Friday, August 12, 2011

Minn. students show little improvement on science test | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minn. students show little improvement on science test | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak: Significant cut to property-tax growth

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
Minneapolis residents have told me many times that your property taxes are too high, and I’ve heard you. This is why yesterday, I proposed cutting the previously-projected 6.7 percent increase in next year’s property-tax levy to just 2 percent. Along with that, I proposed holding spending for basic City services nearly flat next year.   
Just one year ago, when we finalized the 2011 budget, we projected that another property-tax increase of 6.7 percent would be necessary for 2012, due to skyrocketing closed-pension costs and other costs. This was even after we cut spending significantly this year, when we’re eliminating around 100 full-time positions.  

That projected 6.7 percent increase for next year was unacceptable to me and unsustainable to homeowners who want to stay in our city. Through working hard to keep holding the line on spending, and to reach a compromise agreement to merge two closed-pension funds that have been the source of large tax increases in recent years into the State’s professionally-run PERA retirement system, I am able to propose cutting the size of next year’s tax increase by $13 million  

In my view, this solution that goes a long way toward meeting the need to cut the growth of property taxes and the need to continue providing the core services that keep our streets safe and paved, our neighborhoods clean and healthy and our economy growing for the future, all of which our residents, commuters and visitors rely on at a time when we continue to be squeezed by rising costs, such as for health care, and by the Legislature’s unwillingness to balance the State’s budget sustainably.   

It’s important to remember that over the past decade, Minneapolis has been fiscally responsible: we now spend 8 percent less a year than we did 10 years ago, we have 10 percent fewer full-time positions than we did 10 years ago, and we’ve paid down $130 million in debt and restored the City’s AAA credit rating. In this time of financial turmoil at so many levels of government, this record reflects well on Minneapolis.
The process of building the City’s 2012 budget has been underway for some time. I got started right at the beginning of this year when I organized a series of public forums in the neighborhoods most affected by property-tax increases so that I could get your feedback in person about how we could do more to hold the line. You gave me a lot of great ideas that will be in my full budget proposal, which I will release on September 12.  

We’ve also worked hard at the State Capitol to hold the line on property taxes, whether through fighting for the Local Government Aid that Minneapolis deserves or reaching a compromise to end the broken closed-pension system that has overcharged taxpayers for years. It’s been a tough environment and we haven’t won everything we’ve wanted, but we’ve made progress. 
But the 2012 budget process is far from over. After I release my full budget proposal next month, the City Council will hold many hearings on it, and you should express your opinion to your Council member. There will also be public hearings on the budget later this fall, so watch your mailboxes for that information.  
Finally, let me know what you think. City Council members and I can’t solve our complex, many-layered budget challenges by ourselves. When we work in partnership with residents, however, we have a much greater chance of striking the balance we need.  
I value that partnership and look forward to working with you over the next several months to hold the line on property taxes and keep Minneapolis a city that works
Mayor R.T. Rybak
City of Minneapolis

P.S.: To learn more about how I’m working to address the issues affecting our city, sign up for my e-mail update, check out my website or follow my blog.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Open letter to the Northside Community Response Team, Funders, and Organizations

Communications chair for the Northside Community Response Team (NCRT) delivers a punch that will set back the organization permanently.

Dear Mr. Rutherford-Communications Chairman/NCRT; Chairman King; Rev. Coleman and members of the Northside Community Response Team,

I talked with Chairman King in late July and told him I would be a team player and assist the NCRT anyway I could from the large list of corporate services I have. At no time did I ask the NCRT for money, nor did I expect any. The most important thing in the recovery phase was making sure that the “victims” received green pieces of paper in their hands – not for an organization to hold open houses, parlor events and press conferences while people are still homeless, jobless and without any economic opportunities.

With that said, I am very concerned about an email I received from the director of communications for the Northside Community Response Team. In this slanderous, heinous untrue email it stated that, (unedited) “Mr. Allen now that you have made a open request for funds you have crossed over the line and have entered the realm of "Libel" and "Blackmail".  Because I knew you couldn't resist crossing that line I independently (without the aid/instruction of NCRT or its affiliates) saved your email that I openly called threats copied some of your blogs/news reports and hold Anika's proposal in which you are listed one of the payees.”

1)     I, Don Allen have never made any request for funds from the NCRT.

2)     IBNN NEWS is a citizen’s investigative reporting website. We take no money from or for advertisers. I have not seen any documentation that says I’m a “payee.”

3)    I don’t even know who Eric Rutherford is; his websites or his work – therefore I have no reason to criticize him publicly or privately – and never have, other than to tell him “he has bad information.” 

4)     Mr. Rutherford’s slanderous remarks about me and Ms. Anika Robbins are folly without merit or substance.

5)    I demand full disclosure on how much money the NCRT core committee has “invested” in Mr. Rutherford and why Mr. Rutherford seems to have some kind of privileged status.

6)    As far as legal threats – bring it on, according to my attorney, you have put the NCRT at risk of legal action due to your ill-advised rants that are slanderous, defamatory and hold no credence whatsoever.

7)    At no time have I ever stated to corrupt the NCRT website or any other promotion tool to assist victims in north Minneapolis. Where Mr. Rutherford is getting this information is unknown.

8)    At no time have I requested $4000 for media buys. I have never mailed a proposal to the core group or Chairman King.

9)    If Mr. Rutherford does not comply with an apology to not only myself and others of the NCRT, I will publically post this story on the web using the key words and SEO to make it show up overtime NRCT is Google’d.

10)     It’s truly upsetting that Communications in the Black community turn in to lies, deceit and contempt prior to investigation. I hold no ill-will to Mr. Rutherford, but an apology by him is in order.

