Greetings Minnetonka Ward 3 residents and businesses!
Thank you again for the privilege of your votes last November and the ability to serve the Minnetonka community.
This edition will contain a few highlights from the first six months of office.
- Support for Safer Walking and Biking near Groveland Elementary and 101/Minnetonka Blvd.
- Requested January 2020 Safe Routes to School Planning Dollars for Groveland Elementary. This application was denied by the MN DOT.
- Fostered Groveland Elementary’s first ever Walk/Bike to School day for May 6th. Hundreds of students and parents registered to participate and volunteer. I hope to join families in 2021 for this inaugural event. Many thanks to many Groveland parents who did lots of heavy lifting.
- Spoke up for Ward 3 families who demanded 2021-2025 CIP Bike/Walk Off Street Path near Groveland Elementary be moved up to 2022 from 2026-2030. The CIP has not yet been voted on. If you have not already, email the City Manager to express your support to move the Fairchild to Groveland off street path up to 2022. Honest, the City’s CIP webpage had no citation to the fact that a new CIP was under consideration. I emailed the City Manage expressing my frustration and a new link was added.
- New Off Leash Dog Park Signage
- Successfully advocated for Ward 3 resident for City to install one test case Park Pet Off Leash Law sign at Jidana Park. The resident expressed negative park experiences with multiple non-compliance encounters where dogs jumped up on her on the trail.
- New Off Street Parking at Sunset Ridge Park
- Successfully advocated resident concern to add more than 1 non-ADA parking stalls at Sunset Ridge Park. Staff agreed to add a few parking stalls as a part of 2020 basketball court resurfacing.
- New Proposed Citizen Sustainability Commission
- Worked with Minnetonka Climate Initiative to foster a City Council Study Session to establish a new Sustainability Commission on June 29th. Review materials HERE.
- At the Study Session a majority of the City Council expressed general support for a new Sustainability Commission and specifically option #3 of proposed. The ordinance will have to be introduced and subsequently voted on.
- I expressed my disappointment to see the City Staff recommended 4/ 9 new resident seats proposed to be filled by commissioners of existing commissions–Planning, Park, Economic Development, and Senior. Many residents have expressed interest to sit on a new Sustainability Commission. I strongly believe the need to have diverse representation vastly outweighs any synergy or efficiencies with double commission commissioners. If you agree, please express your support for a new Sustainability Commission ordinance to require 9/9 commissioners to all be new commissioners via an Email to the City Manager
- Ongoing Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).
- The City of Minnetonka has had a very detailed conversation on Ranked Choice Voting.
- I am a supporter of the Ranked Choice Voting, but the issue on the table for the City Council and the Charter Commission in 2020 is whether or not the residents of Minnetonka will have the ability to vote YES/NO for Ranked Choice Voting to apply for FUTURE City of Minnetonka elections.
- I am a Centrist NOT in a political party and my general support for RCV has nothing to do with partisan politics. My exact reason relates to my personal story. Candidates for City of Minnetonka must file in June in year of election to run. If 3 or more candidates file, then there is a primary in August to decrease to 2 candidates for the general election. Before the June 2019 filing deadline, I told my then pregnant wife Lizzie, if two people file to run, I will NOT file as I would not have the time as a newer resident to gain name recognition and our August expected baby would further inhibit success. I filed as a Ward 3 candidate on the last hour of the last day as I was the only other candidate. In sum, I support every day residents to run for City Council, especially those outside of political parties or issue organizations. My position is that name recognition takes 5 months, not two, to field a winning campaign. I took on an incumbent. It took me every day and hour to garner the votes–I won my 3 votes. I support RCV.
- Lone Lake Park Mountain Biking, Rusty Patch Bumble Bee, & Mitigation
- In 2019, Minnetonka City Council approved a mountain bike trail in Lone Lake Park.
- In 2020, City and resident dialogue has occurred around trail location, the rusty patch bumble bee, a MORC Trail Maintenance Agreement, and a proposed Use Agreement (hours, seasons, etc.).
- I have raised my voice for the City to create an ongoing stakeholder group comprised of: Friends of Lone Lake + Neighbors, Minnetonka Mountain Bike Trail Advocates, plus residents concerns with rusty patch bumble bee habitat. Despite multiple demands of City leadership, no formal action was taken.
- On a very positive note, leadership of the Friends of Lone Lake and Minnetonka Mountain Bike Trail Advocates recently met to review and discuss the Use Policy in advance of the staff recommendation.
- I hope to ensure the next City Budget addresses the failure in replacing environmental signage in Lone Lake (had to be removed as it was falling apart) and appropriate funds for proper mitigation of the mountain bike trail.
- Race and Equity.
- I have written and spoken with the City Manager several times asking for a new city conversation on race, inclusion and equity. My hope is that the City Manager incorporates the feedback from a majority of the City Council in the last Study Session and proposes a real, community engagement process.
- Let’s start with reconciliation. Minnetonka contained many race restrictive deeds for decades prohibiting blacks from owning homes. This is a fact and my suggested place to start conversation with a formal city apology. I would love to hear feedback from residents, especially people of color, on how best the City of Minnetonka can listen and act in this new era. I look forward to Councilmember Kissy Coakley’s leadership on this issue.
- Community Engagement.
- Councilmember Coakley is leading a new community engagement process. If not already, please take a moment to complete a non-partisan survey. https://forms.gle/BxdBEziF6JSNNCKR6
- I plan to raise the issue in the Budget process to find out how the City plans to spend its money to improve upon existing surveys and email and text notifications with more two way dialogue.
My major take away from the first six months is that unless a majority of City Council speak up directly, and unequivocally to an agenda item or to speak up on the fly with no notice to each other and direct staff to take on a completely new issue, ALL of the proposed policy and funding requests are advanced by the City Manager as proposed. Due to open meeting law requirements, fostering a majority that disagrees with highly detailed finance or substance is very difficult. Look for my continued private and public demands for more transparent process and meaningful community engagement so that ALL the city decisions reflect strong input based upon the true, real time wishes of the community across the political spectrum.
Thank you for taking the time to read my update. As always, you are welcome to email [email protected] or call or text to 612.770.7447. I am here to listen!