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Monday, December 11, 2017

South Washington County Republicans Will Decide if they want McNamara, his Baggage, and Terrible Legislative Record

 Democrat Senator Dan Schoen of district 54  will be resigning December 15th after multiple sexual harassment allegations see Minnpost article

Denny McNamara
Schoen ran for senate after serving two terms in the House. He narrowly defeated first time candidate GOP nominee Leilani Holmstadt who got 46.7% of the vote. Holmstadt had swept her Republican district endorsement with a 65 to 13 victory over the alternate by vowing to adhere to core party principles with a platform that included lower taxes and to cut Government wasteful spending. She hopes to earn the party nomination again at the December 12th endorsing convention followed by the special election on February 12, 2018.

Holmstadt will face off in the SD54 Endorsing convention, December 12th, against Denny McNamara who stated in 2016 that he would not seek reelection for an eighth term in the MN house of representatives. He may have saw the writing on the wall reflecting on his increasingly self destructive political career. 

Before I get into his alarming voting record and 50% rating from the Tax Payers League of Minnesota where many republicans obtain 100% ratings by adhering to party platform there are additional concerns voters may have and consider more important than failed platform promises. A year before he quit in 2016 he was accused of an ethics violationThe (now retired) 80 year old representative Phyllis Kahn reported McNamara was red in the face shouting at her in his office. She stated in the complaint she had "never felt so threatened and domineered by a fellow legislator" in her 43 years in the House. The violation accusation was later dismissed.
Phyllis Kahn

This shouting incident was related to Denny McNamara's disagreement with a representative of the Minneapolis Parks and Rec board. The board has a general operating fund of over $80 million. He was under the impression the board may no longer be using his family's landscaping business he had handed down to his son. According to a Pioneer Press post the Hoffman and McNamara tree farm made over $80,000 a year off the Park board in sales from at least as far back as 2010.  

Thirdly, McNamara's apparent rage was so intense a park board activist felt it threatened her job and she sued McNamara for defamation
After a drama filled career, McNamara told the Hastings Star Gazzette in a 2016 article why he was supposedly done for good in politics... for family. 
“I’m done working,” he said...“What my wife Lynne’s given up over the past 14 years is tremendous,” McNamara said... McNamara said he’s looking forward to being a bigger part of his grandchildren’s lives. It was his 4-year-old grandson who inspired him to hang up his hat this year. Over Memorial Day weekend, he said, he went fishing with his grandson and realized he was ready for more of those moments.

Apparently the temptation to become a State Senator is too much for McNamara, who after less than 18 months desires to jump back into politics. 

What's more, McNamara worked against his delegates by deciding his own successor. The SD54 BPOU had the expectation he'd run for an 8th term. He threw a curve ball with what appeared like a pre-planned stunt. Literally minutes before the May 31st filing deadline he announced that he would not run for reelection whereupon his friend Tony Jurgens then filed for the "open" seat uncontested. This secured Jurgens the spot on the ballot without the checks and balances of the selection process. Since being elected Tony Jurgens has been a disappointment. I can't find any bills he's authored to cut taxes, spending, or to cut red tape that strangles businesses in his district. Like McNamara, Jurgens has legislated the opposite to his party principle by seeking to bring home pork to his district. 

As a House of representative's member he only had a 50% rating with the Tax Payer's League in 2015 and 2016. During several years before that he had even lower ratings. 

Noteworthy is he's refused to sign the Tax Payer's League pledge to oppose measures that increase taxes EVERY SINGLE YEAR asked it appears from data on their website.

What's more shocking than highlights of these bills he chief authored was the bills he failed his constituents on authoring. I could find no bills he championed to lower taxes, spending, the size of government, etc in any meaningful way.

Given the current optics in SD54 after the resignation of the disgraced Schoen, the logical choice to run against the DFL female candidate is Leilani Holmstatdt. The climate is fed up with ill tempered, career politicians who have demonstrated a history of disrespect for peers. It's time to select a candidate who will abide by the Republican party's platform.

