consultants are sandburs

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pick your favorite east coast politico.

Choices: here and here. Related to the choice, do you favor big oil or big Rupert?

Amazingly, crossing the Hudson, things do not look that different.

RAMSEY - Be on notice about stepping carefully this wintertime.

Are unnatural accumulations of ice and inadequate lighting a Flaherty problem in Ramsey?

NO EVIDENCE OF THAT: But there is online reporting here (and derivatively, here) of a lawsuit alleging such stuff about Flaherty's Orland Park, Illinois, adventure. That adventure was started and completed roughly on the same timeframe as the Ramsey adventure; with the Chicago Trib noting:

The suit seeks compensation of at least $50,000 for injuries and damages.

While the injury "certainly didn't help" her business, O'Malley's attorney, Michael Bolos, said the La Grange Road widening project also contributed to the shop's closing.

"It at least in part got zapped by the road construction," Bolos said. "Foot traffic dropped off a lot."

Flaherty & Collins could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit. The village of Orland Park, which financed the $63 million development in a public-private partnership, is also named in the suit but village spokesman Joe La Margo said the village would not be liable for any damages.

Ninety7Fifty on the Park was the first development project in the Main Street Triangle neighborhood village trustees have said they plan to turn into the heart of Orland Park's developing downtown area.

Since Amano Vivere Café closed, all 4,000 square feet of retail space in the apartment complex's first floor have stood empty.

Chris Kirles, vice president of development with Flaherty & Collins, said in July that residential occupancy rates and rents were above expectations and the commercial vacancies didn't reflect lack of interest.

"We could have gone out and leased the space pretty darn easily awhile ago, but we haven't been presented with the right user," Kirles said.

So be on notice. Be careful. It is next to city hall and attached to the city's parking ramp, so be careful for your own safety and for the city to avoid related liability.

What besides "window dressing" do you call a "Constitutional Amendment" that lacks teeth pecisely where abuse rules the day.

ABC Newspapers, this link, this telling quote:

The amendment would not prevent private companies from selling your personal information to third parties. People agree to this in the fine print of service agreements, Petersen said.

This constitutional amendment also would not prevent the FBI or Homeland Security from monitoring you since federal law trumps state law, although Petersen feels it would limit the amount of information the federal law enforcement receive [sic] from state and local agencies.

Those are the folks abusing your data, and they get a free pass? Get real.

Do you really authorize all that Google may do in profiling you, not knowing really what that may be, when you use their search engines? And hey, if you don't like Google profiling you and selling your profile to the world, you can use Microsoft's Bing search, and let Microsoft do it.

Consider Duck Duck Go. And hope they keep the promises they make.

Vote that way for privacy hopes from your desktop keyboard or while texting by phone (not while also driving, please). But remember the feds have power over your ISP, if not getting simple, direct, willing cooperation without having to use power.

As to that amendment stuff, it likely will be mainly harmless puffery, and the term "all sizzle, no steak" readily comes to mind.

While it is window dressing and it is something that can be regulated and more easily updated by legislation and amendment of statutes than by running some constitutional ballot issue to gin up the 2016 vote more for one party than the next, aside from that, it does little harm. Sponsorship names get published in the media, etc.

Attention diverted from possibly more meaningful legislative stuff to puffery probably resonates with the generic Tea Party less-is-more proselytized view of government. Word seems to trickle down to the Tea Party rank and file, and they dutifully follow the leader, grade school style. Attending regularly organized meetings about liberty and self actualization and such, by putting some chosen authority figure in the front of a gathering to lecture.

It is amusing. Somebody is hierarchically scripting a lot of stuff, working membership numbers and cells, with a passed down mood and Gestalt if not direct marching orders on who gets picked to stand in front of the more local microphones, but rank and file have little time to question that. They focus so much of their energies on questioning government. Complaining oh-so-vocally, by the numbers, about anger over being used.

That said, now back to privacy in data. Your medical records, if you do not want them shared you can opt out. So - Hie thee hither, to thine own ends. Why is it not set so you might avoid a default option were you to want to opt into data sharing in some vague way, (your medical records but shared, of curse, of course, in your interest), rather than you being given the option you can manually chose to opt out?

Do you suppose the Tea Party has that one figured, and by collective keening will fix it?

So, that ballot vote on a constitutional amendment on data privacy - it can't hurt much that I can foresee, but what is it going to really help? Tell me, please. Beyond being somebody's GOTV device?

In fairness, the bill itself is online, so read it for yourself; and note that John Marty is a cosponsor which can easily and directly disarm suspicions from the left. I weigh that strongly, in cutting slack. Scott Dibble also cosponsors SF 32, this session.

Moreover, the Constitutional approach is not being solely advanced by Petersen with a blind eye to other ways and means. He is chief author (latest to earlier) of SF 1301, SF 1086, SF 985, SF 785, SF 784 (where some devils might be in details and I have NOT read the bill but in general it may be well aimed and tailored), SF 783 (which could prove quite interesting to read), SF 755, SF 600, SF 545, and other bills I might agree with less. Admittedly, only after reading each measure and mulling over possible bad consequences as well as good outcomes, can one have a total picture. But the above catalog suggests much correct thought, and with most bills in that list not being cosponsored, Petersen at least is filling a void even if some single-author proposals will die in committee. I continue to think Peter Perovich would have been as good and likely better in the job, but majority vote count wins, and Petersen has that virtue.


___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Besides Health Information Exchange (HIE), there apparently is a Health Insurance Exchange (HIX). With no research beyond a websearch and Wikpedia, starting links for anyone wishing to learn more are e.g. here, here and here. Privacy concerns do attach.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Met. Council, comp plans, planners, all that stuff.

See links, here and here.

In what some might see as a perfect world, there would be a statutory amendment cutting Ramsey and Nowthen from the Metropolitan Area. All it would take is a bit of statutory tuning; MS Sect. 473.121, subd. 2, adding one or two further "excluding the city of ..." specifications. Few words, big relief.

Let others do comp plans and suffer. It would be relief. Elk River seems to do okay, outside of the metro area.

Who dat? Judging lest he/she be judged?

Is it a term reserved for use by the very special, the privileged, "Anoka white trash?"

What is the origin and meaning? Who gets to use the term to refer to others? Who is so entitled?

Does the term in use refer to those taking the Liberty of spending their Sunday mornings other than in church, used by those who do spend their Sunday mornings that way?

The question arises via a comment to an earlier post which because of its gross political incorrectness has lingered in my mind.

There among such treasured antiques as, nigger, wop, spic, kike, mick, et al. now in the trashheap, we have a still used "Anoka white trash."

I have no real idea how widespread such a term ever reached, in common gutter-slang, but the guess is its usage is limited to those challenged to have any basis to claim merit and who thus denigrate [we could look at that word too, couldn't we] others to feel big-shot themselves.

Of interest more than the origin of the Anoka white trash term is what sort of twisted troubled mind would still be talking or writing that way in the 21st century. What level of mind and what value system is at play. Do you suppose this anonymous person posting that comment has a conceal-carry permit? That's a scary thing to contemplate. One more sick person with a handgun.

As at least a terse usage, it could be added to the bottom of the red tee shirt. Best if put in a shirt reprint between POT HEADS and LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS.

And then there is Mary Franson, Mary Kiffmeyer, Annette Meeks, and ...

My favorite, Julianne Ortman. For what Republicans are all about.

Per this item about GOP women.

Lauren Beecham, executive director of Women Winning, says the group’s strong suit is building coalitions, which she says comes naturally to a female candidate. [...]

