Mayor R.T. Rybak made a foolish mistake that shows off his eccentricity that Minneapolis taxpayers are getting mugged for. Yes, I’m talking about the artistic drinking fountans that Minneapolis’s taxpayers are getting mugged for because they tickled Rybak’s fancy.

Now that they’re in place, the reviews aren’t that great:

We’ve been staking out the four fabled city-financed artistic drinking fountains in Minneapolis recently. We wanted to see what the nearly $50,000 per fountain from our property taxes and water fees buys. You can judge for yourself from the photos.

We were also curious how much use they get. With one exception, the answer is not much.

We posted ourselves on E. Lake Street next to the Midtown YWCA. We discovered that the fountain there may be more successful from an artistic standpoint than as a watering hole. It’s in a nicely landscaped corner of the Y, but it’s not handy to either of the Y’s entrances and is a good distance from the closest bus stop. Only eight pedestrians and a lone biker wandered by during our observation on an early evening warm enough to encourage taking a good slug of city water.

Intrigued, we finally flagged down one walker, Charles Anderson of Minneapolis, to ask him if he ever partook of the free city water.

“I never really knew it was a water fountain,” responded Anderson, who said he mistook for a piece of sculpture the fountain designed by artists Gita Ghei, Sara Hanson and Jan Louise Kusske. It’s the largest of the four fountains, and there’s clearly a lot going on in the design. “Maybe that’s why a lot of people don’t use it,” said Anderson, who suggested that adding a simple sign offering fresh water might attract more drinkers.

Minneapolis taxpayers should be outraged. These expensive water-filled albatrosses have cost taxpayers $200,000, with another $300,000 still appropriated to be spent. Had they bought the standard issue drinking fountains, they would’ve saved $440,000. More importantly, thirsty joggers and passersby would’ve identified the drinking fountains as drinking fountains.

Why have Minneapolis voters voted this guy in again and again? It isn’t like they’ve gotten their money’s worth out of him.

Most importantly, Minnesota should turn a deaf ear to Minneapolis when they whine about getting LGA cut. Minneapolis keeps electing Rybak even though he’s spent money recklessly. The rest of Minnesota shouldn’t subsidize Minneapolis’s reckless spending habits.

If Minneapolis crashes because R.T. Rybak and the city council agreed to spending taxpayers’ money foolishly, then they should accept responsibility for spending foolishly. R.T. Rybak and the city council should accept responsibility for spending taxpayers’ money foolishly. The voters shouldn’t be allowed to get away without accepting responsibility for electing irresponsible people.

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