consultants are sandburs

Monday, November 29, 2010

It was raining, so I did not take a great deal of time to show Ramsey tax payers what they're buying for being taxed. New badging, "Golly, of all things ... it's new badging".



Start with the photo, above. It shows a stylized malignant melonoma skin cancer, underneath which is a lie about Northstar. A banner attached to an expensive light pole along a stretch of sandbur fields lit by the million-dollar lighting.

A close-up:



Let's hope its a lie, since, cost-wise, the excessively unneeded signs are a drop in the bucket compared to putting fourteen million of tax money into something a mere proven handful of current bus-riding people will use. The stop. In Ramsey. Woo-woo.

If done, the entire existing tax base of Ramsey's automobile commuters will end up paying dearly for the planned crystal palace commuter-rail stop, for years. Actually - for years, and years, and years - and then more years.

It will grow on taxpayers like a real malignant melanoma, stylized per the signs you're paying to have put up around you, a brain-fart of an idea, by Darrel and cohorts.

Do we need a commuter rail stop in Ramsey, at fourteen million cost, for 150-250 persons a day, round trip, max?

Believe, however, it's coming. They say, so you pay. The riders do not pay, will not pay nearly enough to justify the fourteen million more-or-less estimated cold cash cost.

My idea, if it's built, put a commuter rail fee on parking ramp stalls, require an all day permit purchase by the rail commuters, and have a traffic patrol marking tires and writing tickets on the ramp where no permit's been purchased and the culprit parks overtime. Make the fee sufficient so that the venture is self-sufficient, that the ridership pays for the riding benefit the ridership receives. Or they drive to Elk River or Anoka, as now, and board there, as now, working fine, now.

The meter maid parking enforcement effort would be all indoor work since the top floor (exposed to the weather) NEVER has been or will be full; unless the trend continues as the latest fiasco, building yet more unwanted unneeded shared wall housing and this time without having any builder-provided parking.

The tax base - the existing residents of Ramsey wanting only restaurants, instead will subsidize some opportunistic venture from which, for all I know, Landform is extracting a fee while at the same time, we know this, it is extracting a humongo monthly fee from Ramsey, and for what? To give our local parking ramp stalls to strangers?

Go figure.

It is called "Republican Fiscal Conservatism," but screw-the-existing-homeowner-taxpayers seems a more appropriate "branding" of what's been and being done.

It is yet more of putting whipped cream atop the moribund Ramsey Town Center CORpse, as if adding a new sign added where an old sign is would change anything, so that we can have two signs memorializing a colossal brain fart of a collective bunch of people who, simply put, should have known better (or as with some, had a chance to get money off the land, and knew enough but only enough, that way).

I am a social liberal and I have not been hiding the beliefs, but I surely am more a fiscal conservative over wasting local taxpayer money chasing stupidity, than the current crop of Ramsey's elected "leaders."

Knee deep in the Big Muddy, and the damned fools say push on.


"Sergeant, don't be a nervous nellie."
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.


All of a sudden, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The sergeant said, "Turn around men,
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the Captain dead and gone.


A good Pete Seeger song, but the sensible turn-around is yet to happen - in Ramsey. More will be wasted before it happens.

I suppose so-called, self-called, fiscal conservatives, Republican genre, don't like Pete Seeger as a liberal, no matter that what he sung sounds - basically - conservative and unpretentious.

Big Muddy Melanoma double-badging next, at the unneeded light at Sunwood and Ramsey Blvd., to rub our noses in it while it is - paid for - by us.



Will the older sign of the two, as a symbol of "failure," be removed so that only the new sign,  the emperor's new clothing looking too much like a stylized rendering of a deadly menanoma skin cancer, will be all that's eventually there at the corner, across the street from the Allina clinic?

Closing close-ups next, as close as I want to be to that forlorn big-time error, i.e, photographed from across the street where the sandburs are absent.





Waist deep in the Big Muddy, and ...

Information Technology --- City of Ramsey takes one step toward the mythical paperless office, with online current data, and other anticipated website upgrading of archived materials access.

During the last council meeting, the switch toward paper-free agendas and minutes for meetings was a point of discussion noted by Mayor Bob Ramsey. If you are unsure of accessing city records online, this screenshot, with left marginal blue and red underlining added will help explain things:


The screenshot is the City of Ramsey Homepage:

http://www.ci.ramsey.mn.us/

There are two data access points noted by the blue underlining for current records, and the red underlining for archived material [the legacy LaserFiche WebLink database, maintained on a shared governmental server not internal to direct city data services]. The Public Meeting Notices feature [left sidebar, not underlined] has existed now for years, allowing residents and others to be put on an emailing service for notices regarding user-selected meeting items and date reminders.

The new feature, (blue underlining), puts all upcoming meeting materials online as produced by city staff, for equal timing of access by all citizens along with the city officials on council (or the boards and EDA, for example). Paper delivery of meeting agenda items by Ramsey police officers as done in the past is now superseded, making things paperless or starting that way, and freeing police time for policing.

The ongoing bottleneck. I had an opportunity to speak by phone with Mayor Ramsey about the other part of Ramsey data, the archive accessed as "DOCUMENTS" on the website sidebar, (per the red underlining).

That routes users to a different document server, not owned or operated by the city, where several governments share storage and access bandwidth. Ramsey has an allocation of "public" bandwidth apart from preferential staff access, as I understand things, to the LaserFiche WebLink database of past archive documents. The mayor has agreed that access by search in that data is non-intuitive, at least one city staff person has said even staff has access bottlenecks at times, and I on a too frequent basis aim to access the archive and get an "all lines busy" kind of error message, meaning the public access bandwidth allocated to Ramsey happens, when I try to log on, to be all in use.

Search is primitive there, more like search in the 1980's than by Google or Bing services now available for general web materials.

Previously, it was feasible to download pdf items from the stored images in that system, and to review searched for and retrieved materials offline, so that bandwidth was freed and not hogged by long usage and access times. Currently, after site changes, it appears some access is improved for individual image records; but if there's still a way to download pdf copies of archived materials it is a mystery to me and any reader who can explain whether it's a present system feature or removed is asked for help.

In any event, the download feature is NEEDED beyond doubt, because otherwise time online with bandwidth so limited means other subsequent users are denied access until the now lengthier sessions are concluded by users fortunate enough to log on with the first, second or third try.

