consultants are sandburs

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Commercial reasonableness has a place in analysis of when competition might cross over to commercial predation. Pricing below cost to injure a competitior.

What's it cost, is clearly a relevant question. As is cost/benefit, with a full spectrum of benefits and downside considered in an instance of "official newspaper" public decision making.

But offering zero pricing seems only short of a predatory tactic, i.e., if cost is zero making the deal a net wash rather than a certain loss (cost in excess of payback).

Not paying any fmv rent - Would that be possible? Some things denied public sunshine engender troublesome speculative questions. Where a contract exists, what exact terms apply, and toward what end(s)? And does it pass muster in terms of commercial reasonableness and product/service pricing norms.

I lose a bit on each unit but I make up for it in volume, is a joke because it assaults normally held concepts of commercially reasonable activity - being in business - with success the aim and having a plan and an adherence to basic fair business concepts.

Below is text of a letter obtained from City of Nowthen in reply to a Public Data Disclosure Request for Response I filed with the City. What of it raises commercial reasonableness concerns with readers:

This is a crafted final paragraph, Record online - dated Feb. 6, 2015:

At the council meeting, Mr. Kysylyczyn informed them that Mr. Murray has made continual attacks against the Record and that several elected officials have an opinion of him that ranges from negative to disgust. Mr. Kysylyczyn stated that he did not support conducting business in this manner and that generally Mr. Murray’s attacks were not worthy of a response. He said that it was not in his charcter to make baseless attacks against Mr. Murray or the UnionHerald. - ACR

Presumably the paragraph was written by Kysylyczyn or under his editorial review.

Absent in the paragraph and in item earlier paragraphs, curiously, is any allegation that generic "attacks" by Murray against Kysylyczyn and his website operation are in any major way false.

Saying he would not make baseless [verbal] attacks simply is an important step short of saying attacks against him and his activities (involving the Blaine site he claims as an in-county office, or otherwise) were defamatory, where truth is an absolute defense.

"Attacked," yes, he said that. By one of a competitor's key management people. He said that too.

Wrongly so, the man implies. He defines one instance of something he alleges Murray was saying with an outright definitive "It's false" published factual assertion - by Kysylyczyn. Related to purported mention of possible investigations during discussion/negotiations which may have involved a possible "due diligence" aspect of public officials meeeting due diligence enquiry norms (instances outside of Nowthen in contexts apart from decision by Nowthen's council and/or administration in designating its official newspaper).

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
To my knowledge, there is no definitive Kysylyczyn public statement on record of whether he's ever bought any printing ink or newsprint. And if so, how much, when?

Somewhere that ought to have been asked and answered of record, in the course of Record solicitation of official notice publication business within Anoka County and its municipalities. Ever. Newsprint. Ink. Delivery services. It is what one ordinarily thinks of in thinking of the commonly used term "newspaper," in commonly used contexts - including being honestly headquartered in county and "publishing" in-county a "newspaper" (as the term is commonly understood in ordinary usage).

Monday, March 23, 2015

MinnPost: "How a challenge by Martin O'Malley could move Hillary Clinton to the left - By Eric Black | 03/17/15"

You'd hope so. There's so much room she has on that side, whereas any move right, she passes Jeb with him just standing still.

This link, for the MinnPost item.

A modest prediction about 2016 election possibilities.

My betting is Jeb and Hillary, Cruz is first in, probably first out if you discount Romney's earlier testing of the waters.

Locally, my somewhat foggy and unreliable crystal ball says the County Board, Dist. 1 seat will be perhaps the most interesting contest with two distinct Republican flavors, and personalities.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A thought as Ms. Whelan works through her first term in the legislature.

It was a question, do you remember where you were when you heard Kennedy was assassinated?

And for younger people, were you, when Kennedy was assassinated?

As we age the question will be, do you remember where you were when you heard of the Trade Center?


Thinking of Ms. Whelan as one of a generation moving into NFL, NBA, and legislative ranks caused that thought trajectory, along with a quote from a blog a friend emailed to a circle of friends, "In the '60s we took drugs, LSD, to make the world seem weird. Now the world is weird and we take drugs, Prozac, to make it seem normal."

In the '60s there were klunky underpowered centalized punch-card computers and we had dreams. Now we have good computers, on a desktop and in a phone, strangely giving us little to dream of.

How many readers remember above-ground nuclear weapons testing? Sputnik?

Harry Truman was quoted as saying he was managing a mule team, plowing a field. He thought there must be something offering a better perspective than that. And he went into politics.

One has to recall that at the turn of the nineteenth century working animals and hand tools were far more common than internal combustion and electrified homes. Today, in Ramsey, there are few "horse people" who keep working animals while not working them, but as part of a legacy of which the young can little imagine while my generation knew of it mainly by word of mouth from the elders, who experienced it. GPS based upon atomic clocks in geosynchronous orbit is now common, and the height of mountains can be reckoned from GPS, with variance due to changing snow packs, but with the numbers in impressive agreement with indirect survey methods that predate present-day field survey teams using GPS and laser equipment to gain evidence in resolving boundary disputes between adjacent property owners. Boundary disputes are eternal, while sophistication of the appropriate dispute resolution technology evolves.

I recall an apartment building owner-client of the office in urban Seattle who wanted the office to get a court redefinition of his property bounds. A series of lots had been set by metes and bounds defined from a west marker, while other lots were set from an east survey marker, with his lot and the neighboring lot sharing the "boundary" between the two series of lots. The land owners did not contest the actual boundary set by use. The client had his land's legal description changed via the west boundary set from the west marker and the east set from the east marker. The neighbor's legal description remained unchanged while the client obtained good title to what was about a fifteen foot strip of land, I believe the term is "a surveyor's hair," which had not been assigned to either property but physically existed because the original reckoned distance between the two markers was wrongly reckoned early on, in error by fifteen feet.

I recall once purchasing a map from the county surveyor's office, and an employee then serving the desk talking about how inexact some survey markers can be, his recollection being about one legal description citing something as a marker such as "the Buick axle planted at the edge of the woods, marking the corner between fields" or such.

And then there are questions of easements, what to make of them as land uses change, whether there was neglect to record easement documents allowing dispute involving good faith purchasers without notice, things of that sort, rights of entry for ditch or utility line maintenance, especially easements at property boundaries or access easements from roadways to lake front, a host of ways neighbors can fight one another over land issues, or owners can fight outsiders' claims of specific entry and use rights.

Ms. Whelan now is in the legislature and Mr. Jungbauer no longer is there, and if I recall things correctly that were published on the web, at one point Ms. Whelan while at the U. worked extensively on a Jungbauer campaign.

Without looking it up, how many readers know what "GPS" stands for? I was close, with "Global Positioning Satellites" being my recollection.

A pair of nostalgia questions. What is William Westmoreland's place in history, and what federal agency did he head that was scorned by many in the nation (hint, not NSA, CIA, nor IRS)? What Warren Commission member's highest elective achievement was being reelected often to Congress from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and what was the highest public office he held?

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
I was wrong. GPS satallites are not geosynchronous. This link. Next launch countdown clock - same link.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

MN Progressive Project, "Checking up on the odious TPP - by Dan Burns - March 19, 2015."

Read the original, online here.

It gives a hat-tip for attentiveness and America-first fairness to Ellison and Nolan. For catching buried problematic text - like a needle in a haystack - within TPP proposal verbosity.

"The number of people using metro area park and ride facilities in the seven-county metro area dropped slightly in 2014 and just over half of the available parking spaces were being used, according to a presentation Metro Transit officials gave last week to the Metropolitan Council's Transportation Committee. But that does not mean that the system is overbuilt and demand is waning, said Stephen Hannon, an associate planner with Metro Transit. 'Facilities are long-term investments and put in places to attract new customers,' he said, noting that usage was up substantially at three facilities that had recently been expanded or added to the system."

The headline quote consolidates opening text online at Strib, here. The entirety of the report follows that highlighted material.

Andover creating an open space legacy area.

The news is put online, at this link.

A FOIA loophole you can drive a truck through.

USA Today reports:

Meantime, the Justice Department said this week that it shouldn't be required under the Freedom of Information Act to provide e-mails from Clinton that were sent from or received by her private account. Government lawyers said in a filing to a federal appeals court late Thursday that the FOIA law "creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it does not possess and control."

The Justice Department acted on the State Department's behalf in a lawsuit by Freedom Watch, a conservative group led by Larry Klayman, who has filed dozens of lawsuits against the Clintons in the past. Klayman asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to hold the former secretary and top aide Cheryl Mills in criminal contempt in relation to its request for documents.

