consultants are sandburs

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A day when politicians both local and national can rest assured.

The turkey slaughter by now is over, those slaughtered being now oven ready.

They made it through the harder days.

Last, a caveat - a setback -

This item was forwarded via email. Another item, different theme was sent by a different email from a different person; and now I find that both are online at a Facebook page for a Sunny Lohman (whoever that is, somebody's celeb). There are a few items there some may find offensive, but in terms of thug/gangsta, this is a milder example. I am not judging, I just give a link. Reader comments?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Anoka County Regional Rail Authority: Thick skull bones? Flat learning curve? Say it ain't so, Joe. What's needed are Ryan Cronk and Darren Lazan and monthly payments to round out the usual ways with the usual suspects.

David Flaherty with his hand out.

Peter Bodley reporting here for ABC Newspapers on what some might regard as deja vu, all over again. This excerpt:

Only one response for Riverdale project
By Peter Bodley -- November 25, 2014 at 8:02 am

Only one response was received by the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority from request for qualifications sent to 18 developers in an effort to sell and develop 15.9 acres of vacant land it owns adjacent to the Riverdale Northstar Commuter Rail station in Coon Rapids.

[... The] lone response to the RFQ from Sand Development, LLC proposed a 50-unit, 100 percent rent and income restricted apartment building on 2.5 acres of the site. It offered to pay the rail authority $375,000 for the site, but requested tax increment financing assistance. [...] In addition, the tax increment financing assistance sought by Sand was more than it was willing to pay for the land, according to County Commissioner Scott Schulte [...] “We were disappointed by the lack of response,” Schulte said.

[...] According to Schulte, the next step is for rail authority staff along with Ehlers & Associates, the consulting firm hired by the rail authority to work on the project, to contact one of the developers the task force had previously spoken with and had provided some drawings prior to the RFQ to see if it would be interested in developing a project in partnership with the city and rail authority.

The developer that has been chosen is Flaherty and Collins, [...]

According to Look, the council members on the task force were “taken aback by the quality of the project” and thought it would be a good fit for Riverdale.

[...] “But wanting it and being able to afford it are two different things,” Look said.

According to Look, the council members on the task force were “taken aback by the quality of the project” and thought it would be a good fit for Riverdale.

“But wanting it and being able to afford it are two different things,” Look said.

Look is not certain how interested Flaherty and Collins will be developing the Riverdale site because it currently has three projects under way and is courting two other cities in which to locate developments, he said.

Another issue that would have to be addressed with any project is the subsidy that would be sought – whether from the city in the form of tax increment financing or from the rail authority in writing down the land cost for the developer to buy the property, acording to Look.

He doubted the rail authority would be willing to write down the cost of the land from what was paid to purchase it, Look said.

The rail authority paid $2.3 million for the vacant land in 2003.

Yeah. I was kind of "taken aback" by that Flaherty stuff in Town Center too. Flaherty hiring choices and all.

And what about that bit about Ehlers advising and Flaherty being allowed frontrunner status before the RFQ was circulated? That's downright raw, is what it is. I am "taken aback" by the audacity of such frontrunning abuse of what should be a fair, open and unbiased bidding process. (Like what, pick your date in advance and then pose as if independently arriving at the dance?)

Readers are urged to read the entire online report Bodley authored.

Note, red highlighting added to the Bodley item in order to denote usual suspects (amid some usual econometric brainstorms, deeds, and M.O.). Ramsey people should remember in 2009 when Look and colleagues bought the foreclosed destressed Town Center vacant land from bank foreclosure - for millions of town dollars. Same old deja vu ... Public dollars, bitcoins, whatever was/will be spent -- it is NOT real money from the perps own pockets, (where prudence is a first and last concern). Schulte is a new name, but with the saga the same. Build the Indianapolis mavens big free prime parking ramp space, and like Field of Dreams, they might with much delay and subsidy, come. At least the Rail Authority bought in 2003 and not after the market went splat as with Look in Ramsey (note that the 2003 purchase was before Look had any clear hand in county board dealings while the Ramsey raw land purchase deal, and the instigation of Flaherty/Cronk/Lazan dealings began while Look was influential with mayor Bob Ramsey and others then on Ramsey's council. Minutes from back then show Judge Dehan, who was then on council, being concerned about fair bidding norms.)

While expressing above some immediate thoughts, in fairness it needs to be said that short term at least, the Flaherty town center rental housing is being rented out. The market demand for rental housing in the metro area has made it so. In the long term, as Keynes said, we're all dead; and beyond that the ultimate writing of the Flaherty thing as good or not so good for Ramsey will need to happen after I will no longer be alive to read it. So, short term, I have to concede the idea was timely if not eternally sound. And people will always need places to live.