The Republican endorsing convention is on December 12th at 7pm at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Cottage Grove

If the information above is not enough please take a look at his Legislative record on the bills he chief authored. Following that is the summary of the Tax Payers League of Minnesota's objective rating of McNamara based on his terrible voting record where many democrats score higher than he does. 

Who do you want representing you Senate District 54?

-Matt Behning

2003:
HF1473 to fund the boondoggle Met Council run "mass transit" Red Rock Corridor more info here:  Red Rock Corridor Faces Delays as 7 Facts Become Undeniable and the corridor's Newport Transit Station, $6.45 million, No Riders, and No Surprise
2004:
HF2046 to fund $5.5 million to Inver Hills College to expand buildings with no strings attached for anything such as lowering tuition.
HF1676 to fund $1 million dollars for an "interpretive center" in Hastings
2005:
HF2538 another $1 million for the Hastings "interpretive center"
HF2537 another bill to fund the massive failure that is the Red Rock Corridor. Another post on it: Red Rock Corridor Plan Falls Apart Now Wants to be Called Route 363
HF1370 Red tape for plumbers and licenses.
SF0909 growing government and expanding medicare purchase rights
HF0776 growing medicare supplemental coverage 
HF0435 increased the pork to Inver Hills College from $5.5 million to $6 million
2006: 
HF3612 looks like $1.8 million in pork for wind turbines who's cost and inefficiency make them unable to self fund themselves apparently
HF3354 $700,000 to Inver Hills College to remodel the "fine arts" building with no strings attached for anything such as lowering tuition.
HF2560 $1.1 million to Dakota County for property development to make "green spaces and low income housing"  a job the private sector is willing to do without tax money!
2007/08:
HF3117 a handout to decrease the "carbon footprint" of legislative employees
2009/10:
HF0423 another bill to decrease the "carbon footprint" of legislative employees
2011/12:
HF2516 $26.5 million in spending for walking trails
HF0471 the unaccountable "Heritage Fund" for outdoors 
2013/14:
HF2636 $2,000,000 small trail connection between Washington and Dakota County 
HF1472 Watercraft surcharges increased
2015/2016:
HF2667 $1.5 million in pork to pay for Hastings "riverfront renaissance project" 
HF2595 another bill to fund the failed Red Rock Corridor. See another post on a bus stop along the corridor:  Newport Transit Station, $6.45 million, No Riders, and No Surprise

