August 9 Primary Election--absentee ballots, registration

Eligible Minnesotans may begin casting their absentee ballots now for the August 9, 2016 Primary Election. Any registered voter in Minnesota can vote absentee, no questions asked about your reason for wanting an absentee ballot.I_VOTED_graphicjpg.jpg

You can request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you at mnvotes.org or at the Secretary of State website here 

Or you can get one in-person at your local elections office.  Find those offices here

Be sure you are registered to vote!  Here is a link to the Secretary of State site where you can see whether you are already registered at your current address, and begin the registration process if needed.  Click HERE

 


Comprehensive Planning Underway Driven by Met Council

By 2018, each city in the 7-county Metro area is expected to complete what’s called a “Comprehensive Plan”, required by state law.  These plans are fully revisited / revised every 10 years and the last round was completed in 2008. The unelected Met Council sets the framework and assumptions for these plans and specifies what categories of content and level of detail makes a plan “acceptable”. This time, the assignment is to look at the metro area needs across the next 20 – 25 years, out to 2040.  Work has begun on the plans in 3 of the 4 cities in SD49 and citizen involvement will be needed this summer.

Estimated population and housing needs drive much of the planning.  The Met Council has established specific city-by-city targets for growth, particularly in the areas of low-to-moderate-income housing growth by 2030. 

Continue on to read about SD49 city planning assumptions and how you can get involved.

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France Ave Trail Council Vote June 27, Info Meeting Thursday June 30

Bloomington is planning to replace and enhance the bike trail and sidewalk along France Avenue from Old Shakopee Road to 84th Street, within four years. The proposed design would be on the West side of France Avenue beside Cub, Jefferson High School, Normandale College, parkland, homes, apartments, Girard Park Condos and St. Stephen Lutheran Church.

The trail is listed as an agenda item for the City Council meeting Monday, June 27 (tonight!)

A one hour informational and comment-gathering meeting is set for Thursday, June 30, at 5 PM outdoors on the NW corner of Old Shakopee Road and France Ave (note the change - this is the city plaza near Penn Cycle). In case of weather, the meeting will be indoors at Jefferson High School in the Orchestra Room. 

This seems to be precisely the type of project intended to be funded by the $90 / household annual Franchise Fees. But Bloomington may be seeking other funding, thus delaying the project start.

See the Bloomington website for more information.


MVA Election lawsuit - Supreme Court sets briefing schedule

On June 15, 2016, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to stop election officials from permitting known ineligible felons and non-citizens to vote. 

On June 21, 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an expedited briefing schedule in which the Secretary of State has until July 15 to respond.  MVA will then have ten days to reply.

MVA is forcing the State of Minnesota to explain to the Minnesota Supreme Court why it thinks it can violate the plain text of the Minnesota Constitution, election statutes, as well as specific court orders and permit individuals to vote who election officials know are ineligible.

Continue on to read our in-depth report on this important issue.

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Max Rymer Kicks Off House Campaign at Griffin Gallery

It was an evening of impressive art and impassioned politics.  Max and Elsie Rymer chose the Griffin Art Gallery on the border of Edina and Bloomington to celebrate his run for the Minnesota House.  The 65 attendees at the June 16 event were a mix of enthusiastic friends and Senate District 49 supporters.

Rymer_Kickoff_4.JPGMax, the endorsed Republican candidate for the House District 49B seat, outlined his positive experiences in meeting the residents of his district and laid out his plans for the next several months of the campaign.  It was a classy call to action for a candidate that clearly has new ideas and new approaches for our district.

For more photos of the event, CLICK HERE to visit the “Max for House District 49B” Facebook page.  While there, please "like" it.


When is A Fee a Tax? MN Supreme Court Case Could Impact Franchise Fees

The MN Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer on the question: When is a “Fee” really a “Tax”? And also perhaps weigh-in on: What is a “fair” fee structure, when levied on a tax-exempt organization? The decision may have far-reaching impacts on municipal Franchise Fees as recently implemented in Bloomington, as well as the longer-standing ones in most MN cities including Edina, Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.  And it is likely to trigger a need for legislative action as cities continue to seek ways to fund city services while attempting to avoid double-digit percentage property tax increases.

The Nonprofit Leadership Forum on June 6 at Hamline University was a multiple-viewpoint discussion of the issues raised by the court case. The case was initiated when one of St. Paul’s oldest churches, First Baptist, decided to question the city’s $16,000 annual “Street Right of Way” assessed fee which had increased over 5 years to become the 2nd largest line item on the church budget. The city uses those fees, charged to every property based on linear street footage, to pay for snow plowing and 10 other “essential” street & boulevard maintenance services. The size of the fee is especially startling when compared with the $5000 fee paid by the 25-story UBS tower in Town Square, and is also more than the fee paid by the State Capitol.

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Spring Conversation Explores Move to Unionize Self-Employed

Over 60 people participated in a thought-provoking discussion of efforts to unionize child care and home care providers.  Senator Michelle Benson (Republican, Asst Minority Leader),  writer and commentator Kim Crockett, and Attorney Doug Seaton spoke knowledgeably of the push to bring these independent workers under the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) or Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  This push has been supported by enabling legislation put forth by the Minnesota DFL and signed by Gov. Dayton.

This year’s “Spring Conversation” was held at the Edina Country Club, which provided a relaxed atmosphere for socializing and for a challenging dialogue. 

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Two Prominent Bloomington Officials Leaving Office

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In mid-May, two prominent elected officials in Bloomington announced that they would be leaving their posts.  County Commissioner Randy Johnson announced that he will not seek re-election this year in Hennepin County District 5.  Councilmember At Large Cynthia Bemis Abrams resigned from her Bloomington City Council position effective June 4.  

Read more about Johnson, Abrams, and the openings for Hennepin County Commissioner and Bloomington City Council below

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Edina EEC Work Groups Need Community Candidates by June 2

Applications for Edina’s new EEC Working Groups due by June 2

Edina is creating two new working groups under its Energy & Environment Commission (EEC).  An Edina news release stated that the Business Energy Efficiency and Residential Energy Efficiency working groups will “strive to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025 through strategies and actions that are sustainable, practical and measurable.”

These working groups would likely benefit from a diverse perspective, so please consider CLICKING HERE to apply online at the City of Edina website by the June 2 deadline.  Current EEC commissioners like Keith Kostuch (kostuch.eec@gmail.com) and Bill Glahn can be contacted to provide background.


SD49 Office Space to Move by Year End

Edina Community Center revised layout has no room for SD 49 GOP

In May 2015, Edina conducted a special election bond referendum. The Edina voters approved $125 million in bond funding to update learning spaces, enhance building security at the district’s 10 schools, and improve district infrastructure.  A year later, the facility planning associated with the new floor plans and security enhancements at the Edina Community Center (ECC) is becoming clear. 

There will be no room for several of the remaining ECC tenants, including the Congressional District 3 (CD 3) and Senate District 49 (SD 49) Republicans.  By December 1, 2016, new office and meeting space will be needed.  We are asking for your help in identifying inexpensive office and storage options to efficiently maintain our operations.

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