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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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughts of Thanksgiving


The depiction by Norman Rockwell of the Freedom from Want is from President Roosevelt's Four Freedoms. To listen to the audio or read the speech to Congress in January 1941 go to:






The First Thanksgiving Day Proclamation
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The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:
The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being persuaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.
-Date: June 20, 1676
-By: Governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts
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President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.

They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
- Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation October 3, 1863


Once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes I came to the chief of Kufah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience
- Sadi, The Gulistan

Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, For we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.
- Galatians 6:9

For flowers that bloom about our feet;For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;For song of bird, and hum of bee;For all things fair we hear or see,Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns."
-Anonymous


Since the Pilgrims observed the initial Thanksgiving holiday in 1621, this occasion has served as a singular expression of the transcending spiritual values that played an instrumental part in the founding of our country.

One hundred and twenty years ago, in the midst of a great and terrible civil conflict, President Lincoln formally proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to remind those "insensible to the ever watchful providence of almighty God" of this Nation's bounty and greatness. Several days after the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield, the United States celebrated its first national Thanksgiving.

Every year since then, our Nation has faithfully continued this tradition. The time has come once again to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, an occasion for Americans to express gratitude to their God and their country.In his remarks at Gettysburg, President Lincoln referred to ours as a Nation "under God."

We rejoice in the fact that, while we have maintained separate institutions of church and state over our 200 years of freedom, we have at the same time preserved reverence for spiritual beliefs. Although we are a pluralistic society, the giving of thanks can be a true bond of unity among our people. We can unite in gratitude for our individual freedoms and individual faiths. We can be united in gratitude for our Nation's peace and prosperity when so many in this world have neither.

As was written in the first Thanksgiving Proclamation 120 years ago, "No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God." God has blessed America and her people, and it is appropriate we recognize this bounty.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, in the spirit of the Pilgrims, President Lincoln, and all succeeding Presidents, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 1983, as a National Day of Thanksgiving, and I call upon Americans to affirm this day of thanks by their prayers and their gratitude for the many blessings upon this land and its people.

-Thanksgiving Day Proclamation 1983
-By: Ronald Reagan

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Link

If you look to the left column of this blog you will see a new link to the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Link. This is an excellent program and everyone should take a look.

Property Value Plunge

Just received my tax statement form the County and my home taxable value went down 7% 2010. Several others have contacted me and theirs are in the 7% to 8% range as well. I would like to hear from you either posted here or emailed to me on what the drop is in your home value according to the County.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Economic Reality

92,500 Minnesota Home Owners facing foreclosures - http://www.startribune.com/homes/70586512.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUs

Minnesota's tax collections are down a further $233,000,000 through October 2009 and coincidentally the State is now going to local governments and auditing them to make sure we are collecting enough in fees and taxes - the State gets a healthy cut of these.

The State is looking at a $4.431 Billion to $7.25 Billion deficit for 2012-2013. This is on top of the massive deficits we are dealing with today.

We are facing a possible further unallotment - this means the State will cut even further the money they owe the City. The previous unallotment that hit cities was roughly $375 million - if the high end of $7.25 billion state deficit comes to fruition then $733 million would be expected to be cut. This could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in further cuts to Isanti.

The two largest declines is the anticipated drop in property valuations and the collapse in the State's Local Government Aid. In the year 2011 we will be facing over $500,000 in reduced property tax and LGA revenue alone which equals nearly 20% of our total budget. Again so long as we follow the plan I have laid out we will be able to weather this storm but we will need to continue to make the hard decisions.

The good news is we are on top of this and I have prepared a number of scenarios that will carry us through this difficult time. The latest financial tool I developed for the City helps predict the revenue we have in the next few years and always us to plan accordingly. According to this tool total revenues for the City will not completely recover until 2015. This is based on lowering tax valuations,LGA decreases, Liquor store revenue, building permits and general fund balance transfers. I have also based this on NO TAX increases during this time period. We can not tax our way out of this.





