Water Emergency in Crystal

Crystal, Golden Valley and New Hope have a common drinking water distribution system.  There is a water main pipeline failure in Robbinsdale.

The three cities are issuing a water emergency and there is a temporary yard and lawn sprinkling ban in the three cities until further notice.

This message is from:
Tom Mathisen
Crystal City Engineer

Solar panel project passes City Council and will begin on the Community Center

At the June 4th, 2013 City Council meeting, the council passes with a 4-3 vote, to approve the solar panel project on the Crystal Community Center.  I was one of the yes votes, to go ahead with this project.

Crystal had put in an application to receive grants from Xcel Energy, and was one of the cities to get this paperwork in early enough.  We were approved to receive a grant for 100% of the cost of the solar panels.  The solar panels will be installed on the Community Center later this year.

New Crystal City Council

Crystal City Council meeting with new membersThe Crystal City Council has undergone a lot of changes and has 3 new members.  The new council is Mayor Jim Adams, Section 1 Council Member Laura Libby, Section 2 Council Member John Budzizewski, Ward 1 Council Member Mark Hoffman, Ward 2 Council Member Joe Selton, Ward 3 Council Member Casey Peak, and Ward 4 Council Member Julie Deshler.  Here is a photo from the first council meeting of 2013 with the new council in action.

New Crystal City Council Sworn in on January 3rd, 2013

Laura Libby sworn in on January 3rd, 2013

The new Crystal City Council members (Jim Adams – Mayor, Laura Libby – Section 1, and Casey Peak – Ward 3) were sworn in on January 3rd, 2013 during the City Council meeting, as well as Julie Deshler – Ward 4, who was reelected to her second term.  The new members were also voted into their roles on the Economic Development Authority and various commission appointments.  For the next year, I will be serving as the council representative to the Human Rights Commission.  I am very excited to be a part of this new council!

Here is the link to the Crystal City Council meeting with the swearing in, as well as all the regular business.

Thank you citizens of Crystal!

I want to thank the citizens of Crystal for electing me in the November 2012 election!  I am so honored to be able to take part in this public service to my city and to represent my friends and neighbors.  I hope that you will contact me with any questions, concerns, or just your thoughts about anything.  I am here to listen to you and represent the interests of Section 1 (ward 1 and ward 2).  I look forward to getting to know many more of you, and really serving the people of Crystal to the best of my ability!

I Am Not Just Another Guy

Because an election forces voters to choose between candidates, I would like to say a few words about my opponent.

Mr. Mueller has been and continues to be an asset to the city of Crystal. He has given of himself over many years to make our community a better place. He deserves our thanks.

Mr. Mueller is not a “bad guy” and he does seem to have a very strong background in city planning. But the job of a City Council member is to represent the people of Crystal… not to plan their lives for them.

When a family has all of its worldly possessions stolen by an out-of-control law enforcement agency, I think their representatives should be first in line to advocate for them– not refusing to meet with them. When citizens come together to ask for a hearing on matters like street assessments or to request a change to animal ownership ordinances, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not rudely dismissed or ignored with aloof silence. Those who serve in government are not somehow above the citizens who elected them.

What the council needs is members who are concerned about the people of Crystal, not as statistical measures, or components on a zoning map, or as taxable values in a comprehensive budget, but as individuals who have chosen to be a part of the community we call Crystal. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota and worked for several years with the USDA and then worked as a realtor in this area for several years. So I’m certainly as capable as Mr. Mueller when it comes to reading reports, looking at maps, and understanding budgets. And while practical matters like lowering crime rates, properly placing commercial districts, and spending financial resources wisely are critical to having a healthy city, the important thing for residents is having their elected representatives truly engage them on the issues and concerns they hold dear.

Mr. Mueller said at the League of Women voters candidate forum that his campaign has a “single, underlying theme”… “neighborhoods”. My campaign has an underlying theme as well: listening to you.

