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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Rebecca Otto, Matt Entenza and Mike Hatch - Oh My!

Stonewall DFL deserves kudos for endorsing Otto's opponent, Reggie Edwards, who has better qualifications for the auditor position. What I don't get is why they rated Rebecca Otto acceptable. She voted in favor of the Bachmann amendment. In 2005, Stonewall initially failed to give RT Rybak (who has been outspoken in support of gay marriage) an acceptable rating. I understand from talking with Paul Skrbec, Chair of Stonewall that part of this was because RT Rybak gave a very weak answer to the question about "Party and Play drugs". Compare Stonewall to Log Cabin Republicans who withheld endorsement from President Bush in 2004, and also withheld endorsement from Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2002. Some Stonewall DFL activists like to call gay republicans "Jews for Hitler", but then those same activists won't stand up and be publicly be counted when Democrats make anti-gay votes.

My post about the MN Publius thread commenting negatively on Rebecca Otto and Matt Entenza has gotten some comments.

Okay, there's one comment about Otto being anti-labor (posted by "Angry Labor Guy" -- but no details, no supportive information, etc.

Eva writes something to the effect that she wasn't aware of Otto having labor issues ... as if the statement by ALG is a valid one.

Clearly you don't like Otto due to her vote on the Bachmann Amendment ... but this kind of BS renders you without credibility.
Rick Mons 02.15.06 - 12:25 am | #

That doesn't change that fact that Otto seems to be, shall we say, "less than forthcoming" about her business. That "Angry Labor Guy" didn't give details doesn't mean he isn't telling the truth. I would brag if I started a successful business, but Otto doesn't seem to want to give any details. Something does not fit.
James the Fourth 02.15.06 - 12:47 am | #

Commentators at Mn Publius added more sketchy info about Rebecca Otto's former company Fresh Paint, but not the name of the union or the local she tussled with. It would be important to find those details for this take on Otto to be credible.

Her web site says she was the CEO of the business before going into teaching; it's now Onyx Properties but was Fresh Paint until the Ottos spun off that line of work. An old Strib article about her husband notes that they sold the company in the mid 1990s.

Otto's voting record on labor issues was decent, but the recent split in the union movement reflects a concern for organizing over supporting politicans who don't care for workers to actually be able to join unions.
Joe Hill 02.15.06 - 3:51 am | #

Commenters over at MN Publius are scathing in their criticism of Otto. Some highlights:

I would ask Pat (Awada) Anderson where she stands if there wasn't another Democrat running for Auditor who has been very clear on what he believes. As far as Winsted is concerned, I have no idea why otherwise smart DFLers think haughty, unqualified Otto is their dream candidate (other than Otto's darling Matt Entenza, that is). And I don't know why DFLers back candidates who have shown their willingness to sell out groups like the Stonewall to further their own political interests. Otto isn't the next Hubert Humphrey; she's the next Norm Coleman.

Posted by: anonymous

For whatever reason, you also mention a former State Representative [Rebecca Otto] that was indicted for her campaign practices, who did not have the courage to stand with her fellow DFLers when it came time to support a minority, (namely the gay community), and whose former family business, Fresh Paint, Inc. has an "interesting" labor history.

I thought my legacy would live on. Because the DFL needed to do the right thing, I was there when they voted on the Bachmann amendment. I stood with the union painters when they took on a company that was viciously anti-union. I still stand for the poor and the weak. You only see white urban and suburban people for future DFL leaders. If this is my DFL 60 years later, where did I go wrong? HHH

Posted by: HHH

I couldn't resist a shot at Otto over at MN Publius:

Otto isn't a homophobe any more than Norm Coleman is a homophobe. She voted for the Bachmann amendment out of political expediency.

In addition, Otto won't be able to say - oh the Republican is MORE anti-gay in the auditor race. Pat Awada has no history of focusing on anti-gay activism for political gain - a marked contrast to Tim Pawlenty and George W Bush.

Reggie Edwards is much more qualified for the state auditor position.

I haven't heard about Rebecca Otto's labor practices - but it wouldn't surprise me. Matt Entenza claims to be a friend of labor, but treats people who work for him abysmally.

Posted by: Eva Young

You mention on the comments about how Entenza treats his employees...

For those of us not familiar with his emplyment practaces, what are you refering too, and do you have any examples. I like him, and hate to hear bad things, but if you have hard facts, I am more then willing to listen

I have talked to a number of people who got let go when Matt Entenza took over from Irv Anderson. As I recall, Ed Fesler did some posts on the mn-politics-discuss list at the time. I will look for the specific posts, and post a link later this weekend. There were allegations of age discrimination - among other things.