Mayor Ramsey is not a database expert and says so, hence I have a request in to staff on whether/how under the new LaserFiche WebLink software update, downloads are done, if at all. Hopefully I can add an update with a positive message about this.

The Mayor indicates a longer term goal would be to convert the LaserFiche WebLink data to local storage, probably as downloadable pdf documents.

My suggestion was that Google and Bing [Microsoft's latest search brand] as part of their business model are generally happy to spider-crawl "dark web" or "deep web" data such as municipal records, and to index them for online access; free of charge to the data repository.

That means, if my understanding is correct, Google and Bing would both do indexing free of charge, with spider-crawl updates at a reasonable frequency, free of charge to the city. The business model is to optimize access to everything available, unless told not to index particular owned material, to encourage user volume allowing higher charges that the indexing services charge businesses for advertising space and for demographic access/usage data collecting which provides the income that allows indexing and access without data source fees being charged.

That might not be so, but I think that once the LaserFiche WebLink umbical is cut and the data is put onto a city owned server or other, better service, it is a no-brainer to get Google and Bing indexing for serach purposes.

In effect, twenty-first century search instead of 1980's search paradigms.

__________UPDATE__________
Amy Dietl, one of the city's information technology people, has sent an explanatory email, with screenshot detail, on the new software and data services methodology for current data [agendas and minutes].

I will post the screenshots and explanatory text in a FURTHER UPDATE, but later.

Still, the bottleneck is archive materials access, the LaserFiche WebLink part of the data storage and information retrieval services the city provides citizens.

Half a loaf, it's still better than no bread at all; but let's hope the IT bakery's not finished at that level of divided access. Clearly, it is always proper to streamline current and future methods first, and to later upgrade archive access.

This is as praiseworthy a step as renting city hall space to the license office, so people need not risk ingress-egress onto a busy stretch of accident-prone Highway 10, as with the prior licensing location, north side of Highway 10, toward the Thurston light - between there and the Sunfish Blvd. light.

With Wikileaks online showing allegations the Arabs wanted us to fight the Iranians for them, and with the Irish and Portuguese financial crises, it is ill-covered news that a global climate conference is happening.

This link.

Cancun.

Sweet.

I'd go there to discuss climate. I bet the agenda has enough personal time to it, that sun and beach would be available to experience different climate directly - during these cold, short, winter days in Minnesota that make us tough and resilient as a people.

I would volunteer to be sent there now to investigate climate conditions, it would be a climate change, for me, and I even would attend a meeting or a lecture or two.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

GOP appologist Mitch Berg weighs in - lightweight - on the Tom Hackbarth scandal and how coverage, not Hackbarth is to blame. Shoot the messenger, Mitch, fails stupendously.

Dropping the watch? Napping on the job? Hackbarth-wise, so far no woofing.



ALWAYS cuts that puppy a BIG duty.

Harold Hamilton is a no-nonsense businessperson. And the key voice - key bark - underlying Anoka County Watchdog. His judgments often have merit and his past attention to detail has been sound.

I await his judgment and analysis of the Hackbarth situation, as a GOP advocate, and as a good community person.

I respect Harold.

He should weigh in on this embarrassment now facing Anoka County; House District 48A.

I know in my heart he disapproves. He should go public.

Short of going public - Harold Hamilton's opinion in this would carry much weight with GOP House leadership regarding committee chair decision making, on a permanent and not temporary or interim basis.

If Hamilton continues to choose to not publicly comment, which is his option, I am certain he has House Speaker-designate Zellers' phone number. Zellers likely would be taking his calls.

Again, I have great respect for Hamilton and his business judgment and accomplishments. A non-public contact with Zellers would be fine. I just feel a watchdog should bark at anything clearly amiss. That's all. And barking over the phone to Zellers, that qualifies as helpful, even if not serving to enhance or maintain a publicly credible image. ALWAYS cannot credibly mean SOMETIMES. It's how it is.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The bad side of my personality is considering a new snotty sidebar poll.

Vote on whether this couple should go on a diet?



Background: Here, herehere, here, here and here.

If not provoked, I'd not be judgmental about these two - but what they did proves they belong in the same category as Rush Limbaugh, per the Franken book title.


__________UPDATE_________
The two are Plymouth Neon people; this link. (That's an expired brand based on insufficient buyer appeal with the production run ending 2005; e.g., this link; and with dubious quality ratings; this link).

Was the Eagan-based TempWorks firm right in firing her as detrimental to its public goodwill?

The First Amendment protects the couples' right to willingly place themselves into Franken's Rush category; repeatedly and publicly, but doesn't the GOP support unconstrained freedom of business owners to run a business any way they want; regulation be damned?

Seems so, from things the likes of this couple often espouse.

TOM HACKBARTH - Also a shameful voting record. Endorsed by all the wrong people.


Below, a Project VoteSmart excerpt:


Fully as expected.

MPR on voting record, here. Project VoteSmart has multiple pages on his record, as well as ratings and group affiliations, etc., starting here. Above excerpt from this page (having ratings on the "abortion" issues, linking over to Hackbarth's "100" listed rating, this page, along with 100 rated Mary Kiffmeyer, neither of whom should inspire public comfort when found armed outside an abortion facility).

CBS news, online here, carries the AP feed nationally, (which means the story has gone viral, even if it so far has failed to make CBS's "Most Popular" sidebar list).

I admit being a bit disappointed, his carrying what looks like a holstered .38 snub nose. He seems the kind, image-wise, who'd want to look able to drop a grizzly bear at four hundred paces, or have the personal firearm with him to do so, as part of his sartorial display and manhood surrogate.



One sartorially aimed comment on a Strib item, I think editorially removed by this morning, speculated whether or not he wears a rug.

Same wide-ranging 23 page comment thread, this screenshot, emphasis added:


One PiPress comment thread, I don't have the link, suggested this could be a start of a story line for a Coen brothers film. When national attention measures this against Michele Bachmann as a background indicator of who we are in Minnesota, there have to be pity, chuckles, eye-rolling, and outright loud guffaws.

More speculation, have any of the authorities thought to visit the estranged wife of 25 years, Mary, to inquire whether she's had cause to have recently been in the Highland Park neighborhood, or whether she's possibly been going out dating there? Just a thought. Arguably, it would make it an even more chilling armed-stalking incident if that were to prove to be an actual dimension.

