Posts Tagged ‘Met Council’


A BEAUTIFUL SATURDAY…clouded with some disturbing thoughts:

August 10, 2013


On July 22, I shared my views of Katherine Kersten’s column in the STRIB regarding the Metropolitan Council and her misguided fantasy of the EVIL lurking in any thought of a regional perspective.

On August 9, I thanked Paul Slack, a local pastor and leader of a group of churches for his comments and for his support of the Met Council in view of Kersten’s editorial.

Today, August 10, an employee of Carmichael Lynch shared his (excellent) perspective on the Met Council as he, too, pointed out the numerous flaws in Kersten’s rationale.

Three different perspectives from three different entities – an individual, a church organization, and a successful business organization- all refute Kersten’s point of view. 

And for that, I feel exonerated! 

Now what do we do about her and the misconstrued and often incorrect “factoids” she spews forth that poison any good conversation on any issue that can only be resolved by openness, listening and coming together of differing perspectives for the common good?

Her continual one-sided insular perspectives often tempt me to respond to her in kind…and that makes me so angry with myself…I have higher expectations of myself than to allow myself to be pulled down into the muck of her self-righteousness unless I remain consistently “On Guard”.  Any good ideas that will stop her in her tracks, pass them on!


Four former REPUBLICAN heads of the Environmental Protection Agency – all serving past Republican presidents over the last 40 years  (1970 to 2003) are appealing to their Republican Party to accept Climate Change.

“Obama’s plan is just a start.  More will be required.  But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet.  The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon.  What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.”

What are the odds, do you think, that this will make any impact on the naysayers?  Unfortunately, I am afraid they are all too busy studying the new (and official) Republican Congressional Recess  script of where to pose for pictures, when to wear a hardhat and which button to push in their brain to generate which allowed response to constituents.


Look it up, it is called “Fighting Washington for All Americans” advisory kit…basically a primer their leaders thought they should have for getting good publicity on break….as well as where and when to allow press to cover what they are doing.

You’ll be surprised at how much advice Republican representatives in the House are getting of how little they should do in public and how much should be done in private – away from their constituents and the general public’s eyes.

So let’s make this a new game for August. Instead of tracking the Press Sightings of the President and his family on vacation, let’s keep an eye on our own Congressional Representatives right here in Minnesota.

 Let’s start at the State Fair.  When you go, count how many times you hear “Every day I serve in Congress, I work to fight Washington.”    That is the suggested slogan for the month of August, by the way.  So, call them out.  Ask them if they can share something original that means something to them personally.  Ask them for specific examples of what they have done or accomplished; ask them to name the successes and the legislation passed to support it.   If you prefer not to challenge them in person, send a note to their local office.  Tell them they were “hired” by the people to represent them, not to represent the Republican publicists.  Share your actions on line and share any responses on line.

Every time you see the phrase “Every day I serve in Congress, I work to fight Washington” on Facebook, Twitter, or your own favorite social media tool; respond the same way. Challenge them!

Every time you see some footage on your favorite TV station and hear “Every day I serve in Congress, Iwork to fight Washington”- call them on it.  Ask them to site examples of how they are doing that; ask them for results they can share; leave the comment on the station’s online page or pages. 

Let’s not let them get away with this manipulation carefully engineered by the Republican Party publicists to cover up the DO NOTHIING Congress that trumps all DO NOTHINGS in US history! 

They’ve returned to their districts pretty cocky; assured by their party, they will recover by repeating the slogan often enough that the American people will buy into believing that “Washington” means Democrats and Obama not Congress and the Administration.  I am, and YOU ARE smarter than that;  and we have a right to expect more.  Call them on it.  Do not let them shift the blame…focus it right back where it belongs on the Republican-led House of Representatives.


This morning, an unruly thought jumped back into my brain…and try as I might, I have not been able to banish it to the “I forgot” bin that things I WANT to remember tend to get lost in.

Why was it ok in 2001 for a Republican president with that stunned look still on his face to start a 12 year+ war against Afghanistan because they granted  asylum to an enemy of the US; thereby multiplying the tragedy of 3000 persons who initially died to some gargantuan number -still not capped off -of additional Americans, friends of America,  Afghans and innocent bystanders …and yet it is not okay for a Democratic President to merely verbally challenge Russia and cancel his planned Summit meeting with Putin for providing a safe harbor for Snowden?

Those of you that cheered as we blundered into Afghanistan are the same ones muttering Obama has set back the progress made with Russia and he should have restrained himself.  Excuse me?

We should not forget, folks, that Afghanistan did not attack the World Trade Center – Osama bin Laden, whose family roots were Yemen with ties to the Saudis, was the culprit. He just went to Afghanistan to hide.

Snowden, on the other hand, whom our federal government has determined was a traitor – no matter what your personal beliefs are on whistleblower vs. traitor-has been granted asylum.  Despite the fact that I think that is pretty good punishment in itself-let’s not kid ourselves that he will stay there or not be heard from again.  

 I am all for a well-thought out careful approach to show our displeasure for the interference.  At least Obama did not send planes and ships of Americans off to die  in a no-win situation from which we still cannot extract ourselves.