[Jennifer DeJournett, director of Voices for Conservative Women] envies the network that Women Winning has created. “When Women Winning went all in for Margaret [Anderson Kelliher], they really felt like they were backing a winner,” she says. “Why wouldn’t Republican women do the same [with a candidate for governor]?”

If such a group gets formally organized with the goal of finding and then promoting a woman for governor, DeJournett would certainly play a major role. Other notable conservative women who would likely join the effort include former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, state Sen. Julianne Ortman, state GOP Deputy Chair Party Kelly Fenton and former legislator Laura Brod, who voiced interest in running for governor in 2009 and has left open the possibility of making a future run.

Bracketed [with a candidate for governor] is text from the original.

What, Pat Anderson is too busy playing racino to make the cut?

The item continues:

No announced candidates

That rate is even lower in the Republican field. Not only is there no announced Republican woman running for governor, the rumor mill has churned out only male possibilities, including state Sen. David Hann, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and Emmer.

That’s why Republicans will need to create a group with the force, commitment, and tentacles of liberal women’s groups. Like Women Winning, this organization must reassure a candidate that if she undertakes the journey to run for the state’s highest office, she will have other women behind her.

“I think women want to know if they are going to take a leap, there will be a support group,” says DeJournett, who has heard the concerns of legislative and local candidates. “‘Am I qualified? What’s going to happen to my business? Can my family handle this? Can I make a successful argument to the voter?’ Women want to figure that out before they start a campaign.”

The mentioning of Hahn, Jeff Johnson, and Emmer must make Sean Nienow feel rejected.

What about Stan Hubbard or Harold Hamilton, and just dispense with middle-men?

Back to the theme of the item: After a long look at Ortman, let's just out of extreme fear and loathing avoid and discount one other presently unemployed but over-eager to a fault GOP woman politician - war horse, with her own Andy Parrish - funny money misadventuring connections. An Iowa born one, I am told.

No? No!

Anything but that?

Hopefully so.

Let's see. Franson had a primary challenger, or was that only in caucusing - arguably conservative to a fault. They could run her and shoot for a win ...

Wait, who's tugging on my sleeve, unmentioned by Brucato but now so available after an Emmer win? A local, here in Anoka County.

Finally, let us note that the Brucato item IS dated 01/07/13; but why not recycle it for our Republican friends, circa 2016?

Reader comments adding names to the list would be welcome. Abigale Whelan, as a first-term legislator might be a reach, but perhaps the ambition and organizational zeal is there.


Where is Michelle McDonald these days, and why did I initially overlook her? Guv MM. That MM thing, it has been used as a polito-logo, (but not so much as if melded with anything resembling a cogent articulated worldview/theme beyond Romney-lite).

Come on readers. Brainstorm. Give me names.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
In total seriousness, 2016 will soon enough be here. So who are the front runners, in either party, of either gender? I favor Thissen or John Marty if he'd run again, over say Rybak or Bakk. But those are names I pick from the news with no idea of who actually might be planning a candidacy?

On the GOP side I am even less able to figure out much of anything as to who might be a front runner.

I do not see Jim Abeler in the race although I might be wrong. Jeff Johnson lost, and McFadden was a joke. What serious candidate will be put forward, and how will caucus and primary posturing play out?

It is not too early to be asking - if you want the job, why be so coy?

Who is out there quietly moving around lining up personnel? Surely there have to be signs the press can trace and report. What's up?


Give me a break.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

RAMSEY - I remain unclear in not having an understanding of the city's new assessment "policy." [see FURTHER UPDATE, below]

I am informed, and now believe I erred in saying there was a 20% cap on things to be assessed per the upcoming planned road work. Perhaps I still err in the following, and I am open to any helpful correction.

In examining the policy as posted on the city website here, I did a search for the number "20" and for it written, "twenty."

In searching "twenty" no matches were found.

In searching "20" all I found was Section 6, sub. 10 (at the page break, pp 5-6); see underlining:

10. Benefit Appraisals. In the event that City staff has doubt as to whether the proposed assessments exceed the special benefits to the property(ies) in question, the City Council may order benefit appraisals or benefit appraisal consultations as deemed necessary to support the proposed assessments. As a general rule, benefit appraisals or benefit appraisal consultations may be ordered when the proposed assessment exceeds $5,000 for a standard city street reconstruction project on a residential lot, or $20,000 per acre for commercial or industrial property.

That is it. Zippo otherwise. I thought in discussions a 20% limit was made the existing cap on amounts homeowners would be assessed. Apparently I am wrong.

If there is no such cap, residents should be aware of that, and if I still am in error in presuming there is no percentage cap on something called "benefit" to a property, I should be made aware of exactly what is going on. I admit to perplexity, and am concerned about why that is.

Helpful comments to help me out of the dilemma from any/all readers, officials or solely residential or business taxpayers, would be welcome at this point and any/all readers are urged to help.

Possibly the confusion arises from vagaries in the document such as:

The cost of any improvement shall be assessed based upon benefits received. The following general principles shall be used as a basis of the City’s assessment policy:

1. Project Cost. The “project cost” of an improvement includes the costs of all necessary construction work required to accomplish the improvement (direct costs), plus engineering, legal, administrative, financing and other contingent costs, including acquisition of right-of-way and other property (indirect costs). The finance charges include all costs of financing the project. These costs include, but are not limited to, financial consultant’s fees, bond rating agency fee, bond attorney’s fees, and capitalized interest. The interest charged to the project shall be included as financing charges.

2. City Cost. The “city cost” of an improvement is the amount of the total improvement expense the City will pay as determined by Council resolution. Where the project cost of an improvement is not entirely attributed to the need for service to the area served by the improvement, or where unusual conditions beyond the control of the owners of the property in the area served by the improvement would result in an inequitable distribution of special assessments, or for any other reason determined by the City, the City, through the use of other funds, may pay such “city cost.”

3. Assessable Cost. The “assessable cost” of an improvement is equal to the “project cost”
minus the “city cost.”


Subd. 1. General Statement. There are three different methods of assessment: adjusted front footage, area, and per lot. The feasibility report will recommend one or a combination of these methods for each project, based upon which method would best reflect the benefit received for the area to be assessed. The City Council will select the preferred method of calculating the assessments along with other applicable assessment criteria.

Subd. 2. Policy Statement. The following methods of assessment, as described and defined below, are hereby established as the preferred methods of assessment in the City.

A. “Adjusted Front Footage” Method of Assessment.

The “adjusted front footage” method of assessment is based on the quotient of the “assessable cost” divided by the total assessable frontage benefiting from the improvement. [...]

B. “Area” Method of Assessment.
The “area” method of assessment is based on the number of square feet or acres within the boundaries of the appropriate property lines of the parcels benefiting from the project. [...]

C. “Per Lot” Method of Assessment.
The “per lot” method of assessment is based on equal assessment of all lots within the benefited area. This method is typically applied to single-family residential lots with similar sizes and configurations. The “assessment per lot” shall be the quotient of the “assessable cost” divided by the total assessable lots or parcels benefiting from the improvement. For the purpose of determining the “lots” or “parcels” all parcels, including those owned by governmental entities, shall be included in such calculations.

"Typically," is a weasel word if ever there was one. Typically the street in front of the house is not worked on by city staff or contractors. Typically, garbage gets picked up on my street every Monday.

Which "typically" am I to find most reliable? You tell me. I believe the garbage truck situation carries predictability, the other does not.