If the county and the rail authority work something out with Flaherty, one hope would be Cronk and Lazan are absent from the situation, but others may feel they were instrumental in the Flaherty rental happening rather than being one more deal that flipped. The market was bad throughout the period Lazan's firm was drawing city money, and that's excuse enough for his not producing more and better, but it is not excuse enough for continuing the payments when it was clear the commensurate productivity was lacking.

If the county and rail authority do cut some deal, and Cronk and Lazan are absent, it would have to be judged on its reasonableness and whether time and patience might have been better; and that, again, is a long term judgment.

And for now, it is all tentative. The chance there might have been Flaherty frontrunning permitted and/or encouraged by officials is troubling, but as of now it has resulted in neither harm nor gain.

The best line of official conduct for now seems to be maintaining patience with the property while trying to answer why no immediate development interest was generated for the land and the development opportunity.

Then, whatever the ultimate development decision may be, it should be subsidy free, unlike the over-generous approach taken with Flaherty with regard to his Town Center effort. It is almost as if the opening image might be used in closing; do not give a subsidy, be patient.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Victim of changing circumstance, or fall guy?

This link.


image from here

Can you say, "Ken Starr?" Can you lump in frivolous shut-downs?

"The Anoka County Board has changed the name of one of its human services division departments from social services and mental health to social services and behavioral health. [...] 'It is a term that is more holistic and combines the approach of psychological and physical.' In addition, the term behavioral health is less stigmatizing than 'mental health,' according to [Dept. director, Cindy]Cesare."

The headline is text from within this online report.

A google yields:


adjective: holistic

characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.


The headline is from within this online report.


It seems "behaviorial health" is a term encompassing school bullying, where the behavioral deviation of bullies is not good for the mental health of the victim[s]. When people begin to view bullies as deviants, it is a start toward better times for young and old. Also in that context, adults who inflame deviant bullying and condone it as acceptable should be targeted for public parading in disgrace, to deter others.


There is always
one man's virtue
is another man's
behavioral issue.
Which WE judge.
One way or another.

Andy Parrish, write me a check.

An earlier Crabgrass post cited Michael Brodkorb's reporting of allegations of financial irregularity within the Ortman for US Senate campaign effort; with attention focusing on Andy Parrish as a focal person of interest. Brodkorb has an update online at the Strib website.

What do you make of the below election law language, per the allegations involved in Brodkorb's reporting?


Subdivision 1. Bribery, advancing money, and treating prohibited.
A person who willfully, directly or indirectly, advances, pays, gives, promises, or lends any money, food, liquor, clothing, entertainment, or other thing of monetary value, or who offers, promises, or endeavors to obtain any money, position, appointment, employment, or other valuable consideration, to or for a person, in order to induce a voter to refrain from voting, or to vote in a particular way, at an election, is guilty of a felony. This section does not prevent a candidate from stating publicly preference for or support of another candidate to be voted for at the same primary or election. Refreshments of food or nonalcoholic beverages having a value up to $5 consumed on the premises at a private gathering or public meeting are not prohibited under this section.

[bolding in original; italics added] It appears there's an exception you can drive a tractor-trailer through, in terms of what community norms are, or should be, vs an express exception, which arguably was too broadly worded.

NOTE: Readers knowing of any other arguably relevant statute or judicial opinion are urged to leave such information in a comment.

Monday, November 24, 2014

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The site is owned and edited by Sally Jo Sorensen, who lives in Maynard, Minnesota, a small town of 266 people in Chippewa County.

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"Crabgrass convinced me."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

LATEST: Litigious Larry races to the courthouse seeking first-to-file status; using a willing caption heading stooge plaintiff.

This link.

Republican stupid suit. " 'This lawsuit is a bald-faced attempt to achieve what Republicans have been unable to achieve through the political process. The legislative branch cannot sue simply because they disagree with the way a law passed by a different Congress has been implemented,' said Pelosi, D-Calif. She accused the GOP of 'prioritizing the special interests and the howls of impeachment-hungry extremists before the needs of the nation.' "

And Pelosi is right. But she forgot to say, "stupid, ill-timed boat rocking, without substance or good likelihoods."

In doing as they do, Republicans are going by the book. Strictly by the book. Polarize, but do they really want enforcement of the employer mandate? Bleating as they do about the plight of small business? So what do they want besides mischief?

