Town Meetings in Town Square: St. Paul Candidate Debates, Part 2 - Council Wards 1, 4 and 7

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St. Paul city council debates, live from Town Square, sponsored by St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. Ward 1 candidates: Incumbent Bill Wilson Ward 4 candidates: Incumbent Bob Fletcher and challenger Joanne Ennis Ward 7 candidates: Incumbent Vic Tedesco and challenger Leo Reck Panelists for debate are Anne Ford Nelson, assistant vice president at Commercial State Bank; Jon Grunseth, vice president for public affairs at Economics Laboratory; 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. And st. Paul at 1330 on your AM radio dial time is 12:00 noon. from Minnesota Public Radio Good afternoon, everyone. This is Li x 2 all in st. Paul and this live broadcast of the st. Paul candidate debates is brought to you with a financial assistance of the McNeely Foundation. Today is the second in a series of six debates coming to you from Town Square in st. Paul. And today we'll hear from the council candidates from Ward's 1 4 & 7 these debates are sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and will be broadcast the entire week here on ksjn am as well as next Monday when you will have a chance to hear the mayoral candidates incumbent George Latimer and Challenger Russell bovie. Welcome to town meetings in Town Square sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. My name is Larry Cole and I have been serving as the town meetings in Town Square steering committee chairman. Today is the second in a series aimed at increasing the community's awareness and participation in 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 1 4 & 7 and now I'd like to introduce today's moderator why Spano was president of why Spano public (00:01:35) affairs? (00:01:39) Thank you, Larry and welcome again to the second in the town meetings in Town Square Park panels. As you can see those of you who are here today, we have both panelists and candidates panel is facing me in the candidates here on the right the panelists represent the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. And as Larry mentioned the candidates are seeking st. Paul city council seats in Wards 1 4 & 7 generally the panelists are going to be asking survey sorts of questions questions, which we will ask each of the candidates to respond to On those survey questions, each candidate will have up to a minute and a half to answer. We have a counter Sue counter who will be holding time cards to let you know when your time is drawing to a close. If a question is asked of a candidate that's a very Ward specific kind of question or of a specific candidate. Then that candidates opposite number in that Ward will have a 30-second rebuttal time. Should they choose to use it by the way? None of the candidates are required to use all the time. That's given to them. While the people from the Chamber of Commerce will be providing many of the questions early on we do ask that people in the audience. Right any questions, they would like to have asked and Bill bond from the chamber staff will collect those and we'll try to get them in there will be a final statement from each of the candidates. Before we start one happy note. The chamber wants to thank again, Minnesota Public Radio for its continuing excellence in providing Public Service information to the Twin Cities area by covering this event. Now let's meet the panelists as they're facing me from left to right on the left and Ford Nelson as they say in the banking business and a VP and assistant vice president at Commercial State Bank in st. Paul in the middle. John grunts Seth vice president for public affairs at economics Laboratory. In st. Paul and on the far right Al classmen who's a certified public accountant with the firm of boehm and Barren sure. now finally the candidates and they represent as we indicated Words 1 4 & 7 Ward 1 by the way includes much the summit university area and it happens to be the ward in which I am a new Resident. It's bordered on the North by Pierce Butler on the west by Hamlin on the east by downtown and on the south by Summit Avenue. Ward 4 is in the northwest corner of the city. It's includes a combination of the Como and st. Anthony areas bounded on the south by Summit and st. Clair and on the east by Hamlin and Ward 7 is in the Southeast corner of the city on the east side boarded. on the North by Minnehaha The candidates from those Wards. There are two candidates actually in Ward one. But only one chose to participate in this event today. He is Bill Wilson the incumbent who is seeking his second term. Mr. Wilson has a ba and Ma from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. from the fourth ward We have two candidates. The first is on your far right is Joanne Enos? She is employed as an advocate at a battered women's shelter. She's endorsed by the dfl the trades and labor assembly and a number of other groups. Next to her is Bob Fletcher, who was the incumbent city councilman serving his first term. and the 7th Ward the person who I believe has been on the city council longer than anybody is on your right. His name is Vic Tedesco. He has served since 1966 and he is endorsed by the dfl the AFL-CIO and some other organizations and on your far left Leo wreck who lists his occupation as a part-time pastor and realtor and he's the endorsed by the independent Republican party. So those are the players for today's. Events and will begin the questioning with an (00:06:19) Nelson. City employee health care costs are skyrocketing. What do you intend to do about (00:06:26) it? Healthcare costs in the city. Why don't we start with Bill Wilson and we'll go down the wards the first time and then jump around to keep everybody off balance Bill Wilson. (00:06:39) The city of st. Paul is not like unlike any other employer who is subject to the continued seemingly unknown restrained increase in the cost of goods and services and healthcare costs being one of those those costs are in effect external to the to the city's immediate control. But there are a number of things that can be done by any employer to essentially reduce. The health care costs. One is to ensure that there is a good solid program of employee or programs to ensure that employees do in fact Are in fact the I'm sorry. I'm