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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Minnesota Twins send out e-mail blasts

I got this e-mail re: a Senate vote on the stadium. I don't know where they got my e-mail address - it might have been from a June 2005 ticket purchase.

Dear Twins Fan:

The Twins ballpark bill recently took a big step forward as it was passed by the House of Representatives with a convincing, bi-partisan vote. However, the Senate has proposed a new bill that includes a voter referendum and other new provisions.

It is critical that you know that the new Senate bill, with a mandatory referendum, will not build a new ballpark for the Twins.

As a supporter of the Twins, it is vital that you contact your senator TODAY to let him know that you want them to approve a ballpark bill this session without a referendum requirement.

Your state senator is Larry Pogemiller. His phone number is (651) 296-7809 and his e-mail address is Be sure to mention your name and address so your senator knows you live in his district.

The Minnesota Twins ballpark bill as passed by the House of Representatives would provide an open-air ballpark in Minneapolis historic Warehouse District with no state funding needed. The plan includes a $130 million cash commitment from the Twins and a small sales tax increase in Hennepin County of only fifteen hundredths of one percent, which equals only three cents for every $20.

This is a fair and responsible plan for Minnesota. Please tell the legislators to do their jobs and vote this bill up or down without a mandatory referendum.
Thank you very much for your continued support.

Dave St. Peter, President
Minnesota Twins

I responded, and copied several well-known politicians on the response:

Mr. St. Peter

I was incredulous a few days ago when I received a phone call at home, asking if I 'still' supported the current proposal for a Hennepin County stadium for the Twins. I've never supported one!

How on earth did I get on this e-mail blast list? Is it because I've occasionally purchased a ticket?

Rest assured, the mere fact that I have gone to a few games does not equate to support for having my pocket picked for the rest of my life for a tax on which I have no vote.

I detest the proposal that Commissioner Opat negotiated with the Twins. I detested it when it was debated in Hennepin County and I detested it more when non-Hennepin county House members (even those who present themselves as 'conservatives') voted to tax me for 30 years without a referendum. That's taxation without representation.

I fully support everything that Senator Pogemiller, Senator Marty, and the rest of the Tax Committee has done to stop this bad legislation from passing.

Briefly, in response to some of the talking points in your message:

It is not the legislator's 'job' to take votes on granting 30-year exemptions to state law, especially when the exemption is to fund a project in which the government shouldn't even be involved.

This plan is neither 'fair' nor 'responsible' for the taxpayers of Hennepin County, who represent 1/4 of the state's population. To suggest otherwise is a lie. Hennepin County is on the hook for an enormous financial commitment, and will not have control over the group that owns and operates that stadium. There is nothing 'fair' or 'responsible' about that proposal.

I was going to follow the instructions to remove myself from your e-mail distribution list, but now, I think I want to keep getting these messages. It's good entertainment.

Best regards

Mark Hanson

5th and 6th District Conventions Endorse

In the 5th District Keith Ellison got endorsed. Mike Erlandson is going to the primary. In the 6th District Michele Bachmann got endorsed. I'll have some photos, and video posted later this weekend on Dump Michele Bachmann.

There is more coverage of the 5th District over at Powerliberal and Minvolved. There is more coverage of the 6th District convention by delegate bloggers at Residual Forces and Psychmeistr.

I saw Shawn Towle at the 6th District convention - and asked him whether he was planning on reporting the the claim he made (via Brodkorb) that his website had been hacked by Keith Ellison supporters. He said he was not reporting it to authorities, since it was already out there on Minnesota Democrats Exposed. I asked him about the claim that this story was retaliating against Keith Ellison for not advertising on his site. Shawn claimed he asks all candidates to advertise on his site. I asked him how much an ad costs - and he replied $1500/month for a banner ad. He said he gets around 4000 hits per month - and that his website is read by reporters.

In my opinion, advertising on Towle's site is overpriced, and if I started advertising my blogs, I'd go with some lower cost options.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Stadium Boondoggle Update

It looks like the Senate is going to vote on the Stadium Boondoggle on Monday.
This Weekend - for both Twins and Vikings Stadium Tax

Please email and/or call these KEY 12 Senators soon.
It is really important that these Senators hear from all of us!

Key Points:
Respect referendum law!!!
Metro-wide tax is more fair - with a referendum
Will be consequences on Election Day!
Twins - $1.1 billion stadium tax.
Vikings - $1 billion stadium tax.
Have other priorities - schools, public safety, etc.

In your email, please remind legislators (noted below) who signed "No New Taxes" pledge ("oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes")

Ellen Anderson 651-488-7403
Sandy Pappas 651-227-6032
Terri Bonoff 952-935-5189
Satveer Chaudhary 763-571-0897
Amy Koch 651.296.5981
Dallas Sams (No New Taxes) 218-894-3029
Chris Gerlach (No New Taxes) 952-432-4100
Pat Pariseau (No New Taxes) 651-463-8496
Bob Kierlin (No New Taxes) 507-454-5241
Sean Nienow (No New Taxes) 763-689-1623
Geoff Michel (No New Taxes) 651.296.6238
Paul Koering (No New Taxes) 651.296.4875

Many of these state senators have voice mail. Leave voice mail messages on their voice mail.

Shawn Towle Responds: I wasn't Dating Kathleen Murphy - it was Friends With Benefits

The Drama Queen posted his story over on the Minneapolis Issues list. I posted the item I had on this yesterday. According to Michael Brodkorb, Mike Erlandson's campaign is very interested in this particular story.