___________FURTHER UPDATE_____________

HEARINGS FIRST. Remember that Boehner,
no traction to it without hearings first.
Do the hearings first, and then
waste all time and resources you care to
on going to court to not likely change anything.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Met Council head Susan Haigh elects to keep $170 thousand a year Habitat for Humanity post, in resigning from $61 thousand a year "part-time" cummulative income position (chair of Met Council).

$170,000 per year is not pro-athlete pay, but how many of us would sneeze at it as inadequate and beneath our station?

Double-dipping of course ups the ante.

While mentioned in comments to an earlier post, Haigh's decision is reported by Strib staff who wrote in part:

“I’m ready now just to have one job,” she said.

Haigh, 63, leaves at a time of tumult for her agency. A yearlong dispute over the $1.7 billion Southwest light-rail line was quickly followed by a growing insurrection among suburban leaders over the council’s plans for transportation, affordable housing and parks.

And questions still remain as to whether the council members should be elected rather than appointed by the governor.

Haigh will stay on until Gov. Mark Dayton names a successor for what is now a part-time position paying $61,414 a year.

[...] Haigh said Wednesday her replacement will likely work full time. “It’s really a big job,” she said. “These are really important issues that take a lot of time and attention.”

Haigh oversees a mammoth agency with an $890 million annual budget, 3,700 employees and a 17-member board. Its oversight ranges from transportation planning to affordable housing to wastewater management for the seven-county metro area.

Suburban unrest

This fall, in an unprecedented move, the five purely suburban metro counties came together to push against the Met Council’s long-term regional transportation plan, which suburban leaders say virtually ignores their needs.

But Carver County Commissioner Gayle Degler said he doesn’t think Haigh’s resignation will change things there. “I don’t see her as the roadblock,” he said. “It was the policies and the implementation of the council that we were trying to address.”

Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look agreed. “Make no mistake, the Met Council is a staff-run organization. So really it doesn’t matter who is there,” he said. “And I think that staff likes to overstep their bounds on numerous occasions. It’s really up to the Legislature to say, ‘OK, you’ve overstepped your bounds and it’s time to rein you in.’ ”

The Met Council’s transportation plan focuses on transit in urban areas, Look said, and that will clash with the priorities of the incoming Republican majority in the state House, which he said will emphasize funding for highways and roads.

Haigh said that the council gathered a lot of reaction from stakeholders to form those plans, and that balancing the needs of a multitude of communities is challenging.

[... Haigh] has held her current job at Habitat for Humanity since 2005, a position that pays $170,474 in salary and $4,807 in additional compensation, according to documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service. A nonprofit organization that focuses on affordable housing, the local chapter of Habitat had $21.9 million in annual revenue as of June 30, 2013.

[bolding of sub-headline in original - red highlighting added]

Big Sumo vs Lake Elmo, this link
It seems correct that Met Council is run by staff, and they can get heavy-handed as was done with the unfortunate litigation they triggered a few years back against Lake Elmo.

Planners are like that. Hubris out of line with talent levels. Paraphrasing Shakespeare, "First kill all the planners."

All the developers would weep, however, over a loss of those Met Council planners with their absurd growth quotas forced onto towns that in turn force so much development options into Comprehensive Plans - mandated Comprehensive Plans - that the plans either fail to meet Met Council staff approvals, or compromise towns so much that developers can cherry-pick opportunity to an obscene degree.

So one wisdom, follow all the planners with all the developers, and "lesser Minnesota" norms of measured and evolved growth, instead of hellbent fueling of the fire of developer greed, would prevail.

They should stick to selling flushes. Something for which a handful of engineers is required, vs a bevy of planning graduates from wherever they originate, all pleased over job security and the mandate to force town officials to compliance with planner whim and fancy, under the threat of being Lake Elmo'ed.

For the last Ramsey comp plan a "genius" named Phil from Bonestro worked with Ramsey officials, and the result was a plan authorizing more growth cherry-picking options than the Met Council's quota demanded. More sop to developers.

However, the other side of the coin, let towns do their thing, and the David Flahertys and Ryan Cronks of the nation can sometimes ingratiate their hopes into town actions. It's not a simple either-or, it's a more-or-less pattern. Multiple devils, in multiple details. One wisdom, however, if you hear the term "smart growth," head for a county outside of the metro area; as Sherburne and Wright Counties ever vigilantly wish to keep themselves. (With neither going to hell in a hand basket for lack of Met Council being able to reach to their doorsteps.)

It makes so much sense you KNOW Champlin will not try it.

Muni Court reform down South; for instances of traffic offenses and indigence.