Klayman says the court also should issue a subpoena for the seizure and production of the computer file server that was used to store and process Clinton's emails. The Justice Department said the requests should be denied.

From The Hill, there is parallel reporting of the argument that the Justice Department, in representing the State Department, argues the FOIA is specific in its terms of surrender of what is in an agency's custody and control:

The Justice Department describes Klayman’s call for a subpoena as “speculation” in its brief.

“Plaintiff provides no basis, beyond sheer speculation, to believe that former Secretary Clinton withheld any work-related emails from those provided to the Department of State,” the agency says.

The filing, first reported by Politico, is the first time that the Justice Department has addressed the government’s role in accounting for Clinton’s private emails.

The agency says that the Freedom of Information Act “creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it does not possess and control.”

Justice also criticized Klayman’s motion to hold Clinton and her former State Department aide Cheryl Mills in contempt.

Klayman initially filed the suit challenging the State Department, which he claims did not adequately respond to his FOIA request for documents relating to Iran sanctions.

A district court ruled against Klayman in January, but he filed an updated appeal Clinton's use of the private email account and server surfaced. Klayman claims that by keeping her emails off of public servers, Clinton and the State Department obstructed justice.

The Justice Department said that the State Department plans to review the records Clinton turned over and will give Klayman any emails related to his request.

Bolding and link as posted are from the original Hill text.

"Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is attempting to do a "Carter" in 2016. Yes, I am fully aware that there is one very enormous name in the game: Hillary Clinton. O'Malley is positioning himself to be there if Clinton decides not to run, or to just pick up the pieces if she fails. O'Malley is 52 years old but looks much younger. He's lost only one election (for state Senate). It was his first try. (So did, by the way, Presidents Obama, Clinton and George W. Bush.)"

The headline is from mid-item, here. The item notes that the year was 1976, and:

I had the privilege of working at the time for Mo Udall. Mo was called the "gentle giant." He was a 6-foot-5, proudly liberal congressman from the Cactus State of Arizona. He had one eye and a wickedly playful sense of humor.

Accomplished and hugely popular, this respected legislator had scores of his colleagues from then-Speaker Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.) to then-Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) to then-Rep. Herman Badillo (D-N.Y.) campaigning for him. He was by far the class of the field. The other contenders that year were no slouches: the dashing Sargent Shriver, the former Peace Corps director and 1972 Democratic vice presidential nominee; the steady and solid Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-Wash.), the author of more constitutional amendments than anyone in Senate history; Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.); the irrepressible, maverick populist Sen. Fred Harris (D-Okla.), who declined a Senate reelection bid to run for president in 1972 as well; and later on, the young Gov. Jerry Brown (D) of California and the very smart and gutsy Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho).

But with all this weighty competition, Carter beat them all and was nominated in New York on the first ballot. Carter won because he was a presidential candidate, full-time.

Hillary cannot be a full-time candidate, as busy as she is sorting through email.

Another item from The Hill, here, notes:

Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails that she believed could be considered official government communications, but she deleted 30,000 emails that she considered to be personal.

If you go by a normal email load, at most it would be 100 per day, so that the deleted amount would be 300 days worth of stuff.

Have you ever gone back and culled through your old email?

It is a royal pain.

To have sorted 55,000 from 30,000 is a Herculean task, especially for a little old lady.

Chuck Bednarik, last two-way NFL player I can remember, has died at age 89.

Strib carrying an AP feed, online here.

Among other coverage of the current legislative session, pending bills and activity, the LWV - Minnesota has an online "Capitol Letter."

Latest publishing online, March 13, this link. It notes an LWV Action Alert service readers can sign up for; this screen capture:

Published by ABC Newspapers, online about a month ago, "Nowthen sticks with UnionHerald for public notices -- By Mandy Moran Froemming February 19, 2015 at 6:00 am"

This link. This excerpt:

The City Council was slated to designate its legal publication in January, but tabled the decision after members wanted more information about the bids and services provided by the Anoka County UnionHerald and the Anoka County Record.

Nowthen’s council discussed the issue at a Feb. 5 work session followed by the vote at its Feb. 10 regular meeting where the UnionHerald was approved as the legal newspaper on a 3-2 vote. An earlier motion made by Council Member Mary Rainville to make the Record Nowthen’s legal newspaper failed.

[...] Mayor Jeff Pilon and Rainville voted against the motion to go with the UnionHerald, which was supported by Council Members Randy Bettinger, Jim Scheffler and Paul Reighard.

Both Rainville and Pilon favored the Record’s bid because it was the cheaper option.

[...] Rainville said she separated the issue of the “news worthiness” of the paper from the issue of legal notice publication.

[...] Rainville said she made her decision based on the estimated printing costs of $3,500 for the UnionHerald compared to $350 in the Record.

Bettinger supported keeping the notices in the UnionHerald for a few reasons.

“Legal notices have always been there and people know where to find them,” Bettinger said.

He also believes the UnionHerald reaches more Nowthen residents than the Record.

Following the work session, Record publisher John Kysylyczyn offered to run Nowthen’s public notices free of charge.

In a letter to the council, Kysylyczn said he was doing this, “because my business places principal [sic] over profit.”

He also wrote that he would “cut the city a check for $250” to place ads in the city’s newsletters.

The prospect of free notices wasn’t enough for Bettinger to change his mind. He has concerns about the quality of the news content in the Anoka County Record.

Well, confusing the words "principle" and "principal" is not a sign of total ignorance, while it is guessed the quote published by ABC Newspapers was accurate - i.e., the mistake in wording was within the letter being quoted.

In any event, readers are requested to defend, if they can, the newswortiness of this, as actual and true journalism of any merit or quality, and not a sham or nearly so. Some things are subjective, while others might be held to some measure of minimal community standards and expectations - even when subjective.

If it were me as "editor," I would be ashamed to call that a "newspaper" edition. I would not set the bar so low.

If John K. is handing out freebs, our County Board sure screwed up BIG TIME by not bargining hard enough with the camp John K. represents.

I bet the County Board ignored the possibility of freebs, of "principal [sic] over profits," in deciding what they did. It surely appears they might have gotten us citizens a better deal if they were intent on not going with the true, actual, ink-and-newsprint newspaper.

They've 'splaining to do. BIG TIME 'splaining.

__________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Links of interest, the FTC on, "Predatory or Below-Cost Pricing," here; Wikipedia on "Predatory pricing," here.

Is predatory pricing "principal [sic] over profits?" Is newspaper publishing an Alice in Wonderland business, or not a business at all but a political thrust? What's a newspaper if it is not a true business, and what business would give its cash flow away?

There are very troubling dimensions about Harold Hamilton pulling or suspending his "PAID ADVERTISEMENT" and John K. getting toward predation in suggesting zero pricing - not to benefit himself, but to harm a competitor.

__________FURTHER UPDATE____________
On the "if it was me as editor, I'd be ashamed" front, this and this (the last link reporting county board action of Mar. 10), are not news for Mar. 13, and/or Mar. 20 publishing? 

They are newsworthy events for the ink and newsprint people, but what, troublesome developments to Taxpayeer League thinkers? Or is it mere neglect and not editorial prerogative being exercised, of Record?

Curious stuff.

The "Minnesota Watchdog" most recently has posted:

In the private sector, there is no "right to work." In fact, the whole concept is rather collectivist when you think about it.

Nobody has a "right" to work, either in a legal or a philosophical sense.

Show us in the Constitution where it says a man has a right to work.

No self-respecting conservative would claim there is a "right" to work at a certain place.

To state otherwise is to claim that one man, by force of government, has a claim to another man's resources simply because one owns a business entity and one man wants to work there.


No one has a right to work at a particular place of business.

The owner has a right to decide who will work at his business and under what terms.

How ironic that the same conservatives who decry the minimum wage support a "right" to work.

A man only has a right to sell his labor and another man only has the right to purchase that labor through an employment contract to which they mutually agree, free from force and fraud.

[italics added]

The place - the physical address and not the P.O. Box location - where John K. ostensibly "works" in Anoka County is where Harold Hamilton's Micro Control firm is headquartered (and has been headquartered for many if not all of its forty years of registered corporate existence); per Secretary of State online records here and here.

SoS filings are a place where misrepresentation, if any, can have consequences so that we presume each filing is truthful:

A rawhide chew toy for the woofer: Square that with the quoted commentary, please?

I sent Harold Hamilton an email. I encourage readers to do the same. [see UPDATE]

Captioned in the SUBJECT line,

A question that many in the public might care to see answered.

Alert readers will note that the image previously posted of Harold's last "Watchdog" publishing at the Anoka County Record website listed at its end a contact email address.

