Town Meetings in Town Square: St. Paul Candidate Debates, Part 1 - Council Wards 2 and 5

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St. Paul city council debates, live from Town Square, sponsored by St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. Ward 2 candidates are incumbent Jim Scheibel and challenger Sharon Anderson Ward 5 candidates are incumbent Hugo Masanz and challenger Janice Rettman Panelists for debate are Jon Grunseth, vice president for public affairs at Economics Laboratory; Kathleen McLaughlin, executive director of the National Association of Women Business Owners; and Al Classman, certified public accountant with the firm Boyum and Barenscheer. Wy Spano, of Wyman Spano Public Affairs, moderates.

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(00:00:00) This is the listener supported news and information service of Minnesota Public Radio. Ksjn Minneapolis. St. Paul at 1330 on your dial time is 12:00 noon from Minnesota Public Radio. Good afternoon, this live broadcast of the st. Paul city council debates from Town Square is brought to you with the financial assistance of the McNeely Foundation. This is Li X tall and in just a few moments. We'll bring you a debate between the candidates for st. Paul city. Council Wards two and five. This is the first in a series of debates this week on ksjn am sponsored by the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce City Council candidates will debate through mid week during the noon hour at Town Square School Board candidates the remainder of the week then a week from today during the noon hour the mayoral debate between incumbent George Latimer and Challenger Russell bovie. Ksjn, am will carry all of these debates live from noon to 1. Welcome to town meetings in (00:01:04) Town Square sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. My name is Larry cold and I've been serving as the town (00:01:11) meetings and Town Square steering committee chairman. Today is the first in a series aimed at increasing the community's awareness of the issues in the st. Paul local government elections, which will be held on Tuesday November 8th. Today. We are featuring the city council races in Wards 2 and 5. (00:01:30) And now I'd like to introduce today's moderator why spinal who is president of why Spano public (00:01:35) affairs? Thank you, Larry. And thanks to everybody for coming today to the Town Square Park. Today as you can see, we have panelists and candidates. The panelists represent the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and the candidates are running for st. Paul City Council in Wards 2 and 5. Now the panelists will be asking both survey and Ward specific kinds of questions on a survey question and I'll decide which those are candidates will all have up to a minute and a half each to answer. Appropriately enough Sue counter from the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is our counter and she is the one who will determine when the time is up for the candidates answering the questions. She has a card that says 15 seconds and one that says stop. If you don't stop at that point, then I get angry. On a ward specific question or a question directed to a specific candidate that candidates opponent will have 30 seconds to rebut. People in the audience are encouraged to provide us with additional questions besides those asked by our panelists. There should have been sheets of paper on your seats underneath the programs. And if you have a question, please get it down here to Larry Cole. And he'll provide it to me so we can ask it. Before we start with the introduction of the candidates and panelists st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. And and I too want to thank Minnesota Public Radio for continuing its truly excellent tradition of providing important public affairs information to Twin City residents by airing these discussions on its AM station. And now for the candidates from Ward 2 and for those of you who don't know the second word includes downtown st. Paul. I think we're in Ward 2 right now West Seventh Street and that portion of st. Paul across the river from downtown. The candidates for more to our Sharon. Scarrella Anderson, who is the Challenger? She's in a homemaker and entrepreneur. A graduate of st. Paul Central in 1956 is Anderson says that she is in independent Republican by acclamation and is seeking an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. Jim schaible is the incumbent city councilman. He is now completing his first term on the city council and mr. Schaible holds a bachelor's degree from st. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. from The Fifth Ward Which is the North and central part of the city, including Como Park and portions of Como Avenue and Rice Street. We have again two candidates. The Challenger is Janice rettman. His rapmon is the director of the city housing information office for the city of st. Paul. And Hugo massan's who was the incumbent councilman. Mr. Massan's is employed by us betting he's a graduate of mechanic arts and is endorsed by the dfl st. Paul trades and labor assembly and a number of other organizations. And finally our panelists for today. Our three on the right John grunts Seth who's vice president for public affairs at economics laboratory in st. Paul in the middle Kathy McLaughlin executive director of the National Association of women business owners in Minnesota. And on the left as I'm looking at them Al classmen a certified public accountant with the firm of William and Barren sure and happily we can now have me stop talking and get to the panelists John. Do you want to begin you very much why it's a pleasure to be here this afternoon. (00:05:59) I have a general broad philosophical question a councilman or woman is often viewed as an ombudsman or a citizen representative on many local work issues such as street cleaning trash removal and Street repair yet for all these things to happen a city must have a strong indeed growing tax base and for this to happen the city like st. Paul needs to attract and keep businesses and individuals who pay Just to maintain the meat the needed services and help the less fortunate. Would you please outline for our audience how you would in a policy sense ensure that st. Paul's tax base will grow in other words specifically, what will you do to keep and attract individuals and and business to st. Paul? (00:06:41) Okay, I you heard the question. It relates to the growth of st. Paul's tax base. Why don't we start the same way? We're doing the panelist on the far right and that would be in the Fifth Ward with Janice rettman. (00:06:56) Thank you. I believe that when it comes to attracting and keeping businesses in city of st. Paul. It is the same as keeping and attracting citizens