Monday, August 31, 2009

CIA investigation will be Obama’s Waterloo

A political debacle is brewing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave with the unleashing of Attorney General Eric Holder onto the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to review and prosecute the actions taken over the past 8 years. President Obama has stated several times that we need to look forward and not dwell on the past but by giving Attorney General Holder the nod to investigate and prosecute the CIA and Bush Administration national security policies is an hypocritical. Back in June of this year Holder was quoted as "It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department."

Armed with the release of the CIA's inspector general 2004 report, Attorney General Holder appointed John Durham as federal prosecutor to re-open the cases that found only one abuse of detainees by career prosecutors and not Bush appointees. As CIA director Leon Panetta pointed out that all cases were "carefully and thoroughly, sometimes taking years to decide if prosecution was warranted or not." What benefit will America see from the re-opening of these cases? The Obama Administration is succumbing to the political left by green lighting the attack on the CIA.

President Obama started off his speech to the CIA, in April, with "It is a great honor to be here with the men and women of the CIA. I've been eager to come out here to Langley for some time so I can deliver a simple message to you in person, on behalf of the American people: Thank you. Thank you for all the work that you do to protect the American people and the freedom that we all cherish" while closing with "And you will have my support and appreciation as you carry on this critical work. We live in dangerous times – I am going to need you more then ever." Well Mr. President if your words are true then why is the Attorney General Holder reviewing cases that were already put to rest? The potential further prosecution by the Attorney General's office only weakens the CIA and our national security.

Some in Congress thought that the Health Care debate will be President Obama's Waterloo. The Waterloo for the Obama Administration is Attorney General Holder's nod to review the CIA practices of the past 8 years. Former Vice President summed it up on Fox News Sunday when he said, "I just think it's an outrageous precedent to set, to have this kind of, I think, intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration." Rumors are surfacing that CIA Director Leon Panetta will be resigning or canned before the end of the year. Regardless of the criticism made prior to Leon Panetta being appointed CIA Director, the move by the Obama Administration to reverse their stance of not prosecuting CIA operatives will weaken the CIA operative's future attempts to gather intelligence.

President Obama, once again, shows his lack of foreign policy understanding. The about face is an attempt to quench the thirst by the political left that have demanded Bush and Cheney be held accountable for actions afforded the CIA operatives to extract intelligence from Gitmo detainees post 9/11. Once again Mr. President, what benefit will Americans realized from re-opening the cases that career prosecutors have already decided on?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fantasy Football Drafts just around the corner

Friday is finally here and it is August 28th which means week 3 of the NFL preseason and the kickoff of fantasy football drafting. In talking to friends, family, and neighbors over the past week I discovered about 60% were involved in at least one fantasy football league. Nearly everyone I talked to will be drafting their fantasy football teams over the next week. Personally, I have two drafts to complete – this Saturday and Labor Day – so I gathered up the kids this morning and made a trek to the local Target. While the kids looked at the toys and gaming cards, I wondered over to the magazine rack to see what fantasy football magazines existed. Target doesn't have a huge magazine rack but they did have four different fantasy football magazines. After thumbing through all four magazines I settled on not purchasing any of them.

Even though a wealth of knowledge was in each rag, I wasn't sure how updated the magazines were. Plus, with the vast realm of the internet one can find updated information. Both of my leagues I participate in are keeper leagues; yet they do not work in the same manner of keeping players year over year. The draft this Saturday is a keeper league with a standard linear draft. Each of our owners is able to keep up to two players and one developmental player. While my Labor Day draft is a keeper league that we use salaries and auction draft style. I am still on the fence as to which one is more entertaining or better to participate in. Being in a keeper league gives a bit more meaning to those dull second halves of the preseason games when the second, third, and fourth string players are trying to make a case for being part of the team.

Many primetime players play very little during the preseason because they do not want to get hurt or suffer a season ending injury. A number of websites have Adrian Peterson the number one overall pick and leads a contingent of tier 1 running backs that include Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, Michael Turner, and Matt Forte. Missing from the group is 30-something Ladainian Tomlinson. During the offseason I have been agonizing on if I was going to keep L.T. again this year as he has led me to two championships in a row in my family league. Just last week I did trade T. Owens for Maurice Jones-Drew to help alleviate my anxiety of deciding to keep L.T. or not. The trade makes my decision on whom to keep for the family league easier since I had Andre Johnson on the roster with T.O. as I will be keeping MJD and Andre Johnson.

Putting fantasy football in a search engine and one will quickly realize that hundreds, possibly thousands, of websites exist to assist one with research for drafting. Which one to choose is nearly as difficult as whom one should take in round three with the fourth pick. Obviously ESPN, CBSsportsline, Yahoo sports, and Fanball are all great sites to start with to obtain rankings and updated information on training camps. Other sites I have discovered that have been helpful are rotoworld.com and fantasyshark.com. Now the questions before me is who will have a breakout season, which rookie will light up the scoreboard, who will be a complete bust, and who will be Matt Cassel of 2009? Good luck to all those fantasy football owners this year except of course if you are one in my league.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Massachusetts: Just say No!!!!

Yesterday an Icon in the political landscape succumbed to the illness that had kept him from performing his duties as the Senator of Massachusetts. Sen. Ted Kennedy who had been battling a tumor took his last breath and will be buried Saturday in Arlington National Cemetery alongside his two brothers. The vacuum left by Sen. Kennedy will be missed by the left as he was often dubbed the "Liberal Lion". Once Minnesota's Senate race was decided the Democrats held a 60-seat filibuster proof Senate majority. With the death of Sen. Kennedy and the law in Massachusetts the filibuster proof hold for Democrats is no longer. Or is it? The Massachusetts state law stipulates that in cases when a Senate seat becomes vacant during term a special election will take place 5 months after the seat become vacant.

A push in Massachusetts, both locally and nationally, is being made to pressure the state to change the law to give Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick to power to appoint an interim Senator until a special election can be had. Several weeks back Sen. Kennedy sent a letter to the Democrat hierarchy of the state to make a case to change the law and give power to the governor to appoint an interim Senator. Up until yesterday the major players in Massachusetts Democrat hierarchy had remained silent when Gov. Patrick broke that silence by saying to the Boston Globe, "I'd like the Legislature to take up the bill quickly and get it to my desk and I will sign it." While I recognize that having both Senate seats is critical to keeping ones state's voice heard in the Senate, it is the political game that is being played out that sickens me.

Back in 2004 the Democrats in Massachusetts legislature rejected the very legislation that is being discussed right now. At that time it appeared likely that Sen. Kerry would be elected President of the United States and to ensure that Massachusetts had equal representation in the Senate a bill was proposed to give the governor the power to appoint an interim Senator. The bill was voted down because the governor at the time was Rep. Gov. Mitt Romney. It appears that hypocrisy is seeping into the political game once again.

The health care debate is an important one and having all voices equally represented is important. That being said, perhaps Massachusetts should stay the course to allow the debate on how to reform health care rage on. President Obama has an ambitious goal of getting reform done by year end. While I commend the president for setting a goal, I do not see it as realistic especially in light of recent deficit reports. The current tab is outrageous and it doesn't even include $1.2T health care reform or the "Cap and Tax" program.

