MN Supreme Court Rules for Bloomington Voters on Trash Referendum

hands_off_our_cans_logo.jpgA grassroots group of Bloomington residents calling themselves “Hands Off Our Cans” had their right to amend their City Charter vindicated on February 12. The Minnesota Supreme Court, in a split decision, held that the City of Bloomington acted outside its authority in rejecting a ballot measure which gives voters the right to choose whether to continue with Organized Collection of waste hauling in the City of Bloomington.

This is the second time the group has secured a victory for voter rights over the City at the Minnesota Supreme Court. In 2018, the Supreme Court rejected Bloomington’s argument that the citizen effort was preempted by state law.

At this point, the question of whether or not to continue with Organized Collection *should* be placed on the ballot for the Bloomington voters to decide. No further action is necessary by the citizens group that argued the cases before the Supreme Court, as every single argument advanced by the City has been defeated and decided in favor of the petitioners.

Bloomington’s new mayor and city council have not announced their plans in light of this recent decision. However, the implementation of Organized Trash has seen some challenges. When the city essentially took over the collection of trash in 2016, it subcontracted the collection out to a “consortium” of local and national trash haulers. Each hauler was given its own section of the city in which to collect. That agreement runs out at the end of this year.

In January, the Consortium asked for substantial amendments to the City’s updated agreement, noting several areas where the trash companies could not accept the City’s proposed contract terms. The City Council subsequently voted to go out with a new Request for Proposal not limited to the current Consortium.

One possible outcome of this development is that only the large national trash collection companies may be able to accept the new terms. The smaller local companies that had been more responsive to individual homeowner and neighborhood concerns may not have the financial ability to handle the damages clause of the new contract.

A city-wide referendum on Organized Collection may come just as the price-competitive field of trash collectors is about to disappear.

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Double-check Activists Before Donating

... Some May be Wolves in Sheep Clothing

Is_it_SCAM.jpgThere are organizations that purport to be for gun rights or against abortion that have popped up in various states.  Some even claim to be grassroots supporters of President Trump.  In Minnesota, they have even stated that they are more ardent on gun rights or pro-life than Republican legislators. 

They use confrontational political tactics to motivate unsuspecting conservatives to donate.  The tactics increase the difficulty of reaching reasonable agreements on important legislation.  Crucially, the money is not used in support of the causes that they claim to represent.

Pay particular attention to solicitations from Minnesota Gun Rights, Minnesota Right to Life, and the Trump Club of Minnesota.  All three were started or headed by one or more of the Dorr brothers (Aaron, Chris, and Ben).  CLICK on this expose of the Dorr brothers and consider again whether their organizations are where you want your contributions to go.


Do You Want to Be a National Delegate in 2020?

JPG_RNC_Charlotte_2020_Logo.jpgA message from MN GOP:

“The deadline to submit your application to run to be a National Delegate or Alternate to the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, NC is just a few days away. The application forms/nomination packets with $25 filing fee must be postmarked by: Feb 29, 2020.

We don't want you to miss out on this exciting opportunity to represent the Land of 10,000 Lakes as a part of Minnesota's National Convention Delegation!

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience full of great speeches, convention activity and of course, the highlight - nominating our President - as he seeks a second-term. “


Important information you need to know about the convention:

1. Minnesota will elect 36 delegates and 36 alternates this spring. Only those who have completed the application process may run for election.
2. The convention dates are: Monday, August 24 - Thursday, August 27, 2020; plan to travel on August 23 and August 28.
3. A fee of $1000 per person, due when elected, will cover your delegate experience, hospitality, some meals, special guests speakers, travel management customer service and more (lodging, some meals and transportation between Minnesota and Charlotte, NC are not included in this fee, and are estimated as $1500 - 3000).

To apply, please find the forms, plus additional Q&A information from the MN GOP here


Seeking Election Day Help - Judges, Poll Challengers

Vote_ballot_box_cube.jpgMay 1 is the deadline for the state party to submit names of those who are willing to be Election judges for the August primary and November general elections.

Election judges are the backbone of our election system. Any individual who is eligible to vote in this state is qualified to be appointed as an election judge. Election judges are paid officials who staff local polling places, absentee ballot boards, and all early voting venues, to ensure that the ballots and rights of voters are protected.

Minnesota Voters Alliance has been publicizing that election judges in even-numbered years are hired/assigned differently than in years when non-partisan elections are held. In order to maximize your chances of being selected as an election judge (or a poll challenger) in your precinct, it is absolutely critical that you sign up through your political party in 2020, even if you’ve recently served as an election judge.

Why do I need to sign up through my political party?

The Minnesota Legislature has created a system for selecting election judges in even years, such as 2020, that is different from the one used for “odd year” municipal elections.

