Saint Paul STRONG Mayoral Candidates Forum

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Click on Mayoral Candidates Forum to watch the video:

Mayoral Candidates Forum

 

Saint Paul STRONG Mayoral Candidates Forum

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This event will be held in front of a live audience at the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) studio located at:

550 Vandalia St., Suite #170, Saint Paul, MN, 55114

(Note that SPNN does not face Vandalia - this is a bit confusing. SPNN is on the east side of the main building, off Wabash, next to Lake Monster Brewing Company).

For map & directions: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Saint+Paul+Neighborhood+Network+(SPNN)/@44.9293762,-93.154051,13z/data=!4m8!1m2!2m1!1sSPNN+Saint+Paul,+M!3m4!1s0x87f7d54e32b5e9f5:0xcf8c5c34045bc836!8m2!3d44.957581!4d-93.190565

This event will be broadcast live on SPNN and made available for review on the Saint Paul STRONG website. Yusef Mgeni, Saint Paul STRONG (SPS) steering committee member, will serve as moderator and Shirley Erstad, SPS steering committee member, will greet attendees, make introductions, and present closing remarks.

We will start promptly at 7:00pm and conclude at 9:00pm. Our goal is to provide the citizens of Saint Paul with an opportunity to hear what the candidates for mayor have to say about issues that impact our city. Members of local media will also be present.

SPNN lobby doors will open for the public to gather and visit with candidates and campaign staff at 6:00pm. At the conclusion of the broadcast, Lake Monster Brewing Company, located next door, has graciously invited candidates and attendees to socialize until 10:00 pm.

For questions, contact John Mannillo at john@mannillowomack.com or 651-292-8306.

To RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1823338451249360/

Saint Paul STRONG

S Safety

T Trust

R Responsible

O Open

N Neighborhoods

G Generations

We are a nonpartisan, community-led organization dedicated to improving
open and representative government in Saint Paul by encouraging and
supporting open and transparent public processes at City Hall, engaging and empowering resident participation, and building a stronger, more
inclusive Saint Paul.

http://www.saintpaulstrong.com/

https://www.facebook.com/saintpaulstrong/

https://twitter.com/SaintPaulSTRONG

 

Tax Increment Financing Public Forum September 2016

TIF Forum
https://youtu.be/acXykgwCKZw

TIF - Q & A
https://youtu.be/x0RrcacNK4w

A healthy Saint Paul tax base may be the most important public policy the Mayor and City Council has responsibility for. Most city services are supported through property taxes, including police and fire, streets, rec centers, libraries, and schools. While Tax Increment Financing (TIF) has greatly impacted the long term fiscal standing of the City, there has been little public discussion or understanding of this investment.

Saint Paul STRONG produced a panel discussion specific to Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

The event was on Thursday, September 8th, 7pm to 9 pm at the new Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) studio in Saint Paul’s Midway.

Curtis Gilbert of MPR moderated the discussion in front of a live audience that was telecast live on SPNN Saint Paul Cable Channel 19. Following the live telecast was a Q & A audience / media participation discussion moderated by Linda Winsor of Saint Paul STRONG.

Panelists:

Minnesota Senator Ann Rest

Senior Fellow of The Humphrey School Jay Kiedrowski

President of Saint Paul Port Authority Lee Krueger

Developer John Mannillo

http://www.annrest.com/

https://www.hhh.umn.edu/directory/jay-kiedrowski

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lee-krueger-9b7bb012

John Mannillo's biography

Public Inaugural Community Event January 2016

Saint Paul STRONG held its inaugural public meeting on Thursday, January 7, 2016. Saint Paul City Council members were invited, along with the public, to have an open discussion on how to improve our public process. The event started at 5:30 p.m. at Mai Village at University and Western Avenues.

To view a video of the panel discussion, click on: http://www.saintpaulstrong.com/gallery/2016/1/27/saint-paul-strong-public-forum-january-7-2016

The following questions, generated by people who attended the forum on January 7, were not asked of the panel due to lack of time. Council members who did not attend the forum were invited to respond to them. To date, we have received answers to some of the questions from Council Member Rebecca Noecker. (See below).

To hear responses to questions that were asked during the forum, see the SPNN video on the Saint Paul STRONG website: http://www.saintpaulstrong.com/gallery/2016/1/27/saint-paul-strong-public-forum-january-7-2016

Public Questions

Development

  • How does the city balance private economic opportunities w/ neighborhood goals/desires?

  • Why are current “nuisance business” ordinances not more strictly enforced to make St. Paul more dense, compact, and truly livable?

  • Are you in favor of working with independent urban planners?

  • Inconvenience and change are sometimes necessary for positive long term improvement. How can we ensure that those changes will have positive impacts rather than negative ones?

  • Addressing poverty & homelessness is one way to improve our “gateway” commercial routes. What is the city's public process for addressing these issues?