Summary:
2003: 
-Voted against the "no new taxes" omnibus tax bill.
-voted in support of a silly bill to ban dishwasher detergent with phosphorus
-Voted in support of a government chartered casino
-Voted in support of a bill to prevent school districts from hiring non-union labor and save money on construction
2004:
-Voted in support of forcing businesses to pay a higher minimum wage rather than letting market competition determine the wages (House Journal p.6603)
-Voted in support of a ban on lawn fertilizer that contains phosphorus (HJ p.6756)
-Voted in support of growing government with the creation of a propane council (HJ 7556)
Refused to sign the Tax Payer's League pledge to not increase taxes on residents in his district
Refused to sign the Tax Payer's League "Tax payer's bill of rights" 
2005:
-Voted in support of a $400 million dollar tax increase (HJ 148)
-Voted against the bill that would have removed funding of the Met Council's $350 million dollar Northstar Corridor from deep inside the bonding bill as attached pork (HJ 592)
-Voted in support of more handouts to the ethanol industry to double the required content in gasoline from 10 to 20% where many cars can't run on that high content of ethanol (HJ 3290)
-Voted in support of the nanny state law banning over the counter purchases of Sudafed (HJ 2598)
Refused to sign support of a bill that would have required a local referendum vote anytime local government wanted to increase property tax levies (HF 1660)
Refused to sign the Tax Payer's League pledge to oppose and vote against measures to increase taxes
2006:
-Voted against allowing the tax payers in Hennepin County decide if they wanted to fund the $1.1 billion dollar sales tax increase to fund the Twins Stadium (HF 7119)
-Voted to allow Hennepin county to tax their residents $1.1 billion dollars to fund the Twin's Stadium aka subsidies for billionaires (HJ 7142)
-Voted to approve the conference report for the twin's stadium funded by tax payers (HJ 8192)
-Voted in support of the $1.1 billion dollar pork filled bonding bill (HJ 8531)
-Voted against requiring the riders of the failed Northstar corridor fund the operating costs of the white elephant (HJ 6647)
-Voted in support of raising the state sales tax for the "arts and environment" that we now know is greatly abused and recklessly distributed to pet projects (HJ 7110)
-Voted to give $1 billion tax dollars to the teacher's union retirement fund they have mismanaged and underfunded (HJ 8632)
-Voted in support of medical market monopoly bill for certain diagnostic medical services and raising the cost to consumers (HJ 6368)
2007:
-Voted in support of raising the state sales tax for the arts, entertainment, parks, and public broadcasting (HJ 7263)
-Voted in support of a energy cost raising mandate to require 25% of Minnesota's energy to come from unproven renewable resources by 2025 (HJ 446)
2008:
-Voted in support of putting the Outdoor and Heritage tax increase on the ballot that passed and is well known to be abused and recklessly distributed to pet projects (HJ 7684)
-Voted in support of spending $500 million tax dollars for a "budget balancing bill" HF 1812 that only reduced spending by $268 million (HJ 12723)
-Voted in support of a  job killing bogus global warming bill on cap and trade in MN (HJ 12151)
-Voted in support of government health care bill to put more Minnesotans on the State's health insurance plan and pay groups to get people to sign up that did nothing to address the factors that add to costs of healthcare. (HJ 12431)
-Voted in support of another Met Council transit line called the "Central Corridor" aka the BILLION dollar Green Line (HJ 12914)
-Voted against lowering property taxes with a law that would have required state property taxes to be less than 30% of total state revenue (HJ 11303)
2009:
-Voted in support of a $4.3 billion dollar transportation bill that had tens of millions to start and continue to fund the boondoggle white elephant light rail and BRT corridors we have today (HJ 4438)
-Voted in support of a $20 million spending increase on pork environmental programs (HJ 4450)
-Voted in support of a government growth bill to allow local government to increase the sales tax and permit unelected local governments to issue debt (HJ 5858)
-Voted in support of adding $300 million in spending to the bonding bill (HJ 5966)
-Voted in support of distributing the nearly $900 million from the Outdoor Entertainment tax to numerous special interest projects of questionable value (HJ 7234)
2010:
-Voted in support of HF 2680, a bill adding funding to an out of control general assistance medical care program that was in need of reform not added funding. (HJ 7865)
-Voted in support of HF 2695 a "jobs bill" that was actually a bill to pick winners and losers with tax credits for "angel investors" and no incentive for current employers to create jobs (HJ 9761)
-Voted against an amendment that would have allowed state employees a choice and portability with their retirement investment and it would have saved tax payers money (HJ 11929)
-Voted in support of HF 2624 that passed and dolled out $26 million legacy fund tax dollars to special interest groups for worthless endeavors like $1.8 million for landowners to protect rocks (HJ 12688)
2011
-Voted in support of Governor Dayton's version of the Bonding bill with an additional $500 million in pork added on (HF 23)
-Voted in support of HF 14 that continues to enable the city of Minneapolis' unfunded pension promises to their employees. The bill funded Minneapolis' pension problem instead of letting the city pay for it themselves.
-Voted in support of HF 6 of nearly $500 million in pork for Outdoor Entertainment. The legacy bill included ridiculous spending such as $35.2 million to "overcome barriers to accessing the arts" 
2012 
-Voted in support of HF 2958 the final version of the bill to fund the Viking's stadium that ended up costing tax payers $1.2 BILLION dollars from the general fund
-Voted in support of HF 1752 for $566 million more in bonding debt when it wasn't a year to pass more bond debt (the previous year passed $531 in bonding). 
-Voted in support of HF 2430 for a "legacy bill" to provide $100 million in "arts and entertainment" where $600,000 of it went to the Minnesota Film and TV board.
2013
-Voted in support of HF 1070 for a bonding bill during the budget year. The bill that added $180 million more in debt.
-Voted in support of HF 489 to spend $26 million for the teacher's union who have mismanaged their pension program and have put the tax payers on the hook.
2014
-Voted in support of HF 0663 a bill to force businesses to recycle despite Minnesota having one of the highest recycling rates in the Country
-Voted in support of HF 2536 adding more red tape on businesses to report and prove compliance with "woman's economic security"
-Voted in support of the house version of SF 1951 to bail out failing teacher pension program, further hide the problems, and kick the can further down the road with further unfunded liabilities.
-Voted in support of HF 2490 the BILLION dollar pork filled bonding bill 
-Voted in support of the house version of SF 1952 to continue automatic pay increases and no pay for performance reform discussed the prior two years.
2015
-Voted in support of HF 1 to add $3 million more for the failed public education bureaucracy on top of the scheduled budget increase for them for a bill with no reform of the education system.
-Voted in support of HF 2 for more bonding debt spending in a non-bonding year at the legislature. There was no emergency funding in the bill.
-Voted in support of HF 1679 to add more unnecessary regulations for networked ride-sharing businesses that Uber and Lyft.
-Voted in support of the house version of SF 280 that funded automatic pay increases for state workers and no pay for performance reform.
-Voted against MNsure reform by voting in support of the house version of SF 1458 despite news that people were dying because of the screw ups in the system.
-Voted in support of the house version of SF 844 to pump more money into the education bill with no reform or accountability to the public school system.
2016
-Voted in support of HF 2749 the "Garbage bill" for extra spending for everything they didn't provide funding for the previous year
-Voted in support of HF 3467 the $1.5 billion dollar bonding bill that was closest to what Governor Dayton wanted.
-Voted for a raise for the state's pension directors with the house version of SF 2626
-Voted in support of HF 3589 on "real ID" while concerns for privacy are still ongoing 















