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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Seven Reasons Rep. Kelly Fenton was a Terrible Choice for a Republican Assistant Majority Leader

3/2017 here's a fifth reason: Representative Fenton's New Woodbury Lodging Tax Bill is a Slap in the Face to New Hotels and GOP

4/2017: here's a sixth: Four GOP Legislators are Silent After Attempt to Sneak Funding for Mass Transit in Omnibus Bill  

4/2017 here's a seventh: Representative Kelly Fenton's Proposal (HF463) Threatens Voting Integrity with "Alternative Procedure"

As a fiscal conservative, not beholden to any political party: overall I can say I'm proud of the work from the 2016 Republican run house. For one: They listened to the voters to hold the line on direct funding for more failed transit lines by killing the bills in the house (like SWLRT). At least for the 3 terrible corridors being planned in Washington County. Unfortunately Met Council still got their $80+ million dollar blank check to back door fund whatever transit line their unelected hearts desire. But they were working with a DFL controlled Senate and Governor so they couldn't pass a dream budget that would impress fiscal conservatives.

Most fiscal conservatives understand that no politician can meet expectations 100% of the time. However, it doesn't take long to spot a politician that completely abandons you and even the party principles they promised to uphold. 

Therefore, I don't take calling out a republican lightly. By their party definition they are supposed to be fiscally conservative too. One in my position should caution calling one out. Yet I will not abandon my promise to hold all political parties in check. All the volunteer moderators on Washington County Watchdog agree to this. With that, I must warn everyone about one of the newly appointed Republican Assistant Majorirty Leaders, Representative Kelly Fenton. She does talk the talk; but her brief record in the house absolutely doesn't reflect it (just finished her first term). Actually her record is the opposite; here are four facts from her own record:

1.) Fenton is anything but a fiscal conservative Republican. Simply print out the list of bills she's authored, cover up the name, and show it around and ask if it was a democrat or a republican's record... you'd be like the dozens of her delegates at the GOP District 53 primary convention I asked this very question... they all guessed democrat. Probably based on all her education bills (10 of them) to fund do nothing school programs rather than reform our broken school system or support school choice. Plus her eight bills on different election laws. Then there was only ONE bill to fund a road project that she hardly spent anytime fighting for. This road bill didn't even pass, to my knowledge it's tied up in HF622 that failed to pass in final moments of session. (more on that on page 2 of this report

2.) Fenton was the chief author for a request for the Gateway Corridor (Gold Line) Transit Funding in 2015, meanwhile in her district she is nearly silent in comparison about THE MOST deadly freeway interchange in the state (694/494/94) that needs study, engineering and construction funding: 
At Her Own Crossroads: Will Representative Fenton Lead or Appease 
This corridor is a waste of a half a BILLION dollars to take AT MOST 5% of traffic off the I94 freeway:
The Gateway Corridor, Big Promises, Little Evidence

3.) Fenton is not a good supporter of small government. She was the Chief author of a bill last session to strip Economic Development rights away from cities and hand it over to pro-mass bus transit Counties like ours who can now supercede the will of it's cities (the bill passed): 
Representative Fenton's Bill to Give Washington County Final Say Over it's City's Economic Development
This strategic move was taken in response after Lake Elmo Kicked the Gateway Corridor Out because it requires "Transit Oriented Development" which they don't like in their small town.

4.) Early in the 2016 session Fenton refused to withdraw her carry over bill to provide $189,000 to a park that had already fully funded itself! Senator Housley listened to my request and she removed her name from the bill immediately:

Fenton is a great politician as far as doing anything it takes to get elected. She talked her way into office repeating the beliefs of her party. Small government, cutting taxes, responsible spending, roads before transit, pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, etc. As you can tell she authors bills to do the complete opposite in most of these fields. She has wrote ZERO bills to support the core things citizens in her party would strongly support. Sad thing is this list only scratches the surface. 

