Re-sharing this post. Election Day in Bloomington is this coming Tuesday.
If you are a Bloomington resident, now is the time to give some new life to the Bloomington City Council…..and boy does it need it.
The post below includes the statements that were provided to us by the candidates willing to share one. Please consider what they have to say and compare it to your own values and vote accordingly.
This link is where to find what your district is and who is running for those districts:
Be part of something important. Educate yourself and vote…vote…vote.
“Here are the deets. Last Wed. Save the River Bottoms held our first-ever Bloomington City Council candidate forum which was a great success. We had 7 out of the 8 candidates attended and an audience of residents that filled the banquet room. Our goal was to inform and update the attendees and candidates about the MN Valley State Trail issue and to emphasize the role of Bloomington’s current City Council, City Staff, and legislators regarding the proposed state trail. Save The River Bottoms (STRB) has been closely monitoring actions by all sides of this issue for a very long time. This forum was an opportunity to bring to light what is really happening and the City’s involvement. It allowed the candidates to give their positions on the paved trail issue in an open forum in front of Bloomington residents. There were some pointed questions raised that will no doubt come up again in the future. Hosting this forum raised the proposed paved trail issue into a much higher level of importance for Bloomington.
Here are some takeaways from this even:
1. The issue is now something that cannot be passed off as a “State Issue” which has been the claim of current council members. The City Council can no longer hide behind this claim.
2. We hope that now Council Members will ask to see a full plan with costs and maintenance costs before approving any plans.
3. There are numbers of residents who support a natural trail and are now recognized and cannot be ignored by the candidates that attended.
Please VOTE November 7th (if you haven’t already) and encourage others to do so as well. Your vote matters!!
*Mike Arulfo At Large Candidate: As a candidate for Bloomington City Council (At Large), I am opposed to paving of the trail along the Minnesota River bottom. I believe in preserving our natural spaces. I am opposed to paving the trail along the Minnesota River bottom because it will disturb the eco system further, impact residents already using the space, and be expensive to maintain. The area that holds the trail is a flood plain, meaning any paved area will not only affect the ability of the ground to absorb flood waters, but also become damaged. The DNR already has a large backlog of trail maintenance issues, so the trail would either fall into disrepair or become Bloomington’s responsibility.
Additionally, almost all of the Bloomington residents I have met during door knocking do not support the paved trail. Right now the trail is popular and maintained by the residents that use it (for zero cost to the city and tax payers) 5,700+ have signed a petition to prevent its paving. I agree with them.
*Nathan Coulter At Large Candidate: Attended and is for Green space, however he won’t commit to standing behind a natural trail.
*Patrick Martin District IV Candidate: “For generations, a source of Bloomington’s strength and vibrancy has been the value our community places on protecting and preserving natural assets. Beautiful parks and an expansive wildlife refuge have allowed families from across the metro to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and regroup in nature. It is an abundance few other cities can offer.
While promoting accessibility is a top priority, projects involving paving any portion of these areas should only be considered with full information regarding both environmental impact and long term maintenance costs. Without accurate data on these factors, we cannot claim responsible stewardship of our natural assets or the taxpayers who support them.”
*Jon Oleson District IV Candidate (Incumbent): Attended and is for Green space, however he won’t commit to standing behind a natural trail.
*Eldon Spencer District II Candidate (Appointed Incumbent): “I am very concerned with any plan calling for paving over a 12 mile stretch of generally natural pathways along an undeveloped stretch of a great local river. My concerns are compounded by the lack of adequate environmental assessment and public input and the shortage of DNR funds to assure adequate initial and long term funding for such a project. While hiking and related uses in a few areas along the existing natural path might benefit from selective bridges or other improvements, we should be hesitant before making any further commitments. Perhaps after proper study a small loop could be considered for the Lyndale area entrance to help determine usage demand.”
*Shawn Nelson District II Candidate: “I love the trails along the MN River. I go there to walk with my dog. I think we are very fortunate to have a variety of trails locally-more rugged single path trails, wider natural trails, and paved sections. This variety allows access to the widest range of people, from those with limited ability to those looking for a more strenuous experience. I currently don’t see a need to pave this trail in the river bottoms.”
*Larry Frost District III: “My wife is an engineer. She thinks it is just ridiculous to pave a trail in a floodplain. I am against paving the Minnesota River Bottom. The idea should not even have come to a vote by the city council. The absurdity of urbanizing a nature retreat aside, putting asphalt in a river bottom that has fast-flowing floods almost every year is so impractical city council support for the idea reveals some serious problems in council decision making. If built that trail will erode almost every year and the ongoing maintenance will be expensive. The project should not have got beyond that one simple, decisive objection.
The council’s equally short-sighted and common senseless vote to sell about nine acres of Hyland Greens for apartments proves my point about bad council decision making. Green space is essentially irreplaceable. We need councilmen whose span of vision exceeds the next budget cycle. Bloomington is a desirable destination for many reasons – a major one is our wealth of parks. Councilmen giving parks away and talking out of the other side of their mouths about making Bloomington more attractive to young families should tell you all you need to know. All the candidates who showed up for your river bottom meeting on October 25th told you that virtually every citizen we talked to opposed both the Hyland sale and river bottom paving – but our city government is actively telling the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that Bloomington citizens support the paving. This ‘my way or the highway’ attitude and misrepresentation is inappropriate for an elected representative.
My opponent has actively supported both the Hyland sale and river bottom paving, and has votes on record to prove it.
If you elect me, I promise I will do everything in my power to oppose the river bottom paving boondoggle and to stop the sale of Hyland Greens or any other green space. I also promise to develop an active social media presence so I can learn what you think matters for Bloomington. I will hold at least four open house meetings every year so you can speak to me in person..For more information please go to my website, frostforcouncil.com or call me at 612-839-5132. And please don’t just vote for me – if you are in council district 3, drag at least one spouse and two friends to the polls to help me replace a park-selling river bottom paver!”
*Jack Baloga District III Candidate (Incumbent): Didn’t attend and no response.”