could you repeat the question again? I'm sorry. We're talking controlling Health right health insurance and health care costs and what you intend to do about controlling the report of the health care cost problem is he workers compensation costs? We should ensure that that employees are not subject to working conditions that would cause them injury, but at the same time we should ensure that employees work. A fool work day that employees are not taking unfair advantage of the health program. We have determined that the health coverage provided by the city. The group health coverage is a good a good program. But basically the cost those costs are external to the to the city itself and cost of healthcare. (00:08:50) Next from the fourth. Ward. Robert (00:08:52) Fletcher. The city is taking a essentially two steps to address the issue of Health Care. The first is put together a group of employee Representatives. And City representatives to address the bargaining aspect as you know, the health coverage is contained in the contract with each of the Union's if we're going to really address it. It's going to have to be somewhat through negotiations during this last round of contract settlements many of the unions are now picking up for percentage cost of the health coverage. And as you know, there are three or four different Health Plans by the employees picking up a portion of that cost it provides more incentive for them to go to a cheaper plan one that's cheaper for the employees and one that's also cheaper for the city. There's a group health plan and then there's hmos and Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Cross Blue Shield being the most expensive. In addition to providing that incentive through negotiations. We also have to work with the health coverage Underwriters themselves. And so we can put together plans that are a little cheaper and we're seeing a movement in that direction toward more group plans at a little bit of a reduced cost. (00:10:17) And next from the 4th Ward Johanna Enos. (00:10:20) I see that the healthcare is really Rising really high and I think that the people that mostly are affected by the high costs of the health care our senior citizens and our single head of households. I think that we need to negotiate with within the city a health care policy that meets all of the needs of the people that work within the city. We have health care programs. You might be able to receive if you are employed by the city and then pay an extra cost. If you have children, sometimes the health care does not cover dental. Sometimes it does not cover orthodontist and single parents cannot afford to have that done. I think through renegotiation. We can come to a solution where it will best meet the employers of the city of st. Paul. (00:11:11) I'm the Seventh Ward Vic Tedesco. (00:11:14) Health costs are negotiated through Union negotiations. And most of the costs are determined by the outcome of those negotiations recently. The city has expanded the number of health plans and employee can participate on and I for one have switched from Blue Cross to Med Center and saving 51 dollars a month. So if employees will switch to companies that cost less a lot of money can be saved. Thank you (00:11:49) and finally from the Seventh Ward, Leo wreck. we need to recognize that there are limits as to what a city can do much of the costs and this kind of a program are determined elsewhere by those who (00:12:01) provide the the health coverage (00:12:03) perhaps legislature might be able to help out in this area or also by shopping around for one plan that may be more economical than another in addition to that however there are some things that can be done we can see that city employees get fair but not excessive coverage sometimes in the negotiation process we find that one benefit is added on to another and that city employees get a far greater benefit than those in the in Private Industry and in addition to that I would like to see is promote some Wellness programs so that we would encourage promoting good health on the part of all city employees so that we have more people are fewer people who would be Seeing the benefits that are provided for them and seeing the benefits of maintaining good health. Okay for the second question John grunts at thank you. Why and it's a pleasure to be here in recent months the issue of pornography and st. Paul has been in the news in a rather substantial Manner and I'd like to hear from each candidate how they propose to deal with the issue and the problems of pornography and st. Paul in a constitutional matter and in a practical manner. Pornography, I as a sidelight. I had read some about my own ward in the area around Dale and University. So I stopped over there one day and I found out it's a problem Bill Wilson. I think we'll start with you again since that is your area and one of the more (00:13:49) publicized that's the leadoff question I needed. Well, the issue of pornography is one is plagued our city. What the city is Constance recently done in response to the demands of Neighbors in the immediate Dale Selby Dale University area is to come up with a zoning ordinance that essentially combats the problem of clustering of adult-only facilities and the zoning ordinance, which prior to this was silent on that question allows that adult facility can not be located within 200 feet of a residential property and within thirteen hundred and twenty feet of each facility. Essentially what that does is cuts down on the clustering. We further found that there are other areas that have to be examined. The Supreme Court has answered responded to the question the Constitutional question of what can be done with pornography. It allows that local Boards of sensors aboard the review can be appointed to essentially determine what constitutes pornographic material pornography by definition is illegal while by court court Stannis is illegal so such a board could review and determine what constitutes pornography that board's decision is appealable then to a court that essentially reverses the process whereby one has to wait till the end to determine what constitutes pornography over the Long Haul. I think that'll reduce the pornographic establishments in our (00:15:30) city. Let's go to the Seventh Ward then Leo wreck. We need to recognize that pornographic