Sun Post Local News for Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale Minnesota Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:55:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Our viewpoint: Second term will be Franken’s time to shine in Senate Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:55:37 +0000 If Minnesotans in 2009 were expecting Al Franken to arrive in Washington, D.C., as a bombastic elected official wanting to turn the U.S. Senate into a comedy hall, they were clearly mistaken. Instead, Sen. Al Franken became a low-key, out-of-the-limelight senator who quietly went about his business of serving Minnesota.

With the narrowest of victories secured in a long and bitter recount with former Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota’s junior senator had little political capital to spend. Franken, who had made his mark as a television comedian, book author and radio political commentator, buckled down to business and stayed clear of a national media certainly hungry to feed on his celebrity.

Now six years later, Sen. Franken faces re-election on Nov. 4 and is challenged by Republican Mike McFadden and Steve Carlson, who won the Independence Party primary but has been disavowed by the party. We have followed Franken closely during his term and believe he deserves to continue his service to the state and nation.

Campaign rhetoric is one thing; getting results in Washington is something else. Franken has been repeatedly challenged by McFadden for voting with President Obama 97 percent of the time. It is also evident that Franken has made a determined effort to work across party lines and achieve bipartisan agreements.

An examination of Franken’s work reflects bipartisan efforts that have produced results. It was Franken’s provision in the 2010 health reform bill (the 80/20 rule) that required insurers to spend at least 80 percent on actual health care and not on administrative salaries and expenses, and marketing. Insurers that spent over 20 percent were required to rebate the difference to policy holders. More than $330 million was rebated to individuals in 2011, including nearly 2,000 Minnesotans who received more than $500,000.

Franken was active in passing the bipartisan 2014 farm bill where he helped write the energy section that expands the use of renewable energies that assist farmers and small businesses by cutting energy costs. The bill reforms the nation’s farm policy and saves money by cutting the federal deficit $24 billion. Franken supported legislation creating the 12-member bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that recommended ways to slash $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade. When agreement could not be found in Congress, automatic cuts of discretionary spending resulted in 2013 through sequestration.

We applaud Franken’s determined work on workforce investment programs that build partnerships between the government, schools, businesses and men and women who train to fill high-skill jobs. In a time when many jobs go unfilled because trained workers can’t be found, it is a highly important effort. Franken also was key in passing Wall Street reforms and co-authored specific reform of Wall Street credit rating agencies. He was on board in passing the 2013 bipartisan Violence Against Women Act that includes Franken provisions to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. He was successful this year in securing funds for schools to improve mental health services for students and families.

Our endorsement of Al Franken is not a condemnation of ideas espoused by McFadden. Our editorial board was impressed with McFadden’s passion and understanding of key issues. He is on leave from a Minneapolis-based investment bank where he advised privately-held companies on mergers and acquisitions. He sees transportation, education and health care as key issues.

McFadden would keep the popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, but describes the federal mandate as a “train wreck” that is not providing quality health care and driving up costs. On transportation, McFadden understands there are gaping needs nationwide and believes roads and bridges in Minnesota have been neglected. With the total federal budget topping $3.5 trillion, he says dollars can be found to improve infrastructure. On education, McFadden believes the achievement gap and high school graduation rates between white and minority students is unacceptable and is the “civil rights issue of our time.”

There are clear differences in the candidates. McFadden would work for immediate approval of the Keystone pipeline and proposes that copper and nickel mining in northern Minnesota should commence soon. Franken will support Keystone if it is built with American steel and all regulatory steps are completed. The latter holds for mining in Minnesota. In foreign policy, McFadden supports the current actions in Iraq and Syria, but fears America’s allies don’t trust the U.S. and that the nation’s enemies don’t fear the U.S. Franken agrees that military action targeting ISIS is warranted but further authorization of force under the 2001-2002 act may be too broad.

We believe Al Franken is best prepared to deal with major issues facing the United States and Minnesota. If returned to office, we expect Franken to take the next step in becoming a national leader on a major issue, be it health care, foreign policy, the economy or immigration. He no longer needs to stand in the shadows; it’s now his opportunity to lead in the fashion of a Humphrey, McCarthy or Mondale.

– An opinion from the ECM Editorial Board

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Voters’ Guide: Robbinsdale City Council Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:00:59 +0000 A total of three candidates are vying for two seats on the Robbinsdale City Council. In Ward 3, incumbent George Selman will defend his seat against Dennis Motl. Incumbent Pat Backen is running unopposed in Ward 4.


Ward 3

Dennis Motl



Address: 3917 Xenia Ave N.

Family: Shannon, Two eight year old daughters (yes they are twins).

Education: Bachelor of Arts at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN with a major in Communications.

Occupation: Technology Sales Executive

Years you have lived in the city: Since August 2001

Community/civic organizations involvement: Robbinsdale Charter Commission; Feed my Starving Children; National Night Out Organizer

Have you run for any other office in the past? Appointed to Robbinsdale Charter Commission 2003 – Current, Appointed to board of Hennepin South Services Collaborative 1999-2000.

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale?

Because Robbinsdale is small community and also a first ring suburb, it is seen by many outside the community as a city with small ideas and not much growth potential simply because of its geographic challenges. The biggest issue we face in Robbinsdale is perception. A colleague once told me that “perception is reality.”

The perception we face as a community is that because we are a first-ring suburb, our housing is out of date, young families would rather commute a little further to get newer homes elsewhere, and our downtown business district is “quiet,” and not growing.