  • There are concerns that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is being overused and property taxes are being diverted to sometimes unnecessary projects. How can the decision making process on TIF be more transparent and accountable to city tax payers?

 

District Council

  • How are the needs and wants of the District Councils being incorporated into city hall decisions?

  • Where do the District Councils fit into your vision for St. Paul?

  • Some believe that there is a contingent in city hall who are not in favor of the 17 neighborhood district councils. Do you support the city in maintaining or increasing funding for the district councils?

 

Miscellaneous

  • Dept. of Safety & Inspections, Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning & Economic Development, Heritage Preservation Commission, and the district councils are part of the public process in codes, building restrictions, and design guidelines. Do you support enforcement of building code restrictions and design guidelines in our neighborhoods?

  • What can the city do to get more responsible citizens? new residents? change attitudes? brick/mortar investment?

  • How can real problems affecting individuals or households be heard and addressed without having to file a lawsuit?

  • Who is the city attorney's office accountable to: the mayor, city council, or the public?

  • How will the city ensure that public process is in place before decisions are made that impact our neighborhoods? For example, Grand Ave. parking meters and sports stadiums.

  • Save Our St. Paul Neighborhoods is working to involve residents in neighborhood housing decisions regarding teardown applications and new construction standards. How can the city help with this effort?

 

Process Questions

  • How does the City Council communicate with constituents and are there opportunities to improve how the city informs residents about upcoming proposals and changes?

  • What steps do you recommend ward constituents take when their council member refuses to engage with them

  • What does the term transparency mean to you in practical ways?

  • How will the city improve transparency and accountability in decision making at city hall?

  • Would you be in favor of having an open comment period before every City Council meeting? Why or why not?

  • Minneapolis and other cities have implemented open data and portal policies. Does St. Paul have these policies and if so, do you support them?

  • Was the Saints stadium process transparent? Has the proposal to build a soccer stadium been a transparent process?

  • Why is the Saint Paul Port Authority not given more public scrutiny?

 

Council Member Rebecca Noecker's Responses to Public Questions

There are concerns that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is being overused and property taxes are being diverted to sometimes unnecessary projects. How can the decision making process on TIF be more transparent and accountable to city tax payers?

One possible means for making this process more accountable to city tax payers would be to create a policy for the creation of TIF districts that includes public engagement. For example, the City of Portland, Oregon has a community engagement process for the creation of a TIF district that involves sending a mailing to everyone in the proposed district. Residents receive photographs and drawings of the proposed area, answers to frequently asked questions, and other information prior to holding public hearings. Each district (called an urban renewal area) has a citizen’s committee that provides monthly feedback to municipal managers. My colleague Dai Thao and I are planning a Council policy session on the subject of TIF so that the entire Council is better informed on the current state of our TIF districts, how they’re performing, what a healthy amount of TIF is, etc. My hope is that this conversation leads to actions that will make the entire TIF process more transparent and ensure that we are using TIF appropriately.

Where do the District Councils fit into your vision for St. Paul?


I believe the District Councils play a critical role as vehicles for residents to engage on community issues, and use their collective voice to be heard at City Hall. Right now, there is some disparity between the councils in the way they do this work. I think the City Council should be more clear about what we expect from District Councils in terms of community engagement and services, and what the Councils can expect from City Hall in return. Recently, a group of executive directors presented to the Council on ideas for the role of the District Coordinator that has been housed at City Hall. They had some great ideas about creating a position or a possible department to assist with and keep them informed about opportunities for community engagement. I am actively looking at how to make it easier for residents to understand and interact with the City, and this idea is one I’m considering.

What does the term transparency mean to you in practical ways?

Transparency means several things to me. First, it should be easy for residents to understand and interact with the city – when they reach out to the city with questions or concerns, or when the city reaches out to them, through some kind of notice. I would like City communications of all kinds to be clear, in plain language, and easy to navigate and participate in. Second, public engagement processes should be broadly noticed and feedback should be collected at a time when it is meaningful to the process. Finally, I think the City’s goals and outcomes should be clear and visible; for example, through St Paul Insights, the open data portal currently under development. We should be open about what we’re trying to accomplish each year and the progress we made and failed to make in the previous year – especially when setting our budget for the year ahead.

 

Minneapolis and other cities have implemented open data and portal policies. Does St. Paul have these policies and if so, do you support them?

The Office of Technology and Communications, with the assistance of the Sunlight Foundation and the Bloomberg What Works Cities initiative, is leading development of an open data policy and an open data portal, which is expected to be online in second quarter of 2016. The portal will give residents access to accurate and timely information in a user-friendly format. I fully support this effort and other efforts like it to make information readily available to the citizens of Saint Paul. I have also initiated a conversation with my colleagues about the Results Minneapolis accountability system, a version of which I would like to adopt here.