In even years, in which we have “partisan elections”, the law requires that election judges be selected from the lists submitted to the Secretary of State by the political parties. Minnesota Statute 204B.21 requires that in a year in which there is an election for partisan political office, such as 2020, “each major political party shall prepare a list of eligible voters to act as election judges in EACH precinct”, and submit to the Secretary of State by May 1st.

The law also requires appointing authorities to select election judges from the lists received from the political parties first, before appointing others. This means that if a person signs up through the Secretary of State’s office, or at their local election office, their chances of being selected for 2020 are limited or eliminated.

In addition, failing to sign up through your political party also negatively impacts your party’s ability to verify whether or not the Secretary of State is complying with the “Party Balance Requirement’ for election judges found in 204B.19, Subd 5.

Poll Challengers: this is an unpaid, volunteer role. The Secretary of State site describes the limitations here.  Training will be provided by MN GOP. You must be on the list submitted by your party before election day to be a poll challenger.

For either role:
Fill out a form at your February 25 Caucus, or on the MN GOP website
You may also contact the Republican Party of Minnesota Phone: 651-222-0022 Email: info@mngop.com


Feb 25 Caucuses are Key to Vibrant Political Parties

Political parties are vital instruments in our democratic political process.  Vibrant local parties ensure that you have a choice when you vote in city, county, and state elections.  A local political party, however, is only as vibrant as the supporters who come out every two years and attend their local precinct caucuses. 

The caucuses coming up on Tuesday evening, February 25, are your opportunity to get engaged in identifying and supporting candidates that share your values and your passions.  Caucuses are the first critical step you need to take to become a delegate to the conventions that will be held this year to hear from and endorse candidates.   

Republican caucuses are more than a process for selecting candidates.  They are also the means of refreshing our party’s leadership and objectives.  Meetings of conservative-minded neighbors elect local leaders from among their number to represent them at party meetings.  These meetings also give you the opportunity to identify what issues are important to you through resolutions to amend the party’s platform. 

Should you attend your precinct caucus on February 25?  Do you feel that local, county, and state governments have their priorities straight?  Are they spending your taxes wisely and efficiently?   Is your local representative listening and responding to your concerns?  Do you want to help field candidates that are more closely aligned to your values?   The people leading your party today need your help and support.  Don’t assume that they will always be there. 

Where will the caucuses be held?  When available on the MN Secretary of State’s website, you will be able to find your caucus location at this link .  Here are the locations for SD49, SD50 and Eden Prairie.

  • If you live in Bloomington, they will be held at Jefferson High School, 4001 W. 102nd St., Bloomington
  • If you live in Edina, they will be held at Edina’s South View Middle School, 4725 South View Lane., Edina
  • If you live in an Eden Prairie or Minnetonka neighborhood northeast of I-494, they will be held at Edina’s South View Middle School, 4725 South View Lane, Edina
  • If you live in an Eden Prairie neighborhood outside of I-494, they will be held at the Eden Prairie Central Middle School, 8025 School Rd, Eden Prairie.

When will they start on February 25?  Doors will open at 6:15 pm.  The caucuses will officially kick off at 7:00 pm.  Expect that they will last about 90 minutes.

Will I need to register to attend?  You will need to sign in and affirm that you believe in the principles of the Republican Party. 

Is there a cost to attend?  The caucuses are free, but contributions to help defray the cost of holding the caucuses will be requested and would be appreciated. 

Please, be sure to mark February 25th on your calendar.


MN GOP Calls Out DFL Scare Tactics Around Primary Voting

scare_tactics_graphic.jpgRepublican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released the following statement on January 23 regarding the Minnesota DFL’s attempts to change Minnesota’s Presidential Primary law regarding data:

“Voting is one of the greatest rights and civic duties we are afforded by living in the United States of America. Yet, the Minnesota DFL is actively working to dissuade Minnesotans from participating in the March 3rd Presidential Primary, for which voting is already open. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is something that the majority of Americans would be against whether we are talking about the Superbowl or an election.

“The legislation surrounding the Presidential Primary was passed in a bipartisan manner and should be allowed to move forward without the DFL impeding due to baseless concerns. In fact, MN DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was Chair of the DFL when these measures were adopted while I walked into a previously adopted situation. Further, none of the 40+ states that provide partisan primary data as a standard voter file has ever been accused of misusing voter data. What is more likely, is that the Minnesota DFL is frightened by the two new major parties receiving data that would siphon off votes from the DFL gathering; than misuse of the data as a whole.
 
“The Republican Party of Minnesota takes voter privacy and data security very seriously and will continue to work to ensure necessary security measures just as we do with the voter information we have used for years.