While there may be some truth to those perceptions, long term residents know better. What we lack in their perception is a thriving business district, lots of new housing starts, and low crime. It’s not fair, but that’s the perception the city council needs to address.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

Robbinsdale has been in the news many times for our state of the art, level one trauma center at North Memorial Hospital. While I personally feel safer living in close proximity to this facility, I’d like to see some new attractions make a splash on the impact of the perception of Robbinsdale to outsiders. In order to accomplish this goal, we first must begin attracting new small businesses to Robbinsdale.

Attracting entrepreneurs who wish to live, work, and play in Robbinsdale builds community, helps us to be seen as a growing city, increases new families moving in, and creates a destination rather than a community people can scarcely pinpoint on a map. Building new homes and remodeling older homes will also make Robbinsdale more of a destination, which in the end is a great way to change the perception of our community to outsiders.

Bottineau Light Rail Transit has emerged as a topic of prominent concern in the northwest metro. How would you work with constituents with varying views on the line and what is your own opinion? What do you anticipate your role being in regard to this issue?

The Bottineau Light Rail Transit line is a small part of a much larger problem. Each time a city brings a vote on the LRT to the table, the news is generally the same. “Not in our backyard.” I have not directly supported the LRT, and yet I also know traffic is becoming a larger problem by the day. LRT is not the right way to minimize congestion through the city. Continued road repairs might be a better use of tax dollars. My role as your next city council representative will always be to weigh the options and make a decision based on what is best for my neighbors in Robbinsdale.


George Selman



Address: 3953 Zane Ave. N.

Family: Merrilee, married for 36 years. Two children and son in laws, five grandchildren. All live in Robbinsdale

Education: Did not respond.

Occupation: Owner of two businesses. Bark and Bathe and Bonus Building Care

Years you have lived in the city: 36

Community/civic organizations involvement: President of the Robbinsdale Economic Development Authority; Whiz Bang Days (Past President); Robbinsdale Lions (Past President).

Have you run for any other office in the past? I am completing my second term as Third Ward city Council Representative this year.

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale?

Problematic rental properties having a negative impact on our neighborhoods. Downtown redevelopment of the TCF site. The future of Light Rail Transit in the City of Robbinsdale. Keeping a good working council together.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

I have been very aggressive in the effort to reduce the number of problem rental properties through our Nuisance Ordinance and the Crime Free Housing Code. While we have made great strides we still struggle with areas of these properties that are clustered together causing major issues for neighborhoods. To the extent allowed by law I will work to implement rental property limitations.

The TCF site redevelopment is largely influenced by the Bottineau Light Rail Transit. I am committed to making sure the future of this site is in keeping with the citizen’s desires for Downtown while keeping our Downtown the special place that it is.

The people of Robbinsdale enjoy a high quality and productive city council. By electing me you will continue to see your city grow and improve. I have the highest respect for this council. I watch other cities struggle with infighting and counterproductive efforts. We just work together and get things done. For these reasons I ask for your vote on November 4th.

Bottineau Light Rail Transit has emerged as a topic of prominent concern in the northwest metro. How would you work with constituents with varying views on the line and what is your own opinion? What do you anticipate your role being in regard to this issue?

I have served on and chaired the Committee Advisory Committee (CAC) for over 12 years for the Bottineau Corridor and LRT. In this time I have moderated dozens of meetings big and small from Minneapolis to Rogers accepting public testimony regarding the corridor.

I have always made it the highest priority that all parties have the chance to get their questions answered and offer ANY comments regarding the project. I have arranged for tours of the existing LRT lines for people that live along the rail corridor.

We reviewed dozens of different alternatives including Routes, Heavy Rail, Bus Rapid Transit and LRT. I am committed to making sure that Robbinsdale gets the maximum benefit with the minimum negative impact as the project advances.

For me education is the key. Making sure people have an opportunity to have a clear understanding of the specifics that impact them so they can make an informed evaluation. As the Metropolitan Council takes on the next phase of the Bottineau Corridor it is my desire and intention to continue to serve in a similar capacity.


Ward 4

Pat Backen



Address: 2936 Zenith Ave N.

Family: Kathy, two kids (Robert and Jenny)

Education: No response given.

Occupation: Software Engineer

Years you have lived in the city: 16

Community/civic organizations involvement: Heart of Robbinsdale Community Foundation, Board Member; Bottineau Boulevard Citizens Advisory Committee; Robbinsdale Lions Club.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: City Council, 2011- Current

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale?  

Crime is a concern for any community, and we are no different. Living very close to an area with one of the highest crime rates in the state requires even more vigilance than some other communities. Another area is managing city services (especially Park and Rec) as well as attracting amenities and businesses as our demographics shift to younger families.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

Our crime rate has been dropping for several years (down 30% last year for serious crimes) and is the lowest of all of our neighboring cities, and cities of similar size in the metro area. While it is tough to pin down specific reasons for the decline, the police department’s overall tactics appear to be working. We need to continue those, while still urging more improvement.

An easy way to do that is help inform residents how to stop crime before it happens, be small targets and – in the event an incident does happen – be good witnesses.

To that end, I have worked with neighborhood groups to create meetings with the police, getting information and crime prevention tips to residents. Information and communication play an enormous part in crime prevention, and I plan to continue to spread the word as much as possible.

The Council has taken into account the shifting demographics in town, and insured that our Park and Rec programs are aimed and ready for the influx of youth and young adults. We have worked with Three Rivers Park District on three different amenities – a Regional Trail, an enhanced boat launch on Twin Lake and a new partnership at Sochacki Park. All three bring resources and improvements to Robbinsdale, and enhance our already great town.

Bottineau Light Rail Transit has emerged as a topic of prominent concern in the northwest metro. How would you work with constituents with varying views on the line and what is your own opinion? What do you anticipate your role being in regard to this issue?

Communication is the key to this issue too, and especially since it is a complicated one.