So -- If you are indigent, do not risk driving Hwy 169 in Champlin. It's a local policing cash cow, and they want your cash and not your sob story. Bless their Scrooge hearts, and hope they get ghostly holiday visits to get their minds right.

I bet the town officials in Champlin could recruit Dennis Berg to head a tickets and procedures reform task force, if they sincerely tried.

Berg, or an Angel From Montgomery.

If you have a susceptible form of brain cancer, tell Dayton's panel of poobahs to move quickly.

This SF Gate link, with links to the study which the linked story highlights. Also, ask a granny. If you cannot trust a granny, who can you trust?

UPDATE: Yo, Gov. Mark, how are the panel deliberations progressing?

AT PRESENT: There is a chief, a schedule, application forms and fees, an email signup list, and even a formal Dept. of Health med-mj webpage; but the press seems to have moved on after passage and task force appointments.

If not goaded, the task force could take forever.

Glaciers sometimes move faster than fact finding panels.

And at $20,000 a pop to apply for a growing license; the Dec. 2014 decision to name two interim growers must be of great interest to some; i.e., those who've popped the twenty grand bet. Do you suppose there might possibly be a place for politics at play in that decision-making step? After all, frontrunner status via being one of the chosen seems quite a plum. Is Ted Mondale busy with Wilf stadium stuff these days, or an affiliate of one of the applicants? Just wondering ...

Who took the money, who took the money away?

photo - MPP, with story, here
Well, the headline is from Talking Heads music, which some may recognize - so, is it making sense?

Making sense, for the failed Ortman US Senate campaign, and an almost insignificant accounting discrepancy? Pocket change really. Nothing to see, move on, move it, ...

This Brodkorb link.

Brodkorb drops another shoe, via Strib publication rather than on his blog.

With the latest Brodkorb item focusing attention on Andy Parrish, it is noteworthy the Parrish connection on behalf of Michele Bachmann to Kent Sorenson's illegal-payment criminal conduct plea in Iowa has been extensively reported.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Step aside Hillary. You are stale stuff, in the way. By what you decline to say.

This link. Hat tip, Dan Burns.

ANOKA COUNTY - Peter Bodley of ABC Newspapers recently wrote, "Anoka County HRA approved Habitat for Humanity allocation."

Without a link in the item to any County or Habitat for Humanity online webpage giving detail of proposals under discussion the item is something of an empty glass; not half empty, not half full, but lacking in some meaningful detail. It seems a practice of ABC Newspapers to not provide links, and it is a troublesome thing among otherwise exemplary reporting. After all there is no other newspaper source (actual or ostensible) which is of nearly comparable scope and quality. Hence, being in such a vacuum, giving links online would truly be a positive change in the papers' reporting protocol.

Here, in part, is what Bodley's report says in opening paragraphs:

A month after questioning Habitat for Humanity policy on single-family home ownership projects, the Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved a $247,804 reallocation of federal HOME affordable housing dollars for one of its proposals.

At its September meeting, the housing authority tabled the Habitat for Humanity request to fund a scattered sites, new construction, single-family home ownership program from the proposed 2014 Twin Cities Habitat or Humanity Huset Park townhomes development, which was canceled after the Columbia Heights City Council rejected the proposal.

One concern centered on the fact that Susan Haigh, who is president and chief executive officer of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is also chairperson of the Metropolitan Council, and HRA members saw a conflict of interest in that.

[...] At one point during the September meeting, a motion was made to deny the request, but County Commissioner Scott Schulte, who chairs the HRA, which comprises six of the seven Anoka County Board members, offered a motion to table to get more information from Habitat for Humanity about its intentions.

[italics added]

A challenge for readers: Stop here, and try to find on the recently revised Anoka County website who is on the county HRA.

Navigate that exceptional site, see for yourself, what your luck is in getting there, to some simple basic information you might want or need to know.

Good luck, if you try it.

Fighting the thing in ways never necessary before the county paid good taxpayer money to have a consultant/contractor horse up the site to where it's downright awful, I finally found the page. I am wondering and trying to find out from my board rep, who decided on changing the website to such an unituitive thing, how the contractor was chosen (and by whom), and the actual cost to county taxpayers that was paid the chosen contractor for making the thing so very much worse.

(Don't just talk about waste, go to that website and experience it firsthand.)

Okay. For readers declining the enlightening experience of navigating the new county website, here is the page link:

Six board members are on the county HRA, while the "Management Committee" is composed of five. The latter committee members are:

Matt Look
Scott Schulte
Robyn West
Julie Braastad
Carol LeDoux

with Sivarajah a "trustee," but not on the committee, that information is known; odd man out being Kordiak.

