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I have served the City of Isanti as Mayor since 2007. We have accomplished great things together and I look forward to building on our success. United, we move forward to a better future. You may contact me at 763-442-8749 or e-mail me at george@georgewimmer.com. My website is www.georgewimmer.com

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Council Meeting August 3rd

The August 3rd council Meeting has two topics that seem to be drawing a lot of attention. First is the approval of the Millwork for the New City Hall. Council Member Johnson has submitted a quote. His quote is the lower of the two that were received. I however have been given no information of what will be built. I have also received dozens of calls and comments regarding this process. All have questioned how it is fair for a Council Member to bid on a city job. I also have great apprehension on this process. I have been told some did not bother to quote feeling the “fix” was in for Council Member Johnson. I will be unable to vote either way until more information is produced on what will actually be built for each quote.

The other item I have received calls and comments on is the discussion of Brian Iverson continuing to serve the City on the EDA. He has great economic power already from being the Isanti’s biggest developer. He is also developing a large tract of commercial property. These two points alone cause a per se conflict. Many individuals and companies that have worked with and in competition with Mr. Iverson have complained about his representing the City on such an important and powerful appointed body. Citizens of Isanti also question how this can be a fair and transparent process. How can anyone compete with Mr. Iverson when they come in front of the City Council? With his membership on the EDA Mr. Iverson also has tremendous access to other Council Members that no other developer has. I hope to have an honest and open discussion of his continued service on the EDA.

Both of these issues go to the core of what is perceived as the “Old Boy Network”. We must strive for fairness and transparency in all that we do in the name of the City of Isanti.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Eminent Domain and Voting

In the recent Supreme Court ruling KELO ET AL. v. CITY OF NEW LONDON ET AL, individual property rights have been severely curtailed.
Justice O'Conner Writes:

"Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public"

The idea that local government is allowed to take the private property of person A and give it to person B or developer/corporation B is contrary to our very liberty. When we buy our home we believe we have certain inalienable rights. One of these rights surely must be the decision to keep it or sell it as the owner wishes. Alexander Hamilton said that “security of property is one of the great objects of government”. This has been dealt a death blow in the name of “Progress”. Justice O’Conner also states there are two conditions on the exercise of eminent domain. These are “the taking must be for public use” and “just compensation”. She further adds:

“Together they ensure stable property ownership by providing safeguards against excessive, unpredictable, or unfair use of the government’s eminent domain power particularly against those owners who, for whatever reasons, maybe unable to protect themselves in the political process against the majority’s will.”
I do not deny the fact that in certain extreme situations the government may need to take property. This bar however is to be set extremely high. The bar should not be the simple act of enriching one person, developer, or corporation.

Justice O’Conner also makes the follow important point:

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result."

This “perverse result” is the enemy of the democratic process. The rich and powerful should not have more power in the political arena. Each citizen has one vote and should have equal influence. The large corporation or developer never has their property taken from them and given to the small homesteader. There is no equality or justice in this process.

The only benefit I see coming from this tragic decision is that perhaps more citizens will vote. The vote is important because local governments must still make the final decision to “take” property from A to give to B. Ask those who run for local office what they would do. It is in the city councils, county boards and school boards that the decisions that most affect our lives are made. Yet these offices are the most neglected in our electoral process. Many go unopposed and unchallenged. It is detrimental to our democratic process to have elected officials who are never challenged or have to answer the hard questions.

Citizens need to go to their city council, county board and school board meetings. You need to be aware of the decisions that are being made in your name. Make your voices heard and participate in the democratic process we have as our birth right. We are truly blessed to live in this country but we also have a great responsibility to ensure that we preserve these liberties to the generations yet to come.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Joint Meeting Update

The joint meeting accomplished a few items. Training was stressed for every appointed position. The Mayor had stated he had heard "rumors" of folding the EDA into the City Council. I have sent this as one of my suggestions to the EDA for consideration. The Mayor stated his opposition to this idea. Other EDA members commented that this would add more hours of work to City Council Members. Work is what we signed up for when we ran for office. I look forward to the EDA's statements on this question. The Mayor came to the defense of Brian Iverson's membership on the EDA. The Mayor once again stated he had heard rumors that people were questioned if Mr. Iverson's membership was a conflict. Again this is one of the questions I have asked the EDA to address. This is an issue that needs to be resolved.

I was happy to hear that the Planning Commission Chair was very happy with 7 members on the Planning Commission. He felt this worked very well and added greatly to the process.

Parks & Recreation was brought up next. I stated that although I have great love for parks and am happy with the continued growth in our park and trail system. The maintenance cost is also increasing. The new parks are paid for with development money. This cost the citizens of Isanti nothing. The mowing and maintenance comes out of the City Budget. This will in time account for a full time employee to simply mow and maintain the parks. There will also be replacement cost to consider as our parks age. I asked that we all think of these cost as we continue our budgeting process.