In closing, I have copied and pasted the said email below. I demand an immediate apology to myself, Anika and other members of the Communications team who have not gotten one penny from the NCRT funds.

Until then, based on the communication from Mr. Rutherford submit a vote of no-confidence for Mr. Rutherford’s position due his invalidated rant below.

The following has not been edited:
To: Don Allen
Fr. Eric Rutherford-Communications Director NCRT (see signature block at end)



Chairman King as a man whom I respect I believe that it is only right that I inform you when there are snakes in the bushes and there are plenty here.  The only part of Anika's meeting notes that is factual is when she stated that I said that "I would go around her to get what I need".  I did say it and meant every word, but allow me to tell you what else has transgressed/conspired at this meeting and previous engagements.  Anika has canceled the fundraiser that the NCRT has approved and paid for, she has also gone out of her way to go to the MOA and have them pull the NCRT from that event.  She has clearly stated that she will not work with the Graphic Designer that the NCRT/Conexions has paid for and approved.  Mr. Allen has openly spoken out against the NCRT and plans to ruin any events they have and attempt to undermine their website if he doesn't get the MONEY he wants.  Anika has openly spoken and stated that she will take the money for the website and create a blog page and facebook for the NCRT instead.  Anika has removed me from the communications team, and will not allow me to get what's needed for us to table our events at the Midway Stadium in conjunction with the St. Paul Saints.  Anika attempted yesterday to get rid of the camera company I hired and paid for; for the express usage of the NCRT.  I have informed Anika and now informing the NCRT committee as a whole that I REFUSE TO WORK FOR ANIKA BUT AM WILLING TO WORK WITH ANYONE.  As it stands the fundraiser event @ MOA and Midway Stadium has been canceled per Anika (she even states it on her meeting notes under "events" 3rd bullet point down), the Professional Graphic Designer Company is awaiting instructions from NCRT, and Carmera Crew ready and awaiting orders to start filming TV commercials for NCRT.  Also and this is very important I refuse to work under Anika (will work with her), and the NCRT should be forewarned that they do plan to run off with the NCRT's money.


My message to you is much shorter and simpler but you should take this as my "Official Letter of Intent".  This is an official letter of intent directed towards Don Allen his company IBNN News and its affiliates.  Mr. Allen now that you have made a open request for funds you have crossed over the line and have entered the realm of "Libel" and "Blackmail".  Because I knew you couldn't resist crossing that line I independently (without the aid/instruction of NCRT or its affiliates) saved your email that I openly called threats copied some of your blogs/news reports and hold Anika's proposal in which you are listed one of the payees.  I have also obtained legal counsel in the forms of Attorney John Harker and Attorney K. Bullock and will file a formal suit against on the behalf of Conexions Enterprises and NCRT if even 1 slanderous, untrue statement is so much as blogged about.  Also since you mention the capability and willingness to destroy/distraught/sabotage the website and/or local events of the NCRT and/or Conexions Enterprises.  I am officially informing you that if the appearance/attempt to do these things is taken by yourself, your company or its affiliates I will seek legal action against you.  Lastly now that you have become a member of the NCRT, requested funds, and your business has news in its title.  You are required by LAW to write retractions on every and any story that could be considered "Libel" against the NCRT, it members/affiliates, or myself.  Before you attempt to stick out your chest at I suggest you speak to legal counsel, google my attorneys and my affiliations with the city and its political figures, and google the terms "libel" and "blackmail" and what it means for yourself and your company since you've now requested $4000.00 under "media buys".  You see Mr. Allen unlike yourself I deal within the realm of the law and DO NOT MAKE THREATS BUT MAKE PROMISES AND I PROMISE TO PROSECUTE YOU UNDER THE FULL ARM OF THE LAW IF YOU DO NOT CEASE YOUR CURRENT ACTIONS (note that I have not filed yet but that this is simply to be viewed as an official letter of intent if your actions are not remedied).


Do not mention my name, my companies name, nor my affiliates without our permission or under false pretenses EVER AGAIN!!!!!  I am not in support of your budget, and believe it embarrassing and shameful that you would attempt to take funds from a cause and a people (your people) for your own gain.  You may think that we are alike because I requested funds also, but we are not.  I requested funds only after I have exhausted every free resource, worked the NCRT system and put up my own time and money.  I unlike yourself have put my money where my mouth is.  I have matched the NCRT for every dime they have put in, I have attended every meeting, I have shown to have media connections, and shown my marketing/promotional skills.  I have never gone behind your back and said anything that I have not said to you first.  I do want you to know that at the next meeting with the permission of Chairman King I will make a motion to have you either step down as Communications Chair or have a Co Chair appointed, and I will use your own proposal as my ammo for doing so.  I do want to thank you though because it was your greed that will be your downfall, and I will also press the "Accountability and Transparency", and "Core Team" that you be removed as Chair. 


The Bible teaches that you can "Judge a man by the Fruits of his labor".  I just want it to be openly known that I will come with a separate proposal similar to the one given by Anika.  But I will not attempt to rob such a great cause as the NCRT.  I will match the NCRT in funds, work and time as I have done so far.  Also I will follow the direction of Chairman King, NCRT, and the Northside Community.

Lastly to all those listed in this email I want it to be known that everything stated was done so under my direction/conscience, and not be construed as the conscience/direction of the NCRT. ATTCHED YOU WILL SEE ANIKA'S PROPOSAL THAT LISTED MY NAME AND THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMELS BACK.

Eric Rutherford
President & CEO
Conexions Enterprises/
Communications Director
Northside Community Response Team (NCRT)

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