News

  • Personal Care Attendants Seeking to Decertify their Union went to Court October 27

    Personal Care Attendant (“PCA”) Kris Greene and other PCAs supporting decertification of the SEIU-Healthcare Union were granted a hearing before Judge Robert Awsumb in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday, October 27, 2016.  They were represented by Attorney Douglas P. Seaton.

    The Judge heard the Minnesota PCA’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order to force the Department of Human Services (“DHS”), the Bureau of Mediation Services (“BMS”) and Minnesota Management & Budget (“MMB”) to

    (1) provide a current list of PCAs in the state bargaining unit;

    (2) provide more time for Election Card Authorization collection; and

    (3) suspend premature SEIU/State negotiations for a new contract.

    These steps are essential so that PCAs can gain control over their lives again by pursuing the legal election process to decertify (remove) SEIU-Healthcare as the exclusive representative of more than 15,000 home-based PCAs in the “bargaining unit.”

  • Voter Info - Candidates for Edina City Council Answer Questions

    Edinalogo.jpgFour candidates are vying for two “At Large” seats in the race for Edina City Council.

    To learn more about them and how they stand on some of the current issues facing the city, we asked the candidates to answer a few questions and to add any other comments they felt would help us to better understand how they would serve on the City Council.
    To read the full text of our questions, CLICK HERE.

    By our deadline, three of the four candidates provided responses. They are presented in alphabetical order of their last name.

    Mary Brindle (an incumbent seeking a third term) – did not respond

    Donna Callender CLICK HERE to read her responses.

    Mike Fischer CLICK HERE to read his responses.

    Jennifer Janovy CLICK HERE to read her responses

  • Donna Callender - Candidate for Edina City Council

    Donna Callender, Candidate for Edina City Council, responded to our questions.

    1.       Briefly highlight why you feel you would be the best candidate for City Council.

    I am a process person.  I think that if you try to grow something in a dysfunctional process, you will end up with a dysfunctional result. To me, a properly functioning government system communicates openly with residents, embraces ethical behavior with an ethics code, and acts an agent of the residents, not as an agent for businesses.    I grew up mostly in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the home of Jefferson, Madison, George Mason, and George Washington, etc.  I value the country's Framers and their thoughts on American government, and I don't mind quoting them.  I do not allow bullies to stifle discussion, but I do try to work effectively with everyone, with the proviso that integrity is a respected value.  This is my first political campaign, but I learn quickly and the taxpayers are my first priority.

    2.      City of Edina policies have promoted greater population density in the community, especially in the Southdale area.  This appears to be supportive of the Met Council's plan for greater availability of low-income housing.  Increasing population density is already putting pressure on class sizes and school system resources in Edina.  Do you support promoting greater housing density and greater availability of low-income housing in Edina? Where should it go within the city?  How would you deal with the impacts on Edina schools?

    I constantly hear that we have to have monster houses because of density:  "The only way we have to go is UP."  That means to me that our density has reached unwanted levels already.  I am a fan of affordable housing, but I disagree with artificial window-dressing that puts a few units in a community to appear "sensitive."  So, no, I don't support more housing density.  I support intelligent development, housing or business, that retains what makes Edina, Edina.  I would try my best to avoid negative impacts on Edina schools by, always, ensuring that the schools have the resources to remain excellent and adaptable.

  • Mike Fischer - Candidate for Edina City Council

    Mike Fischer, Candidate for Edina City Council, responded to our questions.

    1. Briefly highlight why you feel you would be the best candidate for City Council.

    Expertise

    • 30 years of architecture, city planning and real estate development expertise helping communities of all sizes throughout the United States evolve through comprehensive planning and visioning processes
    • Master Degrees in Real Estate Development and City Planning with an emphasis in Urban Design from MIT
    • Leadership courses at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
    • Bush Fellowship Award Recipient
    • One of four architects in the Country to receive the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Young Architect Citation in 1997
    • Recognized throughout the Midwest for leadership in sustainable design
    • Co-Chair of the AIA Minnesota Council of Firms

    Experience in Edina

    • Edina Planning Commission from 2004 to 2013, including two years as Chair
    • Edina Housing Task Force in 2005/2006
    • Zoning Board of Appeals 2004 to 2013
    • Comprehensive Plan Task Force from 2006 to 2008
    • Greater Southdale Area Land Use and Transportation Study in 2004/2005
    • Local Traffic Task Force in 2002/2003
    • 12 years coaching 31 girls and boys sports teams in Edina
    • 7 years volunteering in the Edina middle school and high school theater programs
    • Member – Our Lady of Grace. Served on a strategic planning committee, leadership teams for several Men’s retreats, and a current member of the OLG Men’s club.