If Massachusetts reverses course to appease the Democrats it will be an abuse of political power. The citizens of Massachusetts ought to be ashamed of themselves if they allow their politicians to entertain legislation to change the process for filing vacant Senate seats. We in Minnesota saw the abuse of political power during the Franken and Coleman debacle. Citizens of Massachusetts learn from the mistakes of Minnesota and demand your state legislature leave the status quo alone.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TMDL Grant loss clarified at Hamburg City Council meeting

Last night the Hamburg City Council meeting had special guests to help the Council and citizens of Hamburg understand why the loss 20 points occurred to their score in consideration for a TMDL grant. Bill Dunn and Gene Erickson of the MPCA and Becky Saybeck (I apologize to Becky if that is not the correct spelling of her name) of the PFA. Also requested to show were Sen. Ortman and Rep. Kohls - neither one showed. Mr. Dunn started by explaining on why Hamburg lost the 20 points thus making the I/I project ineligible for a TMDL Grant.

The original score of 78 points were award to the I/I project but after a re-calculation was performed in preparation for the 2010 TMDL schedule an error was discovered and 20 points were removed. Hamburg was giving points for the following reasons per the 7077.0117 statute:

  • Subpart 1 - Flow Capacity – 5 points
  • Subpart 2 – Age of facilities - 20 points
  • Subpart 3 – Excessive infiltration or inflow – 15 points
  • Subpart 13 – Receiving water classification – 3 points
  • Subpart 14 – Effluent impact on receiving water – 15 points

The 20 points awarded in error was a misapplication of Subpart 16 – Project helps meet total maximum daily load for receiving water. Prior to the meeting, Bill Dunn, Gene Erickson, and I had a conference call about this subpart. Again at the meeting I brought to question a part of the subpart that I thought applied and that Hamburg ought to be awarded back the 20 points. The portion I questioned was section A of Subpart 16 that states "be designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants as specifically required by an agency-approved TMDL implementation plan." I posed the question that if resident sewer lines were in a state of disrepair and not functioning properly with the possible side effect of seeping sewage into the ground water wouldn't the I/I project thus assist in removing "pollutants" from clean water be covered by part A of subpart 16. The answer was a resounding no since the pollutant in question for our area is phosphorous.

Gene Erickson said that the deteriorating sewer lines from resident's homes are a "public hazard not related to TMDL." Since neither the City Council nor our City Engineer offered additional information on the effects the sewer lines can have on adding "pollutants" to the clean water removal system, I was regulated to concede the point. The loss of the 20 points and the potential TMDL grant now puts the I/I project in a budgetary quandary. Residents in Hamburg pays the highest per household property tax in the county and with the loss of the TMDL grant possibility now puts additional burden onto the residents to pay for a $1.2 M project.

Becky, from the PFA, did say with a score of 58 that Hamburg qualified for a sub-prime 20-year loan, probably 2 or 2.5%, to cover the costs of the project. An enlightening fact surfaced during the discussion, the fact that neither Bill Dunn nor Gene Erickson had seen a TMDL grant request from the City of Hamburg for the I/I project. The absence of a TMDL grant request was meet with some jaw dropping as the Council and myself was under the impression one had been submitted otherwise how Hamburg would obtain a score. At this point the Council and those in attendance were informed that the scoring takes place once the project is submitted to the PFA. Doug Parrot said that he'd verify with Ron Seymour to determine if Hamburg had or had not actually submitted a TMDL grant application.

A good take away from the conversation is that Gene Erickson informed the City Council that any future business opportunities will be considered since Hamburg is making "progress" to combat the I/I issue. The City Council is still researching other methods to fund the I/I project before succumbing to loans, levies, or assessments. So anyone that is looking to open a new business, bring your business to Hamburg.

Other items of note:

  • Contract was signed with To The Home Wireless Internet and permits moving forward.
  • 2010 Preliminary Budget discussion took place
  • Hamburg resident Richard Odoms spoke on various concerns ranging from delays of WiFi implementation to establishing a cablecast via MediaCom of City Council meetings.
  • The Council approved a donation from the Firemen's Relief Association. The money will be used to purchase 2 bracelets for the S.A.F.E.R program.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Waconia’s Multi-Million dollar headache

Drew Anderson, Waconia City Council, and concerned residents were back at it again on Monday night to discuss if convicted rapist Anderson ought to keep his job. During the meeting a new revelation took place which will make it harder for the City of Waconia to fire Anderson; Anderson is a veteran. As a veteran Anderson is not an at-will employee something that City Attorney Kelly Dohm informed the City Council last night. Last week in "Does the Waconia City Council and residents understand redemption?" I raised the concern of punishing a person for past transgression after that person served their time and did not repeat for over a decade. At what point in ones history is one able to prove they have atoned for their misdeed and prove themselves as a positive public contributor?

The City Council members of Waconia now have a political powder keg on their hands. Waconia has about 10,000 residents and just shy of 200 of them showed up to hear the fate of Drew Anderson last night. Mayor Roger Lehrke summed it up when he said, "There's a whole lot of stress in the city right now." To an outsider, with the luxury of detachment on the issue, a power play is taking place and someone has an axe to grind with Drew Anderson either within the public utilities department, general public, or on the council itself. Regardless of where the ire is raised the simple fact is that the city cannot and should not fire an employee for a past transgression that goes back over a decade.

No decision was made last night, at least not publically, and leaves the city of Waconia and Anderson in limbo. Even before the veteran status of Drew Anderson was established, the residents of Waconia teetered on the edge of a lawsuit. A lawsuit that Drew Anderson will easily win and the cost to the citizens of Waconia millions of dollars. Are the residents willing to see their taxes rise or an assessment established to cover the multi-million dollar payday for Drew Anderson to make a point of firing a man who did rape a 14-year old girl but has learned, atoned, not repeated, and become a productive member of society? I know that if I were a resident of Waconia I would not; rather I learn from the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we distort this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."

Hopefully the City Council members of Waconia recognize forgiveness, does not mean to forget what Drew Anderson did, and move forward with keeping Drew Anderson as an employee. Otherwise they will saddle the city with a scramble to figure out how to pay a multi-million dollar lawsuit for firing Drew Anderson. Once again is the City of Waconia ready for that?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hamburg’s I/I project losses 20 points and TMDL Grant

For decades Hamburg has experienced aging sewer and waste water system that resulted in a moratorium, about five years ago, on new building and business development. Over the past year the City Council of Hamburg and City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen have been working with City Engineer, Doug Parrot, to develop plans to improve the aging system in Hamburg. Since I moved here about 7 years ago residents of Hamburg have seen their water/sewer bill go from a quarterly charge to a monthly charge. On the surface that might appear to be a bookkeeping move; instead the dollar value for the new monthly charge was the same I paid on a quarterly basis. The result of the billing change was a tripling of the bill. Part of the reason for the change was to assistance with new water treatment requirements mandated by the government.

