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Frustrated Dakota County Commissioner fights the unfitted power of the Met Council.
As a veteran state senator, Chris Gerlach always looked apprehensively at the potentially unfettered power that might be commandeered by Metropolitan Council, the unelected bureaucracy that was once created to accommodate and coordinate growth in the Twin Cities.
“It tends to be more of a back burner at the legislature because it’s not something that affects legislators’ day-to-day life,” he says. “I was certainly part of a group of hand wringers who said, ‘this is a problem that should be dealt with.’ Now that I’m in local government I regret that I was not more aggressive at the time.”
A member of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners since 2013, Gerlach says he got a “serious wake-up call” in 2014 when he read Thrive MSP 2040, the Met Council’s manifesto of left-wing policy mandates that it is trying to impose on local jurisdictions—and he’s working to fix that.
Thrive MSP 2040 is the Dayton administration’s 30-year development plan for the Twin Cities that “entrenches a model of regional administration that neuters the power of local elected officials and centralizes decision-making authority in the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats of the Met Council,” according to Katherine Kersten and Kim Crockett who in 2014 coauthored the paper Met Council Power Grab: How the Dayton Administration Intends to Transform the Twin Cities Region for Decades to Come.
In response, Gerlach has helped mobilize local government officials across the Twin Cities to combat the Met Council’s urban-centric ambitions that critics say use mandated city planning authority to apply left-wing “solutions” to everything from income inequality to mitigating climate change.
“By law, it says it’s a unit of local government, and it’s supposed to be collaborative and cooperative in planning and aiding municipalities and counties. You have all those things, but yet, all of a sudden, we wake up and see a very sharp agenda that is very urban-centric and clearly left the suburbs on the outside looking in.”
Read Met Council Power Grab: How the Dayton Administration Intends to Transform the Twin Cities Region for Decades to Come, by Katherine Kersten and Kim Crockett. (www.blueprint.endorsecommunications.com).