institutions so-called adult facilities are not only a blight on the community, but they represent a very real and present social danger. We need first of all to have rigorous enforcement of the existing statutes. There is at least one establishment. I know over in Ward 7 that is more or less tolerated in a quiet way. I would like to see more rigorous enforcement of the statutes pertaining to that institution the attempt for dispersal and limitation is good the ordinance that was just a enacted in my opinion does not go far enough. (00:16:14) However, I think that the real answer for (00:16:17) this is that we need to try to (00:16:19) pursue (00:16:21) the whole concept of community standards, which has been endorsed by the Supreme Court. We usually see Community standards coming into play (00:16:32) after the effect after the (00:16:34) Act but what we need to do is to try to establish more Community standards so that we can be for the fact determine which kinds of activities and businesses are acceptable or not acceptable. Let's have some initiative on the part of the city not just reacting and responding to the institutions that are out there. And Vic Tedesco from the 7th (00:16:55) Ward. As a member of the city council Ivan been involved in some decisions regarding pornographic establishments in our city. I have always voted against the establishment stablishment of this kind to find the next day. I'm involved in a lawsuit and the last case I was to be sued individually. Not the city paying my laufey's I'm paying my own fees, and I asked the neighborhood if they would underwrite part of the consoles cost and we would underwrite some of her own costs. It would have cost me $1,100 if I had went to court. I chose to change my vote and adhere to the lawyers that were fighting to establish specifically to flick theater. I don't like to see the flick theater if I had my way it wouldn't be there. But apparently I don't have my way the court has its way. (00:18:05) And from the fourth floor Joanne Enos, (00:18:08) I really believe that we need to abolish any kind of pornography in the city as a council person whether or not I get sued. I'm here to protect the citizens of the city exploitation in that form. We should not have in our neighborhoods. We should not have in our community. I support the ordinance that was passed the amendment. To shut down or if pornography store was in your corner. If on your corner for burnt down it wouldn't be able to be rebuilt. I support that I need I believe that we need to go one step further though in prevention. We know who's going to move in. We know when that's going to happen. We as Community residents as concerned neighbors should not let that happen. I understand the constitutionality of it all but We don't need that. It's another way of form of violence. (00:19:10) And also from the fourth word Robert Fletcher, (00:19:12) first of all, mr. Wilson should be commended for the work that he did on developing this ordinance. What it does. In fact is prevent clustering of pornographic institutions, but it doesn't really address the issue of how do we get rid of this in our community every member of the council would like to shut them down to deny licenses, but the fact of the matter is we don't have that flexibility under the Constitution as was pointed out. We do have the right to adopt a community Standards Board that can review and become proactive rather than reactive and that's probably a very healthy criticism. We as a city council be tend to react to things rather than go out and actively address the issue ahead of time. But I think from my perspective having worked in that vicinity in a different capacity than city council. I can tell you that probably the most important thing that's not being done is active enforcement is not taking place because when you talk about pornography you're also talking about the related problem of prostitution that occurs within those establishments and there is a great deal of both male and female prostitution taking place in there that is not being enforced. It would be very very simple to enforce that and to get violations and convictions on those things, but I'll be quite candid. The police department is not excited about and male prostitution (00:20:48) good answers in a good question. Thank you next Al (00:20:51) classmen, and I'd like to change (00:20:53) the question a little bit to be a little more business oriented the business pays sixty eight and a half percent of the city property taxes (00:21:01) collected by the city. (00:21:03) Do you think that business has a legitimate complaint that it doesn't get the same services within the (00:21:07) city as is now provided in the suburbs. (00:21:12) Let's start in the 7th Ward with Vic Tedesco. (00:21:20) my particular Ward I don't have any complaints from any of the businessmen and along East Seventh Street regarding what they are paying in taxes. We meet with the businessmen East Side. East Seventh Street businessmen's Association from time to time with the district for and district one consoles whenever we have problems. We try to solve them out recently. I was able to play a part in bringing $1,700,000 and you'd a grants to revitalize East 7th Street and apparently if the businessmen are unhappy in my ward, they haven't told me about it. (00:22:12) Next from the Seventh Ward Leo wreck. I believe the question had to do with businesses in the city as related to businesses in the suburbs. I believe that is a very crucial concern for we do find that business is not only leave the state of Minnesota for greener pastures, but they tend also to leave the city for the suburbs and this place is a much greater burden upon the residents who live within the city when that takes place we need to see that we do have an equitable purse concept so that the citizens are treated on the same kind of a basis as in the suburbs and the businesses as well that we need to make sure that the city of st. Paul in all respects is on a competitive plane with the surrounding communities. And from another word, which also borders suburbs the fourth Robert Fletcher. You really have touched on two (00:23:12) questions. So regarding the 68% It's true that business in st. Paul does pay a large part of the property tax burden as compared to suburbs that figure in itself is a little misleading because