This past March Sen. Ortman led a group of State Senators from the Economic Development Budget Division on a tour of Western Cities of Carver County. Cities included were Mayer, New Germany, Hamburg, and Norwood Young America. The tour ended with a meeting at the Central Elementary School media center in which I raised the concern of increasing water bill and the moratorium place upon Hamburg. Repeatedly I have asked Sen. Ortman what results have been seen from the tour, which included Carver County Commissioner Jim Ische, but have not heard a word from Sen. Ortman. Unfortunately, Sen. Ortman's non-response is nothing new when the Senate is not in session.

The I/I project that the City Council has approved to move forward on is hitting a snag in the respect of financing. At the October 14, 2008 meeting of the City Council Sen. Ortman, Terry Kuhlman (MN Public Facilities Authority), and Bill Dunn (St. Paul – Water/Sewer). One of the financing options discussed at the meeting was the TMDL grant. At the meeting it was acknowledged that Hamburg's score for the I/I project was 78 points which put the project near the top of the TMDL eligibility list. In a July email exchange it was discovered that the I/I project's new score was 58 points. The change in scoring results in Hamburg falling down on the list and removed the opportunity of receiving TMDL funds.

The part of the TMDL Grant scoring that is in question is under section 7077.0117, points for projects with existing NPDES or SDS permit, subpart 16 which states:

    Subp. 16. Project helps meet total maximum daily load for receiving water. Twenty points shall be assigned to the project if the project contributes to the achievement of a TMDL. To be considered as contributing to the achievement of a TMDL, the project must:

  1. Be designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants as specifically required by an agency-approved TMDL implementation plan; or
  2. Require an NPDES or SDS permit that will require reduced discharge of pollutants based on TMDL.

That being said, the I/I project needed in Hamburg is looking to repair sewer and storm water lines that currently are taking on additional water because of the condition of the piping and connections to the system. Now, if the system is being taking on additional water because to conditions, is it not conceivable to assume that seepage is taking place as well? If that is to be true then our I/I project meets point A above by reducing the discharge of pollutants. Just last week I spent time on the phone with Bill Dunn and Gene Erickson – both of the MPCA – proposing this same question to them. I did not get a straight answer to my question. My hope is that when Bill Dunn and Gene Erickson will be able to clarify Hamburg's loss of 20 points and answer my question. Both gentlemen will be at the next city council meeting which I will be attending.

For those that live in Hamburg that read this blog, please take a moment on Tuesday night (August 25th) and grab your neighbor to join you. If you cannot make it or your neighbor cannot, please take a moment to leave your questions and concerns as comments to this blog post. The settings have been changed to allow anyone to leave a comment without signing up to follow the blog. We need real answers from the MPCA.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hamburg City Council Agenda – August 25, 2009

6:00. 2010 Budget Workshop Meeting


 

7:00. Call City Council Meeting to Order @ 7:00 PM

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)
  • Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
  • Approve Minutes for July 28, 2009
  • Old City Business (Memo)


 

7:10. Fire Department Report

  • US Fish & Wildlife Grant & 2009 FEMA Grant
  • Volunteer Fire Relief Association Investment Report Card
    • Education Tool (Letter) from State Auditor's Office
  • Fire Department Relief Association Donation
    • S.A.F.E.R. Program
  • Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010


 

7:20. Myron Stuewe

  • Request Use of Picnic Tables from Park (September 25)


 

7:25. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (Gene Erickson & Bill Dunn)

  • I/I Abatement Program
    • TMDL Grant


 

7:45.    Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

  • Project List (Added Items)
  • MDH Inspection Report – Public Water Supply System
  • LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009
  • Park Repairs (Water Leak)
  • Community Hall Repairs - Cooling Fans/Electrical Repairs/Doors
  • Remove Tree Stumps at Community Center/Fire Hall
  • General Maintenance Schedules (OSHA Requirements)


 

8:00. Deputy Clerk Report

  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report


 

8:05. City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • I/I Abatement Program
    • Letter From City Engineer (S.E.H.) for Ditch Clean Out Request
    • Storm Sewer Ordinance – Storm Sewer Utility Fee
  • Federal Stimulus Bill
    • Recovery Zone Bond Allocation to Carver County
  • City Attorney – Alternative Contact (Mike Melchert)
  • 2010 Prosecution Contract with Carver County Attorney
  • Property & Casualty Insurance Renewal
  • 2010 Preliminary Budget
    • 2009 Budget Items To Consider
    • 2010 Budget Items To Consider
    • Budget Workshop Meeting (September 1, 2009)
  • City Zoning Ordinances
  • To The Home Wireless Internet


 

9:00. City Council Reports

  • Councilmember Mueller Report (Sewer & Water)
  • Councilmember Cummiskey Report (Streets)
  • Councilmember Trebesch Report (Buildings)
  • Councilmember Barnes Report (Parks)
  • Mayor Malz Report


 

9:15. Approve Added Claims for August 2009


 

9:15. Adjourn Meeting


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Massachusetts Power Grab per Sen. Kennedy’s request

A power grab is going on in Massachusetts. Sen. Kennedy requested, through a letter Democrat leaders in Massachusetts, that the governor be given the power to appoint an interim successor if he were to fall too ill to continue. While Sen. Kennedy has done a lot of good for the people of Massachusetts he is asking Democrat leadership a near impossible request. Currently the process to replace a Senator in the interim is through a special election to take place five months after the current Senator steps down. Five years ago when Sen. Kerry was running for the presidency a bill was floated in the Massachusetts legislature to allow the governor to appoint an interim Senator and then have a special election five months later.

The bill was voted down because had Sen. Kerry won then Governor Mitt Romney could have appointed a Republican to the Senate. House Minority leader Bradley Jones Jr. posses a great question, "If we had a Republican governor right now, would we be getting the same letter?" The likelihood is that Sen. Kennedy would not be making this request is real. Even though Sen. Kennedy bleeds Massachusetts blood, he bleeds liberal Massachusetts blood more. The Boston Globe is reporting that none of the major Democrat leaders, including the governor, are commenting on the request for change in appointment process.

Right now the Democrats hold a filibuster proof 60 seat advantage in the Senate of the United States. The power grab attempt by Sen. Kennedy is to ensure that filibuster proof stays intact. I give kudos for Sen. Kennedy to attempt a power grab but are Democrats in Massachusetts willing to commit political suicide by playing blatant politics by changing the process? Both sides of the political spectrum are calling each other out as hypocrites.

Democrat Sen. Pacheco said, "You've got to be kidding me. They fought it all along the way" in regards to giving the governor the power to appoint in 2004 that failed 44 to 104. The RNC stated, "The integrity of this process already took a hit when the Democrat made the blatant power play to take this authority away from Governor Romney. It's hard to see how they would have credibility to reverse themselves simply because it's now politically inconvenient." The Democrats played a power play in 2004 and now must reap the benefits of their actions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

To Forgive or Not To Forgive

I was reading the Facebook responses on my blog dealing with Drew Anderson. The responses brought me back to some of the responses given when I wrote about Michael Vick. Both men are facing ridicule for past criminal activity that raises strong public emotional sentiment. A common theme existed in both of my blog entries; forgiveness.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we distort this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first skill of self-giving love.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13

In each statement, above, the call for forgiveness is made. As Vick moves on with the Eagles and Anderson awaits his fate many feel neither man is to be forgiven for their criminal acts. To forgive another does not translate to one condoning, approving or forgetting the act committed by that person; rather the act of forgiveness displays a basic tenet our country was founded on; second chances.