who live in the citizen at city of st. Paul. When we talk of businesses, we need businesses that will employ people and we need a tech space that is strong to care for those who are less fortunate as a policymaker. What would I do? First of all, I would make use of the citizen participation groups to listen to how they would like. To keep businesses on the Rice Street area in the Como Park area in the pain Phelan area. Secondly, I would listen to the downtown groups and to listen to the citizens of st. Paul as a whole on how they want to proceed. Secondly basically thirdly is when we talk of what we're doing in downtown and we can see we're in a lovely lovely building is sooner or later we have to pay for it and attacks is still a tax regardless of if you call it an assessment or whatever. I think I would be honest enough with people to say we're going to have to pay for the quality of life that we afford. I would also like to say that I would love to look at making sure the suburbs pay for part of what we are doing in st. Paul. (00:08:37) Thank you next to go Ms. (00:08:39) Signs. We all realize that the city is saying Paul is in trouble as far as their taxes are concerned and it seems to me that more and more every day. The homeowners are being taxed to the point where they can no longer afford to live in their homes. I have always done. My idea was to tax the people on their ability to pay not just because they're a homeowner. I know in the past year the city of council has voted to cut the assessments the street assessments 25% which I think is a step in the right direction. However, I do hope that in the future the city can eliminate Street assessments all together. We have been looking at other sources of taxes such as Metropolitan or Citywide payroll tax. We have also been looking at a wheelage tax. However, we all know that either one of them taxes has to be approved by the state legislature. Other than that, I don't know how else we can go without going to the state legislature. I believe that that any other tax, but assessment or real estate tax would be much better than what we have (00:10:08) now. Thank you. Moving to the second word. Remember now the question concerns the growth of the tax base and keeping business in St. Paul's Sharon Anderson. (00:10:17) It's exciting to be here and I'm proud that everybody is here and my issues are death and taxes. I live at 10:58 Summit ten years ago. I bought that house for thirty seven nine. I'm being taxed right out of it. I can no longer afford to live in st. Paul. I'm paying almost $3,000 taxes each and every one of you should be where I'm here right now. If you care if you care about your neighbor or whatever. I say reduce the property taxes. I'm exposing District heating development company a private charitable nonprofit corporate structure. Let the nonprofit companies pay their fair share and give the homeowner relief. (00:11:03) Thank you. And finally Jim travel. (00:11:06) First of all, I think companies will continue to locate here and stay here just because of the quality of life. If you look just from this building. We do have a healthy environment. I think we need to keep that up. How do we do it? We need to maintain the high quality of life. We have good religious institutions. We have good educational institutions. We've got to make sure they're part of our community. We have an artistic Community. We have to keep them here in st. Paul but the answer is watching taxes this last few weeks ago. We passed the city budget most people will receive a reduction in the property taxes. They will be paying we have to continue to provide the services people want and always be aware that tax that people are being have reached the limit on taxes. We do that by looking at Revenue centers continuing to explore that concept. We need to continue to work with the state legislature to make sure we get our fair share of state aid. We need to work jointly. With the with the county and the school board in the Metro Council all these people are part of the tax base. We have to work with them to keep the taxes down and I think a key key is looking at our Personnel system. That's where most of the city costs are. And that's where we need. I think a major reform to look at who's doing the work. How much are we paying in health for health insurance? How do we control that? I think we're headed in the right direction. We just have to keep on that (00:12:27) course. Thank you. This next question is from Kathy McLaughlin (00:12:32) Kathy. Thank you. Why my question concerns the neighborhoods some people believe that in times like these when budgets are tight individual neighborhoods should have more say over what services are retained and what services are cut presumably their choices would result in different levels of service in different neighborhoods. Do you agree that neighborhoods ought to have more choice? If so, how would you give them more say, would you charge more fees for services assess for services shift to non property tax revenue sources or encourage the formation of more citizen advisory (00:13:03) boards. Okay, the series of questions are really on the role of the citizen participation groups in in the provision of services in st. Paul and it relates a little bit to what Jim schaible talked about in the revenue Center concept Hugo massan's would you like to start? (00:13:22) Yes, what I would would like to say to that that we should look into some kind of Revenue Service Centers such as well. We have them already in the city like tennis courts and a playground softball fields where people have to pay for the services in on the playground, but I would say to that we should listen to The District planning councils to get their idea what they want and what they expect for services. I know if you went to each individual you and ask five different questions, you'd get five different answers as to what they would like to see and in the area. As far as services are concerned. However, I do think that the city should furnish basic services to each one of the districts or the wards in the (00:14:16) city. Janice rettman (00:14:24) Somebody's very long (00:14:25) question. First of all, I do believe in citizen participation. I do believe we already have a way of listening to citizen participation through our district councils. So as far as establishing more citizen participation groups, that should be in that format. Secondly basic services such as up to code housing such as checking out that type of housing such as police and fire such as as basic sewer systems and basic services to all people must be maintained on all in all 17 districts that cannot be deviated at from what can be listened to and what can be looked at by The District councils in my opinion is if you want more and if