downtown and st. Paul itself has many more urban centers and Commercial clusters. So to speak then do the suburbs. And so you might expect typically that business is going to be paying a higher percentage because we have a higher percentage of higher evaluated business property, but the second question it's probably more important is our the business is paying greater than their share as compared to the suburbs is their tax rate higher than the suburbs. The answer is yes, is it too high? But it's also too high for the residences. And the reason for that is is the state aid that st. Paul gets does not accurately reflect. The property tax burden in st. Paul now we're making strides in that direction. And as you know during the last legislative session the legislature removes some of the grandfather clause in the state aid formula and many of the suburbs got State got Cuts in state aid while Saint Paul got an increase and that is Shifting some of the property tax burden to the suburbs and we have to continue that Trend in so to provide property tax relief for both businesses and neighborhoods (00:24:40) and finally the one Worden st. Paul that is not bordered by any suburbs the first bill Wells. Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I skipped Joanne Enos from the (00:24:49) fourth. You can go to Bill and then I'll come back to (00:24:52) me. All right, that's fine. Go ahead though. (00:24:55) Well correctly the businesses in st. Paul are paying our taxes no question about it. I think it's in part the nature of a matured City st. Paul is the older matured City the suburbs have grown up around the city of st. Paul businesses were attracted to invited to the suburbs for the purposes of well with the interest in paying a lower taxes. The taxes tax base in the suburb eventually is going to catch up with the city. I don't think there is any immediate answer to that question. I think it's the nature of taxing taxing structures. I have talked about the importance of shifting from from property tax as a means by which to continue to pay for the cost of government services. I think it is in the interest of the business Community to take take a look at that and look more toward the notion of gross earnings tax as opposed to property taxes. But again, I think it's unfortunate that this business is do pay more. I think again it's that but it is a nature of the taxing structure that we have in our state. (00:26:03) Okay, Joanna Enos. (00:26:05) I think that we're moving in the right direction by cutting the assessments and moving them and it is unfortunate that businesses here do have to pay higher taxes. But we do have some programs that provide long-term financing and that the legislature is working on and tax incentives to keep businesses here. I think is a good idea and I think that that's what we can move in that direction (00:26:30) towards let me follow that up if I can with a question that came from the audience just a few blocks from here currently under development is god tier Plaza the developers of that particular structure have asked for a tax abatement and possibly several million dollars under the 30-second rule. What would you require of the developer in terms of the return on that tax abatement district and by return I think we mean not only economic return but what kind of housing what kind of things should be provided? We start with Robert Fletcher Fourth Ward. (00:27:06) Well console it really hasn't had an opportunity to review this issue as yet, but any time you offer a tax abatement or a tax increment financing District, you have to be very very sure that the project would not proceed if that in financial incentive was not offered and at times I think we as a council provide that incentive or give that financial help before we closely enough scrutinize whether it's actually needed. (00:27:36) Jo Ann anus Fourth (00:27:37) Ward, I guess I would have to really look at it. I would like to ask some questions about it though. Is it needed? (00:27:46) And Bill Wilson first (00:27:48) or I've had an opportunity to follow that project and from all indications for the kind of development that's desired there and the kind of development that the developer wants to perform some form of tax abatement may be necessary, but on the other hand, I'm not moved to provide for tax abatements on projects because this raises immediately in the mind of of taxpayers in the City Residential Homestead Properties and to why can't they get an abatement they certainly have in difficult times. So I think we have to very carefully look at the issue of tax abatements and only use that where it is a is strictly necessary. (00:28:37) Okay from the Seventh Ward Vic Tedesco. (00:28:41) When I first came on to City console. The very area you're sitting in was a vast Prairie. There are more empty lots in downtown st. Paul. Then there were lots with buildings because of tax increments in some tax break of another kind. That's where we got all our new construction. That's where st. Paul is finally came on the Move in a very building you're sitting in right now wouldn't be here if we hadn't to give them some tax break and I'm not going to say whether I'm going to give the Galt here Plaza a tax break or not. But at this point, I'm certainly leaning that way because we got to remember the end result is how many new jobs through this construction how many people we permanently employed downtown st. Paul how many pre people will permanently live here? It's a very vast. Type of program or project and it needs a lot of support from our downtown and our communities. What's good for downtown is good for the for the whole (00:29:42) city? Okay, and finally from Ward 7 Leo wreck. I think that in the past the city council has not asked hard enough questions about matters of this nature. We need first of all to really determine the need and that means not just to take the word of the of the those who are developing the project then we also need to ascertain tax projections for the project. So that sometime in the future we're going to get a monetary return on this then I think that we need to ask that the developers would also provide some kind of Community Access and service immediately and also a certain percentage of their new employees to the residents of st. Paul. Okay, that's our first round of questioning and for