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Saturday, April 17, 2004

Rebecca Otto and the Hate Amendment

X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent 6.5.1
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 18:40:41 -0600
From: "Rebecca Otto"
Subject: Re: Fwd: Otto

I know that you care deeply about this issue. I do as well. However, you do not know my district and do not live in my district. I have a close relationship with many constituents. It is not helpful when you cast stones. You do not occupy this seat, and you do not put in the incredibly long hours, and make all of the sacrifices that I do for my community. Every vote I take is done very carefully and thoughtfully. Until you occupy my seat, do not attack me. This job is tough enough.


Rebecca Otto
State Representative

This was in response to this - which I sent out to several Gay Minnesota lists.

I got the following by a DFLer (straight) who lives in Otto's district.

I heard my rep, Rebecca Otto, on MPR last night saying she hadn't yet decided how she was going to vote on the gay marriage bill. I was shocked, and sent her a note telling her so, and I'd suggest if you know any others out here who are just assuming Otto will oppose this thing, they need to call/e-mail her office today and let her know this is about more than getting re-elected in November. She's reasonable and will listen, but clearly, she's being urged to vote in favor to preserve her re-election chances. Typical spineless House DFL position.

EY: If you live in the Stillwater area, Call Rebecca Otto and tell her
you wish her to vote against this bill - or if you have contributed to her campaign - ditto. Her phone number is 651-296-5342. Tell her if she wants a dime of gay money in the future, she should think very carefully about voting for this bigoted amendment. Shouldn't the signs like "Death Penalty for Homosexuals" which were at the bigots rally help convince her that this amendment is something she should stand against. When the Loving V Virginia, Interracial marriage decision was decided - polls were strongly against interracial marriage. Would Otto think that we should fix this "activist judge" ruling by amending the constitution?

I was at a recent brunch for lesbians - and there were a number of people there saying they were planning on boycotting the Stillwater area because Bachmann's role in that amendment. If Otto votes for this amendment,
it gives more impetus to some efforts in the gay community to boycott the area.

She won running AGAINST an anti-gay candidate - and moderate Republicans
crossed over partly because of the extremist anti-gay and theocrat nonsense from her republican opponent.

The bigots supporting this amendment won't vote for her anyway.

Otto got a puff piece in GLBT Press in a recent issue. Her picture was in the paper.

If Matt Etenza is advising her to vote against this bill - then he should make that recommendation public.

Otto has been good at speaking out publically against the Creationism
nonsense. She should speak out against this type of bigotry also.


Friday, April 16, 2004

Stanek Resigns

Googling the nooz....

Stanek will return to Minneapolis.... From City Council Minutes

PS&RS & W&M/Budget - Your Committee recommends that the proper City
Officers be authorized to execute a Mobility Agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to place Rich Stanek on an intergovernmental mobility assignment effective February 3, 2003 for a 24-month period to serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Under said agreement, Mr. Stanek shall remain a regular employee of the City and continue to accrue and retain benefits, seniority and compensation in the City in accordance with any current and subsequently approved City administrative procedures and/or policies and labor agreements during the 24-month period of the Mobility Agreement for which Mr. Stanek would be eligible.
Adopted. Yeas, 10; Nays, 2 as follows:
Yeas - Lilligren, Niziolek, Benson, Goodman, Lane, Samuels, Johnson, Schiff, Zerby, Ostrow.
Nays - Johnson Lee, Zimmermann.

Thanks Terrell Brown for the tip (post to Mpls Rumours).
Absent - Colvin Roy.
Passed February 28, 2003.
Approved March 6, 2003. R.T. Rybak, Mayor.
Attest: S. Ristuben, Asst City Clerk.

Last summer, I talked with Chief Olson and mentioned these allegations - and the lawsuit against Stanek - Olson claimed not to have heard about them.

None of this is news. This was an issue in Stanek's campaigns for office.

As Steve Brandt, Star Tribune Reporter points out:

Of course, one might ask how this 1995 Star Tribune article laying out the same racial slurs got overlooked when Stanek was appointed.
Steve Brandt/Star Tribune

Access #: 700902
Paper: STAR TRIBUNE (Mpls.-St. Paul) Newspaper of the Twin Cities
Headline: IRs challenge own candidate for his alleged racial slurs
Date: 02/24/95
Section: NEWS
Page: 01B
Edition: METRO
Byline: Mike Kaszuba; Staff Writer
Length: 22.9
Subject: campaign;legislature;police;lawsuit;black;race relations
Slug: RICK24

Minneapolis police officer Richard Stanek's quest to become a legislator is being challenged by Independent-Republicans in Maple Grove - where he won the IR primary just three days ago - because of his admission in court records that he has used racial slurs.

