My Vote on Municipal Consent

Last night the Crystal City Council voted on municipal consent for the LRT station in Crystal. I voted for a non-resolution with 3 other council members. 1 council member wanted to vote “NO” on the municipal consent and 1 wanted to vote “YES”. The official resolution we ended up with can be found here.

To better explain my vote, I thought the public might like to see this statement that I prepared for each council member before the meeting. I believe it might be helpful in understanding my vote.

Additionally, you can watch the council meeting last night here (available after noon). Just look for meeting: 2/29/16

Council member Kolb has also shared his thoughts regarding the vote here, and the SunPost account of the meeting can be found here.

Channel 12 did a good job covering this story here.

Below you’ll find that I did not mention a “No” vote as a choice.  This is because there was no real option for a no.

As a city we are allowed to vote yes or no on the first 15% of the project plans. That’s it.  If we vote “no” it goes to the MET Council for mediation, and we would be spending a lot of time and money.  We would be required to have very specific reasons for why the first 15% of the project plans were not good enough *and how the plans could be fixed to bring us to a yes* otherwise the MET Council can automatically turn our “NO” into a “YES”.  As a city council we absolutely had issues with the current plans for the LRT station, but based on the state law in place, any “NO” vote we made can be turned into a “YES” by the MET Council.

I personally did not want to give the impression that anything could be fixed to make me “approve this project”. And so the dilemma.

I, Council Member Dahl, propose a
non-resolution of municipal consent
to the preliminary design plans for
the Metro Blue Line Extension.

Up until a few days ago I couldn’t have told you how I was going to vote on this. I have wrestled with this until I felt physically ill. Why? Because we have been given an offer we can’t refuse.

Our options are Yes, Yes, or …Yes.

If we vote “yes” and endorse this project (because that’s what this vote is really about), we might get what we asked for on behalf of our citizens. I feel strongly about protecting the rights and safety of the citizens of Crystal, and at first glace it may seem that bargaining for a bridge and sound wall is the best we can do. But is it?

If we vote “yes,” granting municipal consent, we are endorsing what some of us believe to be a bad plan for Crystal. When this plan is brought to the State level and it is reported that “All Cities Voted Yes, All Cities Want This” – how will our representatives act on that information?

Contrary to popular belief, made possible through the sales tactics used so far- this line is not a done deal yet. But if we want our State Representatives to fight it, how can they do so if we have officially backed the project?

Each one of us has done our job: Listening to the concerns of our citizens, and telling the project office what our city needs for it’s safety and well-being. We were told that we need to give an affirmative yes, to “best ensure” that we get a ped-bridge and sound walls. But, “best ensure” is not the same as a guarantee, and a guarantee we have not been given.

If this project is pushed through and the critical features we need fail to become reality, (regardless how we vote today,) the final result of the project will not be on us. What WILL be on us, is whether or not we endorse a project that puts our citizens at risk.

When the newspapers and history books record that “Crystal Voted Yes” on the station planning for Crystal – there will be no caveats and no clarifications. The public will only be able to conclude that we either ignored them – and were fully on board with the project – or that we were pushovers and couldn’t stand up for our citizens. Countless citizens have written us, appeared at city meetings and other LRT events, asking us to please vote no.

We are being pushed and manipulated into approving this. The people of Crystal elected us to be their voice and we are being silenced. We could just let this happen and try to enjoy the experience, or we could shout out our disapproval and protest this ridiculous process by way of a non-resolution.

This way, though a non-vote will legally becomes a “yes” within 45 days, it is my hope that the citizens of Crystal and our state representatives will see it for the “no” that it really is.

Please, don’t vote yes.

I move for a non-resolution.



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