Bloomington Lyndale Ave. Retrofit Launched

Lyndale-Retrofit.jpgThe Lyndale Avenue Retrofit project aims to transform Lyndale Avenue into a thriving, walkable, mixed-use corridor that serves as an amenity to attract and retain residents and businesses.  Hennepin County is supporting the City of Bloomington to define a vision for the future of Lyndale Avenue in Bloomington. Partners want to hear from area businesses and residents about potential designs for this city-owned street.

Earlier events and open house sessions were held in January and February, and another series is planned for March 2 - 3. 

Open Studio:  Drop in for Open Studio to observe, ask questions, and engage with members of the Stantec design team as they work.

Monday March 2, noon-6 p.m.
Tuesday March 3, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.

Main event: Tuesday, March 3: Come share your input at a garden-themed interactive workshop, where you can "plant" ideas to make Lyndale Avenue more attractive and vibrant. Bring teens and children to enjoy activities designed just for them.

Open House: 5-8 p.m.
Presentations: 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.


800 West 98th Street  (in Clover Center)
Bloomington, MN 55420

To learn more, visit the project website CLICK HERE


Bloomington Community Center or "Centers of Community"?

Bloomington_Existing_Community_Center.jpgThe Bloomington City Council met on February 24 under new mayor Tim Busse and several new council members.  Toward the end of this scheduled meeting, the council took up the subject of the Bloomington Community Center.  A video recording of the ensuing discussion can be found on the city's website by CLICKING HERE, then scrolling down to “City Council Meetings” and selecting :City Council Meeting: February 24, 2020”. There's a link within that page to jump directly to the discussion (item 10.6).

In his introductory remarks, City Manager Verbrugge noted that in early December 2019, the city council under former mayor Gene Winstead determined the large-scale community center proposed to be built at Valley View Park “was not viable.”.  Verbrugge went on to mention that a concept of “Centers of Community” had been offered as an alternative.  He suggested that such centers might be places distributed about the city where groups, clubs, teams, and organizations could conveniently meet. Yet he concluded that the concept of “Centers of Community” was still incompletely understood by the city staff chartered to flesh it out.

In watching the ensuing discussion, Mayor Busse appeared to be the driving force behind this reconsideration of what would best fit the needs of the city and its citizens.  He acknowledged that mistakes had been made in the process of coming up with one large community center.  He pledged that the effort going forward would be more transparent and that more effort would be put into engaging Bloomington residents.  However, he was clearly open to the idea that the best solution might involve distributed facilities, including better use of existing facilities, rather than one large new building.

 

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Edina Sales Tax Proposed

sales-tax_grey_background.jpgThe city of Edina wants to increase the sales tax in Edina by 0.5%. That is projected to raise our tax by an additional $4 million. Edina has already identified 4 projects they are pursuing: Fred Richards Master Plan, Braemar Park Master Plan, Weber Woods Park and storm facilities, and street reconstruction. Edina is committed to these projects. Increasing our taxes would, perhaps, speed up the implementation of them.

There is a multi-step process to increasing our sales tax. First, the city has to request this increase. They have done that. Then legislators have to sponsor a bill authorizing that increase. Our State Legislators, Representative Heather Edelson and Senator Melisa Franzen both stated at a Town Hall meeting that they would do so. Then it must pass both the Minnesota House and Senate and be signed into law by the Governor. At that point we will be asked to vote to approve the sales tax.

If you want higher sales taxes, vote Yes.
If you want sales taxes to stay the same, vote NO.

Let Rep. Edelson and Sen. Franzen know how you feel about increasing our taxes!
Melisa Franzen 651-296-6238
Heather Edelson 651-269-4363


Newly Active Republicans Welcomed at Caucus

Caucus_2020.jpgAccording to the MN GOP, on Tuesday, February 25th, more than ten thousand Minnesotans attended their precinct caucuses to participate in the party building process, pass resolutions, and make their voices heard.

Senate District 48 (Eden Prairie), Senate District 49 (Edina and West Bloomington), and Senate District 50 (East Bloomington and South Richfield) each reported attendance at or above 200 people.

As expected, local turnout was lower than in 2016 when the Caucus straw-poll attracted people who wanted to weigh-in on the hotly-contested Presidential candidate nomination. A large number of the 2016 attendees had little interest in the other caucus business that is essential to refresh the party organization.

Resized_20200225_171010(1).jpgThis time around, the majority of the people fully participated in the election of precinct officers, delegates and alternates to the senate district convention, and platform resolutions.

Several candidates walked the rounds of the precinct caucuses in their quest for endorsement at the upcoming conventions. SD48 was addressed by a number of candidates: Rob Barrett Jr (for US Senate), Kendall Qualls (for US House), Jeff Jiang (for MN Senate), Brad Aho (for Hennepin County Commissioner, District 6), and Holly Link, (for MN House District 48B). Senate District 50 heard from Gary Heyer (for MN House District 50B). Rob Barrett Jr’s wife spoke for him during the SD49 and SD50 caucuses. Matt Sikich (for MN House District 49B) stopped in at some of the SD49 precincts in Edina.