EY: I called Pawlenty's office last year when Stanek was first appointed to express my concerns. I mentioned the lawsuit naming Stanek - and that the lawsuit was over beating up African American motorists - and calling them racial slurs during the process. I talked with Ryan Kaess in the governor's office about this - and Kaess's response was that if the plaintiffs only got $50,000 the lawsuit was probably without merit. Pawlenty said this deposition was new to him - but he was aware of the lawsuits. It still seems a bit wierd that the Governor's Office didn't do a search of press articles on Stanek. A simple search would have turned up the article Steve Brandt mentioned.

Good for Pawlenty for taking quick action on this after the press conference by African American leaders asking that Pawlenty withdraw Stanek's nomination.

From the the Strip coverage:

Stanek, appointed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, faced a contentious
confirmation in the DFL-controlled Senate. Lawmakers were prepared to
question the Minneapolis police officer about police brutality lawsuits he
has been named in, as well as his comments about racial minorities.

``The people of Minnesota need to know that justice is color blind. There
can be no basis to question that commitment in our commissioner of public
safety,'' said Pawlenty.

EY: I was happy to see that the Governor seems to get the importance of this point.

Last year, I also brought Stanek up to many democratic Senators - including Scott
Dibble last year during Pride. What outraged me is the Democrats - led by
Matt Entenza made a huge deal over Lindner's words - while turning a blind
eye to Stanek.

I for one am appalled that Stanek was able to continue to rise through the
ranks in the Minneapolis Police force with this record. It speaks volumes
about the department.

The Spokesman's most recent article on Stanek mentions that Pawlenty didn't want to appoint Stanek - but Stanek forced his hand by getting police officers to write letters on his behalf. Mary Lahammer's coverage of this story on Almanac mentions the same rumors - but doesn't mention the Spokesman got this story first.

If the Shoe Fits......

From a Minnesota Family Council Press Release....

Senator Mark Dayton called on to apologize for vitriolic, mean spirited attacks on Minnesotans seeking to protect traditional marriage
For Immediate Release Contact: Aaron Hall
Monday, March 01, 2004 (612) 789-8811

MINNEAPOLIS – Tom Prichard, President of the Minnesota Family Council, today called on United States Senator Mark Dayton to apologize to the people of Minnesota for his comments, reported in the Sunday edition of the Star Tribune, accusing supporters of a constitutional marriage amendment of promoting bigotry and hatred.

“Senator Dayton has debased civic discourse by his vitriolic attack on the motives and convictions of Minnesotans who support a constitutional amendment designed to protect marriage from redefinition by activist judges,” said Prichard.

During a Saturday speech to the Rainbow Families Conference in Minneapolis, a conference for homosexual parents, Senator Dayton said that people who support the constitutional protection of traditional marriage exhibit “only disgust and disdain while they spew hatred and inhumanity.” Regarding a state marriage amendment, Dayton said that if voters approve the amendment “the forces of bigotry and hatred will have had their say.”

“Senator Dayton certainly has the right to oppose a constitutional marriage amendment, and do so forcefully, but his name calling and attacks on those who support a marriage amendment promote the very things he accuses supporters of the amendment of inciting -- bigotry and hatred,” added Prichard.

“His harsh and deliberate attacks on the motives and sincerely held convictions of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans is unacceptable. He owes the people of Minnesota a public apology,” concluded Prichard.

The Minnesota Family Council is Minnesota's largest nonprofit, non-partisan pro-family organization.

Minnesota Family Council / Minnesota Family Institute
2855 Anthony Lane South, Minneapolis MN, 55418-3265
phone 612.789.8811, fax 612.789.8858,

EY: Methinks they do protest too much. The shoe must fit.

Stillwater Boycott Letters keep going to Stillwater Businesses

A friend of mine sent out the following:

To the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce,

I love coming to Stillwater, and visiting all the interesting shops along the Main Street. I am a photographer, and also enjoy doing photography along the river, and around Stillwater. Unfortunately, your Senator, Senator Michelle Bachmann, thinks that I am less human, and don’t deserve the same legal rights as other people do, because I am gay. I will therefore not be coming to Stillwater in the near future, and will encourage friends to seek out other small towns along the river to visit, shop and eat at. I encourage the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and the businesses in Stillwater to pressure Senator Bachmann to change her views. Gay and Lesbian people are good neighbors and citizens. We don’t deserve a MN Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. Our committed relationships deserve the same recognition as any other committed loving relationship between two people.

