“Group think” is a very dangerous thing. Here are a couple of well respected citizens raising concerns.
Also kudos to Shiela Kiscaden for asking some tough questions and not letting other County Commission members bully her! I appreciate local leaders that are good role models for myself.
Here are a few points that I strongly agree with:
The individuals and/or entities working on this legislative initiative for the past two to three (or more) years and who signed confidentiality agreements should be disclosed to the public.
Do any of those individuals/entities who have been instrumental in constructing this legislation have any ownership interest (corporate or otherwise) in or options on potentially affected development sites, corridors or adjacent properties and, if so, what are those interests?
This is a legitimate concern and potential conflict of interest should be investigated.
What is it about the existing zoning laws, land use plans, Downtown Master Plan, Central Development Core and Medical Campus Overlay Zones, City of Rochester Tax Increment Financing, City of Rochester Development Administration, Rochester Area Economic Development Incorporated (RAEDI), sales tax funding and other financial options that create any impediments or measure of hardship for Mayo and private developers necessitating state financial subsidies?
This is even more important with Sen. Senjem’s move to eliminate local representation on the authority.
Are the 35,000 jobs promised by the DMC in addition to the 35,000 jobs already forecast for southeastern Minnesota? How do these projections relate to the already predicted additional 32,000 Rochester residents in the next 20 years? Is it the expectation that Rochester and the surrounding Rochester area population will multiply two-fold within the next twenty (20) years? How can sensible and meaningful planning occur without accurate projections?
My assumption is the answer to this is no. But a solid answer is needed.
What are the projected impacts of such growth upon law enforcement, fire safety, public works, community corrections, social services, mental health agencies, the Judicial Branch, downtown residential low density neighborhoods, public parks, heritage preservation, the public and private educational systems (in Rochester and the surrounding communities), affordable housing (in Rochester and the surrounding communities) and the variety of other “infrastructure” elements which transcend and are in addition to traditional “infrastructure” such as streets, bridges, sidewalks, sewer, water and electricity which are already strained?
This is also a concern of mine. This became more of a concern upon finding how many new poverty wage jobs might be created.
How should the makeup of the Authority be determined and should anyone with any employment or other interest in the Mayo Clinic be permitted to serve on the authority?
This is where I disagreed with the rest of the city council. I do not think Mayo should oversee Mayo while obtaining governmental authority. I also think that St. Paul designing Rochester infrastructure is about as appropriate as Canada controlling the US Military.
Should the Medical Center Economic Development Corporation meetings be subject to the open meeting laws since this entity will undoubtedly frame and drive the Authority’s agenda?
I was told the answer to this was yes, but now I am not so sure.
What are the relevant public policy considerations of public subsidies for private businesses like Mayo that promises jobs in exchange for help? This dynamic is often referred to as “economic extortion”, particularly when companies threaten to expand by creating jobs elsewhere. The Mayo Clinic continues to threaten they would do just that.
Mayo does need to stay and grow in Rochester, but should we subsidize a retail job paying $6.25 an hour and suck up social costs. The current bill seems to say that is OK.
Haven’t we already laid enough waste to the land? The Mayo Clinic real estate footprint is enormous. How does increasing that footprint relate to the principles in the Downtown Master Plan which suggests the infill area of vast surface parking lots is a contributing factor to our community being viewed as one with a lack of vibrancy?
Mayo’s history of land use decisions is a concern for many neighborhoods that have been hurt in the name of progress. I think we are already addressing that issue with the downtown masterplan, but only a thoughtful comprehensive plan revision will truly address the issue. This is the fault of the city as much as Mayo.
Does the community really need this additional layer of governance to achieve the goals of promoting and encouraging a growing yet sustainable community?
The community definitely does NOT need it. This is a Mayo want / need. Everything that the DMC authority seeks to do can be accomplished by the elected city council if the state were to grant the same powers.
With these and multiple other salient unanswered questions, would any group of critically thinking people accept the current principles of this proposed legislation and then make it the law of our state? We hope and trust not.
John Kruesel Kevin A. Lund Sons of the Rochester Community Rochester, Minnesota