The United States of America was established on the backs of men, women, and children looking for a fresh start in the New World. The immigrants that traveled, some under the guise of slavery, the vast ocean to make it did so to create anew. Every year a story is printed about poorly crafted flotation devices, carrying more people than the craft can handle, attempting to reach the shores of the United States.

Those picketing the Eagles training facility and pressuring the Waconia City Council ought to understand that forgiveness is something our society needs to comprehend. Forgiveness does not translate to amnesia or acceptance of the crime committed.

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy nailed it when defining forgiveness. Forgive Vick and Anderson but do not forget their crimes. Is so far that one is able to learn from their past transgressions and not succumb to the evils of criminal activity again the forgiveness one gives is not for not.

Forgiveness and second chances are common tenets in major religions and free societies. What type of society will we become if forgiveness and second chances are not embraced?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Favre Circus has landed

Well the years, months, and days of speculation have ended for Viking fans as Brett Favre is at Winter Park in a red #4 jersey. The circus has finally come to town. The road has been a long one, even taking a detour to New York for a year, to obtain the missing link the Vikings needed to be a contender. To gauge the impact that Favre will have on the success of the Vikings is still unknown but the impact on the local economy is already evident.

Within hours of the announcement 2,500 season tickets and 8,000 single tickets were sold. Star Tribune reported a spike in traffic of their website from the average 100,000 hits per day to over a million hits as the news broke. Favre #4 jerseys are sure to be a hot retail item as well that will assist local stores suffering from the recession.

Zigi Wilf gave Favre a two-year deal worth $25M. Favre will see $12M this year and $13M next season. Intrigue continues as the Vikings most likely will not carry four quarterbacks for the season. Both Jackson and Rosenfels have been reported to demanding a trade if Favre became a Viking. Both quarterbacks will have to wait though. Favre is 39 years old and will turn 40 turning the football season that combined with his shoulder and arm issues may force the Vikings to keep four quarterbacks.

Neither Jackson nor Rosenfels looked overly impressive during the first preseason game. Rosenthal did have decent numbers but it was against scrubs. Jackson on the other hand was completely horrible. Taking the two of their performance into consideration, shock should not be the order of the day.

In questions from the media, Jackson and Rosenfels tried to play off the signing by attempting the high road. “It’s something that wasn’t a total shock. Obviously this had been three months in the ongoing sort of thing. So for me personally this wasn’t what I was hoping for,” said Rosenfels in reaction to Favre showing up at Winter Park. While Rosenfels has it right that it wasn’t a total shock, his timeline suffers. The deal to bring Favre goes back over a year when Favre announced his retirement from the Packers only later to change his mind; thus being traded to the Jets.
Jackson responded to the Favre intrusion by saying, “I really don’t have a reaction. I’m just taking it day by day right now.” The only day by day action that Jackson will be taking is how to hold the clipboard or get the Gatorade for his elder. The potential biggest loser in all this is John David Booty.

John David Booty is still green, per NFL standards, and has been regulated to throwing a collection of stiffs since joining the NFL. Booty did score a few dollars I am sure for giving Favre #4 and taking #9. At the end of the day, Booty may be the happiest though. If the rumors are true about Jackson and Rosenfels demanding trades if Favre is signed, Booty may find himself the #2 based on attitude alone. Then again Coach Childress has a hard on for Jackson and by trading him or letting him go would be admission of poor judgment.

Now that the circus is done, the question remaining is how far will the Vikings go? The speculation in Viking faithful heads has to be similar to those purchasing lottery tickets today for the Powerball; if I win what will I do? Well the Vikings appeared to have “won”.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Does the Waconia City Council and resident's understand redemption?

Last night the Waconia City Council meet to discuss revelations recently unearthed about their Public Utilities Director. Drew Anderson was hired as wastewater worker by the city of Waconia a year after he raped a 14-year old girl in Stearns County. According to the Star Tribune, “[Drew Anderson] was not charged or convicted until two years after he was hired as a wastewater worker.” During the 4.5 hour meeting, which ended around 1 a.m., Anderson testified that several city officials knew about the rape conviction as far back as 1999.

When Anderson was arrested and pled guilty of the rape, the city of Waconia arranged to have Anderson serve his sentence in Carver County jail in order to allow him to work his job on work release. City Administrator Susan Arntz promoted Anderson this past spring said, “He has been an exemplary employee. We have never had a single complaint against him” (Star Tribune). Sexual abuse is an emotional topic and offers plenty of contradictions for those that pay their debt to society.

Depending on the degree of sexual assault determines if the person will need to notify the city they want to move into and if they must register as a sex offender. Forever they will be carry the label of sex offender which in lies the contradiction. While there are some that “cannot help themselves” when it comes to repeating as offenders but from all accounts thus far Drew Anderson has done his time, paid his debt to society, and move on from it to become a productive member of society without repeating.

Anderson’s attorney Marshall Tanick may have it right when he said; “a witch hunt done to appease a few people” is at the core of the issue surrounding Anderson. Keith Anderson, in his story A Secret at City Hall, brought to light the past rape conviction of Drew Anderson. In the same article, Keith Anderson reports that “[Drew Anderson] has played a major role in significant change, including the construction of a new water tower, a renovation of the old water tower on Main Street, numerous life station upgrades or installation, restoration of numerous aging sewer pipes, as well as a new water treatment plant on 10th Street.”

And now, citizens like Bonnie Olsen, want Drew Anderson fired from his job, not because of job performance, because of his rape conviction. “My issue is this conviction – whether he is a good or poor performer, he is a convicted sex offender” (Star Tribune). I do not condone Anderson’s past transgression but he did pay his debt to society, has not repeated and has become a productive member of society.

As I said before sexual abuse is an emotional issue and it is difficult for people to move past it when discovered. Drew Anderson did wrong when he was 26 years old. Now he is 43 and has elevated himself to Public Utilities Director for the city of Waconia all the while not repeating the savage act 17 years ago. As a civilized society, a vastly Christian society, we need not forget what took place but believe that our judicial process works, people can learn from their mistakes and redemption is real. To simply fire an employee, public or private, because of something done in their past, that has not been repeated, is unjust, unfair, and flies in the face of redemption. The City Council has delayed any decision until Monday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama Administration confused on Public Option

On the Sunday morning talk show circuit Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius commented on CNN that President Obama’s health care plan may be changing as the public option “is not the essential element”. Or is it? Even though the headlines across the land quip Secretary Sebelius it appears the White House is already back peddling. Linda Douglass, White House Health Reform Communications Director, released a statement saying, “Nothing has changed. The president has always said that what is essential is that health-insurance reform must lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and it must increase choice and competition in the health-insurance market. He believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals.”