Friday, November 17, 2017

Only 3.5 Years for Man Who Held Down & Raped Bayport Child While Taunting Her

Quinton Lannue, DOB 1/15/1996, of 605 Stillwater Rd #304 Willernie, MN was arrested in July of 2016 for violently raping a child. In August 2017 he was convicted of the charge of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct
Quinton Lannue
609.344.1(c)

According to the Criminal Complaint: Quinton Lannue found a 16 year old victim who worked at a local retail store. Lannue went to the victim’s house with alcohol and convinced the reluctant victim to drink with him according to the police report. The victim reported she didn’t feel safe and had two friends come over. When the two friends left to walk to a gas station and back Lannue was described to have forcibly held the victim down and raped her while taunting her. When the friends returned they found the child crying and hysterical. The police had DNA evidence sent. There are other horrifying details in the criminal complaint of the torture the child went through that we warn to read with caution.

Quinton Lannue was sentenced to "Stay of execution 62 months" according to MN State Statue 244.101 that means his sentence is 2/3 of the 62 months so he will only serve 41 months in prison (three and a half years) if he completes treatment in custody. If he refuses than he will do the full 62 months (5 years). He will have 15 years probation. He has to register as a sex offender for the max of 10 years and pay a $50 fine.

Children are hunted like prey by rapists like Lannue. They find their victim and find a way to get them alone and attack them. Minnesota Law and sentencing guidelines say such a child rapist should only be locked up for 3 and a half years in prison. The problem is further explained in our related article: Watchdog Review of Each of the Fifty States Sex Offender Laws Finds Minnesota Ranked the Most Unsafe

The solution is in Minnesota law makers hands to make it so if any aged child is raped they serve life in prison. Currently most child predators rarely do more than a year in jail and no more than 10 years on the sex offender registry. See more about the solution here: Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

For many more examples from Washington County of convicted sex offenders still on our streets see our other posts here:
wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/

For the growing list of the last know location of convicted sex offenders in Washington County see: 

Please Consider Helping Victims of Sexual Assault in Washington County with EmpowerSurvivors out of Stillwater. They are a 501(c3), every cent goes to the victims peer support. They also need office supplies for their location. See our post about them here:

DATE: 8/24/2017 
DEFENDANT: Quinton Riley Lannue 
AGENCY: Bayport Police Department 
JUDGE: B. William Ekstrum 
CONVICTION: Criminal Sex Conduct - 3rd Degree-Force or Coercion 
SENTENCE: Stay of execution; 15 years of probation; comply with Predatory Offender Registration; pay fine of $50 plus surcharge and fees;. State requested stay of execution and 62 months.