Most gratifying, many precincts saw an increase in new attendees. In some precincts, younger people became conveners and secretaries. They did a great job and from what some of them said, they enjoyed being part of the process. In addition, a number stepped forward to become leaders of their precincts in what promises to be a very active election year. Many became delegates and will participate in our senate district conventions in March. Attendees signed up as volunteers to support campaigns or to be Election Judges and Poll Watchers.


MN Supreme Court Rules for Bloomington Voters on Trash Referendum

hands_off_our_cans_logo.jpgA grassroots group of Bloomington residents calling themselves “Hands Off Our Cans” had their right to amend their City Charter vindicated on February 12. The Minnesota Supreme Court, in a split decision, held that the City of Bloomington acted outside its authority in rejecting a ballot measure which gives voters the right to choose whether to continue with Organized Collection of waste hauling in the City of Bloomington.

This is the second time the group has secured a victory for voter rights over the City at the Minnesota Supreme Court. In 2018, the Supreme Court rejected Bloomington’s argument that the citizen effort was preempted by state law.

At this point, the question of whether or not to continue with Organized Collection *should* be placed on the ballot for the Bloomington voters to decide. No further action is necessary by the citizens group that argued the cases before the Supreme Court, as every single argument advanced by the City has been defeated and decided in favor of the petitioners.

Bloomington’s new mayor and city council have not announced their plans in light of this recent decision. However, the implementation of Organized Trash has seen some challenges. When the city essentially took over the collection of trash in 2016, it subcontracted the collection out to a “consortium” of local and national trash haulers. Each hauler was given its own section of the city in which to collect. That agreement runs out at the end of this year.

In January, the Consortium asked for substantial amendments to the City’s updated agreement, noting several areas where the trash companies could not accept the City’s proposed contract terms. The City Council subsequently voted to go out with a new Request for Proposal not limited to the current Consortium.

One possible outcome of this development is that only the large national trash collection companies may be able to accept the new terms. The smaller local companies that had been more responsive to individual homeowner and neighborhood concerns may not have the financial ability to handle the damages clause of the new contract.

A city-wide referendum on Organized Collection may come just as the price-competitive field of trash collectors is about to disappear.

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Double-check Activists Before Donating

... Some May be Wolves in Sheep Clothing

Is_it_SCAM.jpgThere are organizations that purport to be for gun rights or against abortion that have popped up in various states.  Some even claim to be grassroots supporters of President Trump.  In Minnesota, they have even stated that they are more ardent on gun rights or pro-life than Republican legislators. 

They use confrontational political tactics to motivate unsuspecting conservatives to donate.  The tactics increase the difficulty of reaching reasonable agreements on important legislation.  Crucially, the money is not used in support of the causes that they claim to represent.

Pay particular attention to solicitations from Minnesota Gun Rights, Minnesota Right to Life, and the Trump Club of Minnesota.  All three were started or headed by one or more of the Dorr brothers (Aaron, Chris, and Ben).  CLICK on this expose of the Dorr brothers and consider again whether their organizations are where you want your contributions to go.


Do You Want to Be a National Delegate in 2020?

JPG_RNC_Charlotte_2020_Logo.jpgA message from MN GOP:

“The deadline to submit your application to run to be a National Delegate or Alternate to the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, NC is just a few days away. The application forms/nomination packets with $25 filing fee must be postmarked by: Feb 29, 2020.

We don't want you to miss out on this exciting opportunity to represent the Land of 10,000 Lakes as a part of Minnesota's National Convention Delegation!

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience full of great speeches, convention activity and of course, the highlight - nominating our President - as he seeks a second-term. “


Important information you need to know about the convention:

1. Minnesota will elect 36 delegates and 36 alternates this spring. Only those who have completed the application process may run for election.
2. The convention dates are: Monday, August 24 - Thursday, August 27, 2020; plan to travel on August 23 and August 28.
3. A fee of $1000 per person, due when elected, will cover your delegate experience, hospitality, some meals, special guests speakers, travel management customer service and more (lodging, some meals and transportation between Minnesota and Charlotte, NC are not included in this fee, and are estimated as $1500 - 3000).

To apply, please find the forms, plus additional Q&A information from the MN GOP here


Seeking Election Day Help - Judges, Poll Challengers

Vote_ballot_box_cube.jpgMay 1 is the deadline for the state party to submit names of those who are willing to be Election judges for the August primary and November general elections.

Election judges are the backbone of our election system. Any individual who is eligible to vote in this state is qualified to be appointed as an election judge. Election judges are paid officials who staff local polling places, absentee ballot boards, and all early voting venues, to ensure that the ballots and rights of voters are protected.

Minnesota Voters Alliance has been publicizing that election judges in even-numbered years are hired/assigned differently than in years when non-partisan elections are held. In order to maximize your chances of being selected as an election judge (or a poll challenger) in your precinct, it is absolutely critical that you sign up through your political party in 2020, even if you’ve recently served as an election judge.

Why do I need to sign up through my political party?

The Minnesota Legislature has created a system for selecting election judges in even years, such as 2020, that is different from the one used for “odd year” municipal elections.

