Posts tagged ‘MN’

Uh Oh, We’ve Got MADO


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:


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

Dropping by the Up and At ‘Em Show

Up and at Em logo

Jason and Andrew dropped by the Up and at ‘Em Show to talk to Jack and Ben. Talk quickly turned to comprehensive plans and city ordinances. We then sat in for the News Bag and a great conversation with Senator Dan Hall. Listen here: Up and at ‘Em podcast.

February 4, 2017 at 2:21 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

Community Solutions on the Up and at ‘Em Show

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Listen here:

Right before Christmas, Andrew and I sat down with Jack and Ben on the Up and at ‘Em podcast to discuss local government. Newly-elected Crystal Council Member, Nancy LaRoche also joined us on the brown couch. It was full of laughs and a little serious stuff too. We discuss some of what’s been going on in Crystal, why it’s not been reproduced anywhere else, and how easy it really could be. Gather around the Christmas tree, tune in, and share with your loved ones!

December 26, 2016 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

Crystal City Councilman Jeff Kolb Takes On The Met Council


by Jason Bradley

Yesterday, the Minnesota House held a hearing in the new Subcommittee on Metropolitan Council Accountability and Transparency on House Bill (HF75) which is possibly the most important of the new Metropolitan Council-related bills. The others are fairly benign, but this one would make any Met Council plans and projections advisory in nature. Why is this a big deal? Because the Met Council has largely operated as a cabal of thugs, pushing City and County governments around, binding them to policies that are bad for their area, and projections that are consistently incorrect. Should this bill pass the house, it will most likely fail in the Senate, and most definitely fail at the Governor’s desk. Still, we need to start this move toward weakening (and eventually eliminating) the Met Council now, and never give up until we win.

That leads us back to yesterday. City Councilman Jeff Kolb testified in front of the House Committee on the abuses of the Met council upon Cities, and particularly ours (our City has sent the Met Council numerous letters in disagreement of certain policies, which have largely gone ignored). His testimony can be found here. I will not repeat what he said. You are capable of reading it for yourself. The real story is this. Folks like me have been pressing for limitations or expiration of the agency for a long time, and we are finally starting to see some traction.

The Met Council has threatened Cities with revoking grants and litigation for refusing to fall in line. I know I’ve told this story before, but I remember when the old regime was in power, and the Met Council ordered all of the Cities in the metro to do mandatory sump pump and footing drain inspections. I did my research and found existing Supreme Court jurisprudence about exact incidences like this, and that search warrants needed to be issued to do the inspections. The City Attorney (bless his heart) discounted my examples without ever reading the opinion of the justices, and ex-Mayor Bowman (who is on record as loving the Met council) said that 1) the Met Council would punish the City if they didn’t comply, and 2) if I didn’t allow the inspection, my water would be shut off and I could dig a well. Charming. She also said that issuing warrants was not feasible because it would be bad to arrest so many people over this (proving that she believed it’s just easier to violate people’s rights, and she didn’t understand basic public concepts like the difference between search and arrest warrants). That, however, is a whole ‘nuther story.

At any rate, it is refreshing to see the Crystal City Council take the lead on this issue. We have become a dumping ground for unsuitable projects, from light rail, to increased housing density, and smaller lot sizes. I applaud the new Council’s stand on the Met Council and the freight rail. It’s about time we had representatives in this city that are not afraid to show some teeth. They are taking a leadership role among the rest of the metro area. The old Council would have just found a way to make it work at our expense… and don’t you ever forget it.


Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Liveand 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 26, 2015 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

