Metropolitan Council

Elections - City Councils and Commissions - Policies
David Greene
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby David Greene » January 14th, 2019, 7:34 pm

The whole thing is disgraceful. Why do we care if homeless people ride transit anyway? Don't they have things hard enough without being pushed out of yet more public places?

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MNdible
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby MNdible » January 15th, 2019, 9:58 am

Do we have any evidence besides some conjecture and a stray reference that this is actually the reason the change was made?

(Also, making transit the de facto shelter solution for the homeless population does a disservice to both the homeless population and to other transit riders.)

xandrex
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby xandrex » January 15th, 2019, 12:14 pm

I imagine that the actual answer is something anodyne like "internal politics," but it makes the shakeup sexier in print if "it's about homeless on trains" is the issue.

It's just hard to imagine that homeless on trains was the actual reason since there hasn't really been much controversy from it (there are articles on it every year, but they rarely make much of a splash).

David Greene
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby David Greene » January 18th, 2019, 10:43 am

I almost believe that, except Lamb served under multiple very different administrations and was very effective under all of them. Why *now*?

Anondson
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby Anondson » February 25th, 2019, 7:13 pm

Any thoughts on the new appointees?
https://twitter.com/MetCouncilNews/stat ... 5051676673

Anondson
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby Anondson » February 25th, 2019, 8:41 pm

At a quick glance the names didn’t stand out, except one, Molly Cummings is the name of Hopkins’ mayor whose term expires in 2019. I haven’t dug deeper but that could be her I think...

fehler
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby fehler » February 26th, 2019, 9:48 am

Former Minneapolis City Councilmember Robert Lilligran is a solid choice, as is Susan Vento (chair of Friends of the Mississippi River). Falcon Heights Mayor Peter Lindstrom is meh. Wendy Wulff is a former Pawlenty (and Dayton) appointee to the council, and I have no idea why Waltz would include her. Fresh start needed, surely there are transit advocates in Lakeville.

xandrex
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby xandrex » November 1st, 2019, 10:27 am


alexschief
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby alexschief » November 1st, 2019, 3:19 pm

On Twitter, mostly for fun, I suggested Heather Worthington. I assume her appointment would result in the suburbs going nuclear. Peter McLaughlin was a favorite for some folks the first time around, but he seems to have a good position now with LISC Twin Cities. RT Rybak has had his job with the Mpls Foundation a little longer, and maybe he's looking for something else, but I doubt it. Cummings and Lilligren are good candidates, both have enough experience with the council and also working in leadership positions of larger agencies.

Besides someone who is a strong administrator and a good leader, I'd ideally like to see the position held by someone who is a frequent (at least once a workweek) transit rider, and has a professional background in either land use or transportation planning. It's also pretty clear by now that this is an extremely stressful and thankless job, and so I hope the position will go to someone who has the love for the position and the conviction in the work to stick around at least until the end of the first Walz term.

QuietBlue
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby QuietBlue » November 1st, 2019, 3:23 pm

I suspect that, for political reasons, it will again be a suburban appointee.

Multimodal
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby Multimodal » April 19th, 2020, 10:29 pm

I suspect that, for political reasons, it will again be a suburban appointee.
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twincitizen
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby twincitizen » December 11th, 2020, 3:53 pm

The Governor's "Blue Ribbon Committee" on reviewing the Met Council (effectiveness, elected vs. appointed, etc.) appears to have met for the final time and put together a report of their recommendations. I never had high hopes for this group once I saw it was chaired by Dakota County Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg.

Home Page for Blue Ribbon Committee: https://metrocouncil.org/Council-Meetin ... ittee.aspx

Final Report: https://metrocouncil.org/Council-Meetin ... eport.aspx

Their recommendations are ultimately disappointing and don't go further than "keep everything the same except implement staggered 4-year terms". That's been discussed for years and AFAIK, has no known opposition. If a Republican should win the governorship in the future, that would prevent them from instantly replacing the entire Met Council, though presumably they'd be able to replace half, plus the chair, giving them a 9/17 majority right off the bat, and the ability to replace the rest 2 years into their first term. Staggering terms is a good move, but won't do shit to prevent a future Republican governor from stacking it with people who hold beliefs counter to the Council's mission. The principal unspoken priority of this blue ribbon committee should have been "what can we do to ensure that a future Republican governor doesn't completely decimate the Met Council?" and they clearly failed at that. I sympathize that they don't want to have the entire Council elected, creating a "mini-legislature" and/or another body that would supersede County Commissioners' authority on transit matters, but I'm surprised they didn't at minimum recommend that the Chairperson be elected metro-wide or something.

