As I mentioned back at the end of August, I will be posting the interviews I did with the two running for Apple Valley mayor this year. As promised in the comment section of the post linked above I am putting these up in the order they were received and Ryan Moe was the second to provide me with his answers.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Ryan Moe’s responses so read through what he has provided and comment on below! If you’re interested be sure to check out Mayor Mary’s responses as well.
LL: What are your top priorities for Apple Valley city government?
RM: Cut wasteful spending.
LL: What traits do you believe make for a good councilmember?
RM: Common sense and open ears.
LL: Do you feel that Apple Valley does enough to involve the citizenry in its decision making processes?
RM: They do an okay job but not a great job. I wrote about the neighbor hood gas station, on my facebook page, that wanted a car wash and was turned down. This gas station is directly behind our house and we were never asked if we were okay with it. It would have taken 10 minutes for someone to knock on our door and simply ask us our thoughts and if we were not home they could have stuck a note in the door to call or email about it. Same thing goes for the Frisbee golf course (I have no idea if they went door to door but guessing not) the people directly effected by this being built spoke up and were not listened to. It might not always get you the answers you are looking for but asking the people that have to deal with your decisions 24 hours a day 7 days week are who you need to listen to.
LL: Given the economy’s affect on State funding for municipalities, what is your vision to secure Apple Valley’s economic standing long-term?
RM: First thing is stopping the tax payer funded building of things we can live without. Second, we need to look into all of the cities employees paid and benefits to make sure they are on the same level as the people that pay them. Third it would be to give all small businesses the chance to do what they think needs to be done to survive in good and bad times.
LL: What is Apple Valley’s biggest asset?
RM: Apple Valley’s biggest asset would be the Police and Fire departments. The few times I have had to call 911 they have been quick to respond and very professional. The Police do a great job patrolling the streets.
LL: What do you think about Apple Valley’s relationship with the business community?
RM: They do good at bringing in big corporations and letting them grow as they should. Smaller business tend to be forgotten when it comes to any part of the government. Coming from a family owned business, that was at the mercy of the MSP airport, I know how easy it is for a council to push around or just plain not care about what is going to happen to you if they go forward with a project. I can not say how to handle every situation because everyone would be different but if a business is going to be hurt because of road construction or something the city is involved with then we need to talk with the owners about how we can make sure they make it through the project with their business still running.
Reader submitted questions:
LL: What should the City do in the Founders Circle area to encourage development – assuming that development here is a good thing – and what type of development should occur here? Should a new plan be developed entirely?
RM: I would be open to just about anything as long as tax payers are not paying for it and it does not hurt the small, locally owned businesses we already have and no more big box stores.
LL: What are your thoughts on CDA (i.e. subsidized) housing and the Metropolitan Council’s guidelines that suburbs such as Apple Valley need more low-cost and senior housing?
RM: We are doing no one any favors by taking money away from hard working people and then building subsidized housing. That brings more people down to the poverty level and then we need more subsidized housing. I will fight with every thing I have to stop any government funded spending on housing no matter what part of the government it is coming from. If the Met Council wants to raise their own private money and build cheap rental properties for the poor then I have no problem with it.
LL: What are your thoughts on the upcoming Cedar Avenue construction and the ever-increasing traffic volumes on CR42 and Cedar? Do you agree that traffic is the top issue facing Apple Valley residents?
RM: I think that building a Bus Rapid Transit system on Cedar Ave before we see how it is going to work out on 35W is moving too fast in hard economic times and letting them drive on shoulder is going to do nothing for people in their cars. This seems to be another way for government to control how we live our life’s by almost forcing us to take the bus or sit in traffic. Yes there is a lot of traffic on 42 and Cedar at times. I drove there this morning at 7:15 and there was nothing, but there was a big back up on Cedar once past all the stop lights. I think that has a lot to do with to road construction on 62 and 35W. In the evening hours there is more traffic but nothing that is an emergency to fix now, again when we just don’t have the money. I drive down Cedar past 42 a couple times a week after work to go to Cub or Rainbow and yes it takes some time but nothing to panic over.
LL: What should the City of Apple Valley do to maintain and improve transit service, especially in light of the Suburb Operator vs. Metro Transit war of words that has been stoked in the news lately?
RM: The people that ride public transportation should pay 100% of the bill for it. What ever transit service can provide the south metro the best service with out asking for government handouts is going to be my choice. Maybe we can get rid of both and have a private company that needs to make a profit come in and show us how it is done.