Over the last four years as a member of the Bottineau Boulevard Citizen’s Advisory Committee, I have attended many public hearings, open houses and listening sessions in addition to the emails and conversations with residents and constituents.

I have shared resident opinions with the planners and engineers, insuring that Robbinsdale’s best interests are kept in mind and our concerns addressed.

As the planning moves forward, I expect to continue these conversations with both residents and Blue Line planners. During this planning process residents and the city have a tremendous opportunity to influence how light rail and the overall experience are in and around Robbinsdale. A lot of conversations have already been started – for example, making intersections safe enough to avoid train whistles from blowing every time through town – and it is important that we remain engaged in the process. Should light rail eventually become a reality in Robbinsdale we want to be ready and in position to take advantage of all the opportunities and minimize any draw backs.

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Voters’ Guide: Robbinsdale Area Schools Board of Education Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:30:39 +0000 Eight candidates are competing for four at-large seats on the Robbinsdale Area Schools District 281 School Board.


Andrea Bejarano-Robinson



Address: 5325 Oregon Ave N, New Hope.

Family: My husband Scott of nine years and our three boys: eight, five and two.

Education: Some college; stopped to care for children.

Occupation: Certified Parent Support Provider for National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Parent

Years you have lived in the district: In the school district 5 years; moved to New Hope in December, 2010

Community/civic organizations involvement: Chair of the Special Education Advisory Council for the last 3 years; President of The Tourette Syndrome for 2 years; Member of the League of Human Rights Minnesota as the Treasurer.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: None.

Contact info:, 651-353-2770

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale Area Schools?

The immediate issue facing the Robbinsdale Area Schools is the passing of the referendums. I strongly support both renewal of current referendum and the technology levy.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

Informing residents of the issues and importance of these referendum votes; campaigning for the largest possible voter turnout. After the passing of the referenda, being good stewards of the money as a school board.

What are your views on the district’s technology plan and associated technology levy referendum?

Given how quickly technology changes, we need a better system to keep up with this. I think this referendum levy addresses the district need to stay current on technology without taking away from other areas of our children’s daily learning. It is also very inclusive so all students of all abilities may benefit from the same technology.


Mark Bomchill



Address: 9905 31st Ave N, Plymouth.

Family: Wife Judith Bomchill; Three children: Aubrie Bomchill, Max Bomchill, Jonah Bomchill

Occupation: Event Planner

Years you have lived in the city: 17 years

Community/civic organizations involvement: Firestorm Business Network; Chapter Development and Trainer; Wish Upon a Wedding Organizer; Past PTA President

Have you run for any other office in the past?: I ran and was elected to Robbinsdale School Board in 2009. I currently serve on the board.

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale Area Schools?

I feel that the most important issue is how we build community through engaging all students and families in learning and building community. People really need to see themselves reflected in the schools. Parents and guardians need to be empowered to advocate and be a part of the children’s education.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

We have already started addressing this through community outreach in which we go to the parents and guardians to help them become the advocates their students need.  We need to talk about and expose people to adult education.

Early Education is also a tool to engage families earlier. The districts new Great Start program is opening doors to early education where it has not been available to in the past. This is giving all children the same opportunity to receive the benefits of early education.

I have, and will continue to engage all residents, students, staff and elected officials. I am so passionate about public education. I am also so proud of the work I have done, especially advocating for groups that need it most. My work has been recognized by many, which is why I am again endorsed by the teachers and have received a resolution of support from SD 45 DFL.

What are your views on the district’s technology plan and associated technology levy referendum?

Robbinsdale Area Schools is one of the few school districts in Hennepin County that does not currently have a voter-approved capital project levy to provide funds for technology. So far we have provided well, but with changing technology and the fact that technology will be essential in the workplace as well as higher education, passing the technology levy is essential.

Neighboring districts’ technology levies have provided state of the art learning as well as staff trainings. Students in District 281 need the same advantage.


David Boone



Address: 7725 45 1/2 Ave. N., New Hope.

Family: 1 daughter (Emily).

Education: BS: Mathematics; MA: Education; MA: Athletic and Activity Administration

Occupation: Teacher/Coach

Years you have lived in the district: 15

Community/civic organizations involvement: Habitat for Humanity/Thrivent Builds; Volunteer Youth Soccer Coach/Manager; Holy Nativity Lutheran Church.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: No.

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale Area Schools?

The most important issue facing Robbinsdale Area Schools, as well as the state and nation, is the achievement gap. It is inexcusable to have any group perform statistically different from any other group of students.

Appropriate and consistent discipline procedures need to be developed and adhered to that do not discriminate. Procedures need to be fair and equal that also provide a student an element of personal reflection and restitution that allow students to learn from their mistakes.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

The first thing we need to do is determine which programs are working and which are not, and focus on the initiatives that show evidence of growth and cut those that do not show evidence of growth.

Class sizes need to be lowered and schedules adjusted so teachers can work better to personalize learning and offer their time to assist those in need.

What are your views on the district’s technology plan and associated technology levy referendum?

I will be voting “yes” twice on the referendum. As a supporter of strong communities we need to provide adequate funding for our schools to provide appropriate technology for our students to learn and use. When people are moving to the Twin Cities metro area they look at school ratings and affordable housing and if we don’t support our schools our location becomes less appealing and our property values plummet. We need to support adequate school funding to maintain a livable community.

The technology plan must include appropriate funding for training and support. All of the fancy gizmos and gadgets are only as good as the people using it and supporting it.


Patsy Green



Address: 5936 Meadow Lake Road West, New Hope.

Family: Husband, Larry, two children

Education: Bachelor of Science, University of North Dakota

Occupation: Employed by General Mills, Inc. in sensory science deptartment.