Shawn Towle Responds over on Minneapolis Issues after Brodkorb posted his "Exclusive" over there. I ofcourse used that opportunity to plug Lloydletta's Nooz and posted my view on this soap opera. Shawn Towle:

In regards to the "controversy" over Checks & Balances and unauthorized

First off, David Brauer's reference to this being something like a domestic squabble is totally off base and it is a wrongly directed, misguidedly concluded and simply a stupid conclusion that David came to of his own accord. I will admit I have socialized with Ms. Murphy but would never characterize it as dating, more like a FwB situation. And if you can not understand the reference I will not elaborate. The undermining of Checks & Balances by someone in violation of a previous level of trust while having unique access into a resource is wrong no matter what the justification. Failing to respect a privilege and then taking an unwarranted opportunity based on political advantage is just wrong. I believe M. Kathleen Murphy chose to use or share her access to Checks & Balances with someone else in order to change the story for the benefit of the Ellison campaign. Now I will go on record stating I am not a supporter of any in the 5th Congressional District race, in fact Checks & Balances has criticized many candidates who have put themselves forward from Ember Reichgott Junge to Rebecca Yanisch, and it is not only one person's words, but voice we have
given to others. Some may not like what we have to say, but that is their

There are a number of people in this process who have been able to elevate themselves to higher reaches than they are entitled, one such person is Michael Guest. Guest has traded for far too long on his progressive credentials as a political operative, but in reality is he has failed to ever deliver a positive result. Far too many times Guest has played the role as a mere token component for organizations with desire to connect with the left side of the equation and they fail to succeed in their goals due to Guest's ineptness and political failings. Guest is not a major player in the scheme of Minnesota politics and he never will be. He is a bit player
in a carnival show without a second act.

In general there is a great deal of effort by a number on no accounts trying to dispute what has been written in Checks & Balances and if we have failed to scribe the truth then it is our fundamental lacking, but if we have then we have been forerunners to the outcome. On the results will decide the truth not minor sycophants seeking to have their few minutes of attention.

This isn't going over well with other list members. From Barry Clegg:

This seems a little over the top.

Mr. Towle had an issue with an ex-girlfriend (not a girlfriend he claims - but a "friend with benefits" which makes this even MORE complicated). If it's really an issue in the campaign, he should have blogged about it. But instead, he leaked it to Michael Brodkorp, a Republican flak and blogger.

I'm not sure what the motivation was there - Brodkorb knows there won't be a credible Republican in this race - so his highest and best use was to throw as many monkey wrenches as he could into what is for practical purposes a DFL intramural discussion - which he dutifully did.

Then Mr Towle posted on this list, and launched a bitter personal attack against Ellison campaign manager Michael Guest, for reasons that are seemingly completely personal and unrelated to any issues in the campaign.

Now, to me this is either a painfully personal dispute that has no place on this list or a bizarre last minute attempt to sabotage a campaign that is one of the 3 or 4 frontrunners, which we should all take with a grain (or plateful) of salt.

The convention is tomorrow. Let's not get all wingnutty at the 11th hour.

Barry Clegg
Nicollet Island

The Drama Queen got the Drama he wanted on his own blog. From the comments over there.

Looks to me like she did him a favor. He's a douchebag anyway.

Comment by DJZ — May 4, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

So, I find out that Shawn Towle is laying the lead pipe to Ellison because that campaign refused to buy an ad on his page.

He is known as a pay to play kind of guy. What would be great is if you could contact the DFL campaigns over the last five years and talk with them.

Unethical and a joke among anyone that writes for a living - or for fun. He's joke among the political environment, with people leaking him information in the dark so that no one's accused of being friends with the loser.

I can't stand 90% of what you post here on MDE but, I know what drives it. Partisanship, not dollars. Towle is partisan to whomever is lining his pockets and maybe Democrats will see this now and let him whither on his pathetic vine.

Comment by DJZ — May 4, 2006 @ 9:23 pm

DJZ, I'd be interested in hearing more specifics. Did you talk to Ellison's campaign - and who did you get that from?

Comment by Eva Young — May 4, 2006 @ 10:15 pm

The scenario regarding and accusation sounds familiar. DJZ is implying something about a pundit, namely that he is writing negative things as payback for not buying his services. DJZ doesn’t back it up with any specifics. What would the DFL campaigns say if we talked to them? Is there any direct evidence (e.g., someone was told to buy an ad or else there would be negative stories), or is it just circumstantial (bad stories appeared only after ads were turned down)? Or is this simply water cooler gossip?

Need more info before we can accuse Checks and Balances of this. MDE was sued for an circumstantial implication, and he had many more details about a campaign being approached (the substance of which still has not been disputed to my understanding, only whether the approacher was working for the pundit at the time). Need more details if you are going to make that charge, DJZ.

Comment by Peter S. — May 4, 2006 @ 11:27 pm

Sorry Eva, if I talk to anyone it will be to help expose Towle for what he is. He gave the information to MDE so this is where I'll keep it online.

However, if the Ellison or any campaign files extortion charges, I will be more than happy to speak to them on the record. Towle has a history of this kind of extortion that is ironically documented on his site.

It's not only extortion but a helluva way to get back at his former girlfriend, Kathleen Murphy. She had access because he gave it to her.

Class act all the way.