you're willing to pay for more than maybe there could be some other ways that they could get extra. Benefits from the city but what we have to look at is maybe the Rand study which is the mayor's study of looking at whether or not we have essential versus non-essential Services of whether or not we stay into those types of businesses. We must look at that. I think we cannot make the decision just right here and now in a one and a half minutes pill but rather study it very effectively. (00:15:53) Okay moving to the second ward Jim schaible. (00:15:58) Kathy of people remember all the points you listed. I would answer your question all of the above all the points that you mentioned and I think like most most problems are most situations we need to do all of those things the city council the past two years has strengthened the citizen participation budgets. That's because I believe we realize they are an important part of the city and they can help us make those decisions. What services do people want and how do we best provide them? So I think Need to continue to support the citizen participation. Goal of mine for the next two years if re-elected would be to look at those points at that you that you raised and I think now we've had a year-and-a-half experience with the ward system. I think what the budget we can be we're closer now with neighborhood groups and say what are the recreational programs you want in your neighborhood? They may not be the same from neighborhood to Neighborhood. What level a library service do you want your neighborhood? What kind of Street Maintenance and I think our citizen participation groups and other groups like The League of Women Voters in the chamber have been involved in this city are eager to help us make those decisions and I think we can look towards decentralizing some of the rec programs. We can do that in a fair way we can do that in an equitable way. But I think we can the important thing is again keep taxes down but provide services to people the way they want it in a way in which they are accustomed. (00:17:26) And also from the second word Sharon (00:17:28) Anderson Well, I'm the only one here. Are in the public domain? I'll bear that in mind now when they're making today year and I'm on a fixed income and I'm paying higher taxes each and every one of you should run against schaible or run against me or my sons are rettman. I hope you took a leave today. Okay, we can't afford it anymore. Where am II the budget we went to the city council. We asked for an audit of District heating the council passed it through millions of dollars millions, and that's illegal because District heating is a private utility. Now if we had relief if every citizen I suggest having meetings on Saturday. I suggest the city council have their own newspapers such as a metropolitan Forum you want citizen participation and then none of you answer to the person that comes before you When you do not have response on it by the city council. How can the district councils get any place? A week ago Wilson was kind enough to say how do you feel emotionally? He left politics out of it. He is the only one that was considerate that asked about the health of my husband. I have to point that out now if you don't answer to your constituency, I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat when people are getting assessed you don't pay your assessment on your house three years. Now, they can foreclose if you don't pay your taxes for three years. I'm sorry stop. Anyhow, they can foreclose on you on (00:19:07) taxes. I think that particular one. I'm going to interject a second and say that I'll allow both the schaible Amazons and Redman to comment on the responsiveness of the council to to public input. If you'd care to do that either one of you care to do that. Mr. Shah Jim (00:19:28) schaible. I think the ward system has been good for the city because people know where were their representative. I think I usually don't speak for the other members of the city council, but I think what the ward system one of their highest priorities has been to to respond to constituent calls. I've worked very closely with the for neighborhood. In my in my district regarding District heating I would like to respond to that one way to save money is to look ahead. What is our Energy Future and I believe District heating is going to be a is it a boost to the city it cost a lot of money to see to heat City Hall and other City buildings downtown and I think it's real important. Look he had how are we going to control that cost in the future? And the only tax payers dollar that has been used for district heating is that which is being used to retrofit the city buildings so that we can stay warm and cut the cost ultimately to the taxpayers. (00:20:28) Okay Hugo Amazon's Germany. (00:20:31) Well, I would just like to say f but yet had I known that Sharon's husband was in the hospital or ill yet. Ida certainly asked her how his health was and I might have even sent her a send him a get well card. (00:20:43) Thank you Janice rettman. Do you have any comments on the (00:20:47) The only comment I have is that whether we like it or not. The city council is a policy maker for the whole city. Not just the ward and we must look at what the ward needs are the people of that Ward while still making sure the city moves ahead. (00:21:06) Okay, our next question comes from Al classmen who is as I mentioned a certified public accountant. So one would guess it's going to be about money when I'm at change the tone (00:21:17) of the questioning just a little bit and ask them if people that normally people are recruited to a corporate board of directors in part because of their special perspectives that they bring to that board what perspective perspective do you bring to this governing body of the city of st. Paul? (00:21:34) That's a very interesting question. Why don't we start over on the second ward? Let's see. I think we start with sodium Channel. (00:21:43) Well, my background has been one who's worked with neighborhood groups and also worked with government in the past. I was organized the West Side citizens organization started the West Side boys newspaper and was real active in my community. I've also worked for some nonprofits and being part of a non-profit particularly nowadays. I think it's real important and everybody realizes you have to watch for that dollar goes. I think the perspective I bring to the council and park can be reflected by the committee's in addition to the council work. I do that. I sit on their boards and attend their meetings my list includes the Civic Center the association of Metropolitan mr. Municipalities. I think it's important not only the look what we're doing here in St. Paul, but what are other cities will how our neighbors treating certain problems? I'm a member of the Minneapolis st. Paul housing fund. I sit on the transportation Advisory Board of the Metro Council. I sit on to Target area advisory councils of Ramsey action. Ramps in my neighborhood. I'm on the United Community College Board Landmark Center United Arts Council the st. Paul Coalition for the homeless st. Paul food resources project the Twin Cities Marathon the West Side citizens environment Committee just by staying in touch with those people. I think that a broad range and gives me a good perspective to to address many of the issues facing the city. (00:23:10) Okay, Sharon Anderson. The question is what perspective do you bring that will be valuable to the city of st. Paul? (00:23:17) Okay, if this is nonprofit corporate structure Go to the Secretary of State's office and check District heating because Latimer is the president. He is violating Internal Revenue code title. 