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.
A new housing development proposed in Minnetrista to be located north of CR110W and just west of Saunders Lake will be before the city’s planning commission tomorrow night, Monday, 10/25/2020, at 7pm (call in numbers below). The planning commission agenda shows the concept/sketch plan from Summergate Companies is the only item on the agenda.
I intend to call in and I encourage other residents that value our parks and open spaces to attend as well.
When a developer is forced to pay cash in lieu of providing land for parks the inevitable result is housing that is denser and of lesser quality in order to afford paying those fees.
I’m guessing Minnetrista residents would rather see the very generous allocation of lands in this development going to parks and open spaces than to see those spaces crammed with dense housing. It appears, however, the Parks Commission, at the direction of staff, is recommending cash in lieu:
“After review, the Parks Commission unanimously directed the Applicant to consider a hybrid, land dedication and cash-in-lieu, approach to the required park dedication as well as possible trail connections. If cash-in-lieu is considered, an appraisal should be required to determine fair market value.”
10/13/2020 Parks Commission meeting
If we are to preserve and protect the rural landscape and ambience of Minnetrista we must have policies that do just that and a mayor that values our parks and open spaces more than the cash balance in our parks fund which, btw, has over $1M balance at the moment.
I don’t watch much TV so I had no idea who Leslie Knope was when I saw this post on mayoral candidate Lisa Whalen’s Facebook page this morning. So a quick search turned up this Wikipedia page. Evidently she’s a fictional character on the NBC sitcom Parks & Recreation.
Some exerpts from the Wikipedia page show the personality type of the character:
Personality – Leslie Knope
Leslie Knope is extremely cheerful, ambitious, hard-working and optimistic.
Although somewhat naive, she is intelligent, well-read, and has good intentions, but is not always successful in executing her goals.
She has a crush on former Vice President Joe Biden, and harbors an irrational hatred of public libraries, salads, and the wealthy neighboring town of Eagleton—which Leslie found out, to her sheer horror, was actually her birthplace.
Leslie views herself as a budding political star in the style of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi..
Although she is shown to be running for the city council as an independent, she joins the Democratic Party at some point, as she is approached by “Janet from the DNC” about a potential gubernatorial bid in the final season.
Yes, I’m afraid we have a “real life” Leslie Knope in our midst.
I will not be commenting on social media to the continued bombardment of lies Lisa Whalen’s campaign is fabricating against my mayoral campaign except to point people to this post:
I exposed the fact last year that Whalen’s campaign in 2014 had her campaign expenses invoiced to the Westonka school district. I have the invoice from 2014 that was sent to me in 2019 as I was investigating illegal campaign contributions to her campaign. A lawsuit was filed which I won.
Now, four years after the transaction and voting has begun for the mayoral election, Whalen’s campaign is claiming I’ve made false statements, along with the Superintendent of Westonka Schools who has chosen to refuse my request to meet with him to show the evidence.
This could all be cleared up if the printing company involved would produce a corrected invoice showing the transaction was corrected as Whalen’s campaign claims. I have asked for an electronic version of a corrected invoice to verify authenticity but it has not been provided. It doesn’t exist.
Subpoenaed emails during Whalen’s trial for participating in an illegal campaign financing scheme turned up an email showing the printer attached the invoice in question and sent it to the treasurer of YesWestonka (a political committee advocating for the $22M school bond referendum) and it was subsequently paid by Lisa Whalen’s campaign committee (Our Minnetrista/Minnetrista 411) on November 3, 2014. *Note: Many of the same individuals involved in YesWestonka were also active members of the Our Minnetrista political committee.
Minnetrista 411 was the same organization as Our Minnetrista with a different role in Whalen’s campaign. It was created to do the negative campaigning as the artwork shows below. The same leader of Our Minnetrista (David Kolb, the city’s ex-police chief) was the leader of Minnetrista 411 and his wife, court records show, was Minnetrista 411’s treasurer.
6. The artwork above is the piece associated with the Westonka School District invoice shown below.
I sent the following email to the Superintendent of Westonka Schools after he refused to meet with me:
I have been targeted by this group of people called “Our Minnetrista/Minnetrista 411” because I have exposed their illegal activities and they were all sanctioned in the lawsuit subsequently referred to as “Minnetristagate” by the Center of the American Experiment in their coverage of it. The three judge panel said in the final judgement that Lisa Whalen and her campaign committee had “corrupted the political process” in Minnetrista. She is at it again attempting to discredit the person that exposed her and her illegal activities for which she was fined.
Minnetrista voters will ultimately be the judge of allowing a corrupt political machine to control the millions of dollars that flow through our city each year or if they want accountability and integrity in our city government.
When hiring a schill to spread lies about your Mayoral opponent it’s probably best to find one with some intelligence and a good memory for keeping track of all those pesky details in the web of deceptions being spun.