the radio audience. Let me just remind you that we are at a town meeting in Town Square Park in downtown st. Paul. We have questioners representing the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce who is sponsoring this event. They are and Ford Nelson from Commercial State Bank. John grunts Seth from economics laboratory and Al classmen from the accounting firm employment. Bear ensure. Our candidates are from the Seventh Ward Leo wreck and Vic Tedesco from the First Ward Bill Wilson. And from the fourth ward Robert Fletcher and Joanna - and now back to the questioners and let's start over with Al I like to go to a local issues and (00:31:04) find out from each one (00:31:05) of you, excuse me. What is the single most important issue in your respective (00:31:10) Ward? (00:31:13) Most important issue in your ward Leo Rec. Do you want to start that? I wish I could specify only one. I think there are really two that are that are so pertinent. First of all is the need for the people to believe that they've got some kind of a voice in their city government everywhere I go when I'm knocking on doors and talking to people I find a feeling of helplessness pertaining to the life in the city things are happening over which they feel they have no control the development of their own neighborhoods takes place problems arise and they don't feel they have anywhere to turn and we need to do something to give people a feeling that they've got a stake in the issue and have a voice to be able to do something beforehand. Another issue that is of equal importance is the sad state of housing over on the east side particularly in the bluff and they railroad Island areas. I've been in many of these residences climbing the steps and the conditions in many of these homes is is just terrible. It's a shame and a tragedy at the city of st. Paul should allow such facilities to exist for people to live in and the Out of the repair and deduct ordinance is one thing that is just an absolute shame for this city people deserve a better place to live in many of these areas and what we have at the present time. Vic Tedesco 7th (00:32:32) Ward housing in Dayton's Bluff and railroad island has been and still is a problem and it's something that's not going to happen overnight. However, I'm very happy to say that there has been new housing in railroad Island on the corner DeSoto knocks Edo eight units up on Minnehaha four units Afton townhouses and a Seventh Ward Lincoln Park School site will be converted built a town house that we built on the School site Dayton's Bluff. Yes, there is Rehabilitation and Rehab of those homes is a must and it's a slow process and I also feel that police protection on the east side is important and with the building of a new renovating of a new building at 7th and Mariah a half a block up we'll have a team police on east side and East Side will have the best police protection. It's ever had and its history. (00:33:42) Okay, Leo wreck. Wanted to make a response. Yes. I'd like to make a comment about the nature of the housing in the railroad Island area the new housing that's their most of that housing is still vacant the people who would move into the area can't afford the housing. It's out of character with a with the housing that is already there. And in addition to that if we had spent more money in encouraging the rehabilitation of the housing that is there. We'd be much further ahead than with the projects that we've already (00:34:08) had. The houses have been built by the East Side neighborhood development company, which is a neighborhood organization of which I am a member of their board. However, it is their wisdom and their judgment and they live in the neighborhood. My opponent does not and they apparently felt that that was the best way to go. (00:34:33) Okay, that was Vic Tedesco responding and now to the fourth for Joanne Enos. We're on the subject of the most important issues in your (00:34:41) ward. I think the most important issues in the ward is Redevelopment of University Avenue Community participation that reaches out to all of the community by making our district councils accessible to the handicapped. I think that that's a real important and sensitive issue that we need to address. I think that in order to have citizen participation and have people have the ideas of when we decide to redevelop University Avenue the light rail transit system all of the things that affect the wards and everybody in the total award will be able to participate because the district councils are held in some areas in some buildings that are not accessible and I think that besides the potholes and not enough streetlights The Neighbourhood partnership programs, I think is really effective. We have a really good block Club. invention of crime prevention of domestic abuse sexual assault of children. Those are all issues within our Ward as well as our city. (00:35:54) And Robert Fletcher from the fourth ward. (00:35:57) If you were to sum it up into one paraphrase, I would call it neighborhood Vitality neighborhood Vitality would include development in our Ward were particularly concerned with development along University Avenue as well as some of the other commercial centers such as Marshall Avenue and Snelling Avenue safety is part of the vitality and we've city council has added additional patrolman to allow us to go back to it team police concept and the financial burden that is placed upon the residents affects their ability to improve their neighborhood and during this last budget session. We eliminated the tree and snow assessments and cut the Summer Street Maintenance assessments back by 25% to shift some of the burden away from from the neighborhood's housing conditions are indeed a problem in specific areas of the ward. The Neighbourhood partnership program that was adopted by the council during the last year allows Community groups to match funds with City funds and provides incentive for them to improve their own neighborhood recently the city council budgeted a multi-service center to go in the Hamlin community and there's more to be done specifically the probably the biggest change we can make right now to improve our neighborhood is to change the CIB process. So the neighborhood's have a greater weight when rating which projects are going to be done rather than the heavy weight