Comment by DJZ — May 5, 2006 @ 12:00 am

Of course I got it. And, I assume you're not an attorney but allow me to put this forth, circumstantial evidence is admissible as evidential support. You watch too much Law and Order.

What I'm telling Eva is that on here, it will remain hearsay, it's not really self serving to 'try' this on the pages of MDE. Towle publishes rumors without much backup so, I am doing the same here. The difference is that yes, individuals will tell you that he has done exactly what you wrote.

MDE’s case was different. He only had the evidence that appeared to be the case on the surface. I'm telling you, there are at least two who will say paying to play was the name of the game and they were told this directly by Towle.

By the way, MDE got a raw deal as his case was really about Olson exposing him. Any interview Olson did will reveal how incredibly weak his case is.

Comment by DJZ — May 5, 2006 @ 7:31 am

Gary Schiff for mayor? Absolutely not. Minneapolis has too much Gary Schiff type thinking as it is. What a disaster that would be.

Comment by Tommy R. — May 5, 2006 @ 8:59 am

I’m amazed how much attention people give Checks and Balances. Sorry to say I agree with comment #1 in entirety. This is also a non-story. He gives someone access to edit content and then complains when that person edits the content? Please. In addition, what Shawn Towle wrote was irresponsible and exaggerated rumoring in the first place. I'm disappointed people take this seriously at all.

Comment by Aaron Landry — May 5, 2006 @ 9:50 am

On a website where the author can rarely even master spelling and grammar, where predictions are about as accurate as a coin flip, and where the author has several big axes to grind, I have a hard time believing the authenticity of the accusation.

And, if Shawn is so confident of the facts, why is he not printing any of the allegations on his OWN SITE? Seems to me, he has a hunch, and wants you to run with it so, if a libel lawsuit is filed against anyone, it is you and not him.

How tragic it must be to be outsmarted by Shawn Towle.

Comment by Spellchecks and Unballances — May 5, 2006 @ 9:59 am

So, we now know that Shawn Towle is so stupid as to not change passwords on his website after a woman dumps him? (btw - note to any woman even remotely thinking of dating Towle, check around first, get feedback before you make that mistake)

Comment by waffletushie — May 5, 2006 @ 10:21 am


Checks and Balances kinda sucks anyway, I think our lot are the only people that pay any attention. It's not like editing something there is going to swing anything at CD5 tomorrow anyway, so really…*laysHeadBackDownOnDesk".

Must be a slow news day…MDE always seems to amp these much to-dos about nothing. Extortion charges? Yeah, that'll happen. Keep trying to make the paper Michael…btw, are you or are you not on the GOP payroll doing OR on Amy? Come on….dish dish…you might get some press!

Comment by jonDavid — May 5, 2006 @ 10:38 am

Not just stupid enough to not change the password, but to give the password to her in the first place.

I also don't like the spin on the story regarding her removing things for Ellison's gain. It was removing stuff that was plainly unsubstantiated rumor.

Just to add to my displeasure, Shawn Towle also runs a ship that forces you to receive solicitations via email in order to have access to the site. That in addition to his general arrogance in his writing, I hope this incident begins the demise of Checks and Balances.

Comment by Aaron Landry — May 5, 2006 @ 10:39 am

To clarify on what I said about "removing stuff that was plainly unsubstantiated rumor…" — that is — of course if these allegations are even true.

Comment by Aaron Landry — May 5, 2006 @ 10:41 am

Wow, talk about character assassination. Everyone knows Shawn is a hardcore partisan Dem and yet here are his lefty co-horts throwing him under the bus. It seems like all the Dems around here have become scientologists since any dissent is crushed by personal attacks. Apparently Shawn needs to learn to "towle the party line" a little more closely….

Comment by P.J. — May 5, 2006 @ 10:59 am

Interesting that Towle claims to be unbiased and then he says that he has DFL operatives editing his site? The other interesting thing to note is that the only candidate that has an ad on his site is Mike Erlandson. Maybe he "paid" to play and the whole drama is made up…..

Comment by Es — May 5, 2006 @ 11:05 am

Umm P.J., its not dissent, its sly character assasination hiding behind his page. Towle is NOT one of us (Dems). He’s a whore who will screw for the money only. DJZ was right on with that one.

1. Is his page a fallacy of grammatical errors?
2. Is he critical of those who pay for space on his site?
3. Is he a douchebag?
4. Does he have ex-girlfriends and Democratic operatives working his “non-partisan” site for their advantage?
5. Is he a douchebag?
6. Did this so-called Lefty use MDE to float his crap before posting it on his own site?
7. Is Donald Rumsfeild a douchebag?


Comment by Yes- I read MDE too!!! — May 5, 2006 @ 11:50 am

Character assassination??? Give me a break, nice try.

Am I, or is anyone else, supposed to support people just because we're from the same party? I don't think Towle shares the values of most DFLers.

And how is people calling his site out for sucking, his writing for being shite, and his tactics as proof of his being a douchebag, us throwing him under a bus? Seems to me he dove under the bus….and with gusto!

Comment by jonDavid — May 5, 2006 @ 12:14 pm

Oh what a world, what a world..... I think this is between Gail Dorfman and Keith Ellison. The DFL endorsement will matter (which it didn't when Erlandson was chair) because Brian Melendez has been a leader in focusing on what is important - having a topnotch voter database.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Paul Koering Gets a Challenge in the Republican Primary

AP wire:

Ron Carey, GOP Party Chair Responds:

May 4
Republican Party of Minnesota Statement on Senate District 12

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today issued the following statement following Kevin Goedker's decision to mount a primary challenge to the GOP endorsed candidate, Senator Paul Koering, in Senate District 12.

