Letter to Gov. Walz: Open Schools this Fall

School_Desks_Chalk_Board.jpgJoe Thalman, candidate for MN House in District 49B, was contacted by a local parent concerned that the closure of Minnesota’s schools under Gov. Walz’s unilateral shutdown order would be continued into the next school year. Following is the letter that the parent is trying to get published in the Star Tribune and other local papers. 

An open letter to Governor Walz,

I am writing to you as a mother of three young boys and a former high school teacher. Please reopen schools in the fall for the well-being of our children, our families, and our state.

When you initially closed schools with the Stay at Home Order, I was with you. I understood this was a necessary, temporary measure intended to flatten the curve of Covid-19. We presumed, even if kids didn’t present symptoms, that they might be “asymptomatic viral bombs” who would bring the virus home to more vulnerable adults. So, in an incredible act of solidarity, teachers, students and parents rose to the occasion to protect the common good.

Since then, we have acquired more tests and data. Data suggests that children are the least likely to contract Covid-19, the least likely to have severe symptoms, and the least likely to spread the virus. In fact, children tend to be the last in their household to contract the virus, not the first, as we originally thought. Given this information, reopening schools in the fall should be a top priority. Childcare centers, like the YMCA, that have remained open through the pandemic have successfully demonstrated that we can safely do this now. Yes, there may be some risk in sending students back to school, but there is also a great deal of risk in keeping them home.

At some point, keeping kids out of the school building could create a greater public health and mental health crisis than the one we are attempting to avoid.

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America the Exceptional: My Response to Dean Phillips and his Vision of America as Systemically Racist

qualls_headshot-1-600x600-300x300.jpgKendall Qualls' opponent, first-term Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips, has attempted to convey the Black-American experience and redefine America in the process. On June 22, Dean Phillips emailed his supporters and stated that "Racism is deeply ingrained...in our institutions, and in our everyday lives." On June 23, Phillips posted a message on Facebook to reiterate that message. Phillips also created a "resource guide" on his website for "racial justice allyship"  to “understand our nation’s” black experience and combat "systemic racism" in America.

Kendall Qualls, as a Black-American descended from slaves, takes umbrage with Dean Phillips’ characterization of America as a systemically racist country. In its place, Kendall offers a vision of hope because "America is an exceptional place full of exceptional people” with opportunity for all. Kendall’s full response to Dean is below.
 
Kendall Qualls:  In response to my opponent, Dean Phillips, and his attempt to convey the Black experience and redefine America in the process, I’m going to tell you what it’s really like to be a Black man in America.
 
My opponent’s virtue signaling insults me, and it should insult you too. Dean Phillips got his degree in Urban Studies from an Ivy League School in the Northeast. I got my degree in Urban Studies from the streets of Harlem in New York City.
 
Yet, unlike him, I’m not going to lecture you on the evils of white people, or guilt you into believing that “white privilege” makes you personally responsible for slavery and the struggles Black people face today.

I’m not going to lecture you like he did by telling you “racism is deeply ingrained in our history, in our institutions, and in our everyday lives, and white people [like you] have benefited from it.” I’m not going to lecture you from a place of privilege as the third wealthiest member of the House of Representatives and tell you racial justice will only be achieved if you “forgo” your comfort and take the blame as a white person.

I’m also not going to sit idly by as statues topple, and they tell you our history needs to be erased or rewritten. Why? Because I don’t believe it.

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Fourth of July Message From Kendall Qualls

From our Candidate for Congressional District 3, Kendall Qualls

Qualls_Family.jpgAs we celebrate America’s independence, Kendall and Sheila give us a glimpse into their family and their love for America as they visited America's National Parks and historical monuments over the years.
Happy Fourth of July!

CLICK HERE to view the video.Fourth_of_July_Video.jpg


Lacy Johnson's Independence Day Message

Lacy_Johnson_endorsed.jpgFrom our candidate for Congressional District 5, Lacy Johnson

I wanted to write you today with some thoughts about what Independence Day means to me personally.

Independence Day represents the freedom to live our lives as we see fit, to speak and think and worship free from an overreaching, autocratic government.

Independence Day represents the opportunity to be rewarded for hard work, to succeed and prosper in our free enterprise system.

Independence Day represents the responsibility that we all have to provide for our families and take control of our own destinies.

I am in awe of the courage of our Founding Fathers. They signed the Declaration of Independence with the full knowledge that if their revolution failed, they would be hanged as traitors. But to them – and to our benefit today – the cause of liberty was important enough to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

We owe them a debt of gratitude.


RCV in Limbo After Bloomington’s Charter Commission Session

Question-stick-figure-clipart-kid.jpgRanked Choice Voting (RCV) is a controversial change in the way that we would vote in local elections. Although it is very hard to argue that modifying Bloomington’s election procedures is an essential action during the on-going medical emergency, the Bloomington City Council voted to request that the Bloomington Charter Commission hold a public hearing on it.