In even years, in which we have “partisan elections”, the law requires that election judges be selected from the lists submitted to the Secretary of State by the political parties. Minnesota Statute 204B.21 requires that in a year in which there is an election for partisan political office, such as 2020, “each major political party shall prepare a list of eligible voters to act as election judges in EACH precinct”, and submit to the Secretary of State by May 1st.

The law also requires appointing authorities to select election judges from the lists received from the political parties first, before appointing others. This means that if a person signs up through the Secretary of State’s office, or at their local election office, their chances of being selected for 2020 are limited or eliminated.

In addition, failing to sign up through your political party also negatively impacts your party’s ability to verify whether or not the Secretary of State is complying with the “Party Balance Requirement’ for election judges found in 204B.19, Subd 5.

Poll Challengers: this is an unpaid, volunteer role. The Secretary of State site describes the limitations here.  Training will be provided by MN GOP. You must be on the list submitted by your party before election day to be a poll challenger.

For either role:
Fill out a form at your February 25 Caucus, or on the MN GOP website
You may also contact the Republican Party of Minnesota Phone: 651-222-0022 Email: info@mngop.com


Feb 25 Caucuses are Key to Vibrant Political Parties

Political parties are vital instruments in our democratic political process.  Vibrant local parties ensure that you have a choice when you vote in city, county, and state elections.  A local political party, however, is only as vibrant as the supporters who come out every two years and attend their local precinct caucuses. 

The caucuses coming up on Tuesday evening, February 25, are your opportunity to get engaged in identifying and supporting candidates that share your values and your passions.  Caucuses are the first critical step you need to take to become a delegate to the conventions that will be held this year to hear from and endorse candidates.   

Republican caucuses are more than a process for selecting candidates.  They are also the means of refreshing our party’s leadership and objectives.  Meetings of conservative-minded neighbors elect local leaders from among their number to represent them at party meetings.  These meetings also give you the opportunity to identify what issues are important to you through resolutions to amend the party’s platform. 

Should you attend your precinct caucus on February 25?  Do you feel that local, county, and state governments have their priorities straight?  Are they spending your taxes wisely and efficiently?   Is your local representative listening and responding to your concerns?  Do you want to help field candidates that are more closely aligned to your values?   The people leading your party today need your help and support.  Don’t assume that they will always be there. 

Where will the caucuses be held?  When available on the MN Secretary of State’s website, you will be able to find your caucus location at this link .  Here are the locations for SD49, SD50 and Eden Prairie.

  • If you live in Bloomington, they will be held at Jefferson High School, 4001 W. 102nd St., Bloomington
  • If you live in Edina, they will be held at Edina’s South View Middle School, 4725 South View Lane., Edina
  • If you live in an Eden Prairie or Minnetonka neighborhood northeast of I-494, they will be held at Edina’s South View Middle School, 4725 South View Lane, Edina
  • If you live in an Eden Prairie neighborhood outside of I-494, they will be held at the Eden Prairie Central Middle School, 8025 School Rd, Eden Prairie.

When will they start on February 25?  Doors will open at 6:15 pm.  The caucuses will officially kick off at 7:00 pm.  Expect that they will last about 90 minutes.

Will I need to register to attend?  You will need to sign in and affirm that you believe in the principles of the Republican Party. 

Is there a cost to attend?  The caucuses are free, but contributions to help defray the cost of holding the caucuses will be requested and would be appreciated. 

Please, be sure to mark February 25th on your calendar.


MN GOP Calls Out DFL Scare Tactics Around Primary Voting

scare_tactics_graphic.jpgRepublican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released the following statement on January 23 regarding the Minnesota DFL’s attempts to change Minnesota’s Presidential Primary law regarding data:

“Voting is one of the greatest rights and civic duties we are afforded by living in the United States of America. Yet, the Minnesota DFL is actively working to dissuade Minnesotans from participating in the March 3rd Presidential Primary, for which voting is already open. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is something that the majority of Americans would be against whether we are talking about the Superbowl or an election.

“The legislation surrounding the Presidential Primary was passed in a bipartisan manner and should be allowed to move forward without the DFL impeding due to baseless concerns. In fact, MN DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was Chair of the DFL when these measures were adopted while I walked into a previously adopted situation. Further, none of the 40+ states that provide partisan primary data as a standard voter file has ever been accused of misusing voter data. What is more likely, is that the Minnesota DFL is frightened by the two new major parties receiving data that would siphon off votes from the DFL gathering; than misuse of the data as a whole.
 
“The Republican Party of Minnesota takes voter privacy and data security very seriously and will continue to work to ensure necessary security measures just as we do with the voter information we have used for years.

“Just as we are seeing in Washington D.C. and around the nation, Democrats are afraid of President Trump and are willing to do anything they can to prevent another four years. It is disappointing that the Minnesota DFL has chosen to start 2020 with scare tactics and misinformation to suppress voters. Minnesota voters deserve better.”

Chairwoman Carnahan repeated this message Jan 31 when she and the DFL Chair were interviewed on the televised show, TPT Almanac  (starts about minute 7).



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