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Saturday, November 12, 2005

6th Congressional District Forum

I've got an account of this forum over on Dump Bachmann.

Mark Kennedy Does Right Thing on ANWR

Press Release here:

Press Release- Kennedy Successful in Helping Strip ANWR from Budget

Washington, D.C. Congressman Mark Kennedy released this statement following the announcement that leadership has dropped controversial drilling provisions in the deficit reduction bill due to come to the House of Representatives today.

"Throughout this entire budget process, I have worked diligently to ensure that Arctic drilling is not in the bill. It s great to see that our hard work has paid off, and drilling in ANWR won t be a part of the budget package."

I'm not sure how much of a leader in this process Mark Kennedy was. He deserves thanks for doing the right thing. This is an area where Mark Kennedy has always differed with the Bush administration on. The usual suspects are peeved at Kennedy.

Contact the Reader's Rep at the Star Tribune re: Katherine Kersten

The e-mail address is I'm questioning their intentions. Below is the letter I sent. If I get a useful written response, I'll share it.

I'm writing this as a Minnesotan with a decidedly conservative bias on many issues.

While I appreciate that the Star Tribune occasionally prints well-written op-eds and columns from conservative writers, I find Katherine Kersten's column to be highly suspect.

The barrage of letters, complaints, and just this week, factual corrections incited by her writing speak for themselves.

But I think it speaks to a larger question - does the Star Tribune take conservatism seriously? Personally, I think she's a joke, and it suggests to me that the Strib doesn't take conservatism seriously enough to hire a credible columnist. Having Katherine Kersten as the token conservative voice in the local newspaper of record is an embarrassment and an insult.

It would quite a challenge to find a local version of David Brooks, but c'mon, there has to be somebody better out there. Please start searching for a replacement.

GR Anderson Gets the Scoop at RT Rybak's Victory Party

Over at the City Pages Blotter.

Opat to Pawlenty: Let's get it on

Architect of Twins stadium proposal sounds off on Guv

Everybody loves a winner, and that's never more apparent than on election night. Tuesday was no different, with seemingly every politician in town scurrying over to R.T. Rybak's victory party at the Ukraininan Event Center, tucked away off the river on Main Street in Northeast Minneapolis.

Hennepin County Commisioner Mike Opat was there, reveling in Rybak's victory rather than consoling his county board cohort and Rybak challenger Peter McLaughlin, who was holding a wake over at the Holiday Inn-Metrodome near the West Bank.

The Twins stadium issue came up, and Opat minced no words. "We need a governor with a backbone," Opat declared. "He started a conversation and he didn't finish it."

The source of Opat's frustration has much to do with Tim Pawlenty's obvious handwringing over the prospect of a special session. Since the legislature wrapped business this summer, Pawlenty has hinted that he would convene lawmakers this fall to deal with three stadium proposals, one each for the Twins, Vikings and Gopher football team.

We have John Knight to thank for this.

But Opat also hinted that he hasn't heard from the Governor at all on the issue, and that the Twins were likewise in the dark. Opat negotiated the current proposal with the Twins to build a stadium on a parking lot just north of the Target Center as far back as a year ago. Hennepin County bears most of the costs via a .15 percent sales tax; some figured Pawlenty would go ga-ga over the deal because it involves no state money.

"I believed his heart was in it," Opat said, adding that nobody is really talking seriously about the proposal now. "Maybe it's issue fatigue, I don't know.

"The disaster scenario is that they think we're going to be there next year with this proposal," Opat continued. "But I'm not going to sit across the table from the Twins this spring and tell them we don't have a deal yet. If this doesn't happen, there will have to be a proposal that uses state dollars."

Opat has also said he's not going to support a proposal with a referendum. A referendum on this would be a perfect issue to help an Opat opponent.

State representative Frank Hornstein, who represents the area around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, might be one to burst Opat's bubble. Hornstein, who was also at Rybak's party, offered that a special session wasn't likely. "It wouldn't be until December, and then it doesn't make sense, because you're talking about March when we start up again," Hornstein said. "It wouldn't be worth the cost at this point."

Hornstein, who has expressed distaste for public funding of stadiums in the past, said that the current proposal might have legs in the legislature--"the Minneapolis delegation would vote against it, and half of the Hennepin County delegation, but everybody else seems fine with it"--but that he would rather see a proposal that involves the Twins ponying up more than one-quarter of the cost. And, he said, if the deal changes to the Twins needing state money, all bets are likely off.

So far no one has taken up my stadium proposal - which would exclude Minneapolis from the stadium tax, and replace those tax revenues with increased sales taxes on Dakota County (where the Governor lives), Kandiyohi County (where Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson lives) and Goodhue County (where Steve Sviggum wins).

Either way, Opat seemed resigned to walking away. "If this proposal isn't hashed out, I'm done," Opat said, with just a hint of bitterness. "I've got to move on with my life."

