consultants are sandburs

Friday, July 29, 2011

RAMSEY - Putting it into single syllables, a short and simple answer to Mr. Flaherty, Mr. Collins, Mr. Lazan, and Mr. Cronk.

This reporting by Sakry of ABC Newspapers shows how bone-headed stupid the Gang-of-Four are.

That is Elvig, Wise, McGlone, and the mayor.

Wanting to put our city behind the eight-ball, via a giveaway of unprecedented scope, to Indiana guys who want others to take their capitalist risks in their place, while being ready to reap any rewards.

It is as if at the casino, some dude from Indiana puts his hat under the slot machine chute, and says "Put your money in the thing for me, will you?"

Brick stupid.

Fence post turtle stupid.

Not-their-money-so-why-not-spend-spend-spend stupid.

Putting it into terms they simply might understand, that they could grasp; in answer to Mr. Flaherty, and Mr. Collins, and especially Mr. Lazan and his sidekick Mr. Cronk, (not a single finger salute as some might deem earned), but a simple mono-syllabic adage from their GOP past and heritage, one they may perceive as helpful:





__________UPDATE__________

Read Sakry's report to see who said what, and what to you makes sense and is not from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

The HRA has an obligation to push the project, said the fence-post turtle.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE______________
A hat tip to two readers. For this two-link thought exercise.

Oh my, what if we do not in Ramsey throw money at Flaherty-Collins?

They might build rental in Anoka. Anoka might end up "eating Ramsey's lunch." This link.

If we profligately throw money at Flaherty-Collins [besides it meaning the money will not be available for other, meritorious use] they might build, it might be a big bug-splat on the windshield of local government, and the gang-of-four might even care although downside reality and risk seems something they'd rather not even think about now.

This link.

Even though Ramsey risks risking an order of magnitude more public taxpayer money than the larger city with the deeper pocket, I believe there is a lesson in that report about irrational exuberance, and ownership of the bastard child when everyone else renounces it.

But wait, that is supposed to be yesterday's learning curve, isn't it, re raw land? How many hits to the head will it take, for an upward sloping learning curve at the present council table?

And that first Finance and Commerce story, all up and down the entire Northstar corridor the little towns have the same little pie-in-the-sky ideas. Some more restrained than others.

We have Darren. Wow, what a blessing. However, I would rather our town having restraint, instead of our having Darren.

Restraint would cost one whole hell of a lot less than Darren. Restraint has a lot to be said in its favor. Darren, less so, in my view.

_________________________
NOTE - the date/time stamp of this post was adjusted, and "RAMSEY" added to the title to remove any doubt from the beginning about the focus. "Featuring" the post by first positioning is related to a belief it has something important to say beyond importance, (if any), in other posted things.

Wow, only with Republicans.



The Republicans running the Anoka County Board are asking the Republicans running the US House for money the Republicans running the Minnesota legislature withdrew from mandated programs; all in the family. Which Republicans are responsible for pulling the rug out from under which other Republicans; and is the bottom line the Republcans in the county expect the Republicans in DC to say no, to prove something,  perhaps nothing, beyond Repubicans get elected and the children suffer. This ABC Newspapers report.

_______________UPDATE__________________
Harry Potter comes to Anoka County, and what's that last frame about besides the governor?

http://boingboing.net/2011/07/19/tom-the-dancing-bug-58.html

Democrats and Republicans, our two-party system at its finest.

Any reader unfamiliar with Tom Tomorrow should remedy that defect.

With that said, there is this. This. This. And this, about our Democrats and decisions.

For a difference, Republicans.

There is bipartisanship debate, fairness, and the lightly taxed Job Creators.

Occasionally there is a lone trouble maker here or there, asking pointless things (such as whether "public-private partnership [P3]" has any connection with prevailing wage). Or suggesting abnormal ways of doing things, as a solution William of Occam might have thought cheerful.

Does anyone have any questions?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Firefox Addon named "MurdochAlert."

This link.


There is an extension for the Google Chrome Browser too, called Murdoch Block.

I think the item relies on a Wikipedia list, here.

It seems that with an alert, one can block item by item with Adblock Plus, or Ghostery, using their blocking lists, and adding entries. I have not done that. Yet. At some point I will give it a try. The idea is great.

I installed the FF addon, and will have a look at the Chrome Extension.

An individual of the quality of Rupert Murdoch deserves a boycott, until it pinches his advertising bottom line, and past that. WSJ quality seems worse since he bought it.

Hat tip to Empty Wheel, here, for the link trail.

______________UPDATE______________
Installed the Chrome version, and tested it. First screenshot, google return for "Fox News."

Second screenshot, what you get from clicking to select the first hit on the google list.





Same thing works for Wall Street Journal. An effort by a program author, worth the time it took to code it. Nice.

_______________UPDATE______________
Rupert Murdoch DOES deserve it.

Monkey knife fight.


This link. Also, here.

I agree with what each is saying about the other. Not a bit do I agree with what each says about himself, herself. A nice, healthy, decent monkey knife fight, no doubt, no winner. No regrets.

SLAPP suits suck.

as always, click to enlarge and read



Useful links are here, here (source of the image), and here.

That lets a reader know more than most care to know about what a SLAPP is.

The latest Minnesota wrinkle being reported by Strib; for those pushing an agenda and getting stymied by public opposition or the judgment of officials, and having the filing fee and retainer for a willing lawyer while wanting to inject grief into the life of another; is to SLAPP a decision maker, including those elected and politically connected to community opinion and having their own opinions and evaluative capabilities, when that decision maker is in a "quasi-judicial" decision-making capacity.

What does "quasi-judicial" mean? First, ask a lawyer.

Second put yourself in the SLAPP filer's position. [S]he cares little about winning since the objective is to steam-roll over opposition. Make them wish they'd never spoken out. Teach them a lesson. So it does not really mean jack what "quasi-judicial" means in a practical sense if a lawyer advises the SLAPPor that there is some possibly marginal credibility to trying to beat up the SLAPPee in court, through disproprtionately greater resources, more at stake economically, and a greater will to be mean and petty.

Gee, Batman, you mean there are people like that in Gotham City? Wow.

______________UPDATE_____________
The sidebar "bio" statement was updated a few days ago. Regarding its opening sentence, see here and here.

Googling if you know how for the immunity provision of Minn. Stat. Ch. 554, instead of the definitions provision, yields an almost identical short list of precedent, here.

I like the statute, but I believe the courts have been too willing to read in in an overly narrow way, on occasion. We all have opinions. If the law were more certain there'd be no disputed cases. It all would be crystal clear in advance. The winner. The loser. No need for a jury.

______________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
While not exactly a SLAPP, it's from the same chicken. This Google. Dump Bachmann posted the complaint text. Dump Bachmann, if you read a bit, has several additional posts about Pastor Dean of the drum stand and his proves-all-you-need-is-the-filing-fee litigation. Norwegianity expresses contempt for Pastor Bradlee, in editorializing (and the link gives you a chance to see the blog header, which is itself a refreshing idea).

Three of four Ward 4 Special Election candidates now have web pages. If you live in that ward and intend voting in the Aug. election, learn more about your choices.

In reverse alphabetical order, Tim Wrenn intends to create a website but has not yet done so.


