Five years ago, this council began installing clear shield doors to protect bus drivers from assault and basic transit fares today are two dollars.
During the 2007-2011 planning process for Green Line light rail transit (LRT), I warned at length that crime would be a consequence of installing ‘honor-system’ LRT in Saint Paul. (Most cities with rail transit have fences and gates around their station platforms to secure payment.) In the years since Green Line’s opening in 2014, predictably, thousands of instances of crime have occurred. Many violent, and even deadly. Most, attributed to non-paying users.
Security costs have skyrocketed, revenues have plummeted, and countless good people will not ride anymore for safety reasons. ‘Political’ plans to address this (outlined in The Voice’s July issue) do not include ending the ‘honor system’ and county plans (directed by incumbant board member Ortega) to install honor system ‘Gold Line’ LRT from downtown to the Mall of America via West 7th Steet continue unabated. Friday, September 23, 2022 Community Reporter paper (dist. area: western downtown, Irvine Park, Upper Landing, West Seventh/Fort Road and lower Highland Park) posed these questions to Bill and his opponent:
Please describe the biggest issues Ramsey County is facing and how you would address those challenges if elected. 1. Declining public safety and ever-growing crime rates. Even MPR had windows broken out in July. Local leaders are now often picking and choosing which laws will be enforced. Crime has become commonplace, and the public is expected to live with it. This is not acceptable and this needs to end.
2. Unending County/City property tax levy increases continue to cause financial pain and even harm to thousands: homeowners, business owners and renters. No amount of increase is enough as local leaders think of evermore ways to spend your money in ways they would not if it were their own.
3. After 28 years in office our current county board representative has awarded himself numerous pay increases, and subsequent pension increases. The Pioneer Press’ publisher’s editorial on April 18, 2007, read, “With about as much discussion as you expect for a road-cleaning resolution, the seven members of the Ramsey County Board raised their salaries by 25%, to $80,000... We believe the amount the board awarded themselves was outrageously high for what should be an oversight body of private citizens.” Today, while county board members tell us about how they’re helping the poor and creating ‘a just community’, as of June, their salary is now $100,000 for a part time job.
4. During its planning process in 2007-2011 I warned leaders that building 'honor-system' light rail in Saint Paul would create problems. Since opening in 2014, thousands have been impacted by crime aboard Green Line light rail and on its platforms. Politicians refuse to install fences and gates, as most cities have, to restore safety to platforms.
Today, as chair of the Ramsey County’s Rail Authority, County Board Member Ortega is now leading the planning process to bring 'honor-system' light rail to the length of West 7th Street from downtown to the Mall of America. Selling it to us under the name ‘Modern Streetcar’ it is indeed honor-system light rail, and it will eliminate every on-street parking space, thereby harming many businesses in addition to being crime-plagued.
5. ‘In Our First 90 days’ together, we will address light rail on West 7th Street, and we'll address property tax levies, and crime, Union Depot, the West Publishing site, and the county board’s pay-scale. Excuses and inactions will end. Further, I will work to also ensure there can be a menu of important referendum questions for the public to vote on during the next county elections in 2024. If passed, we’ll get back onto a higher track for years to come.
Under your leadership, what role would the county play in alleviating the challenges that homeless has presented for the City of St. Paul. How would you best serve those in need while simultaneously weighing the concerns of business owners and private residents who have asked for action on this front? With that, what initiatives would you put forward to ensure St. Paul successfully recovers from the pandemic, which continues to show its effects on the city's financial life?
First of all, the majority of homeless are not criminals, nor are they mentally ill. Often, they are portrayed this way. Secondly, twenty years ago, most homeless here were from Minnesota and Wisconsin. Today, most are from other states. Regardless, the majority of these people have had some calamity befall them, and once a person has fallen so far it can be daunting to get up. That said, everyone living within our community has a responsibility to be respectful of others’ rights and property.
As we read this, homeless continue living in squalor outdoors—many in wooded areas on the edges of neighborhoods. Crime and assault are not uncommon in these encampments. Nighttime is particularly dangerous. Excuses and inactions need to end and will.
Many politicians (generous with others’ money) will say that everyone can be housed, but they never say at what cost to you. Ever-higher property taxes are already causing financial harm to many. If we did accomplish this, would more homeless move here for the free housing?
Would a designated outdoor, overnight use only, campsite(s) at locations that the public has collectively agreed to be the most humane solution? With on-site security, hot/cold water, toilets and perhaps even portable showers? Should outdoor camping occurring in other non-approved areas then be prohibited? ‘In Our First 90 Days’ together, we will find the fairest and most compassionate plan that can resolve how best to move forward on this issue.
Regarding our current local economy, politicians picking and choosing which laws to uphold are not helping it. Is bringing in ‘federal money’ to ‘fight crime’ needed when the US continues sinking further into debt by over $1,000,000 – a minute? Most politicians do not seem to care what we will leave the next generation, but most citizens do. Ramsey County and Saint Paul should be able to uphold law and order themselves.
