Are you interested in ways to serve your community? Are you looking for a stepping-stone to elected office? This is the time of year when our local governments seek applications from people willing to serve, often in volunteer capacities. Be aware that some deadlines for applications are fast-approaching.
Continue reading for more information on Commissions and Advisory Boards in Hennepin County, Edina, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Minnetonka.Read more
The “Fall Conversation” held on November 16 at the Edina Country Club proved to be a frank and insightful discussion of the recent election and where we, as Republicans, need to go from here. The panel came well-prepared and led off with a number of key observations.
• We lost some very good Republican legislators in the metropolitan area. Democrats and independents voted pretty much along DFL party lines. They did very little vote-splitting. Republicans were more apt to cross over to Amy Klobuchar. “When the tide swept through, a Republican candidate had to be on a tall tree to survive.”
• The DFL message was more inclusive. It was effective in targeting suburban women. It didn’t focus on the economy – the economy has been so good, it became a non-issue.
• The Democrats' 50-state, focused, coordinated, and repeated lie about Republicans removing healthcare coverage for pre-existing conditions stuck. It was not effectively countered by our State Party or candidate messaging. While repeated positive messages of how Republicans help people meet basic needs may be a buffer, we also need to have plans and funds in place to counter whichever emotional scare-messaging the Democrats choose next time.
• Where was the communications for the Republican Party? We didn’t have a message. The DFL painted the Republican brand as negative. We didn’t explain who we are and what we are for. Consequently, we were identified as racist and anti-immigrant, and it stuck.Read more
In late October a Minnesota Appeals Court judge ruled in favor of the Hands Off Our Cans citizens group over the City of Bloomington on two significant issues. While essentially reasserting the right of citizens of a charter city to petition to amend that charter, the original issue remains unaddressed: can the city council arbitrarily move to constrain the market for trash collection without a vote of the citizens?
The Hands Off Our Cans citizens group fulfilled the requirements of a charter amendment and submitted the records to the city. The Bloomington City Clerk affirmed that it met the requirements defined in the charter. The Charter Committee voted unanimously to accept it. The council then voted against it arguing it was pre-empted by statute, was manifestly unconstitutional, and was an improper referendum.
Since then, the attorney for the citizen’s group pursued many court rulings addressing the positions taken by the Bloomington City Council. Each one moved closer to affirming the right and ability of citizens to put a charter amendment on the ballot in Bloomington. Specifically, the charter amendment would require a vote by the citizens of Bloomington for or against “organized trash collection.” A milestone was reached when the State Supreme Court found that the ability of citizens to make a charter amendment in the field of organized collection was not preempted by state statute
We generally do not report on national issues, but this was too telling to pass up. Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute has tallied up the full cost of recent proposals by politicians to provide “free” services to the American people:
• $32 trillion for the Medicare-for-all plan (just the program’s first decade)
• $6.8 trillion for the jobs-for-all plan (first decade only)
• $1.4 trillion to forgive student loan debt
• $1 trillion for new infrastructure
• $807 billion for “free college” (first decade only)
• $270 billion for 12 weeks of paid family leav.
• $188 billion to increase Social Security benefits (first decade only)
The total price tag is approximately $42.5 trillion just over the next decade. This would take virtually all of the currently projected $44 trillion in revenue that Washington will take in over the same decade. Riedl notes that the 30-year projected tab is even more staggering: these new proposals will cost $218 trillion.
We are told, of course, that all of this is affordable if we demand more taxes from corporations and the richest 1 percent. Consider this: Federal spending alone now typically ranges between 18 and 22 percent of GDP *. With these new programs, Federal spending would immediately soar past 40 percent of GDP on its way to nearly 50 percent within three decades. When Reidl includes state and local government spending, we get to 60 percent of GDP -- exceeding the current spending level of every country in Europe.
* Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the most widely used measures of an economy's output or production. It is defined as the total value of goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period.
Thanks to the American Legion Magazine, October 2018 edition, for this information
From Patti Meier, Chair of Congressional District 3 Republicans,
The following is an excerpt of an email sent to the Republican Senate Districts and BPOUs in Congressional District 3 the day after Election Day:
“Election 2018 did not go our way. To those of you who put your heart and soul into the effort … THANK YOU. Your time and commitment was appreciated by our candidates.
“Congratulations to those candidates that won their MN House races and to those who were successful in local and school board contests.
“We took a big hit in CD3 and across the State. To our friends that lost THANK YOU for your personal sacrifices and your commitment to make our State and Country better for all of us.
“Now we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again. We need to organize and recommit ourselves to our beliefs and principles.
“Rest and reflect today and get ready to take our Victory lap in 2020.
“I again ask all of you to get involved in your Senate District.”
Thanks to the Republican-endorsed Candidates
State and National Candidates are frequently in the spotlight, garnering a lot of attention from the media and campaign volunteers. Local candidates do not generally get as much attention. They and their families sacrifice personal time and (this year, especially) encounter both the best and worst of commentary and actions from their fellow Minnesotans. We thank each of them for the service they have provided by running for office.
Voter turnout this year was very strong for a mid-term, over 85% in SD49. It was also marked by a significant turn-out of DFL voters. Five-term U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen came up short. Jennifer Zielinski ran valiantly in Congressional District 5 against the Minneapolis DFL machine.
Virtually all of the incumbent Republican MN House members in Hennepin County were defeated, including Sarah Anderson, Cindy Pugh, Jennifer Loon, and Dario Anselmo. As we go to press, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek’s race was still too close to call.
See the Secretary of State website for Election Results details by office and precinct.