that's given to the department heads. (00:37:34) Okay. And from the First Ward Bill Wilson, (00:37:37) well, there are a number of pressing issues in the ward issues of housing issues of jobs. Issues of Public Safety commercial Redevelopment, but if you really get down to the basic problem that people are concerned about not only in Ward 1 but throughout the city is a whole issue of taxes across of taxes taxes are increasing at a rate that essentially were taxing people out of their homes. The city council has taken steps to get a handle on that. We were careful to ensure that the budget for example would not increase be above 6% When you look at the overall cost of inflation the cost of money the cost of doing business in the city six percent increase in the budget for the city is not not a bad decision that helps and holding down down taxes. Also the city has invested in in housing throughout the city as well as in Ward 1 this in turn will create a more solid tax base over 1,200 units since 1980 have been built and reconstructed are Qualitative in Ward 1 this will contribute to the tax base. The Port Authority has in the just this past year calls to be created some eight point five million dollars in taxes through businesses at the Port Authority has been involved in assisting in financing and maintaining and 6160 eight new jobs are our jobs are retained here in the city through that effort. So again, I think the basic issue is one of taxes and whatever we can do in the city to continue to hold down. Those taxes would be helpful. (00:39:16) Okay and Nelson next question. Do you view (00:39:22) pollution as a problem in st. Paul? And if you do, do you have any specific remedies for Snelling (00:39:28) Avenue? Snelling Avenue is in the fourth ward. Why do we make that award specific question and we'll let joining and started in perhaps Robert Fletcher can comment (00:39:42) Snelling Avenue is the highest polluted Street in the city of st. Paul. We need to take a look at perhaps maybe a way to redirect traffic to I-94 might be an idea. The district councils have studied the area of what are we going to do? Are we going to cut down on the bus service are we going to have Less traffic. How are we going to have less traffic? I just don't know if there is an easy solution to that unless we stop the cars at Hamlin and have them go down to I-94 and ever go down Universe University and snowing. I just don't know. It's just a problem that people in the community have been working on for a long time and we have all of those little pollution things around to find out if there is a high concentration of pollution. We know that there is so I don't know what good they're doing. We just have to really look at you know, how we are going to address that issue. Perhaps the light rail Transit System. (00:40:51) Robert Fletcher, and he comments on Snowy. Well, it's true. It's nothing in (00:40:54) university is the worst in the area. It's not a problem that's easily solved. It's one of those side effects unfortunate side effects that comes with a growing commercial center Center of activity. If you will the county of Ramsay has been charged with the primary responsibility of addressing this issue that certainly doesn't alleviate the city from taking steps. If we're going to decrease the amount of pollution some traffic redesign of the corner is going to have to take place Light Rail Transit would help slightly, but the buses are not the primary pollutant of carbon monoxide there the cars are we need assistance and awareness on the part of the state legislature that this problem is generated by people coming into the city as well as the city and the county itself because it is an urban cluster. We need help in addressing those and we'll probably need Financial help and redesigning that corner and changing traffic patterns in the area. (00:41:56) We've had a number of questions from the audience about taxes taxes on $60,000 homes about the budget. What does it mean? I wonder if each of the candidates again under the 30-second rule if we could would just take out a crystal ball and say what does this budget mean now for for taxpayers in st. Paul property taxes and what are they going to do in the next in the next few years as you see the city developing Vic, Tedesco 7th Ward. (00:42:25) As most residents know only 25% of their tax dollar is taxed by the city. and the tax dollar that we get this year. Most homes in the city of st. Paul will be paying less taxes than not on a city level. Our budget we stayed within the majors but mayor's budget we are able to bring more police protection. We've added seven firemen. We've kept every playground in the city of st. Paul open and I'm proud to say that I led that fight and I'll give credit to mr. Fletcher for bringing the police to the east side. I see I have a stop sign there. So I'll stop. (00:43:19) Okay. Thank you Lea wreck with our continual Reliance upon property taxes to fund city services. We are going to see people continually leaving the city for the suburbs what this means is that we have a disproportionately larger number of the poor the uneducated and the needy in the city meaning that we need to have more and more taxes. We must it is imperative that we get away from our steady and heavy Reliance upon property taxes. It is going to have a continually destructive effect on the life of the city. Tedesco honored to respond to that (00:43:59) many generalities have been spoken here today, and I'd like to ask my opponent what he would like to replace property taxes with (00:44:08) The Iraq do you wanna be specific? We need to explore some alternative methods to raise revenue and not just to rely upon those who own property within the city. I would like to see us try to explore some of the other avenues that are before us and to make sure that we are not just using these as some kind of a clock just to try to increase revenues for the city, but that we are trying to make the revenue sources more Equitable so that we are not overburdening a few people. Okay, one quick comment. (00:44:42) Let's ask one last comment two million dollars are in the city's coffers because in 1970 I authorized the hotel-motel tax, which is not paid for by residents. It's paid for by visitors. (00:44:55) Okay, Bill Wilson. First word question. Is your crystal ball on the financial