The thing does not say "we will" assess one way for commercial/industrial sites, the same or differently for dwellings. And no 20% committment is included. Not expressly, and if by implication, please point me to the language from which I am to infer such an implication.

It says "typically" and typically taxpayers don't like giving governments blank checks.

"Typically" I go to bed and wake up the next morning, having not died in my sleep. It's the atypical I worry over and distrust; in that context, and otherwise.

Clarity in writing is a gift, a talent not universally held.Often, however abstruseness is an intent.

"TRUST ME," as a policy has its gaps.

I am just plain sorry, but I need a weatherman here, to explain which way the wind blows.

BOTTOM LINE: Is this clear policy? Is it good policy? Does it need a referendum to see if people want it? How would a ballot question on that 13 pages be fairly worded, in a balanced way?

I believe there is a public hearing set for this thing, and if a reader would be kind enough to remind me what day that would be, I would be most appreciative.

Clarity for me may arise at such a public hearing.

My understanding is that in some limited time after such a public hearing citizens who might remain perplexed and uncertain may by petition cause a referendum. Obviously, until there is that public hearing, it would be only guesswork what may result, up front at the council table, after citizens are fully heard.

____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
I am most thankful for Chris Riley and his attention and direct help. Per a comment already published he pointed out operative language where 25% and not 20% was the operative provision, explaining my inability to find a 20/twenty reference. For readers, again this link, Section 10, sub. 2 and 3. Hunting needles in haystacks is not my forte, and Chris has understood that and willingly accomodated me that way. Again, hat tip to Chris. He has been a gentleman in helping.

___________FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE__________
With bonding sufficient to cover for the high-end estimate of what road work may prove necessary, the best interests of taxpayers, in general in Ramsey, is to not cause any unnecessary referendum which might delay getting a current rate of interest in bonding.

The lowest of low rates have passed, but rates still are more favorable now than what is likely months from now. There is wisdom in getting the bonds out the door now, given that staff and the elected representatives have considered options and made that choice.

Having trust in that the bonding and subsequent work, as stated by several officials, will not be used for any stealth extensions of sewer/water into neighborhoods where well and septic system upkeep and renovation costs have been incurred, questions of related protective wording considerations in the Charter are not of immediate consequence, and can be addressed on an orderly non-urgent timetable.

Other Charter reforms may be deliberated, but this particular one should be fairly universally acceptable and non-controversial. Does that mean it is for next year's agenda? No. The Charter Commission needs to meet at least once annually, and in the course of that schedule the Chap. 8 language can be tightened. And while there is not one single best wording, there are some thoughts that can be expressed several ways while still meeting the consideration that impositions besides assessments, under current wording, could be implemented in circumvention of protective language.

Other Charter change proposals might be controversial, but this scrivening correction should not.

RAMSEY - The intentions underlying present effort to meet road upkeep needs. Council Member Chris Riley has taken time to send an email which deserves posting, entirely as sent.

Dated Feb. 23, Riley wrote:

SUBJECT: City Services

I see on your blog that you have concerns about the city forcing residents onto city services. You are reviewing the new assessment policy to bolster this idea. This assessment policy was born out of necessity to help fund our road reconstruction. The assessment policy was updated to cover all types of assessments that the city may encounter. As you know, the city charter and this assessment policy (with specific references to the charter) make signing up for city services voluntary. No resident can be forced to hook up to city water and sewer.

No member of the city council or staff has any intention of forcing any resident to sign up for services that they do not want. This has specifically been stated during the assessment policy discussions and at the recent council meeting regarding the upcoming assessment for the residents of Garnet St. It has been made clear that nobody on council or staff is contemplating applying the assessments for sewer and water to residents that do not want these services.

I hope this sets your mind at ease.

My mind is at ease as to present needs and intentions.

On the part of present city officials with regard to road engineering and road-related public works.

The statement is most helpful, that way.

HOWEVER, people on staff and in elected positions come and go. Over time, NOW only one council member, Mayor Strommen, remains from the time the City's commitment to moving a contiguous "MUSA line" northward (with at one time Alpine being the boundary) was abandoned to permit MUSA areas, an approach sometimes called "leapfrog development," north to Trott Brook as a border, so that Ramsey now has at least two non-contiguous northern MUSA blocs, at the former St. Anthony Gun Club and on the west side of Nowthen Blvd. at Trott Brook.

At the time of that sewer/water policy shift, with the move allowed whereby the key developer pledged six milion dollars toward trunk line costs in return for future recoupment rights thereby not socializing his development costs to the entire citizenry, James Norman was city administrator, Brian Olson City Engineer, Tom Gamec Mayor, and Bill Goodrich City Attorney. Pat Trudgeon was the staff person responsible for City Planning and Sean Sullivan for Economic Development.

Similar near-total turnover in personnel can be anticipated over time, and in relation to 2030 and 2040 Comprehensive Plan implementation details; from today going forward.

While Lord Keynes was correct in saying that in the long term we are all dead, that aphorism is not a reassuring one in any measure.

While Riley correctly points out no single-family homeowner not wishing to be connected to municipal services can be forced to, because of current charter protections, there still remains cold comfort. Also, the Charter intent is that no connection would be forced under a "due on sale" policy so that only existing homeowners would have the refusal of connection right.

Charter Chapter 8, at its Section 8.6 moreover constrains the city, for as long as the section remains in effect as now written, to not assess a homeowner who does not connect. Putting aside questions of possible multi-family housing connection where presumably at the development-building stage city officials will set specific rules, and the question of new housing permitting powers the city holds and will exercise, existing homeowners still face one uncertainty which, over time and absent corrective charter language, may come to haunt people.

Specifically, while historically the Sect. 8.6 intent has been to forestall any charge upon homeowners electing not to connect, that is not precisely what the Charter says. And that is the problem.

The best outcome to reassure those worrying, would be to amend Section 8.6 to track the language of Minn. Stat. 645.44, subd. 19; specifying no exaction, as a "fee" or whatever else it may be called, will be imposed upon a homeowner electing to not connect.

For all I know, the terms SAC and WAC mean "sewer availability charge," and "water availability charge," with such charges based on availabilty - pipes in the ground adjacent to a dwelling property along one property line or another, being "available" to that property.

The worry is a charge imposed, regardless of hooking up or not, it is the charge and not the hookup that is the worry, and hairs can be split over what is or is not an "assessment" per Charter Chapter 8.

Such "hair splitting" unfortunately can be decades from now done in ways of great potential fiscal impact on some citizens. And that outcome should be nailed shut totally as out of the question, by amending the Charter. There is no other reliable answer; longterm. And at best, fixing the Charter now still would allow its alteration later. No 100% assurance is available.

So again Council Member Riley has been helpful and his help should be appreciated by everyone, but my mind surely would be more at ease if the Charter this year gets fixed to match the actual historical intent that no exaction of any kind can/will be imposed upon ones declining to connect - and that no "due on sale" contravention of that intent will be allowed either.

The need is real, longterm. And there is no better time than the present to simply and cleanly tighten up the language of Charter Sect. 8.6 which can be done by a majority of the Charter Commission in concert with a unanimous vote of the council - putting all its members on record long term with the reassuring intent Council Member Riley expressed.

How's this for shaking saps loose from their money?

photo credit - PoliticsInMinnesota - CapitolReport

This opening, from an email dated Feb. 23, 2015, when sent to an occasional Crabgrass reader (click the thumbnail image to enlarge and read):

Wow. Impending lawsuits. And a full frontal. Gee, can you wait to see the filed court papers?

