Friday, August 4, 2017

I Love the Metropolitan Council

What an idea: someone who knows something about our Metropolitan Council and its history writing to explain to our current crop of Republican legislators why the Council was started, what it has accomplished, and why Republicans are wrong in their efforts to destroy it.

While I don't agree with everything written by Steve Dornfeld in his Star Tribune commentary, it contains a lot of good information:

  • It was Republicans who got the Council established, back when members of that party knew that government can be part of the solution.
  • The Met Council rescued our region from failing backyard septic systems and their pollution, a dysfunctional bus system, and unplanned development that was steamrolling natural areas.
  • The Council created our wastewater treatment system, which wins awards while costing users 40 percent less in fees than comparable regions.
  • It gave us Metro Transit, also award-winning, with a single payment system so fares get you onto all of the most important public transit modes (unlike, say, San Francisco where the BART light rail and MUNI buses are separate, or Seattle with separate bus systems running on the same streets).
  • Developed a 55,000-acre park system.
I support the changes recommend by the Citizens League task force on the Met Council. Why not let county and other local officials have more say in screening Council members before the governor does the final selection? Why not change the schedule of appointments so that only a third are done at once, every four years? Sounds fine.

But the idea of turning over member selection directly to the control of counties is a recipe for narrow interests clashing, rather than regional thinking prevailing.

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