Good idea.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Kersten Gets Corrected by Strib



In a column on Page B1 Monday about the debate over same-sex marriage in Canada, Katherine Kersten described discipline imposed on a British Columbia teacher and a human rights complaint filed against a Roman Catholic bishop. Both had expressed general disapproval of homosexual behavior while supporting traditional male-female marriage. While much of the column dealt with events in recent months, the charges against the teacher were filed in 2001.

Katherine Kersten is an embarrassment to the conservative cause.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pat Robertson Weighs in on Dover Race


"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

PZ Myers weighs in.

Meanwhile the IDiots at the Discovery Institute are bravely running away from commenting on the Dover election.

St. Cloud Theocrats Aspire to be St. Paul Theocrats

With Senator Dave Kleis' win in this week's St. Cloud mayoral race over DFL incumbent John Ellenbecker, both a House and Senate seat will need to be filled by a special election before the start of the 2006 session. Rep. Joe Opatz (DFL) has announced his resignation due to a career change. Opatz survived a nasty attack campaign last fall from the Minnesotans for Marriage cabal. Enormous billboards with Opatz' photo greeted travelers as they drove into St. Cloud on the major highways. They said, 'Want Gay Marriage? Vote for Joe Opatz'. Apparently, St. Cloud wants it, because he won re-election.

Jeff Johnson, a professor at St. Cloud State University, has filed as a Republican running for the Senate Seat. His website is From reading the site, he's a big proponent of initiative and referendum, and used to work for the Nebraska Family Council. He takes credit for helping get a Bachmann amendment passed in that state.

Radio host Dan Ochsner, the local version of Limbaugh, has also been mentioned as a Republican candidate, but he has not officially filed.

On the DFL side, St. Cloud lawyer and nonprofit director Tarryl Clark said Wednesday that she will formally announce hercandidacy today. Clark narrowly lost to Kleis in two previous elections and would be considered the DFL's front-runner, thoughEllenbecker has been mentioned as a possible candidate as well.

For the House seat, nonprofit director Sue Ek is the Republican-endorsed candidate for that seat. Her website is

The non-profit is a Catholic pro-life organization, and she describes herself with the Bachmann-esque code word 'pro family'.

Stearns County Commissioner Larry Haws and St.Cloud school district board member Carol Lewis are competing for the DFL endorsement to run for Opatz' seat. The DFL endorsement convention for that seat is Tuesday.

Something for the 'Trendy' in Minneapolis

We have a sex industry trade show coming to the Minneapolis Convention Center in November (Swedes go Wild!).

I wonder if the Trendsetter newspaper will cover this event...

Warning.... the website link is PG-13 (or maybe an R)

Lavender covers Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Guerriero's visit to Minnesota


This was an excellent event. Candidates who stopped by included: Alan Hooker, Library Board, Carol Becker, Board of Tax and Estimate, Don Samuels, 5th Ward City Council.

The photo on Lavender's site is Patrick Guerriero with Log Cabin Republicans President Dennis Sanders and OutFront Minnesota's Monica Meyer.

Baylor says - we'll take the money, but not the homo deal...

Baylor Business School Dismisses Gay Alumni from Board

Log Cabin Demands Baylor Re-instate Dismissed Alumni

(Washington, DC) - “Baylor University’s Business School is ignoring the policy of the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies who protect gay and lesbian workers,” said Patrick Guerriero, President of Log Cabin Republicans. “The business school’s decision to dismiss an alumnus from the school’s advisory board because he’s gay shows this institution is intolerant and out of touch with 21st century corporate America.”

Tim Smith, a Log Cabin member and alumnus of Baylor University, has served for five years on the advisory board at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. Smith, who is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School, has contributed more than $65,000 to Baylor and raised more than $60,000 to establish an academic scholarship endowment at Baylor.

In a statement, Dr. Terry Maness, dean of Baylor’s business school, said he kicked Smith off the advisory board because of his “alternative lifestyle.” The statement went on to say, “We must be sensitive to the position of our affiliated denomination, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which has, on previous occasions, stated that a homosexual lifestyle is incompatible with most Baptist interpretations of Scripture.”

“Baylor should be leading the way on issues of basic fairness, not lagging woefully behind corporate America. Baylor’s decision to openly discriminate, and to do so in the name of God, is shameful,” said Tim Smith.

"Baylor University should immediately re-instate Tim Smith, and make it clear that sexual orientation plays no role in one’s ability to serve on an alumni advisory board," said Guerriero. "How can Baylor claim to be preparing students for the realities of today’s workplace, while at the same time employing a draconian policy that flies in the face of basic fairness and common decency."

For a list of the advisory board members - go here.

Tuesday's Election: Tale of Two Transportation Projects

Peter McLaughlin boasts that he is a guy that likes to get "big things" done. In the week preceding the November 8th election, a beaming McLaughlin appeared in television commercials with sleek, shiny Hiawatha LRT trains in the background. The Hiawatha LRT line has been a huge success and McLaughlin must have thought he could ride his proud achievement down 5th Street to City Hall in triumph... but, another transportation project, the 35W Access Project, dubbed "the 35W Excess Project" by neighborhood activists in South Minneapolis hung like an albatross around his neck and helped drag him down to defeat.