Hopefully House members will not be distracted by Representative Kelly Fenton's personal quest to grow government programs and fund half a billion dollar bus rapid transit lines that have all the evidence against them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

List of the Tens of Millions in Pork in the Dec. 20th 2016 Special Session Bill

Most of this Pork is in the 2017 bonding bill!
Check out the story and why it's important to get the ridiculous spending out:
List of Tens of Millions in Pork in 2017 Bonding Bill

Response from Legislators was not good:
$1.6 BILLION 2017 Bonding Bill. Legislators Say They Refuse to Cut Any Pork. Call to Action.

GOP Senate Passes $5.8 Billion Transportation Bill with $180 Million to Met Council & Mass Transit a Huge Raise


The Bill is the BILLION dollar HF622. It is now the infamous bill that failed to pass in the final moments of the 2016 session. The list below includes just some of the items we feel are ridiculous pork items in the bonding bill that have no business being in any State funding bill. Let alone a bill that would come from republicans.  
(correction: HF622 was not the bill the Governor recently almost signed. That bill was HF848)

we understand we need government spending. Roads, bridges, public safety, and all the functions of government included in our constitution... sure, you need to fund it. But parking ramps, dentist facilities, garden boards, sea lion exhibits, and little parks in cities we don't live in to name a few is insane... even for democrats who never say no.

Please review the list of things I am shocked came in this bill from our republican majority House... Given the fact they now took the Senate too perhaps they can take to their claim of being "fiscally responsible" and take a ton of this stuff out.

Please take this information and contact your state reps to say you want this pork out before the final language is set on December 16th. The special session meeting is on "about" December 20th according to:

see who represents you:

The 12 republicans who voted no on the final reading of the bill should be recognized for honoring their party's fiscal conservative campaign promise : (Washington County) 
(Washington County)
(there were 27 democrats who also voted no, perhaps for not enough spending)

Only 9 Republican senators voted no on the senate version of the bill: (Washington County) (washington County)
Dan D. Hall (56, R)

The numbers to the left of the item are the page you will find the item. in red are my comments
more details on the bill:

 We hand out hundreds of millions to our colleges. They build ridiculous buildings and facilities with the money and sponsor outrageously expensive sports programs... and at the same time charge ungodly rates on tuition... Coincidentally the Government offers the loans and makes even more money on the credit card level of interest they charge! My wife and I's student loan payment is more than our mortgage payment!!!
2.10 Sec. 2. UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA $81,567,000 
3.21 Sec. 3. MINNESOTA STATE COLLEGES $107,487,000

32.29 Subd. 8. St. Paul - Dorothy Day Opportunity Center for homeless people $12,000,000  
YET there's only $5 million in funding for VA facilities for our vets.

Why is the unelected Met Council getting tens of millions to build more failed transit lines in omnibus funding? How about we fund these ridiculous white elephants like many road projects in dedicated bills with a floor vote.
27.12 Subd. 2. Metro Orange Line BRT $12,100,000
27.22 Subd. 3. Mall of America Station $8,750,000 For just ONE train stop!

37.32 Subd. 13. St. Paul - Science Museum of Minnesota Building Preservation $13,000,000 Why not raise the money from private donors like all the private owned museums do.
38.14 Subd. 14. St. Paul Port Authority - Minnesota Museum of American Art $6,000,000
28.24 Subd. 5. St. Paul - Como Zoo $12,000,000 for fancy new sea lion exhibit 
18.25 $4,000,000 To the Minnesota Zoological Garden Board

Why is government in the business of funding airports? If anything the local tax payers... not the entire State should be paying for their failed airports that can't apparently earn the money themselves.
52.29 (1) $4,985,000 for a grant to the city of Rochester for their Airport,
53.35 (2) $5,900,000 for the Duluth International and Sky Harbor Airports 
25.25 Koochiching County Airport Commission $3,000,000

