Podcast 590-Ending Met Council Tyranny

Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show #61-Jeff Johnson

Across the country regional councils controlled by unelected appointees are amassing great power over elected town councils, county councils and in some cases state legislatures. The biggest and most expensive of all is the Metropolitan Council, which exerts funding and legal control across the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Metro, up to and including its own taxing authority. In some cases saying no to the Met Council results in a loss of funding, public relations attacks on the offending elected official and his or her town, or lawsuits because, “You can’t say no to the Met Council”.

In Podcast 590-Ending Met Council Tyranny, Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show #61-JeffJohnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner gives a history of the Met Council, a description of just how large the council’s budget is, how many employees it has, the extent of its vast influence in planning and development in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area. If your town wants state and federal funding for various projects, the Met Council is the conduit for that funding.

At issue is the Met Council’s peculiar view of just what development is supposed to look like, which is decidedly not funding for highways and bridges. The Metropolitan Council’s view of the future is fewer roads, more bike trails and more sidewalks. We’re supposed to ride our bikes to work when it is 5 below zero, or sit in traffic jams of biblical proportions or ride light rail transit being forced through at a cost of billions.

This podcast is a companion to Podcast 501-Mark Korin, which details the trails and tribulation of a small town Minnesota Mayor against the Mighty Metropolitan Council. As Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson explains, the Metropolitan Council’s tyrannical control over towns, cities, counties and even the legislature is becoming a bi-partisan issue. With the advent of the Minneapolis South West Light Rail project and its threat to the peace and quiet of Minneapolis’ Chain of Lakes Parks, local residents are furious at the unelected council’s heavy handed approach.

An agency that began in 1967 as a way to mange water and sewer connections between local towns and cities, and to manage bus lines, has grown into an agency employing thousands and costing taxpayers billions, with its own police force, and the power to tell local administrators and elected officials to pound sand.

Johnson and Bob Davis discuss at least two ways to eliminate the Metropolitan Council’s authority or all together. Johnson proposes eliminating the council and replacing it with a board of elected officials from the area, with a more circumscribed and specific authority.

Bob Davis suggests at the very least, the Met Council’s budget could be deeply cut starting with council members who make over six figures a year, its police force absorbed by county and city law enforcement, and the creation of a separate transit authority. Finally, statutes which coerce local towns and cities to comply with the Met Council’s plans for dense growth, low income housing, bike paths and light rail transit, must be repealed.

Finally, are there enough votes in the legislature to accomplish Ending Met Council Tyranny? Johnson seems to think there is a chance, since many legislators hail from rural, suburban and exurban districts, with residents who have to pay for the Met Council’s grandiose plans, but receive none of the benefits. Moreover, legislators from urban districts in Minneapolis are getting an earful from wealthy Minneapolis liberals incensed at the way they’ve been treated by the Met Council over the Southwest Light Rail Project.

Sponsored by Brush Studio and Hydrus Performance.

 

 

Podcast 545-Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show-42

Podcast 545-Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show-42. It’s labor day weekend, and as people head to the lake or to the State Fair, Podcast 545-Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show-42 is almost an hour of brand new content for the trip, and for your extra long holiday weekend. We start with a review of the week’s political landscape. Despite better national presidential preference numbers for Trump, state by state polls have not tightened appreciably in key electoral vote-rich states. Hillary Clinton continues to pace Barack Obama’s averages from the 2012 presidential election. Of course the state by state averages can change so we’ll revisit this polling at the end of September and again just before the election at the end of October. Meanwhile, neither of the two mainline presidential candidates is talking about permanently reducing the size, scope and power of governments, federal, state or local. In Minneapolis and Saint Paul we have had yet another example of government overreach in the form of an unelected body of Dark Lords known as the Met Council. After the Minnesota House decided not to fund the controversial South West Light Rail Project, which Minneapolis’ richest and most liberal precincts fiercely oppose, the Met Council decided to issue their own bonds to the tune of more than a hundred million dollars, and ask metro counties under its control to issue tens of millions in debt as well, all to end run the legislature and green light the project. Much has been made of the republican’s distaste for the council, but when they had a chance to drive a stake through its heart earlier this year, the legislature rearranged some of the terms of the councilmen and women, and some of the funding. A local mayor found a way to kill the Met Council last summer by empowering local municipalities to say no to them. Yep, local towns and cities – by state law – cannot say no to the Met Council. This law can be changed by the legislature. Why haven’t they done it? This is just one example of government overreach. In this Labor Day weekend’s radio show the dangers and costs of too much and too powerful government; something neither of the mainline candidates and their parties are going to do anything about. One wants to hand out free education and health care, and the other wants to spend billions to build a wall. Both will increase the size, scope, cost and power of the federal and state governments. This is a discussion we aren’t having now because we’re too busy arguing about whether one of the candidates should go to jail and whether the other one is a fascist. Meanwhile the advocacy media just keeps on covering politics like sports, and people keep watching and listening, all the while complaining about it. This podcast closes with something fun, a throw back podcast to the Minnesota State Fair from the early 80’s; an audio montage done then, just for fun. It’s amazing how much the fair and the people have changed. Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 502-The Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-27

The Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-27. This was a big week for the Bob Davis Podcasts, with the 500th podcast ‘retrospective’, and an interview with a small town Minnesota Mayor who is struggling with the overbearing power of unelected governance in the form of the Metropolitan Council; Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s panel of planning czars. The Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-27 includes one segment of original content not heard in the podcasts this week, as well as the Mark Korin interview in Podcast 501, edited for broadcast. The Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-27 kicks off with a bit of a rant about pundits suddenly trying to walk back their ‘predictions’ about what they thought was ‘supposed’ to happen in the Republican Presidential Primaries and Caucuses this spring, and the ‘presumptive’ nomination of Donald Trump by the Republican party. The latest mea culpa is 538 Blog’s Nate Silver, who says there need to be more internal ‘controls’ so that his predictions concerning Trump won’t happen again. It seems to me that the issue is ego, and the remedy isn’t internal controls, it’s realizing ‘the public’ doesn’t need tarot card reading from the media, it needs reporting. So many people in the media think the public is hanging on their every word and ‘trusts’ their predictions and endorsements, which amount to little more than campaigning for a candidate or cause and they’re making fools of themselves. Our country is experiencing a sea change of political thought, and ideas about how our society is managed. I want to have a completely different conversation about what is actually happening what it is like, once we get there. The last thing any of us need is some media person telling is what they think is going to happen, before whatever happens, happens! Meanwhile, important reporting is getting missed because all any of these magpies are talking about is Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Small town mayor Mark Korin joins the Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-27 to talk about his struggle with the Met Council, which is legally empowered to refuse to take no for an answer from elected officials. Korin says its because Minnesota State Law gives the Met Council the power. Korin is the Mayor of Oak Grove, a city which is represented in the state house by Speaker of the Minnesota House, Kurt Daudt, and powerful State Senator Micelle Benson. Isn’t interesting – and typical – that these two completely missed the opportunity to take the teeth out of the met council by amending or repealing the state statutes Korin talks about in The Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-27 and Podcast 501. Sponsored by Brush Studio and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 501 – Mark Korin

Podcast 501 – Mark Korin. Hear the story of a small town Minnesota Mayor’s battle with the mighty Met Council’s planning czars in Podcast 501 – Mark Korin. Oak Grove mayor Korin has had it with the overbearing manner and attitude of the Twin Cities’ premier regional planning agency; The Metropolitan Council, and he may have actually figured out how to beat them. Major cities all over the country have regional planning councils with varying degrees of authority, with issues related to central planning without the consent of residents in small towns, medium sized and large sized cities. The planning authority in Minneapolis and Saint Paul is something called the Metropolitan Council, a panel of regional ‘representatives’ appointed by the Governor, controlling urban planning, sewer and water, metropolitan airports and transportation including the Metro bus and train services. The Met council has a huge budget, its own police force, and holds sway over small town city councils such as Oak Grove and Lake Elmo and big city councils like Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Who wields this power? A panel of ‘representatives’ appointed, and not elected. This in a state that elects its Supreme Court Justices, and it could be argued, the Justices actually have less power than the Met Council. Over the years we’ve heard many people on all sides of the political spectrum complain about development issues in their towns and cities. Usually residents incorrectly blame these problems on elected officials on planning councils and city councils, all the way up to County Commissioners. In Oak Grove the issue is housing density and long term development plans. In Minneapolis the issue is the planned Southwest Light Rail, which will cut through one of the most pristine urban parks in the country — the Chain of Lakes Area — and one of the most wealthy (and politically liberal) neighborhoods in the city. Here we have citizens on completely different ends of the political spectrum dealing with overbearing – and unelected – government power. What these residents don’t know is, city councils and county councils cannot legally say no to the Met Council. The Minnesota Legislature just passed a bill ‘reforming’ the Met Council, which consists of some cosmetic changes to the terms of council members. Oak Grove and Minneapolis are represented by a collection of powerful politicians in the State House and Senate; Speaker of the House and representative to the residents of Oak Grove, Kurt Daudt, powerful State Senator from SD61 (The Senator representing those rich neighborhoods in Minneapolis up in arms about the light rail cutting through their backyards) Scott Dibble, and Oak Grove’s Senate District 31 Senator, Michelle Benson. How is it these politicians missed how to address the Met Council’s overbearing and unrepresentative power, and a small town Mayor may have figured it out? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 451

