Why would a Welcoming city want to increase taxes on it's hospitality industry, especially when we are already seeing so many restaurants close? According to Mayor Kleis, the increase in taxes on our local restaurants and hotels will not effect their business. This statement by the Mayor should concern anyone with a very basic understanding of economics. Taxpayers can still be hit with a heavy price even without a line item showing an expense.
This is not just tourism taxation, this will be a further taxation on the citizens of the city of St. Cloud. Tax money that will now be used to upgrade in part the Riversedge Convention Center, which according to the Mayor must be updated in order to bring in corporate partners to purchase the naming rights. OK, Mr Mayor, where were these potential partners when it was newly renovated a few years ago? Why wasn't the city pursuing these opportunities when they were available? If our leadership missed this opportunity, what other opportunities are they missing? Why should the tax payers vote to give you more money when you have missed prime opportunities to safe guard what we have given you previously?
Are you tired of everyone in public office holding the opinion that more tax money solves everything? At what point do we tell our elected officials "NO!"? No more taxes, no more ignoring your current stewardship duties in order to continue to build more thereby creating more to care for, without caring for what you currently have on your plate?
The naming rights should have been secured years ago, even before the work began. A person with the plans, someone who sings the praises of St. Cloud, an attention seeking happy face fuzzy britches persona, could have gone out to businesses and sold the idea. I am personally not a fan of public private partnerships, but as we have already gone down this road, then how about making it work for the people? It is supposed to be a government of, for and by the people, the founding fathers did not mean for the people to just foot the bill. Plus there is the question of is St Cloud in the position to pay another bill especially when we factor in information like this:
While in 2010 St. Cloud had no extreme poverty tracts, one neighborhood crossed that threshold over the past several years. The city’s extreme poverty neighborhood is home to 17.1% of the city’s poor population — the highest rate of concentrated poverty in Minnesota and more than twice the state’s concentrated poverty rate of 8.3%.
While individuals in low-income areas tend to have less educational attainment than those in high-income areas, the presence of St. Cloud State University can help explain the smaller achievement gap between the two demographics in the metro area. Some 24.4% of adults in St. Cloud’s extreme poverty neighborhoods have a bachelor’s degree, nearly in line with the 25.1% college attainment rate outside of the city’s extreme poverty neighborhoods.
Tax increases will cause people to go to surrounding cities and will damage our already troubled hospitality industry. Our current leaders need to find another way, and the next time there is an opportunity make the most of it. It is time for the citizens to elect leaders in St. Cloud to do their job, work for the people and act in their best interests, not elect people to run around having fun and being popular. We have work to be done.
The culture of St. Cloud's leadership must be changed to one of servant leadership. We the people employ them. I am Liz Baklaich, and I humbly ask for your vote on August 14th, in Ward #2, to begin to be a part of the change in culture we so desperately need in St. Cloud.
We have all heard it, you have Freedom of Speech unless you are yelling FIRE! in a crowded theater; but wait... what happens when the theater IS on fire and people are in danger?
In a 1919 unanimous Supreme Court Ruling, Schenck v. United States, the court made clear that the First Amendment protects freedom of expression, but not dangerous speech. OK, so why are people who are sounding an alarm warning people being silenced and their warning being called "hate speech"?
We are blessed in the United States with our 1st Amendment, we have the right to criticize our leaders, to poke fun at beliefs that we find crazy and even (troubling as it might be to hear) to say hateful things that are offensive. We have to defend the speech we hate, it is actually the most important speech to defend. When I was very little my dad was on the state patrol, the KKK was holding a parade and I remember talking to him and being confused about why officers needed to protect them while they marched. I asked why not just let the people who disagree with them beat them up... Why protect them? He explained to me that once we give power to any group to silence another we have started down a slippery slope. This was the first time I heard the poem from Martin Niemöller.
The right to speak freely is addressed in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution for a reason. We have the right to say what comes to mind and to speak off the cuff without fear of jail. Don't laugh, there are countries where the author of some recent US headlines could have put them-self in serious jeopardy of prison time had they been reporting in/on another country. As you can see from the newspaper clipping the good "outspoken" Pastor was "FINALLY" put in prison for voicing his opposition to the Nazi regime. Now we can all clearly see that he was on the right side of history, but when he was arrested and the article was published things were not so clear to the masses, so silencing him became a necessity for the evil to continue.
Our Freedom of Speech, yes even here in America, is currently under attack, people are losing their job for saying something that is unpopular, and good people are afraid to get involved (same as in the poem).
Tommy Robinson is in prison in the UK, where they do not have Freedom of Speech, for speaking up/ video taping the grooming gangs who were on trial for the rapes of girls as young as eleven. How is it that this happens? It is easy, he was speaking out against a group of men (I use the term loosely) who are responsible for these heinous crimes, 87% of whom are from one country, and they make up only 2% of the population in the UK. Is it politically incorrect? maybe/maybe not... But when it is factually correct: is it hate speech? Does an honest warning to inform and protect others warrant being arrested and thrown in prison? Is it morally correct to warn the population when the media is complicit in hiding the facts from the parents? Is it an imperative to help people understand what they are facing so they can stop it? Is it wrong to speak up to defend the weakest among us? Is it a crime to sound the alarm that needs to be sounded? How long before this happens here?
Why would anyone think it is wrong to yell FIRE! when the theater is burning with people inside?
In February, we, a group of concerned citizens, began looking for people to run for City Council, we knew we needed change. I personally asked several people who live in Ward 2, who would put the peoples needs first, to run. No one wanted to take on the troubles and one was even honestly talking about leaving rather than trying to fix what they see as broken with the city of St. Cloud.
I had hoped that someone else would step up, but in the back of my mind I knew that under no circumstances could the incumbent city councilman run unopposed again. A challenger was necessary for the race in Ward 2.
God knows our limited human vision and has a plan. I do not pretend to understand the plan, or know His timing, but it became very clear to me in very personal ways that I was here at this time and in the position to be a challenger.
Stepping out of my comfort zone I went about gathering the necessary signatures on the petition to enter the race. On several occasions I have been blessed with more clear evidence that this was indeed the right action, from a meeting yesterday that has now created the amazing potential to get the entire city better trained in hands only CPR, to meeting with the inspiring "hand up" group at Promise Neighborhood, to making and facilitating connections that will hopefully be a further blessing to all involved.
I am opening this blog with thanks and prayer to God. It is as it must be.
My dear friend Denise and I have begun to pray everyday at noon, we pray for our families, our friends and for the city of St. Cloud. I humbly ask that you join us as we are told in Matthew 18:18-20 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Eventually seated on city council or not, I am already a winner with the blessings and new connections from entering this race. A race that was never part of my plan to run; but this is not my plan.
I am thankful for being in a position to be a part of this race for city council, for the support, new connections and everyone involved, thank you. I look forward to being a part of the continued blessings and reaching out to our community in real lasting ways.