consultants are sandburs

Saturday, October 18, 2014

RAMSEY - The LWV council candidate forum is available online at QCTV,

This link. The forum was held Oct 13, but QCTV posting it online allows viewing now and up to election day for any voter unsure of who to choose.

All of those voting in Ramsey will have a say in the contest for the at large council seat.

Not living in Ward 3, where there is a contested election, nor in Ward 1 with its uncontested seat; I leave readers with a vote in either such ward to view the beginning of the session, first being Ms. Johns and after Ms. Johns' unopposed presentations the Ward 3 candidates speak.

At around minute 47 of the item - where the at large contestants were speaking, TIF comes up as a question. Neither candidate made any strong showing of where TIF fits into Ramsey's future, how it might be retained as is or modified for greater effectiveness, or curtailed. Buchholz and Williams clearly differed, but the forum short-answer format did not foster detailed argument.

Williams' opening statement together with Buchholz noting how the HRA activity is being ended, demonstrate how, going forward, the Ramsey EDA's operations shall take on even more importance to where all EDA activity should, each and every meeting, be televised (with resuming televising of work sessions of council also an overdue positive step for optimal citizen awareness).

With the Charter silent as to "Authorities" despite there being the HRA saga, start to finish while the Charter was unchanged in only mentioning "boards and commissions" but not "Authorities." Likely change in the EDA role with the HRA being ended suggests the ongoing role of the EDA will exceed current levels of decision power, despite nil televised coverage of EDA meetings. But with a changing, enlarged EDA nexus a question exists as to what constraints and requirements might be appropriate to set on EDA actions, affirmatively by charter, and what can be continued to be left for default state law to specify.

It was interesting how the actual name "Jim Deal" was wholly absent from the forum event talking points. It was almost as if "He whose name shall not be spoken" kind of stuff was at play.

Indirectly there was a question about developer rights to support and advocate campaigns and candidates and whether that's good or bad for the community in terms of potential conflicts of interest, but nobody opted to try to make any strong case that way - that developer interest is somehow leading to bad outcomes - and the forum certainly allowed for such a case to have been stated.

Nobody chose to stand his/her ground on the question of Jim Deal's power and influence on the community's future. Those thinking he is largely a beneficent figure surely had no cause to state otherwise; but the silence of every candidate regarding Jim Deal, secifically, was telling me that whatever may be door-to-door talking points of anyone in particular about Jim Deal, the prevailing tactical wisdom of whoever among current candidates has problems with Jim Deal was to leave them out of forum content - unstated and not getting the full sunshine of discussion.

With a put up or shut up forum opportunity to make a case against Jim Deal to voters, if there is one truly to be made, the adoption of that opting for silence tactic appeared noteworthy. We can only guess at the motivations and thinking behind avoidance of getting into a discussion of Jim Deal and his timely current development activity and proposals. It seemed a bit puzzling. It surely seems an agenda to some to scrutinize and criticize questions of parking ramp needs and wants, but nobody among the participating candidates suggested having any personal preformed agenda in seeking office.

So we do what, depend on what they said in the forum, guess that one or more of the participant was holding back, or take the showing as proof of a lack of any clearly articulated cause to want to stifle or impede Jim Deal or any other specific developer with a deal pending that would convert town owned distressed land into productive tax base growth? Candidates were vague on the role, if any, the city should hold as to promoting and subsidizing growth - with Buchholz emphasizing "private sector" being the main difference between him and Williams, who is experienced with and supportive of EDA pushing the process along within its presently expanding (but untelevised) ways and means.

Again, the QCTV - YouTube link.

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