There's more. With blah, blah, blah in between, this ending (again, click the thumbnail and be surprised at how the item wraps up):

Promises, promises. Next month, next year, so go ahead and sue; as in sue first then seek the handouts.

That way just might be a better approach to soliciting cash from those already spending much discretionary wealth on Tea and partying and things of that nature.

Not to be judgmental, just - why not?

Betrayal may be afoot in AMERICA. The Lamb at risk to Roman ire. The embryo at the scapel’s edge. The flag and eagle, hounded and trampled by wolves.

The aim is to raise thirty thousand dollars to be placed in an account with some matching funds.

Note, I may sue somebody, over something, sometime, and the Anoka County Courthouse door is closest. Please make your check for fifty (that’s 50) dollars or more ($50 +++) to: DEVELOPERS ARE CRABGRASS (mailing address to be provided via a subsequent FURTHER UPDATE)

Do not wait for tomorrow. Cut that check TODAY. And, thank you.


(Not tax deductible.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good stuff online at the Bluestem Prairie website.

Latest, why hamstring the anti-pollution regulators? Whose interest is being served? Who is serving such intersts? This link.

Sorensen's thoughts on the proposed data privacy Constitutional amendment, which can be viewed as redundant language and as potentially creating false senses of security among citizens and bill/amendment sponsors.

An overdue link:

"Feb 16, 2015
Senator John Marty guest column: working people should not be trapped in poverty."

While it seems so evident it need not be dwelt on, nonetheless it appears needed these days of got-mine, get-yours, where even a corporatist such as Henry Ford understood that if workers were not paid sufficiently to afford food, shelter, medical attention, and one of his cars then his cars would have no market.

The fact that if consumer wealth is suppressed to where consumer spending patterns are impacted, with spending only on the essentials where even there incomes might be insufficient without assistance programs; then the clear likely scenario is more and more production of capital goods among capital goods consumers, and industrial complexes evolving where much wealth is tied up with a populace left destitute and "out of the loop." Scientific economics can look at cause and effect consequential economies attaching to different policies; but it is agnostic to choosing the wisest policy. Notions of Pareto optimality cannot reach to balancing your hardship against my desire for an incremental share of luxurious living; and that is why every person has a vote; the hope being it is used wisely. With economics premised upon rational optimization of utility, i.e., acting in self-interest, policy might best be needed to soften outcomes that are feasible under such thinking. That includes policy to lessen business cycle impacts, as well as questions of distribution of both wealth and income (one presently taxed disproportionately upon lower-rung folks and the other not now taxed at all).

Huey Long did say, "Spread the wealth," and somebody shot him, but that is simplifying Huey and who he was - be it good, bad or indifferent. Yet there also is a fundamental lesson to simplifying things to that level, there being a Japanese adage, the nail that stands out gets pounded down.

Wes Volkenant said...

Wes Volkenant is an active DFL supporter in Anoka County, and in a comment to an earlier post he submitted the following text, as quoted below. I am taking the liberty of leaving the comment intact while elevating the content to this separate post. I believe it important for people to read and deliberate over his commentary.

I'm a public employee, and I am a member of a public employee union - AFSCME - which represents many state, county and local government workers here in Minnesota and across the nation. I have been an elected leader of my own unit of about 2000 employees and I have been elected as a representative of county workers across the State. I didn't get paid to represent statewide fellow working-class people, and my own unit chooses - by our own Constitution - to pay its leaders monthly stipends to cover costs we incur to do union work, in hours outside our own 40-hour work week. All of our members have a right to attend our meetings, vote in our elections, choose to seek opportunities to go to our conventions and conferences, and run for office in our union - and we hold elections every year. My union is very open and democratic for its members. We don't have corruption within our union.

So how might a union be corrupt in the eyes of right-wing zealots like our 'friend' Anon charges? Some call us corrupt because we take active roles in elections with our endorsements, our money and our manpower. Why do we do so? We demand a say on who gets elected in this State - we do the work, and we want elected leaders who take positions to help our state, our counties, our cities and schools, and to improve this state. We not only want good government - because we do believe in what we do, the programs we provide for our communities and all the various aspects of government, from safety to public assistance to parks and roads - but we also want good bosses who respect us and yes, provide with fair, even good in some years, contracts.

Some call us corrupt because our organization collects dues and a fair share fee from everyone the union represents. Hogwash! We won the right to represent all these employees in our 'Local' units. No one deserves a free ride - meaning no one being represented should get the benefits of the Union without any cost. Fair share fee payers are required by Court rulings to receive union assistance throughout the full grievance process - what's called the duty of fair representation. Without participating in the process, fair share fee payers receive wage increases and benefits negotiated in the contract process. Are unions wrong in expecting all those covered by that contract to pay in each month? I say NO!

Fair share fee payers DO NOT contribute against their will to political candidates they oppose. If they prefer anti-union Republicans, they will be on the wrong side in the Union. Our unions support Democrats - and some Republicans - who will support unions and most of the political principles our membership has voiced its support for through our conventions - and our delegates represent every 'Local" at the state level and every 'Council' at the national level. If more than 15% of our expenses go to things outside the regular business of the union, the next year, the amount of the fair share fee is reduced accordingly. My Local will not spend any funds on politics in 2015. Our Council and national units will spend on politics. Much of that money is raised outside of our dues - the AFSCME PEOPLE fund. I, myself, put in an additional $8 a pay period above my dues, specifically to help my Union elect good candidates who generally support what I support in the next election.

Meanwhile my dues make sure that our members are well-represented, that our contract process gives our members due process, and that later this year, we fight a good contract campaign with the managers hired to represent the peoples' elected officials in my county - the County Board.

Not a word changed, shaded, or altered. Any equally thoughtful analysis opposed to Wes' views, if submitted, will be comparably posted. This is an equal opportunity offer. However, it is an offer with a caveat. The following childish crap will not cut it, as a threshold of minimal thoughtfulness WILL be imposed.

Anonymous said...

Its time to stomp on all of the corrupt public sector unions! Scott Walker gets it. Its insane that the money that I pay in taxes finances the democrat party that is corrupt to the core!

It is very hard to have patience with that level of naught-but-conclusory discourse. Little time, little thought, both on the part of the commenter are clearly apparent. That was an earlier comment to the earlier post to which Wes commented, and it probably in some large measure earned the extended rebuttal from Wes.

Sometimes ill-posed comments lead to good outcomes.

All readers are urged to carefully read what Wes took time to write. It will be pivotal thought in the upcoming union busting efforts sprung from ALEC but being readied by some here in Minnesota. Expect to hear the terms "right to work" and the rebuttal term "right to work [for less]."

UPDATE - Wes also left a follow-up comment which is published as a comment in the original post and comment thread. I leave it there. Interested readers are expected to easily identify the thread, without my needing to link. It is a bit of a surprise that the paticular initial post generated extended commentary.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reader help requested: Ramsey's new special assessment policy is 13 pages long. Devils may dwell in details.

The policy is online, this link.

A reader has indicated I may have misstated something about special assessments, going forward in Ramsey, per that document.

Wanting to avoid error, I request any reader believing my earlier postings may be in error to email, in confidence or on the record however the reader chooses, any suggestion of where error may exist in any posting here about road maintenance and fees, charges, exactions or assessments; each of which after all, is a "tax".

