“They need some more support from the Legislature in having a critical eye,” said John Farrell, of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “I think the laws that they operate under don’t give them a lot of flexibility to question…the base assumptions that Xcel is bringing to the table.” Check out the 2-minute video clip Continue reading
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“We have this once-in-a-generation negotiation coming up next year and it’s a chance for Minneapolis to explore what its energy choices might be and how it could achieve its energy goals.” Earlier this week, the Minneapolis city council got an early look at an important “pathways study,” outlining the legal and policy strategies the city… Continue reading
A lot of folks came to a hearing at Minneapolis City Hall eight days ago to oppose a ballot measure authorizing the city to form a municipal utility. Mostly they argued that the status quo is sufficient. I’d like to ask if they understand the question. This commentary was originally published by the Star Tribune… Continue reading
Like many cities attempting to solve climate change at a local level, Minneapolis is finding the prospect more challenging that it may have imagined. The lion’s share of emissions (two-thirds in the case of Minneapolis) come from electricity and gas sold by two monopoly, corporate utilities. Minnesota’s state-level policy is helping: a renewable energy standard… Continue reading
What happens when a city’s franchise contracts with its incumbent electric and gas utilities expires? A once-in-20-year opportunity to consider how its energy can be cleaner, more affordable, more reliable, and more local. ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell presents to Environment Minnesota’s Green Ideas and Ham policy breakfast, discussing the implications of an expiring franchise… Continue reading
Be suspicious of megamall subsidy Federal tax law discourages individual investment and local ownership of turbines. By David Morris, originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 2, 2008 The almost-certainly-soon-to-be-passed $370 million tax subsidy to the Mall of America is the kind of initiative that makes people wonder whose side government is on. Here’s… Continue reading
On June 27, the Supreme Court ruled that cable companies have the sole authority to decide who may use their high-speed communications networks. They can decide what information to transmit, and what information they will refuse to transmit.
The decision clears the way for the FCC to allow phone companies to monopolize their own information highways. And it underscores the need for communities to build their own information infrastructure.
Both cable and phone companies want to sign up as many Internet subscribers as possible because in the near future, phone, television and Internet will all be offered through the same broadband connection. Continue reading
Business Forum: Teaching People to Think – Badly by David Morris Originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 25, 2004 In 1998, with much fanfare, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis formally launched its “Economic Literacy” initiative. As President Gary Stern explained: “Economic literacy is crucial because it is a measure of whether people… Continue reading
A new program in Minneapolis rewards residents for supporting locally owned businesses and volunteering at local nonprofits. Developed by CHC Data Inc., the new Community HeroCard enables residents to earn rebates by shopping at more than 40 local stores. The rebate doubles if the cardholder volunteers at a nonprofit organization. The card looks like a credit card with a magnetic data strip that works in a standard debit card machine. Continue reading