Big Lake City Council – Organized Garbage Hauling Workshop 5-24-17

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Here’s some raw audio supplied to us of a workshop (or work session) of the Big Lake City Council. They are discussing organized garbage hauling (using a single garbage hauler for the city). No matter where you fall on the spectrum of opinion, most people have no idea the City Council is discussing this. Now is the time that you need to engage your City Council. They are working toward consensus now. If you wait until it is presented in a council meeting, it will be too late. For other cities, if your city council hasn’t discussed it, they will. Listen in to understand the argument.

May 27, 2017 at 9:23 pm Leave a comment

Community Solutions Podcast- Episode 11- Coalition of Greater MN Cities

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In this episode, Jason and Andrew introduce the Coalition of Greater MN Cities. Andrew did a write up on it here with additional information. Yes, it, another group that uses our tax dollars to lobby for more tax dollars. It is a group that uses the Develop MN 2016 Plan to form their policies. It subscribes to the NADO, MADO, Regional Planning Organization chain of command. If you live outside the metro area, this is a must listen. If you live in the metro area, it will help you understand not only what goes on outside of the Twin Cities, but some of how what you pay in taxes are used and how the Met Council does business. Either way, buckle in, because it will be well worth your time!

May 24, 2017 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

Community Solutions Podcast- Episode 10- Local or County Police

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In this episode, Jason and Andrew use the recent situation in Forest Lake, MN to discuss whether it is advantageous to have local police or county police (if you were only to have one). In Forest Lake, the city council voted to disband the local PD, in favor of using the Washington County Sheriff’s office. The city council quickly reversed their decision after a huge uproar in the community. We dig in and discuss what we feel caused this, and why it is imperative that a city council communicate with its residents instead of making decisions in a silo. This is a conversation that has been occurring in more and more communities. Make sure you know both sides of this argument before you have explain your views.

May 18, 2017 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

Develop MN 2016 Plan

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by Jason Bradley

In a recent article, I introduced the centralized oligarchy, Minnesota Association of Development Organizations (MADO). I had also mentioned that they had created an overarching comprehensive plan for all of Greater Minnesota, called the Develop MN 2016 Plan. It’s stated purpose is to align economic development efforts across Greater MN.

The document puts forth a number of ideals

  • Collective voice/collective leadership
  • Providing access to safe and affordable housing
  • Preserved and protected natural resources
  • Financing options that support sustainability, diversity, and expansion
  • Well-developed and maintained water, sewer, communications, and transportation systems
  • Partner with local, regional, state, and federal partners for implementation

MADO brought in the St Cloud Quad counties and the 11 counties of southeastern MN to participate in development process. They drafted 10 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies to guide all of the change they are looking to implement.

Remember how we said that they all steal ideas from each other, making them all the same? They state right in the plan that this was drafted by reviewing best practices by the U.S. Economic Development Association (EDA), National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), and examples of statewide comprehensive plans developed in other states. They use buzzwords like “economic resiliency”. “Resiliency” is a buzzword used by groups like ICLEI.

They base all of their on 4 Cornerstones: Human Capital, Economic Competitiveness, Community Resources, and Foundational Assets.

Human Capital: Labor Force- Greater MN’s prime labor force (25-54) is projected to decline by 5.2% by 2025, yet they want to grow labor force participation by 2% between by 2021. They think that they can accomplish this by “expanding the participation of mature workers to make up for the shortage of new workforce entrants” and increase childcare options so parents can join the workforce. So by getting people to delay retirement and offering welfare to pay for childcare, that will make up for people not entering the workforce. What happens when the mature workers do retire or pass on? Who replaces them? The new crop of mature workers are already working. They also believe that by increasing the percentage of people who attain bachelors degrees will help. Won’t that just take people from one industry and place them in another? That just creates a worker deficiency somewhere else. One of the ways they want to do this is “embracing emerging  populations through targeted educational programs”. In other words, providing education for immigrants for professional training. How do they plan to attract immigrant communities to come?

Economic Competitiveness: The plan touts the values of entrepreneurship and innovation. They think, however, that small business growth happens when small businesses obtain more access to public and private funds. They call to utilize public-private partnerships for increased lending. They want to fully fund regional Small Business Development Centers at the state level.

Community Resources Cornerstone: They want to actively recruit and nurture emerging community leaders. They are waiting for you. They are looking to form networking groups, development opportunities, and succession planning programs. Succession planning groups? Like, naming an heir-apparent? Let’s get involved. We can own the future! Other goals center around arts and culture, tourism, natural resources, and water quality. Of course the natural resources section is full of climate change talk and making sure we reduce our carbon footprint, by advocating for comprehensive plans and land-use policies that prioritize these actions.

Foundational Assets: Under Broadband Access, they claim that 88.29% of Minnesota in under-served with affordable, high speed broadband. Affordable broadband? Is that some new kind of right? Really? Guess what, they want to advocate for state and federal funding to make you pay for it. Under transportation, they want increased funding and to make local governments take sustainability and resiliency into account. Of course we should  plan for the future and for emergencies, but keep in mind, these are both loaded buzzwords. The next section is “Active Living” (speak of buzzwords). This pushes a designation called a “Bicycle Friendly Community Program” of which 13 communities in Greater MN are so designated. The goal is to increase the number of bikeable communities. They also want to increase the number of communities that adopt a Complete Streets policy. They want to increase funding for bikes, pedestrians, and regional trails. There’s even a transit section, where they claim a need to fill an increasing “mobility gap” by funding more rural public transit systems. In “Water-Wastewater Infrastructure”, they want to secure funding for infrastructure, especially as tied to affordable housing. Yep. Affordable housing, transitional housing, funding for demolishing “blighted” housing… the housing section advocates for all the same concepts that the Metropolitan Council does for the Metro.

As you can see, there is so much here that is the same as in other urban and suburban comprehensive plans. MADO is lobbying for a single, unified vision across MN. Why? Are the needs really the same for the forests of northern MN, the plains of western MN, or the valleys in the south? Absolutely not! Therefore the plans should be unique to not only the areas, but the very cities and townships they serve. Your plans have seen the light of day. Sorry, not sorry.


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+



May 15, 2017 at 8:20 pm 1 comment

Community Solutions Podcast- Franchise Fees

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In this episode we introduce you to franchise fees. Yes, this is another hidden tax. Almost half of MN cities have them. Even local governments that claim to be fiscally conservative seem to love them. So what’s the deal? Let us enlighten you. After this episode, you just might have a thing or two to say to your City Council.

May 10, 2017 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

Community Solutions Podcast- Ring Around Roseau

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In this episode, Jason and Andrew decide to pick up a random comprehensive plan from a city somewhere out in Greater Minnesota just to prove our assertion that all plans are pretty much the same. The winner? The city of Rosaeau. Unless you are a high school hockey fan, you may or may not heard of this small city in the northwestern part of the state. Are our assertions proven to be true? Were we completely surprised? You will have to tune in to find out!


May 3, 2017 at 9:59 am 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

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