Tom Towberman has a website, the link to a representative page being:

http://www.thejusticeleague.net/voteforthomasjtowberman.htm


Sarah Strommen has a website, the link to a representative page being:

http://www.electsarahstrommen.com/news/illbeatdennysonmonday


Brenda Look has a website, her home page being representative:

http://votebrendalook.com/

Please, voters in Ward 4, bookmark the sites as each becomes known. And please take time to explore the websites from the above representative links.

The city has an elections page, which is outdated on the complete website info, but keep checking it to see when Wrenn has a site online; this link:

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

Not living in the ward, I have no vote in the special election, but I nonetheless found it informative to examine the presentations prepared for those having a vote.

Please note, the city elections webpage has phone and email contact info for each of the four candidates, and there probably is nothing as good as a personal discussion.

At the candidate forum I met Towbermann and Wrenn for the first time. I know Strommen from the past council service, and I found it helpful to have heard the three discuss issues. I have briefly met Brenda Look at a city meeting where Dave Jeffrey was honored in a city hall foyer ceremony before the council met. I look forward to seeing her speak in a public forum on the issues, to see how things on the website are explained and fleshed out via a speaking opportunity.

If anyone knows of any candidate forum events for the Ward 4 vacancy in the future, please place a comment on this post about date/time/place/sponsorship, as that is information having a public value. Or send me an email at the sidebar address:

4crabgrass@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The words local contractors and local labor are a fine committment, from early 2010 which should still prevail. The missing words were prevailing wage.

Colin McGlone, on the record.


That appears to be a fine first step so that things will be better once prevailing wage is a part of the commitment, in writing signed by Flaherty-Collins, if the deal is done at all.

Nedegaard had a reputation of being against unions, and I am told he and Shingobee did the commercial node at Armstrong [the Corborns store] without using union labor.

I think the Allina Clinic contractor used union workers and while I can criticize design aspects it appears the contract was performed quickly and in a quality way.

Regarding Flaherty and Collins soliciting an equity partner or an outright buyer for the downtown Indianapolis ramp-wrap, "The Cosmopolitan," besides achieving liquidity, a motive might be inability to gain long term mortgage financing after construction and the construction lending entities wanting to be cashed out.

Earlier the 210 Tower Chapter 7 bankruptcy Flaherty-Collins' LLC intermediary encountered in North Carolina, and some citizen grief, was posted in Crabgrass. E.g., this link.

The original article from North Carolina was online here. That was in Charlotte, NC. It was a condo tower project.

The Chapter 11 Flaherty-Collins splat involved a separate shell LLC intermediary in a different city. That shell experience was not a condo project, but rather in a shared-wall rental project, The Exchange at Brier Creek Apartments in Raleigh, NC. It has its own story. Reporting from Indianapolis, here, stated:

A spokesman for Flaherty & Collins blamed Brier Creek FC’s financial troubles on an outside management company it used before turning those responsibilities over to its Flaherty & Collins Management division.

“They failed to get it leased,” Mark Conover said Thursday morning. “At the same time, what happened with the economy, the rents didn’t rise like they should have because of the job situation in Raleigh, and we missed a couple of [debt] payments.”

Brier Creek FC has no employees but pays workers provided by Flaherty & Collins Management Inc. to operate and manage the complex. In its bankruptcy filing, Brier Creek is asking to use collateral it has with its bank, First Horizon Home Loans in Irving, Texas, to pay the employees. Payroll expenses total about $46,000 a month.

First Horizon loaned Brier Creek FC $24.8 million to develop the apartment project, according to court documents.

“If debtor is not permitted to use its cash collateral to operate its business and maintain the property securing the Indebtedness, the debtor will have to cease operations,” Wendy Brewer, the attorney for Brier Creek FC, wrote in a court filing.

In exchange for the collateral, Brier Creek FC said it will provide replacement liens to First Horizon and will make monthly payments to the bank equal to the current interest amount of $36,100 month.

Brier Creek filed for bankruptcy reorganization to keep its lender from selling the loan to what Conover referred to as a “hostile group.”

The largest unsecured creditors listed on the bankruptcy filing, Indianapolis-based LC Investors LLC and Flaherty & Collins Development, are owed $3 million and $1.2 million, respectively.

[emphasis added]. There is a story to the willingness to blame others when things went wrong -- others did not maximize rental cash flow, the market is blamed, and there is using Chapter 11 in wanting to block a "hostile group."

A second thing:




Here, per the sidebar touting in the above image (also presented in that earlier post), Crabgrass noted Flaherty-Collins' website puffing over a recent project, using much the same non-reassuring puffery wording Sakry, here, reported with regard to the Ramsey ramp-wrap-rental.

That puffery was about a project called Cumberland Pointe [it is extreme tackiness to put that extra "e" onto something as with one former council member-politician-land speculator wanting shoppes and restaurants at early Clown Center times and talking].

A third and fourth point:

As recently as late April of this year, Cumberland Pointe ended up, in all places, in federal court litigation. Presumably, it was because actuality and puffery were not fully congruent. It augers in a way what we in Ramsey may anticipate; buying into a lawsuit as a possible outcome of having dealings with Flaherty-and-Collins. It's happened. They are not strangers to the federal judiciary in general, nor the bankruptcy courts.

This link.


That pattern of leaving a wake of litigation on three major properties, and pushing an equity position sale on the Cosmopolitan project in downtown Indianapolis, suggest that if the Ramsey ramp wrap gets built, and is a failure, or even a success, a second position behind a construction loan rollover that is not (in today's market) roll-overable is not a bright spot to put the City of Ramsey into because of personal at-the-council-table feelings "It oughta work..." fueled by Landform projections, the famous Darren Dashboard, that suggest taking the step leading to a large commission for Landform is a step the city should risk.

Some may think buying into a potential litigation mess is neat, that risk=taking on public money is fun, or that failure and litigation is low probability, but it is something the city could avoid by not making a wrong first step.

However, with Cronk of Flaherty-Collins being a City fiduciary, I am confident the existence of this very recent Indiana federal court litigation was fully disclosed and discussed with city officials before they engaged in a conference call with Flaherty-Collins' Pittsburgh lender. Surely that would not have been withheld information, not after the experience of city officials being surprised about there being two very recent North Carolina bankruptcies, with Flaherty-Collins having excuses and/or explanations to offer, after a local public press discovery, of each. Just exactly as this one was also fully disclosed to Ramsey officials. From February, 2011, in federal court in Chicago.


Existence of such litigation would not have been willfully withheld, not by Cronk, the city's fiduciary working with Lazan, another city fiduciary with due diligence duty.

I admit to not knowing the seriousness of issues in those two most recent lawsuits, because I am not a subscriber to the Pacer federal legal data resources, as our city attorney or Bray of the Briggs-Morgan firm doubtlessly have, between them.

Surely if I found the litigation pattern out, as an unpaid citizen who only Googles without any contact with FC insiders, those paid thousands of taxpayer money every month in return for a duty of care and of loyalty, also found equivalent detail. And duly reported it. Knowing and meeting their duty of loyalty.

_______________UPDATE______________
The Brier Creek report has interesting numbers, it appearing that Flaherty-Collins were running a payroll ten grand higher than the $36,000 monthly debt service cost, for "management services" with the shell front Raleigh LLC empty but the management coming from the insulated-from-liability Flaherty-Collins Indiana core operation. The largest unsecured creditors of the FC shell were other FC entangled arms, wanting to front run the lenders on some form of "collateral" which might have been escrowed money, a performance bond, or some such.

