Bloomington's City Council and Planning Commission are conducting fast-track hearings on proposed changes to zoning regulations that attempt to address homelessness under cover of "Pandemic response". The Planning Commission hearing was Thursday, Nov. 5, and the City Council special meeting is Monday Nov. 9. Both are being conducted as remote meetings, so only telephone testimony is possible.
The Nov. 5 Planning Commission meeting voted to carry-over this item to Nov. 19, requesting staff revise the proposed ordinance (i.e., not forward this for City Council approval). Unfortunately, we have recent experience of the City Council overriding a Commission’s decisions and then bypassing additional Hearings. This may be the ONLY City Council hearing on the topic unless they agree to table / continue it.
The entry about “Temporary Pandemic Response Housing” on Bloomington’s website states:
"The Planning Commission and City Council will hold public hearings on November 5 and November 9, respectively, to consider proposed city code amendments to create a new use category for temporary housing for individuals or families on an interim basis to reduce the transmission of disease within the community during a pandemic. The proposed ordinance defines a new interim use called “temporary pandemic response housing” and establishes use standards, including requirements related to duration, licensing, security, management and operations, building and site requirements, and inspections. The amendments also modify definitions and add penalty language.”.
The city code amendments seem to offer a solution that is neither temporary nor interim.Read more
The 2020 election season was long and contentious. Our candidates deserve our thanks for stepping forward into the arena. However, the outcome of the election was determined in large measure by the effort that volunteers put forth to support those candidates. To all those volunteers – THANK YOU. Please know that our candidates benefitted from that time and toil.
In recognition of their outstanding efforts, here are some of the people that made a difference by contributing time and effort on multiple occasions:
Jim Bowen worked continuously from Labor Day to Election Day heading up volunteer organization
Lit Bag Stuffing: Trish Burnison
Door knocking within our Senate District: Michael Barg, Jim Bowen, Nancy Carlson, Steve Curry, Sonia George, Dennis Hamilton, Dennis Hogan, Tom Hulting, Carol Kerr, Joel Quinnell, Jim MacDonald, Al Muerhoff, Vince Riehm, Randy Sutter, Julia Tate, Joe Thalman, Pam Tucholke, Dennis and Vicky Withers.
Sign Location Identification: Russ Burnison, Nancy Carlson, Dennis Hamilton, Dennis Hogan, Tom Hulting, Carol Kerr, Joe Thalman, John Tschohl.
Sign Installations and Removal: Michael Barg, Jim Bowen, Russ Burnison, Nancy Carlson, Steve Curry, Kathy Frey, Dan Hallberg, Janene Harker, David Howell, Dennis Hamilton, Dennis Hogan, David Howell, Tom Hulting, Don Johnson, Carol Kerr, Kathy Kranz, Jim Lund, Al Muerhoff, Vince Riehm, Randy Sutter, Pam Tucholke.
Fundraising: Steve Curry, Tracy Eberle, Julie Hanson, Julia Tate, John Tschohl,
A number of people from SD49 also volunteered on or around Election Day as Election Judges and Poll Challengers.
Bloomington’s ballot initiative to implement Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for municipal elections has passed preliminarily with a slim margin. Going forward with Ranked Choice Voting requires a change to the Bloomington City Charter. Any Charter change must pass by 51%. Votes in favor of Ranked Choice Voting current sit at 51.19%
Of the 49,489 votes cast on the question, 25,239 were needed to reach the 51% threshold. “Yes” votes tallied following the close of Bloomington’s polling states was 25,332. A margin of 93 votes.
The Sun Current reported the “the final vote count could be influenced by uncounted ballots, according to City Manager Jamie Verbrugge. It is unknown how many absentee ballots may be at Hennepin County, and if they had been counted upon the completion of Bloomington’s ballot tally from its 32 precincts.
“The safest answer is it will be a few days, probably, before we are able to say for sure what the outcome is for RCV,” Verbrugge was quoted as saying.
Opponents of Ranked Choice Voting in Bloomington reiterated again that a change of this significance should not have been pushed by the City Council during the pandemic and the related emergency restrictions. Given the extremely close voting, opponents do not believe that the last word has been spoken on Ranked Choice Voting in Bloomington.Read more
Another election cycle has come to a close … almost.
As we publish, it appears that absentee ballots are still being counted. Final 2020 voting statistics are not final. However, the numbers that are available are worth considering. The following analysis is based on information from the MN Secretary of State[https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/election-results/].