That's the one I used. It's the one I encourage readers to use, in anticipation of an answer of some sort.

Here's the text of my email

Harold -

Why did you cease publishing as "PAID ADVERTISMENT" the "Watchdog" stuff at the Anoka County Record website?

What was the rationale?

Thank you for the anticipated prompt reply.

Now, to be fully candid, I actually am uncertain whether I will get a prompt reply, or not. I expect not. That is because previously Harold indicated he'd ignore email from me. Hence, it is most imperative that inquisitive readers show their own initive in seeking an answer. We wait. We see. But it truly is a valid question to be asking the gentleman.

UPDATE: Please note the correction to the post immediately below this one.

ANOKA COUNTY - Reader help needed. Will somebody explain to me why Harold Hamilton ceased posting his Anoka County Watchdog stuff at the Record website - listed there as "PAID ADVERTISMENT?" Was it in order to have himself a bigger fig leaf about that entire situation, or did he have another explanation such as the incremental exposure beyond his own website that he got via the Record did not justify the cost of posting it as "PAID ADVERTISEMENT?" [CORRECTED, SEE END OF POST].

Record watchers can note that Harold's last official bark on the Record website was per the Feb. 27, 2015 posting on the Record website. Since then there have been only a few further postings there at that website - each sans dog woofs; one dated March 6, another dated March 13, and a latest March 20 - the latter having what appears to be a front-page unpaid advertisement about GOP affairs, and mention of Amtrak.

Below is the last Record dog woof - (preserved for posterity) - before Harold's deciding to cease (or interrupt) his own personal publication there:

click to read

Enlarge that thumbnail. See at the bottom. It does say "PAID ADVERTISEMENT."

Really it does. Strangely so.

I expect Harold's pants have a right pocket and a left pocket, and as a free American, he can freely move his money from one pocket to the other any time he wants to. As a thought experiment, moving a Ben Franklin bill from left pocket to right pocket, would the phrase be the left pocket "paid" the Ben Frank to the right? Or just "shifted" it?

Now it should be noted, I am not privy to contract terms between Hamilton and John K., although I did ask. Each declined to provide me any information.

DEPARTING QUESTION: How would you phrase that Ben Frank hypothetical?

Interestingly, that last Feb. 27 woof, on the top caption it says something about "on the lookout for fraud in Anoka County." Good to know, the dog says so.

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
CORRECTION: I was flat-out wrong. The Captain was still aboard ship, Friday the 13th.

This link, p.3 [confusing as being for a change the second page of PAID ADVERTISEMENT. Perhaps Mar. 20 was an anomaly, an interlude with the dog not having any woof to pay to publish for that web post, and I simply misinterpreted a mere momentary roiling in a Tea Pot, as if it were a tempest. My apologies to readers, to Harold Hamilton, and to John K. I erred. This led to my checking again the Mar. 20 website posting, and indeed, there is no Harold Hamilton content identified as such within that item.]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why does self-appointed Watchdog-of-the-blind-Right-eye ignore an Abeler opinion? Because he is more Oz lion than bulldog?

Dog, you really do pick and choose your trees, ...

The fact is, others do write to the editor, and get published. Pay heed.

Now, I normally try to excerpt items published by ABC Newspapers (i.e., real newspapers, buying ink by the drum and newprint by the hundred-weight or ton - more than a website with an electronics supply house as its ostensible Anoka County business address). I do so to encourage readers to go to the original for complete detail. This time, why be different? For this excerpt, read the full item here.

It made sense at the time. That’s the only reason I can fathom for the Anoka County Board of Commissioners to choose to publish its important County notices in the Anoka County Record, a newspaper that reaches almost nobody.

[...] For most, the County Board is nearly invisible anyway, with a role understood far less than city councils or the state legislature. Adding another layer of fog will only serve to increase their lack of accountability to the 340,000 souls they are sworn to serve.

[...] Bad things can happen in the dark when it comes to politics, and the sunshine of public exposure serves to prevent that. It is time to undo a poor decision and put the Anoka County people first, and open the door of county government a bit wider for all to see.

It’s time to send the Anoka County Record packing, [...]

Jim Abeler
Former member of the MN House

Well Jim, the District 1 seat where you live is up for election in 2016. With the properly accountable people in place on the Board, sound decisions can follow, and back to full-time fair sunshine on things also can follow.

Somebody has to contest the seat, Jim, since the incumbent is a favorite of the Oz lion. Perhaps they foresee a challenger, in a letter writer?

A suggestion to bring light and reason to the "Anoka County Record Question."

Mr. Abeler, and Mr. Look or his designate might visit the ostensible Anoka County Record office in Fridley, and each independently in an ABC Newspapers letter to the editor report - nothing but the facts and honestly stated - what they found and saw there. It might enlighten the situation. After all, the purported editor of the ostensible operation encourages contact via a P.O. Box, and newspapers in general do not do that. They have plant and equipment and buy ink and paper.

Such a visit just might also give the pair an opportunity to converse with Harold Hamilton, while onsite.

Battle lines being drawn. Federal budget reporting by Strib's carrying an AP feed.

This link:

Obama: Republican spending plan offers 'path to prosperity for those who've already prospered'
Article by: DARLENE SUPERVILLE , AP - Updated: March 18, 2015 - 6:13 PM

"It's a budget that doesn't just fail to embrace middle-class economics," he said. "It's the opposite of middle-class economics."

[...] The House GOP budget also drew criticism from likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hours after the plan was released, Obama's former secretary of state blasted it on social media as one that "fails Americans" on investments in jobs and economic growth, on aid for college students and on access to health care.

"Budgets reflect our priorities. They should help families get ahead, educate our kids, and spark small business growth," Clinton said on Twitter. She said the "nation's future — jobs & economic growth — depends on investments made today. The GOP budget fails Americans on these principles."

Latest Israeli election news - Bibi's fourth term.

New York Times (source of opening image), more NYT, Haaretz (opening only, main reporting behind a paywall) here and here, Reuters, and USA Today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Flaherty project. Surprisingly having a TIF component in the brew. At Wherever, USA.

Actually, at New Albany.

Old Albany presumably not willing to TIF, etc.

This link, noting:

[...] a step closer to fruition as the Indiana Economic Development Corp. awarded $3.3 million for the project this week.

The IEDC awarded the money through the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit Program, designed to assist communities in developing large vacant structures.

Flaherty & Collins Properties, an Indianapolis-based development firm, received the credit in partnership with the city to convert the property, at 411 E. Spring St., into a 157-unit apartment complex.

It appears New Albay is a 'burb of Louisville. And for appreciation of deja vu, and its reassurance dimensions:

"Flaherty & Collins Properties is thrilled to partner with the city of New Albany and the IEDC to make this development a reality," said Austin Carmony, lead developer of the project with Flaherty & Collins Properties. "This public/private partnership brings a luxury residential mixed-use development to downtown New Albany that will add approximately 200 residents with disposable incomes to the area that will further support local businesses. The project will build on the strong economic development that is already occurring downtown, making the area vibrant, walkable and full of activity."

The project will likely require the city to issue a Tax Increment Financing bond to be paid back with TIF revenue generated by the project. The New Albany City Council and Redevelopment Commission will need to vote before a bond can be issued.

City Council President Pat McLaughlin told other media outlets the project could be a key component in future development downtown, attracting residents who would bolster commerce for existing businesses and encouraging more service-oriented establishments to open.

Wow, public private partnership. I wonder how Heidi is doing in Wayzata. I wonder if Wayzata has any Landform consultancy work in its mix.

Efficiency would dictate there being a Flaherty Fluff-Form:

Flaherty & Collins Properties is thrilled to partner with the city of _______________ and _______________ to make this development a reality," said ____________________, lead developer of the project with Flaherty & Collins Properties. "This public/private partnership brings a luxury residential mixed-use development to downtown __________________ that will add approximately ___________ residents with disposable incomes to the area that will further support local businesses. The project will build on the strong economic development that is already occurring downtown, making the area vibrant, walkable and full of activity.

And it shall redouble to the lasting legacy of every town official embracing Flaherty adventuring; its shepherding and fostering and shearing being as innovative as sliced Wonder Bread.

Special project press release forms could be preprinted, "... said Ryan Cronk, lead developer ..." since Cronk apparently is the Flaherty honcho who gets the slam-dunk stuff from the office.

Flaherty and archetectural excellence, one typical one atypical, surprising at first, but there is an explanation.

First, Kansas City, here, the lead rendering says "Flaherty" all over it. Busy, busy, busy. Schlock, schlock, schlock.

As in, typical.

But wow, something restrained, senior housing, in Vincennes, Indiana. A restrained hand. Atypical.

