The inside story on Minnetrista local issues: This blog is to inform citizens and give them a perspective on matters of importance in Minnetrista, MN. Opinions posted here are my own and do not reflect official positions of any public body or official.
How are you different than our current mayor? That’s a question I’ve been asked frequently and I’d like to answer it here so when Minnetrista residents vote they can do so fully informed. First I’ll speak to who I am not, then to who I am and what my priorities will be.
Second, I am not the mayoral candidate that accepted illegal campaign contributions, one in excess of 10 times the legal limit. That was the current mayor. (Actually that was the reason for lying on the reports…so those illegal contributions wouldn’t be detected).
Fourth, I am not the candidate that was actively involved in an illegal political committee that “corrupted the political process” (judges’ words) in Minnetrista and was sanctioned for it. That was the current mayor.
Who I am is someone that believes the Mayor’s job is to represent Minnetrista residents and their interests above those of vendors, consultants, outside organizations or staff. As Mayor my priorities will be:
Restoring ethical, transparent leadership. We need a leader that respects our laws and isn’t afraid to call out conflicts of interest.
Eliminating wasteful spending & prioritizing basic services. We can’t do that if special interests are controlling Minnetrista.
Protecting residents’ private property rights. Liberty and property rights are a cornerstone of our Constitution.
Instilling a service oriented culture at city hall.
Minnetrista has been controlled for too long by a small group of very connected, powerful influences that put their interests above the taxpayers. It’s time to make a change. Volunteer or donate at www.ShannonBruceForMayor.com
Minnetrista Governance Blog just welcomed it’s 11,000th visitor this week along with reaching a milestone of 20,000 total blog post views. That came as somewhat of a surprise only having started the blog less than three years ago with no real goal in mind except to reach Minnetrista residents with relevant news and opinion on current events in Minnetrista.
Visitors have been referred by Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Nextdoor, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and many other news aggregation sites with stories picked up by the Star Tribune, Center of the American Experiment, The Pioneer-Laker, Lakeshore Weekly News and other local publications.
Thank you Minnetrista for showing your interest in local government, community and for spreading the news and insights you won’t find anywhere else.
Looking at the CDC maps of where the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases are located it’s apparent that high density housing is a contributing factor to the virus’ spread. Factor in the reliance on mass transit systems in these areas and it’s no surprise we see the numbers we do.
Minnetrista residents are fortunate to live in an area where social distancing is not only possible but even a normal part of life in the more rural areas. We don’t have hundreds of people touching our door knobs, pushing elevator buttons, or coughing in our stairways/elevators or vehicles as we travel where we need to go.
Give thanks for the wonderful neighbors and community organizations that have stepped up to help and for this very special place we call home. Minnetrista is a great place to live.
The Westonka Food Shelf is open for business operating a curbside pick up to those in need. Call 952-472-5599 to make an appointment. Regardless of your situation, if you are struggling due to job loss, illness, disability, etc. they are there to help.
They are also in need of volunteers since many of their normal volunteers are retired and in the vulnerable population themselves. They are also in need of donations ($ or food) if you can help. If you’ve been sitting around asking how you can help your neighbors, well…
Trust me I’m not celebrating the stock market decline and the impact it’s having on our 401Ks but the last few days and the timing of Minnetrista’s General Obligation (G.O.) bond issue for the water tower was nothing short of serendipitous for the city. When stocks decline investors run toward government bonds for stability and this week’s market drop spelled for a great bond deal for Minnetrista.
Last night the council approved $2,390,000 in G.O. bonds with $1,910,000 going toward the new water tower and $480,000 for capital equipment. With the cash incentives offered by investors we were able to lower the amount of the bond by $125,000 and got an excellent interest rate of 1.622%.
I had previously expressed concern about issuing G.O. bonds for building a water tower because they pledge the full faith and credit of the city when the intention is, and always has been, for water revenues (and only water revenues) to pay for 100% of the debt service on the water tower. G.O. bonds actually mandate that if city water revenues don’t keep pace sufficiently to pay the debt that the city must levy for it. That still concerns me and I would’ve preferred to have issued a revenue bond instead where the investor takes that risk instead of taxpayers. A revenue bond may have seen as good of an outcome as the G.O. bond did yesterday, but I was outvoted and accept that.
