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Meet the candidate: Bill Hosko

Ward 2 candidate

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

Laws protecting the rights of citizens, including families and children, to be safe in our somewhat battered but still beautiful city will be upheld once more.

The unprecedented neglect of the city and other public properties will be cleaned up and made beautiful again (in our first six months) and kept cleaned up. 

I will have weekly, in-depth, live streamed people/press conferences where everything’s in the open for discussion – including getting our exploding city budget and subsequent endless tax increases under control. 

St. Paul has a ballot measure this year to increase sales tax in the city by 1%, with the funding going directly to improving roads and parks in the city. What is your stance on this measure to increase sales tax? What are your thoughts on the City’s current plan for how the increased funding would be spent if passed?

Vote no. Existing tax revenues are for road repairs and parks and rec expenses. If passed, the 1% increase will push Saint Paul’s rate to highest-in-state status. Not good for our economy, reputation and attractiveness as a place to do business. It will harm further those with lower incomes the most. Its passage will also give incumbent Noecker and Mayor Carter, frankly speaking, millions more annually for pet projects to buy votes in coming years. 

The West End of St. Paul, and especially West 7th, have long been considered prime redevelopment areas in the city, especially with the long planned Riverview Transit Corridor. What are your priorities related to housing and redevelopment? What is your current stance on West 7th as a major transit corridor? How do you balance those priorities with supporting small businesses in the area?

As a 30-year user of public transit I will be the long-missing champion for those who use it and for those who want to use it again but don’t because of crime and commonplace misconduct. In part by helping the Met Council/Metro Transit making passenger safety their priority. 

The incumbent when first running for office in 2015, campaigned against ‘Riverview Corridor’; light rail (aka streetcars) on West 7th. Once in office, she backed it, even though it would devastate the existing business community by eliminating all on street parking and even though our existing light rail system has been designated least safe in America by the Federal Transportation Administration. 

I support, cost-effectively retrofitting each LRT platform with fences and gates to control access (as do most cities LRT) and to restore safety. The incumbent does not.

As a 33-year small business owner and lover of great architecture, redevelopment along West 7th should be allowed to happen organically, and beautifully. Not by forced actions by city hall. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has reported that St. Paul is experiencing vast reductions in violent and property crimes this year, putting crime rates on pace to be below 2019 levels. At the same time, St. Paul is seeing historic highs in unhoused populations in the city and annual increases in emergency response calls, including a 5% increase in 2022 alone, taxing already overburdened systems. What is your approach to addressing public safety in the city to address these and many other issues?

I support simply upholding existing laws keeping citizens and property safe again. Further, being the mayor selects our Police Chief, and the city council hires the police chief, politics can enter into how and when crime is reported and dealt with. I support the chief being voted on by the people.

At the League of Women Voters Sept. 12 candidate forum, I stated how teens and adults, daily, smoke fentanyl outside ‘Safe Zone’ for ‘at-risk’ youth and young adults in Ramsey County’s Metro Square building downtown. Unimaginable.

The homeless population will continue to grow with the number of services provided. Incumbent Noecker, last year helped fund crime-plagued Listening House’s (day homeless shelter) move back downtown – without telling the public. They open this fall. The days of behind-the-scenes activities will end if I am elected. You have my word. 

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