"Kevin Goedker's decision to run against Senator Paul Koering, the GOP-endorsed candidate in Senate District 12, is greatly disappointing for Republicans who value the endorsement process and seek party unity. The endorsement process was open and fair. I asked Mr. Goedker to respect the decision of local Republican leaders as he had indicated he would do.

"Republican leaders in Senate District 12 have clearly spoken. They chose to support Senator Paul Koering due to his unwavering support of the unborn, as well as his effective voice for the needs of central Minnesota.

"I encourage the citizens of Senate District 12 to vote for Senator Paul Koering in the September 12 primary."

Bryan Clapper from the Lake Country Echo has a very interesting interview with Paul Koering.

"It was surprising...especially with as hard as I worked - with three campaigns in seven years to get here - that these people were ready to dump me overboard. Whatever their reasons were, they seemed pretty shallow and pretty shaky," Koering said. He said he wasn't sure if Goedker would challenge him.

Well now the fix is in, Goedker is challenging Koering.

"I don't know. I guess these folks obviously have a lot of hate in their heart towards me, as I could tell that night," Koering said. "I don't know if Kevin Goedker does personally, but there's a good possibility that he could run."

While Koering considers himself a moderate Republican, he said comments Goedker made that he would offer a more conservative option for Republicans on healthcare, taxes and basic moral and family values were off-base.

"I still can't quite understand what he was talking about with expansion of government healthcare. It almost sounds like he's saying that I'm for universal Canada. I have never said that and I do not support that," Koering said. "What I do support is helping out the vulnerable in society.... I actually support having healthcare for kids from birth to 18 years old.... I'm for taking care of the people in society that can't take care of themselves. Our society is reflective of how we take care of people."

On taxes, Koering said he is proud of the projects he has brought back to his district. "If bringing these projects home that are important to people here makes me a big spender, I guess I am then," Koering said.

On family values, Koering said he has a 100-percent rating from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, and wouldn't speculate on what Goedker may have meant by more conservative family values.

"I guess [Kevin Goedker is] going to have to answer that question - I don't know," Koering said. "They certainly can't dispute my record on pro-life issues, but obviously they've got a dispute with something else."

Koering also suggests he would like to eventually run for congress:

A win would not only mean returning to the state Senate for four years, but could push Koering closer to another one of his goals: a possible run for the U.S. House seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar.

"That's one of my goals. I would like to go to Congress," Koering said. "I think I could do a great job advocating for this area. Now, with the events of the last year, I still would like to do it, but I have to see what my political future holds here. If by chance...I did not get [re-elected], then I would assume that my political career is over, because if the people up here aren't going to vote for me for this election, then I'm never going to make it any further anywhere else."

While Koering is confident he will win in November, he acknowledges that a loss in the election could spell the end of his political career.

"A loss would certainly be hard, because I have done my best, and if my best isn't good enough, that's going to be difficult," Koering said. "But I have a lot of faith in people and I think a lot of people at the end of the day, when they step in the voting booth, will be looking at the job I've done, and they'll say, 'You know what? Paul Koering's done a great job and we don't care about anything else but the job he's doing representing us.'"

This is an excellent interview with Paul Koering. Go read the whole thing.

Unpleasantness in the 5th District DFL Campaign

It must be getting close to the 5th District Nominating convention. Shawn Towle has a story about the intra-party bickering among the campaigns (registration required). Now Towle called Michael Brodkorb with this:

Kathleen Murphy is publically listed as a co-chair for Keith Ellison's congressional campaign and according to Shawn Towle, she is also designing literature for Ellison's campaign.

Previously, Murphy edited Checks and Balances for Shawn Towle and she was given adminstrative access to the website.

Towle informed that in the last few hours, someone using a password given to Murphy logged in to Checks and Balances and edited WITHOUT PERMISSION the Ellison article entitled "Increased Attention in the 5th Congressional District."

The article was sanitized by the removal of this paragraph:

"One thing is clear if these allegations ring true then Schiff has decided to ignore it for now and thereby not alienate members of the black community prior to his bid for Minneapolis Mayor in 2009. The criticisms about Ellison remain as an undercurrent, because no one wants to be in a position of being perceived as racist or piling on the black man. If race becomes the central issue then Ellison can cry foul and generate additional support from white, liberal guilt."

When I looked at the Checks and Balances site, the paragraph is present in the article. I called Michael Guest, Ellison's campaign manager for comment. He told me that Kathleen Murphy use to go out with Shawn Towle and she use to edit the Checks and Balances website. Guest said that Kathleen is an excellent volunteer for Keith Ellison and that she designed his first lit piece, but not lit pieces since then. Guest will call Murphy and get back to me. Guest also said that "no one pays any attention to Towle's stuff" and that "Towle always gets it wrong."

Towle also mentions an attack sent about Mike Erlandson sent to the capitol press corps:

This is not the first time in this campaign that unsubstantiated allegations have surfaced. Shortly after Congressman Martin Sabo (D-MN5) announced his retirement an anonymous fax was sent from a Richfield Kinko's to members of the state Capitol press corps listing off a host of claims against former DFL party chair Mike Erlandson (D). These were the same character attacks levied against him when he originally sought the DFL Chair. The recycled Erlandson attack questioned the sanctity of his marriage and his extracurricular activities.

