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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Contact The Five Senators Who Will decide if MN Gets Tougher on Child Rapists. Last Year They Said No.

With about a week left in the 2018 legislative session it looks like the important sex offender bills that did not pass last year, will likely again fail to pass. Several (below) have died already. The fate of the remaining bills rests in the hands of 5 State Senators on whether or not they will agree to include the bills that passed in the House version of the public safety omnibus bill. As with all bills, both the house and senate versions have to pass matching before going to the Governor to potentially sign. Each committee chooses members from their group to go to conference and negotiate the differences.

Last year Senator Limmer, chair of the senate public safety committee, refused to pass the public safety omnibus bill with all the sex offender bills saying they were "too sweeping," but did not work on the bills when they sat ready for the senate to review for months. From what we're heard it doesn't look like the Senate is going to cooperate yet again for this same reason. Clearly, there are other interests likely at play and not the excuse the bills are "too sweeping". In a recent article we covered why this accusation is anything but true and explain the real local consequences of what is happening because these bills did not become law:

The reason for this article is a plea to voters to call and email these five Senators ASAP and tell them to include all the bi-partisan sex offender reform bills that passed in the house. We know it sounds cliche' and it often falls on deaf ears. Many people assume that other people will take the time to contact the legislators; or that there can't be much of a difference if one person calls. The fact is, the legislators who are trying to get these bills passed tell us the resounding problem on why the bills don't get further is the opposition is so strong. The special interest groups like the County Attorney's Association (prosecutors) call the weak sex offender laws "tools for prosecution." The defense lawyers for sex offenders lobby that sex offender laws are too severe. On and on there are groups who are fighting against tougher laws and in the absence of facts and opposition the law makers don't agree and the laws don't pass. The truth is Minnesota has the weakest sex offender laws in the Country:  Watchdog Review of Each of the Fifty States Sex Offender Laws Finds Minnesota Ranked the Most Unsafe

Meanwhile, in the real world, nearly an article a month comes out from our page about a child rapist walking with little to no prison time and probation. This is just from Washington County, let alone what's happening in the other 86 Counties in the State. At the end of the post we list some of these articles. For the complete list follow: 

Another reason this is so important you contact these five Senators is prosecutors are giving weak charges; offering insane plea deals to avoid trial; and sentencing guidelines are so weak for sex crime that this rapist (for example) served more time (23 months) for burglary than he did for holding, beating, and raping a woman (15 months):

Call and email the legislators and tell them in your own words why these bills need to pass ASAP, there are only days left in session. If you need help thinking of more reasons just browse the titles of the articles below. You can copy and paste the list of emails into your "to" for the recipients of the email:
sen.warren.limmer@senate.mn;  sen.scott.newman@senate.mn; sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn; sen.julie.rosen@senate.mn; sen.michelle.benson@senate.mn 

Remember, this isn't a republican vs democrat issue because republicans and democrats in the Senate don't want to pass this. Representative Matt Grossell is a republican and he's the only one who's writing sex offender bills the last couple sessions. 

It's so hard to pass good sex offender bills because of the opposition here are the bills that died in the House this session:
HF2944 Sex offenders required to serve 50-year conditional release or probation terms, and intensive probation for sex offenders established.
HF2943 Reunification of parents and children after the parent sexually abuses a child restricted.
HF2905 Criminal sexual conduct prosecution team established in the Office of the Attorney General.

A really great sex offender bill died last session when it reached the senate:
The bill was HF1572SF1895 sponsored by Representative Matt Grossell and had over 30 other legislator co-signers combined. It eliminated the loop hole called Stays of adjudication and stays of imposition in criminal sexual conduct cases, sex offenders required to serve lifetime conditional release or probation, intensive probation for sex offenders established, child pornography penalties increased, mandatory minimum sentences created, and Sentencing Guidelines Commission directed to modify the sex offender grid.

When you call and email you are still fighting to pass what did survive. If we don't convince them there's no telling if the bills will get a second chance next session. Matt Grossell is up for re-election, if he is not re-elected there is little indication that anyone will step up and write sex offender bills and fight for them to pass as hard as he does. 


The bills that need the approval of the five state senators:
HF2906  Closes the loop hole that allows convicted sex offenders to obtain a clean record after probation
HF2934  For those who have gone through the loop hole, their records must show their offenses on background checks and they must not be allowed to be bus drivers
HF2904 Child pornography offenses penalties increased, mandatory minimum sentences created, and Sentencing Guidelines commission directed to modify the sex offender grid.

We will have a follow up article on how each of the five legislators handled these bills... who was pushing to include the bills, if senator Limmer again made every excuse possible to push back or further scale back the reform of the bills even more than they've already been.

