Dehen and Look will have to face voters, and I am certain Look disappointed some sagacious people who had supported him. Look's opposition next time will be someone other than Todd Cook. Possibly his opposition at least for the primary might include Todd Cook, but Cook seems to have placed himself for quite some time below the radar.
The Anoka County Union article is here. Read it, please. It is important.
I reiterate, respect is not an entitlement, respect has to be earned.
[Regarding the communitywide early and often Ramsey Town Center hype and hoopla] Land promoters painted that "crown jewel of the north metro suburbs - bustling suburban mecca" silliness. I would not buy a used car from any one of them.
Yet what really ruined Ramsey more than the botched but bad-from-the-start Ramsey Town Center was the avarice of crossing Sunfish Lake Boulevard at the Alpine Woods site to route sewer-water to the gun club and northwards. Town Center was like a contained cancer. That sewer-water extension step was it matastisizing. Redacting the wetlands and tree protection measures is cutting out the remaining healthy tissue so the cancer can more readily advance and predominate.
Screwing with the wetlands, through which surface water percolates to where deep groundwater is tapped for Ramsey's many municipal wells and substantially more numerous private residential wells, is messing with peoples' drinking water and it is inherently suspect as short sighted and unwise. It is bad stewardship and stewardship is all "owners" have, since the land persists and people die off with "ownership" not having ever followed anyone to the grave.
Back to Sakry's report [lightly excerpted here, so again go online to Anoka County Union and read the entire thing - it's well written]:
When residents are appointed to commissions and boards, they serve at the pleasure of the Ramsey City Council – and the council is not pleased.
The council voted 5-2 April 14 to remove Robert Sibilski from the Environment Policy Board (EPB) after he missed six meetings and violated the city’s code of conduct by writing a letter to the editor.
The letter criticizing Mayor Bob Ramsey on his wetland buffer ordinance stance and questioning his leadership abilities was published March 27 in the Anoka County Union.
According to the code of conduct, it is the policy “to maintain a respectful public service environment free from violence, discrimination, unlawful activities relating specifically to the... commission members role with the city, and other offensive or degrading remarks or conduct.”
The council members discussed the Sibilski issue at a workshop session just prior to the April 14 regular meeting and again at the meeting. At both meetings, the conversation mainly revolved around the letter to the editor.
Sibilski’s attendance became an issue on the heels of the letter to the editor, in which he did not identify himself as being on the EPB, said Councilmember David Jeffrey.
“I think these two are not coincidental,” he said.
While Councilmember David Elvig does not agree with the opinion expressed in the letter to the editor, “I don’t see it as grounds to dismiss anyone,” he said.
“As citizens of the United States, we can say anything we want in letters to the editor as long as it’s tasteful and respectful.”
Although he is disappoint in the language used in the letter, “(Sibilski) has the right to... write a letter to the editor in opposition to the city council,” Elvig said.
Already addressed, you earn respect or lack it and who can respect headhunting painted in other wording but then only superficially disguised. And if there are deficient heads to be hunted, some might say looking at paid consultants first might be the better course.
Back to Sakry's reporting:
Prior to his case being heard, Sibilski officially filed a complaint during the public forum against Look for also violating the code of conduct.
According to Sibilski, Look was disrespectful to him as well as to other EPB members and had sent a threatening e-mail to the previous board chairman, Joe McDilda.
In his March 31 e-mail, Look stated, “Your e-mail forwarding of Mr. Sibilski’s Letter to the editor, is more than likely going to have a negative effect on what you are trying to get accomplished, that being the preservation of the wetland buffering ordinance.
“All boards/commissions serve at the ‘pleasure’ of the council. They provide an advisory role only so long as necessary. The EDA (Economic Development Authority) have statutory protection... the Environmental Policy Board does not. Use Caution.”
McDilda resigned from the board March 31.
According to Sibilski’s complaint, Look’s e-mail “disrespects me and my constitutional right to express my opinions as a matter of speech.
