According to this Strib editorial, the Met Council is just terrific. Apparently, they don’t think the same about Jason Lewis. The editorial’s opening paragraph states “Second District Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis is attempting to apply the heavy thumb of the federal government to tip the scales in a long-running debate over the composition of the Metropolitan Council. We think Lewis and the feds should keep their hands off. This is a matter Minnesotans can and should decide for themselves.”

Actually, it isn’t just a local matter. That’s because many bodies like the Met Council exist across the nation. Further, since the Met Council has taxation authority and the authority to usurp local jurisdictions, it’s insane to think that they shouldn’t be accountable to the people.

The editorial also says this:

We’ve also been skeptical about creating a “council of governments.” Its members would be politically beholden to the local constituencies that elected them, rather than the region as a whole. Instead, we favor instituting staggered terms for council members and employing a panel of local officials as a screening committee to recommend council candidates to the governor.

What’s so virtuous about a panel that’s accountable only to the governor? I don’t see anything worthwhile about that. Let’s further ask the question at the heart of this argument: why do these bureaucrats, plus the Star Tribune, fear the people? Governments are supposed to be of, by and for the people. This nation was started in part by the belief that there should be no taxation without representation. Who does the Met Council represent? The Governor?

That doesn’t sound like a governing body that governs with the consent of the people. That sounds like a dictatorial body.

The Met Council is filled with special interests. For instance, Jennifer Munt ‘represents’ District 3, “which includes the Hennepin County cities of Chanhassen, Deephaven, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Greenwood, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata, and Woodland. Munt is the Public Affairs Director for AFSCME Council 5, where she leads marketing, communications and media relations.”

This isn’t about representing the people. It’s about representing the special interests:

Previously [Munt] was the Communications Director for the Hiawatha LRT project (2000-2005) and an Outreach Coordinator for the Metropolitan Council (1999-2002).

Munt hasn’t represented people in the past. She’s represented governments and special interests.

Here’s Jason Lewis’s statement on what his amendment actually does:

“Currently, and in contrast to federal law, all 17 members of the Met Council are appointed by the Governor of the State of Minnesota. MPOs nationwide are created with the intent to improve infrastructure planning and, especially, transit investments on behalf of constituencies across a given region. In 2012, Congress rightly determined that locally elected officials are best suited to represent those same groups. In our region, the failure of the Met Council to include locally elected officials as part of their governing board has undermined this key aspect of accountability to the people they represent.”

Background:

MAP-21 required that federally recognized MPOs that participate in transit improvement program planning, long-range capital plans, coordination of transit services, and that carry out other state activities, all of which rely on federal funding and grants, meet certain requirements. These requirements include a board makeup of locally elected officials, public transportation officials, and appropriate state officials.
The Metropolitan Council (Met Council) currently has a Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) that consists of local elected officials, but in August of 2015, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration ruled that the TAB lacked any voting authority and therefore the Met Council did not meet the threshold of MPO compliance.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration used a separate clause in federal law to “grandfather” the Met Council into compliance.

Our amendment does not seek to change the operations or scope of the Met Council. It does not attempt to change the activities of the board. It simply requires that for a board to be in compliance they need to have locally elected official representation consistent with every other MPO in the country.

In other words, the Strib appears to be running interference for the Met Council. Rep. Lewis’s amendment doesn’t change the Met Council’s responsibilities. It simply requires the Met Council into compliance with existing federal law. That isn’t “tipping the scales” in one direction or another, as the Strib implies. It simply forces the Met Council to comply with existing federal law.

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One Response to “STrib: The Met Council is fantastic”

  • Crimson Trace says:

    The Met Council is a corrupt, self serving board beholden only to the governor.

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