This meeting, although short, was beneficial and I hope we will continue to work directly with these appointed bodies.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Police Commission

Council Member Kennedy and I will be meeting with Police Chief Sager. We make up the Police Commission. This meeting will revolve around policing policy and budget request. This meeting will be set in the next few days. I will be happy to hear any comments or suggestions to better our police presence in Isanti.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Joint Meeting

On July 19th at 5:00 pm at the Creamery Crossing the Isanti City Council will be meeting with the members of Isanti’s appointed Boards and Commission. This includes the EDA, Planning Commission and Park & Recreation Board. The goal is to discuss Council objectives with the appointed bodies. The public is welcomed as this is an open meeting. I will be stressing training for all members. This is needed as many of the task in front of these appointed bodies are quite complex. The meeting will also although who serve on this board to ask questions of the Council. I hope to see the public at this meeting to observe this process.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hotel Isanti

At the July 12th Planning Commission meeting a hotel sketch plan was proposed for the old burger top location. There are many details to yet be worked out. I am however excited by the prospect of a business that will help drive traffic to our Main St business district. Isanti is in need of a hotel. When we have events like last weeks Rodeo and Jubilee Days, it is important to have a place for guess to stay. As more details become available I will share them with you.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Definition

Rhetoric:

The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively. A treatise or book discussing this art. Skill in using language effectively and persuasively.

I hope to use this blog as an open communication tool with the residents of Isanti.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes have become more than a nuisance. They are quick becoming a health risk with the arrival of West Nile Virus. Many residents of Isanti are unable to enjoy their own yards with this unofficial bird of Minnesota. They can become so thick that we and our children have to stay in doors. One possible solution can be the City of Isanti spraying for these harmful pests. Many of us who have invested in our homes wish to be able to use them year round. I am considering a 3 or 4 season porch so I may have the chance to view my own back yard. I have heard from hundreds of residents with the same problem. I have asked the Isanti Public Works Department to investigate the cost of mitigating the mosquito population. I will address this in the budget process this summer and fall. I hope to have a cost established for mosquito control by the end of 2005. Cambridge’s program cost $1,000 per city wide spraying. If we have a cost effective plan I will then ask the City Council to consider a spraying program. I hope we may all be able to sit on our decks and enjoy the sound of our children outside.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Isanti Rodeo and Jubilee Days

I would like to thank The Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association and the Isanti Chamber of Commerce for all their hard work. The Isanti Rodeo and Jubilee Days brings thousands of people to our Great City. This becomes ever more important with our planned commercial growth. The people that are brought into Isanti will spend their entertainment dollars here once the commercial properties are developed. This will mean spreading out our cities tax burden and help to alleviate our residential property tax payers. The City of Isanti must never forget the hard work done by these two important groups. Our future growth and planning must take these events and others into consideration. I again thank the Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association and Isanti City Chamber of Commerce for all their hard work and dedication. I will always fight to keep them a part of Isanti's future.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Walking Tour

I will be continuing my walking tour of Isanti July 12th. This walking tour will take several weeks to complete. My intent is to talk with as many residents as possible to make sure I am addressing the concerns of Isanti. I will also be explaining my positions and laying out the goals I have for our Great City. I hope to see you soon.

Attempt to Remove

There was a second attempt by Council Member Johnson to replace me with council Member Larson on the committee directing City Staff Department Heads. This second attempt was successfully put off. The Mayor and myself serve on the Personnel Committee. This committee has been authorized by the City Council to fill the void left by the non-renewal of the City Administrator. This work will continue until a new city administrator is hired. The Mayor and myself work together to give guidance to Department Heads as they need. This has been a developing process during this difficult time. Any major decision would need full Council approval.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rum River Meadows Park

The community build for Rum River Meadows Park is planned for August 6th rain or shine. A letter will be going out to the community to ask for volunteers and a list of items to bring to the build. I am excited to have a park serving this section of Isanti. So many have helped in the planning and equipment choices. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work. I hope to see many helpful hands as we build a park we can all be proud of. If you have any questions on how you may help, please contact me @ 444-7158 or george.wimmer@genesiswireless.us.

Contract work

Much has been said regarding Mr. Jacobson's contracted work. I had decided to support and negotiate a contract with him to finish several developer agreements and the codification of Isanti's ordnances. These are time sensitive projects. This work is being done at his normal rate of pay. This will not cost the city anymore than his normal salary and benefits contribution. This work will be supervised directly by the Mayor and myself. This work will be approved by the council each time we meet. Mr. Jacobson's technical experience will be used to bridge the gap until we have a new City Administrator. This will be a win/win for all involved.

Public Launching

I will be making this blog public in the next week. You will be reading my thoughts and concerns regarding the City of Isanti. I will be updating this blog twice weekly. I hope all will find this to be informative and thought provoking.

EDA

I have sent the following questions to the Isanti EDA(Economic Development Authority):

"I would like the following questions directed to the EDA.

First, has the EDA considered the JOBZ program and what was your conclusion? Secondly does the EDA plan to use the Isanti Business Retention and Expansion Plan. Thirdly does having a developer of commercial property serve as a member of this board cause a conflict of interest? Lastly I would like to have the Isanti EDA consider the benefits of folding itself into the City Council. This has been successfully completed in many cities throughout Minnesota including our neighbor Cambridge
."

These are important questions vital to our commercial development and economic vitality.

Conflcit of Interest Policy

I had the Conflict of Interest Policy brought up at the July 5th Council Meeting. This was due to the lack of financial disclosure forms and a number of concerns over past practices. I gained unanimous consensus to have all financial disclosure forms completed by August 9th. This will help to prevent any future conflicts of interest. I will also be asking individual or business that brings action before the council if they have a financial relationship with a Board, Commission or Council Member. I expect complete transparency and fairness. This allows the smallest and largest taxpayer to be heard in equal measure.