Years you have lived in the city: 26

Community/civic organizations involvement: Seven Dreams Education Foundation; My church; League of Women Voters, New Hope, Crystal, East Plymouth chapter.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: I currently serve on the school board and have not run for any other office.

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale Area Schools? 

The most important issues facing the school district include student achievement, we are increasing our focus in Robbinsdale with our new Unified District Vision to open pathways, remove barriers and understand what these are so all of students can and will succeed.

Another important issue is stable, reliable funding from the state and federal government; I mention this because in recent years we have experienced funding extremes like when the state government borrowed (shifted) funds.

Third, space is an issue; while we embrace the wonderful addition of all-day kindergarten for all students, we, and most school districts across the state, are experiencing very full buildings. This is a great time to evaluate our buildings requirements and how space and classrooms can be optimally used to benefit everyone.

What measures would you propose to address those issues? 

Issue 1. If I am re-elected, I will work to ensure our resources are used where they make the greatest impact – in the classroom supporting our students and staff for their success.

Issue 2. I will continue to advocate for strong and reliable funding. I actively engage our area state senators and representatives in discussions about funding and how it directly impacts the Robbinsdale Area School District. I have also advocated at the national level with our congressional delegation.

Issue 3. Later this year the district facilities will be evaluated based on the amount of space we have and how it is utilized. I look forward to receiving the reports and the robust discussions on how we can best serve our students and plan for our future.

What are your views on the district’s technology plan and associated technology levy referendum?

I fully support the plan and the technology levy referendum. Preparing our students to be fully ready for life after high school depends on a strong school district leading in all aspects including technology, not lagging in it. Embracing the new, innovative, and more individualized teaching techniques provided by today’s technology can accelerate our student achievement. We have a very thorough, thoughtful technology plan that will make an immediate impact for our students and staff, with your help, and I urge voters to support both referendums on the ballot.

Please vote for me, Patsy Green, on Tuesday, November 4.


Michael Herring



Address: 3014 Regent Ave. N., Golden Valley.

Family: Valerie (spouse) and two children Ainsley (4) and Claudia (18 months).

Education: Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law

Occupation: Attorney

Years you have lived in the city: 10 years

Community/civic organizations involvement: People Responding in Social Ministry (PRISM) – Board Member; Golden Valley Rotary – Vice President; Association of the United States Army (AUSA) – Board Member Vessey Chapter.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: No response given.

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale Area Schools?

Renewing the operating levy is the most immediate issue within the district. The operating levy represents roughly fifteen percent of the overall district budget. If we fail to pass the operating levy, there will be tough budget cuts resulting in a negative effect on education within our district. The second important issue facing our district is how we address the growing achievement gap.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

First, I would urge everyone to support the operating levy. Additionally, we need strong leaders and effective advocates on our school board. Our school’s operating budget should be fully funded without the need for an operating levy. Thus, our school board members should be advocates in St. Paul for fully funding our schools without the reliance of operating levies.

Second, in order to address the achievement gap, we must engage families and community leaders. Research proves that parental involvement is one of the key factors in children’s learning, attitude about school, and future aspirations.

Thus, we must actively promote great programs like Early Childhood Family Education. And everyone must understand and believe that a better life is achievable through education.

What are your views on the district’s technology plan and associated technology levy referendum?

I support the technology referendum because there is a detailed plan on how the funds will be utilized if passed. The technology plan is more than throwing electronic devices at students. The plan will allow for more effective and personalized learning. The plan will also allow for more communication between teachers, students, and parents. Further, we live in a world dominated by technology. Technology is the present and future. Education must embrace technology. As such, the referendum will provide classrooms suitable for the 21st century. These classrooms, as well as Chromebooks, will provide our teachers a 21st century platform to provide instruction in a manner conducive to the various learning styles of all students.


Jeff Houle



Address: 8508 33rd Ave. North, New Hope

Family (name of spouse, number of children): KaSandra, two children in RAS schools

Education (highest degree and major, if appropriate): Bachelor of Architecture

Occupation: Architect, Project Manager for Hennepin County Design & Construction Division

Years you have lived in the city: 20

Community/civic organizations involvement: Holy Nativity Lutheran Church Council and Confirmation Teacher; New Hope Planning Commission; Robbinsdale School District Divestiture Plan Advisory Committee.

Have you run for any other office in the past? No

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale Area Schools?

It is important Robbinsdale Area Schools is a district of choice for families within and outside the seven cities of District 281. The reality is families have options and we need programs and educators that reach all students and can prepare them for careers and/or college. The district needs to continue promoting what we do well but also talk honestly about the challenges and how best to solve them. We need to lift up all students, encouraging them to reach their potential. The residents of District 281 want their tax dollars spent wisely as there is a finite amount of dollars. The school board and administration need to consistently review programs for effectiveness and make adjustment when necessary. Great public education is critical to our collective success as quality, vibrant and effective schools help maintain or increase property values, create a positive sense of community and most importantly educate tomorrow’s doctors, engineers and business owners.

What measures would you propose to address those issues?

To be a school district of choice, we need to focus on students and educators. Resources need to be focused to develop teachers and teaching assistants giving them tools and opportunities to challenge every student. Administrators and principals should hire the brightest and most capable staffs.

Teachers should be given training and have mentors available, giving them a variety of options to reach every student. Programs that are needed and successful should be continued, ones that are not should be improved or eliminated. The District has developed overall mission and goals – it is time every school builds upon that and develops a real world roadmap to meet its individual challenges.

What are your views on the district’s technology plan and associated technology levy referendum?

Technology is intertwined in just about every facet of our lives, thus it is important the district take advantage to better educate and prepare students. I support the technology levy as the district has developed a detailed plan that recognizes certain realities: teachers must be given training with the devices and software, safeguards must be included on each device and parents and students have to accept responsibility for the devices.

