One common occurrence as a city sinks into dysfunction is that the "disease" becomes systemic. It affects the whole "family".
City staff hires become about "a good fit" rather than the most qualified professional. They fit the dysfunctional dynamics. There are abrubt resignations and unfair firings. Healthy people leave. Functions often become fragmented and less efficient. The big picture of the city suffers neglect.
Advisory board appointments become about who "will do what they are told". Recruits that best fit that criteria are the newest residents. They know the least about the city and can be told whatever. They know few people outside the machine/clique to balance or challenge the information they are being fed.
However, it becomes a great disadvantage to only know what you have been told. Sooner rather than later you will be playing the fool. When the coach/choir director is not there with the cues, you're flying blind. Sooner rather than later you will display your ignorance.
Just such a thing happened at the HRA meeting 2-12-07. Bjorn's boys: Joe Garrick, Aaron Barr and Mike Gundlach were stumbling over themselves on the fire suppression program details. . .they looked like deer in headlights. None of them had a basic working knowledge of Anoka's relatively small downtown. Nor had any of them studied the packet unto comprehension.
An observer could be embarassed for them. It's a great disservice to a new resident to be placed "out there" with just a limited political agenda. Recruited as a political appointment rather than chosen to be a public servant.
Lifetime Anokan, Jeff Weaver, from the audience had to straighten out the three deer. He came to the rescue with an understanding only to be gained from living in Anoka a long time OR by studying the materials.
Aaron Barr, in town since only 2002, went on to say: "It would be sad to see one building owner kill the whole block." This was in regard to participation in the fire suppression program in downtown Anoka.
How was he to know Paul Pierce had been just such a hold out? Paul Pierce, an Aaron Barr benefactor and political ally in anoka's current washington style politics.
The at-home cable observer doesn't know whether to be more embarrassed and concerned for the City of Anoka or for the poor deer in headlights.
Comment: research indicated Mike Gundlach had been an Anoka resident for less than 4 months when he was appointed to the HRA. Aaron Barr was in Anoka two years when he led a neighborhood group for 302 Fremont, Bjorn's legacy. Joe Garrick in town for 7 years, when appointed (with no qualifications other than being a resident). The Carpenter's (Lee and Jennifer), already gone, were Bjorn appointments at the 10 month residency mark. Jeremy Neilson was still listed in the Coon Rapids telephone book when he got his spot on Bjorn's HRA.