Given the great bonding deal we got yesterday I decided to vote to approve it. The reduction of $125K in the bond and the excellent rate we received mitigates, in my opinion, some of the risk factors involved in meeting the debt payments.
I abhor profiting from misfortunes but if a silver lining can be found in the recent stock market volatility I’m grateful that at least there is a benefit to Minnetrista, if not my 401K.
I discovered 39 fake “Shannon Bruce” Facebook accounts today (that weren’t there last week) and reported them all to Facebook this morning. All were identical but set up with a different id#. If anyone sees any Facebook posts appearing to come from me that they suspect may be “fake” please let me know as we investigate who is behind this. Thank you!
MINNETRISTA SHOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PARTISAN AGENDA of the GreenStep program designed to lure public officials with awards & recognition at the expense of their communities. I don’t like dealing with dishonest organizations, or people for that matter. How’s this for transparency? After the video posted yesterday exposed their funding deception the GreenStep Cities folks removed the Met Council’s logo from their site. They continue to deny the Met Council is a program funder despite the fact it appears on their own website.
GREENSTEP CITIES EXPOSED – As I was about to publish this today I discovered that the GreenStep Cities program has removed the Metropolitan Council logo from their “About” page where this, below, was captured last month. Yep, it’s gone. Now they have it in small type in parentheses, to obscure it even more. Read on…
I was asked to speak last month at a Victoria city council meeting on concerns regarding the Met Council’s GreenStep Cities program. The program had recently been rejected by the city of Plymouth and had received less than glowing coverage in the press of late due to transparency issues and the Met Council’s agenda to extend control throughout the state by getting local governments to adopt their “model ordinances.” A GreenStep Cities representative presented as well.
The video below speaks for itself and highlights the deception and clearly partisan agenda of this program. For those that want to see the unedited version it is available on the city of Victoria’s website.
The city of Minnetrista has not joined this program but the council has not voted not to either. The program is marketed as being voluntary but once adopted cities are pressured…or “encouraged” to progress through the steps as they compete with each other for awards at the League of Minnesota Cities annual meeting. Mayors are lured by recognition and awards and staff ends up spending their precious time measuring and reporting data to the Met Council instead of tending to city matters.
The Minnetrista city council will be discussing the possibility of adopting a nuisance property ordinance at an upcoming council work session due to a property that has been the subject of complaints over the years. I am not necessarily opposed to one but have some concerns to be addressed:
The difficulty of establishing a definition of a “nuisance.” One person’s art is another person’s junk and the subjective nature of prohibiting certain things on private property is inherently problematic.
Making a nuisance property ordinance applicable city-wide to all properties requires uniform language. It is literally impossible to take into account the geographic landscape of each property in the largely rural areas where some may have trees/hills obscuring the sight of prohibited things and others without trees or hills are at a disadvantage and would be more scrutinized. HOAs have their own restrictions that may cause confusion.
Burdening the city with complaints from neighbors that just don’t get along for a variety of reasons. Far too often people aren’t willing to resolve issues with their neighbors face to face and turn to the city as a first, rather than a last, resort.
I sympathize with the residents I’ve heard from and have driven by the property in question which is, indeed, unsightly and looks like a junk yard. If I lived next door I wouldn’t be happy either.
However, if the majority of the council wants an ordinance I believe there must be a process to ensure property owners are protected from frivolous complaints. I would suggest the following:
Require the Complainant to obtain at least three signatures of other property owners within a quarter mile of the property detailing precisely what the nuisance items are and what the remedy requested is (remove, store out-of-sight). This step would help ensure it’s a real neighborhood concern, rather than a personal quarrel, and warrants the city’s involvement.
Once signatures are obtained a demand letter from the city could be mailed to, or served on, the respondent giving the property owner notice and timeframe for remedy before being penalized with a fine. Provisions for anonymity should be available for Complainants.
As far as defining what a nuisance is, as long as the above process is in place, a broad definition referencing what a “reasonable person” would consider an unsightly eyesore that impairs their ability to enjoy their property or affects the valuation of their property, would seem reasonable. I’m not a fan of setting limits on types of items or numbers of vehicles, trailers, farm implements, etc. There are just too many variables to consider.
Any time the city decides to regulate what property owners can or can’t do we must weigh the consequences of any restrictions on the rights of private property owners vs. the benefits to the community at large. Restrictions always have costs to one group and benefits to another so we must take great care in weighing consequences to both.