26 501 c 3. He's tax exempt. I'll tell you if District heating is a charity in their tax-exempt. My home on Summit is going to be tax exempt and I'll fight it till the day. I die. Like Reverend Schuler says if you have nothing to die for and you're not motivated you have nothing to live for I'm motivated. The motivation is taxed at this I do I'm on a board Rose of Sharon Ministry, but you have separation of church and state the nonprofit corporate structures. You can make 40,000 a year as an administrator the city better start checking out. We're some of the city money goes on these nonprofit corporate structures. Go to your secretary of state check their board check the corporate structure like I do and you tell me where District heating is charitable. And then I probably wouldn't have become a candidate if shy book and sit on so many boards. When does he have time to answer to my problem of taxes? He doesn't you can overextend yourself. You can be involved in too many things and not do justice to the one area. My motivation is to balance the darn budget and Saint Paul give relief to those on fixed incomes. You're not doing it. None of you counsel. People are answering to the individual homeowner. (00:24:53) You're going to since (00:24:55) I've been a resident of Ward 5 all my life for 58 years. I've been a member of my local union for 34 years. I've been Financial secretary and treasurer for 17 years and I've also been president of the North End Improvement club for the last 14 years. I've been co-chairman of the Rice Street Festival for the last 14 years. I've served on the board of directors. I was one of The Originators of the district 6 planning Council. I was the first vice president. I helped organize the south of front and also the east of rice treat neighborhood organization and I've been on the board of directors for the North End Health Center for 10 years the North End newspaper for the last eight years and I'm a member of the American Legion North End post dry Street Post VFW, and I have served on quite a few committees over the past 25 to 30 years out in the North End and I think I'm pretty well qualified as to What the needs of the people in my word art? And finally Janice rettman your (00:26:07) perspective that'll help. You serve the council better if you're liked (00:26:10) it. The question is I heard it could. Mean that I could give you a Litany of places I've set or where boards I've said on and things like this and you can read the literature and find that out. What I bring is that I believe that I'm willing to take off my coat and roll up my sleeves and say I care I'm willing to listen and I'm willing to work very hard. I'm willing to get involved and not just be on a committee and be a voting voice. I'm willing to take an active stance when there's an active stance to be taken and take the heat that comes in the kitchen regardless of how hot it gets. I think I read I care. I will not treat anyone differently because they have a dollar or a hundred dollars or thousand dollars or a million dollars. It'll be equal treatment for equal people because all people in the ward all people in this city deserves a council which is listening to the people and who are listening to the needs that are the quiet needs of the little senior citizen that is very hardly living in more than one room in their house because they cannot afford their mortgage anymore or because they can't afford their NSP payments. We don't have any control over in Sp payments, but we can make sure that we don't text her out of her house. (00:27:47) Thank you. We've gone through all three of our panelists one time. Let me just take a moment at this point to remind especially the people who are listening to us on the radio that we are at a town meeting in Town Square Park sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. We have three panelists representing the Commerce today John grunts Seth from who's vice president of public affairs at economics. Laboratory Kathy McLaughlin executive director of the National Association of women business owners in Minnesota and Al classmen, a certified public accountant with the firm of boehm and bear ensure. Our candidates today are from War II and 54 more to James schaible and Sharon. Scrilla Anderson and from Ward 5 Hugo massan's and Janice rettman. Now, let's get back to the panelists and start this time in the Rose between two Thorns Kathy McLaughlin. (00:28:43) Thank you why I have a question concerning concerning civil service. Ninety-seven percent of city employees covered by collective bargaining and agreements. Is it the civil service system redundant unnecessary and costly? (00:28:58) Civil Service, perhaps every city employees favorite subject Miss Anderson, Sharon Anderson will start with you. (00:29:07) Okay. I'm not on civil service, but I can tell. Well before a judge Summers the rap Joanne Hyuna and the 14 persons are bringing it to court after two and a half years. They were fired from their jobs for a reprisal. It is in court today. The newspaper reporters might like to check it out and follow it through I am not a civil service person. All right, I don't even know if tribals ever been on civil service or Hugo are Janice because they do not have to be I asked my husband in the affirmative action. Like when the paramedics had to come and get him could a woman physically lift him. No a woman can be a dispatcher. I believe in equal treatment. We have the Fourteenth Amendment and don't ever forget it due process equal treatment. I'm glad there's been an expose of the nepotism in the courthouse because sometimes people are hired on his provisional. It's not fair to give your relatives a job in this and that with all the unemployment. I don't know how you can stop it. It's been going on in City Hall for a long time. All I can say is to any member of the public out there run