On June 11, the Bloomington Charter Commission met by teleconference to hear public comments on RCV. The Bloomington City Attorney asked the Commission to approve placing on the ballot in November 2020 an amendment to the City Charter to require RCV for city offices.

Public testimony by teleconference is far from an ideal means of public discussion of important topics. While the Commissioners are able to see each other by video link, the public attendees and the Commissioners are only able to hear each other and could not see each other. The audio was often garbled, leading to frequent requests for repeat of information. As has happened in previous council public comment sessions, one resident was disconnected from giving testimony and another was not recognized by the operator, further highlighting the technology barriers to a free and open discussion.

After over two hours of public testimony and internal discussion, the ten Commissioners present split on a motion to approve. They then voted to adjourn the meeting, believing that the tie vote meant that the motion to accept placing a RCV Charter amendment on the November ballot had FAILED. But wait, that wasn’t the end.

It is unclear at this date when the Charter Commission will reconvene, but August 3rd is the deadline to get on the ballot as a referendum. The next time, all of the Charter Commission members may be present, and the outcome of the voting is not assured, We must be vigilant in the coming weeks. The well-funded, organized and persistent pro-RCV group has now faced some challenge. Your further support is needed to get the word out there.

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Walz’ Emergency Powers Have Failed to Protect Seniors

Karin_Housley_June_2020.jpgAs of late Saturday (6/20), 1,380 deaths in Minnesota have been attributed to COVID-19 in a three-month period of time. While this has gotten immense attention in the press, this number needs to be put into perspective –  80% of those deaths have occurred to residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities.

This trend is not the result of an early spike. From June 13 to Jun 19, seniors in these community care centers accounted for 58 of the 78 COVID-19 deaths

This past Friday, Sen. Karin Housley (R, Stillwater) spoke out during the final day of the Special Session of the Legislature to again emphasize the crisis in our long term care facilities. To view her speech, CLICK HERE.

“Instead of prioritizing action in long-term care settings, the governor prioritized free tests for protestors and a $6.9 million morgue... all based on a model he kept secret for months. Meanwhile, there's no end in sight to the loneliness and isolation many seniors are feeling.”

Housley argued that the governor should stop using his self-proclaimed emergency powers to maintain the complete isolation of residents of long-term care facilities – no visitors, not outside contact. Instead, he should immediately implement universal testing of all residents and staff. “Know where our outbreaks are. Let LTC residents receive visitors again if the visitor is negative for the virus.”

Sen Karin Housley voted Friday to eliminate the emergency powers of the governor. “If he wants to talk about extending those powers, he needs to step up and take care of our seniors. Until he does that, I'm not even going to entertain the idea of giving him free reign to do whatever appears to be in his best interest.”


Qualls: We Must Promote 2-Parent Families to Heal Our Wounds

Qualls_Family.jpgKendall Qualls, Candidate for Congress, 3rd district, has consistently pointed to single-parent family situations (regardless of race) as the common-factor behind educational achievement gaps, behavior troubles at school, drug use, and crime. He spoke of that during our November 2019 Fall Conversation and most recently wrote about it in an article on his website  that was republished online at Alpha News.

Kendall wrote movingly of his first-hand experience of the impacts that single-parent families had on his siblings, nieces and nephews.

On June 10, Kendall and his wife Sheila hosted an online meeting on the theme - inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s words - “How do we bind up our wounds”. During that open Q&A session they touched again on the importance of family and the common goals we share. All Moms can relate to fear for a son’s safety – whether he’s bullied at school, having his lunch money stolen, or is a teen driver stopped by police. Working hard, and raising children to be productive, contributing members of the community is “American”, not “racist”. Sheila and Kendall have raised their children to not have a “victim” mentality. As Sheila phrased it: America is still the best place for the family. If you look for racism in America, you’ll find it; if you look for good you’ll find it in abundance, no matter the skin color.

Kendall pointed out that 50 years of Democrat policies have not encouraged 2-parent families, thus keeping a permanent underclass. His view is that the Black community is now widely gaining understanding that leftists have been using them and Democrats have failed them.

Kendall truly is an exceptional candidate. Here at SD49 we're getting comments such as: "The more I hear him, the better I like him." and " He’s straight-forward, knows what he supports and why, and is able to speak about it understandably. He'll be terrific as our Representative in Washington."


Voting Changes Target Safeguards of Election Integrity

Hilary_Clinton_quote_on_voting_integrity.jpgWith little notice or attention in the media, the Minnesota Secretary of State is in the process of invoking changes in our state election procedures. Such changes are rightly the responsibility of our state legislature where both the intended and the unintended consequences can be fully analyzed and publicly debated. We are therefore concerned that some election law changes are being pursued that completely bypass the state legislature.