Police should check it out.

Fact finding in all directions is a major part of their responsibility in such situations.

It's a police duty. A public safety duty.

Reporting states, "Hackbarth said he is in the process of divorcing his wife of 25 years," not saying "being divorced."  This paints him as the active spouse rather than the responding spouse, that way. Apparently neither side's yet filed court papers. None show up in searching online district court judicial dockets.

Loose ends need tying.



____________UPDATE_____________
An exceptional reporting item is posted, here, at Minnesota Progressive Project. This story and all its actual or possible dimensions and implications will not go away; and the Olmon LTE draft quoted by Joe Bodell in the MPP item appears to be sensibly armed at education and enlightenment being positive outcomes the situation may yield.

No quote.

Read it all at MPP. It is excellent and necessary to say what's said there.

Again -- this is the MPP link.



__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
The source the Olmon letter in the Bodell post mentions, has this particular page, appropriate because of the allegations of a grounding of the situation in internet dating site usage.

In looking briefly at parts of that site, it seems to me to define a sensible community standard of care and conduct against which Hackbarth's conduct can be measured; apart from community expectation of a higher degree of prudence on the part of a Minnesota House legislator than for men in the general public.

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
More national coverage, Raw Story, here. Unsympathetic and skeptical reader comments, including noting he's from Bachmann's district, including this one good idea (as italicized, for emphasis):

98. Anonymous

One would think (and hope) that the police would investigate this guy further.

He shows up at a Planned Parenthood office packing a gun, lurks around enough to draw the attention of the security guard, then when confronted he claims that he was just trying to meet with some gal he met on-line.

Why didn’t the police get a search warrant, seize his computer and find out if he was telling the truth, or was he lying through his clenched conservative teeth?

It’s like all culture of corruption conservatives in America (especially the corrupt conservative politicians) have diplomatic immunity, making them all foreign agents, and being treated as such, getting get-out-of-jail-free cards, no matter how heinous and anti-American their actions.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GOP Rep. Tom Hackbarth, arrested days ago armed after suspicious behavior at a Planned Parenthood clinic, is a Draconian anti-choice bill co-sponsor.

This link; this image:




There are many loose ends that need tying. This is one. Signing onto the same bill with the likes of Mary Kiffmeyer, a very vocal choice hater throughout her political career. Then confronted at gun point by police, at that Planned Parenthood clinic location; and involving conduct causing security concerns and having police disarm Hackbarth and impound his firearm. And it now clearly is conduct by one having established, on record, a staunch, hostile, anti-choice animus; and then going about a pro-choice clinic parking lot in an armed, suspicious and dangerous manner, explaining himself to police as not having hostile intent toward the clinic or its people, but instead stalking a woman he had met only one day earlier for coffee.

It raises several red flags.

Another red flag-raiser item - how might someone ticketed for disrespecting game law - caught by enforcement authorities transporting untagged big game in a motor vehicle in 2008 -  perform in heading the Conservation and Natural Resources Policy Committee (which has a major role in setting Minnesota game law and policy for the rest of us to respect and adhere to).

Whatever it is called now, it is Willard Munger's committee, and Willard Munger, I am certain, would never have stooped so low or been so imprudently incautious to have been found transporting hunted game improperly at any time or place within his lifetime.

Hackbarth's disrespect for the environment arguably does not stop there; given the following early reader comment to this STRIB report:

This is GREAT news for the environment! Hackbarth was quoted in a state newspaper as saying that it doesn't hurt anything to ride ATVs in wetlands. He has no business being anywhere near environmental legislation.
posted by fish60 on Nov. 24, 10 at 1:06 PM |  

151 of 174 people liked this comment.

__________UPDATE__________
I have sometimes wondered what manner and kind of an inconsiderate and absolutely amoral and arrogant lowlife Scrooge of a creep would park wrongly in a handicapped parking space, on Christmas Eve. Now, I admit I may be reading the record wrong, so readers please correct me if this is so, but consider:



For those liking to know what a statute says:

169.346 DISABILITY PARKING AREAS; CRITERIA, ENFORCEMENT.

Subdivision 1.Disability parking space prohibitions.


A person shall not:

(1) park a motor vehicle in or obstruct access to a parking space or associated access aisle designated and reserved for the physically disabled, on either private or public property;

[...]

Subd. 3.Misdemeanor; enforcement.

A person who violates subdivision 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not less than $100 and not more than $200. This subdivision must be enforced in the same manner as parking ordinances or regulations in the governmental subdivision in which the violation occurs. Law enforcement officers may tag motor vehicles parked on either private or public property in violation of subdivision 1. Parking enforcement employees or agents of statutory or home rule charter cities or towns may tag or otherwise issue citations for motor vehicles parked on public property in violation of subdivision 1. [...]

What we may be seeing here is personality trending, what with the stalking excuse for being in the Planned Parenthood lot packing heat, the game law violation, and other charges such as blowing the one stop sign, and the several speeding tickets including a 50 in a 30, as part of an entire Gestalt of a human being I most certainly would never associate with or vote for, were I living in HD 48A instead of HD 48B, where Jim Abeler, despite whatever imperfections you might allege such as voting to override the Pawlenty veto, does not wrongly park in a handicapped space on Christmas Eve in the county where he runs repeatedly for public office.

Am I taking offense too readily? Am I too quick to mix the words stupid and arrogant, and say "stupidly arrogant" (or is it "arrogantly stupid") in judgment?

Is this a time to be thankful we have folks like Tom Hackbarth in the legislature? Or should we wait for GOP leadership to tire of things and throw Hackbarth under the same bus they threw Mark Olson under, and then be thankful?

Oh Tommie boy, the press, the press is calling -

I know, it's "Danny" and "pipes" and plural, "are," if you want the kosher song version. But hey, the Hackbarth story's gone viral faster than you can say "Mark Olson." It could not happen to a nicer guy. This Google News screenshot:



And is he even Irish?

That hunting story he told, why the binoculars and extra pistol ammo was on the truck seat, how's it fit with this hummer:



Environmentalist, or conservationist the STRIB report stated. Horsefeathers. Do you suppose his truck is equipped with a spotlight?