The City's online item arguably is unclear, with specific help needed. Perhaps the main crying need is to assure that nothing in the assessment policy is inconsistent with Charter Chapter 8, Sect. 8.6, protections of individual tax payers; as that Chapter now exists or as it may, in wisdom, be amended in parallel with Minn. Stat. 645.44 provisions about meanings of wording where an intent appears to be to prevent any form of "taxation" of individual homes for sewer/water unless and until the property owner requests connection to available lines - with the Chapter unfortunately only saying "assessment(s)" where the intent is against any charge, fee, exaction, assessment or tax of any kind.

Is there any reader out there who would deny the intent underlying Charter Sect. 8.6, as above stated? If so, please give notice.

____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
Well here is something where a key word is "needed" as opposed to "bureaucratically crammed down":

We don't need forced sewer/water, despite Met Council. We don't want it and we need to fight hard to stop a cramdown. Now, or later. It is in the works given that language.

Don't tell me I have to run for council again. Maybe Hendriksen will. Somebody wanting to protect the integrity of large lot single-family homes should be on council. The above kind of ham-handed language offends greatly.

Why is our council doing this to us? We voted them in. We can, as needed, vote them out.

I am willing to vote that way if they cease to listen to us.

What's up?

That language demands amendment, or resort to Charter protective measures, making Charter Chap. 8 homeowner protections 100% absolutely bullet-proof.

There is no time for fixing it better than now.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Scott Walker aphorism.

I don't think. Therefore I'm not.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

... and an entire state's economy will grind to a halt and never recover in following decades, indeed centuries, if we do not immediately mine copper in the Iron Range and build pipelines, pipelines everywhere, every which way ...

Man, those Republicans can tell a story. Talk about talking the talk. Remember the duo to the right [per the image here, as well as politically] and their jokester fun and games hijinks back in September 2008 - where they established their true economic and fiscal gravitas as caution and stay the course ruled the day? Remember that?

"Fiscal conservativism," I believe is the rubric under which they operated domestic economic policy like a well tuned Wall Street derivatives trading machine - like Paulson's Goldman Sachs (please don't say Lehman Brothers, Merrill, or WaMu) ...

Well, Kos tells yet another story - about how Chicken Little of GOP fame and fortune is aflutter again [or is it still] over - what a surprise - greenhouse gas curtailment policy and how it will entirely and unconscionably devastate entire segments of the US and world economy with perhaps only the insular North Koreans surviving the onslaught; spin on Karl Rove, spin on ...

... and tell it to the Koch brothers.

They willingly will buy in to the fiction since it greases their skids. And that is what it is about and all it is about, if you know who is who without needing a scorecard. ALEC offers a smorgesborg, but the Kochs are in it for their will to recklessly profit and pollute. The other stuff besides the union busting is window dressing for GOP groundlings like the Kiffmeyers.

Kos, however, tells the story of having your mind straight meaning to distrust and look beyond the "never let the facts get in the way of telling a good scary story" Republican mainstay fiction-mill stuff, where one debunking chart tells a separate and compelling story - one known as THE TRUTH.

This chart:

click the image to see the axes clearly

As Kos, in opening, explains:

Well, it's not
where we eat.
With the announcement this past week of President Obama's new greenhouse gas regulations, Republican knees were jerking to the point of spasms. If this weren't now such a standard reaction, the degree to which Republicans reflexively and dishonestly oppose any and all environmental protections would be astonishing. But Republicans long have proven that they just don't care about the state of the biosphere we just happen to inhabit. This is reason number one why the Republicans shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the corridors of political power. For their part, the traditional media fell back on their usual habit of promoting false balance or framing as politics, for an issue that is actually about scientific facts.

[multiple links omitted, image added - and they drink their water upstream.]

hat tip to an attentive reader for emailing the chart and link

Bipartisan support for data privacy in Minnesota.

The Minnesota version would protect bank records, text messages, e-mails and other data. Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, is teaming up with DFL Sens. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis and John Marty of Roseville to push the amendment they say is needed to update the Constitution for the 21st century. A House version sponsored by Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, also has bipartisan support.

This Strib online report.

Also, MinnPost here, MPR, here. With a state Constitutional amendment proposed - quoting Strib again:

The “My Life, My Data” movement would make Minnesota the second state to amend its Constitution by adding the words “electronic communications and data” to Section 10 of the document, which guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” If approved, the amendment would appear on the November 2016 election ballot. A similar measure passed in Missouri last year with 75 percent of voter support.

The Minnesota version would protect bank records, text messages, e-mails and other data. Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, is teaming up with DFL Sens. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis and John Marty of Roseville to push the amendment they say is needed to update the Constitution for the 21st century. A House version sponsored by Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, also has bipartisan support.

Dibble, who chairs the Transportation and Public Safety Committee, said he signed on because of the ever-blurring line between what is public and private information.

“This is a set of values that unites all of us across our different party affiliations and ideologies,” he said. “I think a central unifying premise of our system of government is we only need as much government as necessary.”

Well, Missouri doing it, that's sorry precedent. They've a big share of whackos.

Then I have to admit being perplexed.

Adding a few words to a cognate of the federal Fourth Amendment, generic words, do not, despite what Dibble says, expressly "protect bank records, text messages, e-mails and other data," because they do not expressly say that.

Moreover, neither present federal nor state Constitutions specify a governmental penalty nor penalties for individual government employees who might breach Fourth Amendment protections. The standard place where the issue arises is in criminal prosecutions where the only remedy to an aggrieved person is suppression of evidence.

Nobody gets fired.

That's like policing Wall Stree hijinks, without anyone going to the slammer. A big time, "So what."

Then there is NSA spying on us in the US. This Minnesota thing will not stop that. Not a jot.

And there are federal laws for secret surveillance and secret proceedings and if it's all secret, how short of a Snowdon or two coming forward will we know any how/why of our getting screwed by our government's agents?

And again, nobody gets fired, so "Where's the beef?"

Last, the existing wording in Minnesota's Constitution, as quoted by Strib, grants protection against [direct government] breach of “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” However weakly enforced that right in practice is actually recognized. Doesn't "persons, ... papers and effects" include new forms and kinds of "effects?" If not, then delivered by auto differs from delivered by horseback, since autos were not part of life of the original Constitutional framers. That's a stupid way for people to think.

Yet the point is, that privacy protection, however badly watered down it is these days -- Isn't that already there? And if it's not government agents directly breaching privacy expectations, but say some private detective acting on behalf of say a collections agency, that breaches privacy and discovers criminality within the confines of a hacked-into email account and turns it over on a silver platter to police and prosecutors, isn't that an existing exception to an accused's right to suppress illegally obtained evidence? Because learned judges have said that government agents have not themselves misbehaved in such situations?

It's a big joke, folks, and one being played on the citizens.

Again - Nobody gets fired.

Readers, please in comments explain how I am wrong.

Strib highlights an all-star high school womens' hockey set.

This link, with photo. What would Bobby Hull say about all those smiles?

"This project means a great deal to the future residents of downtown Indianapolis and the vision for a walkable, bikeable and connected downtown. We are excited to get started."

Same old, same old. Who else, but ....

This link. Quoting the gentleman, per the headline of this post.

So there is no doubt it is the-real-thing and no imposter's press release, there is this:

The development consists of 292 luxury one, two and three-bedroom apartment residences that will feature floor-to-ceiling glass, solar shades, quartz countertops in kitchens and baths, gourmet kitchens with energy efficient appliances that include side-by-side refrigerators and recessed balconies. Select units will include private terraces.