against your councilman. Bring your issues get involved get involved. Make sure you vote November 8 and we're on the radio. I want the public to know we have a standing room only crowd here. We have a full house. We have an excellent turnout and I'm proud of everybody for being (00:30:34) here. Jim schaible the question now if you remember relates to if we have Union contracts in the city, why do we need Civil Service? Why can't they be covered? (00:30:47) First we have a civil service system that's worked. Well for many years and and because it's been in place for a long time. There's some good with that and some bad what that the mayor I think has made that his number-one priority if he's re-elected I said before when we're looking at the budget we're looking at tax dollars. We have to look at our Personnel system. It's certainly my highest priority if I'm re-elected during the next two years to address some of the weaknesses right now. We have a blue ribbon committee looking at our Personnel Department. Their first response has been yes, there's some weaknesses but compared to most other cities and states. It's a good system. What we the difficulty is with any with any system. There's some protections there that need to be taken seriously organized labor particularly city workers realize that at times it's been a help for them at other times. It's been a hindrance for them moving from one Department to another and moving up the ladder. Those are the kind of issues. We have to address I see us looking at this over the next two years and some of the reform I think is going to come in five years and maybe 10 years because we're talking about people's jobs people salaries and Performing services, but small things are happening. For example, we put some money in the budget this this for this winter to clear Corners. We're working with some organized labor right now to make sure that one person can go to that corner plow use Drive their The vehicle and finish up with the manual labor see small steps that will help us continue to improve the (00:32:28) system. You wanted (00:32:33) a could I re but Sharon Anderson and (00:32:35) say that the cost to the taxpayer when the city human rights had to get involved in this lawsuit, which is going on today before it. judge $3,000 and I believe the council person should have interceded instead of the city human rights that we pay the bill the taxpayer pays the (00:32:53) bill. Okay, Janice rettman. (00:32:58) I know my opponent it is that this table, but I want to just make one statement. I am a civil servant. I'm on leave right at the moment as far as I'm not working today while I'm here. But I'm proud to be a civil servant and if anyone wants to argue that fact, I think that what we have in the city of st. Paul is we do have a good solid. System of employing people who do care what happens some of the times is that maybe with collective bargaining and with with Personnel revisions and with the slowness of civil service test Etc that often times we lose some of the good people that civil service can recruit. I do think civil service does need to be looked at and continue to be looked at and revised and updated into a 1980s mode rather than the days of yore as far as collective bargaining and unions not being able to cohabit together. I think they can. (00:34:11) And finally from Ward 5 human (00:34:13) Sons. Well, I have to agree with mr. Schaible that we do have a good civil service system here in the city of st. Paul. However, like you said that it has it's good points and it's bad points, and I'm hoping that we can straighten out the civil service system. Like for instant eliminate some of that nepotism that he was talking about and hopefully this Personnel issues task force that has just been started short time ago can eliminate some of the bad points that we have with the civil service system and I see no reason why the civil service system and the collective bargaining can't get along together. (00:34:58) Let me interject a question and it just requires a real quick response. If you could reform the civil service system and maybe we can start with you. Mr. My son's what would you do? You know, there's one or two things and we've read a lot about it recently. What kind of specific thing. Could we (00:35:13) do? All right off hand. I don't know. It's kind of a quick question, but One of the things we have to eliminate some of the nepotism down there. I know there's some departments where there's six and seven relatives that are working part-time in the summertime for $12 an hour. And it's things like that that we have to get rid of maybe higher the the Personnel whether it be a through testing or some other method, but we have to eliminate the idea of nepotism because there's too many people that are that are being hired by the city who happen to be relatives and other people that are better qualified can sit by the wayside and have no chance at all of getting a job Janice rettman. (00:36:07) Would I change number one? I'm an administrator. I've been an administrator of the housing information office for seven years when you put a requisition in for a city staff person. It may take days months and years to get That person on board that's what I would change at speed it up and keep the testing to a minimum and make sure that minimum qualifications are in that test to make sure there's equal accessing of all people who want to participate in City Staffing (00:36:38) Sharon Anderson from the second word. (00:36:41) I don't know what I reading in the papers. It's I really don't know how you handle this type of thing. But I believe if you eliminate at least families working in the same department for instance. She doesn't work there anymore. But the city attorney's wife Joanne McGovern star was in the mirrors complaint department that was a conflict of interest at that time. Okay, we brought it to the attention of the Council on this and that and subsequently. She's in cooking at McGovern's, huh? Too many things are well too many things you if just one member of the family on my brother works for the city for 20 years, but he got it legitimately college-educated took a civil service test, but I believe if you eliminate the nepotism in the courthouse have just one member in the one Department in the housing department. We got the boat tail family. We got Charlie Timothy Genie Charlie all in the same Department in the housing department. That's not Equitable give it to some man. That's a feeding a family that's unemployed. (00:37:48) I think Janice rettman wants it known that she doesn't employ (00:37:51) those that's housing and building code. That's not housing information. Sorry. I shouldn't (00:37:57) Jim schaible (00:37:58) since his non-commercial radio. I won't plug in eating establishments, but