While Secretary Sebelius was pushing the conversation away from the public option, Sen. Conrad elaborated on Fox News Sunday that the president does not have the votes in the Senate to pass reform with a public option in it. Sen. Conrad has been pushing, a bipartisan approach, Co-operative option to increasing competition and providing affordable health care for all. While Sen. Conrad’s Co-Op option is more aligned with traditional Co-Op’s, Sen. Schumer has another vision of how a health insurance Co-Op would work.

Sen. Schumer is looking to have the Co-Op be run and subsidized by the government and include health care plans that were chosen by the government. In essence Sen. Schumer’s plan is no more than a public option organized a bit differently. According to the New York Times, the backers of a public option are outspending non-public option supports 3 to 1. A public option would be the death to privately held insurance.

The current House bill calls for companies to provide health insurance that is at least 80% as good as the public option or face a penalty of 8.5%. In our global economy how are large companies to compete with their counterparts around the world if they are faced with a possible 8.5% penalty for not keeping up with government run health care? They can’t and will not. Americans will see companies, albeit slowly, stripping away health care as a benefit the company offers. It makes sense too. With a public option available, where is the competitive advantage to offer a benefit that becomes too cumbersome to maintain and really is not needed since it is available for “free”?

No matter which side of this debate you fall on, make sure you get out to have your voice heard. Don’t rely on the sensationalism news reports to dictate your view of those for or against the president’s plan for health care. Get out to a town hall meeting and find out first hand. Call your member of Congress and learn of their position while voicing yours.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

President Obama got it right this time....

As I sit in my driveway tonight with a cigar and some Gin and Juice, I came across a story on MSNBC’s website that is calling President Obama signing of a bill allowing firearms in national parks as a hiccup. “There is still time for Congress and the president to take steps to keep loaded firearms away from valleys of Yellowstone, the cliffs of Yosemite, and the Statue of Liberty – but they need to act quickly” the article reports Paul Helmke stating. Paul Helmke is the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Is this guy really na├»ve to believe that by allowing loaded firearms in national parks will lead to gun violence? I’d bet he change his tune if one of his offspring or family members were cornered by a wild animal and someone happened by with a loaded firearm to save that member. When will gun opponents understand that it is not the gun that kills or that by restricting access to a gun does nothing to curb the violence that takes place with such weaponry? If one wanted to, there are several corners in Minneapolis and St. Paul that one can purchase a gun right now. Restricting the freedom to own a gun or carry one in a national park does not curb gun violence.

Having that gun with you in a place like Yellowstone could mean survival. This doesn’t mean that one has to shot the beast that is attacking you. Most times one just needs to fire a shot into the air and the beast will run off. No one seems to understand that if one is injured the gun can become a lifeline to alert people to your position. So I hope that President Obama doesn’t cave and restrict the permitting of loaded firearms in national parks. Let’s just educate the masses to understand the deadly force and the enormous responsibility carrying a loaded firearm brings.

Now back to my regularly schedule Saturday night programming……

Friday, August 14, 2009

Raiders destroy Cowboys in Preseason opener

I understand that it is only preseason football and for the most part second and third stringers are playing to make the squad. Still it is a good opportunity to see how the team is progressing, especially if you have been a Raider fan. Since our Super bowl appearance against the Buccaneers the Raiders have been on a terrible slide. With a young quarterback, 2nd year running back, and a controversial pick (by the way has Crabtree signed yet) the Raiders are developing a nucleus for the future.

The Raiders run defense is what needed major overhaul in the offseason and facing Marion Barber and Felix Jones in the first preseason game put them to the test. After getting the Cowboys to go 3 and out on the opening drive, the Raiders drove the ball down to the two yard line. On second and goal at the two, Fargas tried to jam it in but newly acquired center Carlisle held on the play moving the ball back to the 12 yard line. Two pass plays later Seabass was on the field attempting a 23 yard field goal which he made.

The second Cowboy possession will be film that the Raiders defense will go over to see what could have been done better. Cowboys started on their 29 yard line and drove the ball down to the 1 yard line. Barber looked to have scored but Kosier was caught holding the Raider lineman and the Cowboys were backed up 10 yards. After a short run by Barber, Romo had a lifetime in the pocket and finally found Whitten in the end zone for a touchdown. The Raiders defense only rushed three down linemen, not exactly sure why. I am guessing next time around they will rush at least four or bring a blitz.

Not much happened in the first quarter after that until, with 6 seconds left, Gradkowski handed the ball off to McFadden who scampered for 45 yards before being pushed out at the Dallas 17 yard line. 5 plays later Gradkowski found Stewart in the end zone for a touchdown. A few series later the Cowboys drove down to the Oakland 18 but Folk missed a 36 yard field goal.

In the second half it was all Raiders. With Russell set as the number one and Garcia firmly planted as the backup the battle in camp is for the third quarterback spot between Gradkowski and Frye. Gradkowski definitely looked the better of these two. The other aspect to watching the game was to see how the wide receivers would do. With no really marquee name, the Raiders will be very green at this position this year. Chaz Schillens emerged at the end of the season last year as a dependable receiver and continued that by catching 5 balls in limited action. Russell, who has the arm strength, will need to work on his timing and looking off the safety when the play is called for Heyward-Bey to go deep. Russell had him twice last night but both times he didn't look off the safety or the Raiders may have added 14 more points to the total.

In other NFL news, New England fans are breathing a sigh of relief today as they watched their Golden Boy Tom Brady last night show no ill form from the knee injury he sustained last year. The big news coming from the New England and Philadelphia game was the announcement that the Eagles signed Vick to a one-year contract with an option for a second year. I know the Eagles need a backup to McNabb and I am sure Andy Reid's kids need a new role model. For those of us that partake in fantasy football leagues, do not take the preseason lightly. Players get hurt during the season and recognizing players that won't start the year on the first team can help one make a playoff push and ultimately lead to the league championship.

Tonight all my Viking fans will get their first taste of preseason football. The good thing for Viking fans that since Sage and T Jack are battling for a starting job, you may see more of your starting lineup in during the preseason than in season past. I am sure AP will be a series or two and then done. Maybe there is an outside shot that Booty can leap frog Sage and T Jack into the starting role, then again probably not since that would require to Childress admitting he was wrong about T Jack.

The Raiders 31-10 victory over the Cowboys was in preseason yet it gave some positive insight into how Tom Cable plans to run this team and the improvements that have been made and where the team needs to improve. I hold no illusions that the Raiders will be in the Super bowl this year then again if you believe the league is fixed it is the Raiders 50th season. Plus Al Davis did say he will remain on until the Raiders win another Super bowl, perhaps the NFL is ready to rid them of Al and made a deal.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes – July 14, 2009

Hamburg City Council Meeting

July 14, 2009

Mayor Malz called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 7:00 p.m. Councilmember

Larry Mueller, Councilmember Cummiskey, Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember John Barnes,

City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen, and Fire Chief Brad Droege were present. Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly

and Deputy Clerk Block (MCFOA Conference) were absent. Present from the Arlington Baseball Club were

Tony Beneke, Leon Dosse, Mark Qualle, and Bob Thomas.


