected body with levy power to collect property taxes. It includes the counties of Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau. It stretches all the way from the Northwest corner of the state, westward to the west shore of Lake of the Woods at Roseau, and southward to Perley. The commission has 35 representatives (Counties, Cities, Townships, School Districts, and special interest groups). These members set policy and direction for the commission. Monthly business is handled by an appointed board of directors (one member from each county and an at-large Chairperson).

What kinds of business does this group handle? Are they really some shadow government group that meets in a smoky back room to control an entire region of Minnesota? Well… no, not really. They do it right out in the open. They tackle aging, arts, economic development, emergency operations planning, business loans, community development, and transportation planning. Why we need a regional planning commission to tackle these issues in a part of the state that is so spread out, I’ll never know.

Let’s take a look at their community development program. They offer a number of services, including tourism promotion, GIS mapping for recreation promotion, art and culture promotion, grant writing, comprehensive planning, zoning and mapping for local government, disaster mitigation and recovery, regional planning and project management, and housing. There are five housing subgroups that deal with affordable housing (Inter-County Community Council, Northwest Community Action Agency, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and Northwest Regional Development Commission).

Transportation planning includes highway corridor studies, rail planning, port of entry issues, aeronautics planning, transit planning, scenic byways, regional road prioritizations, trails, and enhancements. The Commission handles transportation planning for Areawide Transportation Partnership (ATP) 2. They meet annually to develop and review a three-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).

As you can see, there are many of the same facets to this regional planning body as to the Met Council: affordable housing, comprehensive planning, and transit. Now, does the NWRDC have the same iron-fist policy as the Met Council? How autonomous are the cities in this region? Those are questions that we’ll only begin to learn the answers to as we begin to review the comprehensive plans of the cities in that area. So stay tuned as we begin to uncover some of these hidden layers of government.

 

 

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.

Connect with Jason on Google+

Jason on Google+

February 21, 2017 at 3:30 am Leave a comment

Brooklyn Park Pushes Racist Resolution


By Andrew Richter

The Brooklyn Park city council is out of control. At tonight’s meeting Racist Councilmember Susan Pha is going to introduce a resolution supporting immigrants and refugees.

Of course the devil is in the details. Few people if any will actually read the resolution. View it HERE of course on the last three pages. It is filled with hate-filled liberal divisive rhetoric but the last statement gets me:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Brooklyn Park strives to be a united and welcoming community strengthened by the extraordinary diversity of our residents. We stand against division, bigotry, hate, and fear. We do not tolerate discrimination, hate speech or violent acts committed against any individual or community.

Then you should take a stand against a washed-up Pop star calling for people to bomb the White House or looting when a conservative speaker is on a college campus. Where’s your advocacy of diversity and free speech Mrs. Pha?

We will advocate for the civil and human rights, freedoms and interests of all of the members of our community, regardless of skin color, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs, country of origin, sexual orientation, lifestyle preference, economic status or any other identity.

In other words, any dissenting opinions are racist and need to be silenced.

Of course, the truth is Pha is the racist. She is the one who seeks to divide us among racial lines when it comes to every issue; housing, transit, immigration etc. She speaks for the PC police. It is people like Pha who PREVENT a rational discussion about immigration or race. She is a disgrace. I’m not afraid of your race-baiting Mrs. Pha and you won’t silence me. Why don’t you go back and run one of your fake companies.

Despite the stupidity of this resolution, I expect that it will PASS. Yes I think it will pass! I especially think this after reading Mayor Jeff Lunde’s rants. Of course I’m not objective in reading Lunde’s comments. I think he is a useless mayor. He claims to be a conservative and he is anything but that. Check out these “conservative” comments:

Lunde recently wrote a meandering and contradictory article on the issue. He said:

The Brooklyn Park City Council has not declared the City as a sanctuary city.  The City has, however, adopted policies over the years that are sensitive to how we interact with our diverse population.

So what’s that mean? Sensitive?

The City of Brooklyn Park has NO authority to enforce federal laws, nor do we have the authority to change or influence them.  Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen has repeatedly stressed, “we’re not in the business of looking for undocumented immigrants or asking immigration status.”

Do you see the code language here? Lunde refers to illegal aliens as “undocumented immigrants.” Also look at the inconsistency; you are not a sanctuary city, yet you don’t look for illegal aliens or ask their status. Isn’t that a sanctuary city?

Check out this comment:

If, however, someone who does not have documentation regarding immigration status is stopped for something like a routine traffic violation, nothing would be reported to immigration authorities.

Sounds like a sanctuary city to me!

Finally, I completely understand that many of our city’s immigrants are experiencing fear and anxiety.

Why? What are you fearing? If you are here legally then what’s the problem? Enforcing the law is enforcing the law.

This is one of the many reasons I refused to vote for Mr. Lunde when he ran for senate. Some on my side have criticized me for this claiming a write in vote is a vote for a Democrat, but I’m tired of choosing between DFL and DFL light. Lunde is no conservative, period.

We will update the vote tonight!

Lunde comments are HERE

February 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Community Solutions MN Radio Podcast- President Trump: Are All Politics Local?


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On our latest podcast, we thought that we’d discuss something a little different. We took a look at President Trump’s election, and how his policies might affect national and local governing. We talk about how the decisions made at the federal level can put pressure on local governments to accept federal dollars that aren’t necessarily in their best interest. We hope you enjoy it!

January 30, 2017 at 9:46 pm 1 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

Community Solutions Back on Up and at ‘Em


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Andrew and I were on the January 8th episode of Up and at ‘Em with Jack and Ben. In this episode we were able to discuss our story, and a little more about the nuts and bolts of how we do what we do. We also were able to discuss some of how we envision being able to make changes across the state. Tune in and share with others that want to make a change in their communities!

January 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

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