    Excellence

    Edina is about excellence.  We have solid infrastructure with well-maintained streets, beautiful parks, livable neighborhoods, quality healthcare with fast emergency response times, and a desirable business environment with clean government.

    We accomplished all of this because we have had a tradition of strong leaders willing to be visionary, yet practical when it comes to spending our tax dollars.  I have the leadership skills to carry on this tradition of excellence in Edina.

    2.  City of Edina policies have promoted greater population density in the community, especially in the Southdale area.  This appears to be supportive of the Met Council's plan for greater availability of low-income housing.  Increasing population density is already putting pressure on class sizes and school system resources in Edina.  Do you support promoting greater housing density and greater availability of low-income housing in Edina? Where should it go within the city?  How would you deal with the impacts on Edina schools?

    I am supportive of the Edina Affordable Housing Policy which took effect on November 1, 2015.  This policy does not meet the goals currently required by the Met Council, but is a reasonable compromise given the challenge we have with high property values.  I do believe it is important to provide housing opportunities for all members of our community.  We want to have opportunities for our teachers, police officers and other essential members of our community (not to mention our own children) to live here. 

    The Greater Southdale Area — which is about the size of downtown Minneapolis — has been constantly evolving since the mall was built in the late 1950’s.  It will continue to do so whether we want it to or not; the questions is whether we will be involved in pro-actively shaping that or will merely react parcel-by-parcel to the inevitable redevelopment proposals that are made by property owners.  Pentagon Park, Grand View and the Cahill industrial park are also likely to change over the next several decades, providing opportunities for new development including housing.

    Changes in our population (now over 50,000) will affect our schools, which is why I believe very strongly that we need to eliminate the silos between the City and our school districts.  I have experience building bridges with school districts and would welcome the opportunity here in Edina.

  • Jennifer Janovy - Candidate for Edina City Council

    Jennifer Janovy, Candidate for Edina City Council, responded to our questions.

    1. Briefly highlight why you feel you would be the best candidate for City Council.

    This is an important time for Edina. The Edina community is incredibly strong, but our City government does not well enough reflect the intelligence, professionalism, and spirit of this great community. I believe that it can.

    At this important juncture, we need a Council member with my experience and values — someone who will listen to you, work with you, and retain the independence and character to continue to be an advocate for residents and good city governance.

    I am someone who believes that it is important to set goals and that it is always possible to improve.  In that spirit, here are a few goals, and improvements I will work to make happen if elected:

    • Leadership — Leading from the community up rather than from the City Council down. City government works best when citizens have a voice and authentic opportunities to participate.

    • Budgeting and capital spending — I will seek to establish an independent Citizens Finance Committee, putting more eyes on the City budget and spending, improving financial transparency, and utilizing the financial expertise of Edina residents to ensure that the City budget and capital spending reflect community priorities and provide for a well-run city.

    • Redevelopment that enhances Edina's brand — high-quality, timeless architecture amid a vibrant and sophisticated public realm; residential redevelopment that preserves our neighborhoods, trees and green space. 

    • City Council policies and processes — I will work to get a City Council ethics and conflict of interest policy adopted and to improve all City Council policies and processes with the aim of increasing accountability and transparency. 

    • Traffic, transportation infrastructure and funding — A neighborhood traffic concern is what first got me involved in city issues 14 years ago. From that grew a passion for both transportation and serving our community. I will work for continued improvement in our approaches to neighborhood traffic, providing for changing travel modes, and the design, implementation and funding of transportation infrastructure. 

    • Preservation of public assets — I will prioritize preservation of mature trees and restoration of natural areas, improvements to parks, park shelters, and trails, and attention to public infrastructure to ensure that Edina is not only a great place to live today, but also has a solid foundation for the future.

    As your City Council member, I will advance a shared vision, stand for shared values, and give you a voice at City Hall. I respectfully ask for your consideration and vote. Thank you.

    2. City of Edina policies have promoted greater population density in the community, especially in the Southdale area.  This appears to be supportive of the Met Council's plan for greater availability of low-income housing.  Increasing population density is already putting pressure on class sizes and school system resources in Edina.  Do you support promoting greater housing density and greater availability of low-income housing in Edina? Where should it go within the city?  How would you deal with the impacts on Edina schools?

    According to census.gov, Edina’s population increased 4.6% between 2010 and 2015, going from 47,941 residents to 50,138 residents (+2,197 residents).

    As of 2015, Edina had exceeded the population projection for 2030 as stated in the 2008 Comprehensive Plan (50,000).