Here's the info to contact each of the five legislators:
Warren Limmer (34, R)
3221 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
651-296-2159
E-mail:
sen.warren.limmer@senate.mn
Scott J. Newman (18, R)
3105 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
651-296-4131
E-mail:
sen.scott.newman@senate.mn
Mary Kiffmeyer (30, R)
3103 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
651-296-5655
E-mail:
sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn 
Julie A. Rosen (23, R)
3235 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
651-296-5713
E-mail:
sen.julie.rosen@senate.mn

Michelle R. Benson (31, R) 
3109 Minnesota Senate Bldg. 
651-296-3219 
E-mail:


To subscribe for email updates on new offenders and rapist suspects added and other updates go to: 






local offender articles by date:

2016:

2017:
2018:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

South Washington County's Red Rock Corridor "Terminated"!

Red Rock Corridor
It's official, according to the latest MN Department of Transportation report to the legislature the Red Rock Corridor planning has been terminated on their end. Stating on page 11 of the report under "Terminated and suspended" the line has "been removed from future studies and/or consideration" Going on to say on page 54 "...it was determined that while bus rapid transit was the preferred option, a dedicated right of way was not cost effective at this time."

Countless millions of local tax payer dollars have been spent studying this bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor from south washington county up to St. Paul. Yet despite this massive set back the County corridor planners are still continuing to plan this line as if they never got the news from
the State. They still hold meetings, have a contract with Kimley Horn to design it, and still talk in meetings on the next steps. Granted, the last time they met according to their webpage was four months ago in January. According to this last meeting there are only 3 meetings scheduled for all of 2018 (p.7).

Before MNDOT stuck a fork in the transit line and called it dead the corridor planners spent $550,000 dollars to rebrand it calling it the " implementation plan" ... that failed. So they spent thousands more for another rebrand and tried calling it a local bus route, that too appears to have failed. Because members of the Red Rock Corridor Commission are dropping like flies. Dakota County abandoned them, Hastings left too, and now Minneapolis is calling it quits trying to plan this terrible bus corridor or route or whatever they want to call it. 

The County must know deep down in their hearts the mass transit corridor planning here is terrible because they go through a new mass transit corridor planner every year for the Gold Line and the Red Rock Corridor. Transit planner Andy Gitzlaff's last meeting was in July of 2015.   Lyssa Leitner took over as the primary transit planner from there but was let go or quit in August of 2017 as it was the last meeting that listed her as the contact for questions on planning (ie: the assigned transit planner). Next to take over was Hally Turner but her last meeting as contact for planning was November of 2017. And now the fourth project manager in less than 3 years is  Emily Jorgensen according to the "contact us" link for the corridor.

The problem isn't lack of transit planning skill or even funding (thanks to the deep pockets of the Met Council). The problem is how bad these transit line ideas are for Washington County. For example, the bus route planning experts of Metro Transit refused to even study the idea of a bus route like the current plan is, let alone fund it. (use ctrl "f" to find route 363 in  Metro Transit's Service Improvement Plan.) The Gold Line is such a terrible idea that the Metro Transit says the best idea is to simply expanding the express bus service:  

Yet with all the facts on why this Red Rock Corridor would never work the blind supporters in elected office are still trying to keep it going.  
Representative Franke and Jurgens are looking to get $5.6 million for the line with their bill  HF2385. Even if the corridor funding request bill doesn't pass they still have the un-elected Met Council that will fund the corridor and keep it going no matter how bad it is. Last session the legislature gave the Met Council a jaw dropping $210.8 million dollars. Before the Met C took over funding transit corridors their budget was $100 million (2006). So they have over $100 million dollars to back door fund terrible corridors like the Red Rock and Gold Line. Last year Representative Runbeck led the house to pass a budget for the Met C of just $61.5 million, but the senate GOP thought otherwise and both chambers passed the $210.8 million for them. 

Until the Met Council's unheard of budget is limited or we can elect fiscally responsible County Commissioners, there is no end in sight for transit lines like the Red Rock Corridor and the Gold Line that is equally unimpressive. 

-Matt Behning

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Hundreds of Millions in Pork in the 2018 Capital Investment Omnibus

It was nearly 4pm yesterday when tax payers who subscribe to the Senate Capital Investment Committee got notified on what was in the Capital Investment omnibus bill. We are all notified that we can submit a short two minute testimony for AFTER session today.  