__________UPDATE__________
Wanting to get the Google News focus posted quickly, on the latest Hackbarth-related developments, I did so without reading the reports of GOP top-down reaction to one of Anoka County's GOP leadership persons, (right up there with Mike Jungbauer, the bat-bite guy).

MPR reporting on the suspension was with a link to Dave Orrick's earlier PiPress reporting, headlined, "The state lawmaker, his loaded gun, a Planned Parenthood clinic and... an Internet girlfriend?" MPR is succinct about events subsequent to that Orrick-PiPress report:

Posted at 12:31 PM on November 24, 2010 by Tom Scheck

GOP House Speaker-elect Kurt Zellers announced today that he's suspending GOP Rep. Tom Hackbarth's role as chair of the House Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Policy & Finance Committee. The announcement comes just one day after it became public that St. Paul police confiscated a loaded handgun from Hackbarth after he was spotted with the weapon holstered to his hip in the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul (More on that here [linking to the PiPress-Orrick report which appears to have broken the story]). Hackbarth has a permit to carry a concealed handgun. He wasn't arrested or charged with a crime.

Here's the statement from Zellers:

Due to an incident on Tuesday, November 16, State Representative Tom Hackbarth has been suspended from any current and pending leadership roles within the House GOP Caucus. The suspension will remain in effect until the issue is fully resolved.

I'm following up to find out what "fully resolved" means since St. Paul Police say he won't be charged with a crime. One potential issue would be if an ethics complaint is filed against Hackbarth.

My guess is "fully resolved" will await at least a few credible details from Hackbarth - the identity of a real person he claims to have been stalking (no fictions allowed); his/her version of things; why the extra pistol ammo; whether there's a hunting license to go with the story of stuff left in the truck "from hunting" earlier, in season; the circuitous thing, allegedly, of parking in a Planned Parenthood lot to walk to some form of encounter or surveillance a block or more away, scooting on foot down an alley from the parking lot spot. "Duck down the alleyway," has an air of devious planning, intentional anonymity, perhaps, to it, and "fully resolved" has to mean something beyond "whitewashed."

PiPress, which apparently broke the story, carried an AP feed on the Zellers step, largely parallel in thinking to the MPR item:

According to the police report, Hackbarth said he was checking up on a girlfriend who was supposedly at a restaurant in the neighborhood and possibly with another man. Hackbarth, who said he is divorcing his wife of 25 years, said he had met the woman he was dating through an online matchmaking site.

A clinic security guard spotted the gun when Hackbarth was changing his coat in the parking lot. Security camera footage shows him walking through the lot and into a nearby alley before getting back in his truck and leaving.

The report said Hackbarth admitted being "jealous" but stressed that he always carries a weapon.

Officers worried about "stalking-like behavior" so they kept Hackbarth's gun. He retrieved the gun on Tuesday.

Hackbarth acknowledged to the St. Paul Pioneer Press the story sounds "really weird and odd."

"I understand why the police and the security guard thought what they might have thought, but it really was insignificant to me," Hackbarth told the newspaper.

In their report, police officers said they were unable to track the woman down. Hackbarth said the relationship with the woman is over. "Sure enough, she lied to me and I'm done with it," he said.

In a brief statement, fellow Republican Rep. Zellers referenced the incident in deciding to suspend Hackbarth "from any current and pending leadership roles within the House GOP caucus."

"The suspension will remain in effect until the issue is fully resolved," Zellers said. It was unclear what aspects remained unresolved, and a Zellers spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking additional comment.

City Pages, here, on initial reporting; Politics in Minnesota, here. Strib, here, on the Zellers leadership freeze. TPMuckraker, here, indicating national attention and coverage. City Pages reports on the Zellers leadership freeze, here, with this photo and caption:


Tom Hackbarth goes looking for a girlfriend.


Run your own Google News search = Hackbarth. Keep up with any breaking news.

Zellers seems to have made the right move, and promptly after learning of things, but he seems unduly reticent about what would make him lift the suspension of leadership role, which for now seems temporary and only for until things blow over.

I guess it's up to the press and blog world to not let things blow away to lightly, with "fully resolved" ending up a premature happening.

This is quite serious. If the man was stalking some woman, armed and admittedly feeling "jealous," that's a public safety issue that police should not have prematurely abandoned.

It is serious if that story is a falsehood and harm was intended to the Planned Parenthood site.

It is serious if the phantom woman is a fiction and hunting something else down alleyways with a revolver was at issue. There is a credibility issue with the phantom woman whose auto he alleges he was looking for - without any report of police satisfaction with Hackbarth's detail of why there, not elsewhere; what auto - make, color, license or other certain ID info he had to rely upon; etc., etc. and onward. Swiss cheese has fewer holes than this story, so far, as reported.

So far, blowing smoke is the appearance of things.

---------------

And again, don't blame me, I supported Olmon.

Steffen, Palumbo and Abeler write letters of thanks published online by ABC Newspapers.

This link, for all three. For as long as the publisher keeps them online for access.

Steffen, of the three writing letters, was the general election candidate not prevailing. From that perspective, she wrote the most interesting letter, stating:

My heartfelt thanks goes to the voters, volunteers and contributors who supported my run for Anoka County Commissioner. It was a great experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

I’m confident the winners of the election will do their best.

For me, I’ll continue to support community efforts by volunteering my time and by donating dinners for eight to local charity auctions.

Please bid generously when you get the chance and together we’ll build on the best our communities have to offer.

If this means Steffen has not another election or appointment effort anticipated, it is news.

And if it means that, who will run against Matt Look next cycle?

I do not know if either of the two candidates not surviving the County Board District 1 primary election would seek the office again.

I would support either, over Look, but if both run again I would be forced to a choice.

If Natalie Steffen has indeed decided to call a public service career over, then we all should thank her for the sincerity and dedication she offered, whether in agreement with her or not over policy, during her several years in elected and appointed office.

Whenever I have spoken to her, there was never any sense of feigned sincerity. Natalie was direct, blunt when necessary to assure not being misunderstood, but never discourteous in any encounter I have had involving her. We should all wish her well.

RAMSEY: "BADGING?" "We don't need no stinking badging." Try this: Restaurants!



I watched a part of the dog-pony presentation by the hucksters and the shills, per Ramsey Council meeting televised last night; subject being, THE RESIDENCE at THE COR.

