Guest column: Jamal Abdulahi explains recount decision
I had the great pleasure and experience of running for Rosemount City Council. I met many new people and had lots of meaningful conversations with residents about the future of our city. I would like to share some of the things I learned.
I learned that the ideas and values which propelled me to run are consistent with almost all of the people I met while campaigning in Rosemount. I ran because I want to help Rosemount to prosper into the future so our children can inherit a better city. I ran on a platform of promoting economic growth, promoting amenities and responsible development of UMore Park.
On economic growth, Rosemount needs to attract businesses that provide good paying jobs. Most Rosemount residents, including many of my neighbors, leave Rosemount for work. My commute is 45 minutes each direction every day. We simply do not have local companies that provide good paying jobs in Rosemount.
We need grow the retail sector so residents have convenient places to shop and expand our tax base. Compensation in retail stores, however, is not sufficient to able to a support family.
In addition to promoting economic growth in Rosemount, we must also make plans for addressing amenities and services to attract young families. Rosemount has been big hockey community.
Other sports including lacrosse and soccer picked up significant following. I am certain there will be more conversation on the new splash pad and swimming facility. We need to make sure youth in these families have access to fields, ice rinks and courts to participate in sports of their choosing
On UMore Park, the plan on record is solid both in short and long term. The University of Minnesota envisions the development of a self-sufficient community in the long term with people working where they live. The short term plan includes gravel mining.
I and many of my neighbors within proximity of UMore Park property have serious concerns about the gravel mining phase. We have concerns about potential dust and noise. Heavy diesel trucks transporting gravel will impact traffic patterns. The roads will require additional maintenance.
The plan currently calls for installing berms and pine trees to mitigate noise. Yet I can hear the digging from my house some days. I can’t help but wonder if the workers doing the digging are aware of the noise mitigation plan.
Another concern is the potential risk of high concentration minerals washed from the gravel going back to the ground and eventually seeping into our drinking water. The plan currently calls for monitoring. There is no action plan on what to do if groundwater contamination was detected.
We should expect great planning from large institutions like the University of Minnesota. It has the talent and resources to develop a contamination prevention plan.
Moreover, we need to stay vigilant beyond the planning phase. We need to make sure work is performed as planned. Big institutions are notorious for presenting solid plans then subcontracting the actual work. When things don’t go according to plan, it becomes a finger pointing exercise.
We can’t afford to be in a finger pointing situation. The best deterrence tool is the permitting process. The permitting process has to have a sufficient control mechanism to ensure the things in the plan get done.
I was not successful in my bid for a city council seat. I leave to political pundits the slicing and dicing of what transpired and what’s in the afar future. What I can do is to share the things I did in my effort to get enough votes.
I knocked on more than 2,500 doors. I held thousands of conversations with residents. I shook thousands of hands. I distributed over 4,000 pieces of literature.
There were five candidates running for two open seats. The primary was going to dwindle down to four. I tied for the fourth place.
Our election laws lay out the rules for tie races. State law requires ties be determined by lot. The canvassing board opted for coin toss to meet that legal requirement. Rules also allow the losing candidate to request a hand recount in writing.
I lost the coin toss. No one likes to have their destiny determined by stochastic process with no more than 50 percent chances. My legal counsel, close friends and many of my supporters encouraged me to exercise my legal rights and request a hand recount. I am deeply grateful for their support but will not oblige.
I will not request a hand recount because it’s not in the best interest of our community. A hand recount will cost the city money to organize conduct. This is money that should be spent on the very issues I want to address and would have as council member. Spending money on a recount is antithetical to my core principle of fiscal responsibility.
I end by thanking my family for their wonderful support. I want thank everyone who voted for me and recognized my strengths, particularly my neighbors in Precinct 2. More of you voted for me than the first and second place finishers. I learned more of you got my message and agreed with me.
Written by Jamal Abdulahi.