Ben Golnik on Minneapolis Cops vs Drinking Fountains

Thanks to Ben Golnik for a link to more information regarding the cost of artsy vs non-artsy drinking fountains:

Ben Golnik on Cops vs Drinking Fountains

Using Ben Golnik’s numbers, we can see that the savings from purely pragmatic drinking fountains vs artsy drinking fountains isn’t enough to put even one cop on the streets of Minneapolis for ten years when salary, gear, benefits, and salary increases are taken into consideration.

Of the $450,000 reportedly spent on a long lasting city wide art project, I wonder what percentage Ben Golnik or Marty Seifert consider to be waste? 10%? Half? Every dime? Is there no value in art projects to these guys?

More importantly, how are we supposed to take Golnik or Seifert seriously if the biggest problem they have with Mayor RT Rybak’s budget is $450,000 out of $1,300,000,000? Put another way, Golnik and Seifert are upset about a 1-time art project that accounts for three one hundreds of one percent of the city’s budget.

If 0.03% of one year of the city’s budget is “wasted” on a city-wide art project, I’m okay with that. In fact, I welcome it because I don’t consider it to be waste at all, but that’s just an arts appreciating opinion.

With nearly 400,000 residents in the City of Minneapolis, the cost per artsied-up drinking fountain is just over ten cents each. Each time I run past one of those, they may remind me of how out of touch Marty Seifert and Ben Golnik are with the realities of a big city budget like Minneapolis. That alone will give me at least 10 cents of pleasure per visit, so I’m confident that I’ll see a positive return on my share of the tax dollars that went toward this project. I’ll appreciate Minneapolis’ art so Marty and Ben don’t have to.

Reality Check

I was having a hard time understanding how Ben Golnik could be so out of touch with the reality of the costs of employing police officers when this tweet popped up:

Ben Golnik's Failure to Understand Employment Costs

See? He really doesn’t get it. Ben, give this a try: Tell a prospective police officer that you’ll give him or her a salary of $45k/yr; however, they’ll receive no uniform, no gun, no radio, no vest, no car, no computer, no office space, no health insurance, no pension, no nothing but a salary. See how far that $450k goes when you use reality based employment costs.

It’s good to see Ben Golnik’s tweet unintentionally call BS on Marty Seifert’s misleading fundraising comparison of 25 cops’ salaries to a 1-time $450,000 art project. Even Golnik’s false assumption that you can employ 10 Minneapolis cops for one year for $450,00 is more in line with reality than Rep. Seifert’s.

13 thoughts on “Ben Golnik on Minneapolis Cops vs Drinking Fountains”

  1. Apparently those artists were only paid for materials too. I wonder what world Ben Golnik lives in where people, even lowly artists, work for free.

  2. Also, how many cops actually make 45k a year? A rookie may start there, but with overtime they are probably closer to 70k.

    We’re talking published numbers here.

    Here are some real numbers

    Subject 2007 Police Officer 1997 Salary:62,999 Overtime:38,292 Total:101,291

    And like you noted that is just salary.

  3. I also wonder if that money would’ve even been available as operating budget. I haven’t looked, but there’s often a hard line between capital expenses and operating expenses. Might be that the money couldn’t have been reallocated, making it a moot point.

  4. By doing research you are only demonstrating that you are a member of the liberal elite.

    Fact checking someone’s argument? What kind of socialist are you?

  5. @Matt, if it’s elitist to present facts, then comment on said facts, I’m guilty as charged. Finding facts to fit a pre-set narrative must be tedious by comparison. Maybe that’s why people have to be paid to do that?

  6. @Ed — I’d say that’s unlikely. He still has 10 cops (at $45,000/year) to complain about. Even though that money could never be used in that way. And yes, I checked — just like with most organizations, the water fountains are coming out of a capital budget, which can’t be used for operating expenses like firemen and cops. No matter how sexy Marty Seifert thinks they are.

  7. Ed, a little late to this discussion, but you’re comparing one-year police hiring costs with drinking fountains that will be used for decades, if not longer.

    Stop saying art and trying using the word infrastructure.

    This cop = drinking fountain analogy is pretty lame, especially when you do ALL the math. Those drinking fountains would have bought us one cop for ten years, and yes, you’re still talking no benefits, no vest, no car, no desk, etc.

  8. @Mark, I have no problem with breaking out the art side of things from pragmatic infrastructure. That’s worthy of debate. As we know, Minnesotans are willing to support the arts with their tax dollars. While Marty Seifert – and others using the Minnesota GOP’s latest anti-Rybak talking points like Luke Hellier – use the term “waste” to describe art, they’re out of touch with the state of MN.

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