    According to the September 2016 issue of the City publication Edition: Edina, 466 multifamily residential units have been constructed in the past 12 months, 576 are in progress, and 1,164 have been approved or have filed for approval or sketch plan review—for a total of 2,206 new multifamily residential units, most in the greater Southdale area.

    With the addition of these units, the number of households in Edina will exceed the Comp Plan’s 2030 projection.  

    The Comp Plan sets a goal of adding 212 affordable units between 2011 and 2020. Excluding any naturally occurring affordable housing, the City has added few affordable units to date, and only two of the proposed developments in the September 2016 issue of Edina: Edina reference affordable units.

    Last year, the City Council adopted an affordable housing policy.  I objected to this policy on the basis that it was not sustainable and that it would likely lead to developer incentives/concessions in exchange for a small number of temporarily affordable units (15 years). Further, it seems likely that TIF will be used to further affordable housing goals.

          Response to Q2 continues below.

  • Questions For Edina City Council Candidates

    Here’s the full text of the questions we sent to the Edina City Council Candidates.

    1. Briefly highlight why you feel you would be the best candidate for City Council.

    2. City of Edina policies have promoted greater population density in the community, especially in the Southdale area.  This appears to be supportive of the Met Council's plan for greater availability of low-income housing.  Increasing population density is already putting pressure on class sizes and school system resources in Edina.  Do you support promoting greater housing density and greater availability of low-income housing in Edina? Where should it go within the city?  How would you deal with the impacts on Edina schools?

    3.  Should Edina’s city government continue to grow at a pace greater than the cost of living?  How would you constrain the growth of the Edina city government? 

    4.  Do you or any member of your immediate family work with or for companies doing business with Edina?  If yes, how will you avoid a potential conflict of interest?

    5.  Feel free to add any other comments that you feel would be of value in helping us to better understand how you would serve on the City Council.

  • Court Hears Bloomington Organized Trash Charter Change Case

    Representatives of the people of Bloomington who want a vote on “organized trash” in the city were back in court on October 17.  A Hennepin County judge held a hearing on the lawsuit they filed when the city rejected their latest petition. 

    While the city claimed that it would be “manifestly unconstitutional” to amend the city charter along the lines sought by the residents, the petition was actually in line with the earlier findings of a Hennepin County judge. It sought to amend the city’s charter to require a vote of Bloomington residents before restrictions could be imposed by the city on open competition in trash collection.

    In the October 17 hearing, the judge made clear that he understood the issue being contested by the lawsuit and had fully read the briefing material submitted by both sides.  Both sides were asked to present what they thought were the most pertinent facts in their favor.  The judge has up to 90 days to issue his ruling on the lawsuit.

  • Voting Case Heard by Ramsey County District Court

    MVA_logo.jpgOn September 28, 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that it would NOT take original jurisdiction over a petition from the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) to stop known ineligible persons from continuing to vote in Minnesota elections. 

    This meant that the case needed to first be heard by a District Court, and that process began last week, on October 13.

    The MVA complaint alleges that the Secretary of State wrongfully directs election judges to permit known ineligible persons to vote such as non-citizens, convicted felons and vulnerable persons found by a court to be mentally incompetent to vote, as long as they swear they are eligible.

  • Bloomington Forums Give Insights Into Candidates

    Republican candidates for Senate District 49, House District 49B, and the Republican incumbent in House District 50B responded to voters questions at the well-attended League of Women Voters forum on October 4.

    49 Senate candidate Mike Lehmann emphasized the need for responsible government spending and to make the state more business friendly

    49B House candidate Max Rymer stressed his intent to push efforts to improve problem solving in state government and to provide critical help to struggling people while empowering them to help themselves.

    50B incumbent House member Chad Anderson pointed out that the promises for MNsure are not being met.  The problems are so significant that we need to start over in addressing health insurance needs in Minnesota.

    To watch and  listen to our candidates as they addressed the forums, click on the following links for

     the Bloomington LWV Forum on October 4

    and

    the Bloomington PTSA on October 3 (introduction is about 2 minutes into recording, sound quality improves a lot a bit later).

  • Strong Turnout for District 49B Lit Drop

    49B_October_Lit_Drop2.jpgAt least 40 volunteers came forward to support the campaign literature drop in House District 49B on October 15 and 16.  As a result, literature for President and Vice President candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence, U.S. Congressman Erik Paulsen, MN Senate candidate Mike Lehmann, MN House candidate Max Robinson, and Hennepin County Commissioner candidate Maureen Scallen-Failor was delivered to over 2000 addresses.  In addition, a sample ballot with Republican-endorsed or recommended candidates was also distributed.  

    Candidates Mike Lehmann and Max Rymer expressed their appreciation for the wonderful turnout.