 

Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – Sinks for Park – Lions Club
  • Added – Mow weeds along Park fence line.
  • Added – National Night Out
  • Added – Picnic Tables – Repaint by Lions Club
  • Added – Property & Casualty Insurance Renewal
  • Added – Time off request for City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the agenda with the six additions, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


 

Old City Business

  • Number 2 – Gather names of individuals who could/would design the cities web site and cost.

    o This is being worked on.

  • Number 4 – Discuss the discrepancy in the verbiage – Ordinance #95.6 – what constitutes a dog kennel, three or four dogs.

    o This has been sent to City Attorney Mac waiting for his reply.

  • Number 5 – Business Cards for Council, Mayor, Maintenance Worker Byerly.

    o City Clerk Gruenhagen will order 1000 for each member of Council, the Mayor, and Dennis.

  • Number 6 – Purchase shirts for Council, Mayor, City Clerk Gruenhagen, and Deputy Clerk Block.

    o These have been ordered.

  • Number 9 – Consider charging organizations a fee to help cover the Sheriff's Department background fee.

    o Council will discuss this at the next Council meeting on July 28, 2009.

  • Number 10 – Update on Met Council's 2008 Population Estimates.

    o This has been discussed and can be taken off report.


 

Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege


 

  1. A Grant Application
  • Fire Chief Droege informed Council that he just completed the semi annual performance review. Everything looks good and they accepted it.

2009 FEMA Grant

  • Waiting to hear on the grant application.

Election vs. Selection

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested putting the by-laws in booklet form and change the wording from bylaws to policies and make the recommended changes from LMC.
  • Council briefly discussed this with no final decision made. Other cities will be asked how they are handling this issue.
  • The Hamburg Fire Department will follow the guidelines set by City Council.

Relief Association Financial Statement for 2007 & 2008

  • This was discussed at the last City Council meeting but was not approved.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the 2007 & 2008 Relief Association Financial Statement, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present. Contributions for 2009 & 2010
  • At the last Council meeting the question was asked why the 2010 contributions are going up.

    o Fire Chief Droege suggested at this Council meeting that one possible reason why the 2010 contributions are going up is because of loss in revenue.

Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010

  • Fire Chief Droege let Council know that if there are any pension increases this information would have to be turned in later this year (2009).

    o Council will discuss this at a later council meeting.

Pagers

  • The Relief Association donated $2,662.68 towards the purchase of pagers for the Fire Department (Claim#13912).
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to accept the $2,662.68 donation from the Relief Association for the purchase of Fire Department pagers, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

SAFER Program

  • On July 13th the Hamburg Fire Department participated in a SAFER training at Norwood/Young America, MN.
  • The locator bracelets will be donated to needy families by the Hamburg Fire Department.


 

Arlington Baseball Club

Use of City Bleachers for State Amateur Baseball Tournament

  • Tony Beneke represented the Arlington Baseball Club in their request to use the Hamburg City Bleachers during the State Amateur Baseball Tournament being held in Arlington. The tournament will be held August 8, 2009 to September 13, 2009.
  • Council discussed their request and decided to allow the Arlington Baseball Club use of two sets of bleachers from Bi-Centennial Park. Council asked Mr. Beneke to sign a Waiver Liability Form for the use of the bleachers.
  • For the use of the bleachers Mr. Beneke informed Council that a half page ad in the Baseball Programs will be reserved for the city free of charge.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to approve the Arlington Baseball Club request to use two sets of bleachers out of the Bi-Centennial Park for the State Amateur Baseball Tournament to be held in Arlington, MN on August 8, 2009 through September 13, 20009 on the condition they sign a waiver of liability, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


 

Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

(City Clerk Gruenhagen presented Dennis' Report)

Sidewalk Replacement (Hard Stuff Masonry & Concrete)

  • Donny Harms (Hard Stuff Masonry & Concrete) will be contacted by City Clerk Gruenhagen asking Mr. Harms if he is coming back to fix the crack in the sidewalk along Railroad Street between Maria Avenue and Sophia Ave.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if he should withhold payment until the crack is fixed.

    o Council discussed this and decided to go ahead and pay the invoice.

Seal Coating (Southwest Paving)

  • The seal coating was completed and Southwest Paving came back to sweep the excess rocks off. City Clerk Gruenhagen was at the city park changing the city sign and was unavailable to stop them from hauling the rocks away. He did call Southwest Paving asking them to bring the rocks back because the city had plans to use them. Southwest Paving has not responded.
  • Council discussed and decided to not pursue this any further.
  • Parking lot has been re-striped.

LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly was not present to report on this. It will be added to the next Council meeting agenda.

Cooling Fans for Community Hall

  • Mayor Malz will check on fans for the Community Hall and bring examples to the next Council meeting.
  • Council discussed if the fans already in the ceiling should be fixed or taken down. They also discussed what should be done about the exhaust fan in the ceiling roof. This fan area is open to the outside and the Hall looses a lot of heat during the winter months. No decision was made.
  • Council also discussed putting in air conditioning.

    o City Clerk Gruenhagen had received information from Mr. Lund (612 Kim Avenue) that his cousin does duct work for air conditioning. City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if they would like to have him to come out and take a look at the Hall.

    o Councilmember Mueller suggested heating/cooling the Hall by geothermal. The city has the property to bury the pipe in. Council discussed possible stimulus funds for such a project.

  • Council continued to discuss options and who could be contacted to present Council with options and pricing. Council agreed that the water problem (City Shop Drain) has to be corrected first.

Hours Worked (Overtime) for 2009

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly had previously asked City Clerk Gruenhagen if Council was considering changing his hours back to 40 hours per week since there were no LGA cuts to the city.
  • Council discussed his work load and decided to keep his hours at 36 plus rounds at 2 Hours OT on weekends and holidays.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested discussing at a future council meeting if the city should continue to outsource the cities lawn mowing service. The contract is up this year and perhaps Maintenance Worker Byerly could start doing the mowing next summer.

Swings for Hall

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the swings by the Community Hall are missing and they should be replaced.

    o This will be added to Maintenance Worker Byerly project list.

  • A Hall renter suggested putting picnic tables in the small Hall park area.

    o Council discussed the possibility of persons bringing their drinks outside during Hall functions. They decided to post signs at the Hall exists "No Alcohol beyond This Point".

    o All members of Council agreed to have two picnic tables placed in the Hall Park.

    § City Clerk Gruenhagen will check into the price of new tables.

Picnic Tables

  • The Hamburg Lions Club would like to paint the City Park picnic tables. They would like to paint the tables purple to match the cities colors.

    o Council discussed changing the color but decided to keep the color neutral and have the "Property of City of Hamburg" sticker applied to them.

    o Council had no objection to letting the Lions Club paint them.