If that "badging," "THE RESIDENCE," and "THE COR," is not enough to make you puke, the entirety of the situation should do the job. City money plunged along with a drabble of developer cash at risk, etc., for - YET MORE STINKING SHARED WALL HOUSING.

3000 square feet of "retail," as a short tail stapled onto the dog, to be wagged to the public.

3000 square feet is a square 55 ft. x 55 ft.

I think that's smaller than the Town of Bethel post office.

Go figure. Your council, having your interests at heart.

__________________
As to the "badging," we don't need no stinking badging - we NEED restaurants. See here; --- earlier Crabgrassing, here. It's been said. And it's still true. A lie of shops and restaurants; long ago in earlier council times in a lying referendum (with a laughable survey to boot); a lie perpetuated and burnished and presented backwards, forward, and sideways; still, as if non-fiction. As if credible after all these years.

What's so hard to comprehend:

Restaurants.

Restaurants.

Restaurants!

As in, nice places to eat. Got it? Do it. Stow the shared-wall and "badging." Restaurants.

John Dehen, a voice of reason among the others, voted NO. NO to city spending and participation in the construction of yet more shared wall Ramsey Town Center housing, this being all rental. As if there's not enough of that already.

Dehen was the lone voice voting NO.

That distinction deserves attention.

At least it was not a young boy he had met online ---


Tom Hackbarth, R, HD 48A, has a conceal and carry permit and walks about armed at all times. But that's not all STRIB had to report online, this link, this excerpt:

A state representative said it was a misunderstanding when he parked his car in the Planned Parenthood lot in Highland Park and was later stopped by St. Paul police because of the revolver he was carrying near his waistband.

Thomas Hackbarth, 58, was stopped in his car on Nov. 16 after a security guard saw him with a gun in the parking lot about 5 p.m., an hour after the clinic closed. Police ordered him out of his car at gunpoint and handcuffed and questioned him before taking his gun and letting him go.

He represents Elk River, Oak Grove and East Bethel and is considered a strong advocate of conservation issues and an opponent of abortion rights.

He said Tuesday that he is not familiar with the Highland Park area and didn't know he was at Planned Parenthood when he pulled into the empty lot so that he could look for a woman he had met online.

Hackbarth said he felt that she might have been seeing a man instead, so he parked his car and walked around the block looking for her car. (The security guard spotted Hackbarth's gun when he got out of his car and put on a winter coat.)

"I was not a jealous boyfriend," said Hackbarth, who is in the process of divorcing his wife of 25 years. "I was just trying to check up on her. It's totally a misunderstanding."


_________________________
(original unaltered first image, this link; second image, here)

________UPDATE_______
MPR carries the AP feed, here. It focuses on the armed abortion foe encounter at an abortion-related locale:

Hackbarth says he didn't realize he was in a parking lot belonging to a clinic that performs abortions. He says he was in the area searching for a woman he met online.

Hackbarth acknowledged to the St. Paul Pioneer Press the story sounds "really weird and odd."

Officers worried about "stalking-like behavior" so they kept Hackbarth's gun. He retrieved the gun on Tuesday.

PiPress gives voluminous reporting here, this excerpt:

"I was looking for my girlfriend," the report quotes Hackbarth as saying. "It was a stupid jealousy thing. I thought she was seeing another guy and I was going to check on her. She was suppose(d) to be at one of the shops over here, so I parked my truck and went to look for her car."

Hackbarth provided officers the name of the woman but said he had no contact information for her and could not recall the website where he met her. Officers couldn't contact the woman, citing a lack of information. The Pioneer Press also couldn't contact the woman.

In his interview with the Pioneer Press, Hackbarth explained that in one of the dating websites he uses, people communicate with each other via e-mail routed through a central website. "You don't have an actual e-mail address," he said.

"I honestly can't give you any information," he said. "When you meet somebody online — if that's where you go — you meet somebody and you go out for coffee. You don't exactly tell each other your life stories."

He said he uses "maybe three or four" different dating sites and couldn't remember which one.

He said the woman he was looking for was the only one he had ever actually met face to face through online dating. "You don't get a lot of responses when you say you're separated," he said.

Officers tested him for alcohol, but none was detected, according to a report. Police reports note officers found extra ammunition for the revolver, a map and binoculars in the front of Hackbarth's vehicle. The lawmaker said the binoculars were there — as was other hunting equipment in the back of his red Ford pickup — from a deer hunting trip the weekend before.

[italics added]

_________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Don't blame me. I strongly supported Laurie Olmon.

She got mentioned in the PiPress story wrap-up:

Hackbarth has no criminal record. Police found his name in a criminal database as an alias for Paul Joseph Hackbarth. Tom Hackbarth told police that was his brother, who was killed about six years ago in Illinois during a bank robbery.

Hackbarth, who easily won re-election over Democrat Laurie Olmon, said he doesn't believe the incident should reflect poorly on his leadership.

"Absolutely not," he said. "I understand why the police and the security guard thought what they might have thought, but it really was insignificant to me."

"Insignificant?" Some guy packs heat, binoculars, extra ammo, and drives across town to an abortion clinic locale, with some story about online dating services where he cannot identify an individual sufficient for police to attain a statement? No reflection on "leadership?"

Is that the judgment you want in the legislature? That quality of thought and action?

Again, don't blame me. I strongly supported Laurie Olmon. She's nice, hard-working, smart, and normal.

_______FURTHER UPDATE________
Given how Hackbarth could not, or did not give sufficient info about the "woman" for police to get a statement, we can only trust his word and hope it was not some underage teen involved, of whatever gender. And that story about the hunting - no reporting mentioned whether police even checked with DNR whether there was a hunting license obtained by Hackbarth this season, or whether he produced one before the cops dropped the case. Perhaps it's a fit question for press follow-up. DNR hunting licenses are public data; discoverable as a matter of law.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

East Bethel sewer saga seems to have, for unclear reasons, been accelerated beyond my understanding of fair and deliberate.

There of course are multiple ways to read brief reporting that can only give notice and do highlighting, where as possibly in East Bethel's sewer saga, the devil is in the details.

ABC Newspapers, Eric Hagen reporting, gives high quality online reporting.

Here and here.