Winter Parking Restrictions

We have received our normal complaints this year regarding winter parking restrictions. As was stated in the last issue of the Isantian, local newspaper and city website – winter parking restrictions start November 1st.
The question always arises – why is there winter parking restrictions on a 60 degree November day? The follow-up question is why not have “snow emergencies” when it actually snows. The main reason I have seen to answer these two questions is communications and cost. We do not have the benefit of metro cities that communicate their snow emergencies on network television. Even with this great communication tool there are still hundreds of people that end up getting towed.
That is where the cost comes in. A person that violates our City Ordinance gets a $20 ticket. A person that would get ticketed and towed during a snow emergency would end up paying hundreds of dollars. There is no perfect solution to this problem but the Council has asked the Police Committee to look into this issue and get input from Citizens on ideas that may improve this decades old ordinance.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

4 Year Term Follow-up

I want to touch on the November 17th Council meeting. We had a vigorous Public input from both sides of the Mayor Term change. There were a couple anti-change statements that I think need to be answered.
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  • A 4 year term will make it less likely to get good candidates to run:
Disagree completely the facts and experts back me up on this one. Our local council races with 4 year terms have become so competitive we had to create a primary to reduce the numbers from 8 to 9 candidates to 4 per two open seats for the general election. The vast majority of Mayors responding to a question on the Mayor’s Association email list agreed 4 years is much better and draws in better candidates. In Austin, MN, their Charter Commission is recommending the Mayor term be changed to 4 years.
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  • Neighboring Cities do not have 4 year terms:
That is a mixed bag. Ham Lake to our south and Cambridge to our north each have 4 year terms. Depending on the city it can have a 4 or 2 year term.
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  • It is undemocratic to have a 4 year Mayoral term:
Frankly I was floored by this statement when offered by a Council Member. Somehow a Council seat is fine to be 4 years but a Mayor’s term going to 4 years would shake the foundations of our democracy.
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  • A 4 year Mayor’s term would take away the voters ability to bring in a new majority:
Going through the history of Isanti elections and my own experience the past 6 years there has never been a complete change over. In a number of cases no one even challenged the sitting Mayor after 2 years. The change over in new direction has taken several elections over time or the direct appointment of new Council Members or Mayors as incumbents resigned early.
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  • This change would extend my current 2 year term:
FALSE – my term ends December 31st 2010

Another issue I want to quickly raise is the role of the Council. Our form of City Council plays all three traditional government roles:
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Legislative – The Council creates all City legislation (ordinances)
Executive – The Mayor has no executive or veto power. Only the Council has the power to enforce its ordinances and direct City staff.
Judicial – The Council sits in judgment of disputes covered by its own City Ordinances.
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I have included my prior post as to the benefit of a 4 year term below:
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I was very disappointed in a few comments that a 4 year term would allow a Mayor to coast through their term - Council Members have a 4 year term - I am wondering if the person thought Council members coast through their term. The only negative comments I received in the last two weeks were what if someone bad gets in there. Well the Mayor has no Veto power and has only one vote on the Council just like each of the 4 year Council Members. The way terms of office are currently setup, Council Members have more power than the Mayor. Council members can even strip the Mayor's duty of running meetings.
I also find it a bit condescending to voters that Council Members can decide if the person they elect is a "BAD" Mayor. If the person is elected they are who the Citizens want. The idea of short terms also throws more power to City staff. If they have a new Mayor every couple years they have a greater influence on City business. As you will read later in this posting it can take 6 months to a year for a new member of a council or Mayor to get up to speed on all the City Issues then the Mayor is running for office again.

One more reason a longer term is important has to do with budgets and levies. An example of this is when I was elected and started my first term as Mayor in 2007 - I had to work through a budget that had massive spending increases in it. That budget was passed by a 3-2 vote of the former Council and Mayor. So my first year was awash in things I did not want or believe in.... then we pass a good budget and tax cut for 2008 and I am having to run for reelection before the budget and tax cut are fully felt by the Citizens and Taxpayers of Isanti. Two years simply put is not enough - please read the next part of this post as it details out the other significant reason for a term change.

I know my opponents will be reading this post and carefully craft arguments against me at the next council meeting. I still believe it is paramount to place my reasons for this change in the public forum and take my chances that the Council will make the right decision. If it does not work the Council can always vote to change it back to a 2 year term.

***October 21st original post***

I told the Council tonight that I will be asking them to vote for a resolution to change the term of office for Mayor from a 2 to a 4 year term. I have listed out my initial 5 points on this topic. I wanted to give the Council the courtesy of a heads up before I bring the item to them for a vote.


Point 1

The change in term of office would not take affect until after the next election and the winner of that election would serve the first 4 year term. My current term ends
December 31st, 2010.