It would be a major upheaval, but it still seems like the "perfect world" solution is to abolish the 7 metro counties and elect the Met Council instead, having that newly elected "Metro County" take over the role of the 7 counties. Increase the number of seats from the current 16 to at least 25-30 to reduce the size of the districts, with the chairperson either elected metro-wide, or perhaps appointed by the Governor. In this grand consolidation scenario, I'd allow the outlying, truly rural/agricultural parts of Scott and Carver Counties the opportunity to escape "Metro County" and join the adjacent county, if that keeps the suburbanized parts in. Alternatively, short of a full consolidation of the 7 metro counties and all their powers, I'd be interested in seeing the Met Council absorb the counties' transportation responsibilities (basically absorbing the 7 Regional Rail Authorities, Public Works Departments, and half-cent sales tax & wheelage tax revenues). The 7 counties would continue to exist for Health & Human Services, Libraries, and all the other things they do, but transportation would no longer be on their plate in any way.

alexschief
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby alexschief » December 12th, 2020, 10:07 am

The good?/bad? news is that the Minnesota GOP's hostility to the Met Council is inseparable from their hostility to the metro region, and they need at least respectable results there to win statewide. That doesn't eliminate the risk, but I do think that the next Republican to win statewide is more likely to be a Met Council dove than a hawk.

MNdible
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby MNdible » December 15th, 2020, 11:56 am

How does the MyPillow guy feel about the Met Council?

uptownbro
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby uptownbro » December 15th, 2020, 12:01 pm

Depends on which gov appointed them.

kellonathan
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby kellonathan » May 3rd, 2021, 1:51 pm

I have a feeling this is flying under the radar and probably not going to go anywhere, but this is an interesting idea that was floated around last weekend: Metropolitan Transportation Planning Board creation as part of the Department of Transportation establishment; Metropolitan Council authority over transportation, transit planning, and construction elimination; appropriating money
https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.p ... n=0&y=2021
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alexschief
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby alexschief » May 3rd, 2021, 3:20 pm

I skimmed it and didn't find anything extremely offensive, but I'm certainly suspicious of its motives. It's extremely focused on light rail. What problem is this trying to solve?

thespeedmccool
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby thespeedmccool » May 3rd, 2021, 5:19 pm

I skimmed it and didn't find anything extremely offensive, but I'm certainly suspicious of its motives. It's extremely focused on light rail. What problem is this trying to solve?
One of the authors, DFLer Karla Bigham, was a county commissioner in Washington County and frequently complains about Met Council mandates.

This is openly hostile to the Met Council, and probably is intended to be the first step in dissolving the Council (or at least greatly reducing its power) by slowly stripping it of its responsibilities. Of course, this has been a long-term goal for state Republicans, but it's disheartening to see a DFLer pick up on it.

TBF, this may be an honest attempt to better regulate regional transit, but I have little faith in that given who the sponsors are.

Tcmetro
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby Tcmetro » May 4th, 2021, 9:14 am

I wouldn't be surprised if politicians in Washington County are still bitter about the Lake Elmo decision.

The 1994 combination of transit, parks, sewers, and public housing into the Met Council allowed regional investments to be tied with regional planning policy. Even before 1994, the Met Council had a lot of control over the power of municipalities in planning decisions. Rolling back the tangible duties of the council reduces the power, which then might allow for the planning powers to be rolled back.

The thing that annoys me about it is that the Met Council isn't even that egregious with planning policy. The development standards are really low (3 units per acre for sewer service), and really just serve to prevent leapfrog sprawl. This ultimately saves money for the municipalities. On the other hand, Lake Elmo was different in that the city wanted to remain "rural" and not take on it's allocation of regional growth.

twincitizen
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Re: Metropolitan Council

Postby twincitizen » May 5th, 2021, 3:57 pm

Nah this has nothing to do with Lake Elmo. Likely has to do with how County Commissioners view the Met Council in the post-CTIB era. There are some legitmate issues with the Met Council structure, particularly its dual function as a regional transit/transportation planning body & the region's federally-designated MPO (technically I think the Met Council's TAB is the MPO), while also being the transit operator (pretty rare throughout the US), .

Other structural issues include the way that transit sales tax funds are controlled by each county board, separately, so Met Council defers to the counties on initial planning of transitways. This is not a good strategy for a regional transit system. I'd go in the opposite direction of Senator Bigham though, and just give them total control of the transit sales tax monies. Cut the county boards out of regional transit planning entirely. The CWADS (suburban counties) would pitch a fit though.

Senator Bigham's proposal would actually take things back in the direction of having a separate agency (Metro Transit) operate the transit from the agency that does the long-range planning, as the TAB/MPO function would move over to this new division under MnDOT. This move would kind of leave Metro Transit as an usual appendage under what remains of the Met Council, after being stripped of all authority over transit planning. The Met Council would then be regional sewers, regional land use planning...and a transit operator. At that point it wouldn't make a ton of sense for Met Council to be the parent agency of Metro Transit (likely necessitating even further legislation).

This all gets back to my posts upthread about the "Governor's Blue Ribbon Committee on Met Council governance" being a huge failure and waste of time. They literally discussed all of the issues with the current structure and decided to recommend zero reforms, aside from staggered terms for Met Council members, which is totally uncontroversial and would get bipartisan support any time.


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