Across Minnesota, 80% of the estimated eligible voters voted in the Presidential race. This is the highest turnout in Minnesota since 1956, when 83.1% of voters turned out. Contrast this to 2016, when the voter turnout was 74.7%.
In 2016, President Trump lagged Hillary Clinton 1.367 million votes to 1.323 million votes, less that 45,000 votes, or 1.5%. In that year, minor party candidates had 254,000 votes (8.6%). If President Trump had gotten even 25% of that minor party vote, he would have taken Minnesota.
This year, President Trump’s total went up, but former VP Biden went up by more. The Republican candidate lagged the Democrat candidate 1.484 million votes to 1.718 million votes, less than 234,000 votes (7.1%). The votes that went to minor parties and write-in votes in the 2016 Presidential race appeared to go primarily to the Democratic candidate. The minor party votes totaled only 76,288 votes (2.3%).
As the MPR News chart above shows, Biden led other Democrats down-ticket by a significant number. The minor parties that garnered 2.3% of the vote at the Presidential level had a bigger impact in the next tier races. In the Senate contest and the eight Congressional races, minor parties had 7.8% and 5.1% of the vote, respectively.
The estimated number of eligible voters has increased from 2016 to 2020 by 146,132 (4%). This is about a 1% increase from 2018, after a 2% jump from 2016 to 2018.
Minnesota voters have traditionally been more willing to vote both sides of a ballot. There was some evidence of this in the Qualls vote for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District. Kendall secured 44.3% in his contest, outperformed Trump by 5% and Lewis by 4.2%.Read more
Elections results in Minnesota are expected to be close. There are many races that are too close to call. Keeping control of the MN Senate depends on suburbs.
Every Republican voter is needed. If you need help getting to your polling place and you live in Bloomington, Richfield, or Edina call 952-856-3028 as early as you can.
Volunteers to be official poll watchers are still being accepted, and training is underway. Poll watchers are already in place at urban early-voting sites and will be needed for a week after election day at mail-in ballot handling locations. MN GOP is working with the Trump Election Integrity team to ensure the mandatory credentialing (with the MN Secretary of State) and to schedule shifts after training is completed. SIGN UP HERE on the MN GOP site, at the Election Protection tab. CD3 in-person training is on Wed Oct 21, and online training is also available.
The Election Integrity Hotline is 651-369-9806. This phone number is to be used to report an election incident or anything unusual observed in or around polling places.
As early-voting trend numbers are reported by the media, take note that Republicans for the most part seem to be planning to vote in person, while Democrats seem to be voting early in large numbers. Reporting is slanted to discourage the "sometimes" voters from showing up on Election Day. Republicans need to keep up turnout efforts through 8 PM November 3 by personally encouraging friends and neighbors to vote.
When reading pre-election polling results, it is essential to drill-down a bit to find the "refusal" rate. Republicans tend to balk or refuse to answer questions that ask, by name, whether they voted (or intend to vote) for a specific candidate.
Tom Barnard interviewed Kendall Qualls, Republican candidate for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District, on the 92 KQRS Morning Show, October 5. Qualls reiterated the thread that has consistently run through his campaign, that the American Dream still works. It might take a little sweat equity on your part, but most Americans will reach out a hand to help.
Over the course of his personal life and professional career, Qualls has been helped by people of all backgrounds. Rich and poor, male and female, black and white, Kendall stressed that Americans help each other. The narrative that is coming from the left is not the narrative of our country.
Tom Barnard questioned how we have come to the point where people say, in effect, “You disagree with me; therefore, I hate you.” Kendall responded that we have had generations of people that have not necessarily known the true history of our country. Often what has been taught in high schools and colleges across our country is that America is bad, that we demolish peoples and cultures to get where we are. We are just now seeing the toxic effect that is having on the national dialogue. Kendall urged that no matter where we are on the political spectrum, we need to stand up and denounce this intolerance, to say that this is not who we are as a people.
Kendall told Tom that “Yes, we do have racist people in this country, but we are absolutely not a racist country “. People are responding positively to that message. People that have not been active politically are telling Kendall that his story is their story, that his America is their America.
Click below to listen to the full 11 minute interview.
Jackson Has Meltdown at City Council Candidate Forum; Edina League of Women Voters Tries to Cover It Up
Senate District 49 Republicans have neither been asked nor decided on our own to endorse or recommend any of the current candidates in this year’s Edina City Council election. Individually, we may have our own preferred candidates for the two open seats, and we take particular notice of how they perform at public forums.