One of the two Cumberland Pointe lawsuits is an insurer suing both sides of the other dispute. There, again, might have been some performance bond disagreements. These are guesses because, as noted, I do not have the PACER database access that the city's legal advisers have to check court papers and dispute history.

And as a fair disclosure matter, material facts such as dealings history with others and behavior when downside risks prevailed in earlier developments are things that should have been disclosed, in fairness, by Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Collins. Cronk could not have worked for them without factual knowledge in mind when being City of Ramsey's fiduciary, via Landform and co-fiduciary, Lazan.

It appears in the Brier Creek situation there was a cash-flow shortage between rental income and costs, and, curiously, neither Mr. Flaherty nor Mr. Collins stood ready to personally bridge the gap, with bankruptcy court dancing by the shell LLC being a more favored avenue of conduct.

A time or two in the past I went to a race track and I would buy the daily racing form on the belief that a horse in today's race would more likely than not prove true to its past record, even if carrying different weight or on a wet vs dry track -- but the same horse with the same jockey in the saddle.

It seemed a logical thought to bet that way.

____________FURTHER UPDATE___________
An anonymous comment points out the FC massive-rental-project empire is in only five states, (with North Carolina conspicuously absent). Curiously, their bottom feeding experience and expertise is largely confined to the same states, primarily Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.

So is Ramsey and our ten-thousand lakes State to be added to one, or both of those categories? Mass-rental, and/or bottom feeding?

Not a sidebar poll, but readers are encouraged to "vote" by comment. One, the other, or both.

___________FURTHER UPDATE______________
The degree of public welfare-for-the-wealthy subsidy participation is so staggering it is easy for one factor of the several to be overlooked. Besides accelerating and guaranteeing the train stop will be in place and operational by the middle of next year of FC can walk, wherever the ramp-wrap-rental adventure stands at that time:

[1] there is free parking spaces built with tax money [it may not be direct City property taxation, but it is a grant, and they don't come from the tooth fairy, they come out of taxes at some level of government, national, state, metro-wide, county, city, or HRA/EDA]. If either the HRA or EDA gets money other than cash traceable to some taxation, at some government level, send an email letting me know detail.  

[2] There is SAC and WAC fee compromise, where if John Peterson had been given similar SAC and WAC charge reductions at the cornfield on Highway 5 at Trott Brook or at the Bauer gun club development, both venues might have fully built out before the market turned bad.

[3] There is the proposed playing-banker with city money, bonding etc. for the purpose of giving credit to Flaherty-Collins unavialable from within the private sector [including capability/willingness of Mr. Flaherty and/or Mr. Collins to put personal fortune at risk sufficiently to fund it completely within the private sector].  

All three are big-ticket subsidy. Banking on a second lien, millions, and hard to say how much, ultimately, is at risk. SAC and WAC income compromised to allow FC a greater profit-making chance has to be made up from tax income elsewhere, for the city and its HRA and EDA to have balanced budgets. Expanding the ramp with tax money, and giving free parking spaces to the private-sector landlord-adventurers' thin shell LLC cannot be called anything but a pure giveaway.

That is a lot of subsidy when taken together, from Republicans or Democrats, but this level of stupendous expenditure is via irrefutably true GOP socialism, for the benefit of a single chosen amenable landlord, done at an extreme, with arrogance. With McGlone even daring to say there is no subsidy.

Really.

He has said that.

Remind me, precisely how much capital are Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Collins putting into this leveraged adventure of theirs?

Two and a half million dollars was what I heard on one televised Council/HRA event, but the thing's a moving target where yesterday's commitment changes [e.g., the McGlone statement at the start, of using local contracting and local labor may prove ephemeral, when all the dust's settled].

How many times greater is the City's apparent willingness to gamble with public tax money?

In comparison to the pair of Indiana gentlemen's capital contribution while it is they who are seeking for upside profit potential, from their adventure?

Wasting water at Ramsey Town Center.

Citizens in past drought times had to go on imposed lawn watering constraints. Water supply is a problem. Building a third water tower was justified in part as allowing more capacity to meet varying demands, and peaks, without running all the many municipal wells at full capacity for too long a time. It is real. Expansion of the population may be resource constrained, once it becomes less market constrained as now with the housing slump in full sway.

This corner, Town Center, north east corner of Sunwood and Rhinestone, after about an inch of overnight rain, had sprinklers running this morning when I went to the Town Center mailbox.


It is irresponsible.

Sure, there is no drought now. Sure, it is fairly new turf, and an investment you'd want to protect. But bottom line, it is a commercial, big-bucks thing, where ownership can afford to put in sprinkler equipment that adapts to weather, and is not an auto-watering-after-a-big-rainfall mistake.

Think of it this way. It is not a drought year. The past two were. The aquifer is deep and the time for water to percolate is uncertain, but long. The aquifer fills at some rate, call it x, and is tapped at some rate, say y. If y is greater than x, then, with charging time delays too a factor, after the last two years water should not be wasted even if top ground water has recently been plentiful. It is common sense.

The city in revising its zoning and requirements for the Town Center should consider imposing a requirement that sprinkling systems be adapted to fit rainfall, and not on regular cycles, come hell or high water.

It would be prudent. It would be management. Deep pockets could absorb the initial capital cost of a perhaps more costly control system, set off against lesser ongoing water bills and having a sense of civic good will from not wasting water so that single-family homeowners do not have to do less with landscaping water needs because the adventurers at Town Center are profligate with a public resource.

An ocean and half a continent away, the Brits know injustice when they see it.

A publication I never heard of before, but flagged via a Google Alert set for "Johnny Northside" listed its "worst mortgage frauds of 2011." It was a top-ten count-down from number ten to the most egregions, the publication's Number 1.

This link to read all ten, with the worse being reported as:

1) The most read fraud story this year was about a US blogger who was fined £36,000 after causing a man to lose his job after reporting him for mortgage fraud.

Blogger Johnny Northside Hoff posted an article about mortgage specialist Jerry Moore on his blog, after finding out that he was connected to a mortgage fraud.

Following the post, Moore was fired which resulted in him taking legal action against Hoff.

In court, the jury agreed that Hoff had committed "tortious interference" by meddling with Moore's employment. Hoff was fined £36,000.

Background. District Court docket info is online, this link. Searching for the case, I used party name "Jerry Moore," and then since there are several litigants with the name, searching the returned list for "Hoff," finding it to be Case No. 27-CV-09-17778. Procedural steps, and filings with the court are logged, but you cannot tell the issues from a docket listing.

I have noted, it was Hoff's blog news of a mortgage fraud prosecution of a Larry Maxwell involving the plaintiff in the suit against Hoff, Jerry Moore, where Moore was not indicted and claimed innocence and that a check made out to him in a consulting capacity was never given him.

Hoff's jury verdict was that he did not say anything untrue about Moore, there was no defamation but that Moore was entitled to a $60,000 judgment for interfering with Moore's employment by a U.Minn. Twin Cities community branch operation in North Mpls.