And for a reason:

The Vincennes Education Fondation and Vision Communities collaborated to make Clark’s Crossing a reality.

The project re-uses the old Clark Middle School and Adams Coliseum buildings. The development relied on the sale of historic tax credits and rental housing tax credits to turn the two buildings into a senior living facility in the middle of downtown Vincennes.

Flaherty & Collins will manage the property.

Yes. An old middle school. Redone. No wonder it looks less ugly than that thing in Ramsey Town Center.

They did not start with a clean slate.

Libraries are basically about books. People can borrow them, or not, and they help educate the population. Where exactly in such basics, is the place for dog-and-pony shows eating up cash arguably better spent, for of all things, books?

This link. Readers wanting to defend some of the stuff that author criticizes are urged to submit comments.

If you total the numbers there, how many books might it purchase?

Recent Met Council quota setting. As always, numbers given without justification or rationale presented. With no real presentation of underlying data as cause to set numbers, as set.

This link.

Is that imperious, or what? The tone of the header paragraph offends greatly -

The Allocation of Affordable Housing Need presented in this table is based on forecasts completed for the 2030 Regional Development Framework adopted in January 2004. As communities submitted formal changes to their comprehensive plan in the past decade, the number of affordable units was updated with any changes to 2010 or 2020 forecasts. However, with the adoption of the new regional development guide, Thrive MSP 2040 (May 2014), no further revisions to these numbers will be made. New information on the Allocation of Affordable Housing Need for 2021-2030 will be released in 2015.

"... based on forecasts completed for the 2030 Regional Development Framework ..." is pure imposition.

"We invent these numbers and impose them" would be a more honest way for Met Council's planners to explain themselves. Further explanation, " ... we pull our numbers out of thin air."

It is, after all, what they do. Yes, affordable housing is needed. Yes, people should not suffer housing depredation because of lack of wealth. Yes, we are the wealthiest nation on the face of the earth, and yes, our poor are given short shrift while our rich are allowed to avoid paying a fair share via governmental policies that are nothing but a nod and a wink. Yes, lobbyists buy favors.

But the heavy hand approach of Met Council sure does gall.

On the bright side, looking at the table, they got Bethel right.

UPDATE: Cutting slack, do these links reassure you much if at all that Met Council knows what it is doing; here and here?

Here's a paragraph from that latter item, having a truth in it, one you can take to Mr. Flaherty -

To further explain this point, some of the new affordable housing need that arises between 2011 and 2020 will be satisfied by units that exist in the private market today. As academic research has shown, the amount of low-income housing in the private market expands from decade-to-decade as older units depreciate in price to maintain occupancy, a process known as “filtering.” This movement between market-rate and affordable pricing does not generally occur among subsidized units, which generally are never “priced up” into the market-rate category. New, low-income households that find housing in older, market-rate units that have “filtered down” in price have their housing needs satisfied without directly consuming land.

And by the time of such filtering down to housing bottom feeders in Ramsey Town Center, where will Darren Lazan and Emily McGlone be and what will each be doing?

Israeli election - things remain uncertain but it appears Netanyahu and denial of a two-state solution may have carried the day.

It may remind some of Gore v. Bush, and Florida, and all. Herzog might end up with fewer seats but able to put together a coalition where Netanyahu might prove unable, but for now it remains uncertain even after votes have been counted.

If denial of a two-state solution is the official policy, Bibi's last move being to embrace a single state reach to all of the lands conquored in 1967, then imposition of sanctions might be a fit international response.

It worked in South Africa.

Sanctions against Iran have Iran at the negotiation table.

The suffering of the Palestinians has near worldwide sympathy with only US ongoing exercise of veto power in the security council of the UN between Israel and its critics.

Should we change course?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

One hopes that Dayton, as a compassionate humanist, has his veto pen ready.

Sorensen online, here, about Matt Dean being heartless. And Republican.

ABC Newspapers, the only actual-factual newspaper we have in Anoka County, reports, "Microbreweries with tap rooms welcome in downtown Anoka" By Mandy Moran Froemming March 13, 2015 at 8:30 am

This link.

And may the best man win [Tzipi Livni has shifted to non-candidate for a rotating premiership with Herzog, in order to boost coalition building success].

Haaretz, this morning, here.

Haaretz had been a favored source for Israeli leftist viewpoints, but they put in a paywall.

Candidate info, with Livni still listed despite her reported move.

Commentary and reporting possibly of interest to readers; here, here, here, and two how low will he go links, here and here; the latter item concluding:

I admire John Kerry greatly for trying as hard as he did to negotiate a two-state solution. He was criticized as naive, but he saw an opening, and he took it. It was worth the risk. But if Netanyahu somehow returns to office—and anything is possible in the free-for-all of an Israeli election—I can't imagine that Kerry, or his boss, would choose to devote any more time in turning Netanyahu toward compromise. And though I haven't asked him yet, I'm fairly certain Joe Biden also believes that Netanyahu will not be seeking out a cross on which to nail himself. Netanyahu, it seems, is about the perpetuation of one thing—Netanyahu.

There is no guarantee, of course, that Isaac Herzog, the Labor Party leader who might emerge as Israel's next prime minister, will take bold steps toward peace, or succeed in this pursuit. But, unlike Netanyahu, Herzog seems to understand that the status quo is not sustainable over the long term, and he understands that the prime minister's office is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Lots of candidates and parties, all over the map on different issues - not a two-party stagnation.

MN Progressive Project has a pair of posts considering the Israeli election, here and here, the latter item linkink to Haaretz. If Republican online interest exists, it is not at either of the blogs I know of in CD6, here and here. Where all politics is more local.

Abigale Whelan has an opportunity to make a lasting mark as an advocate for maintaining the excellence of Twin Cities post-graduate programs at the U., as we advance in this millennium.

Whelan as a starting Rep. in Minnesota's House facing an outer Minnesota vs. metro posture within her party's leadership cannot do much, now, beyond learning the ropes. However, people in office around here tend to be reelected, good, bad or indifferent. Witness Jungbauer and Bachmann, together on one end of the spectrum.

Whelan most likely will gain seniority. The district is as it is, and anyone in her own party, even one presently on the county board who for one reason or another might challenge her, would face unlikely prospects. Were Abeler to decide to try for a stint on the county board it would be interesting with him there and Whelan in the legislature. Petersen being challenged from within his own party is equally unlikely, and if it happens, it is unlikely an insurgency would succeed.

Whelan has a legitimate education, without any fudging of the resume needed; not a Jungbauer that way and she clearly is a bright person. One can tell that immediately, from speaking to her.

She benefited from having a TA helping her financially while gaining her master's degree. Likely she will not forget that and will be attuned to needs and hopes at the Twin Cities campus.

While many including myself with a grounding in the hard sciences dislike the term "social science" and prefer the term used in my high school, "social studies," Whelan's degree in "political science" or "political studies" augers for her having a basis beyond work in the district for understanding the process of getting reelected, while at the same time having a broad notion of legislative function.

Trained where conflicting ideas gain attention and review, she is in a good position to show a bipartisan willingness to get actual problems fixed. She has a district, with its constituency, and must balance the mood of her electorate with other concerns.

The Twin Cities campus, its faculty, is the cream of the state's university system, and all effort to keep it continually funded and intact will benefit the training of future generations of innovators who will found the next 3M or the next Medtronic, moving on to where my generation will yield to Whelan's.

The hope is she is willing to face the work that keeping up the quality of the TC campus against budget-cutter hawkish dogma entails, and that she will not let any out-state vs. metro mentality within her party interfere with the work that way which matters.

Having favored Perovich in this election and when he ran opposite Petersen, always then and still believing Peter would have been an excellent person to send to the legislature, the vote was as it is and the election is over so that hoping for and anticipating responsible governing is today's task, not further electioneering.

Given that Whelan is defined in part this session by her bills for which she is chief author, and those which for whatever reasons she co-sponsors; that information is online respectively "chief author" here and "author" here. In part we can judge her by the company she keeps. However, this early in a freshman session, we should not be too hasty to judge. Either way.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
As one who premised part of a compaign on millenials' Angst issues, Whelan should hopefully be aware of this link.

Every coin has two sides. Peter Perovich most surely would not have gone anywhere near this kind of governmental overreaching and divisive intrusion into private decision making of people, into the bowels of personal privacy with interference of the worse kind imaginable between a person and her doctor and their decision making and conduct. Abortion is not the state's fucking business; it is a matter of personal, individual liberty. The Senate companion text does not have the string of co-sponsors this sorry, sorry intrusive thing has. And that speaks well of those in the Senate, each and every one of whom put liberty ahead of nanny state intrusion of the most dispicable kind in declining to join Sean Nienow and crew. The house zealots, each and every one of them, should be ashamed of themselves.