We found it especially noteworthy when candidate Carolyn Jackson had a bad night at the virtual candidate forum held by the Edina League of Women Voters on September 17. Unlike the other five candidates who participated, Jackson was unable to make her microphone function properly. She delivered a badly garbled introductory statement and struggled through repeated re-tries.
Jackson’s technical incompetence and lack of preparation was disturbing, but what was even more revealing was her reaction. Twice during the forum, Jackson’s frustration erupted, including shouting at someone off-camera and an outburst of profanity. This was all carried live on channels 813 and 16.
The Edina League of Women Voters attempted to cover up Jackson’s incompetence and intemperance by posting an edited version of the forum on their website with a new introduction. After community blowback, the league reposted the original, unedited version of the forum, including Jackson’s meltdowns. It does include a re-recording of Jackson’s introductory remarks, but includes it at the end. For more on this story, see the Edina Sun Current.
The full video of the Edina City Council candidate forum may be viewed on the Edina League of Women Voters website or Edina TV (the City of Edina YouTube channel). (Jackson’s technology problems and response are at 15:50 to 18:00, 20:17 to 23:16, culminating in 26:06 to 27:50.)
Although the Edina City Council race is ostensibly non-partisan, Jackson is a prominent Democrat. Jackson ran for the Democratic endorsement for the Minnesota House in district 49A in Edina in 2018, losing to Heather Edelson, the current Democrat state representative for 49A. The website LeftMN credits her with a leadership role in defeating the Republican-led Voter ID Amendment ballot initiative in 2012, when she was the Legislative Coordinator for the ACLU of Minnesota.
The Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) has been in existence for only 21 months. Yet, it has already established itself as a force in initiating litigation to address left-wing injustice, lawlessness and tyranny through the courts.
Northland Baptist and Shady’s Bar & Grill cases: Governors who rule tyrannically without law or Legislative oversight were supposed to be abolished by the U.S. Revolution. Yet Walz’s overreach through emergency orders continues. Court hearing was set for October 19.
Action Against Defunding the Minneapolis Police: the Minneapolis City Charter requires the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor to fund and employ at least 743 active-duty, licensed police. Given the hostile environment created by the City Council, many police officers are retiring and taking leave from the force. Not surprisingly, homicides and other violent crimes are up substantially over 2019 numbers. UMLC is representing a coalition of eight black and white citizens who live on the North Side of Minneapolis and simply do not feel the city is meeting its obligation to keep them safe. The case has been expedited and was heard by Judge Jamie Anderson in Minneapolis on October 19.
Janus Cases for Public Employees (Hoekman, Prokes, Fellows, and Brown): Despite the U.S. Supreme court’s Janus decision, government unions like the Teachers’ Union, AFSCME and SEIU continue to prevent public employees from resigning and stopping payroll dues deductions. Court hearing is set for November 10.
Governor Walz’ Illegal Forced Masking: UMLC has challenged Governor Walz’s mask order as directly contrary to state law, based on zero legal Gubernatorial authority and issued in defiance of Legislative authority. Court hearing is set for November 13.Read more
Project Veritas released two videos in late September, purporting to show individuals running a ballot-harvesting scheme out of two Minneapolis high-rises. A source quoted in the video claimed that one of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s staffers is central to the operation and even pays voters for their ballots.
On Monday, September 28, Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt called on Secretary of State Steve Simon to conduct a “full and robust investigation” following allegations of systemic voter fraud in Minneapolis.
Alpha News reported that Simon had not publicly commented on the allegations as of Monday night, but Daudt and state Rep. Jim Nash, the Republican lead on the House Subcommittee on Elections, requested a response from his office by Friday, October 2.
“As Minnesota’s top election official, you have a responsibility to ensure fairness and integrity of our elections,” they said.Read more
On September 30, the Minnesota House Republican Caucus released a video that Governor Walz apparently does not want our mainstream media to see.
Using his self-declared emergency powers, Gov Walz authorized the purchase of a large warehouse in May. Without consulting with the state legislature, the governor determined that the $7 million purchase was required to handle a significantly large number of dead Minnesotans, based on projections of a hastily-constructed public health model.
After the purchase, the state-owned “morgue” has been off-limits to the public until Representative Jim Nash (R, Carver County), Representative Marion O'Neill (R, Maple Lake), and Senator Michelle Benson (R, Ham Lake) were finally allowed to tour it. What they found were pallets and pallets of such things as disposable isolation gowns.
The takeaway: it was an unnecessary use of taxpayer funds, was never and will never be used for its intended purpose, and is a shining example of why the legislature needs to be involved in these decisions — governing by the whims of one man is not working.