That weird verdict was reduced to a judgment entered in the court clerk's office April 13, 2011, but the post judgment motions remain pending. Post trial argument includes Amicus participation by a professional journalism association in support of Hoff.

Motions were heard May 31, 2011, and presently remain "under advisement." That means a decision is pending, and nobody knows what it will be until the judge issues it. Hoff would want the judgment set aside as a matter of law, and likely hopes for that result while not being able to anticipate an outcome until one is officially issued.

The judge has a statutory 90 days to rule on such things, by issuing an order and opinion, the opinion giving legal argument and justification for the order; and if more time is needed litigants seldom object. (Wisdom is lacking in being discourteous to a judge still in a decision-making position.)

The journalism association argued that basic First Amendment precedent was in support of the position that absent a defamation, stating an untrue thing causing a plaintiff harm, no inteference with contract suit could prevail under the same facts, based upon things published which were truthful; and that such was so as a matter of First Amendment Constitutional law, with precedent in Minnesota decisions and decisions of the US Supreme Court.

With the date of hearing being the trigger date, now is more than half of the ninety day period has elapsed. There may be something final at the trial court level soon.

Whichever side ultimately wins at the trial level can anticipate the other appealing.

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

Hoff's reporting of the Larry Maxwell convictions included noting that Brad Johnson prosecuted the matter for Freeman's Hennepin County Attorney office.

Some in Anoka County may recall last election, that Brad Johnson ran for Anoka County Attorney, hoping to succeed his father, Robert M.A. Johnson, and grandfather, Robert Johnson, in office.

It was close.

I supported Johnson because of his experience in white collar crime prosecutions, and because despite the family ties, he was less of an "old boy" insider than Tony Polumbo, who won, after over fifteen years in the Anoka CA office in both trial and administrative capacities.

Johnson continues to do white collar trial litigation in Hennepin County, in Freeman's office.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

RAMSEY The positive hope in things is that the present council and consulting affiliates would want to assure organized labor is understood and addressed as part of wishing for a trouble free construction project in the event the ill-advised step of banking a second lien on a speculative rental housing venture is done to assist and subsidize the landlord.

The Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation - AFL-CIO has a website, here, identifying its officers and lead staff people, policy makers and such, who to my understanding are generally supportive of the norm that public construction effort be at prevailing wages for the several involved skilled trades. That's background.

What is unique is that City of Ramsey (under Republican leadership at present, the gang-of-four made up of mayor, McClone, Wise and Elvig all being GOP to varying extents but all in that camp) is pushing the Flaherty-Collins thing as a "catalyst" effort indicative of what is hoped for by officials for the remainder of its Town Center raw land holdings, and that the Flaherty-Collins thing is highlighted as part of what's touted as a "public-private partnership [P3]" cooperative effort; with this particular ramp-wrap-rental hummer being set up to be bankrolled in part by City of Ramsey's HRA (i.e., with bonding to put money into the Flaherty-Collins adventure, as a loan to the shell LLC Flaherty-Collins has set up for its role in the things).

Or at least that is the latest public incarnation of plans of which I am aware. It would be great if Flaherty-Collins paid all the freight, it and its private-sector lenders, but the landlord seems disinclined to put in sufficient capital to make the thing happen that way. Or at least so far that is the public impression citizens such as me are left with by events as they've been revealed. Presuming the City does take a second lien position or other active role beyond infrastructure building, what then?

With that level of public involvement, and with title to rental site to be held in the hands of the landlord who is presently appearing to put less money at risk in this than the city, how should these Republicans, especially in light of union busting east or the Minnesota border in Wisconsin, treat the question one of whether prevailing wage should be a non-negotiable DEMAND that Flaherty-Collins acquiesce to if wanting the deal to go through with the citizens of Ramsey, many being union members, picking up a big, big, big chunk of the adventure's risk?

That is the question.

The alternative would be a potential undercutting of unions, of undercutting prevailing wage requirements, via a shell-game shuffle of what's private, and what's public, in this alleged public-private co-adventuring for Flaherty-Collins and for the remainder of the Landform effort to promote the CORpse resuscitation.

Labor should step to the plate, however I fear labor has not been aware of and attentive to the policy dimensions of "public-private" P3 "partnership" co-adventuring. See the lengthy SLIDE packet, this link:

http://156.142.212.178:8080/docs/2011/HRASpec/20110104_31/31_010411%20HRA.pdf

See, e.g., the 19th slide, and the 21st (click as needed to enlarge and read):





I would like a city government I could be proud of. I have already called this thing Republican socialism, and I do not change that view. Yet the socialized effort, in its slide 21 poses two questions which I see, in the context of a universal "COR" prevailing wage policy, to be questions having crystal clear answers. First:

What impediments to sucessful development would exist? 
Labor disharmony would be an impediment, especially given that the entire thing the council is doing has little strong community-wide support, and assuring labor's interest in prevailing wage requirements would be a substantial real step toward a true effort to build more community belief and support. Disharmony could lead to informational pickets, or other steps which might slow construction or lead to the effort attaining bad public relations and press coverage if any aura of union bashing were to become apparent.

What partnership roles can the public play in overcoming those impediments?
The answer is obvious. Require prevailing wage clauses in any land sale - development contracts arise, in particular in the present Flaherty-Collins thing where the city is taking a financing stake, beyond infrastructural involvement. To be legitimate such a thing would need to bar Flaherty-Collins, which has its own building arm to do contracting, from bringing in out-of-state labor and instead making it a contract term that they hire locally. A first step would be for the mayor and city administrator to get into a conference call with Bill McCarthy of the above referenced labor organization, his contact info being on this page. McCarthy should be invited to the next council/HRA meeting at which Flaherty-Collins is on the agenda to discuss publicly, on camera, labor's role, incentives, and hopes in our area, under present economic pressures. A special council work session meeting could be held Monday, with McCarthy invited to first discuss things off-camera with the council and key city staff. Those steps would be real, and clearly indicative of an acknowledgement that labor has a stake in whether this Ramsey Town Center resuscitation effort bears fruit.

................................................

That public sector socialism in such ways as it is being done and touted per "The COR" may carry consequences regarding public-policy labor considerations of prevailing wage for all construction within the city's co-adventuring area, the Ramsey Town Center as renamed "The COR" (to cast off the stigma of failed policy), should have been foreseen by city officials and duly addressed before now. However, I have seen no evidence whatsoever of any such sensitivity or attention to labor as a factor in what is being advanced from the council table.

It is high time that be changed. And to be legitimate and percieved as such, it would have to come in the context of a city stepping out presently from all traditional roles into socialized development and into banking a second lien position in a landlord's venture wanting labor harmony in so proceeding, and taking clear, open and public affirmative steps to see this is done in a way honoring the existence of organized labor and its aspirations.

Anything less would be sowing the seeds of discord against a project the council gang-of-four seems hopelessly in love with, and one it is immune to seeing any ugliness or disaster in the thought or in how thoughts may be implemented.

Hopefully such myopia will be dispelled before any groundbreaking on the landlord effort of Flaherity-Collins happens.

Prevailing wage is a simple concept. It can be simply implemented, if a city will exists to see it done. If not, elections happen. Unfortunately, not soon enough if union-bashing is to be a part of what my city, City of Ramsey, is all about. Let us hope that labor harmony is recognized as a goal standing in everyone's best interest, and that the ballot box as a last resort is mooted by sound policy thinking on council.