EY: She got the following responses:

just to let you know that many residents and business owners agree with you and not Michelle Bachman. I am drafting a letter to her as well as the mayor of Stillwater. I too am appalled at her close-mindedness and ancient views.

Brunswick Inn

From House by Grace:

I'm sorry you feel that way. I find the people in Stillwater to be open and friendly to everyone. Being gay is your way of life, I don't expect you to tell me your are gay any more than I would tell anyone my life choice is. I wish you well and hope you have a happy life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Stillwater Business (Brunswick Inn) Condemns Bachmann's Anti-Gay Bigotry

If you visit Stillwater - you might want to stay at this B&B.


April 13, 2004

Senator Michelle Bachmann

141 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155

Dear Senator Bachmann:

As both constituents and downtown business owners we are very disturbed by the recent press and boycott of that you have garnered. We, along with our husbands, own and operate the Brunswick Inn, a three-room bed and breakfast located at 114 East Chestnut Street. The Brunswick Inn was built is in 1849 and remains Stillwater's oldest surviving structure.

Our business is a labor of love. We all work full-time positions elsewhere. The fact that we work elsewhere does not eliminate our need to show a profit, regardless of how small. The boycott of Stillwater has directly affected our bottom line; Easter weekend was the first weekend in our history that we had cancellations and could not rent a room. We hold you accountable.

Our decision to court the GLBT market has been deliberate. As Innkeepers we have advertised in The Source: The Ultimate Gay Community Directory and many other markets that target the GLBT community. As business owners we know that the GLBT community has a large dispensable income; more importantly, experience has proven that our GLBT guests are good guests. As Innkeepers we have enjoyed opening our Inn and welcoming our GLBT guests.

Lastly, we would like to remind you that regardless of individual political or moral ideology, family structure in the United States has changed. The 2000 Census shows that one in nine US households consisted of same-sex partnered households. In addition, 9.1% of all households consist of unmarried opposite-sex partners and married partnered households only make up 52% of all households. We, at the Brunswick Inn, welcome all family forms.


Partner, Brunswick Inn

FRC Bleating: White House Gives In to Gay Lobby...Again

During the previous administration, President Clinton issued an executive order that stated "sexual orientation" should be added as a protected class in the federal government's discrimination policy. Clinton's order went way beyond any act of Congress or U.S. law and raised "sexual orientation" to the level of race and religion. This was clearly a move to satisfy the homosexual political lobby. The U.S. code says that, in addition to the protected classes, employers should not discriminate "on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee."

By making "sexual orientation" a protected class, however, then not only homosexuals but a whole host of other "orientations" would now be considered to have special employment protections that other groups do not. And since "sexual orientation" is a wide open description, where do you stop? What about bisexuals, polygamists, polyamorists and others? Do they qualify for these special protections as well? Enter the new head of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for the Bush Administration, Scott Bloch, who accurately pointed out that "sexual orientation" is not a protected class because it is not covered under the nation's civil rights laws. Bloch rightly directed the OSC to start removing the Clinton imposed regulation from federal documents.

FRC and other pro-family groups applauded Bloch's efforts. We were assured privately that his decision would stand. But apparently the current White House didn't have the stomach for the public relations battle that would likely ensue. They began putting pressure on Bloch and eventually forced him to retreat. This is just one of numerous decisions where when forced to choose between the two, the Bush Administration appears more concerned with keeping the homosexual lobby happy than how such public policy decisions might affect the family. I'm sure the Log Cabin Republicans are happy. I know FRC is not.

EY: I am sure the Log Cabin Republicans are happy with this. Ofcourse the Bush campaign had explicitly promised this to LCR in return for the LCR endorsement in 2000. The other part of this is that Bloch - during confirmation hearings didn't say he intended to overturn the Clinton executive order. Personally I think Rove should be asked to meet with Log Cabin Republicans and the Family Research Council Simultaneously.

DNC Touts the Gay Republicans Leaving the Republican Party

Got the following from Eric Stern, Director of GLBT Outreach at the DNC. The Religious Reich is just ruining the GOP..... Pandering to bigots is ending up being a political liability to the Bush campaign.


I am finding more and more that I am hardly the only former Republican that believes I cannot in good conscience remain a Republican. Here's a sampling of comments I came across for your enlightenment. Perhaps you may want to share some of these thoughts with the "Kool Aid drinkers" in the GOP and Republican women's clubs - the latter group might even enjoy Lynne Cheney's 1981 novel involving lesbian love affairs.

