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 508 – Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-29

Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-29. A departure for this week’s Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-29. Usually for the radio show, I excerpt content from all the podcasts I’ve done during the week. But for Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-29, I received so much interest in the podcast I did this week on technology, I decided to use just that podcast. Of course there is original content in this show, as there is every week, just for the radio show. If you weren’t able to listen to Podcast 506, then a condensed version of it might be useful. There’s been a lot of talk lately about planning. Most cities across the country have some kind of planning system, or council, often with legal authority – by state statute – over cities and towns when it comes to this ‘uber’ planning. It’s a subject I have returned to again and again with different wrinkles on the podcasts for a long time. Whether it is light rail systems, bike trails, freeways or state budgeting this issue is evergreen. Meanwhile technology is changing the building blocks of the future in significant ways that will make a lot of the plans obsolete, very quickly. Why do our planners seemingly yearn for a 1920’s urban landscape when we’re on the verge of mind bending new technologies like the driverless car, robotic factories, human-robot hybrids, even more powerful smart-devices, better and faster communications capabilities, options for civilian flight that make it accessible to non-pilot operators, a revolution in materials for building almost everything, all kinds of manufacturing changes, like 3D printing and and we haven’t even mentioned bio-tech, and more. So much more. These new technologies thrive on the individual, decentralized authority and voluntary collaboration. Why are our politicians pushing for more centralization of authority, more regulation and taxation, and less collaboration especially when it concerns planning? Are they leading us in exactly the wrong direction for the future? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Cars.

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.