I do think we the key thing I think is we need flexibility within the system and and that hat when there's not flexibility. We have a system as Janice said that takes a long long time and other and one things take a long time other things begin to happen people getting jobs to maybe shouldn't have and I think we have to look at our testing our selection process. And how do we encourage city workers to make a career out of the city and feel that the city is their workplace and they have something at stake in it. (00:38:33) Okay back to the panelists sale classmen. Yes. I'd like to direct my (00:38:36) next question relating to the city district councils. The citizen participation in city government is nurtured and supported by the 17 City District council's many times business complains that some of these tax supported councils are notorious for opposing business and Commercial development, which could mean jobs and economic Vitality to same Paul. Is there a legitimate business concern here? And what would you do (00:38:59) about it? Let's start in the Fifth Ward Janice rettman. (00:39:06) First of all, I'm the chairperson of District. Nkomo Community Council and very proud of it. Secondly. I have attended almost all of the District 17 business meetings and in very proud of those As in response to your question are they legitimate concerns? Yes, they're legitimate concerns, but I do think there are talking concerns. I believe that citizen participation obviously sometimes goes towards citizen needs whether or not a street gets paved whether or not curbs get in and whether or not their taxes are going to go up in building a place like Town Square, but I believe that if on the other hand businesses are often the ones who receive the benefits here and now but they end up paying down the future. The communication line has to be established and has to be maintained and even you know made better to make sure that citizens understand that a growing downtown st. Paul or growing businesses do help the the neighborhoods. And that I strong neighborhood will help the downtown get people to come and Shop. The only problem is you might have to do something about parking. I think it'll be (00:40:33) alright. Okay, you're gonna signs the question relates to the some business expressed concern about the district councils. (00:40:41) Well, I think myself that the city counts are the district councils and the business Community as a whole should be able to get along together. I know there's many a times when the businessmen in our area. They have a problem. They should be able to go to the district council. We had it just a few weeks ago where they wanted to build a medical office in parking ramp over in Highland Park. And at one time they were miles and miles apart but after much negotiations, they finally sat down and came to an agreement so that the people in the area they maintenance may not have been fully satisfied. But by the same token the developer Isn't fully satisfied and after much negotiation, they came to an agreement and they're going to get their parking ramp and and and professional offices built there and I hope that everybody is happy and I don't see why it can't be done in in all the other District (00:41:41) councils. Okay, district councils and the business concerned about them Jim schaible. (00:41:50) When I first ran for office two years ago about this point. There's four neighborhoods in the second ward. One of those neighborhoods is downtown. I thought I'm going to be in for some real trouble because we're going to have neighborhoods versus downtown and then what am I going to do my year and a half in the council? I have not had one issue where I felt a conflict between a business or downtown interest in a neighborhood interest. I think that speaks very highly of both our downtown community and our neighborhood councils. They've learned through the years in the process one the work together there have been differences, but I think that's why we make good decisions in this city is because we have difference of opinions voiced and because of a district council system and because we recognize the down town councils and groups like The Chamber of Commerce and listen in the long run differences equal good decisions, and I hope that continues for another two years. But like I said, I think we District councils have become very sophisticated and learning and don't stereotype people and the business people no longer stereotype neighborhood people and that's been a big plus for the city (00:42:57) and finally for more to share in Anderson on District. Council's (00:43:01) I'm not a member of a district. and and I go right to the city work smarter not harder. I'm on Summit Avenue right behind me Grand Avenue A lot of these small business people. They're moving away. Their rents are too high. Their taxes are too high. I don't believe in the neighborhood. I should subsidize all the private businesses downtown for instance in the budget on page 34 fun 36 the Urban Development action Grant seven million dollars of money for the poor people is going for district heating a private utility. I can't afford as a homeowner to subsidize the Private Business by the way, my mother's next-door neighbor. McMahon went bankrupt broke my heart. He's a former city councilman. Shy balls citizen Heritage belly-up nonprofit corporate structure. What are we talking about here? I'm talking about people. I'm talking about you and me and I'm talking about taxes and you better do something about it. Because the quality of life is not that great in Saint Paul anymore and I graduated from Central High School in 1956. And I'm 44 years old and I'm an entrepreneur in my bag is real estate, but I've lost my incentive to invest. The middle class is losing their incentive to work so hard to pay District heating some private utility. Think about it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. (00:44:39) And back to the panel, then John grunts F (00:44:43) qy candidate rettman earlier this afternoon raised the issue of how the suburbs might go about or how we might find a way. Let's say in taxing the suburbs and getting them to pay their fair share for st. Paul Services. I either people that work in downtown (00:45:00) st. Paul but live in suburbs that (00:45:02) don't make a contribution via taxes for the services few years ago, Washington DC imposed a tax special professionals tax on doctors lawyers Dennis CPAs like Al classmen here in order to raise additional Revenue. My question is would these candidates a favor or oppose such a tanks? (00:45:23) Thank heavens. I'm not a professional. I don't have to worry about this Chris. Well as revenues to you started the discussion. So do you want to answer that? (00:45:36) I think it might be worth a