consultants are sandburs

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Someone mentioned something to me about letters to the editor ...

I use the term "dustup" in the next post below, so it makes sense to use it here. Details of what was said to me about a kind of dustup are not of consequence, but it was said letters were published by ABC Newspapers that I could not, on a cursory search, find online.

While commented upon at length previously on Crabgrass - one point needs reemphasis. Of the present council members in Ramsey my opinion and theirs from time to time may differ; sometimes greatly; and sometimes my view squares with X on council, sometimes with Y or Z, but in every case I respect the integrity of the decision making of this council, each member making a best effort to decide issues of controversy in the way he/she regards as best longterm and short, for the town they each represent. I believe the same of the present staff, in presenting issues where I may have a divergent view of underlying fact and inferences to be drawn as well as best policies to follow.

The defining report, in my view, remains online and written by Sakry while she was doing excellent work for ABC Newspapers; this link, where the two key sequential operative paragraphs in my view are -

The HRA voted 4-3 Feb. 28 to sell the $7.45 million bond April 24 to help fund the Flaherty and Collins Properties (F&C) project to build a 230-unit market rate luxury apartment complex, which will wrap around the newly expanded parking ramp west of the municipal center.

HRA members Randy Backous, Jason Tossey and Sarah Strommen voted against the motion.

That in a nutshell says much. Three named persons, still on council. The majority in that vote, elsewhere.

Former mayor Bob Ramsey was in the majority on that vote. I have said and will say again, I believe Bob could have been a very sound mayor but he, in good faith, listened to some very bad advice. He listened to the wrong people.

My greatest complaint against Bob's affirmative moves was the putsch about/against Kurt Ulrich and his job. Who besides Bob motivated that choice and how Bob's move was timed and structured were, in my view wrong, (although of course I was not privy to any private discussions of Bob with others on that situation), and I am happy the council in its wisdom did not follow the effort. Instead, it was another 4-3 vote with David Elvig exercising the swing vote in the two instances. In one instance, bonding for the Flaherty adventure I believe Elvig read things wrongly, while in not joining the effort against Ulrich I believe he voted wisely. Leave it at that. I do not judge Elvig's motives in either vote, as I never discussed either with him, etc., so I have no clear factual basis to say whether I would think either vote might have been ill-motivated, or not. Both of those votes require a presumption of good faith, which I accord Elvig in each instance.

Back to Bob Ramsey, either he was not granted a Ryan Cronk family employment offer, or he had the spine and good judgment to turn any such possibility down. Either way, that cuts greatly in his favor and accords with the general impression I hold that Bob acted in full good faith in what he did, however ill-advised it might have proven at the time, or later.

I believe Bob deserves that being stated absolutely clearly, again, here. And I reiterate, the same feeling applies to Elvig's decision making with regard to Flaherty matters and the putsch against Ulrich.

Yet, the post is mainly concerned with those on council now, and specifically with the three mentioned above in Sakry's quoted paragraphs who now are the holdover council members. Each of those three has my unqualified respect, as to good faith and diligence, however they may be in agreement or disagreement over policy matters, one time or another. Beyond that, for disclosure, Strommen has been for some time and remains a personal friend of mine and of those in my family. I think her wrong on the franchise fee proposal, but not in any way whatsoever ill-motivated. In calling the thing a back-handed tax the criticism is mainly of the legislature for having not had the courage to raise levy limits if needed, and instead acting back-handedly in opening Pandora's box, that way. I understand the pressures extensive public bleating creates over time, from some in Anoka County over raising or not raising taxation levels, and it offends because such bleating is unneeded and unproductive, the worry being dislocated shoulders and elbow injury, from all the distasteful self-back-patting.

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