35.7 Subd. 5. Bemidji - Regional Dental Facility $4,500,000 
35.20 Subd. 6. Hennepin County Center for the Arts $5,000,000
36.14 Subd. 9. Minneapolis - Norway House Event Center $5,000,000     These cities and counties should pay for their own unneeded crap
37.4 Subd. 11. Red Wing - River Town Renaissance Area $4,480,000
77.7 Subd. 6. Inver Grove Heights - Heritage Village Park $2,000,000
77.27 Subd. 12. West St. Paul - North Urban River Pedestrian Bridge $2,000,000
26.25 Subd. 9. Grand Rapids Pedestrian Bridge $750,000
20.16 Subd. 6. Granite Falls - Pioneer Public Television $1,950,000

19.33 Subd. 3. Centennial Parking Ramp at the capital $10,878,000

12.27 Subd. 6. Trail Development $11,490,000 Seriously look at the list of trails. they are trails from nowhere to nowhere mostly. Let the cities and counties build them if they want them so bad

15.12 Subd. 5. $9,250,000 for Polk County to complete a "regional integrated solid waste management system." 
A waste because it's a garbage burning system. These things are a HUGE waste of money and if we're bailing out all 87 counties that want to do this it's an unsustainable precedence. Washington County is going to hit the legislature up next... this just passed the county board last year:
The $170 Million Dollar Washington/Ramsey County Plan to Take Over Private Sector Garbage Processing
Not to mention the fact they are extremely harmful to the environment:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

First Two Men Convicted from Child Trafficking Sting Walk with a Misdemeanor and Just Probation

See all the charged and convicted sex offenders since 2015 in Washington County at 
See more articles like this warning you of released sex offenders in our area:

4-26-15: Instead of just complaining we went to legislators bringing up this problem and 17 days later Senator Kathy Sheran sent us the proof she added to  SF2862 (the bill to update the law on sex stings) to require convictions with victims 13 and under to register as predatory offenders. Rep Joan Ward and Cindy Pugh also helped make this happen late session. The bill passed 59-0! 


In 2014 and 2015 the Washington County Attorney's office and local law enforcement set up two child sex trafficking "Sting" operations. It was very successful with 15 arrested. Four of those caught live in Washington County! Citizens responded and helped post: 

In our articles we explain the almost unbelievable problem in MN with registered sex offenders like convicted child rapists being completely anonymous from the public (Read the articles for details). Completely in line with this problem is the fact the first two men convicted from the child trafficking stings were convicted late March with only Misdemeanor convictions (after almost 2 years being free on the streets awaiting trial/conviction). Both men are free with barely a slap on the wrist with misdemeanor prostitution hire convictions it appears... which caries no jail time, no sex offender registration, and just some probation it appears. 

Is showing up to a hotel room with skittles, condoms, and cash to sexually violate who he thought was a deaf 14 year old girl fit the conviction received of hiring a prostitute? Essentially these guys had what they thought was a loaded gun to the head of a 14 year old deaf child's innocence and pulled the trigger only to find out the gun was not loaded and there was no child.

Pete Orput, the head of the Washington County Attorney's office said last year that sex trafficking of minors was "the most egregious crime that could be committed" when explaining why Washington County needed our own sex trafficking unit (which he was given). Orput said the ultimate goal was to "find the bastards and pile on

The first men caught in the prostitution stings were handed down their punishments...after they appeared to have made a plea deal. The County prosecutor for the cases states the plea deals are made to avoid costly and lengthy trials. Also to avoid the chance of these offenders being found not guilty. By offering the plea deal on lesser charges they get the guilty verdict. In our opinion that does not seem like justice. Yes resources are limited; but why should that get in the way of the prosecution? Does handing out plea deals like this show the County Attorney is "Finding the bastards and piling on?"

