In The News

What should elections look like in a one-party town?

This November, St. Paul will vote on who will lead the Capitol City for the next 4-years.  Seven candidates have thrown their hats into the ring to challenge incumbent Mayor Carter, all political outsiders who are not expected to present any threat to what should be a smooth re-election. This lack of electoral competition presents a …

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US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program meets with Saint Paul STRONG

The U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program in Minnesota recently had a group of six visitors from around the world that were interested in speaking with Saint Paul Strong to learn more about the development of the organization and how Saint Paul STRONG supports nonpartisan community organizing and an open and representative government.  Members …

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Trash, fees, franchises … St. Paul keeps making costly legal mistakes. Why?

Some people think St. Paul’s current organized trash collection system stinks. No matter where you side on that issue, I think we can all agree that the legal missteps the City made in moving forward with that system were particularly foul. Simple analysis in 2017 should have led officials to understand that a referendum could …

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Hearings on St. Paul Land-Use Issues Are So Much Wasted Breath

There appear to be numerous opportunities for citizen engagement on land-use issues in St. Paul.  The process is usually initiated by the Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED). A vetting by the local district council follows. Next is an intermediary review with public hearings before the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) or Planning …

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DFL Endorsement Process Picks Favorites, Discourages Newcomers, Limits Debate

Saint Paul STRONG is a non-partisan organization. Our mission is to improve open and representative government by encouraging and supporting open and transparent public processes, engaging and empowering resident participation and building a stronger, more inclusive Saint Paul. Anyone who has been around Saint Paul politics for long recognizes that, for all intents and purposes, …

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St. Paul elections: DFL is trying to put a thumb on the scales

Opinion editor’s note: This article was submitted by David Durenberger, Shirley Erstad, John Mannillo and the other members of the steering committee of Saint Paul STRONG, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan, community-led organization dedicated to improving open and representative government.”­ Durenberger is a former U.S. senator from Minnesota. Erstad is a former candidate for the …

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Judge the Ford site process by openness and accountability, not just by number of meetings

Saint Paul STRONG has observed the Ford Site decision-making process playing out contentiously in our city. A recitation of this process was recently the subject of an opinion piece by Council Member Chris Tolbert in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. What has not been addressed are the reasons why this is increasingly the subject of …

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Accountability is key to trust in ROW program

“The City Attorney said so,” is often the response that we, the public, get from City Hall when we are confounded by some process, procedure, or final action that otherwise makes no credible sense.  When we seek to understand a council vote or mayoral decision shrouded in mystery, “It’s-the-opinion-of-the-City-Attorney” is a great strategy to stop …

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How to address St. Paul’s $32 million ROW hole

Thanks to a unanimous Supreme Court decision, St. Paul seems finally to have “found religion” concerning its problematic $32 million Street Assessment Program, known as the Right of Way maintenance assessment (ROW). The City has conceded that it has no defense to the 2011 court challenge by two Lowertown churches and it has now made …

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