Take, for instance, this paragraph posted on Facebook by Mayor Whalen’s hired gun yesterday:
The backstory: The Lisa Whalen mayoral campaign in 2014 had campaign materials invoiced to the Westonka School District in an effort, presumably, to avoid paying sales tax and take advantage of the school’s discount with the printer, or perhaps their postal rates. It was all handled under the table, quietly paid by her campaign and no one thought anyone would ever know. Until four years later when Whalen was brought up before a judge for an illegal campaign financing scheme.
The three judge panel in that case, which she lost, said she and her campaign committee had “corrupted the political process.” Now she’s at it again.
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.
The politicization of the Minnetrista city council meetings are in full swing. Mayor Whalen, in an unprecedented breech of civil decorum, decided to turn the February 18
council meeting into a political attack on her opponent for the Minnetrista mayoral seat by reading a personal blog post outlining why the Minnetrista 2020 election is important.Yes, this was at a public council meeting, paid for by taxpayers, to attack a political opponent. I’m not making this up.
First, I should thank the mayor for sharing the blog post and giving it more visibility. The fact our city is being run by outside interests is real. What is more disturbing, however, is how anyone expressing an opinion that differs from those outside interests is targeted.
These past months I’ve had personal social media accounts disabled twice because of pressure from these interests that donated to the mayor’s previous election campaign. I’ve had to fight battles to have official minutes reflect what actually occurred instead of what these interests wanted in the public record. Outright blatant lies have been circulated in the community alleging illegal campaign contributions on my part that never happened. I’m sure there is more to come.
It appeared the most troubling aspect of the post, to the mayor, was about “instilling a service-oriented culture” at city hall. Apparently she doesn’t feel a need to address that and didn’t like hearing that people in the community do.
I’ve always tried to “leave my stuff at the door” when I attend council meetings. Council meetings are for getting the work of the city done, not to intimidate or shame those you disagree with. Using a public forum, paid for by taxpayers, is an inappropriate venue to wage political warfare. But apparently not in Minnetrista.
The thought police are working overtime in Minnetrista. There is a group opposed to my candidacy that knows the only means to maintain their taxing authority is to silence those that reveal conflicts of interest, corruption, and illegal campaign practices in Minnetrista.
I awoke this morning to see that my account on Nextdoor.com was disabled after sharing the latest Minnetrista Governance Blog (MGB) post about Minnetrista being run by outside interests at the expense of residents. The post didn’t mention my candidacy for Mayor, any other candidates for public office, or even any public officials. It was simply a post to create awareness of how important it is for residents to pay attention to what’s going on in their community.
The Nextdoor.com neighborhood “lead” made a public post yesterday threatening to ban anyone making political posts and then promptly disabled my account. They removed the MGB post mentioned above as well as an earlier one correcting Mayor Whalen’s fuzzy math about tax levy increases.
Nextdoor.com’s guidelines actually say that local political posts are allowed on the main newsfeed as long as they’re civil, which they were. I’ve found most of the uncivil comments in the past have come from individuals affiliated with this group. Maybe Nextdoor.com should give us all a list of topics that don’t upset them.
We should all be grateful the Minnetrista thought police don’t control WordPress or Facebook.
I’ve been meeting with residents in Minnetrista neighborhoods over the last several weeks and invariably someone always asks “What’s so important about this year’s city election?” The answer: Outside interests are running the city and none of them live or pay taxes here in Minnetrista. Outside consultants, contractors, vendors and organizations put pressure on the council to serve their interests ahead of yours. Consequently, taxes go up every year and will continue at an even faster pace going forward. We are growing and have important decisions coming up next year that impact your property rights, taxes, fees and freedoms.
I am also hearing from residents frustrated in their dealings with the city as they seek permits, variances, or access to information. Rather than having an excellent experience they often leave irritated and angry. Instilling a service oriented culture at city hall is important for residents to be treated with respect and for staff to understand their purpose is to serve the community. Unlike private sector businesses that know their survival depends on treating customers well, public sector organizations can become complacent knowing their “customer” has nowhere else to go.
The November election in Minnetrista is of paramount importance to every Minnetrista resident. Unlike the national elections where partisan politics divide the country, every Minnetrista resident can agree that outside interests should not continue running our city and public servants should treat residents with the respect they deserve.
Mayor Whalen states on her new blog “When determining our levy one of the things we look at is growth. The County Assessor estimated that we saw a 2.0% – 2.5% overall new home growth. If you subtract that from the final levy increase (over 2019) of 5.66% it leaves an increase of approximately 3.2%-3.7%”
That’s assuming, incorrectly, that for every percent in growth the city needs a 1:1 ratio increasing the tax levy. That’s simply not true. First, the 2-2.5% referenced here is the increase in the city’s total market valuation from new homes, not the number of new homes built. That could be a very small number of expensive homes or a lot of inexpensive homes. There is no correlation between market valuation increases and a need for higher taxes.
The tax levy should only be increased because of increased costs (plus inflation) due to growth, not simply because of market valuation increases. Theoretically you could have one home built that accounts for the entire 2% growth…which wouldn’t justify any tax levy increase at all. I’m not implying that is the case, just using an example that makes the point.