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's data allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Man Who Gang Raped Woodbury Child Only Gets 5 years Probation and 10 Months Prison

In January of 2017 Parker Cole Running Jarvis, DOB 7/16/1998, Last known address 8845 90th Street S Cottage Grove, MN 55016 was charged with violently gang raping a 14 year old with 3 others in a Woodbury townhouse according to the Criminal complaint

Parker Running-Jarvis
He's was initially charged with a solid list of four rape charges:I: Criminal Sex Conduct-1st Degree-Penetration – Aid/Abet by Accomplice(s);
II: Criminal Sexual Cond-1st Degree-Penetration – Injury – Use Force/Coerce;
III: Aiding and Abetting Criminal Sex Conduct-3rd Degree-Force or Coercion;
IV: Criminal Sex Conduct-3rd Degree-Victim 13-15 Actor >24m older

He was added to our running list of charged and convicted sex offenders:
Washington County Sex Offenders. Names, Photos, Addresses.


Unfortunately it appears the Washington County prosecutors folded and gave him a plea deal of a lifetime. They dismissed all the charges except the 3rd degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. 

Something could have gone wrong in the prosecution of the case to explain this injustice of a plea deal. However, it is doubtful because if there was lack of evidence than all the charges would have been dismissed. We don't know because the County does not answer questions like this.

What is known, is all that is important. The fact is a 14 year old child was gang raped and one of the guys who did it is walking with a short 10 months in St. Cloud prison (15 months if refuses to comply with treatment) 5 years probation, a $1,573 charge, and register as a sex offender for the maximum in Minnesota 10 years. 


The solution is in Minnesota law makers hands to make it so no sex crime against a child goes without mandated prison time and sex offender registration. Currently most child rapists rarely do more than a year in jail and no more than 10 years on the sex offender registry. See more about the solution here: Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

For many more examples from Washington County of convicted sex offenders still on our streets see our other posts here:
wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/

For the growing list of the last know location of convicted sex offenders in Washington County see: 

Please Consider Helping Victims of Sexual Assault in Washington County with EmpowerSurvivors out of Stillwater. They are a 501(c3), every cent goes to the victims peer support. They also need office supplies for their location. See our post about them here:

DATE: 11/6/2017 
CONVICTION: 3rd Degree Criminal Sex Conduct 
SENTENCE: 10 months in prison (15 months if refuses treatment) 5 years of probation; 60 days jail with 31 days credited to be served Sentence to Service, Huber; fine with surcharge and fees; restitution ordered in the amount of $1,573.09; register as a predatory offender for 10 years; 

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's data allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources. 

Child Predator Caught in Woodbury gets Felony waived, No Sex Offender Registry, and Only 3 years Probation

In April 2016 Carl Gansen of South St. Paul was arrested at the Burger King in Woodbury attempting to meet who he thought was a 15 year old child according to the criminal complaint. He's one of over 30 men who have been caught by Washington County in child trafficking stings in the last few years. See: Washington County Child Prostitution Sting “Suspects” Names, Photos, and Addresses. Gansen is number 19 on the list.

According to the criminal complaint, Gansen wanted to pick the child up from school and pay her $100 for sex, but agreed to meet her at Burger King. He was notified the age of the child was 15 yet still continued. When he showed up to meet the child he was arrested and notified he was actually communicating with police. He was charged with "Engaging in Electronic Communication Relating or Describing Sexual Conduct with Child" MN 609.352.2a(2)

A year and a half later on October 25th, 2017 Gansen was convicted on this charge of sexual communication with a child and sentenced to just 3 years probation and will have to serve 90 days in in a work release program out of jail if he violates probation it appears. He was convicted on "stay of imposition" and according to MN law they explain it means if he completes the terms of his probation he will have his felony conviction downgraded to misdemeanor. That also means he will not be on the sex offender registry.  Lastly, he has to pay a $1,000 fine. For lack of a better term, he's getting his felony waived.

