On March 13, the Maplewood City Council voted to suspend and terminate resident public comment which they call “Visitor Presentations” from the council’s meeting agenda for the next three months, while they decide “how they want to engage with the public.” This extremely disappointing action on their part serves to limit ordinary people’s engagement in the city council meeting process. Further, it eliminates the ability of others, watching the meeting, to hear what comments, concerns, opinions and suggestions that others in the community are communicating to the council.
The Maplewood council and City Manager Melinda Coleman suggest the community conversation aspect of public comment is outdated in this day of technology, Facebook, Twitter and email. Residents of any community have the most impact upon their government at the local, municipal level. Where is the sense of community and community conversation if we, the people, are relegated to tweeting our message of roughly 140 characters as we attempt to engage our elected officials and participate in the local governance process? Sounds like they are taking their cues from certain folks at the federal level of government.
- Diana Longrie, Maplewood Resident and Business Owner. The writer is a former mayor of Maplewood.
via Sainted and Tainted: Celebrating birthdays, and a gift for the future – Twin Cities.
Getting Down to Work – Minnesota Philanthropy Partners.
Click on the article title (blue) to read about a Job Creation Loan Fund as well as an initiative where people can invest in their local small businesses starting with as little as $20.00 in a Community Investment Note. Both initiatives would make for excellent discussion material for the Housing & Economic Development Commission and the Maplewood City Council. To my knowledge, no one at City Hall has explored this idea for encouraging private investment to spur Maplewood economic development through job creation.
Local businessman cheers eminent domain reform – Twin Cities Daily PlanetTwin Cities Daily Planet.
Diana Longrie testified at the MN State Legislature in support of the eminent domain reforms to better protect private property rights when the government seeks to take somebody’s private property (residential or commercial) for a public purpose. In 2006, the Hmong Legacy Funeral Home in the Gladstone neighborhood of Maplewood was in the crosshairs of a potential eminent domain action.
Roselawn Park & Preserve
On April 25, 2015, I joined some of my neighbors to clean up the neighborhood preserve near us – the Roselawn Park and Preserve.
Roselawn Park and Preserve Clean-Up April 25, 2015
Sorry, you can’t see them, but there were ducks on the pond while the clean-up proceeded.
This is the same park and preserve the neighborhood saved from high density development a few years back.
Rumor has it the developer may still be pursuing development efforts for this City property. Any park, any public preserve, no matter how small or large should be sold for development. Once our public green space is gone, it’s gone.
Cleaning up the pond.
Residents who live close to Roselawn Park and Preserve regularly spot wildlife in the woods and grassland or near the pond all year long
- Besides trash, a mattress was removed from the preserve. I found and removed a 2′ x 2′ patch of indoor/outdoor carpet from near the pond.
- My first “selfie”!
- Snail Shells from the pond.
Civic Caucus interview with Michael Hicks, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, and Professor of Economics at Ball State University.
Excerpts from interview that I found most interesting regarding A.) business relocation efforts and B.) how people select where to live:
A.) “Tax incentives have little effect on business relocation. . . . Research says there is little effect of these tax incentives. Instead, the research suggests four things:
(1) Many state incentives are really just part of the tax system and everybody gets them. These non-discretionary credits seem to work better than those offered through a political process to firms.
(2) Firms who receive discretionary credits appear to offer a more optimistic assessment of job creation than those who lose out on the bidding for these credits. This means the credits are likely going to the wrong businesses.
(3) There is little evidence that these credits play a large role in economic growth. Most studies find some effect, but the cost per job is often astonishing…..
(4) Discretionary tax credits are really a symptom of a poor tax climate and credits simply shift the cost of government to existing, and presumably successful, businesses.
“As long as voters are going to reward the talk of commercial development by our leaders, they’re going to think that incentives matter,” Hicks continued.”
B.) “[Household] migration has been slowing steadily for the last generation. . . . The communities that have done best have responded to what households are looking for. People tend to value schools enormously, recreational amenities and safety. . . .The amenity aspect is really driving location decisions.”
Thank you to all who went out to vote in the Primary Election. My pledge to the residents of Maplewood is to put the people of Maplewood first . . . before partisan demands and to implement innovative and workable solutions in a professional, balanced, thoughtful manner.