I was forwarded a copy of Mr. Citizen Bob's questions posted on this list. I am happy to respond to the questions. I've included the questions so it is easier to follow.
1) When you ran against John Derus, you were proposing a 10-year limit on service as County Commissioner (Star Tribune, Feb 29, 1992, Metro section, Steve Brandt, reporter). It has been 10 years since you took office. How and why has your position changed on term limits? Yes, I supported term limits and campaign finance reform for local offices. Shortly after I was elected I authored a County Board resolution to limit County Commissioner terms to 3 terms or 10 years. The term limit provision failed 1-6 in Committee. I was the only vote in favor of it. Since then, term limits have not held much popular support at any level as far as I can tell---with the possible exception of Governor Ventura. I self imposed contribution limits when I first ran and following the election, then-State Senator Bill Luther in part used my limits to craft the limits that are now law. 2) With a $34 million shortfall in the County's operating budget, how could Hennepin participate in a public financing stadium deal? Is it the right thing to do at this point? This question is both inaccurate and compares apples to oranges. The County Adminstrator's proposed budget is $1.7 billion. That's an increase over 2002's adopted budget of $1.65 billion. So, there is not now and will not be an operating shortfall. We may see less assistance from the state in some areas, but we will manage through it by either trimming costs and/or adding revenues from fees or property taxes. In short, we will adopt a 2003 budget that will not see Draconian cuts in any program and will include only a modest property tax increase---by far, the least of any Metro county. As for the ballpark, I continue to believe the Twins are an asset worth preserving in Hennepin County. Great counties have great attractions (theaters, museums, streets, libraries and sports venues). We have assisted in one manner or another in all on that list. If the team and the private sector can demonstrate their commitment to contributing real money to a new ballpark, a local unit of government needs to lead. That is what the County Board has proposed and I will continue to support and lead. And if we are successful, we will participate with user fees and proximity revenues as much as the legislature will allow. We will not use property taxes. As a side note, Mayor Rybak and the City Council are supportive of our efforts and we appreciate that. 3) You have been noted in the Star Tribune as wanting to give the County Board a higher profile in civic affairs. What have you done in the last 10 years to start along this road? Thanks for asking. A few are listed below: 1993 -Authored resolution that created the County's Domestic Abuse Service Center so victims would no longer have to wander through the Government Center trying to get help; 1994 -Authored resolution to create the now nationally recognized Productive Day program at the Workhouse which prioritizes building a work habit in inmates, rather than merely wharehousing them; -Co-Founded Highway 100 Council to get long-overdue upgrades to the worst stretch of congested roadway in the inner ring suburbs; 1995 -Co-authored resolution that designated Humboldt and Midtown as a Community Works projects and made funding possible; 1996 -Co-authored resolution to build a more compact jail, reducing the capital costs by almost $60 million; 1997 -Delivered a plan for the Humboldt Greenway that was embraced by the community; -Intervened to restart planning for the Brooklyn Boulevard's reconstruction after it had been indefinitely postponed by the Brooklyn Center City Council; -Made the County's out-of-home placement costs a front page story (A1 Star Tribune article, 10/20/97); 1998 -Authored the resolution that directed a work group to develop specific recommendations to improve Out-of-Home Placement process for kids under the County's control and to reduce expenditures; participated in work group discussions; recommendations were implemented, resulting in a $2 million savings for 1998; -Secured $7 million in state bonding support for the Humboldt Greenway; -Secured $3 million is federal support for Humboldt (Thank you Congressman Sabo!) 1999 -Wrote a commentary reacting to the Star Tribune's misleading coverage of welfare reform: http://www.co.hennepin.mn.us/countyboard/district1/publications/beywelfare.htm -Authored 1999 budget amendment that created the County's Road Enhancement Policy-capturing $3 million from the sale of County assets to enhance the safety and aesthetics of older County Roads; -Created the Northwest Corridor Partnership http://www.northwestcorridor.org/ to coordinate the redevelopment of County Road 81 2000 -Started construction on Phase 1 of the Humboldt Greenway; -Started Highway 100 improvements with a new interchange at 36th Ave. North See the completed work: http://www.co.hennepin.mn.us/countyboard/district1/roadways/welcome.html -Worked with Commissioners Dorfman, McLaughlin, and Stenglein on the creation of the County's Affordable Housing Incentive Fund. By the end of 2002, we will have committed more than $10 million to the fund from County sources. 