The City of Bloomington hosted a series of Town Hall meetings in October, giving a "heads up" regarding major construction projects planned, both for significant repairs to existing structures, some replacement of current structures and the new (proposed) Community Center. Get ready to open your wallets, Bloomington tax payers! This is going to be expensive! We’ll all learn just how expensive at the Dec. 3 Council Meeting, where the preliminary city budget will be presented.
A new Community Center in Bloomington has been studied since 2016. An initiative earlier this year to use Bloomington School District property did not gain School Board approval. A new location for the proposed community center was presented during last month’s Town Halls. The city is now looking at the west side of Bloomington's Civic Plaza.
Although not mentioned at the early-October Town Hall meetings (but shown on the diagrams), the city announced plans to acquire the apartment buildings across the street west of the Civic Plaza to make room for the Community Center, plus parking facilities.
Then the Council announced on Nov. 2 the Oct 29 decision that the YMCA will no longer be partnering with the city for the Community Center. It’s unclear how the design will change and where the construction might proceed now.
|A few side notes for context: 2019 is a mayoral and council election year. Bloomington’s current Mayor, Gene Winstead has lead city government for more than 20 years, since his appointment in 1995 as a Council Member-At-Large, beginning his current position as Mayor in 2000. Councilmen Tim Busse and Jack Baloga began serving in 2011/2012, all others joined the Council more recently. The $38 million Bloomington Civic Plaza construction began in 2001 and completed in 2003. Bloomington’s population is aging, and 40% of those attending the Oct. 18 Town Hall had lived in Bloomington more than 35 years.|
Significant maintenance and construction that was deferred during the 2002-2015 economic downturn is past-due, and the city is trying to play catch-up.Read more
The October Dinner Meeting first included short presentations by several current candidates, all of whom summarized their political philosophies and initiatives, and asked for the votes of those present. The speakers included: Jeff Johnson, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate; Dario Anselmo, current incumbent running for reelection to the Minnesota House (District 49A); and six candidates running for the Edina City Council: Ron Anderson, Stan Davis, Janet Kitui, Ray Meifert, and incumbents Kevin Staunton and Bob Stewart.
The main presentation featured Laura Anderson (on the right in the photo) and Hannah Keil (on the left) -“The Elephants in the Room” -two young professional women who recently graduated (Minnesota State University – Mankato and University of Minnesota, Duluth respectively) and joined the workforce here in the Twin Cities.
The two gave “up close and personal” accounts of their experiences as conservatives surviving in a vast ocean of “liberals and leftists” inhabiting their academic worlds, including professors, fellow students, and the bureaucracy. The audience learned real examples of bias against conservative thought that ranged from censorship to latent hostility to downright silliness, such as the “pronoun police.”
Laura and Hannah left the audience with a list of resources for further study of these subjects, along with a call to support truly open and free thought and civil discussion in institutions of higher learning, at every possible opportunity.Read more
It's OK now to put up ALL the candidate yard signs – no limits. And leave them until shortly after the November election, although you'll probably rotate them as you rake leaves this fall.
Per the MN Secretary of State website, state law regarding political campaign signs overrides local sign ordinances. Local laws that otherwise limit the number of signs or how long they may be up cannot be enforced for a designated time during even-numbered years.
We distributed all the signs we had on-hand at our last several SD49 events, and don’t yet know whether we’ll have more by the Oct 23 dinner meeting. So if you still need an endorsed-candidate yard sign (or a few), please contact the candidate’s campaign - we’ve listed their websites HERE - and be prepared to go to a local campaign office to pick them up.
photo credits: 6 signs John Alexander, 3 signs David Pasco
Minnesota collects data on K-12 student performance, often by broad ethnic or racial origins in compliance with Federal guidelines. In the last decade, a study funded by the federal government concluded that the data should be “disaggregated”, broken into sub-populations on the assumption that resources should be focused on students of ethnic or racial groups that were under-performing.
On September 25, Chuck Li, President of the Chinese-American Alliance, (at left in photo) spoke at our dinner program. He told us why he and many other Chinese-Americans in Minnesota do not believe that ethnic identity should be the basis for setting school policies, assigning education resources, or defining student quotas.
He was joined by (L-R) Jun Yang, Sifang Wu, Sheng Zhong and Dongfeng Qi from Education Policy Observers. They described why they've transformed into activists since last year when the MN Legislature passed a bill for disaggregated reporting at a more detailed level and the Dept. of Education announced plans for pilot-implementations. They highlighted the evidence that focusing on ethnic identity avoids the real causes (30 factors in 8 categories) of poor educational performance. They also noted the expected costs to MN Taxpayers (more than $75 million per year) and the lack of data-security / data-privacy tools and standards for school computer systems. These leave both parents and students at high potential risk for exposure of sensitive information.
These MN parents strongly believe the planned information collection risks dividing us along ethnic and racial lines and does not promote the common good. As reported in 2017, Minnesota has already proven to be really good at collecting some student data, just not the best at using it.
Are you considering resigning from your union? Kim Crockett wrote a helpful article for teachers and Education Service Professionals (ESP’s), posted at the Center of the American Experiment website. There’s a narrow one week each year window for these professionals to not-renew their union membership. That’s now – September 24 – 30.
Crockett acknowledges that making the decision has both emotional and practical considerations, and provides answers to frequently asked question such as alternative sources for liability insurance, assurance regarding pension protections (pensions are school, not union, benefits) and the specific steps needed to opt-out.
illustration credit: Michael Van Beek, Mackinac Center for Public Policy