  • The Hamburg Lions Club would also like to lower four of the picnic tables to the same height as the other ones.

    o Council discussed leaving the four tables at the height they are or letting the Lions Club lower them. Council had no objections to the Lions Club lowering the picnic tables. Council also discussed moving the picnic bench seats closer (in).


 

Deputy Clerk Block's Report

(Deputy Clerk Block was at the MCFOA conference, City Clerk Gruenhagen presented the report.)

Delinquent Utility Bills Report

  • Delinquent bills are the same as always.
  • Jeff Muri (941 Park Avenue) is closing on his home today and the delinquent amount should be paid at closing.
  • Mayor Malz suggested adding an address column to the Delinquency report.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will follow procedures set by City Ordinance for sending out delinquent notices and if residents do not respond/pay by specified date their water will be shut off.

    o Mayor Malz commented that the city is not a bank and the City needs to get tough on residents who are not paying their water bills.

MCFOA Clerk's Conference (July 13-17)

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if Deputy Clerk Block could be paid 40 hours during the week she is at the conference. Her hours were cut back to 32, however, she will be working 40 hours attending the training.
  • Council agreed to pay Deputy Clerk Block 40 hours for that week.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to pay Deputy Clerk Block 40 hours, at her regular pay, for the week of July 13, 2009 through July 17, 2009, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion carried. Councilmember Barnes abstained.


 

City Clerk/Treasurer Report

Agreement Establishing Regional Safety Group

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the Resolution was already passed however the Agreement needs to be approved.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to approve the Agreement establishing the Regional Safety Group, seconded by Councilmember Barns and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

I & I Abatement Program

  • MPCA Approval of Final Plans & Specifications

    o A letter was received from the MPCA approving the final plans and specs for the project.

  • Geotechnical Evaluation Report (Braun Intertec)

    o City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had received the report and forwarded it on to members of Council.

Application to Carver County for Water Management Rules Conformance and Approval

  • SEH has completed this and City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council for approval to send the application on to Carver County for their review along with the fee of $1,250.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the Application for Water Management Rules Conformance and Approval, seconded by Councilmember Barns and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

TMDL Grant

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the cities position on the TMDL Grant has dropped. Points were taken away with no explanation as to why.
  • Becky Sabie (MN Public Utilities Authority) suggested calling Gene Erickson (MPCA) as to why points were taken away.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen pointed out that back in June 2008 the city was at 78 points but now the city was dropped to 58 points. According to Gene Erickson (MPCA) the cities I & I project does not qualify for additional points.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen questioned why this information was coming from PFA and not PCA.

    o Doug Parrott (City Engineer) had suggested that City Clerk Gruenhagen and Mayor Malz follow up with PCA as to why the points were reduced and why the City now does not qualify for the TMDL Grant.

    o Last year Bill Dun, PFA, and Senator Ortman were at a Council meeting and they all sounded like it was a done deal that the City of Hamburg would receive TMDL grant money.

  • Councilmember Mueller commented that the email informing the city they now do not qualify should be forwarded to Senator Ortman and Representative Kohls.

    o With this cut the city is loosing $90,000 to $100,000 for the I & I project.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will continue to follow up on this and inform Council of any new information.

I & I Project

  • Councilmember Mueller asked if the sewer lines along Park Avenue between Diane Mackenthun (625 Park Avenue) property and Gary Perry's (421 Brad Street) could be re-televised. This would give the exact location of where the sewer lines connect into the main line.

    o It was agreed to have Mike from S.E.H do the work for he did an excellent job last time.

  • Council discussed checking into the possibility of abandoning the storm sewer line along Robert Bergmann's property (720 Park Avenue).

LGA Un-Allotment for 2009 & 2010

  • The LGA Un-Allotment has not been received yet.

2009 Budget Items

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council to keep in mind the Budget Cut List. The list will be kept on the agenda incase Council would like to add, remove, or complete certain items.

Building Permits Report for 2009

  • Council had requested adding to the agenda the list of Building Permits issued within the city. With this list members of council can check if residents have applied for permits.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen did add this to the agenda and will keep it on future agendas.

City Zoning Ordinances

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will keep this item on the agenda incase Council would like to add anything to their previous requests.
  • Three additional items were discussed, hoop buildings, temporary buildings, and concerns about right-ofways.

    o In the City Zoning Ordinance there already is an Ordinance about right-of-ways and it lists a minimum setback of 15 feet for objects in ROW.

  • Ann Perry (City Consulting Planner) is checking into Council requests for certain zoning changes.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council when they would like Ann Perry to come back and talk to Council about the zoning.

    o Council agreed that sometime in September would be good.

Public Nuisance Letters

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had sent out a few more nuisance letters.

    o He is hopping the pigeon problem has been taken care of. A list identifying all the ordinances and possible citations the resident could be cited for was posted by the CSO. The CSO also left his card incase the resident wanted to discuss the problem with him. One of the neighbors had also talked to the resident about his pigeons.

    § One city resident did call the city office thanking them for addressing the issue.

    o A CSO was sent to John Trebesch (460 Brad Street) requesting the removal of the truck that has been sitting in his driveway for a lengthy period of time.

    o City Attorney Mac will be addressing the nuisance at Darrell Grams (410 Sophia Avenue). Mr. Grams has cleaned up some of the rubbish and vehicles but more has to be done.

Briggs & Morgan Conflict Waiver Letter Request

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that because Briggs & Morgan provides legal service for the City and they also represent Xcel Energy, they would like a conflict waiver from the City of Hamburg.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the Conflict Waiver Letter request from Briggs & Morgan, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

National Night Out

  • The H.I.P Group will send out notices to residents informing them of the National Night Out which will be held on August 4th from 6 to 8 p.m.

    o Council and Fire Chief Droege will find people to help with the mailing.

  • Mayor Malz and Council requested that an officer from the H.I.P. group attend the next Council meeting to give an update on the groups' finances.

    o Councilmember Cummiskey will contact Maggie Cummiskey and Connie Byerly who are the H.I.P. groups' officers and ask if one of them or both could come to the next council meeting.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will put a notice on the cities electronic sign about the National Night Out.

Sink for Park Building

  • The Lions Club had asked City Clerk Gruenhagen if the purchasing of a sink for the Park building was cut from the budget due to LGA cuts or what the reason was.

    o City Clerk Gruenhagen had checked and Council did cut it out of the 2009 budget. Council could put this item back in the budget and cut something else.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen mentioned that he had suggested to the Lions that they should check into how much a sink would cost. Then decide how much they are willing to pay and then ask Council if they would pick up the remainder of the cost if needed.
  • Council had a lengthy discussion of what type of sink(s) could or should be installed in the Park building.

    o Council decided to install a stainless steal sink that Councilmember Cummiskey had at his residence.