That kind of stuff should have "Liberty Republicans" up in arms. They instead carp over economic regulatory measures but when real personal liberties of the most basic and personal kind are involved they can be seen courageously taking a hike.

Until they face up to their cohorts pushing this intrusive agenda, they should not be taken for much beyond a pack of hypocrites.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Here is a screen capture for HF 1047, showing the host of co-authors along with Ms. Whalen as chief author, and the apparent fast-tracking of the thing through Daudt-led committee structure:

Click the image and read the parade of names.

Strib recently has begun a series of reports on affordable housing, which is somewhat collateral in general to the question here, except for this from Strib's latest on the topic

According to the Met Council, 74 percent of applicants in the recent lottery were “single female heads of household.” Since the 1970s, two incomes have been the key to preserving middle-class lives for millions of American households. It’s not impolite to suggest that “domestic teamwork,” coupled with job training and two adequate paychecks, could reduce the daunting demand for affordable housing.

Getting the drift? These wicked busybodies wanting to interject the full power and will of the State between a pregnant unmarried female and her right to an abortion, (look at all those male co-authors - a story in itself), but those folks, with Ms. Whelan as lead author in the hunt against women, have no companion measure to alleviate the ongoing punishment they'd inflict upon such women in distress.

It truly is heartless. Demanding senseless suffering of others is not sound statewide policy.

I await Ms. Whelan's companion bill for relief of the anguish of impoverished single-mother families which involve actual real existing human children of those families being forced to suffer, because of some ill-reasoned will of a pack of prudes to deny abortion against a potential but not actual living sentient suffering human being.

Playing God that way in apportioning suffering is not a very decent thing to be doing.

I want to see that companion bill. Moreover, I most interestedly want to see the list of co-authors it might engender.

At this point, Whelan stands for the worse enemy of single female parent families - their worse suffering nightmare, and in posing as a compassionate Christian she needs to reexamine herself in light of the imbalance in her approach to responsible legislative norms. The decent thing is if you legislate a curb on a freedom that you legislate companion relief of the mischief you cause.

It is not the government's place to interfere in private reproductive decision making allowing a pregnan woman a full spectrum of available relief, while it is the government's responsibility to alleviate the sting and pain of those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Particularly if forced there by government action. Private charity can participate, the option is there, but the responsibility is that of the State, since economic policy sets the winners and losers in our capitalist US of America.

Denying the right to exercise reproductive liberty while turning a blind eye to suffering attendant to such a denial is nothing short of heartless and wicked. Those fine Christians simply should reevaluate themselves in the light of reality instead of singing hosannas to varied mythologies perpetrated from some pulpit.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Give Whelan and cohorts credit. At least they are not sneaks about it. Give them time perhaps, and they will reach the pinnacle of success in hiding Hyde Amendments, were it their goal to be other than strident, confrontational, and obnoxious in their ways. Feeding a frenzy among a segment of like-minded people is the purpose of the bill, as it will never be passed into law while Dayton remains Governor. They know that, but spiel on anyway because of who they are.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Is there a fresh face in the pack? For your automobile, wouldn't you rather have new tires, instead of retreads?

This link. Two-party stagnation at its worse. Somebody, wake up Elizabeth Warren.

Does Pearson pass the test?

Politico reports, this link. Col. Kline must love them, since they have love for those loving the Col.

Pearson works with for-profit career colleges, too: Its marketing materials boast that its consultants can help them “stay one step ahead” of federal regulations.

Indeed, Pearson has its hand in so many education services that corporate executive Donald Kilburn confidently predicted on an earnings call last summer that the North American division would flourish even if states and school districts had to cut their budgets.

As long as sales reps can show that Pearson products get results, Kilburn said, “the money will find a way to come to us.”

But the POLITICO review found that public contracts and public subsidies — including at least $98.5 million in tax credits from six states — have flowed to Pearson even when the company can’t show its products and services are producing academic gains.

[link in original] And earlier in Politico's reporting

“Pearson has been the most creative and the most aggressive at [taking over] all those things we used to take as part of the public sector’s responsibility,” said Michael Apple, a professor of education policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Pearson declined to answer specific questions about many of its contracts and business practices.

But several top executives said they always work toward deals that benefit not just the company but its public-sector partners — and above all, the millions of students who use Pearson products daily.

“The public trust,” Senior Vice President Shilpi Niyogi said, “is vital to everything we do.”

Stay ahead of the regulators, the sheriff, the Reaper, and the questioning; just sit on that stool and milk.

Opening image was Pearson's from here. Second image was not theirs.

Chamber music. It appears interesting that major opposition to standardized testing is organized nationwide effort of Chamber of Commerce outlets, e.g., here, here and here. Also, here. I can see some in the successful corporate world favoring connections as the old-fashioned way to get into the better schools, to graduate, and to get the better jobs along with their peers. After all, W was a Yale legacy case, wasn't he? One of those Chamber items links here.

There is irony in the Chamber questioning standardized testing at the same time ALEC wants to use it in attempted busting of the teachers union. You'd expect organized political forces with tentacles to be better able to be on the same page. Obviously, in this, trust the Chamber effort more than ALEC, indeed, trust prison populations more than ALEC, and you'll be close to spot on. ALEC is bad, very bad, for AMERICA.

Links possibly of interest; here, here and here. If you look at union busting, you have to wonder if the unions all get busted down in having a politica voice, who is it left calling the shots? And who would it be telling you that would be good, for AMERICA?

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Shifting from an opinion to a question series, Politico's review on Pearson, after all entitled, "No Profit Left Behind," reports

Its software grades student essays, tracks student behavior and diagnoses — and treats — attention deficit disorder. The company administers teacher licensing exams and coaches teachers once they’re in the classroom. It advises principals. It operates a network of three dozen online public schools. It co-owns the for-profit company that now administers the GED.

A top executive boasted in 2012 that Pearson is the largest custodian of student data anywhere.

In our times where we have seen troublesome NSA intrusion into our emails, and Google's selling our profile info per targeted advertisement aimed at us by advertisers paying money to Google; is it food for thought to consider a British firm holding status as "the largest custodian of student data anywhere," and as a profit-seeking private sector firm which might market data on your children, our nation's children collectively, as to who might by some criteria represent a likely loyal American and who might be problematic, in some way, perhaps more likely a criminal hence deserving before any crime is committed an elevated level of government attention? Or should we worry over foreign nations wanting to buy information on the nation's children as to whether they'd be inclined or disinclined to be boosters of one foreign nation or another?

Surely Pearson could explain, "Yes we said that about data custody, and it is true; but first of all we are responsible, as beyond reproach as Caesar's wife, and beyond that the information we collect and the AI programs we may use in data mining - drilling as we might into the database - are not of the type you'd need to worry over. Remember, the public trust is vital to everything we do."

Would you believe all that?

Should you categorically believe it -- From the firm that touts its testing effectiveness, with scant real evidence that any such effectiveness is real, especially if extrapolated as some want, to strongly influence retain-fire decisions over tenured teachers with years of classroom experience involving hundreds of different students over time, in a stable school district, in a stable town having stable school administrators? Isn't experience the best teacher, and what else might local control mean as a virtue? Also, might local control become too local, as with the report of voucher things happening in Louisiana, so that control by experienced statewide administration might better curb possible local excesses?

Another thought experiment -- What if it might just be Pearson selling targeted advertising as Google does, your child is dyslexic or on Ritalin for attention deficit disorder, with the family's computers curiously getting ads for differing pharmaceuticals for the same disorder, claiming greater benefit or lesser side effects. Or an ad touting a Pearson plan to provide online aid to assist dyslexic students to better achieve, one you can sign up for, for a fee. Would that be good or bad? Specific information which might aid a family decision process, isn't that good, or might it be viewed as intruding where school standardized testing was never meant to go?

It seems our US educational establishment arguably has gone overboard with a British private firm that collects and holds a vast body of arguably sensitive data about family members where a family might object.

What remedy might such a family have?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Voucherism run amok, and some think Jindal is presidential material.

This link. Reuters no less, and they most often try to be non-judgmental. If Biblical math is in the cards, how about Revelation numerology? Subtract all the other mentioned numbers, as mentioned, from 666, and what is the difference you are left with? Four Horsemen. Seven Seals. All that. Each in order.

And the great State of Lousiiana has its share of cost-benefit voucher concern, where cost-benefit reckoning also should be a part of standardized testing considerations:

Louisiana's bold bid to privatize schools
By Stephanie Simon - Fri Jun 1, 2012

To date, private schools have not had to give their students state standardized tests, so there's no straightforward way for parents to judge their performance. Starting next year, any student on a voucher will have to take the tests; each private school must report individual results to parents and aggregate results to the state.

