• 15Apr

    Here are 2 opportunities to shape the future of Rochester!

    1)      On April 22nd, the Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments (ROCOG) will be hosting an Open Housing on the Reaffirmation of the ROCOG Long Range Transportation Plan from 5:30 to 7:30 in Conference Room A/B of the Rochester Olmsted Planning Department at 2112 Campus Drive SE.

    2)      On May 6 and 7, the City will be hosting a series of several comprehensive plan update and public input meetings. The meeting agenda will be identical for each of these meetings, allowing multiple opportunities for the public to attend and provide input.  Below is a schedule of meetings for May 6 and 7.  Please plan on attending one of these that fits into your schedule.

    ·         May 6            6:30 pm                Olmsted County Public Health Conference Room (2100 Campus Drive SE)

    ·         May 7            3:00 pm                County/City Council Chambers (Government Center)

    ·         May 7            6:30 pm                County/City Council Chambers (Government Center)

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  • 15Apr
    Crime in Rochester is at a historic low. You would never know that watching the news, but you are less likely to be a victim of a serious crime today than you were in 1980, 1990, 2000, or 2010. Like every community we still have crime. If we want to do better here are 10 things we can do as a community to do better. Contrary to common belief hiring more police is not an effective way to reduce crime (it does help a little), it is an effective way to respond to crime.
    1. Affordable housing for all – meeting basic needs is critical for the type of stability the negates a major cause of petty crime.
    2. Reliable transportation for all – Access to all needs starts with transit. Cars are expensive and many can’t afford them. If you get people to services and jobs it helps greatly.
    3. Living wages for all – There is no reason why every business in Rochester can’t pay a living wage. The minimum wage increases help but we have a long ways to go.
    4. Healthcare, especially mental health care for all – Addressing health needs, particularly mental health needs can stabilize those that would resort to petty crime.
    5. Drug treatment programs for all – We treat drug abuse as a crime and not a sickness, reverse that to address the behaviors that feed the habit. Also understand that alcohol is the most costly of all drugs.
    6. Universal Pre-K Education for every kid – Here is a sad fact with great opportunity, if our kids are doing well be the end of the 3rd grade, they are highly likely to succeed. If they are not, they likely won’t. This is where the gaps come from. Getting kids ready for K is perhaps the best new investment we can make.
    7. Quality Schools – We do this well in Rochester, keep it up.
    8. Accessible afterschool / summer programming for all – The key times to keep kids busy in 3 to 7 PM, give kids accessible opportunities here to take them off the street.
    9. Address direct and subtle forms of discrimination – Referring to people as “thugs” (code for the N word they really want to use) or takers that come here to leach off us only further propagates low standards applied to a class or people. It is also overwhelmingly untrue. People come here for safety and opportunity.
    10. Stop doing stupid things. Leaving garage doors open, weak commercial doors and no security, leaving expensive tools out, not securing construction sites, leaving your bike unsecured. Too much crime happens because we needlessly create the opportunity.

    Rochester is the safest place I have ever lived, and safer today than at any point in my life. We are headed in the right direction!

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  • 07Mar

    This was an outstanding session with good data and examples. I am sharing the materials we used they are a good read for my fellow nerd friends.

    Part 1: NLC University Transportation Planning 1

    Part 2: NLC University Transportation Planning 2 – This is the one that I found incredibly interesting and valuable.

    Part 3: NLC University Transportation Planning 3

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  • 27Dec

    Thanks to local historian extraordinaire, Tim Schmitt for finding this ahead of its time gem.

    PB Editorial from 1971


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  • 08Dec

    Thanks to Park, I was able to share this update at a recent meeting at Shorewood Senior Living

    Presentation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxMKqsc4J7x0ZFNmRkpja1JOd00/view?usp=sharing

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  • 04Nov

    As part of my community service I do my best to make sure public contracts are honored, citizens are not victimized, and if injustices do take place, I work to correct it and notify my constituents through various communication tools such as my city council website. I have expressed a number of concerns about Mac Hamilton and this is the latest.

    This is what Mac Hamilton wrote on November 3, 2014

    It has come to my attention that my close personal friend Michael Wojick intends to ask the City Council this evening to revoke the parking license granted the Richard/Raymond apartments in 2010.  It was our sincere understanding, until informed by Terry Adkins this morning, that we had the exclusive right to the parking spaces we carved from the overwide boulevard and paid to create in 2010.  We now understand we do not have the right to tow, but only to notify a car parked without our authorization in those spaces.

    As a result of this action an innocent woman was victimized and had her vehicle illegally towed.  President Staver feels that I am culpable for recommending a legal activity to a citizen.  I disagree.  He also asserted that this was a political game.  It is not, I have been recommending people park in these spots and parking there myself for years.

    But maybe this was an honest mistake and Mac is telling the truth.  Maybe Mac never knew he couldn’t tow vehicles.  Lets check the video from 2011…

    A brief review:

    • City Attorney Adkins explains twice Mac can not restrict parking.
    • Ed Hruska explains once that Mac can not restrict parking.
    • Mac acknowledges he can not restrict parking or tow vehicles…

    On December 1, I will ask the city council to eliminate this special favor granted to Mac’s development that resulted in an innocent woman being made a victim.



  • 08Oct

    I had the pleasure of seeing Gil Penalosa speak on cities today at the Growing Sustainable Cities Conference in Dubuque, IA. He speaks on complete streets and placemaking.

    Here is a TED talk that he gave:


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  • 27Jul

    The City of Rochester unanimously directed staff to support the city of Winona’s ability to put in place restrictions on the percentage of homes that can be converted to rentals.  The unanimous direction came despite the objection of the SEMAR.


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  • 06Apr

    So in anticipation of peddler season the city clerk put together a picture of what a peddler permit looks like in Rochester.  Note this will be on gold colored paper.  Political campaigns and religious folks are not solicitors and do not need one of these.  I get a lot of complaints about scam artists going door to door trying to sell things.

    Here is how we as a community can end the abuse very quickly.  If someone comes to your door that you don’t recognize, snap a picture with your phone.  If they are trying to sell you something, ask to see their peddler’s permit.  If they do not have one, call the police non-emergency line 507-328-6800 and tell them that you had a peddler with out a license and then provide the police with the picture and any other details.

    Peddler Permit Example Image

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  • 03Mar

    I put a rain garden in and it works well.  This completely fixed a number of drainage issues that I had, and is good for our rivers!  Here is how the city of Rochester can help with your project.

    Are you planning on applying for a Realize Raingardens Rochester Cost-Share grant in 2014? Join us as we walk step-by-step through the grant application and answer any questions you might have. The 2014 Cost-Share Grant, which awards 50% of verifiable costs up to $750, is open to both residential customers and non-profit organizations installing new raingardens within the city limits of Rochester. Further details about cost-share grant and grant writing workshop are attached.

    Realize Raingardens Rochester Cost Share Grant Writing Workshop

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    7:00 – 9:00 pm

    City Hall Conference Room 104

    201 4th Street SE, Rochester, MN 55904

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