Union Depot and the West Publishing site are both county properties: 1. Commissioners spent $20 million demolishing the West Publishing site - with no development contracts in place. Together, we’ll take the decade-long debacle and create an exciting, viable plan for the best vacant riverfront site in America. 2. Commissioners spent $250 million renovating Union Depot. Since 2012, millions have been lost annually. Together, we’ll take our greatly underutilized historic train station, and its grand site, and viably create the best collection of railroad and riverboat history attractions in America.
Final thoughts ahead of the November election?
This year marks the 32nd year that I have been self-employed as an architectural illustrator and 29th year as a downtown gallery and frame-shop owner (now with 2 locations). In 2016, I designed and built a small music venue (recently reopened post Covid) and most recently, I’ve created a special place downtown on the skyway level in US Bank Center for those 55 and more to gather. I am a native of Saint Paul, and while I do not have great financial wealth, I’ve had a great life and like many of you, I’ve also had some struggles along the way. Each day I give thanks for what I have.
I assure those who have become disheartened and disappointed by local politics and the direction of our county and city that things can be much, much better quite easily. Local leadership continues leading in a manner that is more reactionary than anticipatory. Authentic public outreach remains a low priority. These behaviors will end if I am elected. Weekly, my staff and I will have an in-person and live-streamed ‘People and Press Conference’. No one’s going to feel left out anymore. It’s just a matter of you voting and those you know voting for Bill Hosko this fall.
Perhaps you may align with the Democratic party, or Republican, or you lean Green Party, or Libertarian. At the local level, in this race, with the ongoing issues we face, am I truly ‘100% Independent and Non-Partisan’? Absolutely. I am not backed by any special interests nor the establishment that glosses things over, keeps us divided and wants things to stay the same. I will be a public servant in the highest sense - you have my word on it.
Lastly, if I am elected, events that used to bring us together and create good will: Taste of Minnesota, July 4th Capitol Mall Fireworks, Grand Old Days and Cinco De Mayo (among others) will be restored - along with their original authenticity! I care about you and your quality of life here in Ramsey County and Saint Paul. Let’s get back onto a higher track, folks, where the air is much fresher and clearer. Together, we can do it! Thank you. Thursday, September 22, 2022 We're sorry Saint Paul's Mayor and City Council just imposed another needlessly massive property tax increase; 15%, upon the good people they were elected - to serve. For Ramsey County's and Saint Paul's sake everyone reading this, who can, should vote BILL Hosko this fall, if they want to stem leadership's ongoing action's. Bill continues door-knocking daily. Saturday, September 17, 2022 As Bill continues leaving fliers in neighborhoods throughout the district and after speaking to MANY people along the way, here are the clear top topics on people's minds currently: - Unacceptable tax increases- Crime impacting their neighborhood - Crime impacting the city- Crime on Light Rail- Homeless encampments- Not being listened to by elected representatives - Passed Rent-Control referendum being manipulated by elected representatives - Economic Recovery after CoVid. Thursday, September 15, 2022 Greetings all, Daily, Bill continues door-knocking this big and beautiful Ramsey County District 5. It includes: Mounds Park, Dayton's Bluff, a bit o' Railroad Island, Downtown/Lowertown, Upper Landing, Irvine Park, West Seventh/Fort Road, Highland Park and Macalaster/Groveland. The top things on people's minds... up tomorrow and then Bill's responses and top ten platform positions. Soon, 'Projects' (with many photos) that Bill has completed from home renovations to his recent completion of a 55-plus gathering place in downtown called 'The Homestead'. The campaign has also begun placing lawn signs. Cheers Monday, August 22, 2022 Greetings all, On August 9, we made it thru the Primary Election in second place. Now, this November 8, the incumbant and Bill Hosko will be on the General Election ballot - early Voting begins September 23. Bill looks forward to conducting an interesting and informative campign. Much more to come in September. Always feel free to reach out to our campaign 651-222-4767, bill@billhosko Thank you. Cheers Sunday, July 31, 2022 Greetings all, In two weeks, the citizens of Ramsey County District 5 will be voting in the Primary Election. After that day, the field of three candidates will be reduced to two, who will go on to the General Election held this fall on Tuesday, November 8. Bill has begun campaigning door-to door. If he is so honored to be one of two remaining candidates after the August 9 Primary he expects to be out campaigning daily until November 8. In the coming weeks, expect continued information being added on this site about his life, his career (he's been self-employed 32-years), his politics (he's 100% Independent and Non-Partisan with the backing of no Special Interests) and a host of projects he has worked on from rehabbing his first home in 1989 to his current projects: 'The Homestead - a place to gather for those 55 and more' and the reopening of Music Forest Cafe, both in downtown Saint Paul. In a recent interview, Bill was asked why is he campaigning for this office, as he has for city offices in the past? It is simple he remarked, "This is my hometown and my home county, and I care about their well-being." Always feel free to reach out to our campaign 651-222-4767, bill@billhosko Thank you. Cheers
Thank you sincerely for your support!More good campaign information coming very soon...