Residential amenities include a Sky Terrace at the top level with gorgeous panoramic views of Downtown Indianapolis. A 5th level amenity deck will offer a resort-style heated saltwater pool with sundeck and cabanas, aqua lounge, elevated bark park with pet grooming area, Sport Court and Great Lawn, an outdoor kitchen, fireside lounge and grilling areas with a view of Monument Circle.

Additionally, residents will enjoy a 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness center, resident lounge and clubroom with billiards, wine storage, business center, Wi-Fi throughout common areas, electric car charging stations, controlled building access, garage parking, secured bike storage and bike repair shop. Concierge services will include dry cleaning and laundry drop off service.

Yep. The real deal. Them amenities, they are the proof in the pudding.

That salt water pool. I bet it clinched the deal. How can anything be overpriced, with 24-hour fitness and concierge services? If you'd fret over pricing, unit square footage for the price, you are not the type it is aimed at.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
The project, at 648,561 square feet, will have an additional 2,000 square feet of retail space and a 600-space parking garage.

2000/648,561 = 0.3% token retail. Yep. It's the man. How do you figure the parking is financed?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Real, not virtual, newspaper awards to a real, not virtual, published, printed, distributed, and sold newspaper chain - ABC Newspapers.

Independent judging, Iowa Newspapers Assn., this link.

And besides being real actual-on-newsprint-paper newspapers; they publish online too.

UPDATE: Something in that report about "competition among weekly newspapers with a circulation over 5,000." That seems an indicia of real newspaper status. Not just a website having regular attention shared by one dog and his friends.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Senator Bakk stabbed him in the back.

Dayton's comment, as reported by strib online, here.

This is not necessarily a first for Bakk.

Dayton must feel like the environment.

There's a common cross isle bluster, Bakk and Emmer.

A see no evil on the Iron Range hand out for handouts attitude is reaching the back of everybody else in the state. At least arguably so. Why exactly is Bakk repeatedly the caucus leader? Doesn't the DFL have alternatives more amenable to reasonable, civilized discourse?

The hope would be Bakk standing back, when it comes time for the DFL to pick its next candidate for Governor. (UPDATE - Standing back in the supporting audience along with and next to Rybak, in an ideal world to at least some, while somebody like Thissen gets in-front-of-the-audience attention.)

With all the Wilfare being handed out, why not a boost in welfare?

This MPR link, among other things, reporting:

“The stunning reality for the task force is that this grant has not increased since 1986,” Webster said. “The grant in 1986 was $532 for a family [sic] three. Today it is also $532.”

The task force report recommends that the state shift about $70 million in federal funds from a working families tax credit and the state health department to cover the cost of the higher monthly grant.

The state would have to cover the cost of the shift, which would amount to about $70 million over two years.

Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, is the chief author of a bill to enact the task force recommendations.

She said she [sic] increasing the grants will help bring people out of poverty.

“This bill, I think is a good start,” Franson said. “The cash assistance has remained flat since 1986, and the buying power of 1986 isn’t exactly the same as it is in 2015.”

Franson said several other Republicans, including Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, and Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, have signed on to her bill.

Gov. Mark Dayton did not include an increase in welfare assistance in his budget plan.

With "Don't feed the animals" Franson on board as chief bill author, it appears the reality of out-state poverty has sunk in, between March 2012 and now.

And that is good. A little Valentine love, for Friday the 13th.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, then did it make a sound?

And if Netanyahu solely at Boehner's invitation gives a speech and only Republicans are there to hear it ...

then is it a relevant, meddlesome nuisance?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

RAMSEY - There was a Tuesday meeting where I spoke about a good way to fast-track the start of road upkeep under the new 20% assessment policy ...

... and that good way was to be super-explicit that NO SEWER/WATER expansion routing is involved in the work to be done.

For those who have been very inattentive, Ramsey's council has adopted a policy of assessing homeowners no more than 20% of the allocated cost of certain roadwork, and no part of the cost of some other maintenance steps.

For detail, phone city hall and ask City Engineer Westby.

I had a chance to talk to Westby before the televised meeting and he assured me that extending sewer/water into neighborhoods where it is presently absent was not a part of any of the planning, his words being, "it will be like kind in place of like kind."

The question of sewer/water services and charges is one where I have a history of greatly favoring a policy of protectiveness toward established large-lot single-family dwellings on private services staying that way if owners prefer, rather than there being any forced hook-up or assessment or fees if services become available.

Hook up charges can amount to mid-five figure amounts, per property -- they are not mere inconsequential additional taxes.

Hence, there have been, are, and will continue to be strong feelings in the established neighborhoods within the community congruent to my attentiveness and worry. People do not want that kind of BIG STING unless they have a property they wish to immediately subdivide for profit.

The private services areas would include almost all of Wards 1 and 2, and at least the Flintwood Hills part of Ward 4, (where much of the push for the City Charter with protections began, with the initial charter adoption, as I understand things, happening in 1984).

After I spoke in the citizens input part of the meeting the mayor concurred that community understanding of the absence of any intent to extend sewer/water services in roadwork planning seemed helpful toward council intent to fastrack bonding earmarked for the work, as one of the steps needed prior to intensive inplementation of road repair, maintenance, and where needed, reconstruction.

The sooner the bonding is resolved the sooner repairs can begin is about the clearest way to say it.

In an exchange of emails subsequent to the meeting, City Engineer Westby noted:

[...] based on statements expressed last night by the City Council I do not believe an article in the Ramsey Resident is necessary.

I believe the Council made it extremely clear that the City has no intentions of extending urban services (sewer and/or water) with projects completed as part of the long-term street maintenance program. The Council also reminded everyone that the City Charter includes provisions that prevent the City from forcing property owners with functional private utility services to connect to City utilities, and that the City may not assess for sewer and water improvements against property owners who elect to remain on functional private utility systems.

The Charter provision Westby noted is Sec. 8.6, stating:

Sec. 8.6. - Sewer and water projects.

This section applies to any local improvement project completed after January 1, 1996, which includes extending urban services (sewer and/or water) to an existing home or neighborhood.

Connection policy. The city may not compel any property owner with a functional private sewer and water system to connect to city sewer and/or water.

Assessment policy. The city may not levy an assessment for any component of any project which includes sewer and/or water improvements against a property whose owner elects to remain on a functional private sewer and/or water system.

Request for urban services. Property owners who remain on private sewer and water systems after urban services become available may request connection to urban services at any time. Upon connection to urban services an assessment may be levied provided it is consistent with the original assessment.

There can be improvement to the language to assure no loopholes exist, the Charter Commission might want to have another look at tightening language, but the bottom line under that language, (and as present intent of the council and staff was expressed), sewer/water is not a part of the long term road maintenance thing for anyone to worry over.

Here help from more knowledgeable readers would be useful, but my understanding starts with there being SAC, WAC, and trunk charges feasibly charged by a municipality. Present understanding is that SAC stands for sewer-access-charge, and WAC accordingly water-access-charge, with income from the former being shared between the municipality and Met Council because it has overall jurisdiction in the metro area over sanitary sewer matters. Municipalities usually have their own water utilities with income raised from WAC charges going to that dedicated purpose.

Storm water sewers are a separate thing where Met Council has oversight via its comp plan approval/disapproval powers, along with statutory requirements and administrative rules such as they may be, per the comp plan procedures.

The worry is that SAC, for example could morph from the presently understood usage, in effect a sewer-attachment-charge as presently administered, into a sewer-availability-charge, i.e., it's embedded in your street, available, and you are accordingly charged, whether hooking up or not.