look. That's a very provocative question. I believe that there must be some very strong looks at. the fact that many many many of our city services are being used freely by people who live in the suburbs If that is one way to study the situation, I think it might be worth a look. I do not want to rule out any looks at the moment because I truly believe if there is a way to recapture some of that money by the Suburban people and this isn't knocking the suburbs. But if we can recapture some of that then maybe just maybe we can reduce some of the property taxes that of that we now charge people who are very actively living and working here. (00:46:38) Let's jump across words this time Sharon Anderson you any comments on tax to (00:46:44) like-minded people. I'm (00:46:46) sorry, like a liquor license. I believe every lawyer should be charged taxes on his law practice. You know, we'd bring in a lot of Revenue audit their books. I'm delighted that our classmen a certified public accountant, perhaps one day he'd like to do a cost analysis factor of District heating. We went to the city council. We demand an audit we demand an investigation of a non-profit corporate structure, which should be registered by law with the state. It is not now. If you don't have a cost factor analysis in the savings city council didn't come up with it. We demanded it. They didn't come up with it. They should have hired an outside CPA gotten their own cost factor analysis figures don't (00:47:32) lie any comments though on whether we should tax Suburban people (00:47:36) Suburban people. Our City attorney lives out in Maplewood. He's Incorporated with the Tarrytown Condominium Association and other nonprofit corporate structure having to do with housing and my money is going out there if he lives out there tax him higher. He's getting his salary from the city. I believe on the amount of services if they're getting our water tax it on the services rendered. (00:48:04) Okay, you're gonna signs (00:48:06) tell your truth. I forgot what the (00:48:07) question was it related to whether there should be a tax on professionals perhaps or some way of getting money from Suburban people. (00:48:15) I mentioned earlier before that. One of the possibilities would be Metropolitan payroll tax to tax the people that live in the suburbs and work in the city of st. Paul. However, I also stated that it would take an act of the legislature legislature in order to enact a tax of that kind. It's a possibility And maybe the legislature will sit back and think about it in hopes that we can lower the the property taxes (00:48:47) and the gym schaible (00:48:48) right? I think in any text such situation, it's hard to pull out one piece and say that's what we'll do. I think we need to be open to everything and looking at we need to be in contact with the groups that would be affected. We need to stay in close contact contact with our Metropolitan neighbors and we have to work very closely with the state legislature that has a much better handle on the whole taxation picture that's in front of us. I do become real Disturbed recently when some of our Suburban communities are opting out for example of the MTC bus service. I think that's dangerous and if they begin to pull away from certain Services, they don't use I think we need to take a closer. Look at what services is the city providing to this metropolitan area and are they are they paying their fair share? Probably the best. To do that is either at the Metro Council of the state legislature John. Why just as a comment the Washington DC Tax, I described and professionals living outside of the District of Columbia has been declared unconstitutional. So I think you might have to look at other means of getting at the suburbs (00:49:55) that that seemed however to be an agreement amongst amongst the candidates that there is more use of city services by people who live outside the city then they actually pay for that seems all of you were agreeing to that. We've had a number of questions from the audience and perhaps not surprisingly almost all of them related to one particular subject. It's one that everybody loves to talk about and so let's talk about repair and deduct and we'll start with Hugo my son's from The Fifth Ward. (00:50:30) Wow, when the repair and deduct ordinance was brought up at the city council. I voted against it. However a few days before that. I was tending to lean towards the repair and deduct ordinance if they would eliminate some of the minor code violations that were included in there. However, when it did come up before the city council, then minor code violations were still included in there. Therefore I saw fit to vote against it a good example came about two weeks ago when there was a An abatement came through the city council it had to do with the fellow that had a bunch of trash in his backyard and in trash and garbage in his garage. So the summary abatement comes through and who gets the bill for it the landlord the landlord doesn't do I live there. He doesn't he's not responsible for the junk that was in the yard. He gets the bill for a hundred and seventy three dollars. So what happened they said well, why don't you send the bill to the to the tenant he's if I send the bill to the tenant what's going to happen? He's going to get up and move out and leave me holding the bag with a month's rent on top of the hundred and seventy three dollars. So it was for reasons like that that I voted against the repair and deduct ordinance. However, since then it comes out that they did introduce an ordinance just last week to make it mandatory for to let the the tenant pave the gas light and water bills when the landlord refused to pay him or fell behind in him that it was passed by the city council 7 to nothing. (00:52:09) I probably should have mentioned before I ask that question repair and deduct revolves around the issue of tenants having the right to make certain repairs in a home and then deduct the cost of those repairs from their landlord and it will probably be somewhat difficult for the director of the housing information office to restrict yourself to a minute and a half on this subject (00:52:31) Janice why - shall follow the rules. First of all summer you baited abatement is not included in the repair and deduct on either side secondly repair and deduct was away. Is a concept to try and make sure that rental property is kept to safe and decent standards. It is also a way to keep that rental property next door to you somewhere from being in deteriorating deteriorating standards the other night at another debate. My opponent stated that there was a lot of stuff in the ordinance that was there when he still got to the city council chambers. What did he do to make it different? He still voted? No secondly is the