God only knows who chairs the management committee, but Schulte is identified as chair of the HRA and may chair both.

Bodley's report continues in part:

At the HRA Management Committee meeting Oct. 14, a representative from Habitat for Humanity explained the project and the HRA also received a letter from Haigh dated Oct. 13 in which she said Habitat for Humanity projects mirror community needs.

“Based on the community needs of Anoka County and available resources, Habitat would be thrilled to continue to partner with Anoka County in the development of scattered sites, new construction homes,” she wrote.

According to Schulte, Habitat for Humanity officials have heard the HRA’s concerns, but the agency’s scattered sites proposal is a good project.

“Habitat for Humanity is on the right track with its scattered sites projects,” Schulte said.

Readers, ask yourself, wouldn't it be nice to know without stress or effort, as part of the report, what in the world the "scattered sites projects" entails? This seems to be it, the in a nutshell version, as settled so far, from the report:

According to Kate Thunstrom, county community development manager, the money would fund housing on two or three properties in the county, but their locations had not yet been identified.

As Republicans, the county reps felt the need for political sniping at a Dayton appointee - they could not resist being themselves that way:

But he [Schulte] said the HRA would be writing a letter to the Habitat for Humanity Board expressing its concern about the “perceived or real conflict of interest” of Haigh being head of Habitat for Humanity as well as chairperson of the Metropolitan Council to “let them know exactly how we feel.”


It is when "they" do such sniping that knowing the full makeup of the group, besides Schulte who is mentioned, is most helpful and relevant as information omitted from the report.

LAST: Any reader wishing to submit a comment in defense of the quality of the revisions to the county website is invited and urged to do so, (however sparse such invited commentary may prove to be).

RAMSEY - Land swapping discussions and such.

Eric Hagen reports for ABC Newspapers, "Land swap discussion with church steers away from The COR," dated November 17, 2014:

St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church has no immediate plans to move from its commercial space to a permanent building, but it owns 33 acres by Central Park that the city may some day want for a larger park.

[...] The proposal was for the city to receive 33 acres of the church’s property next to Central Park. In return, St. Katharine Drexel would get 10 acres in The COR.

Although votes cannot be taken at a council workshop and Mayor Sarah Strommen and Council Member Jason Tossey were absent, the rest of the council did not want a 10-acre property within The COR to become non-taxable.

“Having 10 acres of prime land held indefinitely I don’t think would be beneficial to the city,” Council Member Chris Riley said.

Randy Bauer is a deacon at St. Katharine Drexel, but is also a Ramsey Planning Commission member.

St. Katharine Drexel is currently renting commercial building space at 7101 143rd Ave. NW. [Randy?] Bauer said after the church was founded in 2004, a member [Jerry Bauer?] donated 33.18 acres located next to Central Park, according to [Randy?] Bauer.

Riverblood said even with a park expansion, St. Katharine Drexel could still have space for a new church especially if a shared parking agreement could be reached. [...]

Speaking on behalf of the church, with several other members and the lead pastor Rev. Paul Jaroszeski present, [Randy?] Bauer told the council that the church is fine with expanding next to Central Park but thought The COR location would have been a better.

“If you have no interest in expanding the park, we are fine holding onto our existing site,” [Randy?] Bauer said.

The church [via which spokesperson?] said it would have built a 20,000-square-foot facility with a 500-seat auditorium on 3-5 acres, similar to the size of Northgate Church that is also located in The COR. The remaining 5-7 acres would have remained undeveloped for an unknown amount of time.

Two members of the council disclosed that they have ties to St. Katharine Drexel, but still participated in the workshop discussion. Council Member Randy Backous, who will be off the council at the end of the year, was one of the founding members. Council Member Mark Kuzma said St. Katharine Drexel is where he attends church services. They joined the other two present members of the council at the Oct. 28 workshop, Council Members Jill Johns and John LeTourneau, in saying they welcomed efforts to find the church a suitable long-term site but that it should not be in The COR.

According to Patrick Brama, assistant to the city administrator, the city’s asking price for the 10 acres in The COR would have been around $1.7 million for this land that is visioned for retail and office type users.

Brama said county records show that the 33-acre site was purchased for $740,200 in 2004 and had an estimated 2015 market value of $205,000. However, this site is zoned for residential development in a city sewer and water service area. Using the city’s real estate broker’s pricing strategy, Brama said the asking price for this property would be in the neighborhood of $1.1 million.

