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 290

Southwest Light Rail. News that Minnesota Speaker of The House Kurt Daudt says the House will not consider funding for the Southwest Light Rail, leads this midweek update from the Bob Davis Podcasts. SWLR has caused headaches for the Minneapolis Park Board, Bicyclists, Residents of Western Suburbs, Mayors, City Councils and legislators since its inception, and it isn’t even built yet! Despite the fact that light rail does not carry more passengers than buses, doesn’t spur development without expensive subsidies, and doesn’t generate employment beyond construction crews (which is a small swath of the working population and short term) the unelected Met Council and transportation ‘activists’ plan as many as twenty of these light rail projects, with the Southwest Light Rail central to the overall plan. Moreover, media coverage of how the state funds transportation projects is very confusing. Senate transportation chair Scott Dibble wants to add a wholesale gas tax which some report could add as much as twenty cents to a gallon of gas, which is projected to raise almost a billion dollars, add a license fee increase and then borrow 576 million for ‘roads and bridges’. What’s the other 800 million plus a year for? And let’s not forget the transportation amendment, passed a few years ago, which generates God knows how much in revenue. Is there a sinkhole someplace where this money goes? Oddly enough people who a month ago were touting the lower gas prices as acting economically as a ‘tax cut’, now advocate raising the federal gas tax. Hint, there is plenty of money if they would just dedicate all of the money raised in gas taxes for roads and bridges. Furthermore, what about Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus? Wasn’t that for roads and bridges too? New economic numbers this week has the media touting the ‘booming’ Obama economy, and leftwing commentators laughing at Republicans for spinning the good news, bad. But, there are still some questions about employment, central bank policy, and worrisome signs. 2.5 to 3.5 percent GDP growth is good, but wages are not increasing and some say, this isn’t enough to sustain the growth. Don’t get too cocky. The Bob Davis Podcasts provoked a lot of reaction in Podcast 287 regarding tea party politics in Minnesota, chiefly that rhetoric does not win elections, or force politicians to do your bidding. Almost as proof is a new poll of registered republicans in Iowa. If there is a grassroots tea party movement, the poll doesn’t show it. Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush lead a field of GOP candidates in the first primary state. Shockingly, the White House says journalists should be careful what they say, since it might provoke attacks against US military personnel and in his role as Commander in Chief, President Obama might have to shut down journalists who write stories jihadists don’t like, or satire that might make them attack. Not making this up. And you wonder why the President didn’t go to Paris. Finally, the IRS head continues to bitch and moan about the lack of funding for the agency, saying fewer audits are in store, and they may not be able to collect taxes …The Nation Rejoices! Sponsored by Baklund R&D