transparency

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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St. Paul City Hall Continues to Hide Behind ‘Quasi-Judicial Authority’

The St. Paul City Council has two main roles. The first is legislative, and involves creating laws and ordinances that seek to benefit the health, safety and viability of citizens. The second is “quasi-judicial,” and requires the council to apply laws to make decide whether to allow a project to be built in the city. …

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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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Let’s know more before we let St. Paul levy more fines

St. Paul’s City Charter is the city’s version of its constitution. It should not be easy to change. Yet, without much if any public awareness, input or debate, our City Council is on the verge of adopting an ordinance to amend the City Charter to give the Council broad power and authority to impose civil …

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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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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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Ramsey County Board plays king-maker in Sheriff interim pick, leaving taxpayers in the dark

August 25, 2017 Dear Ramsey County Board of Commissioners: St. Paul STRONG (SPS) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving representative government in St. Paul. All of the City of St. Paul is geographically within the confines of Ramsey County. Since our goal is to improve accessible and representative government by encouraging and supporting open …

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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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Public Email communication must be preserved to ensure government accountability

I testified on behalf of Saint Paul STRONG  today regarding limiting email deletions in favor of a Bill introduced (HF 1185) at the Capitol.  Thank you to Don Gemberling from our Steering Committee for helping organize the effort and to Tom Erickson, a supporter of Saint Paul STRONG for their help and testimony. The Bill passed …

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