[italics and braketed text added] So, if reading things correctly, the 33 acres has been taken off the tax rolls since 2004.

Ten years passed, no taxes collected on a 33 acre prime parcel, while the gun club across Variolite has been converted to housing, presumably at a good profit to gun club ownership. But since then the church has made no request for a rezone, from residential zoning?

Jesus is keeping options open?

With the 33 acres formerly owned/controlled by Jerry Bauer, it appears the Bauer clan members still speak for the future of the (church) property, and trading aspects; with the land itself where the church (via spokespersons) says it is presently located now being a Dennis Sharp controlled commercial site.

All to show, churches should be taxed. That would be a step to remove a possibility of tax avoidance, by the church or any of its founding congregation members or their affiliates, regardless of whatever past arrangements and dealings may have actually been.

Ten years' taxes ...

Brama noting a $1.1 million fmv for the 33 acres being a reasonable guess. Real money, to Ramsey, had it been taxed ...

And raw land being held for advantage produces no immediate cash flow to cover ongoing taxation, if/when it is taxed. That being an incentive to figure ways to shift raw land to some incarnation of tax-free status.

UPDATE: For the curious, there is this online item, explaining:

Katharine left a four-fold dynamic legacy to her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who continue her apostolate today, and indeed to all peoples:

– her love for the Eucharist, her spirit of prayer, and her Eucharistic perspective on the unity of all peoples;

– her undaunted spirit of courageous initiative in addressing social iniquities among minorities — one hundred years before such concern aroused public interest in the United States;

– her belief in the importance of quality education for all, and her efforts to achieve it;

– her total giving of self, of her inheritance and all material goods in selfless service of the victims of injustice.

Katharine Drexel was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1980.

... giving of self and inheritance and all material goods in selfless service of victims of injustice. Okay.

FURTHER UPDATE: Current KD site:

click to enlarge and read

Curiously, what are Ramsey's XXX bookstore haters' opinons about "property rights?"

There's money in allowing dumping toxic waste on land, so what if your neighbor wanted that cash? Curb her, or are her property rights preeminent over town regulatory supervisory ordinances?

Switch instead to the rental cap question, where the XXX store hater group would likey bellow much as their "conservative" allies; this link and here.

The issue of split rights to "rent it" vs. to regulate occupancy will be a certiorari issue reaching the Minnesota Supreme Court for definitive resolution; with the Court of Appeals having held a town ordinance Constitutional - opinion online; Google here (and alternate posts here and here}.

And of course you know which side those bleeding heart liberals at ACLU will argue as friend of the court.

Cato Inst. amicus brief urging reversal. ACLU brief online here.

This Google.

UPDATE: Property rights mavens, ask yourselves, would you like the quiet enjoyment of your home disturbed by the neighbor next door renting out to a college town Animal House? Moreover, what about Animal House cloning all up and down the block, without limit? Owners sequentially deciding the highest and best use being to move and so rent? Student rental taking over neighborhood after neighborhood, falling domino style?

What if a few blocks of owners got together and subjected their properties to a restrictive covenant? Private regulation by agreement, vs government impositions - is there a limit to such exercise of property rights, and if so, how far should it reach? And could such covenanting be lawfully set up to run in perpetuity, encumbering alienability of land?

If you cannot trust Wikipedia, who can you trust?

Vladimir's minions. Bringing alternative facts onto the web.

Monday, November 17, 2014

RAMSEY - Months ago a police shooting at a daycare parking lot resulted in an official inquiry that has been finished with officers found to have not been at fault.

This Strib link.

UPDATE: Additional reporting, here and here.

Shannon Prather writes of how Minnesota's costly commuter rail experiment is currently failing, but happy days, we are told, will be here again.

In a Nov 15 Strib item, "Northstar struggles with delays, dip in ridership," Prather writes:

As it marks its fifth anniversary, the Northstar commuter rail line finds itself plagued by a steep decline in on-time performance and a related slump in ridership.

Average on-time performance on the line, which links the Twin Cities’ northern suburbs to Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis, plummeted from a high of 97 percent in 2012 to 66 percent in 2014, Metro Transit numbers show. Average weekday ridership has also tumbled 8 percent, from 2,783 last year to 2,550 this year.

The line’s recent struggles, which have persisted despite a $1 rate reduction in 2012-13 and a coupon campaign offering free rides, stand in contrast to the success of the Twin Cities’ Green and Blue light-rail lines.

But officials at Metro Transit, which operates both the commuter and light-rail lines, point out that the Northstar line shares its rails with freight trains, while the light-rail lines run on their own tracks. Congestion and delays on the Northstar line are largely due to increased freight and oil train traffic, they say.

