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there has been considerable concern about highhanded citizen-ignoring city of edina actions by some staff and council members with respect to various projects.
it shows in edina talks discussions, in presentations and writings to city council, in media and other quarters. on this page are two linked stories on $36 million in council damage quietly done to edina public schools future income. if only the public or schools had known would they have objected?
unrevealed last minute ridiculously low reevaluation of the pentagon property, facilitated by city staff, especially the economic development director it appears, just before the tif was passed by a supposed unknowing council was a big factor. resulting in edina public schools now getting a sudden bill to refund $1.2 million out of its budget for taxes already paid!
moreover: allegations, along with documentation from city records obtained by an investigative author and whose draft is published here, that some developers and interested parties have the ear of and have held numerous meetings with council members intentionally set to avoid public scrutiny. that the interests of developers have often been placed above the general wishes of our local residents. that even when considerable public input takes a position [e.g. preserving "the fred" or public only use for grandview property] the staff and council take a we-know-better view.
if asked, edina's city attorney would likely pronounce that most of what was done was "legal" [although there are some legal challenges in progress or pending.]
but the better questions are "is it right?" "is it morally ethical?" is it as "edina-like" as that of the forerunner councils, and staff, that made edina the highly desirable award winning community it is?
while it is pretty standard practice for developers to meet with city officials for discussions, i've done it myself in another city, the sheer extensiveness and planning to avoid the public when the public has been so vocal is, in my opinion, an abomination. if not criminal it ought to be. decisions were discussed and massaged out of public view until the presentations were single channeled and pretty much fait-accompli.
everyone of you ought to not only read the whole 9 page article pdf but examine the 25 pages of the actual emails, city staff virtually copying hillcrest's circumventing meeting setup and what is labeled a public calendar but at the bottom restricted for confidentiality.
so much is being furnished to edina talks/ edina moderates. so many thousands are watching on facebook edina talks, and some commenting or copying. we will continue to pursue public information and discourse.
lastly, opinion: this will not be solved until some big changes are made. a few wise staff members should resign before further onslaught eliminates a future elsewhere. independent authorities ought to look at the apparent deception in the foundation of the tif process and i believe order it reversed. if not i'm sure lawsuits will do so eventually - at great legal cost to the city. at least until any tif is done in the public and school board's eye. perhaps, if any council member is further found to be too close to those they are supposed to regulate on behalf of the people - he/she/they ought to leave and let a special election be held. there were plenty of candidates in the last election just behind the two new members staunton and stewart - both of which new members have not been on board with some of the pre-existing council.
edina is and has been a uniquely successful city because of the participation of a lot of engaged residents, not just the elected. it should stay that way.
click photo for edina talks facebook discussion
provided confidentially to edina talks by a 3rd party
[much provided was obtained by using data requests (freedom of information) they made for city of edina documents, emails, records
article on how edina's tif district for pentagon park gave unprecedented money to developer over 26 years when that money usually goes through the city for projects - and on how the bulk of the money $36,000,000 projected comes out of the budget revenues of edina public schools. without even informing eps that such was being done.