Martin Sabo has endorsed Erlandson. A commenter on Michael Brodkorb wasn't happy with this:


Keith Ellison has this endorsement locked. Erlandson is trying to go for no endorsement so he can spend millions of dollars attacking other dflers. Mike Erlandsons brand of “fuck you” politics might work in Washington, or from the DFL headquarters, but we shouldnt stand for it in OUR congressional district. We need unity. Mike Erlandson’s initials are ME, because that is the one person he cares about, himself. I bet if Erlandson doesn’t go to congress, he would do a Betty Folliard and move somewhere else.

Comment by Jake Calhoun — May 4, 2006 @ 9:56 am

Yup, things are getting pretty nasty over there.

Update: Commenter DJZ responds on Brodkorb's blog:


So, I find out that Shawn Towle is laying the lead pipe to Ellison because that campaign refused to buy an ad on his page.

He is known as a pay to play kind of guy. What would be great is if you could contact the DFL campaigns over the last five years and talk with them.

Unethical and a joke among anyone that writes for a living - or for fun. He’s joke among the political environment, with people leaking him information in the dark so that no one’s accused of being friends with the loser.

I can’t stand 90% of what you post here on MDE but, I know what drives it. Partisanship, not dollars. Towle is partisan to whomever is lining his pockets and maybe Democrats will see this now and let him whither on his pathetic vine.

Comment by DJZ

Most DFLers I know who have worked on campaigns have low respect for Shawn Towle. At the same time, it's attacking Towle rather than disputing the problem. If this is true, Towle should press charges against Murphy.

Stadium Boondoggle Update

Craig Westover comments about how Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases and the Republican house are hoisted on their own petard.

Shane Nakarud, who has a pro-stadium blog, is now unhappy with Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Voters in 16b to Decide Whether Earth is Only 5,000 Years Old

DFL-endorsed candidate for House District 16b, Jim Huhtala:

"So, Rep. Olson, was I blowing smoke at the convention or did you not say on the House floor the earth is only 5,000 years old?"

Read more over at the Dump Olson Blog.

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Phil Krinkie a no-show on MPR

Gary Eichten is interviewing Bachmann, Esmay and Knoblach. Rep. Krinkie cited legislative work as the reason for not being available.

Lloydletta adds:

You can listen to clips of the candidates by issue at Polinaut.

Bob Collins (Polinaut) writes that the candidates were not taking phone calls. Tony Garcia asked whether that was because Michele Bachmann had requested this and pointed out that Bachmann has done this on his show. Bob Collins denied this.

Tune in to Wednesday's Mid Day Program on MPR

Gary Eichten is scheduled to interview the 6th CD Republicans at 11:00 am on FM 91.1.

Somebody say O Lord!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Stadium Soap Opera Continues

If the Democrats allow the bill to be the Hennepin County only Tax increase, they are too stupid to win this fall. The Democrats frequently are too stupid to win, so I wouldn't put it past them to be this time.

If Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases signs the Hennepin County Sales Tax increase, he is breaking his Taxpayers League pledge. If you want to let the Governor know how you feel about this, give him a call at 651-296-3391 (off hours are best), and leave a long rambling no stadium tax rant on the voice mail. You can go to the Taxpayers League site and read the pledge. It doesn't say anything about state taxes only - it talks about any and all efforts to increase taxes.

Now in my view, legislators and the governor should not be signing that pledge. If they sign that pledge, they should be prepared to honor it, not weasle out of it.

Also, if you are interested in dropping literature in the districts of legislative swing votes on this topic, drop me a line at:

If the 7 county tax increase for transit and stadiums has a referendum, that is better, though I'd rather those be two separate referendums.

Regardless, I think local governments should be exempt from this sales tax increase.

What really frosts me is that Minneapolis is a Net tax giver - and the rural areas all seem to think Minneapolis is a net tax taker. The truth is the rural areas are the takers.

I don't mind that, but it frosts me when they vote to increase my sales and property taxes - which is what the Hennepin County plan does. Minneapolis pays sales tax to the state - so a sales tax increase is a property tax increase.

Steve Kelley is promoting his alternative stadium/transit tax in the strib.

This is the summary of what happened in the strib. The rules committee pulled the bill away from the Tax committee and Larry Pogemiller. Then they voted for the metrowide Stadium/Transit tax increase of 0.5% with a referendum in all the participating counties.

It appears that the DFL Majority Leader, Dean Johnson is behind the plan, though he wants to remove the referendum requirement. I can't imagine that would fly on the floor.

"Our goal and objective is to move forward the stadium debate," said Johnson, DFL-Willmar. Though he acknowledged that the Twins would be reluctant to support the proposal because the team does not want a referendum, Johnson said he opposes a referendum and said he expects that there will be a move on the Senate floor to remove the referendum requirement.

Johnson and Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, the proposal's author, said a half-cent metrowide sales tax was a move to package the differing stadium proposals and also to build two stadiums for less money than they would cost taxpayers separately. The plan, in addition, would provide hundreds of millions of dollars over time for transportation projects.

Here's the votes (source Star Tribune):

DFLers voting yes (13):

Johnson, Berglin, Cohen, Hottinger, Kiscaden, Langseth, Metzen, Pappas, Pogemiller, Ranum, Sams, Stumpf, Vickerman

DFLers voting no (2):

Rest, Marty

Republicans voting no (9):

Belanger, Day, Dille, Fischbach, Frederickson, Larson, Limmer, Neuville, Olson

Republican not voting:


Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases opposes this plan - well it affects his area, but he's shown no qualms about sticking it to the Hennepin County Taxpayer.