If elected to the school board, I would work to ensure these tax dollars are spent effectively – if that does not happen, I will advocate to end the program and levy.


Pamela Lindberg



Address: 4969 Zealand Av. N., New Hope

Family: Did not respond.

Education: Masters of Education plus educational administrative licensures, both principal and superintendent

Occupation: Teacher (retired 2014)

Years you have lived in the city: 7 in New Hope, 9 in the Robbinsdale District

Community/civic organizations involvement: Dean’s Advisory for the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development; Athena Award Committee (for outstanding female athlete in Metro area); Adult Learning Board – St. Joan of Arc.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: No

Contact info:

What do you consider the most important issues facing Robbinsdale Area Schools?

1) The need to offer a quality public education to each and every student

2) To really listen to the voice of the public – to our community

3) I think we must meet the needs of all of our residents (from preschool to senior citizens) so we can all be lifelong learners.

What measures would you propose to address those issues? 

1) a good, sound professional development plan for our teachers, to become the strongest advocates for our students in their classrooms

2) continue with public input sessions; survey our community to ascertain the needs of our students and all community members; hold public forums around issues that need all voices to be heard

3) Continue developing our pre-school programs so that our youngsters are getting the best preparation for school and learning possible. Survey our students and even our recent graduates for their needs to make education really relevant and a life experience. For our senior citizens, include them in the discussion around community education to meet their needs so that it is robust and relevant for the current period in their lives.

What are your views on the district’s technology plan and associated technology levy referendum?

Technology is a critical part of students’ learning and life skills. Our students need to be prepared for the world in which they’ll live, which is full of technology challenges and innovation. Secondly, our teachers need the strongest possible learning strategies to prepare our students. The classrooms, at large, will benefit from the passage of the technology levy referendum.


Ron Stoffel

Stoffel did not reply to the Sun Post’s voters’ guide questionnaire prior to print deadline.

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Voters’ guide: Crystal City Council general election Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:57 +0000 A total of six candidates are competing for three seats on Crystal’s city council. In Section II, incumbent John Budziszewski is running against Olga Parsons. In Ward 1, incumbent Mark Hoffmann is running against Elizabeth Dahl. In Ward 2, incumbent Joe Selton is running against Jeff Kolb.

Section II

Section II is generally located north of 45th Avenue North in the city and encompasses the city’s third and fourth wards.


John Budziszewski



Address: 5308 47th Ave. N.

Family: My wife, Heidi, and our two kids, Wyatt and Bria.

Education: Humboldt High School; B.A. from the University of Minnesota in International Relations.

Occupation: Commercial banking; delivers news overnight for an independent news service.

Years you have lived in the city: 17

Community/civic organizations involvement: Habitat for Humanity; ally of PRIDE; blood donor of 10 years.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: Yes.

Contact info: 612-207-3704

What do you anticipate to be the most important issue facing Crystal in the coming two years?

If re-elected I will work to to reduce the amount of traffic on busy side-streets, the cut-through streets that are used to avoid stoplights and stop signs. Most of these streets should have posted axel weight limits and signage to established truck routes. I would ask that the secondary reliever streets would receive occasional extra patrols  to enforce our traffic laws.

If re-elected I will work to eliminate the train whistles along the Canadian Pacific rail crossings by installing crossing barriers that prevent traffic from driving around the crossing arms. This will create quite zones at the rail crossings and I will work with state and federal officials to make this happen.

It is essential that the city council be committed to logical and sensible leadership, that your representation support our community and work together to resolve all issues. I believe the best leaders have a passion for the people and their community, and with that humility and compassion.

What has the current council (or past councils) done well, in your opinion? What could the current council (or past councils) improve upon?

Democracy is loud and noisy and the last two years have been very noisy. Positive talking points would be the management of the city through the Great Recession, the development of the Cavanagh Senior Living Complex, the reconstruction of the joint powers agreement for the West Metro Fire Department, the breaking of the glass ceiling for management. We have women in leadership positions, a goal many major organizations and companyies struggle with in recruiting and retaining women in upper management positions.

We have women leading major departments something not every company can tout. I see the advent of solar energy as cost saving measure for the city as a huge success. Lastly, I am proud of the Crystal Human Rights Commission bringing awareness to our ever changing world.

As for improvements, I’m looking forward to the upcoming elections both current and future and that the candidates of the future should bring substance, show commitment by serving on city commissions, and attend the mandatory budget meetings. Lastly, it is always an honor and a privilege to be your councilmember, thank you and thank you for your vote on November 4th.


Olga Parsons



Address: 4951 Jersey Ave N.

Family: Husband John of 10 years; sons Josiah, age 9, and Judah, age 5.

Education: Did not respond.

Occupation: Homemaker

Years you have lived in the city: 8

Community/civic organizations involvement: Volunteer as communication assistant helping kids and families through their adoption and post-adoption journey; volunteer flutist with the Medalist Concert Band; past volunteer as crisis-phone line counselor with Love Lines Crisis Center.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: No.

Contact info: 612-217-2337

What do you anticipate to be the most important issue facing Crystal in the next two years?

In the next two years, I believe we will be facing the following pressing issues:

1. Our approach to city government:

Residents feel disconnected from City Hall. Oftentimes, citizen input is invited only after major decisions have been made. Residents want to see a more holistic approach to government rooted in community, mutual respect and healthy discourse. Residents are averse to a top-down and authoritative system and want to be a part of the decision-making process.

2. Keeping our neighborhoods safe and clean:

We need to find methods that create and preserve a clean and safe environment in our neighborhoods, while protecting private property rights.