I believe the GOP has greatly underestimated the number of votes Bush will be losing due his embracing the hate filled liars of the "Christian" Right if my own family is at all representative of the fall out. Unlike George W. Bush, many voters do NOT want James Dobson and Jery Fallwell policing their bedrooms, working to dehumanize their loved ones, and inflicting their perverted form of Christianity on all citizens.


With Bush calling GLBT Americans "sinners" and supporting discrimination in the U.S. Constitution, it's no surprise that thousands of GLBT Republicans and their straight allies [I believe the numbers on election day will be in the millions] are leaving the GOP and coming out as Democrats. Here is just a sampling of the hundreds of emails we've received from proud new Democrats.

"I was raised a Republican and supported President Bush [but] over the past six months, I am saddened to say that I have become very disappointed and ashamed of our President's actions... what we are dealing with is hate, fear, and discrimination. President Bush needs to realize America was founded as a country of individualism, equality and freedom for all! My vote will be for John Kerry, a man who believes in individualism, equality and freedom for all Americans, no matter their sexual orientation." - Don

"I have been a Republican all of my life until this year. I am one of the thousands that have made a decision to become a Democrat. I really thought that President Bush, being a Christian, would stand for freedom and rights for every American. I have been very disappointed in President Bush for judging every gay person just because he does not agree with homosexuality. I thank God for the Democratic party for fighting for the rights of all Americans." - Jeremy

"I did in fact vote for George W. in the last election [but] the Bush machine has failed miserably in terms of their position on gay rights and the Patriot Act. I can not support the present administration as they destroy American civil rights. I have many gay and lesbian friends and am appalled that the president wants to make them second class citizens." - Emily

"I was betrayed by a party I thought I agreed with. I felt devalued by the president and vowed never to support an organization that didn't accept me as an equal. I have left the Republican party and now consider myself a proud, gay, Democrat searching and voting for equality." - Terrance

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Cheri Yecke, Creationist

PZ Meyers elaborates as to why Yecke's confirmation should be blocked:

My opposition to Yecke is simple, and based on a single, clear issue: her handling of the science standards. The committee that put together the science standards did an excellent job and assembled a document that reflected a reasonable scientific consensus, but throughout the process Yecke was plainly trying to undercut their work. She tried to declare that evolution would not be discussed in the standards, because it was "too controversial"; the committee ignored her idiotic stance and went ahead and put it in. When the first draft was released, rather than the version produced with the approval of the committee, she dumped a version that had been tweaked by her Intelligent Design creationist collaborators; when the committee complained, she called it a "mistake". When it was obvious that the product of the committee reflected good biology and did not pander to creationist gobbledygook, she authorized a 'minority report' cobbled up by those same creationists. She is someone who will allow her derangedly conservative ideology to taint the task of her office.

If Republicans want to claim that creationism is an implicit part of their party platform, though, then I would feel comfortable saying that she ought to be thrown out of office for the crime of being a Republican. I don't think Republicans in general accept that, though; I sure wish they'd come out and say so.

EY: Exactly.

Letter to Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and Area Bed and Breakfasts


From: Eva Young
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2004 22:37:27 -0500
Subject: [GTC] Senator Bachmann Makes Visiting and Spending $ in Stillwater a Referendum on the Hate Amendment

Dear Stillwater Chamber of Commerce:

Since your state Senator, Michele Bachmann has been visible and outfront supporting the anti-gay Marriage Amendment (which would also ban all legal equivalents of marriage for gay couples - including things like hospital visitation for gay partners) and comparing gay partnerships to polygamy,
>>bestiality and pedophilia (see her video on the Minnesota Family Council Website), you might wish to clarify that this elected State Senator does not speak for the City of Stillwater or the Business Community in Stillwater.

Senator Bachmann was front and center of a rally at the Capitol that had signs like "Death Penalty for Homosexuals", "No Homos as Leaders" and "No Sodomite Marriages".

To view her promotion of the Rally

To see clips of the anti-gay activist rally:

Rep Rebecca Otto's vote in favor of Bachmann's anti-gay legislation gives the impression that Stillwater politicians must be anti-gay in order to get elected. Clearly from the articles in the St Paul Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune on the subject of a possible gay boycott of Stillwater, many Stillwater businesses don't feel this way. Stillwater Businesses and political leaders need to speak up clearly to show that Bachmann's hate filled message does not speak for the values of the area.

Eva Young