It will be interesting to see if Linda Higgins will work to bring back the House plan which sticks it to the Hennepin County Taxpayer without a referendum.

I have obtained a copy of a flyer that was distributed in Pawlenty's neck of the woods - urging no votes on the Stadium tax - and urging voters to call both the Governor and Mike McGinn.

Another Dumb Idea from Congressman Mark Kennedy

A summer gas tax holiday. Craig Westover and King Banaian both explain why this won't do anything to lower gas prices.

Klobuchar is demogoging on this issue also. As is the DFL.

Craig comments on more Kennedy/Klobuchar nonsense.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Senate Tax Committee Votes Unanimously to Require a Referendum for Twins Stadium Tax

From the Strib:

A key Senate committee dealt the proposed $522 million stadium for the Minnesota Twins a potentially fatal setback Monday, voting unanimously to require a referendum on whether the project should be financed with a sales-tax increase in Hennepin County.

But the surprising vote, which followed a four-day impasse by the Senate Taxes Committee, appeared to confuse the status of the Twins stadium proposal more than anything else. While referendum supporters hailed the vote as a "huge victory," others downplayed its significance and said it may have been the temporary result of ongoing political maneuvering.

The vote, however, was not a good omen for the Twins and Hennepin County, which have insisted that delaying the project to hold a referendum, coupled with doubts that the stadium could win approval in a countywide vote, make the stadium essentially unbuildable.

"I've been nervous the last four days since I got here," Jerry Bell, the chief Twins negotiator, said of the committee's continuing meetings. "We haven't seen the end of this."

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the panel is also considering new football stadiums for the Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota.

On Monday, stadium supporters appeared worried again that the committee's inaction was erasing any momentum that the push for new stadiums had been gathering as this year's legislative session heads for adjournment.

An attempt Monday to move the university stadium proposal out of the committee and directly onto the Senate floor failed decisively.

"We had it all in place, and now we're trying to muck it all up," Senate Minority Leader Dick Day, R-Owatonna, said in complaining of the committee's inactivity.

For the Twins, the political stalemate in the Senate is in sharp contrast to Wednesday, when the team's proposal won an eye-opening approval from the House that seemed to send the stadium project on its way to full passage.

Though the Senate Taxes Committee will possibly cast deciding votes today, what will emerge is largely unknown.

Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, said that he remained optimistic that a solution for all three stadium proposals would be found in the coming days and that his latest plan to finance both Twins and Vikings stadiums using a metrowide half-cent sales tax may have enough votes in the full Senate to pass.

He acknowledged, however, that he was unsure whether the proposal had enough votes in the Senate Taxes Committee. "We're still working on that," he said.

In the AP story, Hennepin County Commissioner, and negotiator for this boondoggle, Mike Opat said that if the Governor wants to save this proposal, he needs to get involved publicly:

But it would be deemed a state-imposed tax, which could be veto bait given Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-new-tax pledge.

Opat said the predicament the Twins proposal now faces makes it critical that Pawlenty speak up and make his intentions known. Pawlenty has said he favors a referendum, but won't stand in the way if the final bill lacks one.

"He needs to say he supports our proposal," Opat said.

A spokesman for Pawlenty didn't immediately return messages.

I bet Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases is trying to figure out what to do with this one.

Signing the bill to raise the Hennepin County local option sales tax will break Governor Pawlenty's no new taxes pledge which states that the pledge signer will: "oppose (and vote against/veto) any and all efforts to increase taxes." This doesn't say, state taxes only, it says "any and all efforts to increase taxes."

Write a letter to the editor at the Star Tribune to thank the Senate Tax Committee for doing the right thing for the Taxpayers. Then write the Senate Tax Committee to thank them.,,,,,,,,,,

Former Senator John Danforth Calls Marriage Amendment Silly

He spoke at the recent Log Cabin Republicans convention.

Now the anti-gay activist group the Family Research Council is howling. From today's Daily Bleating.

Danforth Calls Marriage Amendment Silly

Former Sen. John Danforth was a Republican from Missouri. Lately, he's been hitting the rubber chicken circuit to denounce Christians in his party. Last fall, he spoke at the Bill Clinton School of Public Service in Arkansas and deplored Evangelical Christians' influence in the GOP. This weekend, he spoke to the Log Cabin Republicans--a homosexual advocacy group--and called the Marriage Protection Amendment "silly." He compared it to Prohibition. Danforth was happy to seek the support of socially conservative voters in Missouri when he ran three times for the Senate. Now that he no longer has to face voters, he is--in Washington parlance--growing. The Log Cabins also hosted retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ). In their newspapers, they describe Mr. Kolbe as "openly gay." Well, he wasn't openly gay until he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Then he was "outed" by vindictive homosexuals. Compare former Sen. Danforth with current Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV). Sen. Byrd has once again introduced an amendment to the Constitution to permit voluntary student prayer. "It seems to me," Byrd said, "that any prohibition of voluntary prayer in school violates the right of our schoolchildren to practice freely their religion. And that's just not right." Byrd introduced similar amendments in 1962, 1973, 1979, 1982, 1993, 1995, and 1997. The differences between Byrd and Danforth are great, to be sure. But Byrd continues to serve the people of his state and doesn't have the luxury of looking down his nose at their "silly" concerns like preserving marriage and restoring prayer. For the record, I believe religious expression and the defense of marriage are two of the most serious matters any government can face.