3. Fiscal Responsibility:

We need better fiscal management to keep Crystal financially stable, sustainable, and independent. We need to protect our core services, and make sure that property taxes are low.

What has the current council (or past councils) done well, in your opinion? What could the current council (or past councils) improve upon?

Council members, past and present, have had the difficult job of representing our residents in a fair and thoughtful manner. It is impossible to please everyone, and this position requires the ability to make tough decisions.

This job requires not only time, but also excellent listening skills, clear thinking, and integrity to remain honest and principled. I applaud anyone who has served our community as a council representative! There are council members who have done an exemplary job, and some that have failed.

The failures have damaged the relationship between residents and City Hall. This breakdown occurs when council members are disconnected from their community, behave disrespectfully, and make controversial decisions without the input of the residents. This does not serve our city well, and must change! A major aspect of a council members’ job is to be actively involved in their local community, not just during election time, but as a lifestyle.

They must be available for their constituents to listen, return phone calls and emails, and invite citizen participation. Section 2 needs a representative who will work to create a relationship of mutual respect and trust. This is a job I feel ready to take on. When elected, my commitment is to be an accessible, respectful, and involved councilwoman. I love our community, and want to do my utmost to preserve and improve all the qualities that make Crystal great!


Ward 1

Ward 1 generally occupies the southern portion of the city, below 45th Avenue North and opposite Section II.

Elizabeth Dahl



Address: 8217 30th Ave N.

Family: Caleb Dahl (married 7 years) and three children

Education: Some college

Occupation: Small business owner

Years you have lived in the city: 4

Community/civic organizations involvement: Co-host and organizer for the Great Winnetka Hills Meet-Up 2014. Vice-President and later President of Minnesota Families for Midwifery 2009-2013. I am also the “Lead” for my Winnetka Hills neighborhood on and regularly organize neighborhood events.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: No

Contact info: 612-567-3353

What do you anticipate to be the most important issue facing Crystal in the next two years?

Over the next two years, Crystal has the opportunity to become even better. To become even more community-driven and neighborhood-friendly. To encourage and support more unique and thriving businesses. To give confidence to home buyers and sellers that the city will be easy to work with. Crystal could be the sort of city that everyone else wants to live.

To become this sort of city, we need to start by listening to our residents, prioritize spending based on the needs of individual neighborhoods and continue to place safe, clean neighborhoods as a primary concern.

What has the current council (or past councils) done well, in your opinion? What could the current council (or past councils) improve upon?

Our city council representatives love their city. They put in many hours of hard work that directly impact the lives of citizens. Many of the things we love about our city is a direct result of the work of past city councils, so I would like to thank the current and past council members for their years of dedication and service. City council is a huge responsibility that not many people are willing to take on.

That said, I do believe there is room for improvement. The city council of today needs to be able to connect with the citizens of today. I have knocked on hundreds of doors during my campaign, and as I do so I like to ask citizens “How do you enjoy living in Crystal?” The answer is almost always that they love the area and the people of this city, but if they have had interaction with their council representative or city staff it was unhelpful at best and often dismissive.

Overwhelmingly, citizens in Ward 1 feel that they aren’t being heard and this is a very serious problem. If our city maintains it’s top-down approach to government, City Hall will only become more and more disconnected from it’s citizens, making it much more difficult to meet the needs of the community. If Crystal is to thrive and grow it will need to govern & function in a way that will retain residents and businesses. We need a city council that will be responsive as well as responsible.


Mark Hoffmann



Address: 3307 Zane Ave N.

Family: Joanie, three children, eight grandchildren

Education: BS Business Administration, St. Cloud State.

Occupation: Retired retail management and sales

Years you have lived in the city: 38 years

Community/civic organizations involvement: West Metro Fire-Rescue District Board of Directors since 2010; Long time member Sacred Heart Parish, past Finance Committee, Parish Council and President of the Parish Council; Crystal Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission 1980-1989.

Have you run for any other office in the past?: Mayor, 2004, not elected

Contact info: 763-536-0385

What do you anticipate to be the most important issue facing Crystal over the next two years?

I believe responsible financial stability, without cuts in current services ,will be the most important issue in the next two years. Current council leadership is to use revenue from all funds to pay cash, raise taxes for all to pay for mill and overlays, and cut services to recoup the 10 percent tax increase. My opponent is riding on this budgeting agenda that is the basis of the Tea Party and Libertarians, and we have all seen how well it works at the national level.

In an effort to pay cash for the new Public Works building the finance director and city manager have given us the total recommended cash options available without hurting individual funds or the city, and we are still a half-million dollars shy. Similar number also occurred with the payment for our emergency water wells being drilled now. We covered $600,000 of the cost by borrowing from existing funds to be paid back over 10 years on a water surcharge.

The cities funds have been degraded with little or no effective funds to deal with future needs or emergencies. I believe we have to blend the financial needs and take advantage of low rate bonding to maintain a reserve for future projects, such as a police update of some kind, that are coming in the foreseeable future when funding will be more expensive. I do not believe the city should drain itself of available funds and have nothing in reserve.

What has the current council (or past councils) done well, in your opinion? What could the current council (or past councils) improve upon?

The current council has gotten many projects moving ,but even after months of talk, can not be led to a agreeable funding solution. It has become more apparent that the ideological differences are great today, and to me, the days of cohesive and responsible budgeting that Crystal has enjoyed for years can not be taken for granted in the future.

Most of the cities operations and needs are discussed an worked on during our taped work sessions. It has become too regular of a process, that decisions that have been negotiated and agreed upon, then are disregarded when voted on at the council meeting. We always work under the presumption, that we will not always agree on an item, but it is certainly ingenuous to agree to solutions and negotiate outcomes that are then rejected at the time of the vote.