Review that entire slideshow, again, this link. If it was produced with any aim beyond puffery and show, then weigh what it says, and how, if it disregards labor as having a stake in seeing prevailing wage honored, it is of a most questionable "public" value. Labor could ask that all jobs be union built, locally hired, or not done at all. I would actually prefer that since then only jurisdictional inter-union questions might arise but a no-strike clause could work if union labor be required, with the jurisdictional matters arbitrated among the unions without any work interruption. Labor might ask less, only that prevailing wage be paid with contractors free to hire locally among union or non-union labor, and other arrangements could be considered. However, now, not later is the time to address the legitimate expectations of labor, with union membership high among Ramsey residents where such citizens should be expected to want their legitimacy recognized when their money tax money is spent, and they might take offense at an attitude akin to sticking a pencil in the eye of labor, if that is how the cards fall. Harmonious steps seem to be the wisest road City of Ramsey could take.

______________UPDATE______________
Given how the GOP wishes to characterize the wealthy as "job creators," this is a chance to do so in harmony with unions, who can look to Wisconsin and elsewhere to see the GOP as union-bashers instead of job creators.  Local GOP members on the Ramsey council, along with the wealthy gentlemen, Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Collins, can face this apparent dichotomy and act to disarm it, if a collective will in that direction exists.

It is time two sides on an issue talk reasonably to one another. Harmony is possible. All it takes is the will to harmonize on both sides. The city should contact McCarthy. McCarthy should contact the city. However, who takes step 1, is less important than what could result if reasonableness prevails among all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fill one up full, with this hummer. Courtesy of our good friends at Citizens United.

The pearl lady. Three images. The second, from the stomach, not the heartland. Hat tip to Avidor at Dump Bachmann for the third item. Full moon to Citizens United, for the second.




Take two. They're small.

Load another, reading this.

This LA contingent is propping up a scarecrow.

The things myths are made of, and how to debunk a bunkhouse. A Google, and a cartoon.

There is a painfully redundant propaganda effor afoot - repeated, and repeated, and repeated; aka "The Job Creators."

It is false every time. The dark side of the force is hoping that flogging repetition fosters believable credibility. Or the aim is a more reachable goal, acceptance as a point for debate - without laughter.

This Google.

This Seattle PI Cartoon. And commentary.


Regarding the actress who would be president, this Google.

Let them eat loopholes.

UPDATE: A link. This quote from that link:

Doug Sachtleben, a campaign spokesman, said Ms. Bachmann believes “everyone benefits from taxes paid into the system, and everybody should participate.” But, he said, that would ultimately redound to the benefit of the poor. A fairer, simpler, flatter tax system would ease the hit on “job creators” and boost the economy, which would raise all boats, he said.

With all the "job creators" allegedly ready, bags packed, to move to North Dakota, they have picked their promised land. Click the Castaway sidebar, for job creation in action.

Inaction?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three helpful anonymous comments. Giving links without editorializing.

The comments are on Crabgrass online starting here,

Because the hotlinking did not transfer in posting the comments, the hotlinks are:

http://www.indystar.com/article/20110711/LOCAL1802/107110316/1279/BUSINESS04

http://www.multihousingnews.com/features/development/keystone-crossing-project-elevates-indy-luxury-rental-market/

http://usuncutmn.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-links-on-minnesota-budget.html

http://finance-commerce.com/2011/07/list-what%e2%80%99s-in-the-minnesota-bonding-bill/

I will publish and do link checking. Thanks for the comments.

This

http://usuncutmn.blogspot.com/

looks to be a site worth exploring.

_______________UPDATE_______________
Any reader knowing whether any Armstrong - Highway 10 money came this session, please leave a comment. Ditto, for any reader knowing the proposed financing of that roadwork. Ditto for any reader having a number from Met Council on the Ramsey Railstop slice of the MC twenty million dollar pie. Ditto for any reader knowing the current version of financing the Railstop.

There is smoothing it on with a trowel. This is piling it on with a backhoe. Yet if you are at a huckster convention, you speak the language or look like Billy Graham at a clown convention.

http://156.142.212.178:8080/docs/2011/HRASpec/20110104_31/31_010411%20HRA.pdf



Believe it as real.


My candidate for top slide of the pack:




P3. Woo, woo. I think it's about catalyzing the momentum. Curves, arrows, a sigmoid, a double Gaussian.

Gee! They must know what they intend to say, with a slide like that.

One that is incomplete to speak for itself.

Or looks so.

Could someone take a message to Darren, and Heidi, and the council gang-of-four. And perhaps explain it to them as they seem unattuned to the thought:



At least it's a short slide presentation. KISS.

It speaks for itself.

Where have all the "States' Rights" Republicans gone? I swear, I used to hear them tout respect for States' Rights.





I may misrecollect, but I do not recall "when convenient" being a past part of the Republicans' endorsement of States' Rights. Yet GOP names seem inexplicably absent from the bill sponsorship ...

It appears the present President respects States' Rights. Bipartisanship suffers.

_____________UPDATE_____________

How much respect do you have for States' Rights?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It is not totally clear. However, State money apparently has been earmarked for a Ramsey Northstar rail stop.

The Minnesota Senate has a page with bills, presumably with the text there being as signed by Dayton, without any line item veto [I saw nothing along those lines in any reporting].

Strib reported Dayton signed twelve bills, and the Senate site has that number identified.

This page, from the Bonding Bill text as posted by the Senate, page 20 of 43 pages (click to enlarge and read):


Line 20.26 mentions a Northstar stop in Ramsey. It appears the provision is inclusive of $20,000,000 for the series of identified things, money to be routed through Met Council.

There is not language about building, or right-of-way acquisition, i.e., purchase of rights from BNSF who owns the tracks and the right-of-way.

If any reader can help, please leave a comment. I shall send the mayor and city administrator an email suggesting that between them they submit an explanatory comment, by direct posting or routed via email.

The bill wording is weasel wording, but what else do you expect. It appears that the city may be unable to say much about what is to happen until Met Council speaks first. Bill lines 20.20 to 20.24 mention acquiring property, and the word "construct" is in there. Purchase of rights from BNSF is acquisition of property, and the "construct" word is used vaguely, along with "infrastructure" being mentioned. As to whether Met Council would contemplate spending in Ramsey beyond site prep and design, vs. partial funding of BNSF dealings, and actual building of a facility as part of things are things that remain unclear.

___________UPDATE__________
I reopened the Senate bonding bill text, and did a search for "Northstar." The only hit was for the Ramsey stop. That suggests that in the bonding bill there was nothing for extension of the rail line to or toward St. Cloud (cf. this earlier post about Levy of Strib reporting that there was a contest for pork cutlets that way).

(That was doing that "Northstar" search on only one of the twelve bills, and not searching all the texts for "St. Cloud" to see what pork they got. Nor did I search the bonding bill for "St. Cloud.")

From that limited evidence, my best guess is those uptrack from Big Lake got no rail extension from the special session.

Yet, the good folks in that town did not, however, go without a share of pork.

$43 million for an SCSU lab, (but not for their wanted civic center dreams).

This link.

Read that item quickly, since I have no idea how long that paper keeps their things online.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE______________
My understanding is that Met Council met yesterday afternoon, so that detail regarding the Ramsey-Northstar slice of the twenty million dollar pie may soon be public info.