Oh get over it.

When Kolbe spoke to the Republican Convention in 2000, the anti-gay AFA howled:

Arrest Mr. Kolbe

AFA Action Alert, July 28, 2000

American Family Association
Dr. Donald E. Wildmon, President
Tim Wildmon, Vice President
Buddy Smith, Editor
P.O. Drawer 2440
Tupelo, MS 38803
Phone (662) 844-5036
Fax (662) 842-7789

According to

July 24 – Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona is set to make history next Tuesday when he will become the first openly gay member of Congress to address a Republican convention.

The Arizona congressman will have a prime-time speaking slot, addressing the GOP on trade issues for three minutes between 8 and 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Kolbe, first elected in 1984, is the most senior openly gay member of Congress and is the only openly gay Republican in the House.

Having Kolbe speak at the convention was an idea first raised by Washington city councilman David Catania in April, when the Log Cabin Republicans, the most prominent gay GOP organization, met with presidential candidate George W. Bush.

Bush met with the group, a first for a candidate preparing to pick up the GOP presidential nomination, despite his opposition to many of the its issues, including gay marriage.

Log Cabin Republicans Pleased

Members of the Log Cabin Republicans are delighted by Kolbe’s place in the convention lineup , especially considering that he backed Bush’ s rival, Sen. John McCain, during the primary season.

According to the group, this is the first time a well-known openly gay person has gone to the podium at the GOP national convention. In 1996, a little-known Log Cabin Republican member from California, Steve Fong, gave a low-profile, one-minute speech amid little fanfare.

But some socially conservative Republicans, who are opposed to gay rights and have warned Bush about reaching out to the gay community, are unhappy with the prospect of having Kolbe speak.

One leading conservative Republican told ABCNEWS he was "flabbergasted" by the decision, and called it a "shock."

"It is not going to be a happy time," said the Republican. "I think it is a really bad decision."

Kolbe is a founding member of the National Advisory Board of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's most prominent gay GOP group. In 1997, he gave the keynote address at the Log Cabin Republicans convention. Kolbe was a strong proponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

[End ABC News Story]

Action Needed

AFA's good friend and ally, Mr. Phil Burress, shared his excellent letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson. Here is Mr. Burress' letter:

Mr. Nicholson,

I am Phil Burress, Chairman of Equal Rights not Special Rights based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati challenged the ideal that homosexuality or sexual orientation is a minor class or a class of people worthy of special protection under the law. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the right of the people of the Cincinnati to prohibit special rights based on ones sex partner. Therefore, Mr. Kolbe as a self described homosexual means nothing except to say he engages in sodomy. Did you know that in Arizona, sodomy is against the law? Mr. Kolbe should be arrested when he returns to his home state for violating state law. Would you agree that all lawmakers should insist that all laws be enforced? Respectfully, Phil Burress

What follows is the address for Republican National Committee Chairman Nicholson in case you wish to contact him about the Kolbe invitation. For your reference, the Arizona Sodomy Law is Arizona Revised Statue Title 13 Section 1411.

Mr. Jim Nicholson, Chairman
Republican National Committee
Republican National Convention
Phone: (215) 762-9900

They really are goofballs aren't they?

After Getting Gay Support in Her Campaign, Bonoff Afraid to Use the G Word

From Senator Terri Bonoff's Capitol Update:

Capitol Update #8
April 28, 2006
Senate Continues to Process Bills
This week the Senate focused on processing various non-controversial bills but was
overshadowed by the progress of the Twins Stadium debate in the House. Thursday
afternoon the Senate Tax Committee met to begin discussions on all three proposals. The Chairman had asked the committee members to clear their schedules for the weekend to deal with these bills. This debate will focus on the merits of the financing proposals specifically. Therefore, I won’t know how these bills will read in their final language until sometime late Friday or over the weekend. After that, I will become part of the debate on these issues on the Senate floor.

The newspapers are doing an excellent job of covering this initiative and making this
debate public. I think this is very important. In addition, every phone call, letter and email I get helps me to understand the spectrum of opinions in my district and the competing arguments. I encourage you to stay engaged in this and all of the debates we have over various other issues as well.

Throughout my campaign last November, I was outspoken as a Stadium supporter, and
plan to honor this public commitment. This support is primarily due to my belief that
having the Twins remain in Minnesota is key to keeping our community vital, growing
and nationally competitive. However, in response to constituent concerns, I have been
lobbying to widen the tax base to include the seven county metro area and thus reducing the proposed sales tax by more than half. I do not know what the bill will look like when it passes the tax committee as I know many of my colleagues have their own ideas, but I do promise to do what I can to get the best deal possible for the citizens of our community.

Earth to Terri: a .5% sales tax increase is much larger than a .15% sales tax increase.

Various groups organized at the Capitol this week to show their support for various issues. Thousands assembled over the weekend to show their support for dedicated conservation funding, a measure that I supported in the Senate weeks ago that is now in conference committee. On Thursday, a coalition called Outfront organized on the steps of the Capitol to show their support for equal rights. I was pleased to then meet with many of the participants from our community in my office.

OutFront is an Equal Rights organization that works on behalf of the GLBT community. It's interesting that Terri kept the gay word in the closet so to speak. I thought Terri was better than Judy Johnson on this issue. Ofcourse Terri had every reason to be better on this issue. This is part of the DFL platform, and gays and those believing in gay equality are part of the DFL base.