A familiar gaggle of non-governmental organizations are taking advantage of some cozy judicial avenues to circumvent Minnesota election laws. Four groups have sued Secretary of State Steve Simon, challenging election laws that they say endanger voters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than represent the Minnesota citizens that elected him, he has chosen to simply consent to the changes that these organizations are seeking. By getting a judge to agree, Steve Simon sidesteps the need to comply with those laws.

What is at stake? It is our laws that provide protections against potential voting fraud such as ineligible voters and “ballot harvesting.” Without legislative approval, Simon is close to:


• Dropping the requirement for witnesses on absentee ballots,
• Allowing mail-in ballots to be accepted two days after Election Day,
• Mailing of unsolicited ballot applications, and
• Eliminating limits on ballot assistance.

What could possibly go wrong? In March 2018, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released its review of Minnesota’s election system and revealed that more than 26,000 individuals whose status was marked “challenged” prior to the election in fact voted in November 2016. The Secretary of State has not been diligent in removing those voters from the registration rolls who may be ineligible. Simon wants to send ballot applications to everyone who is on the rolls, regardless if they asked for the applications or not. Ballots that are sent back in will not need to be witnessed.

Political operatives with knowledge of voter registration lists and low propensity voter history could “ballot harvest”; i.e., request ballots for people that are not likely to vote, fill out the ballots, and send them back in. If received after Election Day, there is little likelihood that they will be checked before they are counted. This is particularly true if Simon uses city clerks to open and certify mailed-in ballots rather than election judges nominated by the political parties, as required by law.

If you share our concern that the DFL Secretary of State and friendly plaintiffs are using the Walz administration’s narrative of an extended pandemic emergency to weaken safeguards protecting election integrity, please make those concerns known through letters to the editor.

Image/quote credit: geckoandfly.com Nov 2015

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Steve Elkins' Riot "Analysis" is 55 Years Out of Touch

Steve_Elkins.jpgIn a recent email to constituents, Steve Elkins wrote that “the protests inspired by the murder of George Floyd” in south Minneapolis reminded him of the eruption of violence 55 years ago in California that some now call the 1965 “Watts Rebellion.” The DFL House District 49B representative wrote that the destruction of the Watts business community was to the detriment of the entire community for a generation.

Yet nothing in his email seeks to find out who took advantage of the peaceful protests to go on a rampage of destruction and looting.  The Wikipedia article Elkins referenced points out that in 1965, “Los Angeles’ African American residents were excluded from the high-paying jobs, affordable housing, and politics available to white residents.” If any of that is true today in Minneapolis, why haven’t a long line of DFL Attorney Generals addressed these discriminatory acts?

Rather, Mr. Elkins promises to “address the exclusionary zoning practices of some Twin Cities suburban communities.” He identifies neither the communities nor the zoning practices. Is Mr. Elkins using the recent riots to push for denser development and greater urbanization?

Nowhere in Mr. Elkins’ email is a call for an investigation of the lack of action by city and state officials to swiftly get control of the situation. Less than two days after the initial incident in Watts, Los Angeles had about 2,300 National Guardsmen deployed. We didn’t see the National Guard called out in Minneapolis until a full three days after the rioting began. How effective were our city and state leaders who stated that they didn’t want to arrest anyone; they just wanted everyone to go home! 

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RCV Before Bloomington’s Charter Commission Thursday evening

ballot_box.jpg“Never let a crisis go to waste.” While Obama advisor Rahm Emanuel is quoted as saying this about the 2008 financial crisis, it could as easily be said about Ranked Choice Voting supporters and the COVID-19 pandemic. RCV is a controversial change in the way that we would vote in local elections, and it makes no sense that such a change would be pushed while we are still in an emergency lockdown, unable to debate it face-to-face. Yet the Charter Commission will discuss putting RCV on the November ballot at their Thursday evening, June 11, remote meeting.

We urge Bloomington residents to consider the ramifications and potential consequences of RCV. There is still time to write an email to the Charter Commission members or to plan to speak before the Charter Commission, asking the members NOT to recommend RCV be on the ballot in November. The more residents the better. Some email templates are being prepared, and we can be contacted for ideas if needed. The emails could be as simple as “we have no idea what RCV is and need more time for the city to provide more information before we put this on the ballot” or “I am against changing our voting system in Bloomington to RCV”.

Indicative of the push being made to get this on the ballot, the City Council has had only one face-to-face meeting on the subject last May and listened only to the proponents of RCV.  There was a limited public discussion period during a remote meeting of the City Council on May 18, and only a general page on the city website, with no reference for resident education and information. Unfortunately, the City Management has done very little to illicit any response from the residents like they did for Lyndale Retrofit, Community Center Engagement, Creekside Closing and Diversity Training. Apparently the way in which we are voting is merely a side concern for them.

Emails must be sent by Thursday, June 11 at 2pm. All emails should go to councilsecretary@bloomingtonmn.gov for the meeting record. Resident concerns expressed at the meeting could well make a difference in the decision whether or not the Commission goes forward with this proposed change to the Bloomington City Charter. 

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