Insurance Renewal for the City of Hamburg

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council for a motion on the Insurance Liability Coverage Form. The liability form is for Council to decide if they want to waive the monetary limits or not to waive the monetary limits. In the past Council did not waive the monetary limits on the Municipal Tort liabilities established.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to not waive the monetary limits on Municipal Tort Liabilities, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

Municipal Property Schedules

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen is working with Don Buckentin from the Hamburg Insurance Agency on getting the property schedules up to date.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen commented that the coverage on the Pump House and Park Restrooms are not sufficient if there was a need to replace them. He also commented that the coverage on the Park Shelter- Lions Building was way too high. Council added that the Open Shelter seems high also.

    o Pump House – 230 Railroad Street – Current Coverage is $5,578

    o Park Restrooms – 614 Park Avenue – Current Coverage is $4,057

    o Park Shelter-Lions Building – 614 Park Avenue – Current Coverage is $36,706

    o Open Shelter – 613 Park Avenue - $32,995

  • It was brought up that the Baseball Park Open Shelter and the Ball Field Lights are insured way below what they should be. The Baseball Club had suggested coverage for the lights should be around $100,000 and the shelter around $15,000.

    o Baseball Park Open Shelter – 401 Sophia Avenue – Current Coverage is $7,379

    o Ball Field Lights – 401 Sophia Avenue – Current Coverage is $68,229

  • Council was informed that Mr. Buckentin, Hamburg Insurance Agency, will check what the appropriate coverage should be for these buildings and lights.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the cities water tower does not have coverage only Umbrella Liability coverage. He asked Council if they wanted the water tower added to the insurance.

    o No definite decision was made at this time.

  • Fire Chief Droege suggested adding coverage for the city sign, bleachers, and the warning siren. He asked to have the coverage on the Fire Hall-City Hall checked into.

    o City Clerk Gruenhagen will have Mr. Buckentin check into the cost of coverage for these items.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council and Fire Chief Droege that any mobile property under $25,000 is covered. Anything over $25,000 has to be listed separately.
  • Mayor Malz suggested video taping the equipment and property the city has.

    o Council, City Clerk Gruenhagen, and Fire Chief Droege all agreed this should be done.

    § Taking pictures was also suggested.

Time Off Request

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen turned in a Time Off Request for July 31, 2009.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to grant City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen time off on July 31, 2009, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


 

City Council Reports

Councilmember Mueller (Sewer & Water) – nothing further to report.

Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets) – nothing further to report.

Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings)

  • Councilmember Trebesch informed other members of Council that he had turned in an estimate from K & K Services (Kip Trebesch) to fix the trim on the Community Hall which estimated out at $550. During K & K evaluation of the job they notice that the trim on the north side of the Community Hall was loose and some flashing was missing. They turned in an additional estimate of $350.

o To fix the missing trim and secure the loose trim the total cost would be $900.00.

  • K & K Services provided Councilman Trebesch with an estimate to replace the City Shop door. The cost for a commercial door with panic hardware and replacing the enclosure was $3,485.

o The door to be replaced is not a public exit so panic hardware is not needed.

  • K & K estimated cost for a regular steal door with a deadbolt and frame was $375 and a labor cost of $650 totaling $1,025.

o Council discussed the estimates and if the frame for the door has to be replaced. Council decided to get another estimate for comparison.

  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to approve the additional $350 bid by K & K Services to do flashing (trim) repair work on the north side of the Hall, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

o Councilmember Trebesch will contact K & K Services to inform them of Councils decision.

Councilmember Barnes (Parks) – nothing further to report.

Mayor Malz

  • Mayor Malz mentioned the Sewer Dump Drain in the City Park looks like it's sinking deeper into the ground.

o Council discussed and decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly monitor the situation.

  • Mayor Malz also asked if a hose could be put at the Dump Station for easier use.

o Members of Council decided not to provide one at the Park.

Fire Chief Droege

  • Chief Droege informed Council that the weeds have been mowed along the south fence in the Park.
  • Fire Chief Droege asked Council if there was enough money in the budget to have the stumps removed by the Community Center.

o City Clerk Gruenhagen will check into who had previously removed stumps for the city and the cost. Maintenance Worker Byerly would do the clean up.


 

Approve Claims List for May 2009

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen added check #13941 in the amount of $1,250 for the Carver County Application for Water Management Rules.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to approve the July 2009 claims list from claim number 13905 though claim number 13940 including check #13941 for $1,250 and the ACH payments, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 9:13 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council Members were present.


 

Submitted by:

Sue Block

Deputy Clerk

William Kostric exercises his liberty in Portsmouth, NH

Chris Matthews had William Kostric on “Hardball” after President Obama spoke on health care in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Matthews was troubled by the fact that Kostic brought a loaded firearm to the presidents event because of the history of violence toward past presidents. In New Hampshire it is legal to carry a firearm openly in public. William Kostric was there demonstrating his freedoms and liberty enjoyed and was not there to do harm to anyone.

The knee jerk reaction the media gave him that do not live in New Hampshire is pathetic. Matthews exclaimed on his show, “Your’re carrying a god damned gun at a Presidential event.” The goal of William Kostric, a Libertarian, was to put on display the liberties we are Americans are losing at the hands of our politicians.

Matthews tried to lump Kostric in with the “birthers’ movement until Kostric said he had no “claim” on the movement. I found it funny that Matthews asked him if he brought a loaded gun, Kostric’s response was priceless when he said, “who would be silly to carry an unloaded firearm.”
I think Kostric handled himself very well during the berating by Matthews.
Kostric asked “Why don’t people bear arms these days?” I wish I would have been able to watch more of the show to see what others had to say about it.

Take a look if you missed it.

http://www.ktlkfm.com/cc-common/political/article.html?feed=104707&article=5865689

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do we really need Health Care reform?

After writing my blog entry yesterday and talking with neighbors it got me thinking about something that President Obama said yesterday at his town hall meeting in Portsmouth, NH. The president discussed, briefly, the exchange which gives all federal workers the ability to choose their plan among private and non-profit insurers. President Obama went onto say that as Senator of Illinois his wife chose to stay with her health care option at her place of employment.

The narrative and my conversations brings me to this question; Do we really need health care reform? Before anyone jumps off on the question let's take a deep breath. Senators, Representatives, and the President all have touted that the exchange they participate in allows them affordable health care options. That being said, why not open up the exchange to include every American?

Right now taxpayer money, which is part of the federal employees compensation, is given to federal employees to purchase their own health care insurance. A stipulation put on the insurance companies within the exchange is that they cannot drop coverage or deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Now if companies that currently offer health care benefits to their employees give them the option to: A) stay with the current set up or B) allow them to purchase their own on the exchange do we really need health care reform?

In order for this to work the employer will have to increase the wage of the employee by the amount of the current health care benefit provided so they may purchase health insurance on the exchange. By doing this we would be able to find less expensive insurance and insurance companies will not be able to drop or deny employees from coverage.

Going with this approach we accomplish the main goal of reform; reduced cost to the patient. It will also give consumers greater leverage in the market and deter companies from dropping health care benefits if a public option were to be passed. I am curious as to what others may think of this notion. Although the idea progresses some aspects of reform, we would still need to reform Medicare and Medicaid but that is for another time. Keeping focus on this notion is a step in the right direction that the vast majority of Americans can get behind.