future of the (00:45:02) city. Well, I think the city of st. Paul has a healthy and viable financial future as we look down the road. We have a number of projects that we have created and financed. Give the downtown community that has been financed through tax increments. Those projects are going to come online and began to pay their taxes their fair share of the taxes. We've realized a surplus in state government. It suggests that the state government's getting a handle on the problems of financing. So I think we have a positive and viable future in st. Paul. Ideally. What I would like to do is see if we could put a freeze on The Talk property tax increases in the city and look for alternative sources of revenues and point us in a new direction for financing city (00:45:57) government. Okay, Robert Fletcher Fourth Ward, (00:46:02) I would agree with Bill. I think the future of Saint Paul is far Rosier than the past four years have been this is the first year in four years that some property tax owners will be getting an actual tax decrease. And in fact, it's not most but it's the average person that will be getting the decrease the $57,000 home 273 and those figures aren't exactly I could but in that approximate range and if the action of the legislature and the city council continue and that direction is continued. I think you're going to see a stabilizing of the property tax burden and equalizing shifting a greater portion of it to the suburbs (00:46:40) and Joanna's Fourth (00:46:41) Ward. I think we need to look at alternative methods of taxing providing Services. We have to look at more state aid money to ensure that that state aid money comes to the city. it's something that it's I think it's more detailed than just that as well. We might have to look at where our money is going at a national level and we all know that that's going into defense. So what happens is the state gets less money the county gets less money. The school's get less money in our city gets less money. (00:47:20) Okay. Unfortunately, we are getting close to the end. And so I'll let you know that we will have the final statements now from the candidates starting with the Seventh Ward then going to the forest and forth and ending with the first and so if I could Leo wreck for a final statement from Ward 7 I've entered the race for City Council in Ward 7 for three reasons. (00:47:49) First of all, I have added a vision (00:47:52) for what the city and the East Side in particular can and ought to become I remember some time ago when then editor of the st. Paul papers Bill Sumner wrote a column calling for the development of Saint Paul into a truly great City. We have still to achieve that reality and just yesterday. There was another editorial on signed in the paper which cited so many of the problems that we have the distance that we still have to go particularly in the area of housing. I have a vision for what the city of st. Paul can be. I see that old homes on the east side that could be truly beautiful and neighborhoods which are now neglected which could become an asset to the city. I would like to see everybody in this city be able to feel an ownership for all neighborhoods and that we could truly say that every neighborhood has become an asset to the city of st. Paul in the second place. I have the personal attributes and skills to get the job done for one thing. I have a willingness to work. Secondly. I have a willingness to work with people where they are to listen to all sides not just to cater to the powerful few. I have the ability to help people determine what the issues are to set goals and priorities for their own communities and to help them achieve consensus when they are dealing with difficult issues. I'm a person who communicates well and can communicate with both the officials down in City Hall and also the local residents in there. Yeah, so that the people would have a better understanding of what is happening and a greater control over their own destiny. I'm a communicator a peacemaker a worker and a leader for responsible progress in the third place. I am motivated to get into this campaign by the poor record of my opponent in the last several years absenteeism tardiness on equal workload lack of effort on important issues failure to plan and to lead as a council president flip-flop voting pattern bandwagon approach to decision-making and many more. Okay next from the Seventh Ward Vic (00:50:04) Tedesco. I bring 17 years of experience to the city council as a member of three different types of government. I have excellent Rapport excellent rapport with district one district for the my opponent states that my absenteeism is high. I have one of the best attendance records in the city of st. Paul ladies and gentlemen, except he counts how many time I go to the bathroom. He doesn't count how many times I came back 47 times. The official records will show his literature states that I left the city council in session 65 times. It does not show that I came back within 3 minutes within 40 47 times within three minutes and the other times is Consul president. I suppose I was representing the city at a funeral at a dedication at something on a Goodwill nature and he should not talk about my record. He was on a Dayton's Bluff Commercial Dayton's Bluff Community Council and he missed 80% of the meetings. So Please mr. Rec do a little your own homework. Thank (00:51:21) you. next from the fourth ward Joanne (00:51:27) Enos I look at myself as an advocate and I feel that I can represent the people in the fourth ward drawing from my experience as an advocate at Women's Advocates. I believe that I am the kind of person who can care who was caring and a sensitive to all the needs of all the people in the fourth ward as well as the total City. I have lived in the city my whole life. I understand the city. I've raised my children here in the city and the Saint Paul Public Schools. My family has died in the city and I really do love this city. I would like to represent the people in the fourth ward. I will work hard. I am a hard worker and an understanding honest person. Thank you for this (00:52:14) invitation. Thank you. And next from the fourth ward Robert Fletcher (00:52:20) the focus of my campaign both this election and two years ago has been citizen participation citizen involvement in decision making I think