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July 25, 2008

Cruise With Leaders - blogs and pics

Here's some from a follow-up story on the Cruise w/ Local Leaders event Thursday by Treasure Island Casino.

For the record, anonymous comments on stories and blogs were one the hot topics at the event. I felt the questions that touched on things like violence, Washington Village and other current issues were the most important ones.

So I blog issues at the bottom of the story. And to git the space I had, that part was cut from print. However, I'm including some that part here:

It wasn’t just Rah-Rah Rochester.

In-fill developments, gang violence and building difficulties were on the minds of Rochester business leaders as they peppered the top city and county officials with questions during Crusing with Local Leaders, an event sponsored by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

On the banks of the Mississippi outside Treasure Island Casino, Rochester City Council President Dennis Hanson and Olmsted County Board Chairman Dave Perkins faced tricky waters as about 100 people threw questions at them.

Hanson opened the discussion by describing his recent ride with Rochester city police on a Saturday night.
Dangerous situations

“When the sun goes down, the community changes,” he said, describing the gangs, violence and drugs he saw in that one night.

“Dangerous things are happening in our community. We need to take strong proactive steps to get it under control now,” Hanson said. “We’re starting to understand…public safety is a huge, huge issue.”
Perkins, who pointed out that the county maintains the jail facility and provides social services, said these type of issues will not be solved by any single government group. “It is going to take the whole community,” he said.
072408leadercruise3jkReferencing the recent opposition to the Washington Village housing project, Tony Lehrman of the Rochester Area Builders asked how in-fill developments like that could be handled better. Neighbors felt like the apartment complex would hurt the neighborhood.

Hanson said the drive of developers to fill open areas and the concern of people living in those neighborhoods is not easy to deal with.

“We try to do what’s right. It is not easy,” he said. “I can’t vote against it just because I want the neighbors to like me.’

Chamber Executive Director John Wade asked if the often angry and meant-spirited anonymous comments posted on the Post-Bulletin’s Web site about issues like Washington Village impact leaders’ decisions.
“I think more and more blogs are driving public debate and not necessarily in a positive way,” Wade said.
Hanson said they comments do not effect the decisions he makes.
“We’re elected to be impartial,” he said. “It is emotional and they do hurt, but I don’t believe they effect policy.


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This was a GREAT event and I would like to thank the Chamber and its sponsors for hosting.

I also would like to take this time and thank JAN HOAG for assisting Kiger the Tiger in getting this put together on the bus ride back home.

This was a TEAM effort!

"Fill in" developments? If the alternative to more fill-in ghetto housing is a vacant lot, let's opt for more vacant lots and spare the downstream costs of more police, fire and social services.

Its nice to know that our great council president and chamber have to get out of town and their offices to discuss things, sure makes it clear why only builders, developers, etc get anything in this town. Can you say Sellout.

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