What's disturbing, besides the weak sentence, is prior to mid 2016 the County would charge these child predators with soliciting a minor; however they stopped doing this after some of our all volunteer team at Washington County Watchdog got law makers to stiffen this law. Now convictions of child solicitation require sex offender registration (but only 10 year max). Unfortunately, the county now charges those caught in these stings with the now weaker charge of sexual communication with a child. When asked in January of 2017 the lead prosecutor Imran Ali stated the men would not plead guilty if their sentence included sex offender registration. We asked why going to trial was a problem when they're caught red handed in a sting with overwhelming evidence. He stated trials tie up the whole department, they're expensive, and you could see them walk with no punishment if they're found not guilty for any reason. 


The solution is in Minnesota law makers hands to make it so no sex crime against a child goes without mandated prison time and sex offender registration. Currently most child rapists rarely do more than a year in jail and no more than 10 years on the sex offender registry. See more about the solution here: Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

For many more examples from Washington County of convicted sex offenders still on our streets see our other posts here:
wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/

For the growing list of the last know location of convicted sex offenders in Washington County see: 



Please Consider Helping Victims of Sexual Assault in Washington County with EmpowerSurvivors out of Stillwater. They are a 501(c3), every cent goes to the victims peer support. They also need office supplies for their location. See our post about them here:

DATE: 10/25/2017 
DEFENDANT: Carl William Gansen 
DOB: 1/29/1983 
CITY/RESIDENCE: 
2200 Southview Boulevard
#305South St. Paul, MN 55075 
MN AGENCY: Woodbury Police Department 
JUDGE: Gary R. Schurrer 
CONVICTION: Engage in Electronic Communication Relating or Describing Sexual Conduct with Child 
SENTENCE: Stay of imposition, 3 years of probation. 90 days jail, 4 days credit, Sentence to Serve in/out-of-custody. Pay $1,000 fine within 90 days. Follow all standard terms of probation (only gets Jail if he fails to follow probation)

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's data allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Conflict of Interest Weighs on Newport Planning Commission Chair Who Sold Land to Developers on Project He is in Charge of Overseeing

This article is authored by Laura E. Pride Verbout, attorney, a Newport resident who lives on Ria Lake that is impacted by the proposed Bailey Meadows development.

The chair of the Newport Planning Commission, Kevin Haley, has sold key lake front property to housing developers while at the same time being responsible to oversee that the project is to city standard. Most would call that a conflict of interest. On his former land they plan to build 7 homes. They will cost a predicted half a million dollars each. He purchased the property for $155,000 years ago; He refuses to say how much he sold it for; He refuses to remove himself from the planning or the commission decision making and the votes; He denies any conflict of interest; and blames the Met Council for one of the most high density single family home developments one can find in the County.

Bailey Meadows Development is a proposed "mix of high density to medium density residential housing" for 200 homes in Newport. The project centers around land between Ria and La Lakes. From the start, the project has felt rushed through the approval process. Leaving residents, like myself, to attend meetings to bring up our many concerns. Oversight the planning commission should be leading.

For example, in the July 2017 planning commission meeting a resident who lives down the road from me on lake Ria pointed out the lack of environmental consideration the development has. The resident referenced his background in construction and stated the lake levels could be affected by development and the wildlife could be negatively impacted too. Stating "I guarantee there won’t be wood ducks on the lake anymore if 200 people throw a canoe into the lake anytime they want." In the meetings that followed the commission put in vague land use restrictions for those living within 1,000 feet of the lake and put the DNR in charge of public water access. Whether that is good enough to protect the wildlife from 200 new residents will remain to be seen.