That is the big worry. Forced payment, really, not forced hookup. In effect, a forced payment even for those who woulld rather not hookup; and regardless of whether there is or is not a hookup.

The amounts charged are anything but insubstantial.

Next, these "charges" are by statute, taxation; Minn. Stat. Sect. 645.44 being unequivocal at its subd. 19:

Subd. 19.Fee and tax.

(a)"Tax" means any fee, charge, exaction, or assessment imposed by a governmental entity on an individual, person, entity, transaction, good, service, or other thing. It excludes a price that an individual or entity chooses voluntarily to pay in return for receipt of goods or services provided by the governmental entity. A government good or service does not include access to or the authority to engage in private market transactions with a nongovernmental party, such as licenses to engage in a trade, profession, or business or to improve private property.

(b) For purposes of applying the laws of this state, a "fee," "charge," or other similar term that satisfies the functional requirements of paragraph (a) must be treated as a tax for all purposes, regardless of whether the statute or law names or describes it as a tax. The provisions of this subdivision do not exempt a person, corporation, organization, or entity from payment of a validly imposed fee, charge, exaction, or assessment, nor preempt or supersede limitations under law that apply to fees, charges, or assessments.

(c) This subdivision is not intended to extend or limit article 4, section 18, of the Minnesota Constitution.

[a cut/paste text error has been corrected] Such taxation is the fiscal impact on citizens that these charges or fees cause, and that is the targeted perceived evil that Charter Sect. 8.6 aims to fully forestall.

As learned from franchise fee vs assessment, both being taxation, details of things can differ, and that is where wording of Charter Sect. 8.6 needs to be tightened so that its intent and purpose is fully stated whereas now, for reasons unknown to me, only "assessment" is in the language. It is clearly a scrivening mistake needing expedited correction; not any referendum, to fix it.

Last, and most imprecise and hence too-flexible, trunk charges. This is for the big pipes. Not the in street collectors.

The best practice, as evidenced in the extension of sewer and water to the gun club and Peterson's cornfield, is for the developer seeking the subdivision profits to front the full or at least lion's share of trunk extensions - as Peterson did to the tune of six million dollars a few years ago. Doing that, rather than socializing the cost to an entire citizenry to benefit single site or multi-site profit-making is how government should operate. The developer pays the fair price, and is not subsidized by trunk charges being proportioned out and included in a SAC imposition upon individual existing-home owners.

In an ideal world that Ramsey precedent should stand; but we live in a real world that often is non-ideal.

BOTTOM LINE: whether called an "assessment," a "fee," or a "charge," it is a TAX and the gist of Sect. 8.6 being in the charter is to forestall forced exaction of such amounts out of homeowners unless a property owner voluntarily connects. And the section also requires that upon a connection the imposition cannot have any punitive dimension; but must be "consistent with the original assessment."

Part of the bottom line is that fine-tuning of the Sect. 8.6 language to roll up "charge," "fee," and such with "assessment," expressly so, in line with the MS Sect. 645.44, subd. 19 text wording, would be nothing but a scrivening correction now, which might forestall uncertainty and worry over whether possible future judicial interpretation of "assessment" in the protective measure is read broadly or narrowly.

That's about it. In an extended, big nutshell.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
For those caring about further detail, 2006 c 259 art 13 s 15 is the Code Revisor's notation for the legislative act creating MS 645.44, subd. 19. That abbreviation means Laws 2006, chapter 259, Article 13, Section 15; which readers can reach from this link for the bill as passed into law, then do a search for "645.44."

From the get-go, the language that whatever you call it, it's a tax always carried the troublesome caveat, "The provisions of this subdivision do not preempt or supersede limitations under law that apply to fees, charges, or assessments." (With later 2009 amendment to the present subdivision wording, that change being irrelevant to this analysis.)

What that means is that any court decision prior to 2006 splitting hairs over "is it a fee, is it a charge, is it an assessment, what is it and what differing rules apply" remains relevant, back to original statehood code, if not earlier.

Judicial precedent on any such hair splitting can be anticipated to be littered with traps for the unwary, and we know from the "franchise fee" discussions in Ramsey, including those of Charter Commissioners and council members, that a "fee" is not an "assessment," never mind how a "charge" might differ from either.


____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Trying to keep this added comment short and tight: With the Armstrong overpass coming into play with lag time between that and elimination of other traffic lights along Highway 10, will the upcoming comp plan public sessions be dominated by property owners up Armstrong, as the last one was dominated by property owners neighboring the Peterson cornfield-into-housing MUSA pocket? With Ramsey having shifted its paradigm from a northward moving MUSA line to having MUSA areas or MUSA pockets, or what has been called "leapfrog development," the notion of sewer/water being a community expense expanding along an ever-northward moving line has been replaced by "you want it you buy it" per Peterson paying an up front six million dollars to get trunk sewer service to the gun club and the cornfield on Nowthen Blvd, (west side, just south of Trott Brook).

Surely "the developer will pay for everything" is a fine tune, but socializing costs while seizing onto profits is the essence of Crabgrass thinking among the developer community. Like Crabgrass sends out runners to form clusters here and there in overtaking a lawn, so too will trunk sewer runners likely overgrow the entire Ramsey community. But in the long term we are all dead, while in shorter terms do you, as a citizen, want to pay the cost for the developers to be boss?

Likely not, is my bet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scott Walker is a real butt. Just because he is ignorant and ill-schooled does not mean he should aim to bring his whole state down to his level.

Yeah, the evidence is cumulative and not innovative - much already is known proving what a butt the man is.

However, there is quite recent reporting here and here, buttressing his buttedness, along with proposed bill language evidence of his will to repudiate the general societal value of an educated population in favor of a blinders-on trade-school-like outlook of what the University of Wisconsin, in Walker's ideal world, should be denigrated into being (click the thumbnail to read and weep):

The report as linked to above with that bill snippet as a sidebar item explains:

First articulated in 1904, the Wisconsin Idea states that the mission of the UW System is to solve problems and improve people's lives beyond the classroom. The core principle is that "the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state."

Walker hadn't alluded to changing the UW System's mission during his budget speech Tuesday night; it does not appear he had ever mentioned it publicly.

But in the proposed budget he released Tuesday, the governor made the UW System's mission to "meet the state's workforce needs." He also proposed striking language about public service and improving the human condition, and deleting the phrase: "Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth."

Late Wednesday afternoon — long after stories about the governor's effort lighted up social media and news websites — Walker backed away when confronted by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Daniel Bice. He said the new language was a drafting error and "kind of a nonissue because that's not a problem with us."

Walker implied at an event in Oconomowoc that UW System officials saw the language and "somehow overlooked" the changes. "We have no problem" reinserting the Wisconsin Idea, he said. "Our focus is on creating an authority that gives them full flexibility, and not on changing the mission." Cross immediately issued a one-sentence statement thanking the governor for his commitment to the Wisconsin Idea.

However, UW officials did raise objections before the budget proposal was released, according to Alex Hummel, associate vice president for communications.

Further, at a stop in De Pere earlier in the day, Walker made no mention of any drafting error.

"The focus would be honed in, in particular to look at making sure that we prepare individuals in this state, be they fresh out of high school or coming back later in life, for the jobs and opportunities available in the state," Walker said.