Google rules. Going to Google and to Bing with the same three-word search this morning yielded zilch from Bing, one relevant hit from Google.

Search = ramsey minnesota northstar

This MPR hit, this excerpt:

July 20, 2011 -- St. Paul, Minn. — The nearly $500 million bonding bill signed into law Wednesday will borrow $10 million for local road maintenance and safety improvements.

The bill also designates nearly $56 million dollars toward the state's transportation infrastructure, which includes $33 million for local bridge repair and replacement. Twin Cities transitways will receive $20 million for projects that include the 35W south Bus Rapid Transit line, or BRT, and the Cedar Avenue BRT line.

[...] The bill also includes money to help fund construction of a Northstar commuter rail line station in Ramsey, and additional development of a Minneapolis Interchange facility near Target Field.

Metropolitan Council chairwoman Sue Haigh said including those and other projects in the bonding bill helps bolster the region's search for federal dollars.

The Google return said "12 hours ago," so their news spidering indeed rules the Web.

Perhaps the "thinking" [excuse making?] of Darren, the mayor, the gang-of-four is that by making a capital-based bond-and-lend deal, Flaherty-&-Collins and the city may get federal dollars for the ramp-wrap-rental. Sure.

There is some credibility to postulating that scenario for the Northstar stop, getting Met Council money and the city putting cash into the stop, partially capitalizing it along with Anoka County adding a share, might get a portion federally funded. We wait to see.

There is sense to that, regarding Northstar.

It is nonsense regarding the ramp-rental giveaway.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
Bodley of ABC Newspapers reports that metro bus service in Anoka County will not be cut, according to a Met Council spokesperson, fares will not be increased, and the only curtailments would be routine on routes with insufficient ridership. This is reported as the result of budget compromises enacted during the special session. This link, for the Bodley report.

Monday, July 18, 2011

TIME FOR A REFERENDUM: New Sidebar Poll. Ramsey - Flaherty-Collins ramp-wrap-rental proposal for Town Center. For it or against it, conditionally or unconditionally? Poll closes noon, July 20, 2011.

This post was terminated two days early, July 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm vs July 20 at noon. The reason is the mood of the community is obvious. IT IS TIME FOR A REFERENDUM ON BONDING-SPENDING AND SUBSIDY OF THE OUT-OF-TOWN FLAHERTY AND COLLINS FISCAL MEANDERINGS.

The sampling ideally would have been greater, but the City is not interested in weighing citizen thinking. The council sees itself as doing the thinking for everyone in Ramsey. Father Knows Best. This is the best sampling available, whatever the criticism may be on methodology. It is clear - 35 responses. The bulk of opinion,  two thirds of Ramsey, or 23/35 think subsidy of the ramp-wrap-rental is a bad idea, indeed that building it in any event sucks big-time. The remainder, 7 say let it happen if Flaherty and Collins pay the full freight, three say some subsidy is okay, three say plunge onward to catalyze momentum. I think the last three are joking.

REFERENDUM: In having supported Bob Ramsey's candidacy for mayor I was led to believe he was a fiscal conservative disliking waste, and that he had respect for the referendum process.

It appears I was wrong.

This question, of subsidizing one business big-time while others are fighting and scratching in a bad economy where the banking system is squeezing credit is simply WRONG. Hold a referendum. Find out what the people of Ramsey think.

There will be an August 16 special election in Ward 4. Easily and at less cost than one of Darren's big signs on Highway 10, a city wide ballot question could be put to the electorate on the same day. About bonding for a private sector adventurer, to take a second lien position behind a first lien of over 25 million. Whether that's wanted by the citizens. Even put the basic question, "Should the City of Ramsey want over two hundred rental units within a single building in the Town Center? Yes [  ] No [  ]" is not a hard thing to do. DO IT.

Note: a Gregg offered anonymous commentary on an earlier post about the fairness of subsidy; this link.

Every person on council, (the Magnificent Seven), especially the gang-of-four, that being mayor, Wise, McClone, and Elvig, are invited to post a comment as to why having a referendum would be anything but a fine, democratic, idea. Do not hold your breath for any such response, however.




It is crystal clear.


Nobody now living in Ramsey wants it


Especially if it is done as bond-and-lend.


The earlier poll post:
--------------------------------------------------
As with other open sidebar polls, this item shall be the top post during duration of the poll. Newer posts will be placed below this item until the poll closes, when normal sequencing resumes.

The genesis of this question is from a phone conversation, where it was suggested that if the mayor were pressed he likely could not find twenty people in the community that would put their name behind supporting the stuff he and McGlone are pushing on the rental thing, with Landform involved and being what it is, and with Flaherty-Collins having the status and track record they have; as well as the question of what is the proper reach of government and what is intrusive into the private sector such as investing into building projects as either a co-adventurer [taking active or passive equity investment role in a development project], or a credit source [comparable to what a bank might do, debt instead of an equity position].

Expanding the ramp in order to dedicate spaces to the Flaherty-Collins renters can be viewed as being a co-adventurer, granting a subsidy, or independent of either status. Bonding and taking a junior multi-million dollar lien position behind a larger first lien position of a private sector institutional lender would be extending credit, debt not equity.

All of that is the context in which the single question is posed. A range of feelings and responses of citizens is anticipated, which can only be approximated by a limited number of choices. Responses can roughly be viewed as described, between the dotted lines:

................................
Bad idea = even without subsidy, the instigation of a large number of rental units into the community at the Town Center site is disfavored.

Okay only if FC pays for it all = No city subsidies, no extension of city credit, no bonding, but rather the entire thing is done private sector - by FC and any bank, pension fund, REIT, or other entity that will fund construction and/or rollover to long term credit or equity positioning. Any future tax increase of any kind is intolerable if arising from this rental project. If the private sector views it as a good investment and goes ahead with it, fully financing it and carrying all hope of success and risk of failure as a privately funded and managed proposition, I would not want the city to stand in the way.

I like it, some subsidy okay = A positive attitude, and full trust in those on council to act wisely and prudently as necessary, to extend whatever subsidy they end up giving. If my taxes later go up because bonds have to be retired at city expense, not by the project repaying the city enough to carry the bond debt service and retirement, that's okay. I am willing to trust the judgment of those on council.

Absolutely essential catalyst to drive momentum = This is so essential to the community of Ramsey that the council and staff should unconditionally do whatever it takes to make it happen. The sooner, the better. This project is so essential to Ramsey that it would be a heartbreak to lose it and the opportunities it creates for extending tax base in the city.
.................................



Comments are welcome: It is understood that in setting vague word boundaries there may be some uncertainty in how to read poll results. Any reader wanting to comment on poll strengths or deficiencies is welcome to do so, but please name yourself in commenting -- put your identity onto what you have to say, or expect that moderation of comments will more likely than not weed out what you say. It is as simple as that.

Scotland Yard top leadership resigns. But Rebakah Brooks, you worked high level for Rupert Murdoch, so what could be more damaging to your reputation than that?


This link, this screenshot.

Read the screenshot, read the entire story, it is news in England. Not only is she a crony and close confidant of Rupert Murdoch, for a paycheck, but she also looks mean and nasty as the job of working for Rupert Murdoch appears to require.