The curse of the odious Access Project helped bring down three candidates for City Council. Scott Persons who served as a loyal Access supporter on the Access Project PAC was defeated in the 10th Ward by Ralph Remington, who told the Southwest Journal he was opposed to the Access Project. Persons was a prominent supporter of the highway expansion project and battled critics on the Minneapolis Issues List. He was also an outspoken member of SMART, the "astroturf" citizens group that emerged after the grassroots group STRIDE (which I am a member of) began to criticize the project. There was hardly a mention of Scott's work to promote the Access Project in his campaign.

Another candidate who fell victim to the Access Project's curse was Marie Hauser. Hauser was also a project cheerleader on the Access Project PAC. At the 8th Ward convention, I was amazed to hear Marie talk about biking, walking, transit and the environment like a fellow STRIDer. It didn't do any good... Hauser was beaten by newcomer Elizabeth Glidden.

The Access Project albatross also hung around the stout neck of Dean Zimmermann who proclaimed during the campaign that he was "neutral" and "ambivalent" about the highway expansion project... a strange position for a member of the Green Party. His opponent, Robert Lilligren, a stalwart foe of the Excess Project won by a nose in the 6th Ward race.

The important lesson here is that the era of highway expansion is over. The days of Robert "swing the meat-axe" Moses, and all the road-warriors that followed his example by hollowing out vibrant urban neighborhoods are over. With rising gas prices, pollution, global warming and the new appreciation for pedestrian-friendly communities, a growing number of voters are beginning to question the dominance of the automobile in the urban landscape.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Intelligent Design Creationism Loses Big Time in Elections

Much has been made of the clean sweep loss by the Intelligent creationists in the Dover School Board election. There's more good news on this score in the Minnetonka School Board elections. The intelligent design creationism supporting candidates lost in Minnetonka. PZ Myers has more.

Creationism is also becoming an issue in the Senate District 43 race. From the strib:

But their differences grow clearer when the focus turns to their views on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

[Republican candidate Judy] Johnson is an opponent of abortion who also supports an amendment to the state Constitution banning gay marriage. She said she is open to the idea of teaching students in public schools about "intelligent design," an alternative to the scientific theory of evolution.

"I personally don't believe in evolution," she said at a recent debate, adding, "I think you need to teach all points of view."

But Bonoff calls intelligent design "a euphemism for teaching about God in schools," and she opposes its introduction into the classroom. She's an abortion rights supporter and opposes amending the state Constitution to ban gay marriage.

When I saw Johnson at the Chamber of Commerce debate, she told me - and someone else who was asking her about the Bachmann amendment, that she did support limiting marriage to a man and a woman, but was concerned about the amendment's affect on domestic partner benefits, and what benefits private businesses, the University of Minnesota and local units of government could offer their employees. The Minnesota for Marriage people she said, assured her that the marriage amendment would not have the effect of overturning the University of Minnesota's current benefits structure. We'll see.

According to the Strib, Terri Bonoff supports exempting Hennepin County from the referendum requirement to increase the sales tax to pay for a twins stadium. Judy Johnson opposes this tax increase without voter approval. I hope Dan Dobson from No Stadium Tax gives Terri grief.

Katherine Kersten Catalyzes OutFront Response to the Pastor's Summit

Recall Katherine Kersten's pathetic column earlier this week? Many blogs gave it the treatment it strongly deserved. From the Prodigalsheep:

It's not really about marriage, but rather part of a concerted effort by the extreme right to deny any legal recognition for gay people and their families. It would turn the clocks back fifty years in this state. It is not the gay marriage advocates who are the revolutionaries, but rather the anti-gay conservatives who are trying to bring about a social revolution 'with consequences no one can predict'. To rephrase Kersten herself, if someone tells you that the anti-gay constitutional amendment won't affect your marriage and your rights as a heterosexual, tell them to look to Ohio and Utah.

Well I appreciate Kersten for writing this column. The column motivated OutFront Minnesota to respond to the upcoming Pastor's Summit which is being pushed by the anti-gay Minnesota Family Council and their front group, the Minnesotans for Marriage. This was their action alert today.

Special Edition... People of Faith Speak Out and Be Counted!

Whether it was intentional or not, the campaign battle over the same-sex marriage amendment officially began this week, with the article by Katherine Kersten of the Star Tribune and the "Minnesota Pastors' Summit" being held by a group called Minnesota for Marriage (one man-one woman). These two events have sparked an enormous amount of controversy in our area and ignited heated public opinion on both sides of the issue. Be sure to read our follow-up coverage of this summit event in our next week's issue.

I'm glad that Outfront is going to cover this. I contacted Lavender and City Pages to tip them off so they could send a reporter.

