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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Working to foster a positive business climate City Councilman Melvin Carter meets with the Capitol City Business Council

21 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

Hi All,

A little over a week ago I attended a meeting with the Capitol City Business Council.

Over the last 8 to 10 years numerous businessmen have complained about the negative relationship they have experienced in working with city leadership and the Dept. of Safety and Inspections. Some businessmen complained the city was feigning interest or turning a blind eye to citizens concerns.

Landlords and other businessmen have alleged city code enforcement targeted them to put them out of business. Businessmen have complained there isn't equal standards in the Dept. of Safety and Inspections. A rental home or business maybe passed for inspection by one code enforcement inspector and written up by another. Landlords have complained the city's housing codes exceed state and federal housing regulations. Landlords and other businessmen have the impression DSI is a money generator for the city through excessive inspection fees and abatement fees.

Due to failed communications with the city a federal fair housing lawsuit was brought by landlords against the city. The lawsuit has worked it's way to the Supreme court and now it will go onto a jury trial later this year. Failed communication with the landlords who brought this lawsuit against the city has lead to almost 8 years of litigation costing the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation fees. The landlords won a jury trial in the
8Th circuit court of appeals. The city filed a writ of cetori with the Supreme court. Just days before the hearing under pressure from the left the city withdrew the petition. If the lawsuit had been heard by the Supreme court it had the potential to remove disparate impact claims from FHA, in turn this would have lead to the reversal of civil rights gains.

Recently our city council voted against the opening of a business on Grand Ave (The Cupcake), voted down over 2 parking spots. It was reported in local media the city lost 20 to 30 jobs over 2 parking spots. Many bar owners claim they were forced out of business due to the smoking ban. To the city's credit they established an ordinance for outside smoking patios.

City Councilman Melvin Carter graciously met with us to listen to our concerns.His presents was like a beacon of light on a very dark prolonged issue. In my opinion due to pending litigation against the city, Councilman Carter was cautious in his response to city code issues. However, to Melvin's credit he agreed to give the Capitol City Business Council (CCBC) time to come up with proposals to organize a Civilian Review Board. Our esteemed Council President Kathy Lantry has said she would meet with the CCBC in the near future. Over recent months Ricardo Cervantes director of DSI has met with the CCBC. It is suspected many of Mr. Cervantes responses due to the fair housing lawsuits are understandably cautious.

Finally we have a group the CCBC, who will meet with the city to work hand in hand in fostering a positive business climate.

A thanks goes out to

City Councilman Melvin Carter
City Council President Kathy Lantry
CCBC President Eva Ng
CCBC Vice-President Dave Roering
and all the members of the CCBC for hosting these meetings.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I apologise for deleting the comments on this topic. When I first composed the piece I had a headache and was in a hurry for a meeting with a property owner in Saint Paul. I wasn't on top of my game so to speak. I came home and read what I had wrote and I could see I had to edit the thing. It was a mess. Please feel free to re post your comments.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Melvin's credit he agreed to give the Capitol City Business Council (CCBC) time to come up with proposals to organize a Civilian Review Board.

For the second time. This is great news!

Ralph

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so simple. It is what we have had and it worked. The insanity that consumed the city over the past several years hopefully will give way to sense. The review board (which will replace Moermand) needs to be fair, commonsense, and impartial.

Bob G.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally we have a group the CCBC, who will meet with the city to work hand in hand in fostering a positive business climate.

Kudos to the CCBC!

Steve

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the city will replace Marcia with a civilian review board

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expect the city to feign interest that is what they do best

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:54 PM

Have you ever sat in one of Marcia's hearings? It is a total joke.

If you ever get a chance to see the people coming and going from Marcia's office during the day, you will see lots of behind the courtroom deals going on. City inspectors, council aids, council members coming and going.

The hearing officer position was created just for Marcia because of budget cuts. Kathy was one of the city council members who advocated for Marcia for this position. Marcia has had no law training, but she sure acts like she has.

Marcia needs to be replaced with a person who has some actual law knowledge, not cronyism.

3:03 AM  
Anonymous CapitolCibyBizFaceBook said...

Its been 1 yr with no activity at CapitolCitybiz.com
??