Read it all there. It would be improper to excerpt reports that themselves are quite tight and condensed; and I would likely have to repost both items to do either justice.

So read Hagen's online originals. Each is well written.

I did post a comment to each; currently subject to editorial moderation. Expecting them to be publishable, I suggest any interested reader could check the Hagen items mid-week, and see my views. If not published there by mid-week, I have the comments preserved and would insert them as an update to this post.

ANY READER IN ANY COMMUNITY UNDER MET COUNCIL JURISDICTION SHOULD READ THE ITEMS. READERS IN ELK RIVER, (CURRENTLY NOT UNDER MET COUNCIL JURISDICTION), SHOULD READ THEM ALSO - AS PART OF KNOWING WHETHER IT MIGHT BE A GOOD OR BAD IDEA TO SEE MET COUNCIL JURISDICTION EXPANDED INTO SHERBURNE COUNTY. DITTO, FOR READERS IN WRIGHT COUNTY. VIGILANCE IS THE PRICE OF FREEDOM FROM INTRUSIONS NOT DEEMED USEFUL, OR DESIRED, SO BE VIGILANT.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

RAMSEY - sidebar poll closed regarding a four-way-stop at the Hwy 81 [Armstrong Blvd.] and Alpine intersection.


[image from Google Maps]


On Nov. 1, when the Armstrong-Alpine poll was posted before the election, county board candidates Look and Steffen both responded in terms of the thinking each would take to the County if elected.

Their responses and background on the poll is presented; this link.

The poll was left open for a two-week period into mid-November, and is now closed.

Issue: Should Anoka County install a four-way stop at Armstrong-Alpine intersection?

Results: twenty responses

Good Idea - ten votes, 50%

Bad Idea - four votes, 20%

Yes, if a bike path is added - six votes, 30%

No, even if a bike path - (no votes in this category).

Analysis. It appears the split is between Armstrong traffic not wanting interruption and Alpine cross traffic wanting, by 50 to 80%, to have a more protective intersection (i.e., if there's an extension of bike and foot pathway west of the intersection, the desire for a more protective intersection reaches 80%). I infer nothing about the extent of support for or against extending a pathway as part of the trail system, at this time, or ever. I did not ask about that.

It appears that possible private school development west of Armstrong and south of the Alpine intersection, in the vacinity of Armstrong-Hwy 116, might result in Ramsey seeking an alteration of traffic control at that intersection.

Look [now elected to the County Board District 1 seat] mentioned another possible four way stop installation, on Armstrong at Central Park, as another consideration.

Note: The Google satellite image, with roads noted, has an added "1" highlighting the Armstrong-Alpine intersection, and an added "2" for the 161st St.-Armstrong intersection at Central Park [with Game Fair held annually, at Armstrong Kennels to the west].

Alpine, as the city's main East-West through street north of Hwy. 116, has frequent traffic stops at key intersections, (as does Hwy 116 with lights instead of four-ways). Alpine is a Ramsey city street. Armstrong and 116 are county highways.

Future. My hope is that the city at its year-end or first 2011 council meeting, will add and publicize an agenda item on whether the council should instruct staff to push county authorities for a change at the Alpine-Armstrong intersection.

The response to the sidebar poll suggests that twenty people over a two week period thought it a worthwhile question for attention; and from that I expect far more people in Ramsey have opinions but do not read the blog.

It seems residents calling city hall should not be dismissed too readily because of Ramsey not having jurisdiction on Armstrong changes. The city should take an official position, and make it publicly known to county officials and traffic planners.

Once again, the earlier Crabgrass Nov. 1 post at the start of the poll is here.

Bottom line. I think the Ramsey council should go on record on the traffic safety - traffic flow question for that intersection; and if my guess at citizen opinion proves true, then officials should lobby accordingly; i.e., if a public hearing results in the same predominant degree of support for a change that the informal Crabgrass sidebar poll suggests, then the council and administration in Ramsey should heed that result.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Strib says "musical chairs" may yield "sour notes." That sounds close to the wolf's saying "sour grapes." I see transitioning from very identifiable Wagernerian lietmotif, to unimaginative new-age bland-however-you-slice-it elevator music. On a kazoo.



Paul Levy, Nov. 9, this link, source for this excerpting:

Dan Erhart is now the Anoka County board's elder statesman. He has served previously as chairman, championed bringing a proposed Vikings stadium to Blaine and was lauded by Gov. Tim Pawlenty as the driving force behind the Northstar commuter rail line.

But after an election that has left him "discouraged," he wonders about his role on the board and who will replace Dennis Berg as chairman.

"I had a vision of the future," said Erhart, whose seat was not up for election, "and that will apparently have to wait."

Stung by the defeat of his longtime friend and transportation ally, DFL Rep. James Oberstar, Erhart is equally discouraged about the prospect that a board he saw as progressive is about to change.

He says he no longer has interest in being chairman and is realistic enough to know that he probably wouldn't be picked by a board that grew more conservative with the election of Ramsey City Council Member Matt Look and the reelection of Robyn West.

After last week's voting, Erhart met with longtime Commissioner Jim Kordiak, who Erhart says wants to become chairman -- a job his father, Al Kordiak, held for years. The other obvious candidate for chair is Rhonda Sivarajah, a fiscal conservative whose comments often leave Erhart biting his lower lip.

"Any of the board members would be qualified to be the chair," said County Administrator Terry Johnson.

Look is a fiscal conservative who questions the need for another rail line Erhart is pushing: The Northern Lights Express passenger line from Minneapolis to Duluth. Without Oberstar's pull, that line and the proposed extension of the Northstar commuter line to St. Cloud may be left at the station, Erhart worries.

The other new board members, Carol LeDoux and Andy Westerberg, are harder to label.

In this corner . . .

Carol LeDoux is expected to follow, somewhat, in the footsteps of her husband, Scott, the former commissioner who is battling ALS. He resigned from office in May.

As a commissioner, Scott LeDoux was a progressive thinker, and Carol LeDoux is at least as vocally strong as her husband.

On the evening of her election, the final precincts just in, she was savoring her victory with one breath and worrying about "how we can grow jobs in Anoka County. People can talk about cuts all they want, but the biggest concern should be finding jobs so people can earn a living."