The 47-page bill setting up the voucher program does not outline any consequences for private schools that get poor test scores. Instead, it requires the superintendent of schools to come up with an "accountability system" by Aug. 1. Once he does, the system cannot be altered except by legislative vote.

White would not say whether he is prepared to pull vouchers from private schools that do poorly on tests.

He pointed out that many kids applying for vouchers are now enrolled in dismal public schools where two-thirds of the students can't read or do math at grade level and half will drop out before they graduate high school. Given that track record, he argues it's worth sending a portion of the roughly $3.5 billion a year the state spends on education to private schools that may have developed different ways to reach kids.

[..] Officials have not estimated the price tag of these programs but expect the state will save money in the long run, because they believe the private sector can educate kids more cheaply than public schools.

Whether those savings will materialize is unclear.

By law, the value of each voucher can't exceed the sum the state would spend educating that child in public school -- on average, $8,800 a year. Small private schools often charge as little as $3,000 to $5,000 a year.

Yet at some private schools with low tuition, administrators contacted by Reuters said they would also ask the state to cover additional, unspecified fees, which would bring the cost to taxpayers close to the $8,800 cap. The law requires the state to cover both tuition and fees.

In the separate mini-voucher program due to launch in 2013, students across Louisiana, regardless of income, will be able to tap the state treasury to pay for classes that are offered by private vendors and not available in their regular public schools.

That picture is ugly. You want to say there is exaggeration in the report, but it does ring as being factual, even if editorially selective in what gets written about and what else might be left unsaid.

And do you want a tune? Sure, it is syrup, saccharin, and shallow, but Hollywood does choose what it gives us. They made money from it just as the test-seller cabal makes its big-time money now. What harm's a mix-in of some capitalist adventurism likely to cause in training the young to cope in today's world? Sure, sell tests. Impose them on children and perhaps get standardized interchangeable-parts labor force grown-ups from standardized testing imposed on variable young minds. Isn't that good? Who can argue against it?

To everything there is a season ... Or should I leave that direction alone?

Turn standardized testing around as a tool to beat up on the teachers union? Is it coalition building, disfavorable to standardized testing proponents, by opponents, to bring new blood into the anti-test movement? Squeeze the payroll, get more representative anti-test participation that way, a broader coalition?

Or is it just a change in taste and fashion? A fad to counter an earlier one?

Education at the K-12 level is in flux. That should not diminish the need to remember that college and post-graduate education, (the forgotten dimension), if underfunded will be mortgaging innovation potentials within the nation's future. Higher ed. IS where the bright ideas in very large measure originate.

As with most things, either-or juxtaposition may be less appropriate than wanting to reach a sane balance. But those test selling profiteers, they sure do have a cash cow they do not want to run dry or underproduce. Always bear that in mind.

The Netanyahu speech. Was it as some think Republican leadership inviting him to tamper in our foreign policy, or as a lesser known possible motive, Republican leadership's will to tamper in Israeli election juggling?

We are in a two party bind, and they have multiple parties, with new ones formed regularly, in what are still early years in their nationhood, relative to ours.

While not pretending to have an answer to the headline's question - ask those who invited the gentleman - some links readers might find intersting,

"Shocker! Benjamin Netanyahu Uses Speech to Congress in Campaign Ad," online here, and who might really be shocked by a politician doing exactly that?

BBC giving a score-card, but with Lieberman barely mentioned despite his having had past power; here. How accurate is any of that BBC analysis? I have no way of knowing.

Haaretz, now behind a paywall but with enough lead paragraphs printed to show poll watching is not solely our national sport.

Commentary, here.

The Hill, headlined, "Dem: 'My fears have been realized' from Netanyahu speech." That item begins:

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said his suspicions that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would use his address to Congress last week to bolster his own reelection campaign have come true.

The Israeli Likud Party, which Netanyahu leads, released a campaign advertisement Thursday that includes footage from Netanyahu's speech to Congress last week. Members of Congress are shown applauding as Netanyahu speaks at the House dais.

Cohen, who is Jewish, was among the more than 50 Democrats who skipped Netanyahu's speech. The Tennessee Democrat said he suspected Netanyahu would use the footage for campaign ads ahead of the Israeli elections next week, given that he had done so in the past.

“I had hoped this prediction might have had a chilling effect and caused the prime minister to reconsider before using Congress as a campaign backdrop. Instead, my fears have been realized," Cohen said in a statement.

Cohen noted that members of Congress are banned from using congressional proceedings for their own campaign ads, arguing a foreign leader should be held to the same standard.

JPost, here, pick a story.

The Independent.

USA Today, here.

If this post has any merit it would be to dispell any notion that "The Israelis" have a monolithic and unchanging face and policy set, without internal debate. Why expect them to be different?

Back to the headline, my vote is for the latter possibility, Republican nose-poking into Israel's internal election affairs. Something, mixing the two nations' politics, that fared poorly for Republican Romney, but then he had that 47% video dooming him before he reached out to Netanyahu.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The level of sheer stupidity involved in taking standardized testing to the extreme is apparent in one online item, and another aptly criticizes "Management by Pinheads." And we have them. In our legislature.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

Explain to me what is the measure of an educated person. Winning a Nobel Prize? Few do. Making a Bill Gates/Warren Buffet fortune? Few do. Writing a Pynchon novel is something only Pynchon has done. Without having to take a multiple choice test about novel writing.

Scoring in the 99th percentile on the LSAT? Is that a measure of an educated person? It may help get you into a law school, but will you have the talent in pressing circumstances to fashion an acquital on, "If the glove don't fit, you've got to acquit?"

Of those legislators pushing for standardized testing, how many will publish their own SAT scores? 

Financial genius Nienow? Suppose he did score highly. That proves what? That the SBA and taxpayers should mop up his personal fiscal bad-judgment mess?

These are bozos leading a bozo parade, union busting being the actual aim, and some should know better.

Yes there truly are problems with winnowing talent as students move upstream, yes along the way the majority really do get left behind, but remember Medtronic was the result of a first class post-graduate medical school program at the Twin Cities campus, and the entrepreneurial sparks for succeeding generations do not come from children left behind, but from those not held back from where their capabilities and tenacity can allow them to reach.

And yes, Bill Gates scored big time three sigma or so off the high end from the middle of the SAT bell curve, and yes, he scored big cash/power accumulation while he can demonstrate an exceptional SAT score, but that is irrelevant to preparing an entire population to think semi-analytically in order to be capable of productively participating in voting, holding a steady job, seeking and holding office, or getting a PhD in grad school at MIT.

And yes, there is dead wood in any bureaucracy, in Boeing, in Airbus, they are big enough that some will be in and over their heads. It is the same with teaching. But those parroting, "Give standardized tests, it's Nirvana," should note that neither Boeing nor Airbus do that, and they produce very safe airplanes which we value in large part because of the successful judgment of the engineers and cost accountants who know where to shave a buck, and where the risk of dogmatic buck-shaving is too high. Show me one good multiple choice test that uncovers Boeing-grade management and engineering judgment skills.

There isn't any.

Have you any idea why they don't manage the medical profession by standardized testing and success rates of medical procedures? Fire the doctors who lose patients, never mind that some come to hospitals with incurable conditions, and never mind that everybody dies sometime and most likely the majority die while under medical attention.

If that testing stupidity were suggested for the medical profession everyone would laugh, because they could see through it. Why dump it on the teachers then? The job is thankless enough. Yes, they have a cohesive union. But so do the cops, and the weasels are not ripping at their flesh.

Go figure that one out.

In closing, Diane Ravitch thinks, while too many in the legislature decline to. Posturing is easier, and after all, path of least resistance is how the waters of the earth flow.

Arguably anecdotal reporting has value. But that possibility is apart from why bust a union, or get in the way of busting a union, when the facts are in such clear disrepair?

There exists no reliable data that standardized testing is effective for anything. My personal experience is that the SAT, the GSAT, general and for chemistry grad school purposes, and the LSAT scores were incredibly correlated with one another - ETS had exceptional internal test-to-test score consistency, but I could not see much link between test scores and academic or professional success. The senior lawyer where I worked was a better lawyer than I was, and his test scores had been mediocre. And the evil - training to the test - is both real and counterproductive to producing educated, inquisitive, analytical minds.

It is a bunch of hooey.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Let us consider best evidence. People unquestionably brighter and more learned than your average legislator bent on union busting; people with no bias one way or the other on whether the teacher's union is too powerful and/or too Democratic for their liking, have gone on record, and if you read nothing else this month, read this. It debunks VAM.