Brian Lamb, Metro Transit’s general manager, said Northstar will restore its on-time reliability, which should swell ridership.

He said BNSF, which owns the tracks, has made upgrades and scheduling changes that will help Northstar. In addition, he said, the line is emphasizing customer service, including station improvements and the recent addition of Wi-Fi to all trains.

So, again, what was the governmental decision process to do Northstar before the successful light rail buildout?

Oh, right. It would kickstart the momentum, one former public official opined. Like City Hall in Town Center, then the Flaherty thing; ya gotta "catalyze" miracles, ya betcha.

What expectation is there of "fairness" and "accountability" from the NFL?

Adrian Peterson, switch hitter, has an ongoing saga that reaches into the belly of labor law and collective bargaining between a union and an employer association. Latest, concerning a question of accountability and punishment for improper behavior, this excerpt from Strib's reporting of the current status of things, a part of Strib's quoting a press statement released by Peterson:

“After consulting with the union, I told the NFL that I will attend the standard meeting with the Commissioner prior to possible imposition of discipline, as has been the long-term practice under the CBA, but I wouldn’t participate in a newly created and non-collectively bargained pre-discipline ‘hearing’ that would include outside people I don’t know and who would have roles in the process that the NFL wouldn’t disclose. At this point, I’ve resolved my matter in the criminal court; I’ve worked to make amends for what I’ve done; I’ve missed most of the season, and I stand ready to be candid and forthcoming with Mr. Goodell about what happened. However, I will not allow the NFL to impose a new process of discipline on me, ignore the CBA, ignore the deal they agreed to with me, and behave without fairness or accountability. The process they are pushing is arbitrary, inconsistent, and contrary to what they agreed to do, and for those reasons, I never agreed to the hearing.

[italics added] Below, a photo of the Wilf ownership brothers; Fairness Wilf on the right; Accountability Wilf on the left:

So, if Roger Goodell and henchmen are truly so image-counscious in wanting jobsite punishments for those tarnishing the goodwill and image of the business venture known as "NFL" then what's the league's proper dole of [delayed] punishment for THIS pile of goodwill and image impact and implication?

Were one to think good Mr. Goodell has a double standard would that entail any degree of surprise? There is a saying about sauce for goose and gander, but that's for the birds, not having a place within relations between pro-sports ownership and labor.

Reader comments welcome - Which offends the conscience more, one single instance of over vigorous spanking in the way a player was spanked as a growing child; or an ongoing mega fraud by persons of great wealth and learning, against partners to whom fiduciary duties clearly were owed but wilfully ignored?

UPDATE: Surely ex post facto alteration of rules and dimensions of imposing a sanction against bad deeds (by players vs. wilfully transgressing ownership) does not trouble good Mr. Goodell, as is clear per Strib reporting of nary a league concern over the lawful propriety of ex post facto impositions:

The NFL will judge Peterson under its revamped personal conduct policy, which calls for players involved in domestic violence to be suspended for six games. The new policy was announced by Goodell in August; the injury to Peterson’s son occurred in May. Peterson has been paid while absent from action.

So should we presume Goodell and henchmen will fairly formulate a punishment formula for ownership transgressions, and then impose it ex post facto against judicially determined clear abuse and impropriety? By ownership persons? Should we hold our breath waiting?

If Peterson had wilfully cheated business partners per a judgment for over a hundred million bucks, would he have without interruption toted the ball for the Wilf brothers? The league showing only a happy face reaction to an such stuff? Likely so? Or not?

FURTHER UPDATE: Jimmy Haslam. And, league policy.

Rochester, Minnesota, is home of the world renowned [egg-free] Mayo Clinic.

Stupidity among those clearly having too much free time; this link.

Red Bulls to fight Ebola. Sound idea, or pure bull?

Is it now, and when volunteers signed up was it an anticipated duty of a National Guard reserve unit to enter harm's way in a plague? Comments welcome, and at least wish them a safe holiday season and new year.

Here and here, for the story. Strib's AP carry:

Nearly 700 Minnesota National Guard members are being deployed to Liberia next spring to help fight the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

The citizen-soldiers, part of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in Rosemount, were tapped by the Defense Department and are expected to be in the West African country for about six months beginning in April.

The Red Bulls will not treat Ebola patients. They will oversee and coordinate military activities that now include the construction of Ebola treatment centers in Liberia, Col. Kevin Olson, spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said Sunday.

The humanitarian effort marks a new chapter for the Red Bulls, who previously served in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo, and engaged in wartime fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The civilian skills within the division should be a good fit for a mission heavy on logistics, Olson said.

