consultants are sandburs

Monday, October 29, 2012

Republicans can come in different degrees and kinds.

At times Crabgrass has been critical of "Republicans."

I was not in state when Arne Carlson was governor, but was for Pawlenty.

I think each was nominally a Republican, but my understanding is Carlson inspired and was more committed to bipartisan consensus, rather than divisiveness.

Then, the poster child of divisiveness is Michele Bachmann. One would think her CD 6 opponent is a woman named Nancy Pelosi, rather than a man named Jim Graves.

It is how she wants to define herself, and it leaves little room for getting the job done cleanly in Washington, DC.

That said, what inspires the post is the local Ramsey council and upcoming elections.

Randy Backous has characterized himself as "generally having voted Republican" and while not up for reelection, I have to see him as one of the better, wiser people on council.

I believe that Mark Kuzma, a small business owner, also leans Republican.

Backous when first running did not have my support in his primary, but as an at large council member I would vote for him if he runs again.

Kuzma has my support, against McGlone, who is a wholly different Republican from Kuzma, from all I have seen. McGlone, Wise, the mayor, and Matt Look seem to be a local political block with like-minded world views, with it unclear to the outside who is the main genesis of that thinking. Look did gain elective office before the others.

Recently the DFL State level, put out a mailing in opposition to Mayor Bob Ramsey.

I would have thought Look would have been a more natural target, but either way the local county and municipal positions are supposed to be non-partisan. As in Backous and Kuzma, likely, being Republicans but ones that merit cross-over, or nonpartisan attention. They are not simplistic Tax Payer League ideologues, as is Harold Hamilton, who calls himself and publishes online as "The Anoka County Watchdog," without identifying himself on that site as current (I believe, and not past) Chairman of the lobbying and advocacy prone - disruptive - Taxpayer League.

Hamilton is in that situation, continuously drum beating for a more extreme flavor of Republicanism where sometimes his love of fiscal restraint can be overridden by party loyalties, as with his support of Look, in particular.

Not that Hamilton is in any way wrong in publishing his viewpoint. It adds to dialog, but he truly should badge his Taxpayer League roots so occasional readers know who they are encountering, in weighing his writings.

In short, I do not believe Backous, Kuzma, or Tossey - more libertarian in the Ron Paul sense than a Republican like Bachmann, would ever have personally involved themselves in situations such as the Flaherty - McGlone job at the end of the rainbow situation.

I may not agree everytime with the two who have two years remaining on their term, or with Kuzma if elected, and may sometimes strongly disagree with how any of the three vote in any particular situation. Yet, neither of the three comes across as viewing himself as a "know it all" highly opinionated person. Each seems more comfortable with local office being nonpartisan, and with an issue by issue perspective rather than an agenda.

In short, when critical of Republicans I have ones such as Bachmann, Jungbauer, or Ryan in mind as counterproductive and/or extreme. Polarization these days seems to have grown substantially, with Democrats having stayed more rooted in consistency and even moving to the right in ways I dislike. Republicans are on a tear to the far-right in a way that may be unwise. As Barney Frank aptly said it in announcing his retirement from Congress, roughly but not an exact quote, It is hard having to deal with the other side being either Michele Bachmann or someone like her, or somebody fearful of being ousted in a local primary by someone like her.

He also said, it used to be our leadership talked to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and hammered something out, but now it is us, McConnell, Boehner, the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter, and things are harder to accomplish.

UPDATE: Perhaps it is a distinction without a difference, but the mailer in opposition to Bob Ramsey lists four things, the fourth being, "Used tax dollars to purchase another council members business." Grammatically, the apostrophe was wrongly omitted, and the fact is Bob would have gone that way but lacked the votes to bring that result about until after the Jeff Wise term expires.

And the situation is quite more complicated than that single sentence write-bite. When public improvement planning with an unquestioned public safety and emergency response benefit - the Armstrong and Highway exchange redo, impact a business site including need to acquire property, negotiation first and possibly litigation are necessary. Some might say that Wise, knowing of the planning should have not run for council to put himself in a conflicted position, but he ran, and was elected.

While I think the anti-Bob write-bite No.3 might be closer to a more valid question of judgment, (but with Bob clearly it is not a question of any kind of quid-pro-quo motivation), "Paid over $11 million in subsidies to apartment developer." Part was a loan, part was free ramp expansion-parking where tax money funded that giveaway, and part was SAC and WAC charge compromise that individual homeowners seldom, if ever, can expect. All told, it was a commitment of intermediate-term city credit (via bonding), together with other perks to Flaherty. That item No.3, to me, is the soundest criticism, and one of judgment where if we feel bad judgment was shown, we can vote for Bob's opponent.

The other criticism of Bob that resonates as true for me, "2. Paid $1.2 million to Landform, a developer, to 'manage' the [Town Center] property." In my view that was both dumb and wasteful, and has yielded nothing of merit - a big ugly highly-subsidized apartment building, and allegations that, ho hum, Super America and McDonalds might buy into Town Center. So? Big deal. $1.2 million down the rabbit hole, that to show.

Please vote, November 6.

And all those secret closed meetings ... That was an easily foreseen outcome of buying the distressed Town Center vacant land from foreclosure; and secret closed meetings are corrosive and to be avoided whenever at all possible. The decision to spend around seven million for the vacant White Elephant - whether paying too much or not can surely be debated - but the wisdom of not going buy-and-hold until the market rebounded vs. dumping $1.2 million into Landform's unimpressive meanderings that followed upon that purchase decision, that is where I would find fault to be greatest or on a par with the Flaherty uber-subsidization.