The following is an invitation to join the Reverend Anita C. Hill and other concerned people of faith for a peaceful demonstration, Thursday, November 10 near Grace Church in Eden Prairie from 7:30 - 9:00am.

"We are sending this letter to clergy, church staff and others we believe share our desire for justice and equal civil marriage rights/responsibilities for GLBT people in Minnesota. Anti-gay forces (seeking a Minnesota constitutional amendment of exclusion) are gathering steam through a 'Minnesota Pastors' Summit' being held by a group called Minnesota for Marriage (one man-one woman).

The 'Summit' will be held all day Thursday, November 10 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. The speaker list includes Focus on the Family, the president of the National Coalition of African-American Pastors, and is supported by the Archdiocese here through a letter encouraging Catholic Priests to attend.

The big question is whether Archbishop Harry Flynn will be in attendance.

Would you prayerfully consider two tasks/opportunities?

For clergy only…
1. Will you join Pastor Anita Hill in attending the event to listen, observe, and write a response commentary piece for publication? Clergy registration is $20/person and includes lunch. See the online site for registration.

For both clergy and concerned citizens/families…
2. Will you stand outside and demonstrate with members of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities and Catholic Parents' Group from 7:30-9:00 a.m. as participants arrive at Grace Church? Will you send this request to laity and friends who would also stand?

You can find out more at this website about the Minnesota Pastors' Summit event, speakers, schedule, and registration here.

Please let us know if you are able to take part. There is so very much work to do just to keep the current negative status quo (which we don't support!) in place over against the constitutional codification of prejudice and discrimination in our state.

We look forward to hearing from you."

Pastor Anita Hill
Pastor Paul Tidemann


Please show your support by attending this important demonstration of faith!

When: Thursday, November 10, 2005 from 7:30 - 9:00am.
Where: Corner of Spring Road and Pioneer Trail (in front of Grace Church, 9301 Eden Prairie Road, Eden Prairie)
Parking: In the ball field EAST of the church on Pioneer Trail (approximately 2-3 blocks). Follow the rainbow banners to the demonstration location.
Starts Promptly at 7:30am.
7:30 - 8:00 Vigil
8:00 - 9:00 Program of Speakers

Phil Duran, OutFront Minnesota Legal & Policy Analyst

Randi & Phil Reitan of Soulforce

Anthony Winer, Professor of Constitutional Law at William Mitchell College of Law

Eric Strand, Pastor at Edina Community Church

Doug Donley, Pastor at University Baptist Church

James Gertmenian, Pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church

Michael Bayly, Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities

Next People of Faith Roundtable!

November, 28 - OutFront Minnesota and the Faith Family Fairness Alliance sponsor a People Of Faith Roundtable at Shir Tikvah, 5000 Girard Avenue S in Minneapolis from 6:30 - 8:30pm. Are you interested in working to ensure that faith communities and people of faith are working together to create a powerful, unified movement for GLBT rights? Please join OutFront Minnesota, the Faith Family Fairness Alliance, and many others for a People of Faith Roundtable, a monthly meeting to organize interfaith support for GLBT equality and opposition to the constitutional amendment to bar all legal recognition of same-sex couples. Please register today to attend the next People of Faith Roundtable.


This was an email from Ann DeGroot to Maryjean Kroll regarding the editorial by Katherine Kersten in the Star Tribune on November 7, 2005.


Thanks for including me in your email loop. I agree with what you have to say about this column being opinion, not news. The more people who let the Star Tribune know this, the better. We are coordinating additional responses to this article.

We are also working with the media on coverage of the Pastors Summit this Thursday at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. Katherine Kersten's article is written as an advance piece for that. We have done some interviews with the press and are working with the organizers of the counter demonstration (from 7:30 – 9:00am outside of Grace Church) on their press conference and our response to this summit.

I have heard from many community folks today and yesterday who are furious about the Katherine Kersten piece. Letting the Star Tribune know this is very important. I hope it makes a difference.

Thanks again for including me and thanks for your response to the Star Tribune.

Ann Marie DeGroot, Executive Director
OutFront Minnesota


From: Maryjean Kroll
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 1:30 PM
To: Katherine Kersten;; DeGroot, Ann
Subject: Re: Letter to the Editor


This is not a matter of whether I agree or disagree with you. This is about news and quality journalism. If you want to write about your opinion, then write something for the opinion section of the paper. Don't write a one-sided article and call it local news. Terms like "branded as homophobes" and "homosexual acts" are your words, not direct quotations from others. These terms are just a couple of examples of how your writing is clearly biased. Further, your story does not have any input from gay Canadians who were positively affected. This is not journalism, this is a joke and I for one am not laughing. I'm also not done on insisting that the Star Tribune publicly retract this article.

MJ Kroll


Katherine Kersten wrote:
Clearly, we disagree. But thanks for writing.


