infrastructure

In St. Paul, taxes rise and rise and rise. Can we talk more about this?

Late last month, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter proposed a supplemental budget in addition to the one he proposed in August, and the City Council must finalize the tax levy before Dec. 31. Do the mayor and City Council view the maximum levy of 22% as extra cash with which to pay for additional projects …

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Important 2019 St. Paul Election Issues Re: Transparency and Candor

The 2019 city election provides a unique opportunity to raise and discuss serious issues about how the city conducts its business when working within an effective community process.  The challenge is regarding transparency and candor. For too long, the city has relied on blind and obedient endorsements by a single-party city council of questionable and …

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City Hall needs to learn from and be honest about its mistakes for Saint Paul to prosper

The St. Paul City Council meeting on August 21, 2019 highlighted a serious problem with St. Paul city government.  Why can’t it learn from its mistakes? The council has had to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars for mistakes of city staffers (E.g., $800,000 for Black Bear Crossing; $2 million St. Paul Police Department) …

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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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Planning Commission jumps the gun on Corridor Critical Area issue

Strong Blog Picture this:  a row of buildings along the northerly Mississippi River bluff in Saint Paul from the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers near Fort Snelling to downtown.  Not just any buildings, but 65’+ buildings that stand well above the 40’ or so tree line.  How do you feel about that? Has …

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Parks Commission does disservice In Grand Round and Corridor Critical Area discussions

Did you hear about the public hearing for the Grand Round?   About the one concerning the rules governing resource protection and development around our Mighty Mississippi? Public hearings are part of our governmental system.  They are supposed to be just that, “public” “hearings” in which our policy makers can hear from you and me.  The …

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