Gordon, Grow and Astroturf Roots

Loosestrife on the sad spectacle of stadium politics:

"Now that Doug Grow has come out as a pro-stadium whore of babylon, he must have been itching to do a pointless puff piece about a Green in order to recover some street cred as an alt-populist."

Read more here.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Laurie Sturdevant on Paul Koering

Laurie Sturdevant from the Strib went to Senator Paul Koering's district convention. She wrote her column about the experience here.

Count 'em: Seven, eight -- no, nine! -- senators had forsaken their usual weeknight comforts in order to stand in the back of a noisy hall and shake a few hands on behalf of their colleague, Sen. Paul Koering.

It was a rare show of support. But then, Koering is a rare guy. The likable 41-year-old business owner left the proverbial closet last spring, becoming the only openly gay Republican in the Legislature. His voting record tilts toward the political middle. He's respected enough by DFLers to have landed a seat on the bonding bill conference committee.

As a result, he had attracted a serious challenge for his party's blessing from Brainerd City Council Member Kevin Goedker.

"You can tell a person by his friends," Koering told the 106 delegates to the Senate District 12 GOP convention, with a nod to the senators sporting Koering buttons. "I've got some great friends."

You also can tell a political party by the way it treats its Paul Koerings. Tuesday night, the stalwarts of Morrison and Crow Wing counties made their good state senator run a mean, seven-ballot gantlet. But in the end, they behaved like a political force that's serious about being this state's majority party, and endorsed Koering for a second term.

He may not be out of range of shots from the social right. Goedker wasn't promising to abide by the endorsement at the convention's end. His supporters, like Jeff Hilgart of Brainerd, who exhorted delegates to "Do it God's way!" in choosing a Senate endorsee, will undoubtedly egg Goedker on to enter the Sept. 12 primary.

But it says something positive about Republican political maturity that the District 12 delegates did not succumb to Goedker's pitch.

"This is not about Paul's orientation," the challenger, a real estate agent and former Marine, allowed after ticking off complaints about Koering's failure to follow the Taxpayers League's bidding more than 62 percent of the time, and his opposition to cuts in MinnesotaCare health insurance for the working poor.

But Goedker was a fount of lines like, "We have to get back to basic moral and family values."

Since Koering opposes abortion, we know what Goedker was referring to, and why Gazelka recruited him to run.

Sturdevant goes on:

He [Senate Minority Leader Dick Day] has to be worried this year about how voters are reacting to the state Republican Party's hyper-eagerness to constitutionally ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. As recently as November and December, Republicans were upset by DFLers in two special elections, in Minnetonka and St. Cloud, in which GOP hostility to gay rights apparently did not play well with voters.

Rejecting Koering would have written the Republicans' anti-gay reputation in an ugly boldface. That may be why, when Koering finally eked out an endorsement Tuesday night, Day wiped his brow and muttered, "Whew!"

Read the whole thing.

Senate Tax Committee Hearing

They sure are an entertaining bunch over at the Senate Tax Committee.

I drove down to the State Capitol, since they had a hearing during non-work hours, on the Stadium legislation.

Senator Pogemiller started by asking if anyone in the audience wanted to testify. So I testified against the stadium tax. I hadn't gone in with a prepared speech, so I just winged it. I heard from Eric Escola, who was covering the hearing, that he put some clips from my testimony on the radio.

I mentioned the Hennepin County Board vote was a 4-3 vote, with Mark Stenglein, my ethically challenged county commissioner voting to increase the sales tax on the Hennepin County taxpayer without a referendum. I mentioned that Mark Stenglein had a conflict of interest on this issue and that some of the other county commissioners thought he should recuse himself from this vote.

They spent much of the time after that trying to go through and mark up the bill. There was quite a bit of dissention. Senator Ortman and Senator Belanger were angry about Pogemiller's efforts to combine the bills. Pogemiller pointed out that the Senate author, Steve Kelley had proposed the combined bill with the metro-wide sales tax.

Senator Pogemiller on several occasions gave Strib sports columnist, Sid Hartman a lesson in civics - and pointed out that marking up bills was part of the legislative process and not game playing.

Belanger talked about Sid Hartman and the strib editorializing against the metro sales tax - because it could deep six the Twins proposal. My thought on that, is the strib editorials and Sid Hartman have always promoted this boondoggle. The public consistently doesn't agree with them, and the people that legislators should listen to are their constituents.

Senator Limmer very much appreciated my testimony and stopped by to thank me. Other members of the public at the hearing also thanked me.

Minority leader, Dick Day was at the hearing.

The 9 AM hearing tomorrow is cancelled. There will be a hearing either at 3PM or 5PM depending on when the Senate Floor session ends. I strongly recommend attending these if you are concerned about increased Hennepin County Sales Taxes to pay for the Twins Stadium.

Minnesota's Republican John Kerry: Steve Smith, Stadium Boondoggle Flip Flopper

Rep. Steve Smith, R Mound is one of three Hennepin County Legislators who voted in favor of the stadium boondoggle in the House Ways and Means Committee.

In 2004 he voted no on the Stadium plan. In the Ways and Means Committee, Steve Smith voted yes to the Hennepin County Stadium plan. Then on the house floor, he voted no on the bill.

Will he say "I voted for it, before I voted against it?"

Shane Nakerud has his best guesses on where the Senate Tax Committee is on the stadium boodoggle.