Point 2

2 year term breaks out roughly into the following monthly segments:

· First 3months are a getting acquainted to the position and training for a first time Mayor and the new Council members for a re-elected Mayor. * overwhelming input from Mayor's Association members that it is really takes a year to get in full stride in office *
· Next 14 months are focused on governing
· Next 5 months and sometimes more you are running for re-election again
· Last 2 months if you are defeated in the election you are in a Lame Duck position

4 year term would look like this:

· First 3months are a getting acquainted to the position and training for a first time Mayor and the new Council members for a re-elected Mayor.
· Next 38 months are focused on governing
· Next 5 months and sometimes more you are running for re-election again
· Last 2 months if you are defeated in the election you are in a Lame Duck position


The past history of numerous uncontested elections where a number of 2 year terms were strung together with no challengers is a thing of the past. There are competitive elections for nearly all local elections now and this reality must be recognized. A 4 year term may also attract more good candidates if they knew they would not have to run ever two years.

There will be a vigorous election every 4 years in which the totality of the position can be judged and the Voters can then decide if they want to go in a new direction.

All 5
County Commissioners, Sheriff, County Attorney, County Auditor, County Treasurer, County Recorder, all 12 Council members for the 3 cities, all 7 School Board Members and the Mayor of Cambridge are all 4 year terms. The Mayor of Braham and the Mayor of Isanti are the only two local elected positions that are 2 years.

Point 3

Most major city projects are 3 or more years to complete. Recent examples are our completed Water Treatment Plant and Ever Cat Fuels project. Both projects had a lot of the work and pain in the front end. The Water Treatment Plant had to be funded out of water usage fees because the City did not charge residential developers enough to pay for proper infrastructure. This could have easily turned into a campaign issue and turned the tide back on a vital City project before we are completed – wasting money, time and the health of future generations. The Ever Cat Fuels project was also a long project to a great finish but there was serious apprehension to this project and it was the number 1 question I received on the campaign trail in 2008. The fear of the unknown in this situation again could have been used as an election issue against me. This would have had a negative impact on this project and on others looking to make a significant investment in Isanti.

In both situations I had no problem sticking to my position and educating the voters as to the needs of both projects but this situation may have a chilling affect on future Mayors serving a 2 year term. We will be shortly embarking on other major multi-year economic development projects that will have great pay offs but will take a lot of work, education and possible controversy. Reasonable time needs to be given to a Mayor’s term as it is with the other 30 locally elected officials in our County.

Point 4

2 of the 4 Council members each cycle and the Mayor are up for election every 2 years. This leads to the Majority of the Council changing over and a possible zig zag of City direction leading to stunted growth. When in discussions on bringing in new commercial growth, especially major projects, there needs to be an understanding that there will be some consistency in leadership and support from the City. This is also important in recruiting critical talent to the City. High profile positions like Administrator or Economic Development Director needs to know that they have support to move the City forward. If the majority of the Council changes over every two years then key personnel could be facing radically different expectations.

Point 5

A 4 year term also takes the “politics” out of the position for the vast majority of the term. With 50% of the current 2 year term in an election year - the perception is all those votes and decisions are politically motivated. We need to make the position as effective as possible for the long term. This will benefit all Mayors and the City long into the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

4 Year Term Passed

The 4 year term passed and it will go into effect after the next election. I will give a full report on the meeting in the morning - I will give a complete report in the morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fiscal Update

I will be laying out a number of items and tools for Isanti's fiscal future. I created another tool for the Council - this one lets them see the top level revenue indicators so there will no longer be any confusion of where City revenues are coming from and how much the City is planning to receive.

This will tie into our Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) as does the Development Impact tool. I will be mentioning this tool tonight and will present to the Finance Committee for their input and hopeful approval.

I am working on the LTFP that will take us to 2015. In the next few weeks I will have this all laid out and welcome any comments and input.

Tonight is the Night

Tonight is the night for the Public Hearing on changing the term for the Mayor from 2 to 4 years after the next election. There has been a lot of whispers and negativity around this item. I am sure I will be walking into an organized opposition to this item but that does not change the fact this item needs to pass.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Isanti County News uses False Headline

The Isanti County News has used a false headline for reasons only they know. Their published headline is

Mayor requests change of own term limit

Completely false - my term ends December 31st 2010 no matter what. If a 4 year term is approved it only take force after the next election and the new Mayoral term begins.

They have now changed the online version to Isanti to consider changing mayoral term limit which is much more accurate. The damage to my reputation is already done. They have painted a picture with that headline as if I am trying to extend my term of office. This rumor is out there and this headline only fuels this nonsense. Unfortunately many people will not read the story and will only see this headline. The body of the story is correct and well reported.