Back to the beginning of the post - Randy Backous says he loves the concept of the Flaherty project, but could not go along with the City's serving to bankroll what should have been private sector - (promoter-profit seeker and his lender) - doing the deed. Randy and I agree on the subsidy question of the bond-to-lend arrangement. Randy and I disagree over the merit of the project independent of questions over perks and concessions. I think it's a blemish on the City, even if it rents out, but I certainly now have to hope it rents out fully, despite disliking the entire thing, because of the City funds a council majority voted to put at risk, via bonding-to-lend.

So, Randy and I disagree on major things, but I do not have any major question about his sagacity or judgment in general. I would like to see John LeTourneau and Chris Riley elected, as new faces on council, and better choices than opponents Field and Buchholz who I worry over as being more of the same (while being, certainly, new faces - but likely not new ideas).

I feel more comfortable with the judgment of Strommen, Kuzma of course, Riley and LeTourneau as my ballot choices, although I fully admit I cannot predict well what issues will arise in Ramsey's next four years or how either of the four might act.

I hope a new council would end the Landform thing, it appearing already overripe in my view, but there is no assurance that would happen. And, if the judgment were, with the four elected, to continue it I could live with those four and Elvig, Tossey, and Backous thinking it over and going that direction. I simply feel that overall, for the next four years, those four would be the better overall decision makers. Really, that is all you can base a vote upon: whose judgment you most trust.

Then it is wait and see, after January 1.

FURTHER UPDATE: Having a dislike for negative political mailings with simplistic bullet point items, (I call them "Bachmann specials"), I would have been happier if that thing against Bob Ramsey had never been mailed. I cannot see it as having clarified much of anything, nor does it seem persuasive - something difficult to do on any sensible rational level, when using a self-demeaning write-bite Bachmannesque ham-handed attack item style.

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
The SD 35 DFL chairman has indicated the anti-Bob Ramsey mailing was not from SD 35.

Colin McGlone in a collective ADDS box lit-drop in what looks to be a black liquor store plastic bottle bag, silver striped, inserted an item containing his "bogey man PAC and the DFL are in cahoots" theorizing, and takes the earlier item personally, despite it being about the mayor.

McGlone aims to defend the socialization and secret meetings about city - Town Center land deal promotions, as necessary and helpful. As if it were a "need" and not a "want" to sit on council and play land speculator-developer. With public money.

McGlone's single page item discusses the fact that the Wise deal fell through until Wise is off council but somehow neglects to mention it fell through because of criminal misdemeanor concerns with the deal done through council, and a lack of votes wanting to take the sham action of the council members voting (aka HRA) to do it that back-door way, as if that would in some magic way remove all potential misdemeanor taint. Goodrich wrote up the city's agenda page noting "a recently discovered" misdemeanor problem and that lawyer Tom Bray would be discussing the circumvention route of going via HRA hats on vs council hats on. That was an attempted thing, but a failed thing also because McGlone, Ramsey, and Wise could not muster enough votes to take on such potential criminal risk.

McGlone's item also fails to mention that all that was done in the surprisingly untelevised meeting, where equipment "failed," somehow, and a broadcast was absent, unlike the normal course of events where council and HRA sequential meetings routinely ARE broadcast.

I guess McGlone did not have enough single-spaced, single page space, given the repeated railing: PAC-this, PAC-that, the liberals in St. Paul, and other such nonsense.

But McGlone is McGlone, and Emily's job with Flaherty also was absent from mention in the item.

The Mayor: Of even more interest, there was in the same lit drop bag an item from Bob Ramsey, with a full page of text that uses neither the word "Landform" nor the word "Flaherty," but encourages lit recipients:

I am up to the task for another four years, and I would appreciate your support. Please re-elect Bob Ramsey for Mayor, Colin McGlone for Ward 2 Council Member, Joe Field for at-large Council Member, and Wayne Buchholz Ward 4 Council Member.

Well Bob, if you want to hitch your wagon to McGlone's star, that is one thing. But there was a Field item too, and I presume in Ward 4 a Buchholz item; so that the four horsemen were coordinating efforts, and all of the other three are hitching their wagon to Colin and Emily McGlone's actions and contentions.

Bless them for that, and last thing, "re-elect" is the verb for Ramsey and McGlone, but not for Field nor Buchholz, as neither has been elected to anything.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The citizens of Ramsey are NOT up for the task of 4 more years of Government waste. We want the best bang for our tax dollars and the current leadership (i use that word lightly) has not been doing that. I do realize things can take time to come together, but the time and patients have run out. At the pace this COR is going we will have paid this private developer/Manager almost as much as the city paid for the land and very little to show for it. The tax payers in Ramsey are losing big on this boondoggle.
The idea of borrow and spend, (which kicks the fiscal Can down the road for our kids to pay for) subsidize a private business with a record of defaulting on loans, buying a councilman’s business, is not what the tax payers want or need. This leadership talks liberty freedoms and less Government and does just the opposite. The hypocrisy, rewarding friends with contracts, voting to loan money to a private company and then getting family hired at that company, citing liberty and freedoms then turn around and tell people they can’t voice their opinions or campaign for other candidates! Asking homeowners why they a have X candidate sign in the yard, ( I can fill that in for you) Because, I can put any candidate sign I want in my yard and you do NOT have the right to question or tell me I can’t or shouldn’t have it. That’s just flat out wrong and un-American. It’s time to clean house in this city November 6th and get some common sense, transparency, accountability back in our city Government.
That’s why I will not vote to re-elect you or the other 3 running within your circle. Just can’t support you any longer.