We must always be responsible, open and honest with each other and with our constituents.


Ward 2

Ward 2 sits in the central portion of the city, south of 45th Avenue North and opposite Section II.


Jeff Kolb



Address: 6404 38th Ave N.

Family: Wife Erin (14 years), Son James (14 months old)

Education: Did not respond.

Occupation: Small business owner, technology industry.

Years you have lived in the city: 3

Community/civic organizations involvement: Crystal Planning Commissioner representing Ward 2; Board member with the Crystal Business Association; American Foundation for Cardiomyopathy

Have you run for any other office in the past?: No

Contact info: 612-314-5652

What do you anticipate to be the most important issue facing Crystal in the next two years?

I believe there are three important issues that must be addressed:

1) Responsible spending – ensuring every dollar spent by the city is spent wisely, keeping in mind that every dollar spent comes from the citizens.

2) Safe Neighborhoods – Continuing efforts to keep our neighborhoods safe through community building initiatives, and

3) Accountable and Responsive Government – Repairing the relationship between the council and the citizens by electing responsive representatives who will foster two way communication, actively listen to the concerns of the residents, and act as advocates for our neighborhoods.

I love Crystal. My wife and I chose to raise our family here. I believe Crystal is a great place to live, work, and shop, and by electing the right representation we can make sure we keep it that way for many years to come.

What has the current council (or past councils) done well, in your opinion? What could the current council (or past councils) improve upon?

I want to first start by thanking the current members of the council for their service to the community. I recognize that serving on the council requires an investment of time that takes councilmembers away from their families. It’s not a particularly glamourous job, but it is a very important one, as city government can have a huge impact on the daily life of a resident.

That said, I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think that there was room for improvement.

I believe that the current council has not always acted responsibly with the taxpayer’s money. Spending has not been properly prioritized. In addition, some of the decisions made recently have created a fiscal problem that must be addressed. We can’t continue to borrow endlessly and spend our cash reserves without plans in place to refill them.

But perhaps the most important thing that needs improvement is the relationship between the city government and the citizens. I have personally knocked on over 1,500 doors since this campaign began, and one recurring and disappointing theme in my conversations is that many residents don’t feel that they are being listened to.

I have heard far too many stories about people contacting their elected officials or city staff and either not receiving a response at all, or receiving a response that attempts to minimize their concerns.

This needs to change.

For any government to be effective it needs to be responsive to the citizens, and if elected, I will always listen and respond to the residents I was elected to represent. I hope I can earn your vote.


Joe Selton



Address: 3916 Edgewood Ave. N., Brownwood neighborhood, Ward 2.

Family: Wife ReNae; daughters Joann (and Rick), Elizabeth and Sheri; step-daughter Amber (and Brian); eight grandchildren.

Education: Patrick Henry High, Minneapolis; Anoka-Hennepin Technical College, Anoka; University of Minnesota – LES, Minneapolis; University of Wisconsin – ESW, Madison; William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center at Placid Harbor, Hollywood, Md.

Occupation: Journeyman truck mechanic and head shop steward for Bimbo Baking Group.

Years you have lived in the city: 34 years as a resident of Crystal Ward 2.

Community/civic organizations involvement: Volunteer with NEAR food shelf

Contact info: 763- 531-2074

What do you anticipate to be the most important issue facing Crystal in the next two years?

The most important issue we will be facing is the same issue we face every year as a City Council. Coming up with a justified and balanced city budget which holds the line on property tax increases, utilizes and protects reserves given to us by previous city councils, and protects and maintains Crystal’s infrastructure investments and services. We must also continue to plan and finance for the future needs of the city of Crystal.

What has the current Council (or past councils) done well, in your opinion? What could the current Council (or past councils) improve upon?

Thank you to past city councils for putting the city in a position where the current council during my tenure could manage the city through the current recession, even with a loss of $4 million in local government aid, with minimal cuts in services or increases in property taxes.

The development of the Cavanaugh Senior living complex in north Crystal.

The addition of solar energy to The Community Center where after 12 months online it’s reported that the total avoided cost of electricity was approximately $2,839.00. That’s the amount the solar panels displaced which the city would have otherwise paid to Xcel energy. City Hall and pool building projects are now online and it is projected that the numbers for both will look similar since they are the same size systems. A projected cost-saving measure in energy usage of $8,517.00 per year.

Continuing to finance a successful street and alley reconstruction program that’s affordable to the citizens and adding to the property value of the residence.

The current Council must continue to be aware of the changing demographics in our city. We must find ways to involve and hear the voice of the multicultural groups moving to our city. If we do a city survey online, we cannot assume everyone has a computer or is proficient with it or that everyone speaks or understands English. As taxpayers, everybody’s voice is important and we must be there to hear it. We must do more so those voices are heard.

Continue to work hard to assist businesses to locate or relocate to the city of Crystal.

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Brooklyn Park has been seeing a development boom Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:22 +0000 Developments have been sprouting around Brooklyn Park, driven mainly along the Highway 610 corridor.

More than 20 developments have recently opened, are in progress or whose seeds have been sown and could lead to brick and mortar potential, according to the city. One of those developments includes a three-building complex from United Properties, which broke ground in August on the southeast corner of highways 610 and 169.

“I don’t remember the last time we saw something like that,” said Brooklyn Park Planning Director Cindy Sherman.

The three buildings will be used for corporate, warehouse and manufacturing use, and space will be reserved for a fourth building, which could be a hotel or office building, according to a city council meeting memo. Two of the buildings will house the headquarters for Wurth Adams Nut & Bolt Co. – a relocation from Maple Grove – and Perbix Machine Co. Inc., currently located in New Hope. The third will be a spec building.

