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October 7, 2019

Saint Paul Strong> On ‎Saturday‎, ‎August‎ ‎17‎, ‎2019‎ ‎09‎:‎27‎:‎35‎ ‎AM‎ ‎CDT, John Mannillo <John@mannillowomack.com> wrote:

Candidates for City Council: 

Thank you all for running for public office. Please let us know by September 3, 2019, if you support the six principles of Saint Paul Strong (attached).  We will publish all the responses.  Tell us if you support, If not all the principles, which ones and why not.  If we receive no response we will publish that as well. 

Thank you,

 

John Mannillo

Chair

                                  Saint Paul STRONG

The Six Principles of Saint Paul STRONG are:

SAFETY: We pledge to make public safety our top priority, maintaining efficient and effective first responder systems and enhancing citizen/community relationships with police, fire and other city departments. 


1. Absolutely, as Ward Two’s next leader I will support this position to the utmost.

2. With all due respect, politics remains a part of the Saint Paul Police department:

- Crime is under-reported.  Many crime reports are not made in order to keep crime statistics lower – per political pressure.  Citizens, and our Police Force, deserve better.

- The Police and Firefighter's unions have Political Action Committees (PACs) which have funded political campaigns in the past.  Uniformed officers have campaigned with politicians seeking office.  Influence and Votes from Council Members is sought. 

I respect these unions certainly. However, I am not alone in stating that these Conflicts of Interest practices need to end.   Many uniformed officers and firefighters agree.  Additionally, Police and Fire Union Members, should be allowed a Vote on this issue.                                          

-  Moreover, all City Council Candidates this election should pledge to:

neither seek, accept, nor approve of, directly or indirectly, any PAC’s assistance (including phone calls to Voters and mailers).  PACs which have in the past and will in the future, seek Votes and or funding from the City Council, directly or indirectly for its members.   

3. Updated daily, an online Police Report City Map is needed, featuring color-coded dots depicting where and what types of crime has occurred during the course of a year.  Citizens should be able to at a glance be aware of when and where Crime is occurring in their city.  Education is key in helping reduce crime.

4. The grave situation of the LRT Central Station stop in the heart of downtown's still declining business district has been ignored by elected officials for years (Recently, as I was video-documenting maintenance neglect in that area of downtown, a fight broke out.  Perhaps 20-30 people gathered around, they went out into the street, blocking the light Sunday evening traffic.  No police were around).  It cannot be stressed enough, that this ongoing situation needs to end if our business district is to ever recover.  It can be done. 

On the small parcel of open public land here facing Cedar Street, a combined indoor security center, waiting area and public restroom (the outdoor port-a-potty here is a disgrace) is absolutely needed.  It’s first level for Metro-Transit officers.  It’s second level for Saint Paul officers - to give them immediate access to the skyway system.   Those using transit downtown, and our City’s image, deserve no less.

5. Fare theft and misconduct aboard Metro Transit - particularly on LRT is growing.  Millions of dollars are lost annually, security costs have skyrocketed.  Riders, young to older deserve better, as do taxpayers.  The Honor System of riding is not working – officials designed a system which could only lead to temptation.  All LRT station platforms need to be retro-fitted to be ‘Pay as You Enter’ as most cities are.  A much better environment around the entire LRT system would result.

5. The entire skyway network needs a comprehensive interactive security system, manned from the new security center.  Citizens, workers and visitors, should always feel safe when using our famed skyway system - whose image has been tarnished for too long.  We can restore its luster!

 

TRUST: We will work to make sure full and informed citizen participation comes before decisions are made —not after—and put the interests of all the people, including the affected communities and the intended beneficiaries, ahead of personal or partisan interests.

1. Community Outreach under current leadership remains often disingenuous: planning for West 7th LRT, planning for Pedro Park and addressing Skyway Security are some examples.  We need new leadership who will work to bring True Citizen Participation to Saint Paul planning like never before.

2. Let’s dramatically update the City’s website so that all email communications from citizens can be sent ‘direct’ or ‘public’ in order to allow others to see it, and the response back, from City Hall. 

- As with online news and video channels, citizens could ‘thumbs-up or thumbs-down’ the message. 

- Citizens may also be given the ability to comment on the communications, and to add their insight and or expertise to the conversations. 

- Citizens would be able to visit the City’s website at any time, and click on the link to which department they may be most interested in.  Perhaps it would be Parks and Recreation, or the Mayor’s office, and see what is ‘Trending’ in communications.

- Online Voting could be allowed on topics before City Commissions and Boards, and for City Council Public Hearings to help the City Council come to the best possible decisions.

This new level of helpful and constructive (no mis-use or abuse allowed) communication between City Hall and Citizens would create a level of Trust and Openness not seen before.  It could perhaps be seen as a role-model for other Cities.  


RESPONSIBLE: We believe city officials must be accountable to all citizens—including persons of color, seniors, persons with disabilities, low-income residents, immigrants and refugees—and that they must be fully engaged to the public, not parties, and must respond to citizen concerns in a timely and nonpartisan fashion.

Absolutely.  Please see Trust previous response.  


OPEN: We will break down the barriers that exclude citizen participation and bring decision-making back into the public arena where it belongs; ensuring taxpayers are fully informed and have an opportunity to participate meaningfully in decision making.

Absolutely.  Please see Trust previous response. 


NEIGHBORHOODS: We pledge to strengthen community voices and to work—across ward boundaries— to foster stronger neighborhoods with equal right and access to the resources and amenities of our city.

Absolutely.  Please see Trust previous response. 

Additionally, in recent years, an explosion of invasive plant, shrub and tree growth has occurred across much of our Public Land.  Very sad to see!  Numerous overlooks including those found in: Cherokee, Prospect, Linwood and Mounds Park have had their tremendous vistas blocked by overgrowth.  Past volunteer work which cleared significant areas of invasive growth was not remembered when City Hall did not maintain their work.  Permanent Policies and Procedures need to be adopted which: remove invasive plant species, restore these lands closer to a natural state and maintain these lands for future generations.  Many, many citizens would surely help in this renewed, and permanent, City effort!


GENERATIONS: Understanding that our city was built by generations of people who loved it as we do, we pledge to build a stronger, safer and more beautiful city for the generations that will come after us.

Absolutely. 

A new Ward Two leader is needed to focus on the growing Lack of Trust and Significant Neglect which has occurred since the last election, not higher political ambitions, over the coming four years.  If I am elected to lead Ward Two, I will work most sincerely with and for my constituents.  There can be so much good we can accomplish collectively – in short order – for the long term – which restores Saint Paul’s luster and improves the quality of life here for everyone.

Thank you.

 

Best regards,

Bill Hosko 

  

Saint Paul STRONG is a nonpartisan community-led organization dedicated to improving open and representative government in Saint Paul.