If 302 Fremont had not been such a failure, Anoka's Aaron Barr could cast himself as a community hero.
Bottomline: His neighbor, 302 Fremont, was "hurting his property values". He took action to influence and pressure the city to solve his problem at exceptional public expense. He also got a seat on the HRA (where he will continue to make decisions on 302) and a spot as the mayor's running mate.
Barr would be a poster child of effective personal political activism. Well, maybe not that effective, the petition demanding the city take action wasn't worded correctly and he fell far short of the number needed; but it was an inspiring effort. And he did succeed in getting public monies applied to his problem.
As it is, a precedent has been set. Now the mayor's HRA will get to determine whose neighbor is next to receive extravagant public monies and local political status. Maybe the Skogquist boys will put up political signs for them too. The mom and girlfriends may even do some door-to-door work on their behalf.
Mayor Skogquist has succeeded in irrational downzoning, historic zone restrictions and vilifying private investors.
The City of Anoka will become the bank of last resort for distressed properties just as a new regional parking ramp "empties all our pockets".
And, in fact, in the Union 2-2-07, Mayor Skogquist anticipates and promises just this scenario when he says we will be doing more "risky property" through his HRA.
As voters and taxpayers, we find this position totally irresponsible and unacceptable.
We have yet to see or count the cost of indulging young Bjornquist and his ilk.