Why Thank you Minnesota legislators for the convoluted system where citizens can know what you're doing after you've made your back room deals for the last few months to get the monster omnibus bill where it is today. Like there's any hope something will get removed 11 days before session ends. No wonder tax and spending is so out of hand.  This omnibus has 85 pages of spending and over 3/4 of it is so horrible it would never pass if there was a floor vote and short discussion on every project. Here's my testimony I submitted with less than 24 hours to write where I picked out the most "what the hell are you thinking?" spending items: 

How wonderful to finally find out what's in this "Capital Investment" omnibus bill 11 days before session ends and get two minutes to testify after it looks like there is no hope to get any pork removed without risking it not passing for the 1/4 that is good (ie: spending for veterans and infrastructure). Last year (non-bonding year) you passed a billion dollar bonding bill. This 2018 CIP bill is no different. $1.18 billion in spending with most of it as debt. It's ridiculous the amount of insane projects are thrown into this free for all bill. Projects that local tax payers, not State tax payers should be funding if they are so desperately needed. That's the check and balance to unneeded spending. That, and the MN constitution that states to have one bill, one vote. No unconstitutional multi-subject bills like this.

It's appalling that so called fiscal conservative republican legislators would join the democrats on the smash and grab by adding and approving pet projects to this unsustainable reckless omnibus. It's one of many just like it with different titles to total over $40 billion dollars every two years. It's no wonder MN is the 2nd least tax friendly state.

Please read through what I consider the worst of the spending in your Capital Investment bill. You could start by axing the $25 million blank check you write to the un-elected Met Council... That's not including the over $200 million the transportation omnibus is accustomed to paying so they can back door fund light rail and other failed Mass transit corridors. Let cities plan their own sewers, parks, and transit... and let them pay for it too!

Thanks for your time and hearing me out. 

-Matt Behning


The List: 
-UofM $95.4 million yet tuition remains high and students are stuck with $1,000+ a month payments 
-$6.5 million to put solar panels on the University of Mankato and some renovations 
-Tens of million in trails locals should pay for. Just a few for example: 
          -$200k for a blufflands trail by the Iowa border
          -$2.5 for a Chester woods trail outside Rochester
          -$1.3 million for rec area in Babbitt (population 1,500)
          -$2.5 million for part three of trail in middle of nowhere La Crescent (population 4,800)
-$3,000,000 for the Minnesota Zoo Garden!
-$1 million for Amateur sports center in Blaine... seriously? that's a core function of Gov?
-$2.5 million dollar bus garage in Rochester
-$2 million dollar pedestrian/Bike bridge in the city of Rogers (pop. 11,000)
-$10 million to the unelected Met Council to build parks and trails as they want
-$2.5 to build facilities for park on Lake Waconia
-$2 million for swimming pool in New Hope
-$3 million Nature Sanctuary Visitor Center
-$4.4 million White Bear Lake trail around the lake an area with more millionaires concentrated around the lake than any other area in the County... but the State has to pay for it? 
-$8,800,000 for Sex offenders in St. Peter to pay for the second of unknown number of phases to renovate the campus, put in brand new air conditioning, new windows, remodeling, etc... how about let them stay in tents outside like military men and women have to abroad? 
-$18,000,000 for Brooklyn Park to build a food shelf (what a precedent, so every city getting one?)
-$5 million for Duluth trails 
-$12 million for Minneapolis to redevelop a Harbor Terminal for the public
-$4.4 million community center in Perham (pop. 3,000)
-$3 million for a food shelf in Crookston (pop. 7,900)
-$5 million St. Paul River Centre parking lot
-$5.5 million Southeast Asian Language Job Training Facility 
-$8.1 million for Wabasha to expand the Eagle Center (sounds like a city investment)
-$5 million dollar open air stage in Waite Park
-$18 million to renovate one visitor building (#18) in Fort Snelling
-$26 million for airports (yes, because millionaire airplane owners need assistance)
-$18 million to expand remote trails at some rural state parks
-$750,000 pedestrian bridge in Grand rapids 
-$6 million St. Paul MN museum of American Art

There's dozens and dozens of other projects... those are just a sample of what stood out to me.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

No Justice: Man Who Held Woodbury Woman Captive 2 Days and Raped her Released After 15 Months and Now Charged With Stillwater Sexual Assault

Richard Jay Holmes
Richard Holmes of last known address of 313 Leeward Trail Woodbury has "allegedly" sexually assaulted two people in four years, this time he's charged with sexually attacking a group home resident. He did more time (23 months) for his burglary conviction in 2003 than he did for his first rape crime in 2014 (15 months).  Holmes should have been in prison for over a decade for the 2014 violent rape in Woodbury where he held a woman captive for two days repeatedly beating her time after time and then violently raping her. She nearly escaped twice when while passed out from drinking but she was caught and punched in the face until she couldn't resist. It wasn't until the victim demanded he look what he'd done to her that he let her have her phone according to a DLonline article from 2014

There are dozens of stories just like this where dangerous rapist from Washington County are spending very little time in prison and are released to rape again:   http://wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/. This will continue unless legislators act.