Write our County Commissioners to better fund the County Attorney's Office so they can prosecute to the fullest extent of the;;;;

The other half of the weak punishment coin is MN sentencing guidelines and MN law. We found this out last year when law makers followed our request to DOUBLE the punishment for Child Trafficking from 10 years/ $20,000 to 20 years/ $40,000. We found the effort was a waste because sentencing guidelines force judges to hand out basically 2 years probation and a $50 fine see the dozen+ examples: 
From Kare11: “We know of no other state in the union with sentencing as weak as Minnesota’s for child sexual exploitation.” 
Report: MN weak on protecting children from exploitation

Write legislators to find ways to increase the penalties for child predators like this. 

Michael Tallman
He arranged to meet who he thought was a 14 year old "deaf" child for sex. Stating he wanted to teach her about sex. 
He brought skittles to the arranged meeting place where he was arrested.
Sentenced on March 2016
CONVICTION: Prostitution Hire 
SENTENCE:  30 days jail and 2 years of probation, $1,000 fine, psychosexual evaluation and treatment, and no contact with minors.
County says computer
down. No photo of O'Boyle
He arranged to meet who he thought were two girls in a hotel room who were 14 and 15 
years old and the price for a half hour was $80 and $125 for the full hour. 
Sentenced on March 2016
CONVICTION: Prostitution - Hire             
SENTENCE: 30 days in jail, $1,000 fine, 2 years of probation, and take all medications as prescribed. 

Also see:

Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

*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, March 23, 2016

Representative Fenton's Bill to Give Washington County Final Say Over it's City's Economic Development

Latest on Representative Fenton: 

Update: The bill passed

Cities of Washington County can look forward to being trampled by the County if they think their city shouldn't do as the County wishes. 

"city" means county and "city council" means county board."these 9 words are in HF2820 / SF2520 that's currently backed by every legislator in Washington County to change the 233 pages that make up "Minnesota Statute, section 469: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT".

The authors of the bill Representative Kelly Fenton (R) district 53B and Senator Katie Sieben (D) district 54 did a great job presenting this as an innocent jobs promotion bill to update existing law. It flew through the House committee early March and it wasn't until March 18th did we realize this bill most likely has an underlying motive besides it's superficial claims.

On the surface HF2820 / SF2520 appears to be as the legislators claim. A bill that is "Reforming and Streamlining County Government" by granting "economic development" power to the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). It initially appears to be a good idea... why not let the County get involved with Economic development? However, we read the entire proposal and the original law... Nothing in the proposed changes to the law indicates this is anything but encroaching on cities.

"Economic development" as it's written in the law is currently granted to cities (469.091). Cities have the final say to bring in outside help (such as a county) (469.094). In fact, the current law explicitly protects cities with their own economic development power from an over reaching county:
"Any county that has granted economic development powers to a community development agency or a county housing and redevelopment authority under any of these provisions may not form a county economic development authority or grant a housing and redevelopment authority the powers specified in subdivision 4, clause (2)." (emphasis added)

Think... if this bill was such a great idea than: 
1.) Why is it only for Washington County?
2.) Why is it at this time? (two months after Lake Elmo kicks the Gateway Corridor out)
3.) Why hasn't it been done for any of the 87 counties in the 158 years that the MN legislature has been meeting? (1857 was the first convention)

It's clearly a plan to at the least duplicate the economic power city's have and as our first sentence points out it supplants it with the County. Republicans are supposed to be the party of eliminating red tape, duplicate services, and cutting taxes. So we sent this email on March 18th and received no response from legislators: "Every Republican Legislator in WC, what's with growing government with HF2820/SF2520?!Steve Ellenwood, who announced he's is going to run against Fenton for abandoning her conservative base, responded: 
"I stand with you. Stop, we've had enough government intervention into our lives and pocket books!"