“It is obvious... Look is trying to intimidate... McDilda and (other members of the EPB) if we don’t agree with his or city council positions.”
The letter to the editor was disrespectful and showed poor judgment, said Councilmember Colin McGlone.
I supported Andre Champagne for the Ward 2 seat.
As I understand things this council appointed John Engstrom to that board.
Thus they apparently declined to appoint a cubic yard of black dirt, something I suppose they might have done had that been their pleasure. Previously Sakry reported:
Although it has yet to be tested, Ramsey’s wetland buffer ordinance appears to be on the way out.
The Ramsey City Council April 14 voted 4-3 to introduce the repeal of the 2005 ordinance. Councilmembers David Elvig, David Jeffrey and Jeff Wise voted against the repeal.
The 2005 ordinance requires new development to have wetland buffers, ranging from five to 50 feet depending on the quality of the wetland, and limits activities, such as building structures and mowing, in the buffer area.
All three council members voting against the repeal said they supported the April 2 Planning Commission recommendation to do a collaborative process involving residents, board and commission members to review the ordinance and determine ways it could be modified so that it doesn’t fail in its essential purpose but enhances flexibility for land owners and the city to use the wetland buffer ordnance as a land management tool.
It would be ill-advised repeal the ordinance so quickly, Elvig said. It could leave the city open to exposure and allow development in sensitive areas, he said.
It took several years to get this ordinance in place and “I don’t want citizens to be impacted by the ordinance,” said Mayor Bob Ramsey.
“I cannot sit here and watch people be potentially impacted by an ordinance” that has not tested yet,” he said.
“If it impacts one person, it’s not right.”
Councilmember Colin McGlone wondered why the city needs the buffers.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency does a lot of thinking about water and pollution and it has not enacted any rules to address potential pollution in wetlands, he said.
There is no exposure issue, McGlone said.
Unless federal, state or county agencies require buffers, “then we don’t need it,” he said.
Dehen struggles with whether the city needs the ordinance as federal, state and county governments have not instituted buffer regulations beyond what the Minnesota Wetland Conversation Act gives to wetland, he said.
Nor is he sure Ramsey has a lot of quality wetlands that need protecting. Dehen said.
Driving around the city, “you don’t see a lot of quality wetlands,” he said.
Next election cycle others with a different view of "quality" might run. For many a quality wetland is the one that protects against idiots building a new big home right next door. Many in Ramsey have that kind of "quality" wetland adjacency and appreciate it. Moreover, how better would wetland quality be, if that ditching to allow sewer and water to the gun club for profiting had not happened? That ditching ruined or lessened a lot of wetland quality, and for some, bordering a swamp with frog sounds and redwing and yellow-headed blackbirds is a quality experience. Some like the Sandhill cranes. I recall the pride with which Bruce Bacon talked of having a pair that might have even been nested in wetland near his organic farming operation near the north end of Variolite. I recall some I know hopping into an auto when hearing crane noise to see if they might locate the site where the sounds originated. At least two of Ramsey's few remaining "horse people" are known to me to be crane fanciers. Both I think vote in primaries as well as general elections.
We have something worth protecting, and profligacy regarding this is unwise.
One final note. When I ran against Tom Gamec in 2004, it was by default. I had wished Jerry Zimmerman would have contested the seat, but he did not. I hoped Joe McDilda would have run for mayor, but he opted for a run at the Ward 4 seat.
Of all the people I have met and known since moving to Ramsey in the mid-1990's, two were most impressive - Joe McDilda and Ralph Brauer, yet Ralph unfortunately never opted to run for council. Joe McDilda would have made a far better candidate for mayor than I was, being both brighter and more diplomatic.
Perhaps - and let us hope, the man has another run in him. It would improve things to see a person of his quality in a top level seat. He is in my view a far, far better person for a city council seat than any other individual I have seen running during the time I have lived in Ramsey. Between Brauer and McDilda it's a close call, but the two are head and shoulders above the pack.
photo credit: ABC Newspapers.