Mr. Mueller makes a big deal of my being endorsed by the Green Party, saying he has not sought the endorsement of any party. And I guess if you can afford to pay for an election out of your own pocket, that must be a nice luxury to have. But I’m not wealthy. My family is much closer to the norm in Crystal than that and the money required to run even a limited campaign would have cost us dearly. So yes, I’m grateful to the financial supporters and Green Party volunteers who have helped me with campaigning. These selfless individuals have done this, not to push an agenda on the people of Crystal, but to help give those in Crystal a meaningful choice this November 6th. My presence in this race means that you don’t have to vote for some guy, when the council is already going to have a lot of guys on it starting in 2013.

Mr. Mueller implies that I will be guided by a partisan ideological bias, but everyone has a perspective and a set of beliefs they hold dear. Perhaps he thinks his lack of ideas represents some sort of impartiality on his part? I am honest and open about what my perspective is and what my ideas are. Sometimes we’ve disagreed, but I am actually listening to you so that if I’m elected I can do my best for everyone in Crystal. It is not my intent to plan your city for you based on my own biases and philosophies, but to work with you. I am listening.

City Halls Response to Residents Having all their Possessions Confiscated by Metro Gang Strike Force

When Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) held a demonstration on October 2nd in Crystal and then spoke at the City Council open forum, I believed that we would be listened to and that the city would meet with the Ramirez family to discuss their concerns and learn the information that they possess, to move the city forward with a proper investigation of the matter.  Being searched and evicted from your home with no warrant, remaining locked out and then having all of your personal possessions confiscated with no charges, and then after filing an investigation with the Crystal police department, having no investigation started is unacceptable.  How would you feel if this happened in to you in your city and every time you asked about it, you kept getting no explanation?  And that it was clear to you that no investigation has ever even been started against the Metro Gang Strike Force and the offending officer?  This happened to the Ramirez family in Crystal 4 years ago.

While speaking at the open forum at city hall, about 20 members of the public (including myself) spoke about how terrible this police action was and how the family had filed a complaint with the Crystal Police Department a long time ago and never had the courtesy of anyone following through with it.  When the family has gone back to the police department over and over to receive updates on the investigation, they were given no update, only handed the families original complaint they filed (that is an insult!).  The Ramirez family had been trying to meet with Anne Norris, city manager of Crystal, for awhile.  Originally she had said she would meet and was scheduling a time to meet.  Then she sent them a message that she would not meet with them.  That is why the demonstration went forward.

The city council said to us that they had only just heard of this matter 3 weeks before we appeared in front of them.  They then went on to yell at all the people speaking to them at the forum and tell us how inappropriate it was for us to come there and talk about this matter (another insult!).  Their pride is so great that they care more about not being confronted with an issue like this in public more than caring listening to the public and caring about a system that broke down and ignored justice.  City employees knew of this matter for a long time.  Why weren’t the council members angry at city employees who knew of this who didn’t bring it to their attention and stonewalled the investigation?  Yelling at the people speaking out about this matter at a public forum only shows their open resentment and disrespect at the public.  Some council members have come forward publicly stating that this is not understanding or using the proper channels of government.  I don’t know what other channels there are when you file investigations, ask for updates over and over, and schedule meetings with the city manager and then she tells you that she will not meet with you.  The council is clearly putting their own pride first and standing up for themselves over standing up for the rights of the people of Crystal.  You can see the council meeting at this link (scroll down to open forum), read the Sun Post article about it at this link, and see what Community Solutions wrote about it at this link.

The city is still refusing to meet with the Ramirez family to this day.

I believe that the city council’s main function is to be concerned about the citizens of Crystal first and foremost.  I would have never responded like that and would be happy to see that people in the community are using the open forum to bring issues to my attention, especially when all other communication has failed.  I will always listen to you, and respect the public enough to treat them with dignity and civility.  Something that is unfortunately lacking in our current city council.