From: Maryjean Kroll
Sent: Tuesday, November 07, 2005 1:30 PM
To: Katherine Kersten;; DeGroot, Ann
Subject: Re: Letter to the Editor

Dear Katherine Kersten,

I read your article from November 6th, "North of the border, gay marriage spurs social revolution". I just have a few things to say. First, let's talk about what comes last, your closing statement, "If someone tells you same-sex marriage won't affect your marriage, tell them to look north. The evidence is building." The only thing you mention in your article that even relates to this last statement is the how the term "husband and wife" will no longer be used exclusively in Canada. Call me old fashioned, but I don't think it matters if you call your husband, "husband" or your wife, "wife". Why not say "sweetie" or "pumpkin"? I think the marriage will still last just as long as you don't call him or her late to dinner. I mean seriously, please don't make a bold closing statement like the one above unless you have said something relevant to support it.

Second, as far as teaching children safe sex in our schools, this has been a touchy subject since the beginning of time and not just for the adults but for the kids too. I remember my sex education classes when I was growing up. Everybody was a little fidgety. It's not an easy subject to talk about. And just a little bit of news for you, gay couples don't do anything in bed that doesn't also apply to straight couples. Information about sex and safe sex applies to everyone and can be taught in a non-exclusive way. While it will most likely always be a touchy subject no matter how it is taught, there are strong reasons and benefits to support teaching safe sex in our schools.

Finally, where is the line for the homophobe branding? Is it an arm tattoo or do the parents who complain about "positive queer role models" get handed a special license plate for their cars? I believe in telling it like it is. Ok, so there are some straight parents who want to insist that queer parents are inferior to straight parents and that queer parents should not be seen as role models. There are also some white folks who want to insist that black folks are inferior to white folks and that black folks should not be seen as role models. So shall we brand those white folks as "bigots"? Shall we brand those straight parents as "homophobes"? Put down those hot irons and let's call a spade, a spade. The above are examples of people discriminating against others not like themselves. Discrimination is harmful to everyone and should not be promoted by anyone. If you want to know what ills discrimination causes, check your history books.

While I would hope that the average person would see through your rhetoric to the real heart of the matter, I know that this is not always the case. Many times people don't have the time or energy to think things through with their hearts or their heads. People are people, blood is blood. Enough with the jargon, let's take the cue from our neighbors to the North and take a bold stand to celebrate diversity rather than criticize it.

MJ (MaryJean) Kroll

It's also good that Outfront Minnesota is working with this group. It would be really nice to see a similar group working the Stillwater area.

Edina/Bloomington Neighbors Against Discrimination Takes Action!

EBNAD is a small neighborhood group that has been active for a couple months now. They have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness of our community and our issues in State Senate District 41. We know the residents of Edina support our rights, even though their State Senator, Geoff Michel (R), does not. This past Sunday ten OutFront Minnesota volunteers spent the afternoon door knocking in Edina. We met in the party room of a Davanni's, ate pizza and practiced our spiels before hitting the streets. By 4:30 teams were returning to Davanni's to turn in their paperwork and check-in. Like any door knocking outing, we had our share of interesting stories. One gentleman was supportive with the caveat, "I hope you're against discrimination against Swedes!" Most who answered the door turned out to be supportive, though some were initially confused as to which side we were on! We found the best approach to take was something along the lines of, "Hello, we are talking to people in your neighborhood today about the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. We're against it." That direct approach seemed to be most effective at eliminating any confusion. In the coming year we are going to need many, many more public policy volunteers pounding the pavement and getting the word out about how unfair and damaging an anti-marriage constitutional amendment would be for everyone. Become a part of public policy activism that is, as always, 100% GLBT and supporters inclusive! Sign up today. See you on the streets!

35W Excess Project Proponents Lose

Marie Hauser, Scott Persons and Peter McLaughlin all lost their election bids today. The common thread for these candidates: they were all big supporters of the 35W Excess Project. For more on that project, see the STRIDE website.

Ken Avidor will have more analysis on this later. All the pro-PRT Greens lost in Minneapolis.

*DEAN (Z) ZIMMERMANN . .1,492 49.10%
ROBERT LILLIGREN . . .1,538 50.61%

*DAVE BICKING . . . . 1,315 30.50%
GARY SCHIFF. . . . . 2,549 59.13%

DIANE HOFSTEDE. . . . 2,407 71.19%
*AARON NEUMANN . . . . 946 27.98%

Robert Lilligren won a narrow victory against a fellow incumbent running under a cloud. He will have to improve his constituent service in order to do better in the next election.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