Think, "Glen Beck with an ill-fitting red wig."

Old timers will remember that phrase. For newbies, here, this obit.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The silence of the tiny little embryos.

Fear choice. Not as a liberty, as a demon

A miniscule, divisive, whining, total ass, named Fischbach, is making predictible divisive whining asinine noise aimed at, what else, but whining unctuous asinine divisiveness.

Here, Strib reports [image added, not in original]:

Zellers? Quitting the cause?
"... trading babies' lives ..."

[,,,P]olicy differences threatened to derail some negotiation Friday. Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, who chairs the state government committee, stormed out of a meeting with Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner James Schowalter on his bill after Schowalter told him the "policy and reforms" were off the table. Among the changes were consolidation of some state agencies and activities.

"I just took my tablet, put it in my folder," Parry said. "And Commissioner Schowalter looked at me and said, 'Senator, please don't leave.' And I said, 'Commissioner, I'm not here to waste my time.'"

Dayton, referring to Parry, said later that some committees would require "adult supervision" to meet their deadlines.

Social conservatives had worked for months with Republicans on those initiatives, and on Friday some were feeling the loss.

"We're devastated," said Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesotans Citizens Concerned for Life. "This is a really, really bad deal." The group had backed a half-dozen measures that dealt with human cloning, taxpayer funding of abortion and abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

"We were able to pass all of these pro-life measures and we ended up with none of them," Fischbach said. "They were all negotiated away." Republican leaders, he said, "traded babies' lives for this deal."

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said on Twin Cities Public Television that retaining some reforms may be key to rounding up enough Republican votes to pass a final budget. Democrats have already served notice that they find the agreement -- which relies on more borrowing from schools and against future tobacco revenues -- unsatisfactory and many may vote against it.

This is Mr. Scotty F.  of the MCCL legions. A choice hater.
He dislikes families having the liberty of personal choice.
Do they make a Lecter-mask model with a muzzle?
He would sound sharper, more decent, if wearing one.

Whatever happened to the $27 million water treatment plant?

This council, the gang of four [three if Wise recuses himself due to conflicted interest by wanting to move to a Town Center location from his present due-to-be taken for road use store], has a responsibility. It needs to revisit something swept under the rug, the water crisis and answers of years past - tapping river water, etc.

Before the gang-of-four [three] gives free money away by a second lien loan of millions tied up for years, via a bond-and-lend scheme for the sole benefit of Indianians Flaherty and Collins (and their thinly capatilized LLC - and Darren wanting a commission); give us who are living in Ramsey now an answer first.

This council must revisit the question of whether river water will be needed and an expensive treatment plant will have to be bonded into existence.

With TIF delaying taxation, the phantom tax base bonanza that's been propagandized ad neauseum, will not be there if that water plant thing ever actually needs to be built.

Besides throwing money profligately at Flaherty and Collins, drinking water is a "need" that should preempt glassed-in skyway planned train stop "wants." (To put the thing in terms that we hope the GOP contingent running Ramsey now presumably can comprehend and respond to.)

Or was that river-water-and-treatment-plant all a smoke-screen scam and a lie?

There is a story. It needs attention. And it needs it now. Before Flaherty-Collins giveaways.

The water treatment thing of past years either was a bogus hoax or a true concern, one or the other, and this council would be irresponsible in not saying one way or another which and why, AND doing that honest step before doling Ben Dover the Ramsey Taxpayer's money to the rental-ramp-wrap housing schemers from out of town.

Is the water issue still pressing and needful of future big-time spending, and if so, would wisdom be to not waste cash now on that failed Town Center money pit?

What's up? What's the story? Will taxpayers get forced into funding both the attempted Lazarus efforts at Town Center AND a water plant. That's heavy. It would be raw if it happened that way. After all, the Lazarus Town Center thing is wholly discretionary, as well as fundamentally unjustifiable as a legitimate government activity in conservative times.

Friday, July 15, 2011

JUNGBAUER: "When he [says drop] all the policy positions, if that means that we don't get any structural change to government, I guess I'm not really excited about that." Jungbauer said. For structural change Mikey, try this: impose term limits; go unicameral.

The headline says it in a nutshell, per this context reporting at MinnPost.

Having two legislative houses, each based on population, is an anachronism. Go unicameral. Cut government salaries, starting with Jungbauer's. He's been taking taxpayer pay, mouthing off too much, and is a knuckle-dragger on social issues. Get him and Amy Koch, and the others out to where they have to earn a living and not have one given.

Have one legislative body. Two year elections. Term limits so that nobody will again be able to say,

"If we don't have any structural change, we're going to be in this position - we've been in this position the nine years I've been here," in the Senate.

The answer to that, Sen. Jungbauer - term limits. He's been there too long already, while he has part of his term left.

I guess, my proposal, he can't get "really excited about that" either - as theory. Put a bit of heat, however, on his personal globe and he might recognize its warming.


Of the two things - term limits on the likes of Michael Jungbauer would be the primarily beneficial reform to hope for. Questions of bicameralism vs unicameralism are a bit more complicated, but any politician too long in office is like a fish out of water and in the summer sun too long.

Abeler's been in office how long? Erhart at the county level?

Entrenched politicians in either of the two parties in our two party system are problematic.

It is not as if there is a lack of competent people outside of the career politicians. Many could hold Jungbauer's seat, doing better and bloviating less.

If there were unicameralism and a GOP choice between Abeler and Jungbauer, Abeler is able. (And he has a warehouse full of signs that he sends out in semi-trailer batches.)

Bicameralism in the federal system was a compromise between populous and less populated states. England has two houses, but the House of Lords is window dressing as much as the crown, and England basically is unicameral and successfully so. If bicameralism is to be kept, it could be at the level of one senator for every four legislative districts, with 4-to-1 getting closer to the federal ratios between the number of seats in the two houses.

In closing Part 1: Tax the rich. The GOP does not want it. The ballot box offers a solution. And shrinking the size of the civil service also offers potential reform. However, given that politicians would control downsizing, or union seniority, probably too many of the wrong people would be kept.


Part 2.

Government IS a spoils system to too great an extent. And there seem to be too many executive branch chiefs, relative to indians. Brass heavy. Reform ready. But as with taxing the rich, it would be harder to trim at top bureaucratic levels of power, than to shrink the civil service levels.

You want two examples? I have two examples. And if you want bipartianship, I have bipartianship.

First: Anoka County Watchdog woofs yet again against Dan Erhart:

DAN THE HORSE MAN

The Watchdog has been wondering what Anoka County commissioner Dan Erhart was going to do with himself after voters marginalized him at the 2010 elections, relegating him to "has been" status.

And with the elevation of conservative stalwart Rhonda Sivarajah to board leader, it was plain to county government observers that Erhart had clearly thrown his sucker in the dirt and stomped away, which was a good thing for taxpayers tired of Ehrart's "help."

So we read with interest this week that Erhart has been appointed to the Minnesota Racing Commission, a regulatory body that oversees the state's horse racing industry.

That's a head scratcher.

As far as we can tell Erhart has utterly no experience or training in the field of professional horse racing.