The Dark Side Of Corporate And Government Collusion (An Update)

by Jason Bradley

As explained in Andrew’s recent article (, that the Canadian Pacific (CP) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads (BNSF) are looking to share some track to relieve congestion from the conjunction of the Northtown and University yards by joining the two companies’ tracks in Crystal and sending CP trains (running east and west north of 49th Ave and south of 52nd Ave) down the BNSF track (running north and south alongside Broadway Ave) toward Minneapolis. According to Crystal City documents, only one or two trains use the BNSF track per day, and several dozen use the CP track. The CP trains are up to 4,000 ft long, which according to the City “would simultaneously close all four of the Crystal crossings: Douglas Drive (CR 102), West Broadway (CR 8), Corvallis and again at West Broadway.” They go on to say, “Trains of up to 5,600 feet have been observed on the CP. If these are diverted to the BNSF, then the 45½ Avenue crossing in Robbinsdale also would be closed simultaneously with Crystal’s four crossings; meaning that all crossings between Winnetka Avenue in New Hope and Highway 100 in Robbinsdale, a track distance of 2¼ miles through a fully developed urban area, would be closed by a single train”. This will hamper police, fire, and ambulance. While we can pull other Cities’ resources away (if they are not already indisposed) for fire and police in case of a blocked crossing, I don’t see where medical back-up can come from in time. We’re talking about people’s lives here.

To build this connector track, they will need to take land from North Suburban Towing/ Thomas Auto Body, Red Rooster Autoparts, and Midwest Mastercraft. I’m sure you’ve already seen some of the markers on Broadway between the railroad tracks and Corvallis. The railroad already told North Suburban Towing to take their fair price, because they were going to take the property anyway.

You heard me right. The federal government gave eminent domain rights to the railroads in the 1875
General Railroad Right of Way Act. Now, whether you agree with it or not, when families acquired land in the Homestead Act, railroads were not even a figment of someone’s imagination. To build the railroad network, one might be able to make a case for using eminent domain, but now? The railroad system is built from coast to coast. It’s one thing to strike a deal for land; it’s another for a private business (which the railroads are) to be able to steal land away with the wave of a hand.

According to the State of MN and the railroads, there’s nothing we can do about this. City staff says, “The City’s legal counsel have advised that the proposed rail connection is not subject to any local, county or state permitting or review processes.” MNDOT did a grade crossing safety study last year, and did not include these plans in their report, that would allow for funding to correct any adverse effects of this project. MNDOT and the railroads are refusing to consult with Crystal. These robber barons are so sure of their place in the social pecking order, that they won’t even give the City the time of day. In the January 17, 2015 article “BNSF, Canadian Pacific to link Twin Cities rail lines” in Trains magazine, they are already talking like it’s a done deal. Quotes such as “A new connection will be built” don’t leave a lot of room for an alternate plan. The railroads repeatedly deny having plans or drawings, but are already working on purchasing the land. Why would you do that without a plan? Once the railroads decide to go, it will happen fast. Word on the street is that the project completion date is slated for end of this summer. Cities need to work quickly, and start now.

If you are in Robbinsdale and Golden Valley, you will be the recipient of all this new rail traffic. Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and New Hope, we will be calling your resources away any time there is an emergency and the CP trains are blocking emergency vehicles.  What are you going to do about it? I would ask that Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, and New Hope all throw their support behind Crystal. I ask that you write a letter to the City (asap) telling them that you support not only their position, but any steps they deem necessary to maintain control of traffic within their City. Helping us will only help you. Several dozen trains a day blocking all of the crossings for extended periods of time will increase strain on your departments.

This antiquated law from 1875 is no longer necessary. Why is a government giving eminent domain powers to a private business? Why the favoritism? I’m pretty sure I can speak for many of the residents of northeastern Crystal when I say that we’re tired of the competition between Mike Opat, CP, BNSF, and the old Crystal Council, to make our corner of Crystal the dumping ground for every undesirable project they can imagine.

As Pink Floyd said (and I might be paraphrasing a bit here), “There is no dark side of corporate and government collusion, really… as a matter of fact, it’s all dark.

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Liveand 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 12, 2015 at 8:52 am 2 comments

Andrew Richter and Jason Bradley on the Radio!

By Andrew Richter I’m glad to inform everyone that Jason Bradley and myself Andrew Richter will be guest hosting for Brad Carlson on AM 1280 this Sunday December 28 from 1-3 PM. In hour two we are planning to have Crystal Mayor Jim Adams as a special guest. Tune in and listen!

BIG UPDATE!!! Mayors Jim Adams (Crystal) and Mark Korin (Oak Grove) will join us in hour 2! You won’t want to miss this!  -Jason Bradley

December 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

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