August 9, 2013


Good discussion in STRIB this morning on urban density…

We need infrastructure investment in our core cities…sadly lacking through the last half of 20th century as the expansion to the ‘burbs became an excessive experience, and now is finally realized to be unsustainable by the desired limited population base and the great infrastructure demands they have in order to move people back and forth to benefit from the economic and cultural amenities of the core cities.

We spent money on highways and roads to accommodate that; and left the urban center in ill-repair.

That does not mean we are saying NO to  those who want blue sky, green grass , and no neighbors within talking distance….but that all comes with a price.  After 50 years of accommodating the outlanders, the realization has come that there is a price to pay in order to support that.

And yes, although I am absolutely a proponent of this move towards re-urbanization and away from the ‘burbs with big box retail as the “scenery” –all needing massive infrastructure investments in order to support our country’s mass consumption culture, I do hear the issues and agree with some of the complaints of early re-urbanization – which is often lacking in “great” design aesthetics.

But the question I pose is this:  Have any of you commuters looked around at the first and second ring ‘burbs you drive through?

Does anyone remember the song “Little Boxes”…the so “on target” lament of the ‘60s?  Richfield and Bloomington ain’t pretty and inspiring; but they started the movement away from the city.

I may not want to accept that this is inevitable, but I surely hold to the hope that “its people on the streets that set the stage for more demand in the future, and with more demand will come better design.”  


Good  for Reverend Paul Slack , a pastor in Minneapolis and president of Isaiah, a coalition of 100 congregations in the metro area, for his thoughtful  response to Katherine Kersten’s total off-kilter rage and rant against the Met Council.

He did a great job in outlining the need for a Met Council, the discussions and sharing of issues, ideas and potential solutions all the way to Governor’s office. 

Some excellent food for thought from that rebuttal follows:

“To create a future of prosperity, we must come together as a region…the Metropolitan Council has a crucial role to play in providing that leadership.”

“All of us, whether we live in core city neighborhoods or outer suburbs, desire to see a strong region with access to opportunity for all residents.  The Met Council should serve all people of the region, not just municipal agencies, developers or the privileged few.  The council can and should provide strong leadership, in coordination with state agencies, to create a more prosperous racially equitable future.”


Yesterday, coming home from Mill City Museum after a project meeting, I was passing the drycleaners adjacent to the Churchill as a young man was exiting.  He gave me a big smile – said “I know you – I am Luke, from Plan-It Hennepin.” WOW!  Not only was I envious of his memory and recall, I was just plain impressed.  Luke was one of the team that gave such insight and perspective from the “next generation”  perspective on a project you have heard me speak about often- a project that opened my eyes to better ways of doing things and accomplishing dreams in the world of revitalization.

As I headed home, I had a smile on my face because of Luke, his recognition of me, his enthusiasm, and what that group taught me. 

Just last week, I had a similar experience with U of MN students from an urban design class doing a visioning project at the Public Housing block on 4th and Hennepin.  I came home from that so energized and inspired-and envious of the things they are going to get accomplished in the upcoming years.

What a different perspective from another project I have found myself in the midst of – one that I almost passed on because I KNEW BETTER-all instincts told me not to go there, but my passion for revitalization clouded my good judgment.   And despite the presence of one recent U of MN grad student in the mix – far too many of the voices are a bit too invested in another time.  So, as usual, that over-responsible part of me is obsessing about it…what am I doing wrong; what can I do differently; how can we get this to work so the group can succeed and meet their goals in spite of themselves?  So instead of fun,  this has become a chore – one that I will do the best I can on; but one that little voice inside keeps whispering “I told you so-you are not going to win on this”. 

A couple days ago, another “next generation” person was my teller at the bank – he asked a question after the transaction was complete, that I think was an informal survey of some sort…he asked me what I would like to do if I had all the money in the world, and all the time and resources; I responded I would do exactly what I was doing now – helping people achieve their dreams through event design.  I absolutely surprised him, and a second teller joined the conversation as I explained that after a successful career in the business world, I exited it, started my own one-person business with no responsibility to any employees ever again and have spent the last 20 years doing something I love that helps others do what they love.

Walking home from the bank, it occurred to me that sometimes what I love and what the client loves do not mesh, and that may, indeed, be the scenario I am facing now.

That does not quiet the “Doubting Thomas” buried within, on this latest “another fine mess I have gotten myself into” but it does point out, if I am not perceived as a help, then there may be no “win” for me this time around because it is their vision and their responsibility whether the latest plan for revitalization is implemented or not.  Time will tell; this is a tough one.   I just have to remind myself- it is THEIR choice.  They will get a traditional 10% success rate without me; if they do not have the understanding , resources,  time or will to do more to improve that to 65-90%, it’s okay. 

Now to see what wins…my brain or  that always questioning voice within!  Either way, truth be told; I am fine with it – as I have once again, already given the total hours   upon which the fee was based to the effort; if I am saved 200-250 more hours of FREE time, that might be a good thing.