What a piece of work Scott Walker is. (Fashioning tools instead of minds can be left to the MIT robotics faculty, Scotty. It ain't rocket science. Alone. It is education, including liberal arts, history, languages, literature, all the other things that trade-school narrowness down plays. "Culture" Scotty. No, Scotty, not merely the Petrie dish variant, engineer that DNA and all, but the bigger stage, Scotty, ...)

And dropping that sentence about "the search for truth" fits with the truth being the little shit should have been impeached.

Hat tip to an attentive reader for calling the situation to Crabgrass attention.

Responding to a reader comment, it is this MinnPost item that examines Scott Walker's view of environmental policy.

Those as unfamiliar with MinnPost as I am, infrequent readers, might note the homepage

has a banner headline menu, with Education coverage separately logged, as well as Environment coverage. With Strib now a Glen Taylor fiefdom, MinnPost has the opportunity to seize the day.

Back to Scott Walker: The man is a savage. A dissolute slash and burn mind with an unfortunately resolute will.

Wants to be President. Jeb will bury that brand. Not that Jeb's much to hoot about, environmentally oil patch, educationally for-profit robotic virtual schooling - flavored with union-busting because That is something to shoot at since it benefits ordinary folks. With Jeb and Scott having little real difference, it is just that Jeb has more money and clout behind him. (An interesting typo, in typing "more money" I dropped the m, typing at first "ore money." The bet is that Walker and Jeb each have a bundle of that too, from the mining industrial complex. Then there's a Freudian-slip possiblity it was a typo with a view about who they're each 'oring to. Possibly just morning fingers on the keyboard with insufficient coffee before typing.)

David Flaherty doing what he does best ...

Architecturally unyielding -- photo credit, here.
... and that is speculating for profit in real estate with a hand one way or another touching or close to a public purse; this time again not in his home state of Indiana, but apparently in New Albany, Ohio, across the river from Louisville (if I read the included map correctly).

Elements of style, on the ground, as much as in the deal, have a sameness that at times is not only distinct, but in some measure definitive of Flaherty's adventuring panache:

Upscale apartments planned for former Coyle site in New Albany
Feb 4, 2015, 1:48pm EST Updated: Feb 4, 2015, 2:20pm EST
By - Carolyn Tribble Greer

A $16 million upscale apartment complex is in the works for the former Coyle Chevrolet property on Spring Street in downtown New Albany.

The News and Tribune reports that the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has granted preliminary approval of a $3.3 million state tax credit to Flaherty & Collins Properties of Indianapolis for the project. The IEDC will make a final decision on the credit after a March 12 hearing, according to the report, and city leaders said the project could start later this year.

[link in original, italics added] The linked News and Tribune item, source of the above image, adds:

It’s an estimated $16 million development that would include multiple five-story apartment buildings and a renovation of the Coyle showroom into restaurant and office space.

[...] The financial firm Crowe Horwath administered an economic impact study for the city based on the project, and they are estimating the development would spur $30 million in investment within five years while creating 100 jobs.

New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said the city has been targeting ways to bring more residents to downtown, and added discussions with Flaherty & Collins have been ongoing for about a year.

It feeds into what Gahan calls “the business of residency.”

“It’s all about attracting a population that will come to New Albany, that will spend their time and resources in New Albany and who appreciate a great place to live,” he said Wednesday. “These are the kinds of developments that cities all over the state and country are fighting for.”

The for-lease apartments will be generally targeted to families making about $50,000 to $60,000 annually, and the complex would include several amenities geared toward young professionals. Estimates call for about 200 people to live in the complex, and that would generate more consumer spending downtown, city officials said.

“It’s really all about the ripple effect on this,” said David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for New Albany.

The apartment complex is likely to include a pool, a park area for tenants to walk their dogs and an outdoor kitchen with flat screen televisions.

[italics added] Deja vu, all over again? However, it appears as if they get a restaurant, not some dentist. For millions less total cash at play than in Ramsey. Also there's no report of give-away gratis parking perks sweetening the deal for the Flaherty firm, there.

Unlike the defunct Riverview project, the city isn’t being asked to construct a major piece of infrastructure. The Riverview development called for the city to build a parking garage to be paid back with tax-increment financing revenue.

There will be on-site surface parking and likely some canopy-covered parking for the apartment complex.

Perhaps high-density TOD walkability buzzword stuff is not part of the deal, there.

Something new at Mystic Lakes? An addition to your gambling pleasure, if not to your success?

This link. Tribal land agricultural opportunity, at the discretion of tribal officials, seeming to present a fair and balanced Justice Department policy, per the report's allusion to a Departmental memo from December, 2014.

Now, such an obscure press release, how found? A google alert has been set for "Eric Hagen" because of his reporting for ABC Newspapers. And, well, this does appear to be a different Eric Hagen, but the alert algorithm errs on the inclusive side, which seems the better approach.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Litigeous Larry loses a somewhat questionable lawsuit, filed by him in California against his ex-wife [poor woman] and her lawyers, all residents of Ohio. Why California? Is there any reason to not expect personal jurisdiction might be challenged? Did Larry care whether it would be thrown out or survive, or did he just rock the boat because he could?

The sordid story of Larry's personal litigation, latest chapter, online here.

Failure to pay child support?

There's a blues song about paying the cost to be the boss.

Larry should listen to it on YouTube.

"As long as I'm paying the bills, ...".

As to that yin-yang, the appearance from reporting is Larry is rabidly aggressive on the yin while in arrears on the yang. I suppose there are two sides to any story.

image online, here

Clearly, the facts of any case are in one way or another unique so that judgment from outside of the full evidence and briefing carries a probability, great or small, of misjudging. For those interested in possible dimensions of litigation beyond factual background in the California reporting; there are online Ohio court papers that a simple Google revealed; e.g., here and here. Not that anything short of a thorough review of complete litigation files could give a complete picture, but the items online cited above do appear to be authentic copies of court filings; from Ohio. Paperwork on the Califorbnia filing and on the question of child support arrearage amounts and possible exonerating circumstances for their happening were not found online via cursory googling. However, a quick follow-up google yielded further court papers online; here and here. Larry appears to not have fared well in his efforts.

Larry made my "special attention" list when he sued City Pages, a reporter for that news outlet, and a Dump Bachmann blogger, see e.g., this Facebook site, and links there noting Sorensen's Bluestem Prairie reporting of that litigation. (Larry also represented mediocre musician Bradlee Dean in his unsuccessful suit of Rachel Madow, for alleged defamatory reporting.)

Sunday, February 01, 2015

"Low interest loans are available to eligible property owners to repair or replace private well and septic systems under a program offered by Anoka County Community Development and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Best Management Practices Program (AgBMP)."

The headline is a quote from this online item.

Time is here to dust off an old Crabgrass image; but these days the thing spins supersonically and in real time.

Sorensen, writing of an offensive bipartisan phenomenon [e.g., Sanders[R], here - Tomassoni[D], here]. And DeRose by any other name would smell the same.

Hence, the dusted-off image:

That spinner sure makes one hell of a loud "whoooosh" - all the time and every time - one so loud it is hard to ignore hearing it although some these days appear in very great need of a super high-amplification Beltone.


That's the most fitting word. Sorensen has done an exceptionally deep job of mucking the legislative halls, (doubtlessly needing to wear hip-waders), and besides shameful, it is very, very saddening.

At least green itself is far from being an inherently evil color; e.g., here, here, here and, of course, here (in terms of dusting off past-used images).

The best government money can buy? Given that we each have a vote but only one, we each too often end up getting what the majority deserves.

Larry's latest - claiming acts of others are "political."

Calling the kettle black; this link.