If you were not already alarmed by the Reproductive Policies promoted by the Fundamentalists maybe this quote will light your fire/anger/dismay because our children are being misled by propoganda/distortion (I do not call this information) in the guise of information/education about abstinence only. A statement that seems like it comes from the 1950's is being included in this program: Women gauge their happiness and judge their success by their relationships. Men's happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments." That sounds innocuous (if rather shallow), until you really think about the fact that its being taught in an abstinence only curriculum; then its sexual connotations become obvious. Not only is it a statement of half truths, but it is being delivered in a setting that by its very nature seems authoritative. Therefore it seems factual and truthful. This is not the only bit of missinfomation I have learned about. It has reached such an alarming state, that Rep. Henry Waxman has commissioned a report that documents the scientific and factual inaccuracies in this program, funded by you and me to the tune of $168 Billion this year. Senator Lautenberg has proposed an amednetment tio the Labor, Health and Human Services conference committee that these programs provide medically accurate information. I hope this common sense approach becomes more prevelant than is the misinformation being passed off as truth, and for which you and I are paying.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I just got something in the mail - an independent expenditure by the Minneapolis Firefighters relief association PAC, the Minneapolis Police Relief Association PAC and the Fire Fighters Local 82 political fund. The piece was supporting Peter McLaughlin, Natalie Johnson Lee and Park Board candidates Dan Froehlich, Mary Merrill Anderson and Jon Olson.

Here's Brian Rice at the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board:

Hennepin County 3186 Pre-1996
Minneapolis Firefighters Relief Assn 426 Pre-1996
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 427 Pre-1996
Minneapolis Police Relief Assn 1149 Pre-1996

Aw.... Connect the dots:

Hennepin County = Support for Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin for Mayor...

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.... This has been discussed on this list. 300 K or so a year of business from the Park Board to Brian Rice.....

Minneapolis Police and Fire Relief Associations....

I've heard from reliable sources Brian Rice and his groups are already supporting Linda Higgins county commission bid.....

Natalie Johnson Lee for City Council

Then for Park Board:

Dan Froehlich
Mary Merrill Anderson
Jon Olson

Again - how much is Brian Rice making on his Park Board contract?

How much you wanna bet that a similar mailing went out in support of Bob Fine, Sandy Colvin Roy and Carol Kummer?

KaCHING! Brian Rice is laughing all the way to the bank.....

Hopefully Minneapolis Taxpayers will know better and vote against the candidates being pushed by Brian Rice.

Who contributed for Natalie Johnson Lee's late running TV ads? Inquiring minds want to know.

Developing. . .

Arlene Fried on the Park Board Race

Note: Arlene Fried has been attending Park Board meetings regularly for the past several years and is a founding member of Minneapolis Park Watch. Arlene knows of what she speaks.

by Arlene Fried

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board owns 6,400 acres of land and is responsible for a budget of over $50 million. It is the largest landowner in Minneapolis; and it is in trouble. It has been plagued with controversial decisions, public criticism and a $1.8 million lawsuit filed by unpaid contractors. Services are being cut and taxes are increasing. Citizen participation has been ignored and neighborhoods alienated.

It is interesting to note that when Park Board Superintendent Jon Gurban was invited to speak at the Minneapolis Club on October 19, he defended the Park Board's lack of citizen input by telling Club members and guests that citizens were "in love with process" and dismissed citizen input as "cumbersome."

The nine-member Park Board is controlled by a five-member majority coalition. Instead of a cooperative public body working together to identify and solve Park Board problems, we have a sharply divided body which has been controlled by just five commissioners.

This majority coalition is the same group which -- over the vigorous objections of the four minority commissioners -- circumvented the superintendent's search process in December of 2003 and hired Jon Gurban as Park Board superintendent even though he had not applied or interviewed for the position.

It was this incident that subsequently sparked a rally at Park Board headquarters by outraged citizens to protest this procedural embarrassment. The rally was the catalyst for the establishment of the citizens' ad-hoc watchdog group Park Watch.

Recognizing the need for public scrutiny of Park Board matters, the five Park Watch co-founders began attending Park Board meetings on a regular basis to observe Park Broad dynamics and report on how the Park Board was conducting its business. A website was created and a mission statement posted. Two of the members undertook the tedious task of taking minutes which were then posted on the Minneapolis Issues Forum website and on the Park Watch website (

All five co-founders, as well as supporters of Park Watch, began speaking at Park Board meetings during public open time and writing letters to the editor on Park Board issues. All this activity laid the foundation for what would eventually became a citywide citizens' movement critical of the Park Board's majority leadership. This citizen movement has been challenging the Park Board's entrenched status quo.

Tuesday, November 8 is our city election. The voters of Minneapolis now have the opportunity to make a difference in the membership of the Park Board. It is time for a change. Minneapolis deserves a better Park Board -- a Park board with commissioners who will actively support citizen participation, collaborative leadership, and fiscal and administrative accountability.

As a co-founder of Park Watch, I agree with [the] editorial statement in Wednesday's Star Tribune that the "Board Needs a New Start," but I have been attending Park Board meetings regularly now for 22 months and I have an educated opinion different than the Star Tribune's on how to accomplish this fresh start.