With 2,812 deaths, Liberia is the African country hardest hit by the deadly virus, and in statements released Sunday, Gov. Mark Dayton and Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., each referred to the precautions needed to ensure soldiers return home safely.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

THE ECONOMIST: " America after the mid-terms - Welcome back to Washington - Republicans have won a huge victory. Now they must learn to compromise - Nov 8th 2014 From the print edition"

This link. (With a nice lead image.)

Mr Obama cannot escape the humiliating verdict on his presidency. He campaigned in his home state of Illinois, for a Democratic governor running against a Republican who belongs to a wine club that costs over $100,000 to join. The oenophile won by five points.

Yet as Republicans toast their triumph, they should be careful not to over-interpret it. Their campaign did not offer voters much of a positive agenda; rather, it consisted largely of urging them to blame Mr Obama for all the trouble in the world. That was enough to secure victory, but does not give them a mandate to pursue a wishlist of conservative policies. Although more Americans than ever hold partisan views, a larger number are weary of gridlock and would prefer their representatives to compromise to get things done. For the voters to be satisfied, America will need to find new ways to run its politics.

Over the last few months Terry Hendriksen has been emailing me about Obama approval ratings being low; and I have discounted it in the belief Obama, while warmed-over Bush-lite to too distressing a degree, did as best as he could given Boehner and friends and their constant resort to putting sabots in the gearboxes of government.

Now, post-election, it appears enough people agreed with Hendriksen's assessment to bother with off-year election voting; while lukewarm regard for the directions taken vs. what might have been may have left progressives too coldly comforted to bother reaching the polls in large numbers.

Put another way, after Bush II was ending his last lame duck years with the economy in tatters there were citizens yearning for progress, among whom some level of disenchantment may have arisen, to the point of group therapy need; per the gist of an item emailed me.

Too many Dems may have stayed home, and will now be forced to watch. And in comparison to the Presidency that might have been we got the one that was. Stripped of illusions, the politician from Chicago ...

"Arguably, there is a third phase to a revolution: the struggle for acceptance. Once power is secure, revolutionaries often seek recognition by strong outsiders. In a globalised world, that means engaging with the great trading countries. Children of Iranian revolutionaries have long followed this path. Privilege for them equals access to Western education and Asian consumer markets. Even hardliners allow their children to jet around the world. The offspring of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the revolution, have flocked to Instagram and embrace Western mores. Seven of his 15 grandchildren have openly criticised the regime. Many of the students who took American diplomats hostage 35 years ago have become reformists and wish to see closer ties with the West. "

The headline quote is from The Economist, Nov 1, 2014, here.

Banking's culture: Too failed to be big.

Too big to fail was a past theme that the headline turns around in a policy viewpoint for this decade, after the financial melt down during the Bush lame-duck years; this item; this opening quote:

(Reuters) - A top European central banker on Friday put Europe's big banks on notice that it is not only U.S. regulators who will demand large financial institutions change their culture of bad behaviour or face being broken up.

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, last month told a group of executives at large banks that if they do not reform their culture, by among other things tying pay for bank chiefs to good corporate behaviour, financial stability concerns "would dictate that your firms need to be dramatically downsized and simplified."

The warning appeared to open a new front for regulators trying to rein in banks from the excesses that led to the 2007-09 financial crisis. European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio on Friday said he agreed with the approach.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Ramsey - Rebranding.

First there was rebranding Ramsey Town Center. Now ...

this link

Why is this man smiling?

Strib photo (cropped) - this link

Monday, November 03, 2014

Some links are to sites or thoughts with which the Crabgrass author disagrees.

Sometimes not. Figure out which type of link this is. I voted Williams over Buchholz. Seeing things the other way. It is strange to see complaints over small dollar amounts involved in unloading unproductive city owned real estate, when there was no criticism from that direction when the Bob Ramsey - Matt Look council was in its heydays of waste, on Darren, who was paid a million and a quarter of city money for not moving unproductive city owned real estate. But he did a lot of hand holding and booster talking, he did do that. And one low-figure real estate deal, vs. all the MSA money spent on the Legacy school interchange at Hwy 116 and Armstrong, but without any Legacy Christian School to show for the spending -- yet this linked-to author must love Legacy beyond any levels of criticism or questioning. Bless him. At some point he may run for office. On what, the let's go back to Darren ticket? Who knows.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Dan Quayle, almost a clone, except for that beer bong photo.

No beer bong for me, nope.
Otherwise, compare me, him.