I get blamed for all the Otto bashing comments. (They started BEFORE I added some fuel to the fire.)

If you guys are such DFL purists why do you let a republican activist like Eva Young define your conversation for you (see above). I've heard Rebecca Otto speak in Mpls about the anti-gay marriage vote (she was 1 of 25 DFLers to vote the way she did) and she said that in her district, which she shared with Bachmann, the Bachmann camp dearly wanted that to be the only contrast issue they ran Matt Dean on, bashing gays so they didn't have to talk about all the other issues. Rebecca didn't give them that vote, a vote that was going to pass the house overwhelmingly anyway, thanks to Eva Young's republican party's control. Because Otto didn't let that or Sviggum's bogus lawsuit stop her, because she stayed focused on the broader issues, she was able to turn out 350 volunteers on election day for GOTV and got a 98% turnout in the district (I know, I drove to Stillwater to volunteer) So what is smarter? Which is more moral? Which causes less harm? And in this case, which is a better use of political debate in a swing district that would have tied up control of the house: A) more Republican gay bashing, or B) Otto's state-wide work on the state budget deficit, and fighting no new taxes, cut schools, spending the tobacco fund, cut social programs for the elderly, cut daycare assistance, cuts of over 2000 union teacher jobs, cut MN Care, tax breaks for the wealthy, creationism and placing the 10 commandments in schools, and the rest? The republicans want to make everything black and white, and when you make it so, you do their bidding.

Posted by: MNDemocrat

Otto was effective on the creationism issue. Others respond:

Oh, I see how I was mistaken. How could I have been so wrong! I forgot how she singlehandedly defeated the Republicans in the 2003-04 legislative session. There were no massive cuts to schools, programs for the elderly, or daycare assistance! Thanks to Otto, the last three years never happened!
And how can I have been so selfish to think that lining up with the Bachmann types was anything other than Otto's way of telling the Stonewall she cared? Otto would have lost if she would have done what she promised to the Stonewall. That totally excuses her!

Wait a minute. Didn't she lose anyway?

Posted by: Anonymous

Yes, Rebecca Otto was the only DFLer to lose reelection, when the DFL picked up 13 seats. When Mindy Greiling spoke to the Minnesota Atheists, she said that Otto's loss could be partly blamed on this vote.

The rest of us have been underwhelmed by the Otto's complete lack of experience and her pliable relationship with the truth. The Ottocrats should stop babbling about the Taxpayers League and focus on the fact that OTTO DOESN"T ANY EXPERIENCE. I've met Otto too, and she sidestepped every question I and everydoby else had by saying "its a legislative issue" First of all, they weren't legislative issues. Secondly, wasn't she a legislator? Ability to do the job counts even more.

How the hell are people supposed to take Democrats seriously when we go out of our way to find the least qualified candidate?

Posted by: Another MN Democrat | February 15, 2006 07:18 PM

All these comments about Otto and Reggie are great. It's good to see people fired up about an office that tends to get overlooked.

Now, I will say that as of now I am an Edwards supporter. I have seen his 4 year plan and am very impressed.

I would be willing to give Otto a chance but she doesn't seem to have anything to say about the office of state auditor besides no new taxes is a bad idea.

before we start getting too ugly within our own family lets get back to talking about ideas. Remember, there is a third party trying to do just that.

Posted by: nostausquo | February 15, 2006 07:24 PM

Otto picked up a seat because we caught the GOP napping. During her campaign she gained the reputation for dirty campaigning. Otto proceeded to lose her seat in a year when the DFL picked up 13 seats in the House. She was the ONLY sitting DFLer in the House to lose. Don't blame the district.

Posted by: Another MNDemocrat | February 15, 2006 07:28 PM

From a reader tip:

Rebecca Otto seems to have a character problem. You know about Otto lying to the Stonewall Caucus, and she apparently had a union problem that she isn't disclosing. But the reason I am writing has to do with her claim that she ran a levy campaign when she was on the school board in Forest Lake.

I used to live in Forest Lake, and I can tell you that Otto is lying. The person who ran the levy campaign was Pat Forciea. Otto was only the chair of the group that hired him. She is claiming credit for his work. You might know that Forciea is currently serving time in prison for embezzlement.

Rebecca Otto does seem to have some character problems.


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