For starters, all of the members of the majority coalition who have "operated as a cozy, inner group that bypasses citizen involvement to get what it wants" need to be retired from the Park Board and replaced by LuAnn Wilcox in District 1, Scott Vreeland in District 3, Tracy Nordstrom in District 4, Jason Stone in District 5 and Jim Bernstein in District 6. All of these candidates would bring an assortment of valuable abilities, assets and experience to the Board. I would also add at-large candidate Tom Nordyke to this talented group.

I would keep both at-large candidates Rochelle Berry-Graves and Annie Young on the Board. Annie has been a hard working member of the Board and has done her homework on tough issues. Both she and Rochelle understand the importance of democratic process and would work with new Board members to restore it to the Board. Both would bring institutional memory to the new Board, the importance of which should not be overlooked.

All of these pro-environment candidates have been endorsed by Park Watch and also by the Sierra Club's North Star Chapter. According to the Sierra Club, "these candidates will be the strongest advocates for clean air and water, greener government, vibrant neighborhoods and better parks."

(There was no endorsement by Park Watch or the Sierra Club for District 2.)

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

I'm voting for Don Samuels in the 5th Ward Race

I've commented before on this race on Lloydletta's Nooz.

I have decided to vote for Don Samuels on Tuesday. I had concerns about both candidates. I've always liked Samuels message about personal responsibility. I've thought his vigils were grandstanding.

Don Samuels is a democrat, but he made the effort during both of his campaigns to reach out to Log Cabin Republicans. He stopped by one of our meetings in 2003, and he came to our fundraiser a few weeks ago. I appreciate the Democratic politicians who make an effort to reach beyond the partisan democratic base in Minneapolis. Samuels was very impressive when he was a guest on David Strom's show on the Patriot.

I've heard from NJL supporters that part of the reason to vote against Don, is that voting for Don would be bringing Jackie Cherryhomes back to city hall. I don't agree with this.

While I felt Jackie Cherryhomes deserved to be defeated 4 years ago, the reason was that she was part of the irresponsible fiscal management of the city - not the venomous bile that was directed towards her. Jackie Cherryhomes did host a fundraiser for Don Samuels. Lloydletta's Nooz posted a copy of the flyer for this fundraiser earlier this week.

When Travis Lee and Jerry Moore from Natalie's campaign talked to me about this race, they told me that Don Samuels had a poor attendance record in the city council. I checked with another city council person who off the record, told me that was correct.

I have since obtained the attendance records for council committees and full council meetings. Don's attendance record is problematic. Natalie's attendance record is also. She chairs the HHS committee - and she doesn't have good attendance at that committee.

Full Council Meetings

NJL: 0% absences (present at 33/33 meetings)
DS: na, didn't serve at this time.
NJL: 3% absent (missed 1/32 meetings)
DS: 6% absent (missed 2/32 meetings)
NJL: 14% absent (missed 4/29 meetings)
DS: 17% absent (missed 5/29 meetings)
2005 (through 3/11)
NJL: 0% absent (missed 0/7 meetings)
DS: 14% absent (missed 1/7 meetings)

HHS Committee - Natalie Johnson Lee Chair, Samuels serves on the committee
2002 (23 meetings)
NJL: 4 absences (17 percent)
DS: na
2003 (24 meetings)
NJL: 5 missed (21%)
DS: 5 missed (21%)
2004 (23)
NJL: 3 absences (13% missed)
DS: 6 absenses (26% missed)
2005 - (7 meetings through March 2005)
NJL - 0 absences
DS - 1 absence (14% missed)


2002 - 21 meetings
NJL - 4 absences (19%)
2003 - 20 meetings
NJL - 5 absences (25%)
2004 - 23 meetings
NJL - 3 absences (13%)
2005 - 7 meetings (through 3/2005)
NJL - 0 absences


2003 - 22 meetings
DS - 2 absences (9%)
2004 - 26 meetings
DS - 0 absences
2005 - 7 meetings (through 3/2005)
DS - 0 absences


2003 - 29 meetings
DS - 5 absences (17%)
2004 - 26 meetings
DS - 1 absences
2005 - 9 meetings (through 3/2005)
DS - 1 absence (11%)


2002 - 23 meetings
NJL - 1 absences (4%)
2003 - 26 meetings
NJL - 1 absences (4%)
2004 - 26 meetings
NJL - 1 absences (13%)
2005 - 6 meetings (through 3/2005)
NJL - 1 absence (17%)

David Strom's and Margaret Martin's "Ourhouse blog" has some good posts on this topic.

Account of Don Samuels visiting David Strom and his wife, Margaret Martin.

For us, the decision was simple. Samuels is and has always been highly focused on improving conditions on the north side, Fighting gangs, crime and youth violence. He has the dough to live somewhere else but he has the social conscience to raise his family in a challenging neighborhood. He used to represent the Jordan neighborhood but now his part has been split off and he is running for our ward against Nataleeeeee Johnson-Lee. It is tremendously ironic that the only two black councilmembers were redistricted to run against eachother in this election. Nevertheless, Johnson-Lee has distinguished herself by being undistinguished, out of touch and lately, of playing lowest common denominator politics.