Westerberg, a former legislator, appears to be the wild card. Like Carol LeDoux, he defies labels. A fiscal conservative, he was the sponsor of the House bill to bring the Vikings to Anoka County four years ago.

"I'm willing to listen to people on both sides of the issues," Westerberg said.

"I haven't thought about who will be chair of the board, or what my role will be in determining that," Westerberg said. "I'm still trying to wind down my campaign. I have lawn signs in five cities that need to be collected."

Meanwhile, Erhart braces for the possibility of a diminished role, should Sivarajah become board chair.

"If she becomes chair and that group runs the county, they'll tell me what they want me to do, and I'll do a good job no matter what," Erhart said.





So, high opera or soap opera, it's our lil' Valhalla of a county and we love its (few still) open places.

Erhart deserves much credit for the county's library system, something of a priority to him during his tenure atop things, and an achievement overshadowed by the greater attention paid by press, public, and politicians to the more costly "yet to prove value" Northstar experiment.

CV of Eric W. Kaler, the new lone finalist candidate to head U.Minn. Read it. It's like checking a horse's bloodline at Keeneland.

His research has been as an emulsions and materials scientist. As long as Stony Brook keeps the CV on line, see this link. I have downloaded it and will put it online, with a second link, later.

UPDATE: Alternate download link.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An intriguing image from The ECONOMIST. If fictitious persons, corporations, which unlike you or I run themselves by committee and with bylaws, while existing in perpetuity or until dissolved, are persons entitled to participate (with cash) in the political process, then ---



What's wrong with this? If a US corporation, owned entirely by Chinese nationals - say not publicly traded same as Cargill - is, per the Citizens United decision, able to financially "participate" in political speech, why cannot the Ghost of Chairman Mao hand out cash on K Street?

I see a distinction without any real difference.


_______________
Image from this link, read the story too, it's ambiguous but editorializes in ways you might or might not agree with, but what's the real difference between an international business force, say IBM imagining itself with an "American Eagle" and flag badging, and Toyota, wanting to buy influence in DC for similar reasons, and being discrete enough to downplay the Rising Sun flag?

You tell me. And then, why not foreign nationals, real people and not fictions for business (and now for political) purposes? It seems xenophobic to not let the Chinese humans have equal spending say in US politics as do US "corporate citizens" owned only by Chinese humans.

What am I missing in all this BS about corporate "personhood" when I don't exist into perpetuity, am taxed differently than IBM, and my corporeal person can be put in the slammer for crime but an incorporeal entity, by its nature cannot, (even if you jug up a majority of the board of directors, something that is too infrequent a happening).

The ECONOMIST, publishing online a studied, understated British view of US election results.



Don't doubt it for a moment. Hope for a better result but expect savagery.

And expect the Obama 2012 reelection effort to be a blame game for disguising his own willing compromises.

Now it is not the demon minority in the Senate to blame, or the gone W. It is more immediate, and the welcoming canoe will likely prove a few feet too far from the dock for full sincerity.

Ed Stein's site, source of this image.



This link, with more art on display if you care to have a look.

In an ideal world, with the stories about Tom Emmer's repeated need to be refinancing his home ---



Dayton, Entenza, or Ciresi should buy his mortgage. Then, "Just shut-up and keep current on the payments, Tom," would be a refreshing thing to see and hear. And if Tom got a payment or two behind, do you suppose Sutton would help him out? I don't know the personalities involved, but I think that would prove unlikely.

What job will Emmer, Clark, and Kelliher end up with? And would Hatch accept a Dayton appointment to again head up the Commerce Department, with healthcare still so much in flux? Where Hatch might be in a Dayton administration, will be an interesting thing to see unfold.

My ideal post-election placement would be Maureen Reed, in the federal healthcare administrative machinery, setting rules and guidelines in the post-legislation world of administrative law and implementation - as a former healthplan administrator she knows where the fat can be trimmed vs. what is essential to keep up quality. And throughout her pre-primary candidacy she appeared as having the knowledge, character and will to handle such a job appropriately. But would she want to move to DC, short of being a legislative voice?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wall Street Toadies: "It is truly astounding that less than a day after winning control of the people's House of Representatives, Republican leaders are already hard at work doing the business of big Wall Street banks," said Tom McMahon.

This link. Source of the headline quote. GOP movement, already, to weaken and water-down bank and financial system reform that's been passed. Compare, here.

Text of the Geithner G 20 letter, here.

Geithner keeps writing, this link. A letter here, a letter there, so what's it gaining? Attention?

Globe and Mail on the Bernanke move to buy treasuries on eve of G 20 summit; here and here.

Watch for the groceries to become more expensive - less bang for your food stamp bucks.

And you voted GOP. Now the Dems have an excuse for everything that will go wrong, continue wrong - Them. Election's over. Back to business as usual. Tea prices will be going up too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Michele Bachmann wanting a GOP leadership position reminds me of when I was ten, the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.







Michele Bachmann will have a role. I see her as a flambeaux carrier, on foot before the first float or between them. Not on the float standing watching the crowd, throwing the favors and having the attention. That's for others.



The flambeaux carrier can be in front, but if taking a wrong turn, a move not in the plans, the parade continues along its established route, and the errant flambeaux carrier departs from the crowds.

Wanting to be before the crowds, not away, our aging falmbeaux queen will not deviate from the parade route she's being told of, and she will keep the flambeaux stoked and bright, no burnout for the little lady in pink and pearls.

Carry on, Michele.

__________UPDATE__________
Along with breaking new Bachmannalia, Dump Bachmann has been posting on the non-event of a Bachmann hubris slap-down in her own GOP. Slate:


(My, an update is needed: The following text was misplaced in earlier posting - it refers to the makeup in the above pic and not an earlier one.) Look at those cheeks in the photo. You'd think with all the campaign cash she raised, somewhere in there would be $5.50 for a make-up mirror. NPR, this link.

FURTHER UPDATE -- More NPR, here.

Don't go away mad, Michele, ...

Throttling down tea party zealotry. It's happening. It's being reported. It's expected. It's not really news.

Selling out or side-tracking; with both federal houses under the GOP, it will not take long for earmarks to become essential legislative function, "to prevent Obama from having and using a blank checkbook" being the new mantra; and deficit reduction will become "clearly needed long-term, but too severe a move now, and the recovery will be impacted, and we must govern responsibly."