Read it to know what VAM stands for, but that's revealed early in the brief seven pages, so read the entire thing. At p7 of seven pages, this is well noted

Research on VAMs has been fairly consistent that aspects of educational effectiveness that are measurable and within teacher control represent a small part of the total variation in student test scores or growth; most estimates in the literature attribute between 1% and 14% of the total variability to teachers. This is not saying that teachers have little effect on students, but that variation among teachers accounts for a small part of the variation in scores. The majority of the variation in test scores is attributable to factors outside of the teacher’s control such as student and family background, poverty, curriculum, and unmeasured influences.

The VAM scores themselves have large standard errors, even when calculated using several years of data. These large standard errors make rankings unstable, even under the best scenarios for modeling. Combining VAMs across multiple years decreases the standard error of VAM scores. Multiple years of data, however, do not help problems caused when a model systematically undervalues teachers who work in specific contexts or with specific types of students, since that systematic undervaluation would be present in every year of data.

A VAM score may provide teachers and administrators with information on their students’ performance and identify areas where improvement is needed, but it does not provide information on how to improve the teaching. The models, however, may be used to evaluate effects of policies or teacher training programs by comparing the average VAM scores of teachers from different programs.

This is from statisticians, whose livelihoods and well-being are related to uses of statistics - in this context student scores in standardized testing - and they are noting how ill-clothed is the emperor of using student test scores in hire-fire teacher retention decision making. They caution against stupid use of their methodologies, which they caution, are not well used in conniving by those having an ax to grind against union collective bargaining outcomes. The assault on the unions is a centralized and orchestrated thing, and only true fools or con men, moving unthinkingly or with ill-motive, would go along with it.

In the public high school in suburban St. Louis that I attended, the sophomore English fast track class was constructed around the notion of the epic in literature over the ages. We read the Iliad, Aeneid, and Paradise Lost, and a common thread was to consider the changing view of the hero, in literature. I cannot remember now whether we did Faust. In the junior year the theme was coming of age as to education in preparation for adult life. We read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Education of Henry Adams, and Look Homeward Angel. Two years of Latin were offered.

How do you wrap multiple-choice calipers around that kind of thought out process of having the brighter of students wrestle with things that at the time they were only partially equipped to comprehend. It avoided the boredom that TV then offered and offers still. There was some teaching to the test, but it was a limited thing, not something biased by employment security worry being mixed badly into the process of education.

So, again, the question too often swept under the rug, the square one question - what is the measure of a teacher's effectiveness? If you cannot cogently answer that in terms of where standardized testing can prove useful - aggregate evaluation of narrow things not key to becoming educated but which are easily measured by test-taking, variation in test results over an aggregate grouping, depending on socioeconomic variables mainly, AND you recognize these limitations for what they are; then the process is a limited part of things and not perverted for politically motivated aims and ends for which the statisticians themselves say it is inappropriate as a decision making tool.

How it is and you had best believe it, if you want educated children, on the whole, to take over in their adulthood and to not drive the nation into one disaster or another but to be even keeled and collectively able to do best.

In the context of the VAM debate, Ravitch has aptly written

As many education researchers have explained–including a joint statement by the American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education– the VAM ratings of those who teach children with disabilities and English language learners will be low, because these children have greater learning challenges than their peers, as will the ratings of those who teach gifted students, because the latter group has already reached a ceiling. Those two groups, like the ASA agreed that test scores are affected by many factors besides the teacher, not only the family, but the school’s leadership, its resources, class size, curriculum, as well as the student’s motivation, attendance, and health. Yet the Obama administration and most of our states are holding teachers alone accountable for student test scores.

The ASA warns that the current heavy reliance on VAMs for high-stakes testing and their simplistic interpretation may have negative effects on the quality of education. There will surely be unintended consequences, such as a diminishment in the number of people willing to become teachers in an environment where “quality” is so crudely measured.

Ask yourself, would you as a recent college graduate be more or less willing to dedicate your adult life to something "where 'quality' is so crudely measured"?

Were you to say "more willing, absolutely," I would have to question how well educated you are. How fit for the purpose you would be.

The evidence is what it is, and teaches what it does, and the ASA knows more about its area of expertise and is less biased as to inferring political directions from such expertise, than is ALEC.

Know that, or be ignorant. Uneducated. Ill-educated.

___________FINAL UPDATE____________
It intrigues me how in the legislature and Congress seniority is such a factor, witness Richard Russell and Orin Hatch - Tip O'Neill and Mitch McConnell. Yet the legislature, with seniority arguably too rampant a determinant, arguably counterproductive but the way things are done, is where the attack on teacher seniority is in full swing.

There is a saying about do as I say, not as I do.

Clinton emails.

screen capture from here.

Gerstein, reports at Politico, that a Klayman motion for a continuance of oral argument was denied, linking to the item, here. He seems to be writing the substative motion was denied also, which his linked item does not state. More from Klayman's confederates, here. (Note, small-c; I don't want Larry suing me.)

Gerstein reports of and links to news of an AP wire service lawsuit over the emails, see original item, here.

There is an election on the horizon, Jeb has his standardized testing cash cow he's been proselytizing as if it were some proven effective thing - with ALEC on his side. Hillary's likely thinking of the Tom Hanks film, "You've Got Mail."

Can't we do better, both sides?

Well, turn back time and you find another Bush or two onto a good thing.

Neil Bush, we all know him from his befriending lonesome women, was into cash-from-standardized-testing back during the No Child Left Behind presidential time frame; apparently no cash was intended to be left behind if available to buy into the testing tells all belief frame of mind.

They've both occupied the Oval Office, but are these the two most illustrious families we can now put forward, again, in 2016?

Set the bar higher, America, please.

Attending this morning's Abigale Whelan - Branden Petersen town hall meeting at Anoka City Hall.

Most of the concerns from the audience, and the responses were as might be expected.

I had the opportunity to ask if either of the two knew of how much public money gets burned funding standardized testing, who provides [i.e. sells] the tests, and who is lobbying for standardized testing. And whether either knew of any reliable cost-benefit analysis of same.

Neither knew of any sound data on cost alone, not to mention cost-benefit. The who is lobbying part of the multi-part question strangely fell through the cracks.

However I got the strong impression that Whelan might be more amenable to recognizing legitimacy in the range of questioning.

If you are going to "fix" education and foster the advancement of "effective" teachers, in advancing such an agenda, you had best start at square one. What is effective [not cheapest newbies necessarily] and what is not, and what objective data [if any] exists on a measuring stick?

I got the impression Whelan understands not putting the cart before the horse, despite her wanting efficient and effective education, which, by the fact of universal public education being the practice, becomes less a balancing of individual anecdotal stuff than looking at statistical conglomeration across the collective practice. In looking for any real answer the perspective has to consider education, scaled up to where it actually is in size; and do not get too sidetracked by McFadden - SJ - Cristo Rey miniscule example-touting where admission to and remaining in the program has been strongly influenced by dedication levels of parents.

Just as a test-tube measure against Ebola might save a life, the main question is, does it scale, and what are down-side potential consequences.

How do you read such indirect things as which of the two might prove more sagacious in addressing education issues? Certainly one town hall meeting, replete with subjectivity, is but a part of the process. For now, it's all I have to go on.

Bottom line - we've been sold standardized testing, but have we been sold a bill of goods? With money on the table for those selling standardized testing as a good thing, do not expect them to be the ones looking to see if there is any downside. Take their assurances with a grain of salt. Possibly a ten pound salt lick might be better than only one grain.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

RAMSEY - That old deja vu, are you feeling it too?

July/August 2006 Ramsey Resident
online: This link
click the image to enlarge and read

Deja vu. All over again. Last time they solicited interest. There was none. Perhaps they also did a study - or funded one, and now that it is getting into sandbur season ...

More later. Perhaps.

Do note the physical locale - 68 acres west of Armstrong Blvd., and north of Highway 10.

Ramsey Crossings.

A large retail "power center."

The last large power center was Shaq, (not counting Dwight Howard who's almost there).

And they both happened. No thinking, maybe, kind of, let's see, let's hope; Field of Dreams visioning - Build it and they will come.

Consultants gotta pay the rent, the landlord expects that; and at least it is not a Darren bring-back ...

Refer, please, to this March 10, 2015, city council televised meeting agenda page, and wait and view the replay video on QCTV once it is posted (if not there already, readers can check that out on their own).