On Monday March 21st we testified for the Senate Committee on State and Local Government against the bill. My testimony had four reasons to not pass HF2820 / SF2520 through:
1.) It duplicates the power cities have to manage their own "economic development." At worst, city and county economic development powers may not agree and the conflict could end in the city being trampled. ie: if Washington County wanted to force them to accept high density housing or a transit corridor they just kicked out.
2.) Cities and to a greater extent: the private sector free market, is the best at identifying and providing economic development to a property (ie: store placement)
3.) Having followed every Washington County board meeting for the last 3 years I'm familiar with the workings of the HRA. The HRA board in WC is stacked with un-elected ideologues with no qualifications, perhaps good intentions, and the power over millions of tax dollars. Often the person appointed to the position for a given area by the County board is the only person to volunteer. With HF2820 / SF2520 they want to give this unaccountable board "Economic Development" power?!!!! yeah they have to get their budgets approved by the County Board... Mind you, this is the same county board that's tripled the county debt in the period of 8 years (and we're adding another 20 million this year):County Debt Tripled in the Last Seven Years, the Board Undeterred: Budget Passes
4.) Government "Economic development" if that's not essentially the power to redistribute wealth and pick winners and losers, we don't know what is... it's one thing to give local governments the "Housing and Redevelopment" power which is essentially subsidizing high density housing and empowering them to prepare blighted land for development... but it's a huge stretch to start granting counties economic development power to ... even for democrats. At least with cities that exceed the ability for businesses to survive the business can move the next city over, keep their employees, and survive.

Representative Fenton emailed back this response denying any ulterior motivation.... Yet she also happens to be the author of HF1617 to fund the Gateway Corridor that was just kicked out of Lake Elmo. It's not a stretch to claim that she needs this bill to give Washington County the power to tell Lake Elmo what's best for them.

Although Fenton is correct about the HRA maintaining their current power that's about the only thing she's correct on in her response. You will notice she doesn't back any of her statements with quotes from the law change proposal that is HF2820 / SF2520 or in the 233 page law it proposes to change: "Minnesota Statute, section 469: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT"

The rest of Fenton's statements are a mix of semantics with misinformation. Laughable is the comment about how she believes the private sector is what drives the economy since this bill gives the government more power to manipulate the private sector (through the HRA) and what the free market could do with property if the government could just leave well enough alone... 

Just ask Cottage Grove: 
They go through more big box stores than a teenager on black Friday. But that's their freedom, they elect city councilors that like to micro manage. In turn they attract businesses to their high tax, high red tape, area the only way they know how: By offering up short term candy with their economic development power (EDA)... only to watch them eventually flee: Home Depot, Famous Dave's, Rainbow Foods, the drive in movie theater (on and on)... Not mention the Epic failure their business center is:

But if Cottage Grove wants to have a $16 million dollar city hall, pay for a city run Golf Course, pay millions for a YMCA even though south Woodbury has one 5 minutes away... then they can keep reap the consequences of their strategy to bait stores to build there... while they keep leaving when the favoritism expires. 

Point is: Don't mess with the will of the citizens of Cottage Grove (or Lake Elmo, that is the opposite in that they keep things small town)

Fenton says "The proposed will compliment municipal economic development and not impede it." Compliment municipal power is an assumption... Sure a city and the county could have mutual goals to bring "fortune 500 companies" in. However, that's not true for cities like Lake Elmo who denied Cabella's their request to build there (so they went to woodbury).  Again, it's a tinder box for the County board to say their economic development ideas are better that a city like Cottage Grove or Lake Elmo's EDA wants.

another example:
Washington County offered an elderly 80+ year old man just $423,500 for his historic farmstead in prime Lake Elmo location. He refused so the County took him to court and took his land from him behind the City of Lake Elmo's back: 

There isn't a need to change the law to allow the County to help a city prosper. 
The County Just created their own EDA in 2015 in preparation for this. There was no need to do this and it cost tax payers $210,000. More in the years to come:

Washington County is working very closely with Afton on their Main Street road project. Tailoring parking spaces, lighting, and everything to the individual needs of each block... they don't need a law to cooperate or advocate for the city. OR when it came to Washington County who helped Lake Elmo get the trucking company Valley Cartage lured in with a tax abatement deal (because taxes in St. Croix Wi are way lower)... the county didn't need Economic Development power to help:

Fenton says it "will NOT duplicate or replace work of cities and other public agencies." HF 2820 completely duplicates the cities economic development power! That's the whole point of the law.