Holmes also has a drug conviction, 3 DWI convictions, violating predatory offender registration, check forgery, and violating order of protection convictions according to the MN BCA. 

There are several reasons why Holmes was only locked up for 15 months. The first is the fact the Washington County Prosecutors dropped the rape charge in 2014 and they didn't charge him with kidnapping or higher degree of felony rape charges:
I: 3rd degree sexual conduct (violent rapists like this are usually are charged with 1st degree)
II: 3rd degree assault (1st degree is only for assaulting cops and some gov. workers; 2nd is only if a weapon is used)
III: False imprisonment  609.255 (this charge is far more weak than kidnapping, which if his 2014 crime doesn't fit the description of what kidnapping, what could?  609.25)

Ask the County Attorney Pete Orput why he isn't directing his prosecutors to pursue to the fullest extent of the law Pete.Orput@co.washington.mn.us 

The second problem is weak sentencing laws in MN. This is evidenced by how Richard Holmes served more time in prison for Buglary (23 months) than holding a person against their will for two days and raping and beating them (15 months). Other problems with MN law to fix can be found in our related post: 

As stated, Richard Holmes "allegedly" sexually assaulted again in less than four years. This time it was a group home resident. According to the criminal complaint on 3/15/18 he pushed the female victim into the bathroom at the home where she injured her arm and then proceeded to attack her and force her to perform a sex act as he exposed himself. The Washington County prosecutors took almost two weeks to charge him with 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct.

Citizens must contact their legislators if you expect to see this change. Find your legislator here: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder


It's clear that just because a rapist is charged with heavy rape charges, does not mean they will be convicted of it. Therefore, if the punishment for ALL criminal sexual conduct crimes is raised than plea deals will be less weak. 

Tell legislators to also make the sex offender list public like nearly every other State in the County does. All but MN and Maine have public lists. Maine only has 2,700 sex offenders in their state though. Compared to nearly 20,000 in MN. 

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

To subscribe for email updates on new offenders and rapist suspects added and other updates go to: 

DATE: 3/28/2018 
DEFENDANT: Richard Jay Holmes 
DOB: 9/7/1982 
CITY/RESIDENCE:  313 Leeward Trail Woodbury (from January criminal complaint for violating offender registration)
MN AGENCY: Stillwater Police Department 
CHARGE: I: Criminal Sex Conduct-2nd Degree-Personal Injury-Force/Coerce 



*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.   

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Tax Payers of Grant Concerned About How City Plans to Bill Them for Big Road Project

$4 Million Pavement Construction Recommended For Grant:
The City’s Past Road Management Ineffective



WSB, the city’s engineering firm published its report in June 2016 and is posted on the city’s website, cityofgrant.us.  The construction cost estimates do not include normal engineering, legal and
WCW stock photo
administrative costs which typically add 20-30 percent to work projects.

The report points out that the program only addresses pavement that is now in need of repair.  It states that 68% of Grant’s pavement is in good to excellent condition.  It goes on to indicate if maintenance is not upgraded on those roads they will progressively fall into the fair to poor category and compound the current repair estimates.

Road conditions in Grant have been an issue with residents and the city council for many years.  Under the city’s current philosophy stated in its Resolutions 2005-122 and 2010-11, ‘the cost associated with road improvements shall be assessed 100% to the benefited properties’.  It, also, states that residents must petition the city council to do the work and agree to finance or pay in advance before a project will commence.

Less than a handful of projects have been done under this policy. Most cities finance road repair through levies that are income deductible providing taxpayers with some relief.  Others share costs where residents typically are assessed a non-deductible 30% of road repairs.

Grant has a 50/50 mix of asphalt versus gravel roads in addition to county and state highways that traverse the city.  Property owners along gravel, county and state highways voice opposition to tax increases to maintain asphalt roads. But the ratio will change because the city requires new housing developments to have hard surface roads.

The city with less than 5000 population does not qualify for enough state aid to augment its philosophy and low road budget. Growth in Grant has been slowed by its intentional low density housing planning. But, the city’s population may increase not to its own doing.

There are those that fear that the Met Council will look to Grant to add housing as it did in Lake Elmo. Of course, that would include municipal sewer and water. No doubt, property taxes would escalate to bear the cost of these systems.

On the other hand, Mahtomedi on Grant’s western border has proposed annexing portions of the city’s land including School District 832’s high, middle and elementary school property along 75th Street. The proposal details housing and business development plans for the area. If successful, Grant will lose population and tax revenue.

The city council is bitterly divided on how to best deal with these and other issues as evidenced by litigation between its members.  Some residents feel that current city council leadership is not capable of dealing with issues. Others believe they may be tacitly supporting growth.

Sound like Lake Elmo?

-Larry Lanoux