January 26 City Council observations

Some thoughts on the parts of the City Council meeting that I watched last night:

  • Last night’s City Council meeting only provided more proof as to how the Council went wrong when it decided Mike Huang wasn’t worthy of sitting on the Planning Commission (after losing to Rick Ford in the Ward 4 election in November). Huang’s presentation on behalf of his neighbors on Manuela Drive was coherent, intelligent, and in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation.  Maybe he hasn’t lived here for 30 years, but Huang is a smart guy who brings the right spirit to his interactions with city government.
  • I found it curious that the Mayor essentially sat out the discussion of the 212 Medical Center.  I suppose he was letting Chris Schulz test-drive the gavel, but given the level of interest from the public and the prominence of the project, the Mayor should have been in the big chair, not at the back of the room.  Leadership is putting yourself front and center at key times, Mr. Mayor. 

[EDIT:  I have found out that the Mayor recused himself from the discussion because the company he is forming with Dave Pokorney is working on a business agreement with the Medical Center.  I retract my criticism of the Mayor for not participating in the discussion.  It was entirely appropriate for him not to participate.]

  • City Staff, the Planning Commission, the developer, and local residents deserve a lot of credit for working together to make the plans for the 212 Medical Center a lot better than what was originally proposed.  The city needs to pressure MnDOT on the 41/Hundertmark Intersection AND the Second Street Stoplight.  They are both vital!
  • At what point will the folks at City Hall stop making excuses for the shoddy condition of the city’s web site?  The real problem is that no one sees it as a priority to do these basic sorts of things to communicate what Chaska is doing on behalf of its citizens. There’s always the excuse that there’s going to be some project to redesign the website — a project that has now been on the table for about three years. I think it would be great if the city’s website were redesigned, but it doesn’t mean you stop posting on the current site until the new site is ready.  Chanhassen has the agendas and minutes for the City Council and commissions going back to 1997 on their website. Eden Prairie has 50 years of such history available online, and their City Manager has a blog on the city website that is updated at least weekly. Both cities have managed to maintain the availability of such documents through web page redesign efforts. Why is Chaska incapable of doing so?
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