Directions first, for how to get to the "Future Ramsey Business Park":

And, 44 mb of download to get the pdf packet with the attachments. Part of a 583 page agenda. Snow in March. Plenty. In there, individual flakes, click on any you like

Yes, there could be more. However, the last image was left larger than the others because it begins,

In accordance with the Comprehensive Plan, an 18-inch sanitary sewer was be extended westward in Bunker Lake Boulevard a distance of approximately 2,750 feet. This line will provide service to the study area, as well as future development that may occur on the south side of Bunker Lake Boulevard, and could be further extended in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan.

The image to the left (from the City’s 2012 Comprehensive Sanitary sewer Study) depicts 18-inch trunk sanitary sewer extended to west of Armstrong Boulevard through the study area.

Alert readers will detect a substitute image was inserted. Go, download that file, and weigh that "In accordance with the Comprehensive Plan," city staff and council are compelled to plan a field of dreams at Ben Dover's expense because it is part of Met Council Comprehensive Plan mischief.

Gotta lay that sewer/water, then when business park plans fail, as they in all likelihood will, build more housing so Met Council can sell flushes. It is a nice world we live in and enjoy.

Go to City Hall. Ask, what businesses are interested in a Future Ramsey Business Park location, when/were it to happen? Ask them for a list. Do not expect a multi-page list. (Hint, be careful expecting a list of any kind whatsoever to such a simple request.)

Bolten & Menk have to pay the office rent. Ramsey has to plan sewer/water routing and it surely is better there along Highway 10 than down my street.

Losers in the likelihood that no business will be grown in the field of dreams and instead it will grow new townhomes? The owners of all those presently existing used town homes, when/if they want to sell.

Land speculation is not a proper city function, especially when a proper one, road maintenance, has been so problematic because of too many false priorities.

Land speculation is what the last vote for council demonstrated to be disfavored politics for City of Ramsey indulgence. So tell me, how does this new thing differ?

And where is the institutional memory, given the start of this post? An occasional Crabgrass reader who called all this nonsense to my attention noted one definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result. That, or Governmental Amnesia. Moving on --


That said, after you downloaded that 583 page extravaganza packet, and reviewed the Bolten & Menk stuff to your heart's desire (starting at p295 of 583 pages), then jump to p331 of 583 pages, and wow, another consultant weighs in, at Ben Dover's expense. Read it. Even though there's not much there but paid-for puffery. For a real hoot, cost sharing. Starting p.340 of 583 pages.

The City, Hageman Holdings, LLC and Pearson Properties of Ramsey, LLC shall equally share the cost of the Work with each party paying one-third, pursuant to the terms of this Agreement.

So, who picked Bolten & Menk? Three men in a tub?

And, in prudence, really, your town is not on the hook because of the reimbursement provision. Right?

The Owners shall reimburse the City for their respective one-third shares in a single, lump sum payment at the earlier of:

i. January 01, 2020.

ii. Within one week of closing on the sale of any parcel of the respective Owner’s land, or portion thereof, located within the Future Business Park area. Owners shall provide the City with notice of all pending land sales within the Future Business Park area. The notice shall be provided upon execution of a purchase agreement and shall include the closing date.

iii. The Owner submits an application for preliminary plat approval concerning land within the Future Business Park area.

There's more and more after that, if you care to study a new definition of "build it and they shall come" stupid. It is all there. In the flakes of the snow.

___________FURTHER UPDATE______________
Bolton & Menk, for money, will most likely produce a report saying it's all hunky dory and here's the detail as to infrastructure needs and projected cost.

So, who do you suppose will pay at least front money for that infrastructure? Pay that projected, or greater cost? See last image, above. When Peterson developed his cornfield up north on Highway 5 by Trott Brook, he fronted big time cash. Six million. The lion's share. Will those two LLC entities do the same? Which side of that question would you bet on, Ramsey public money, or private entrepreneurship? If it were posted in Vegas, how do you suppose they'd set the odds? And the engine behind sewer/water, Met Council, I did not read of their paying one single, solitary cent of the cost. But then in all those snow fall snowflakes, I might have missed something. Please, alert readers, post a comment telling me where in the 583 pages it says what Met Council's payment share in things will be. What part of the up-front risk will they be assuming? Isn't the rule that risk and rewards go together, as bedrock Capitalism 101. You don't socialize the risk. What's the best current definition of "private enterprise?"

___________FURTHER UPDATE______________
Why, again, was Bunker extended west of Armstrong and Puma Street paved in the first place?

Perhaps give Bolton & Menk a consulting contract to do a cost-benefit or wants-vs-needs retro-analysis of that governmental decision-making hummer.

Oh, right. Legacy Christians gave promises. That's it. Based on a promise, public money got spent north of where needed for the Armstrong interchange.

Then those folks went lukewarm on the promise.

The point? Dumping more money because of already sunk cash is not a compelling argument. Yet that seems to in part be the play. As with Town Center. Fund it to the hilt, and hope a lot, and puff the magic of it all.

As if there was something sound in all that past, invested planning. All at a cost.

It seems upkeep of existing roads for existing resident-voter-taxpayer people is a wedge-it-in-somehow thing, while planning growth for profit seeking landed interests is somebody's Nirvana. Put another way, how many times must Humpty Dumpty fall before it is time for an omelet and moving on to soundly address more legitimate government aims then welfare for land speculation?

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
What does this (p338 of 583 pages) say to you:


As the City of Ramsey knows, the cost of developing a business park can be significant and there are never any guarantees of a return on the investment. There are many factors to consider before investing in land and  infrastructure to attract industrial and commercial development.  However, there is an old saying in economic development: “You must have a site that is ready for development to be in the game".

Having a site that is ready to go or is "shovel ready" separates communities into winners and losers at the start of the site location process.  When the community is prepared with a site that is ready to accept development, the odds improve significantly that the community will receive a visit from a potential prospect.  In todays world, the competition is keen for economic development due to its impact on tax base, job creation and related income.  Communities with sites that are prepared are the ones who will achieve success.

For starters, a manure pile is "shovel ready," but aside from that, to me, the learned consultants take two paragaphs to say, "Build it and they shall come. Maybe."

What does any of that have to do with legitimate government provision of public goods, those that the private sector is not prepared to fund because there is no profit potential to it? Is fronting money for speculators hoping to profit anybody's notion of a public good? Aside from the speculator interests fanning the flames? Is it a public good to you, where you live, to have sewer and water brought to Hagedorn Hageman and Pearson properties? If so, please explain it in a comment.

FURTHER UPDATE: Secretary of State corporate filing records for the two LLCs, Pearson's and Hageman's respectively, are online here and here. Pearson is the Ramsey old-timer, his LLC being incorporated in 2004 with corporate headquarters at his Ramsey family farm property. Hageman is the outsider, at a St. Michael address, and apparently somehow came into title during the Legacy Christian Academy promise-then-splat times; (if not sooner). His LLC mentioned in agenda documents was first filed 2010.

Another big hoot. p345 of 583 pages, several paragraphs, including:

The City's vision statement reads, "Achieve economic vitality with strategic infrastructure investments through market-driven growth." This vision supports the City's exploration of bringing infrastructure improvements to this property in order to facilitate economic growth.

[italics in original]

What sort of 1984 double-speak is that? Speaking of a market driven goal, while this stuff is pushing on a rope tax money spending with no market driving it. Pearson and Hageman hopes may be a partial driving factor, but that's not buyer market, it is speculator market. And where's the frigging market, if there is no buyer present to accompany the wannabe profit-making seller hopefuls?

That page surely should have been left out, because as it stands it insults the intelligence of any citizen ferreting it out and reading it. It must be somebody's idea of a joke.


Know your EDA, you pay for it -- p352 of 583 pages:

click image to enlarge and see numbers

An ostensible two million dollar inventory of lands. Looking more to be a land orphanage. A drop site for those on the way out the door, out of town.

p367 of 563 pages: What "FUTURE EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES" is that image talking about. Is there some kind of misrepresentation of fact, or only an ambiguous representation of future possibility? Didn't the Legacy folks take a hike? Is it set to be one of John Kline's for profit student-debt mills? What? Expanding the tech college, even if non-contiguous, at least that might make some sense. But what is CBRE saying and what is their basis for saying it? Present zoning? Another wish-for, hope-for, but with no presently identifiable likely land occupant, for that purpose?

Cap it there. It appears the following agenda pages relate to land that the real estate agent is marketing, and the reasonable proposal that if a fish bites, you don't want it to spit the hook while waiting to be able to reel it in (aka the blanket pre-sale authorization of council by ordinance to bless such sales as CBRE might negotiate, while honoring Charter language. Something hanging together and making sense. Unlike Business Park spending which seems little more than anticipatory sky-dream waste and subsidy at this point.)