23 June 2009

Minneapolis; Fools Rush in

As Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak coyly pretends to be governor without actually declaring his candidacy, his favorite pastime is harpooning the current, ACTUAL governor, Tim Pawlenty. Rybak's most cronic whine is over state cuts in payments to cities. "Woe is us," he cries, "That mean, old Governor Pawlenty doesn't like me and now we have no more money; I guess we'll have to shed policemen and fire fighters."

Of course, going first to public safety for budget cuts is the height of irresponiblity and indicitive of horseshit priorities of Rybak and the rest council of stoodges. Or, by chance, are you a residnet of that city and consume the manure Rybak feeds you? If so, eat some of this:
$5.3 million for a “green roof” on the Target Center, which will take 20 years to be cost effective, and even then will only be “slightly cheaper”. A conventional roof would have cost $2 million. The city is still paying off bonds issued to purchase the arena in 1995. They also spent $460,000 on a green roof for the city hall.

$2 million of so-called federal “stimulus” money will be spent on the Shubert Theater in downtown Minneapolis. The theater project received 100 percent of what it asked for and will allegedly create 41 permanent jobs. In contrast, another Minneapolis project promising 360 jobs received less than 25 percent of what it requested.

$1.746 million over the next five years will be spent on “art in public places,” which, according to the city, “integrates public art into the City’s capital projects.”

$250,000 for a bicycle sharing program at the convention center (which itself is sucking taxpayer money at an incredible rate. The center’s budget increased 13.1 percent from 2008 to 2009).

$100,000 to launch a public outreach effort relating to the 2010 Census. Will ACORN be involved?

$100,000 for “Youth Are Here” buses. $1.5 million for “improving the pedestrian environment” around the taxpayer-funded Twins stadium.

$700,000 for a Central Corridor light rail transit study. At this point, the Minneapolis to St. Paul light rail may be the most studied project in state history.

$40,000 for a bike rack program.

$500,000 to fix traffic problems created by the Hiawatha light rail line and anticipated problems created by the Central Corridor line.

$5.7 million to study re-opening Nicollet Avenue to traffic thru Lake Street, which the city closed off in the 1970s. What other city projects are they going to have to reverse?

City officials have OK’d 10 “artist-designed” water fountains, at a cost of $50,000 each. They city could have purchased ordinary fountains for about $6,000 apiece. Total cost: $500,000. The city has also awarded a $180,000 contract for a marketing campaign on behalf of city water. And, the city hired a consultant ($50,000) to develop a strategy for approaching suburbs about using more city water. Half the cost is funded through bonding, half through water fees.

In January of 2006, City of Minneapolis set aside $300,000 to study the feasibility of building trolleys within the city. "We're looking to add more energy to our main streets," Mayor Rybak said. ($300,000 would add a lot of cops to the city’s main streets, would it not?)

City of Minneapolis agreed to a $900,000 legal settlement for the Park and Rec Board’s failed attempt to develop a 26,000 sq. ft. skateboard park. Prior to the settlement, the Park and Rec Board spent $780,000 to acquire the building for the proposed complex, $95,000 to move a nearby roadway and $1.1 million to acquire adjacent properties.

In November of 2006, the StarTribune reported that the city of Minneapolis spent $410,000 investigating allegations of sexual harassment against Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek. Not long after being hailed as the first lesbian fire chief, she was on paid administrative leave for nearly nine months, and then in December, demoted to Captain – in charge of no one. Allegations included sexual harassment, affairs with married women and “naked hottubbing."

If you’re looking for Minnesota’s first true cable suspension bridge, look no further than the 2,200-foot Martin Olav Sabo Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge. Former Congressman Sabo – who secured the federal earmark - declared the bridge “something we as a region should be striving to do more of.” Yes, if we as a region should be wasting money building glorious multi-million dollar bridges for bicyclists. Most taxpayers would say government should be striving for enhanced public safety and lower taxes.

In 2003, the City of Minneapolis paid more than $8 million to downtown landowners who claimed to have lost money after negotiations failed to bring a glass-domed shopping center to Nicollet Mall in the 1980s. (Source: Star Tribune 8/15/3)

In 2000, the City of Minneapolis paid its largest settlement ever, $8.75 million, to American Iron and Supply Company over the construction of an enclosed metal shredder near the Mississippi River.

$325,000 From September 2007: 4.7 million dollars of business financing tools, including for ”alternative financing loans with no interest to business owners whose religious beliefs restrict them from receiving traditional interest-based financing."

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