In other planning commission meetings residents, besides myself, brought up concerns that everything from added street and residential lighting to increased traffic on existing roads would be unwelcomed changes. Other's commented the development seems like a gated community; noting the lack of parking to access the trail and a small park planned. The head of the planning commission Kevin Haley always seems to be the first to interject with a defensive response. For example telling the resident concerned about extra neighborhood lighting stating that it's a federal law and there's nothing the city law can do to supersede it. 

It seemed odd at first seeing our concerns, the environmental impact, and even details about utility placement and cost taking a back seat. That is until the November 9th planning commission meeting where it was found that he has sold property to developers in the proposed development. He's listed as one of four property owners at:
3025 Bailey Road NE, Newport, MN 55055


His lake front lot is large enough to fit seven half a million dollar houses on. As one of four land sellers and with so much power, one can imagine the great incentive he had to to meet the developers needs over the surrounding residents. The story develops further when you see that Haley's planning commission pushed to shrink the current city density ordinances to fit the most homes possible on the property. When approved this translates to even more value to Mr. Haley's property. See page 12 of the PUD November 9th meeting:

"Single-Family lots: 
Reduction in side setbacks for Single-Family lots from 9’ to 7’ on the dwelling unit side. 
Reduction in lot depth from 120’ to 110’ 
Decrease in minimum lot area from 7200 square feet to 6050 square feet 
Villa lots: 
Reduction in side setbacks for Villa lots from 9’ to 5’ on dwelling units side 
Reduction in minimum lot area from 7200 square feet to 6,000 square feet"

There's other questionable requests for exceptions in the proposal that benefit the developer's profit such as:
-"If the developers build the trail, the cost of the trail may be included in the park dedication fee." It seems odd to have the tax payers not in the development pay for trails around it.
-Decreasing street right-of-way from 60' to 50' 
-Decreasing the width of the city standard street from 31' to 28' (saves developer money and boosts property size and profit)
-"Surmountable curbs" instead of city standard "B-16" curbs stating it "allows more flexibility for designing homes and driveways on narrower lots"

At one point the County responded to the planning commission's unsafe request about the 50 foot of right-of-way stating that type of roadway needs 75 feet of right-of-way to be safe in an October 27th letter to the planners. Other overlooked safety concerns were explained by the County. 
-"road A" has 30 foot change in grade (height) in a short distance. Stating they should reconsider this steep of a road.
-That the intersections leading into the development should have center of the road left hand turn lanes given just the current traffic volumes on the road not to mention the future traffic by the year 2030.
-The drainage ponds need to be proven adequate to prevent runoff (apparently their design from Haley's Newport PUD appear to small)
-The design submitted to the County appears to not have sound mitigation measures in place that are required by law.

Everything about the Haley's planning commission appears to focus on putting the biggest houses on the smallest lot sizes possible in a development with the smallest roads possible with the least amount of added costs for the developer. Anyone can look at the design, even at a glance, and note this development is uncommonly tight, especially compared to neighboring housing developments.

Kevin Haley responded when asked about his apparent conflict of interest, refusing to step down from decision making or voting on the plans that appear to favor the developer's profits over the residents concerns. Even in this late stage of planning. He stated "The Final and binding vote is with the city council. As far as street width, lot size ect. the Met Councils directives have a large influence, along with costs to provide sewer and water. The sale price of the small acreage on my parcel will be available from the county when it is finalized."

This response is of no comfort to neighbors of this cramped development who will be affected by the added traffic and affect on the lakes. Blaming Met Council is a poor excuse as they do not control how an area is zoned. The planning commission could have seen how bad the zoning was and intervened. The head of the planning commission should be a safeguard for the city residents from concerning development like this. They are an important role between a developer and a city council. Without a good planning commission head you can get a development rubber stamped and sent to the city council for final approval where at such time it is too late to send developers back to the drawing board without consequence. 

City Councils do not have time to be the middle man between developers and city, county and state code so they put it on the planning commission. In this case, the planning commission oversight has terribly failed. Hopefully the city council will realize the mistake of letting Kevin Haley run this project with such disregard for the needs of the current residents and the two lakes. The Newport City Council vote is this Thursday at 5:30pm.