Why the Isanti County News Editor allowed this is beyond me and hopefully is not a politically motivated attempted to undermined needed reform. I sent them an email yesterday expressing my disgust at their actions and have yet to receive a response.

This is another example of why good people do not even consider running for office. One libelous headline and your reputation earned over years of public service is flushed away.

Please pass this on to residents of Isanti. I have never asked this before but this type of damage is so hard to fix alone, especially when I am fighting against a newspaper that buys its ink by the barrel.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

When Country Calls

My Grandfather wrote these words to my Grandmother in 1917 as America was preparing to fight in World War One. His words worked quite well. They had 14 children, 11 boys and 3 girls. We must honor our soldiers and their families each and every day.


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A poem written by Ted Wimmer to Agnes
When Country Calls

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I feel so very lonesome tonight
I don’t know what to do
I feel so blue and downhearted right
So I’ll write a few lines to you.
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I was dreaming of the days gone by
And the hours I spent with you
My eyes grew dim, and with a sigh
I said your love must be true.
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There’s a sort of pain that hurts my heart
When I think of the hour drawing nigh
The sad day when we two must part
When I’ll kiss you and say good bye.
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Remember me and do not fear
To you, I’ll always be true
I’ll always think of you my dear
And I hope to return to you.
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Rivers, mountains and the ocean may lie
Between your soldier and you
His love for you will never die
If you’ll promise you’ll be true.
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Your soldier begs of you to say
At the rising of the sun
A prayer for him, that this very day
May not be his last one.
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And when this war to an end has come
And the troops God spared return
The world again its peace has won
Your soldier’s love for you will burn.
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And if the giver of all good
Hears the prayers of your spotless heart
At least I hope and pray he would
That I return never more to part.

Veteran's Day Quotes and Speeches

But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for,Is their monument to-day, and for aye.~Thomas Dunn English

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.~José Narosky

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.~Elmer Davis

But fame is theirs - and future days On pillar'd brass shall tell their praise; Shall tell - when cold neglect is dead -"These for their country fought and bled."~Philip Freneau

Freedom is never free.~Author Unknown

I think there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot.~Gary Hart

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?~George Canning

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.~Michel de Montaigne

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?"~Eve Merriam

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.~Cynthia Ozick

Lord, bid war's trumpet cease;Fold the whole earth in peace.~Oliver Wendell Holmes

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!~Maya Angelou

When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.~Chinese Proverb

The most persistent sound which reverberates through men's history is the beating of war drums.~Arthur Koestler,

The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.~Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.~G.K. Chesterton

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.~William Shakespeare

In war there is no prize for the runner-up- General Omar Bradley

It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.- General Douglas MacArthur

I know not with what weapons World War III will befought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.- Albert Einstein

You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.- Jeannette Rankin first woman Member of Congress

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!- Patrick Henry March 23,1775

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.~ Thomas Paine first line of "The Crisis" - December 23, 1776

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President Reagan's 40th Anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1984)We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns.

The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers -- the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here.

After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms. Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your ``lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.'' I think I know what you may be thinking right now -- thinking ``we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.'' Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't.

They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him. Lord Lovat was with him -- Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, ``Sorry I'm a few minutes late,'' as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken. There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's ``Matchbox Fleet'' and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer.

It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home.

They fought -- or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell. Something else helped the men of D-day: their rockhard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause.

And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: ``I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.'' These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together. There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies.

The Marshall plan led to the Atlantic alliance -- a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent.

Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose -- to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest. We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war.

I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war.We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: ``I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.''Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

Links to City Council Policies for this Winter

Snow Plowing

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Irene/Snow%20Plowing%20Policy.pdf

Snow Removal

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Irene/Snow%20Plowing%20Policy.pdf

Sidewalk Snow Removal and Map

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Irene/Snow%20Plowing%20Policy.pdf

Utility Billing Change

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Irene/Utility%20Billing%20Services%20Notice.pdf

Winter Parking Restrictions

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Carla/Winter%20Parking%20Notice.pdf


Any questions or comments please contact City Hall. These are City Council policies and I nor City Staff can change them. Only the City Council can change or ammend their own policies.