Newsweek, here.

National Review Online, here.

Rand Paul being lightning rod - for now, for fifteen minutes, (the upper bound of the attention span of a GOP-voting tea bagger), and then back to business as usual.

Don't tread on them. Don't even step near them. Keep them nice, on ice, until 2012, and then napalm them again with all that same old stuff. Call them again "grassroots." Same old, same old.

Carpet bag Alaskan Joe Miller proves himself a buffoon in denial. Voter intent means nothing to him. Winning trumps common sense, or that's his official posture.

Here.

Here.

A write-in, "Lisa Murkowsky" or "Lisa M." should not count? Be serious.

I'd be reasonable about things.

A write-in for "Sgt. Carpetbagger" I would count for Miller.

Are you a patriot? Sign up for informative email - but don't give up your privacy to do so.

I signed up. You can too. It's not like a tour of duty commitment, just getting helpful emails. And you do not have to give up your privacy to sign up for the email. They want an email address, and that makes sense since they will be communicating by email. Beyond that, name, rank and serial number [actually they only ask name, not rank or serial number - but address and phone info are sought and can be omitted while you still should "qualify" to be emailed news and views].


I cannot wait to learn of all the grassroots changes that will be happening post-election.

An idea, I have not seen it at the Patriot store, where you can prove your patriotism with goooood honest cash. For badging.



I recall a year of grade school in New Orleans, at ten years old, something about a coin sized medal some carried, RUAK on one side, IMAK on the other.

I think they are missing a marketing opportunity. A coin-sized medallion, with RUAP on one side, IMAP on the other. Folks could carry it along with pocket change, and resolve any identity crisis with other patriots - you've got the medallion, or you don't.

It could be something simple, high class - not cheesy, well designed and solid, such as this:




Original medallion source, this link.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Stop that Train, I'm Leaving. At Norwegianity. Something for the Poe folks, on the way out of political commentary.

Here.

Here.

See where it goes in the next few months.

__________UPDATE__________
Here, also. This link.

Add your name. Sign the petition first. Then explore the website.

This link:



The screenshot tells the story. But go to the link, add your name, and then look around the site.

Having been used for all the money-source backers could get, mobilized Tea Party dissatisfaction and disaffiliation is being put out to pasture for now. The top-down money flow to local organization effort will lessen or dry up. The death rattle starts with a look at Senate candidates who lost. That media drumbeat of Tea Party "ineffectiveness" will pick up for a while, and not quell soon. Machinery going into shut-down maintenance mode will be restarted next election cycle.



The AP wrote, and Strib dutifully carried; this.

The local websites might remain, but the nationwide indexing such as it has been will quietly wither and disappear from here, where they pat their feeble minded followers on the head and say, good job, you matter, with us you were heard.



For those believing something grassroots had happened, and it was not top down all along, open your eyes and read the bottom of the present Tea Party Patriots home page. In effect, it says, we will continue to channel your thinking if you sign up for email allowing that, while we and our "experts" meet with the politicians and lobby.



All top down, from the crappy little COR-like logos at the foot of the webpage put into existence by - you tell me, chumps - but it makes my heart swell with a sense of liberty. Yours too? Sure.

And, thanks again, little guys, without you ... lobbying to get our way is harder.



___________contest_____________
Can any reader identify the opening screenshot, as to source or use or otherwise? Send an email or post a comment. As an exception to the new policy on refusal of anonymous comment posting, an anonymous comment making a proper identification may be submitted for posting.

Food stamp reliance in Minnesota soars. Government intervention is needed to keep people fed. The total truth about the depression the Republicans deliberately precipitated at the tail end of the Bush eight years. And this last election, Republicans were elected in droves because they lied well.


Strib reports on Food Stamp reliance in Minnesota, this link.

Numbers on food stamps are soaring in Minnesota
More people get food-stamp assistance than live in all of Minneapolis - a record high.
By JEREMY OLSON, Star Tribune update: November 6, 2010 - 11:52 PM


The number of Minnesotans receiving food stamp subsidies has soared to an all-time high, a sign that many families are facing continued hardship despite signs of economic recovery.

State figures rose from 381,000 recipients in September 2009 to 444,000 last month -- a total that surpasses the entire population of Minneapolis.

The numbers are expected to rise even higher due to federal changes that, as of last week, raised the income threshold for eligibility and waived an asset test.

While need has increased for most of the last decade, the latest spike shows that people have exhausted other options during their struggle to find work, Becky Lentz of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis said.

"People wait and wait and wait," she said. "The desolation of people when they finally sign up is mind-boggling."

Strib's reporting continues from that beginning, so please read it all.

The rest of the Crabgrass hadline falls into place from there. Now, after the election, Bernanke and cohorts in the Fed will be buying treasury bonds to increase the money supply, to lessen the pain. At least Minnesota has the Dayton victory to prevent utter destruction. How would those relying on food stamps to stay fed fare, had Emmer won?

Go figure.

And folks, this link Is a reminder that we in Minnesota are not alone. All around the US of A, decent honest working people have been beggared. It is a nationwide situation of plunging of people into poverty and dependence instead of freedom and independence, those laudatory goals to which the bosses give extreme lip service and feigned deference. As Olson of Strib reported it, the quote, "People wait and wait and wait," she said. "The desolation of people when they finally sign up is mind-boggling." It is mom and pop, and the folks down the street. It is a first step in demoralization and the denial of decent single payer healthcare and the upcoming GOP killing of Social Security as we know it. Food stamp statistics are but harbingers of greater and greater destitution inflicted on us by the self-indulgent overly wealthy regional bosses and the DC mix of bought and paid for lobbyists along with their bought minions placed in the Capitol.

Mark Dayton left after a single term, calling it a cesspool, and he was one hundred percent spot-on and until voices of truth are recognized and heeded, no change will happen except more of the same but getting worse.

It is GOP. It is immoral. Yet it presents the opportunity for long-term housecleaning and reform. First, the Democratic Party needs to retool, or stay irrelevant and part of the problem instead of a part of any solution. It is up to them to present an agenda of care, and of prosperity for everyone, even if the fat cats running things might need to thin down somewhat.

Do it, or regret not reforming the broken system we now have in place. The system of Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito. The system of Bush, Cheney, and the Clintons. CLEAN HOUSE.