“Just as we are seeing in Washington D.C. and around the nation, Democrats are afraid of President Trump and are willing to do anything they can to prevent another four years. It is disappointing that the Minnesota DFL has chosen to start 2020 with scare tactics and misinformation to suppress voters. Minnesota voters deserve better.”

Chairwoman Carnahan repeated this message Jan 31 when she and the DFL Chair were interviewed on the televised show, TPT Almanac  (starts about minute 7).


MN Logging Companies Are Fighting Back, Suing "Eco-Terrorists"

eco_terrorism_graphic.jpg

A year ago, eco-terrorists vandalized several pieces of heavy equipment owned by Scheff Logging & Trucking, Inc. and harassed its employees on a worksite near Cloquett, MN. Now, the company has filed a lawsuit against those individuals, citing over $100,000 in damages The lawsuit names Defendant Shawn Etsitty and his co-conspirators, as well as the organizations that trained them and funded their activities.

The incident is the latest in a string of violent criminal protests by extremists who believe they are justified in breaking the law as a form of environmental-political activism.

The criminals tore out wiring, stole keys, cut hydraulic lines causing oil to drain into the ground, poured sand, glue and water into Scheff’s equipment, cut and pulled out wiring and damaged dashboards, drive trains and oil reservoirs, causing more than $100,000 of malicious and intentional damage to the equipment of this small family logging company working under contract for St. Louis County.

“This is not an isolated incident, unfortunately,” added Scott Dane, Executive Director of Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota. “Many small businesses in Minnesota have experienced similar disruptions and vandalism, and it needs to stop. The victims here are our families, our friends, and our neighbors – their livelihoods are on the line.”

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Predictions For MN Legislative Session

One_Expensive_Minnesota.jpgThe MN Legislature reconvenes Tuesday, February 11.

Our January 28 dinner speaker Rep. Drazkowski provided some predictions on what will happen this session.

He also briefly discussed a possible way the MN legislature could begin to deal with the millions of dollars of misspent funding by the Department of Human Services:  create a separate Inspector General division outside of DHS's tainted administrative structure.

And he gave us a quick forecast of what will happen to our money in the 2020 legislative session.  The funds on-hand already exceed what's needed for the 2-year budget bill that was approved in 2019. The DFL majority will want to spend the 2.4 Billion in excess tax-collections already in the state's treasury, as well as the forecast 1.3 Billion excess that will accrue by 2021.  Expect to see a "Supplemental Budget Bill" filled with pet-projects from every district.

Plus:  Gov. Walz will propose a 2.6 Billion bonding (borrowing) plan, 2-times larger than any previously approved.

 


Unethical Actions by Rep. Ilhan Omar - Call for Investigation

A portion of SD49 is within MN US Congressional District 5, currently represented by Ilhan Omar (D). Dinner attendees expressed surprise January 28 to learn the extent of unethical, possibly criminal, actions that Omar has committed.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) was the featured speaker at the January 28 dinner program hosted by Senate District 49 Republicans. He has been one of the strongest advocates for an investigation of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN5).
Drazkowski served in the Minnesota House of Representatives with Omar before she was elected to Congress. He noted that she filed a required Minnesota Campaign Finance report several months late, despite reminders from the Campaign Finance Board. She finally filed after she had secured the DFL endorsement for her candidacy in the 5th Congressional District.

In looking into the report she filed, Drazkowski noted expenditures that did not appear to be true campaign expenses. An investigation by the Campaign Finance Board essentially agreed and fined her campaign. During this period, other investigative journalists such as David Steinberg, Praya Samsunder, and Scott Johnson reported on inconsistencies with Omar’s statements about her background as a refuge, her marriages, and her contacts with her brother.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski has pushed the US House Committee on Ethics and the Internal Revenue Service to determine if the allegations that have been raised are valid and constitute illegal activity. He and others have created a new site OmarTruth.com which includes a short video and links to the source-documents that highlight the questionable actions.

 

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MN Senate Leader Details Plans for Session

Senate_GOP_2020_Vision.jpgLast week, MN Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R- Nisswa) held a press conference to outline his plans for the legislative session that kicks off in February.

“Our 2020 Vision will build on the successes of the 2019 session and Republicans will continue to work with Democrats in the House and Gov. Walz to get things done, even as we fight hard for our principles. Principles like fiscal responsibility, a limited but effective government that takes care of the vulnerable, a market-based economy and strong belief in personal responsibility and liberty.”
The 2020 Vision plan includes initiatives addressing health care, transportation, education, jobs and workforce development, clean energy, the economy and family budgets, clean water, violence prevention, taking care of people, childcare, greater Minnesota, state government, election security, and veterans.

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