New Years Podcast 2015 and Heartfelt Thanks. Big thank you’s to listeners, clients and people who have helped me develop the Bob Davis Podcasts along the way. As I review all the podcasts for 2015 I am a little surprised at the breadth and depth of podcasting content. It’s also interesting to note the metamorphosis I’ve gone through, starting with the News Cleanse in the summer of 2014, through to content that reflects more of what is going on in my mind just beneath the surface. The need to go deeper, both personally and on the issues, rather than to chronicle the daily outrage machine has become a hallmark of these podcasts. Add to that the new mobility enabled with Mobile Podcast Command and you have the wrinkles added to these podcasts in 2015. Its hard to believe we started 2015 back in January with Podcast 284 talking about the ‘Polar Vortex’ and end 2015 with podcast 451, which focuses on the lessons of small business, content creation and entrepreneurship. First to thank the clients of The Bob Davis Podcasts, who have become more than clients, but advisors and mentors. Then to family and friends who have provided support in so many ways including my son – who recently appeared on the podcasts with his own content creation effort – and the General Manager of the Podcasts; My Mom. Finally to the subscribers, listeners and contributors to the Bob Davis Podcasts. As I review the podcasts I hope my goal of going deeper on issues with interviews, ‘study pieces’, coverage of the 2016 election cycle that takes you inside events, New Thinking, Walk and Talk Podcasts and talk about the issues that matter to you, the audio book and new radio show, pays off on the promise of what podcasting can be. Thanks each and every one of you for supporting this effort in 2015. Here’s to us doing great things in 2016. Sponsored by X Government Trucks and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 287

Tom Emmer’s Vote. A vote by a freshman congressman from Minnesota’s 6th district has provoked a Tea Party Tantrum. Congressman Emmer voted for Speaker Boehner. One Tea Party group has lashed out in anger and frustration, expecting Congressman Emmer to have voted with 25 ‘insurgent’ members that nominated Texas 1st District Congressman Louie Gohmert for the Speakership. Rumors have the North Metro Tea Party petitioning Minnesota State Republican Party chair Keith Downey to give Tom a talking to. Downey was unable to win any statewide offices while Emmer managed a fifty-six percent margin in the 6th, so with all due respect to the party chair, why should Emmer listen to him? Moreover, representative Downey is hardly a Tea Party Republican. And what about the votes of other Minnesota Republican Congressmen. Where’s the outrage about them? Many people expressed their disappointment with Emmer’s vote on FaceBook. Unfortunately, much of the criticism seemed devoid of reason. People couldn’t seem to come up with a name to replace Speaker Boehner, even though Louie Gohmert was the candidate. One correspondent actually suggested talk show host Mark Levin, who is of course not a congressman and therefore ineligible. Others seemed confused as to the role of the Speaker. Still others seemed shocked that sending out links to Freedom Works and calling their congressman didn’t suddenly produce the desired result. What are the principles of a conservative? No one knows, or can’t articulate any cogent reply to the question. The missing link between outrage and actual political power is organization. All through election season, candidates trooped around to Tea Party meetings, where they were dutifully received. Tea Partiers sat there and ate their hamburgers and listened to political pablum, thinking it was enough that they were there. Despite a huge victory for Republicans in the US House this year, the best this group can muster is 25 votes against the Speaker? Despite the fact that Tea Party meetings are supposed to be informational, many of them have become little more than cults of personality. Why? Bluntly speaking? There’s little real political work being done amidst all the hot air. Sponsored by Mycompletebasement.com and by Depotstar. (Editor’s Note: Correction: The US Constitution does not require the Speaker of The House to actually be a member of the house, although the speaker always has been a member. Obviously a non member would still have to be elected by members. Thanks to Dean via Twitter for the info.)