Paul Myhrom
for Rochester, Minn.
City Council Ward 1

Vote August 14th

My business and my family...

... Honest Bike Shop, has been successful since day one. In my business we don’t tell people what they want. We listen to their needs and desires and then help. I have always believed in this guiding principle. I know how to manage, hire, fire and plan and stick to a budget, prepare and read a balance sheet and income statement. My opponents can only speculate what they might do with other people’s money. When it is your own money you quickly get good at managing it or you fail.

There is a saying in the real world of business: “Those who can do. Those who can’t, consult.” Furthermore, I have no time for freeloaders. Successful people never say they deserve anything for free. They only want to keep more of what they have because they’ve earned it -- something slackers and freeloaders can’t claim.

I am proud of my 19-year old. He was never a troublemaker and is smart enough to know that he currently finds college of no interest; he has enjoyed working since he was 15 and is responsible with money. He works fulltime and is advancing with a good job, and 8 months out of high school he’s bought his first house with renters making his house payment for him. We taught him not to waste time or money. He is a good capitalist and a good American. I believe Sharon and I raised him right.

In morality, there is only right and wrong. There are no grey areas. Always saying, to each his own and whatever makes you happy is no advice at all to our young people and it is the most gutless stand you can take.

No Double-Dipping...

Something I would have voted against was the authorization of a second dose of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the retail/housing project at Miracle Mile Shopping Center. After getting an initial infusion of cash for the project, the developer then came back for a second helping claiming soil/ground problems and added expense. The council approved this. I never would have. The unexpected cost would not have killed the project that was underway and any half-wit knows that when a project is planned you build a line of contingency into the budget -- usually at 5-10% of the total cost. That is where the money should have come from.  

Speaking of taxes…

I ask that you first recall the scene from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where the duo are getting ready to jump from the cliff into the raging river below while fleeing the Pinkertons. Sundance stalled and said to Butch, “I can’t swim.” Butch laughed and said “Is that all? The fall will probably kill ya!”

Think of it. You work hard and smart and save while gathering a good credit rating to build that dream home or buy that commercial property to start or expand that business (all within plan) just to find out that it is the taxes (which always increase) that kill your dreams and ambitions. I know what this is about. I have done battle with this all my life and for the last 34 years of my business life while watching others too have their dreams of nicer homes or businesses squelched because of the tax burden. Unlike my opponents, I don’t just feel your pain. I have lived it.

I believe quality...

...(which you pay for) equals value. When reviewing plans and cost for our current City Hall, a couple of council members were “politically grandstanding” while asking to consider using cheaper materials and/or labor in an effort to trim cost by a factor of one percent. I said no. I reminded them that our City Hall in use at the time was built with all quality materials and skilled labor more than 60 years prior and in all that time it needed almost no repairs; most of what we did over that time was merely “sweep it out.” My argument prevailed. Our City Hall is of the highest quality and built to expand with additional floors if and when necessary.

Political Grandstanding definition -- Publicly trying to demonstrate austerity in an attempt to gain voter favor. NOTE: One habitual grandstanding member of our then-council used to boast how he went down on the losing side of more issues than any other member while “fighting for the constituents.” Number one: he always lost, and, number two: he knew the right thing to do was to approve the issue at hand yet he always wanted to appear the hero.

I did not grandstand. I got things done and got them done right. Speaking of doing things right, if you notice we still have a full time fire department and three new identical fire stations. When we approved the new Broadway fire station we had a couple of council members advocating for a part-time (AKA volunteer) force. Again, I said no. Rochester’s needs and size were/are such that a full time department is necessary. If we didn’t/don’t pay for it in taxes we will pay even more for it in terms of property insurance, property loss, business disruption and most importantly, lives lost.

We still have a full time force and three of our newest stations are all identical saving costs in engineering and architectural planning. I advocated for this when I served on the council after hiring our then-new chief. I believe in long-term planning. I have been instrumental in our growth.

Smart Growth

The term “smart growth” is not to be used flippantly. By 2050 our population is expected to swell to 165,000 and Rochester’s workforce heading downtown to their jobs is expected to grow by another 30,000 and not everyone wants to live as renters in high-rise downtown apartments. Traffic needs to flow and have adequate parking as not all commuters will be walking, riding bicycles or taking the bus. We can’t afford to eliminate parking or remove traffic lanes and installing center boulevards choking traffic and making snow removal more difficult.