Account of Travis Lee paying David and Margaret a visit

We were paid a visit by Natalie’s husband (the hip-hop magazine publisher) and another Johnson-Lee campaign worker. (Interestingly, he knew of David). He used a number of arguments on us. Here they are and here are my responses:

1. Don Samuels is DFL supported. Republicans (like us) should support Natalie because being of the Green Party, helps to break the DFL stranglehold on the city.

This was a somewhat compelling argument for us. Breaking the DFL monopoly in itself is a good thing. In fact, Mr. Lee went on to opine that the Democrats have done such a crappy job of running the city (not his words) that "even the Republicans" are looking at Minneapolis as possibly competitive. Somehow, I think that Natalie isn’t going to be the spearhead for a Republican resurgence in Minneapolis.

Read the whole thing.

See also the Minneapolis Observer comment thread on 5th Ward race.

Strib Columnists from Far-Off Galaxies

If women are from Venus and men are from Mars, from which galaxy did Katherine Kersten emerge? She's one of the strangest writers I've ever read. Her Star Tribune columns consistently draw out vociferous, scorching responses, and I'm sure that Monday's will be no exception. Her latest report is on the moral ruin in Canada because it's now legal for two people of the same gender to marry. She interviewed one clergy person, and that was all she needed to know. The column and link are referenced elsewhere on this blog.

I actually have a theory about all of this. The Star Tribune has a well-deserved reputation for a liberal bias, particularly on the op-ed page. Because a close friend of mine was a candidate for Kersten's assignment, I know the Strib did an intentional search to find a conservative female columnist.

And they picked the biggest nutjob they could find.

In my mind, it suggests that the Strib thinks conservatives are a joke, and that Kersten is a viable representative.

In reality, she's a huge embarassment. I wouldn't expect a local newspaper to find somebody with the talent of a David Brooks, but c'mon, folks. We can do better.

5th Ward Campaigning by Travis Lee (Natalie Johnson Lee's Husband)

Lloydletta's Nooz obtained a copy of the following email:

To: [recipient list removed - this included Spokesman Recorder people, CJ from the Star Tribune, the Minneapolis Observer]
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 15:13:40 EST

Some people have said that being a "house slave" wasn't that bad. Some people are so proud of this, that they see no problem injecting this issue while they are running for office or supporting a candidate.

Check out the show on MTN CHANNEL 16 TONITE AT 6PM

The question is whether these tactics are successful in Minneapolis. Lloydletta's Nooz emails to Travis Lee requesting comment were not returned.

Lloydletta's Nooz also obtained a copy of an invitation to a fundraiser for Don Samuels held at Jackie Cherryhomes' house.

Minnesotans for the Defense of Marriage (Truth Truck group) Got Only 1 Pledge Signer for Special Election

They listed the candidate's names, phone numbers and emails on their website.

Amy Koch (R) was the only candidate to sign this pledge. It looks like there is a primary in district 19. Pat Sawatze and Judy Johnson refused to sign the pledge.

19 Pat Sawatzke R 763-295-3311 No
43 Judy Johnson R 612-384-4636 No

I'd encourage people to call or email both candidates to thank them for NOT signing the pledge being put out by an anti-gay group.

I looked on the Minnesotans for Marriage site, and can't find information about the Special Election.

Katherine Kersten Haiku Contest

This Kersten column certainly seems good for Haiku. According to Kersten the sky is falling in Canada where gay marriage is legal. It plugs the upcoming Pastor's summit being sponsored by the anti-gay Minnesota Family Council. It would be great to have Ed Helms cover the Pastor's Summit. Ed Helms' report on the effect of gay marriage in Massachusetts is a Daily Show classic.

BRIAN CAMENKER, anti-gay-marriage activist: I could sit here and I could probably, you know, find some way of connecting the dots to gay marriage to all of these (adverse effects) if I had enough time and I did some research.

HELMS: Yeah, why take time to do the research, when saying it is so much faster?

Stop by the Malcontent to watch the video.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Over on Michael Brodkorb's Blog

Now that Michael Brodkorb the Minnesota Democrat Exposer has been exposed here and elsewhere, there's been a character frequenting his blog posting messages as "I hate MDE." "I hate MDE" is posting Michael Brodkorb's address on the blog, and then Michael/MDE is removing the posts. Republican Minnesota has challenged me to condemn "I hate MDE".

Ok - here's my response posted over in RM's comments:

This is the first I've seen of this post. I haven't seen the "I hate MDE" posts since they are deleted. From the sounds of them, they sound immature. If the posts were making threats, I'd encourage Michael Brodkorb raise that issue with the authorities. Ofcourse the other possibility, is these comments were written by someone who is supportive of MDE to generate sympathy for MDE/Brodkorb.

Don't assume that because I haven't specifically condemned someone else's comments, that I support those comments.

Andy from Residual Forces is annoyed.

Republican Minnesota is rather upset that I missed a day posting on Lloydletta.