H1N1 Information

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/flu/index.html

Nice Isanti Chamber Website

The Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce site has a wealth of information including calender of events -

http://www.isantichamber.com/

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Checkout the Minnesota Owls

Great hockey to be seen from Isanti's own Minnesota Owls -

http://www.minnesotaowls.com/

Isanti County News Story on Levy Failure

The County News story on the Levy failure with a pretty vigorous public comment section...


http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7145&Itemid=1

Fox 9 News on Isanti Christmas Village

Dori Johnson of Charisma and Lisa Marie of the Painted Garden along with the many volunteers have brought wonderfully positive attention to our City. Thank you!!!




Wednesday, November 04, 2009

2 to 4 years Update

The Council had a quick discussion tonight about changing the term of office for the Mayor from 2 years to 4 years - Mr John Bettendorf had risen earlier in the evening stating the decision should be postponed until the next meeting. He was against the change but did not want to state why at tonight's meeting. The Council decided to table the item until the next meeting. I was hoping to take the politics out of this decision but now it will turn into a game of how many people each side of the issue can get to show-up at a Council meeting to sway the Council Members.

*** addition*** I was also puzzled why my idea of expanding the term of office brought such a response from Mr. Bettendorf for more time for the public to speak - more time for opponents to try to pack the Council Chambers - but when two of our current Council members were appointed to their original Council seats - not elected - but appointed their was no cry for more time to deliberate or get public input into those appointments. I was against appointing Council members and thought Council members and Mayors should be directly elected by the Voters. Appointing a Council member or Mayor has a greater impact on public policy than if the voters elect a Mayor to a 2 or 4 year term. Local politics are an interesting thing.

I was very disappointed in a few comments that a 4 year term would allow a Mayor to coast through their term - Council Members have a 4 year term - I am wondering if the person thought Council members coast through their term. The only negative comments I received in the last two weeks were what if someone bad gets in there. Well the Mayor has no Veto power and has only one vote on the Council just like each of the 4 year Council Members. The way terms of office are currently setup, Council Members have more power than the Mayor. Council members can even strip the Mayor's duty of running meetings.

I also find it a bit condescending to voters that Council Members can decide if the person they elect is a "BAD" Mayor. If the person is elected they are who the Citizens want. The idea of short terms also throws more power to City staff. If they have a new Mayor every couple years they have a greater influence on City business. As you will read later in this posting it can take 6 months to a year for a new member of a council or Mayor to get up to speed on all the City Issues then the Mayor is running for office again.

One more reason a longer term is important has to do with budgets and levies. An example of this is when I was elected and started my first term as Mayor in 2007 - I had to work through a budget that had massive spending increases in it. That budget was passed by a 3-2 vote of the former Council and Mayor. So my first year was awash in things I did not want or believe in.... then we pass a good budget and tax cut for 2008 and I am having to run for reelection before the budget and tax cut are fully felt by the Citizens and Taxpayers of Isanti. Two years simply put is not enough - please read the next part of this post as it details out the other significant reason for a term change.

I know my opponents will be reading this post and carefully craft arguments against me at the next council meeting. I still believe it is paramount to place my reasons for this change in the public forum and take my chances that the Council will make the right decision. If it does not work the Council can always vote to change it back to a 2 year term.





***October 21st original post***


I told the Council tonight that I will be asking them to vote for a resolution to change the term of office for Mayor from a 2 to a 4 year term. I have listed out my initial 5 points on this topic. I wanted to give the Council the courtesy of a heads up before I bring the item to them for a vote.


Point 1

The change in term of office would not take affect until after the next election and the winner of that election would serve the first 4 year term. My current term ends December 31st, 2010.

Point 2

2 year term breaks out roughly into the following monthly segments:

· First 3months are a getting acquainted to the position and training for a first time Mayor and the new Council members for a re-elected Mayor. * overwhelming input from Mayor's Association members that it is really takes a year to get in full stride in office *
· Next 14 months are focused on governing
· Next 5 months and sometimes more you are running for re-election again
· Last 2 months if you are defeated in the election you are in a Lame Duck position

4 year term would look like this:

· First 3months are a getting acquainted to the position and training for a first time Mayor and the new Council members for a re-elected Mayor.
· Next 38 months are focused on governing
· Next 5 months and sometimes more you are running for re-election again
· Last 2 months if you are defeated in the election you are in a Lame Duck position


The past history of numerous uncontested elections where a number of 2 year terms were strung together with no challengers is a thing of the past. There are competitive elections for nearly all local elections now and this reality must be recognized. A 4 year term may also attract more good candidates if they knew they would not have to run ever two years.

There will be a vigorous election every 4 years in which the totality of the position can be judged and the Voters can then decide if they want to go in a new direction.