Across Highway 169, on the southwest corner of the highways’ intersection, is the preparation of Noble Academy, a charter school that will occupy approximately 20 acres of a 90-acre developable site.

Further east along Highway 610, Olympus Surgical Technologies and PrairieCare have started dotting the landscape near Target Northern Campus, with employees entering two of the campus’ new buildings this year.

The area is also accommodating Twin Cities commuters. The Highway 610 and Noble Parkway Metro Transit park and ride has also opened, which provides 1,000 parking spaces.

Sherman said that developers have reported that their interest in the area has partly been due to the entrance of Target – which has a master plan that includes residential and other mixed use developments around its campus – and the extension of Highway 610 to Interstate 94.

“I think it’s land availability and a good transportation system,” Sherman said.

The city has approximately 1,200 acres of remaining undeveloped land, Sherman said, some of which could be accounted for if six other prospective developments come to fruition.

Sherman said the big push is having high-value developments, creating lots of jobs and increasing the area’s daytime population, bringing more patronage to restaurants and allowing support to a mix of businesses.

Toby Madden, a regional economist working in the public affairs department at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, said the Twin Cities area is near the height of a housing development boom, with multiple incentives for developers to build. Vacancy rates are low, but housing developments could boom, which could lead to oversupply.

He did say the economy in Minnesota is steadily growing now, and economic indicators and forecasts show continued steady growth for the next several years.

These personal opinions that he provided came during Brooklyn Park’s Third Annual Business Forward luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 9, at Edinburgh USA. The city highlighted the city’s development growth and offered a list of resources to businesses. It also provided a list of restaurants in the city – 84 total, from fast food to sit-down.

Broadway Pizza, 8525 Edinburgh Center Drive, is one of the most recent, anticipated openings for the city and in east side of the city. Joining it across the street will be Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 8540 Edinburgh Center, where the former KFC was located.

Not all of the new developments are along the Highway 610 corridor. In the west and southwest areas of the city, Morrie’s Mazda is expanding some of its facilities, a homeless youth shelter is underway, Goodwill will be entering a new facility that is under construction, and a CarMax will be located off 70th Avenue North.

Market conditions, interest rates and other cyclical patterns can change the landscape, but the city is still hopeful.

“We expect continued growth,” Sherman said.

The city has online interactive maps, including a development map, that highlight the recent inclusions and future plans. Those maps can be found at

Contact Paul Groessel at or follow the Sun Post on Twitter @ECMSunPost.

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NOV 7 Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:27:33 +0000 Public Notice of Auction
(Official Publication)
Brooklyn Park Mini Storage located at 4224 83rd Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443 will conduct a public auction on November 7th, 2014 at 10am to collect unpaid rent. Personal property includes but not limited to furniture, tools, clothing, and household items. The persons whose personal property to be sold is as follows: Luis Enrique Gordillo, unit 3-10; Dorothy Hudson, unit 1-40; Joyce Jallah, unit 2-39; Paul Knobbe, unit 1-18; Mark Kosmatka, unit 1-4; Priscilla Tillis, unit 3-50.

10/23-10/30/14, 3SP1, Nov 7 Sale, 297856

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NEW HOPE – NOV 5 Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:27:30 +0000 Public Notice of Auction
(Official Publication)
Notice of Self Storage Sale
Please take notice Central Self Storage New Hope located at 5040 Winnetka Ave., New Hope, MN 55427 intends to hold an auction of the goods stored in the self-service storage unit by the following person. The sale will occur at the storage facility: Central Self Storage New Hope on 11/05/14 at 9:00am. Judith Myles, with a general description of the property as household goods. All property is being stored at the above self-storage facility. This sale may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Certain terms and conditions apply. See manager for details.

10/23-10/30/14, 3SP2, Nov 5 Sale, 296711

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2014 SAMPLE Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:26:29 +0000 City of New Hope
(Official Publication)
November 4, 2014
Council Member
City of New Hope
Vote for up to two
o John A. Elder
o Jonathan D. London
o Louis D. Oswalt
o Daniel Stauner
Valerie Leone, City Clerk
Dated: October 16, 2014
(Published in the New Hope-Golden Valley Post on October 23, 2014)

10/23/14, 3SP2, 2014 Sample Ballot, 296790

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PUBLIC ACCURACY Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:26:26 +0000 City of New Hope
(Official Publication)
Notice is hereby given that on Friday, Oct. 31, at 9:30 a.m. the automatic tabulating equipment to be used in connection with the November 4, 2014, State General Election will be tested at the New Hope City Offices, 4401 Xylon Avenue North, New Hope, Minnesota, to ascertain that the equipment will correctly count the votes cast for all offices and on all measures.
The test shall be observed by at least two election judges, who shall not be of the same political party, and shall be open to representatives of the major political parties, candidates, the press and public. Anyone interested in observing the process is invited to attend.
This notice is given and the test shall be conducted in accordance with Minnesota Statutes 206.83.
Valerie J. Leone
City Clerk
(Published in the New Hope-Golden Valley post on October 23, 2014)

10/23/14, 3SP2,
Public Accuracy Test, 296783

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PUBLIC ACCURACY Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:26:14 +0000 City of Robbinsdale
(Official Publication)
In accordance with Minn. Stat. Sec. 206.83, NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 30, 2014, the assistive voting equipment (AutoMARK) and digital scanning equipment (DS200) to be used in the General Election on November 4, 2014, will be tested to show that the equipment accurately marks and counts the votes cast for all offices and referendums. This test, which is open to the public, will be conducted at Crystal City Hall, 4141 Douglas Drive North, Crystal, MN.
Chrissy Serres, City Clerk

10/23/14, 3SP2,
Public Accuracy Test, 295423

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