Sakry wrote, "Resident Jeanie Max said she found it surprising that the council did not bring up freedom of speech, especially Dehen who is an attorney. 'All I’m hearing is vindictiveness,' she said. 'You sound like a bunch of school boys.' ” My most sincere apology to Jeanie Max. I don't know her that well and did not recognize her on camera, when I wrote, "The woman who spoke at quarter to eleven nailed it. More people like her should run for office. She'd have had my vote, election time, but held back and was not on the ballot."
That was Ms. Max.
I reiterate, she'd have my vote in an eyeblink if on the ballot.
I had not mentioned -- Mike Nixt belongs with Brauer and McDilda in terms of capability and quality of past service.
Again, Tammy Sakry, this time over a year ago an Anoka County Union report showing why Dehen and Look would not get the Blandin Turtles' vote.
Ramsey dumps plan for open space survey
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Survey says …?
It doesn’t look like there will be a survey in Ramsey to determine if residents would support a preserve open space referendum after a Jan. 8 measure to obtain funding for a feasibility study and the survey from Embrace Open Space failed.
The motion for funding a $4,500 feasibility study and a $15,000 survey needed four votes to be approved, but with Councilmembers Sarah Strommen abstaining, Mary Jo Olson absent and Matt Look and John Dehen voting no, the motion didn’t have enough support.
The survey would only deal with the open space issue and would not include other issues, like Ramsey Town Center, rail station or civic center, that might be a stronger priority, said Dehen.
In conscious parallelism, Look was quoted:
Look wasn’t sure a survey needed to be done because the city could get information from existing surveys.
If a survey were to be done, it needs to be broader, he said.
“I’m not sure this needs to be city sanctioned,” said Look.
This is something where people can gather signatures and have it placed on the ballot rather than the city doing it, he said.
If voters approve funds for open space preservation, the funds would be coming into the city, said Joe McDilda, Environmental Policy Board (EPB) chairman.
According to the city information, voting on the funding for the study and the survey would not indicate the council supports the open space preservation referendum.
Embrace Open Space, which would be providing the feasibility study and survey with zero strings, is not willing to expand the survey, McDilda said.
The gentlemen turned down free money, becuase it might disprove their hobby-horse expectations. It might prove many, many people in Ramsey treasure open space and look with displeasure on its demise.
Go figure. And -- remember it all next election time. And these are the same people who critized Sibilski for his attendance record. There was a bigger problem they willingly overlooked. Had Mary Jo Olson not missed so many council meetings, this one in particular, she could not have ducked the issue and would have had to be pro open space or anti open space, on the record. Since she's history, McGlone is either part of a solution or of a problem.
Dehen is the main advocate for a community center at Clown Center. That idea is as dumb as dirt. Unless it is privately funded and all operating costs are private sector. Otherwise it's more subsidy of failed ideas.
The core Ramsey residents who moved here over the years for large lots and more house for the money want to be left alone.
They don't want to "communitize" themselves and schmooz with the high-density housing folks, or with each other. Don't use their tax dollars to add yet another bauble that adds nothing to the tax base much as the morgue added nothing (if it is publicly owned/run/subsidized as the morgue is, as the ramp is, there's zippo tax benefit). Without any meaningful benefit, it would only burden poor Ben Dover, the Ramsey taxpayer.
Ben deserves better. If private money says there's benefit enough to the idea that a 100% privately financed, owned and operated Clown Center facility of that kind could be profitable, bless the risk takers with such beliefs who will step up to it.
Otherwise, don't saddle us regular folks with even more costly and stupid baubles.
The opulent city hall was really quite a hit.
I had no referendum chance to voice any choice.
The hope always is that our officials are not stalking horses for any individual or business having a pending effort to subdivide and not wanting to set back from wetlands so that greater density, perhaps inadvisibly greater density, could be attained; as was said in a deposition copy I hold, where a sophisticated real estate investor testified that the greater the housing density you can get onto a parcel the more the property is worth on the market.