Katherine Kersten Speaks on the Metropolitan Council's Thrive 2040 Plan

Special for Senate District 49   *   October 31, 2015


Katherine Kersten was the featured speaker at our SD49 Dinner Meeting on October 27th, part of our monthly scheduled Dinner & Conversation Series. Kersten drew a full house to hear her description of the Metropolitan Council’s Thrive 2040 Plan.

Nancy Carlson, SD49 Executive Committee vice chair, introduced Katherine Kersten. The audience perched at the edge of their seats and remained fixed throughout the narrative. 

Ms. Kersten outlined the four goals of the Met Council-high density, racial equity, inclusivity, and affordability. She stated that one of the intents of the Council was to “spread poverty equally throughout the 7-county Metro area in one grand homogenizing brushstroke.”

Clearly opposed to the Met Council’s Thrive 2040 Plan, Ms. Kersten reiterated the Council’s lack of elected representation.  She pointed out that the Citizen’s League, the organization that originally spearheaded the drive to form the Met Council, now is reevaluating its support for the council. 

In this reporter’s opinion, the Thrive 2040 Plan is in equal parts science fiction, social engineering, and socialistic utopia.  Kersten’s chronicle of the Met Council’s zealous obsession to bend everything to their plan defies even the most imaginative visionary’s conception.  While it would take volumes to encompass the entire scope of the Met Council’s “masterplan,” looking at a snapshot reveals that it reaches to the outermost corners of the metropolitan area; it extends past metro bus lines, garbage pick-up, water & sewer lines, and goes beyond light rail and other forms of transportation; and into housing, schools, utilities. In the future it will wrap its grip around the metro’s private businesses. Here’s a link to Thrive 2040, if you’d like to read the scary story for yourself.

Unfortunately, according to Kersten, the Legislative Commission on Metropolitan Government entrusted to oversee the Metropolitan Council has done little to reign in the sprawling power of the Council. In response to a question from the audience, Kersten advised that the best way for us to voice our opposition to the Plan was for us to call our city mayors and our councilmembers and express our doubts and fears. Although this issue has died down somewhat, renewed opposition to the Plan may be reflected in upcoming elections, and as the initial start date for implementation approaches more opposition from city officials is anticipated.

After Ms. Kersten fielded questions from the audience for over ½ hour, Co-Chair Sutter closed the meeting with a heartfelt thank-you and encouraged the dinner guests to vote on November 3rd. 

From the reporter’s notebook:  In September 2014, the City of Eagan published a memo on-line that criticized the Met Council’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan. But perhaps the most biting criticism came from a September 2014 Burnsville City Council meeting when council members said that the Plan was “a set of overly prescriptive transportation and housing policies that sap local control, deprive the suburbs of highway dollars and ignore market forces.”

In October 2014, thirteen suburban lawmakers, mayors and other elected officials vowed to fight the Met Council’s long-term vision for transit and housing development in the seven-county metro area; and in May of 2015[4], an attorney representing Anoka, Carver, Scott, and Dakota counties petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate whether the Met Council is violating a federal rule by distributing more than $660 million a year without appropriate input from elected officials.

Ms. Kersten’s latest piece, “Do We Really Want to Live Like This?” is exerpted later in this Opinion section.