2001 -Authored budget amendment that added to major segments of Couty Road 81 to the County's 5-year Capital budget -Led effort to re-bid the Brookdale Library project to get it within the authorized budget, without reducing the scope of improvements 2002 -Celebrated the ground-breaking for the renovation of Shingle Creek Towers, an affordable housing project awarded money from the County AHIF. -Started construction on Phase 2 of the Humboldt Greenway(Thank you Congressman Sabo!); -Secured $20 million for a busway along County Road 81 Almost all of the above were new for Hennepin County. My efforts have been designed to offer County assistance to cities (especially the suburbs) rather than onerously tell them our plans and await compliance. Working together advances our profile and allows us to accomplish things we cannot do alone. Members of this list should keep in mind that the suburbs are not staffed up like Minneapolis to watch the County’s every move. We need to remember that by geography and activity, the County has been obscure to too many of our cities. In addition, I am working to raise interest and profile of HCMC, our biggest enterprise. A number of efforts are underway to make HCMC an acronym known throughout the County. 4) The 4 most senior County Board members have been serving for a collective 64 years. How are you going to engage and encourage the next generation of leaders to contribute to County governance? To the first part of the question, so what? To begin with, your math is wrong. The total years of service for all seven members is 72 years. The four most senior members don't come close to 64 years and if you exclude Randy Johnson's 24 years, the rest of the six is 48 years, making your intimation is even more misleading. As for encouraging future generations, I openly share my experience running for office and balancing issues of work and family---like I did with you when you asked me about what it is like to run for office. I work to encourage, recruit and appoint interested people from my district to county advisory committees. And I work with residents and neighborhood leaders every day and encourage public participation. The Humboldt Greenway couldn't have happened without strong community involvement. I am also helping one of my friends and early supporters win a seat on the New Hope City Council. Go Steve Reed! 5) What can be done about the SH 252 corridor which is quickly becoming another bottleneck of traffic. Do you support the Northstar Corridor project? Yes, I support the Northstar Corridor project and a range of transit options. For the record though, the Northstar project is of little relevance to Hennepin's 1st District. It is entirely east of the Mississippi. For people interested in a better transit option more relevant to residents of NW Minneapolis and1st District, the Northwest Corridor busway is being jointly developed by Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council along County Road 81. The Northwest Corridor was the ONLY new transit project that was funded in the 2002 Bonding bill and it didn't happen by accident. As for 252, it is a state highway which crosses but one county road (85th Avenue North). It is truly a problem, but pales in comparison to the nightmare at the Devil's Triangle (my term for the intersections of County Road 81, TH !69 and 85th Avenue North). That intersection(s) is the worst traffic spot in Minnesota according to the State Farm rankings and I am working to get full funding for that fix (the County's share has been funded). Once done, I will work with (hopefully new) Representative Melissa Hortman to get 252 finded inthe state's plans. 6) What are your opinions on the Met Council? Will you support modifying that body to become an elected body? The Met Council has functioned well in the past few years. But it's appointed nature is a conundrum. I would not support making it an elected body unless there were campaign finance rules in the accompanying legislation that made real campaigns possible without special interest money carrying the day. Think about it. The Met Council operates sewers, buses and makes rules about development. They are even more obscure than we are. The current districts are roughly as large as Hennepin County Commissioner districts (165,000 people). To run even a marginal campaign takes $25,000. Who will contribute without the promise state financing. And is it likely that rural legislators will approve such state financing of metro campaigns? I would rather see a Met Council made up of elected officials (state legislators, county and city folks) chosen by some means to represent their areas. But I haven't thought much about how that would happen. 7) Have you signed the pledge to support the Anoka-Hennepin ISD levy proposal (s) this fall? If not, why not? No. And I'm not sure if I will sign it. Anoka-Hennepin is SD #11. It encompases part of Brooklyn Park in my district. It is one of six school districts in my county commissioner district. I follow the issues in #281, my district, and I voted for that referendum last year. But I do not think that any and all referendums should get my kneejerk support. If I have the time to bone up on the specific issues there, I may weigh in. I appreciate the opportunity to get my record in front of the Issues List. If anyone would like to assist me with either my campaign or in my work for the County, please contact me at [EMAIL PROTECTED] _______________________________________ Minneapolis Issues Forum - A Civil City Civic Discussion - Mn E-Democracy Post messages to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Subscribe, Unsubscribe, Digest option, and more: http://e-democracy.org/mpls