Don't take my word for it, here's the proof in HF2820 / SF2520:
They change the language of the law to specifically undermine cities in Section 1 of the law change!:
"For purposes of applying Minnesota Statutes, sections 469.090 to 
469.1081, to Washington County, notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 469.090, 
subdivision 3, "city" means county and "city council" means county board." (emphasis added) It appears: Good bye "city" and "city council"!

Still don't believe me... here's how they change section 2 of the law:
"Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority 

Community Development Agency includes all of the area within the territorial boundaries 
of the county and includes the areas within the boundaries of every city in the county 
and the 
area areas of operation of city housing and redevelopment authorities 
and city economic development authorities 
in the county..." (emphasis added)... no language to say the cities have the last word.

Perhaps it's still not clear... Section 2a changes:
"Washington County Community Development Agency shall act and have exclusive jurisdiction for economic 
development, housing, or redevelopment duties in the statutory or home rule charter city or township" (emphasis added) if that doesn't say 'we own you cities' we don't know what else can convince you.

There's one tidbit to potentially give cities power and that's the final rule change... BUT... it's limited to "projects" so a great way to screw a city is to say it's not an economic development project... it's a transit project (pick your label). ie: foreign truck manufactures get around the truck import tax by shipping trucks in without their truck beds attached and claim they're not technically trucks. Political Semantics: Section 3 subdivision 2 
"the project must be authorized by resolution of the governing body of the statutory or home rule charter 
city or township with respect to each identified parcel of property" ... but remember the first change in the language of the law ""city" means county and "city council" means county board." So with clever quoting Fenton, and supporters, can claim that cities keep their rights while conveniently failing to mention that the law essentially erases the power of the city council by supplanting the County over City's rights. 

Lastly, and most importantly: 
She says "This bill follows the same process taken by CDAs established in Dakota, Scott, and Carver counties." Funny, because none of the 87 counties in MN find the need to change the law"Minnesota Statute, section 469: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTYes, we read all 233 pages of current law and nowhere in the law does it say anything about other counties getting special economic development power. In fact if you search for these other Counties their names don't even appear in all 233 pages of the law! 

Yes they can trample City rights with the proposal via the current law and it's VERY easy:

"No county authority shall transact any business or exercise any powers until the governing body of the county, by resolution, finds that there is need for a county authority to function in the county. The governing body shall consider the need for a county authority to function (1) on the governing body's own motion or (2) upon the filing of a petition signed by 25 qualified voters of the county asserting that there is need for a county authority to function in the county and requesting that the governing body so declare. The governing body shall adopt a resolution declaring that there is need for a county authority to function in the county if it makes the findings required in section 469.003, subdivision 1."

ie: the county can simply create a "motion" (a vote) and find 25 voters (might as well be zero) and simply decide what's best for any given city in WC.

The fact is this law does not need to be changed to do the things Fenton claims it will do for cities. Current law gives Counties all the power and freedom to work with cities that they need. The word "county" is mentioned 540 times in the law! Yet city is mentioned 1,370 times in the law... this points to the fact that the law should remain as is. That cities know what's best for themselves and Counties are not prevented from helping them. 

Why undo literally everything with these words 9 words in HF2820 / SF2520""city" means county and "city council" means county board."?

All the cities need to wake up to the motivation that is behind this law. HF2820 / SF2520 is an insult to every city, township, and municipality in Washington County and to the tax payers and voters of the cities.

Please tell you legislator to take their names off the bill:
Find out who your legislator is here:

Surprise, surprise... still a month after 
Lake Elmo Kicks the Gateway Corridor 

out the Corridor planners are reporting to the county board they're still planning to roll through Lake Elmo.  No mention
of the boot they got the month prior.

How good it will be to have Fenton's Bill to tell Lake Elmo what's best for them?