during the last two years we've opened up the process tremendously that tremendously the decision-making process of using the district and community councils and having a ward representative has been a real plus two most the people of this city. We have to be sure to achieve the proper balance between a Citywide perspective on one hand and just a neighborhood local Focus. But for once for the last two years, we finally shifted away from just the downtown interests and under the at-large system to where people have an advocate. They have someone to come to and I think that's been a real positive thing for government in particular for my neighborhood in st. Paul. During the next two years. I have a focus of scoping in on how are we going to cut costs in st. Paul. I think we've done an excellent job in the administration had should be commended on bringing development into st. Paul. But now we have to look at how are we going to make Services more efficient? What can we do when we've had money? It hasn't been a necessity to make things more efficient. And when we got cut back on money instead of making them more efficient we cut back on the number of people. We're going to have to look at the system of civil service. We have to work with unions and bargaining units to create greater flexibility and job titles. So one person who might be titled the tree trimmer can only trim a tree and someone a driver can only drive a truck. We're going to have to share that workload. In addition, we're going to continue to move away from assessments and user fees. I know we've been examining the concept of user fees and assessments but quite candidly, they're very regressive. They're not related to your ability to pay and what I'm seeing in the city council is people from the neighborhoods finally having an impact their finally saying no, we don't want that decision and the city council has a hole under the wards and Ward system has been very responsive to that. And I think it's been a very positive thing for st. Paul. (00:54:31) Thank you and finally Bill Wilson from the first word. (00:54:33) Thank you very much. I'm seeking my third term office. I've served with pleasure on the Saint Paul city council. I genuinely enjoy working for people. through government service I think that the government exists to serve the interests and needs of the citizens of st. Paul. It does not exist solely in and of and for itself therefore government serves then to facilitate the interests of our citizens. The people of st. Paul believe that st. Paul has a bright and viable future and if we form the kind of partnership with our people and the communities then st. Paul Andy will have that kind of future the people of st. Paul believed that taxes must be reduced in order for Saint Paul to continue to be viable it therefore then is the city government's responsibility to achieve that end to work toward that end for the people of st. Paul responsive government is what's needed. Certainly in the past Saint Paul has been blessed with seemingly unlimited resources. But times are tough. Now times are we're dipping the days and the times where people can commonly say I haven't worked for 16 or 18 months. What are we going to do? People can say that? I haven't I can't afford housing in the city. What are we going to do? People can generally say I can't afford to continue to have utilities. What are we going to do with those are challenges and they're also opportunities government exists to serve the interests and needs of the people and I think that we have a city council and we will have in the future even a more creative and sincere City Council of counsel that indeed will look to serve the interests of the people of st. Paul. (00:56:34) Thank you very much. I mentioned earlier that I am a new resident of st. Paul and again for the radio audience. My name is why Spano a new Resident and also person involved very much in politics as an editor of political newsletter and I can tell you that it is a To live here and to be a part of the political process in st. Paul. It is a clean one one that is done. Well done intelligently and as a kid who spent 40 years on the wrong side of the river. I really like being here my thanks to an for Nelson from Commercial State Bank John grunts Seth from economic laboratory and Al classmen from Boynton Baron cheer for their participation on behalf of the chamber and let me also interject that I think the chamber is doing a very good thing and sponsoring these forums and to the candidates much appreciation Leo Rick and Vic Tedesco from the Seventh Ward Robert Fletcher and Joanna's from the fourth ward and Bill Wilson from the First Ward and now let me turn it back to Larry Cole the chairman from the Chamber of Commerce. Thank you. I this concludes the second town meeting and Town Square. These meetings are scheduled each Wednesday weekday noon hour here in downtown st. Paul from October 17th to October 24th. We'd like to again express our gratitude for the fine cooperation of the management and staff of Town Square Park, and also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Radisson Plaza Hotel, please consider attending a third Forum sponsored by the citizens for excellence in education, which will be held on October 27th at the Central High School 275 North Lexington from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The featured speaker will be Charlotte Mitchell Price, and the topic discussed will be current issues facing the Saint Paul schools. The public will also have a chance to question the school board candidates on the current issues at this meeting. This is Larry Cole speaking. Thank you all for coming. You've been listening to a live debate coming from Town Square in downtown st. Paul between the candidates for city council seats in Wards 14 and seven tomorrow during the noon hour candidates in Wards 3 & 6 will debate the issues. This debate series is sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and the live broadcast was brought to you with a financial assistance of the McNeely Foundation Tad Gorn flow and Conrad Lindbergh were remote Engineers Roger Kamal handled the studio controls. Midday production biker course. Dad Bill Catelyn and Bob Potter. Thank you for joining us today from Town Square. I'm Li X tall.


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