However, there was not a woof in the past, not even a whimper, about; this:

GOVERNOR PAWLENTY APPOINTS FIVE TO METROPOLITAN AIRPORTS COMMISSION -- January 9, 2009

Saint Paul – Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the appointment of John J. McDonald, Jr., and Donald P. Monaco; and the reappointment of Lisa Lebedoff Peilen, Andy Westerberg, and John M. Williams, DDS, to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). All five are appointed to four-year terms that expire on January 7, 2013.

No head scratcher to that, with any of the pup's four paws?

A dentist? And a voted out of the legislature insurance salesman politician? For the air port commission?

Consistency must truly be the hob-goblin of petty minds.

The fact is: Boards and commissions are handled that way. To the victor go the spoils of war.

And while Harold is a bit one-dimensional and myopic in his woofing, (if not arguably hypocritical or holding a severe Erhart-based grudge); he has yet to accept any such pork-and-beans commission appointment for himself, so score a very big one for watchdog integrity that way.

It is something he easily could have done.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ramsey -- "Just the Facts!" Per yet another anonymous comment and link.

"Just the facts," indeed. But with PROPAGANDA, the key to everything is staying on message; while facts can be however they are. PROPAGANDA is about convincing an audience of something. Sometimes the convincing can stand in direct contradiction of facts.

PROPAGANDA catalyzes momentum. Or some appear to think so.

You have to love how the emperor is dressed.


Pied Piper, rats, children.

Be led.

And with that lead-in -

The comment link, and the Strib reporting; Strib saying

Cities aim lower, leaving behind dreams of utopia
Article by: JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune Updated: July 11, 2011 - 9:22 AM
In the post-recession era, some cities have had to scrap visions for complex development projects.


Blaine had big plans for an old cement plant long before the operation finally shut down. The plant sits on a high-profile corner near Laddie Lake that had been seen as something of a gateway to the Anoka County suburb. City officials had visions of filling the 5-acre spot with offices topped with apartments, a restaurant, maybe a medical facility.

The grand plan now? A Kwik Trip.

[...] No one wants to say they are lowering aspirations, but compromises are emerging for redevelopment projects throughout the metro area. Condo projects have become apartments. Plans for dynamic, multi-use developments where people would live, work, eat and shop are in limbo.

Instead of walkable shops, a big-box retailer may have to suffice. For some, even a major retailer seems out of reach.

[...] Take Apple Valley. The south metro suburb said it's going to wait and stay true to its vision for Central Village, a 60-acre "new urbanist" housing-retail-restaurant project that's only partially built. One resident calls the empty fields and roads "post apocalyptic." Instead of the dense downtown-like vision with condos above stores or offices, the city may have to consider a more traditional suburban layout with apartments, its community development director said.

Whatever the size and scope of the project, cities will have to be more flexible and creative now, said Jon Rausch, an executive in NorthMarq's land division. "They all went to the same city planning school and had utopia in mind," Rausch said. "Utopia's not working anymore."

[...] The pressures worry some local planning experts who say they want cities to hold out for complex projects with multiple uses which, in theory, adapt better to changing times.

"I'm seriously concerned," said Caren Dewar, head of the Urban Land Institute in Minnesota. "Given that there hasn't been much going on, it's going to be a compelling choice for cities to take projects that are more straightforward, easier to finance and quicker to get done."

And there is Ramsey where a Fleet Farm would be non-utopian, to some - and an unbelievably sound community addition to many others, many who've lived in Ramsey since the 1970's and see more to Fleet Farm than REI; (and for the REI crowd, don't hold your breath until that arrives, please -- you can close your eyes, say Gore-Tex, climbing gear, trail-boots, 5000 times, and open your eyes and REI still will not be in Ramsey).

You should read the entire Strib article. Yet, for some propagandists, it's way, way off message. Keeping to the message can be obsessive, oppressive, and obsequious [O3].

There is this, below, from here. Click to enlarge and read. It is about keeping on message in the face of irrefutable numbers showing loss-of-equity-to-sell-it super-sized-discount unit pricing.


PROPAGANDA It has many aspects, yet, with sloganeering and repetition being constants:



Last item, from here, with some text redacted to more strongly emphasize repetitious sloganeering.

The emptier the slogan, the better?

Do you suppose - just possibly - that Philidelphia offers residents and visitors the authentic lifestyle that comes with living in a city that is truly a reflection of those that choose to make their home there? I have seen it appearing true in Lakawanna, New York, (Tonnawanda too for that matter), and in Tukwilla, Washington. In Ely, Minnesota? In Fargo (despite the film)? I think we can safely say it would be unusual for any town to be a reflection of those choosing to live elsewhere.

Could Keihlor also honestly have said Lake Woebegon was "a reflection" of the women who were strong, the men who were good looking, and all those children who were above average?

WRAPUP


You have to love how the emperor is dressed.

Connexus - Power restored within almost exactly 12 hours, after last night's storm. Connexus did well.

Dispatch probably aims to have crews restore power to the most people per hour of initial work, targeting the grid that way, and then to later restore smaller islands of outage. There probably also is a strategy to work from key feeder points near the transmission-line-to-distribution-grid point(s) outward, as following the trunk of a tree through branches to individual leaves.

I was told by Connexus people at a meeting, that the distribution grid has been basically sound, but that the Great River production site feeder line, the transmission line, is the critical point in Connexus operation. The grid runs along street rights-of-way, and from it there is private service wiring to individual parcels, via private stub lines. I am aware of at least one situation where one pole on Ramsey Blvd. has a now-undergrounded run of private service wire of perhaps an eighth to a quarter mile, near a property line, where outage and other considerations caused the utility to choose to underground the line at Connexus' expense, not the ratepayers paying more for that servicing decision. It enhanced reliability of service and Connexus should be credited for such a decision. Our neighborhood has overhead distribution, while my understanding is that in newer developments in Ramsey it is required that underground distribution be installed as part of subdivision, platting and development.

The home computer network is on a UPS, so the three stations stayed on after the power went out along our block - a half mile stretch - at about 10:30 PM, Sunday. Two of the three stations have the monitor on the UPS too, but I do not. Two were able to be shut down in an orderly way. I simply powered down.

10:35 AM, Monday, today, power was restored. The water tank had held enough, and the fridge door was not opened, and 12 hours is a reasonable time. Where damage was more extensive in other storms over the last few years restoring power took longer. There were no apparent downed trees or large fallen limbs in the neighborhood. Just an outage, without knowing how extensive, or whether it was related to storm impact at the Sunfish-Alpine intersection which is being worked on and has been worked on for a month or so. Work remains incomplete with that intersection closed.

Firefox, the browser, in restarting gave an error message that the user profile was "in use" (because of the disorderly shut-down). It has an override option in the message window, and it booted into a "restore session" screen. Doing the restore, it appears no open tabs were lost, the state of the data was preserved, and the system survived the shutdown and restart in as orderly a way as feasible.

The phone land line remained active. DSL was working up to loss of power. That part of things was error-free.

Bottom line: Connexus did well, and deserves praise for effectiveness of the work crews and the dispach planning. When the power quits, the well will not work and the water supply is key, as is the refrigerator-freezer. In half a day, no problems. An extended outage would hit hardest on water supply and in winter, on the furnace. The heat exchanger in a gas furnace is touchy, and that is why the blower continues running after the flame's stopped. If a furnace cycle is interrupted by a power failure with a hot heat exchanger, it can be a problem.