senior Federation two weeks before his vote called him and said, how are you going to vote? And he said he was going to vote for it at the time after he voted. No, they sent him a letter and said maybe you speak with forked tongue the district 6 The Rice Street area 45% renters also. Sent him a note saying vote for repairing deduct. Did he listen? No, he voted still (00:53:53) no. Miss you're gonna signs would like rebuttal on that one. First (00:54:02) of all, like I said before I had been leaning towards going with the repair and deduct ordinance if they would have taken all their minor things out of the ordinance when they are ordinance originally came up. The mayor's proposal was for life and health hazardous code violations and that is not what the repair and deduct ordinance spoke to when it came out at the city council. And another thing I might remind Our Miss rettman is the fact that her own District planning Council voted against it originally and then they turned around and change their mind after a certain period of time. Okay (00:54:44) from the second war Jim schaible. (00:54:46) I supported the ordinance. It was a good ordinance. Councilman Wilson in the council had spent over a year on it. There was due process for the landlord's. It was worth a try. (00:54:57) A (00:54:57) lot of renter's in this city all the protections with their it should have passed the first time. I'm glad the second part of it did pass. (00:55:07) And finally share an Anderson repairing (00:55:08) deduct tribal. I have to attack you on this you live at 30 West Baker. You are a renter that property did not pay its fair share of taxes. All right while I'm being taxed out of my house. I had rented to two gays. They tried to burn the house down with me in it. Now that repair and deduct can be used as malicious type of reprisal when you get involved in politics, it gets damn dirty, but I will never stop I don't care what they do to me. They're trying to say a building I own is condemned and they do not come up with a condemnation proceedings Fletcher. I went to you for the past year and a half no response. The repair and deduct is a means to threaten to intimidate. We have the County Health Department. We have all shh with the state Pollution Control the safety Health and Welfare for these people with District heating when they're the asbestos fiber when you get City groups that don't even the inequities. Of what the city is doing know I would know against repair and deduct you have unlawful detainers you have other methods in the court. It's not necessary. We have the 14th Amendment what's happened to our constitution? We don't have a constitution anymore. If each and every one of you doesn't start standing up for your rights and start learning and start getting involved. We're going to have Bureau rats. And I'm not paying for it. (00:56:46) Okay, finally, let me we have a just a couple minutes. I'd like to go down and in the 30 second mode have each of you. Tell me what you feel and tell the audience what you feel is going to be the most important issue to your voters in your ward this coming time. And I know that's a difficult question because you can have to prioritize but what's really going to mean the most to them within 30 seconds Jim Shadow will start (00:57:10) at the end. I don't think there's one answer. I think it's the quality of life and making sure people can live within the city. I think that includes economic support. We as a city we have to have support for the spirit. We have to have physical wellbeing for people the city has to have a social Consciousness and we need opportunities for intellectual growth and access to information. I think you can't have one thing you have to have all those things and treat them equally Karen Anderson. (00:57:43) Okay War to a such a diverse area. We've got the Westside. All right. We have too much police aggression over there. I'm a victim of it myself the policemen tried to break my arm. I've never been charged with anything what is going on in this town? All right. We have West Seventh Street a few of the your constituents schaible are involved in this lawsuit that's going on today with judge Summers one's a Hispanic. I don't know why the city didn't get involved. It's going to cost $60,000 with the human rights ordinance. Getting involved. Okay, and the district heating I cannot forget that that (00:58:17) is the The thank you you're going to science. (00:58:26) I think one of the big things that we have to do is Revitalize the the small businesses strip in the North End rice treat happened to be the only Commercial Street that I have in my in the North End Dale Street is but that's there's only one block of it that in our Ward. However, I do believe that we have to revitalize that and also to keep the playgrounds and rec centers open and to see if we can't get the police and fire back up to their pre 1981 standards. (00:58:59) Okay, and finally Janice rettman from (00:59:01) the I think the biggest issue is whether or not people are paying their fair share and where they're not they're getting the fair share for what they pay for. For example, if they pay a lot of taxes are they what do they get for that? And those who cannot pay or who are on limited income must have a way to have equal access and To sit a government. I think the biggest issue though comes down to if I'm going to be taxed what am I going to get for that tax dollar whether or not you're a renter or homeowner. You're still paying taxes (00:59:37) on behalf of the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce are very deepest. Thanks to James schaible and Sharon Anderson candidates from the second ward and to Hugo massan's and Janice rettman candidates from The Fifth Ward and to our panelists John grunts Seth from economics. Laboratory Kathy McLaughlin of the National Association of women business owners in Minnesota and out classmen from boy, man, Baron sheer a firm of certified public accountants accountants, and now from Town Square Park in beautiful downtown st. Paul. This is why Spano saying, thank you. This live broadcast of the st. Paul city council debates was brought to you with a financial assistance of the McNeely Foundation join us tomorrow for further city council debates between candidates in Wards 14 and 7 remote engineer for this broadcast was Fred wasser with assistance from Tad Gorn float Studio engineer Roger Jamal midday production by Bill where Mandan Olson today's broadcast of midday was made possible by the Pillsbury company on behalf of American beauty products. The st. Paul city election debate series is sponsored by the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce. I'm Lee asked all thank you for joining us from Town Square.


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