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Housing Appeals Board was there before Moermond. My dad was on it for 9 years. He discussed the (Kelley/Dawkins started) inspections situation with his friends, including Glenn Erickson who was in charge of the whole thing for many years.

Some of my Dad's comments included that Moermond was unable to detect when she was being lied to by city officials. He said his board had a construction engineer with experience of many thousands of project (him), a good attorney, and top-notch people from the trades. He said there were a lot of hangers-oners in the inspections department, and you simply could not demand new codes on old buildings because of the nature of construction. He said Glenn Erickson was not at all pleased with what was going on.

Bob G.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob G,

Thank you!

I have appeared before Marcia, and her behavior was shocking. When my case came before the city council she misled them. Both are on tape.

I am shocked at the level of dysfunction that is currently going on. Kathy Lantry is oblivious to what is going on.

It is a shame St. Paul is in the place where they are in now. I have pride in St. Paul and unfortunately the city employees don't.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks 8:38.

I also had an odd experience with moermond. I object to Robert Humphrey's role in her support.

I'm now back on my feet. I went through a rare rheumatological illness I never heard of (much less pronounce) that came out of nowhere and almost killed me. After a lot of hospitalization and convalescence, its now in remission. The autoimmune illnesses are increasing. I think its due to deteriorating quality of food and increasing stresses.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:34 AM

I also had a conversation with Robert Humphrey. He was so protective of his DSI staff that even when I pointed out where they were wrong he then glossed over the issue.

Robert Humphrey is one of the first individuals to be removed from his position, as he is a major part of the problem.

If you get him flustered he will either hang up the phone or use the the line, "I have a Masters Degree, I think I know what I am doing."

That is why a citizen review board is so vital to turning around DSI

The chink in the armor is the council will be in charge of setting up this review board and they will form it in a way that favors the current system and protect DSI staff. Kathy Lantry is already working on an outline for how this citizen review committee should be set up and how members are chosen.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign my 6:34 post.

I think Robert Humphrey brought in Magner and that bunch to my case.

Bob G.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blexc viduc. Oops, that was 8:34. Bob G.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the knowledge, integrity, common sense, and impartiality of people on the citizen review board is critical to its success. Reputation in the construction industry is built over years. I'd be suspect of anything Lantry came up with, due to her reputation. Maybe they can see how they did it before to safeguard the process.

I also think Robert Humphrey should go back to long term unemployment, which is where I understand he came from.

Bob G.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing, the former system was set up by the City Architect.

Construction issues were handled separately, and political issues rarely raised their ugly heads, where they don't belong.

Bob G.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob G,

How or who can I talk to about the old system?

If you don't want to publish the information here please forward it to Bob Johnson. Bob Johnson knows me. I sure would like to have the opportunity sit down with you for coffee (my treat) and put together a framework for this citizen review board. Bob Johnson is a very good guy who has been fighting this DSI fight for a long time now, I know he would be interested also.

I know some in the building inspection (trades) are very frustrated by DSI and Fire and their heavy handed ways.

You used the correct term, common sense. Common sense had left the building and politics and the good old boy network have taken over.

Some in the DSI and Fire (supervisors) feel they now have police powers and to some extent they do. They can issue criminal citations, but they have no law enforcement training, but they sure flash that badge they carry.

If a resident gets under their skin by lets say complaining about their behavior then they will abuse their power by issuing a never ending code compliance list or more recently issue baseless excessive consumption charges and or criminal citations all the while looking the other way for their friends.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Civilian revue board, yah sure!

The city feigns interest.

Ralph

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that I think about it, there also was a realtor. People would apply for variances. What you have to do is set a baseline of reasonableness. The actual codes are meaningless, and would fill a book as thick as several Bibles. No one can possibly enforce all of them, and that is not quality, its stupidity to attempt to do so. Obviously some are critical for structural integrity and safety. That is where deep judgment comes into play.

I also think the best people in the city would have left a long time ago, leaving the bootlicks, sociopaths and ass kissers behind.

I would be willing to discuss it with legitimately concerned people.

Bob G.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob G,

I will contact Bob Johnson and he will have to contact you. I look forward to working with you on this issue.

6:59 AM  

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