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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Googling on Urban Vultures

Such fun.....

Term: "Urban Vultures"

Term: "Urban Ventures Jesus Christ"

Term: "Urban Ventures Colin Powell"

Term: "Urban Ventures"

4th or 5th result down, this:

Lobbyists Registered Registration
Number Registration
Date Termination
Kristen Amundson 4056 3/11/04
Chris Georgacas 4002 3/15/04
Robert C Hentges 6533 2/4/04
John H Herman 2035 2/4/04
Nancy Hylden 9258 2/4/04
Kristofer Schwarzrock 1317 2/4/04

EY: Yup different lobbyists to tell different legislators different stories.

A few more:

"Art Erickson Urban Ventures"

"Urban Ventures Bible"

"Urban Ventures Hood"

This brings you to a moving section of the Urban Vultures website - Photos of the Hood.

Yup included in this photo essay is a charming picture of a burned out house. Charming. This undermines the people trying to invest in the area and improve their houses.

Cartoon of Urban Vultures Sponsors of Colin Powell Youth Center Feeding Off the Taxpayers

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

More Bus Strike Blues

Letter to Met Council Chair Peter Bell from Rev Dennis Sanders. Posted with permission of author.

Dear Chairman Bell,

Hello. My name is Dennis Sanders. I wrote a letter addressed to you about a week ago urging you to come back to the negotiation table with the transit union in order to settle the transit strike. When I heard of the mediation session last Monday, I was hopeful for a solution. However, when I heard that the union tried to come with a new plan and it was not even considered by the Met Council, I was rather upset. Negotiation means coming together and trying to come up with a solution that is palatable to both sides. While I can understand that the union's plan might have still been unacceptable to you, simply saying that the union must accept the Met Council's offer seems to show that the Met Council is not willing to find a creative solution to this situation.

The transit strike is affecting many people. The poor are having a hard, if not impossible time getting around. Even those who are not economically disadvantaged are having a hard time. My housemate usually takes the bus regularly from our North Minneapolis home into downtown. He now has to rely on the good graces of fellow workmates. However, these people are going on vacation in a few weeks and he now have to look for another way to work. I was asked to do this and I'm willing. However, this means he will probably have to rearrange his schedule since I work at different times than he does. It will also mean he will have to wait an hour before I can come to pick him up from work. I'm willing to help my friend out, but neither of us should have to arrange our lives around because the two sides are unwilling to work together to solve this issue for the good of the wider community.

Mr. Bell, this is but one of the many stories that are taking place because of this strike. Many people's lives are being rearranged if not outright put on hold because of this strike. As a public servant, you must put the needs of the community first which means finding a way to solve this impasse. Time is not on your side.

If you are looking for creative solutions, I would look to the plan that the City of Minneapolis and the union representing city workers came up with. In that system, workers pay a higher deductible, but the city contributes to a fund to help workers defray out of pocket costs. The city, like the Met Council, was working with budget constraints and yet found a way to solve the problem that would benefit both sides.

As a Republican, I can understand the need to live within your means. However, as a conservative, I also believe in choice and energy conservation and a strong transit system fulfills both of these goals. Please, try to find a way to solve this strike. Thank you.

Rev. Dennis Sanders
North Minneapolis