All 5 County Commissioners, Sheriff, County Attorney, County Auditor, County Treasurer, County Recorder, all 12 Council members for the 3 cities, all 7 School Board Members and the Mayor of Cambridge are all 4 year terms. The Mayor of Braham and the Mayor of Isanti are the only two local elected positions that are 2 years.

Point 3

Most major city projects are 3 or more years to complete. Recent examples are our completed Water Treatment Plant and Ever Cat Fuels project. Both projects had a lot of the work and pain in the front end. The Water Treatment Plant had to be funded out of water usage fees because the City did not charge residential developers enough to pay for proper infrastructure. This could have easily turned into a campaign issue and turned the tide back on a vital City project before we are completed – wasting money, time and the health of future generations. The Ever Cat Fuels project was also a long project to a great finish but there was serious apprehension to this project and it was the number 1 question I received on the campaign trail in 2008. The fear of the unknown in this situation again could have been used as an election issue against me. This would have had a negative impact on this project and on others looking to make a significant investment in Isanti.

In both situations I had no problem sticking to my position and educating the voters as to the needs of both projects but this situation may have a chilling affect on future Mayors serving a 2 year term. We will be shortly embarking on other major multi-year economic development projects that will have great pay offs but will take a lot of work, education and possible controversy. Reasonable time needs to be given to a Mayor’s term as it is with the other 30 locally elected officials in our County.

Point 4

2 of the 4 Council members each cycle and the Mayor are up for election every 2 years. This leads to the Majority of the Council changing over and a possible zig zag of City direction leading to stunted growth. When in discussions on bringing in new commercial growth, especially major projects, there needs to be an understanding that there will be some consistency in leadership and support from the City. This is also important in recruiting critical talent to the City. High profile positions like Administrator or Economic Development Director needs to know that they have support to move the City forward. If the majority of the Council changes over every two years then key personnel could be facing radically different expectations.

Point 5

A 4 year term also takes the “politics” out of the position for the vast majority of the term. With 50% of the current 2 year term in an election year - the perception is all those votes and decisions are politically motivated. We need to make the position as effective as possible for the long term. This will benefit all Mayors and the City long into the future.

Isanti Library Link Open




Susi McCune, myself and our new Librarian for the Library Link Site located at Isanti City Hall




The following is from:
Susi McCune
President of Friends of the Isanti Area Library

1) The ECRL Isanti Library Link Site will open for a trial run on Wednesday, November 4th. It will open for the public on November 18th!!! It will be open Wednesdays from 10 am-4 pm.

2) Volunteers are needed help out. Check the schedule below (or the one attached) to see which times are open. We also need names of those who could "sub" in case someone can't work their planned shift. Please let me know if you can help out.

3) ECRL's 50th Anniversary celebration at Cambridge Library is on Thursday, November 5th from 2-6 pm. There will be a short program at 4:00. Please plan to attend - and wear your FIAL shirt, if possible. Need a shirt? Give me a call. T-shirts are $12 Adult, $15 XX/XXX, $10 Child. There are a few sweatshirts left for $25 each.

Susi McCune, President
Friends of the Isanti Area Library
Make It Happen!
PO Box 111, Isanti MN 55040-0111
763.444.4585 - www.IsantiLibrary.com

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cambridge Isanti Levy Failed


The Levy failed in both polling places with a combined 62% no and 38% yes.


Cambridge polling place rejected the first question with 56% no and 44% yes compared to Isanti polling place rejection of 69% no and 31% yes. The combined precinct voting had a number of townships voting at each city.

Isanti Polling Location Numbers Only

The following numbers for the Isanti City Hall polling place which covers - City of Isanti, Spencer Brook Township, Bradford Township, Isanti Township, North Branch Township, Stanford Township, Oxford Township, and Athens Township.

Question 1 YES 692 NO 1520 69% voted no

Question 2 YES 599 NO 1612 72% voted no

Again these are just for one of the two polling places and nothing is final till the other numbers are in and these numbers are finalized.

Vote Total Update

885 votes as of 1:55pm at Isanti city Hall polling place in the School district referendum vote. A steady stream of voters.
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1222 as of 4:00 pm
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Winter Parking

Winter parking restrictions are in force. Please read your Isantian, newspaper or go to:

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Carla/Winter%20Parking%20Notice.pdf to learn the details.

Go Vote

Regardless of which way you plan to vote on the School District Levy



- GO VOTE -
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At 7:40 this morning the voter count at Isanti City Hall was 75.