LL: What are you doing/suggest be done to bring “head of household jobs” to the city?
RM: Whether it is drafting favorable legislation, which will allow our current business owners to expand more easily, taking inventory of city owned land that can be used for commercial expansion, or re-establishing the permitting process we have for business construction. Might be a step in the right direction.
LL: You mention on your Facebook page that you are a Libertarian but not yet endorsed by the party. Being that the Apple Valley (AV) City Council is a non-partisan council why do you feel it is important to make you political party affiliation known?
RM: I am active in the Libertarian Party of Minnesota and hopping be getting the endorsement at our next meeting on September 18th. I do think because I am unknown to the people that they can get a sense of how my thinking of government is. Yes I am a small government person, yes I am for lower taxes and yes I am for all your personal freedoms. That can all be summed up by one word “Libertarian”.
LL: You have strong feelings against the park which has been built at the corner of 160th and Pilot Knob. Knowing that the AV voters chose to have it built as part of a larger package why is it still an issue for you? How would you handle such a request by the internal departments of the city if they were to ask for a similar referendum in the future?
RM: I understand that this was part of a bigger package but times have changed we are in a recession and people are trying to keep the electricity on and keep their houses from being foreclosed. If we had a vote on this park alone today I am guessing it would be voted down. We have parks all over Apple Valley, this park is mostly going to be used by the kids that have family playing ball on the fields next to it. That is great for the people that are playing that have kids or siblings but in my view the cost just doesn’t make it worth it at this time. That doesn’t mean when we have a surplus we can’t go back and build it but for now it is just a waste of our hard earned money.
LL: Are you concerned that the content hosted on your other website http://politicalgas.org/ may have a negative impact on your campaign?
RM: No, that was my last ditch effort to make some money online. The whole idea being that I would let people post whatever they wanted about politics and then they would post their blogs on facebook and twitter driving traffic so I could make money with affiliate links. The postings under “Dick Richards” were done by me, mostly videos I thought might go viral on the internet so why not have them on my site (not that I agreed with them 100% just thinking of anyway to drive traffic). I did do some blogging on it but not much and I don’t think anything too controversial. The two guys that are a little over the edge are military guys one was still in Afghanistan when he started posting, so I did not remove anything they posted out of respect to them. As you can tell it is not that active of a site and think that domain name expires soon with no plans of renewing it. Feel free to ask me anything that concerns you about the site, I will leave 100% of it up until the domain name expires.
LL: What made you decide to run for Mayor of AV?
RM: Seeing tax dollars from all levels of government being spent on things that we just don’t need is driving most Americans crazy. I see things going on and wonder how can I make a difference. Many things lead a person to run for office but many more things stop a person from getting involved. This is not something I have ever even thought about doing in the past, I have always been the type of person to complain and then move on with their life. I am a father of two young kids, a husband to an awesome wife that is starting her own massage practice a son that is trying to keep his family business of 29 years to stay open, and finally have had enough of the government taking our money and spending it in places they “know” is better for us. I have no personal issues with our Mayor and think she has done a good job with our city, I just think we need a new voice that is not part of the system to step in and get us passed these difficult times.
LL: You are an apparent opponent of AV Liquor Store #3. What do you believe you can do to fix the problems you see with the structure (or the entire liquor operation itself)? What would your response be to those who are in favor of it when they mention it deposits $400,000+ into the General Fund each year?
RM: That is great $400,000 a year for our general fund. The building of #3 was a mistake and a big waste of tax payers money. That is in the past and the past is not a good place for anyone to hang out so lets look at the future. We own a building that takes away from at least one of our other stores, the problem is what do we do with this building. We could keep it as a liquor store and hope things turn around. We could try and sell the building alone for another purpose but more then likely in this economy wont bring nearly what we paid for it. We could sell it with the liquor sales to a private company but still wont be able to get what we paid for it. It is going to take something a lot better for us to come out of this on top.
Yes on my facebook page I wrote that I would like to look into selling to liquor stores and getting Apple Valley out of the private sector. I have some issues with a government selling liquor to begin with and I could go on for days about that. We do need the money that they bring in so that might not work for the time being but what if we sold all three to a private company. Then in order to get the prime locations they would have to purchase the $5,000,000 building (or maybe lease it from us). That way we get out of the liquor business, we get or money back out of #3 and we make money on the sale of liquor licenses and people that live in our city that have a moral issue with it wont have to be a part of the sales of liquor. This is just a thought but that is what this country is about bringing forward ideas and figuring out what is best.