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Friday, May 12, 2006

Democratic Convention in Montecello tomorrow

Patty Wetterling faces off against Elwyn Tinklenberg.

If you are at the convention, please feel free to comment on your impressions on what happens in the comments.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Elwyn Tinklenberg's Troubling Ties to Highway Engineering Firm SEH.

A few years ago, Senator Michele Bachmann was promoting "Personal Rapid Transit" (PRT) in the media and authored legislation that would benefit one PRT company, the Taxi 2000 Corporation.

Early in 2005, Taxi 2000 sued its founder and former CEO J. Edward Anderson in Hennepin District Court. Two other men were sued, including Charles Michael of Short, Elliot Hendrickson (SEH) a highway engineering firm. Charles Michael was later dropped from the case on May 13th. The lawsuit was later settled. I was able to look at the documents that revealed a close, yet stormy relationship between Taxi 2000 and SEH. The Taxi 2000 website removed SEH's logo from a webpage that listed suppliers.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

SEH still shares a lobbyist, Edwin Cain with Taxi 2000. Ed Cain lists only three clients; Short, Elliot, Hendrickson (SEH), the City of Stillwater, and Taxi 2000 Corporation. Another lobbyist, Chris White works for the City of Stillwater, and the Taxi 2000 Corporation. It's odd that Taxi 2000 even has lobbyists... Taxi 2000 has virtually no employees, no viable product and has posted nothing new on the company website's "News" page since October 29, 2004.

If Elwyn Tinklenberg becomes the DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District, will he make Bachmann's PRT Boondoggle an issue in the campaign? My guess is he won't.

Donors to his campaign listed here includes four employees of SEH:

GLENN SCHREINER, VICE PRESIDENT OF SEH ENGINEERS-500.00

Craig Anderson, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc-500

Michael Kraemer, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. 500

Arthur Gary Lamppa, SEH Engineers/Engineers 500


In this Minneapolis Star Tribune article (January 21, 2003), SEH is cited as one of the consulting firms that were awarded lucrative consulting contracts by MnDOT. Tinklenberg is quoted in the article defending MnDOT.

MnDOT swerves to avoid law on consulting contracts

By Dan Browning and Pat Doyle

A review of tens of thousands of government e-mails, memos and other documents shows that MnDOT often has avoided competition when awarding consulting contracts, has doubled or even tripled payments without bids and has broken laws by putting consultants to work before deals were approved or even funded.



Even so, Elwyn Tinklenberg, who led MnDOT for nearly four years before resigning in October, has called the agency's procedures "reasonable and appropriate." During a radio appearance in August, he praised the agency's 5,300 employees, "who are working like crazy to do the best job they can with limited resources to protect the mobility of Minnesota."



One example involves Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) of St. Paul. In 1998, the department signed a three-year, $750,000 contract with SEH for road-design services. Two years into the contract, it tagged on an amendment for $750,000, citing the heavy workload. It was among eight SEH contracts with supplements exceeding 60 percent of their original value. Taken together, the original contracts were worth $3.6 million, and the supplements added $3.3 million.



Two years ago, a MnDOT project manager broke the law by telling Short Elliott Hendrickson to start design work on the project even though the $60,000 contract wasn't signed. The firm finished the job, but the city pulled out of the arrangement.


Bachmann could use this Strib article to bash Tinklenburg's lack of concern about these no-bid contracts. Those SEH donations aren't going to help him if she does.

Tinklenberg Backs Away From Extremist Anti-Legal Abortion Democrat Group

When Elwyn Tinklenberg was interviewed by MN Publius and asked about abortion, he said he was supporting the 90/10 plan put forward by the so-called "Democrats for Life".

I commented over there:

Here's from the website:

On February 1, 2006, Kristen Day addressed members of the media at a press conference urging members of Congress to bring Holly's Law, H.R. 1079, to the House floor for a vote. Holly's Law, named in honor of a victim who died from taking RU-486, calls for a ban on the distribution of the drug until the FDA can reconsider the potentially deadly side effects.

In her remarks, Day pointed out the dangers of the abortion drug, noting that women are at risk of serious bleeding problems and even death. Day acknowledged the Democrats who have co-sponsored this life-saving legislation: U.S. Representatives Lincoln Davis, Daniel Lipinski, Alan Mollohan, Gene Taylor and Bart Stupak.

Read Kristen's remarks in our press release.

Last Updated ( Monday, 13 March 2006 )

I'd like to hear where Elwyn Tinklenberg stands on this.

In latest news they have this:

Disability Rights Advocates Mark Anniversary of Terri Schiavo's Euthanasia

EY: I'd like to hear what Elwyn Tinklenberg thinks of the Terri Schiavo situation.

From the Dems for Life website, these folks are single issue extremists. Janet Robert - who is promoting the Dems for Life in Minnesota is an extremist on this issue - she wouldn't let stem cell research be discussed on her "progressive" radio station.

The 95:10 plan sounds pretty bogus - Elwyn Tinklenberg needs to be asked if he supports bogus claims - such as the so-called "abortion breast cancer link"?


Janet Robert stopped by to say this wasn't true:

Eva Young's is incorrect in her comment that I would not allow stem cell research to be discussed on Air America Minnesota. Al Franken talks about embryonic stem cell all the time. What little time we have to focus on our local show, Minnesota Matters, we try to talk about Minnesota issues that are not being discussed on the nationally syndicated shows. Democrats for Life of Minnesota strongly supports the great successes that the University of Minnesota has had with ADULT stem cell research. However, it does not support embryonic stem cell research because why take a life for research when a life affirming alternative exists? More importantly, there has not been one single scientificly recorded success with embryonic stem cell research but over 55 successful cures using adult stem cells. What a waste of taxpayers dollars. 95-10 is not bogus - it is about funding programs to stop violence against women (the single largest cause of death among pregnant women is domestic violence, funding health care, equal pay for equal work, child care and alternatives that allow pregnant women make the choice they want to make, not the choice their partners or society forces on them. 95-10 is the difference between pro-life Democrats and Republicans. Janet Robert


I got this story from one of Nick Coleman's producers and confirmed it with Nick.

Now on MPR, Elwyn Tinklenberg repeated what he's said on MN Publius and Almanac - that he doesn't want to criminalize abortion and doesn't want to overturn Roe v Wade. He is no longer promoting the Democrats for Life 90/10 plan.

Becky Lourey got NOW's endorsement for Governor. The Drama Queen put up a snarky post on the topic. Now it's a hot and heavy debate over abortion. Noone has answered the question: what should the penalty be for the woman who has the abortion - 10 years, 20 years, life, the death penalty? Instead many of these "pro-lifers" claim that the doctor is the one who should get the criminal penalty.

Brainerd Dispatch Letters Go After Paul Gazelka and Koering Opponent Kevin Goedker

Yes, one of them was written by yours truly.

Whining won't change result

In reading the "No Regrets" letter from Kevin Goedker, it appears he is a very bitter and homophobic young man. He says he is undecided if he is going to run in the primary, but by reading his letter it is very clear this is the first shot, so to speak, in his campaign. It reads as a page out of the play book of any left wing Democratic candidate that wants to start a very nasty campaign, especially with the code words "moral values," and "socially conservative."

Face up to it Mr. Goedker, you lost. Whining is not going to change that, so give it up and get on with life.

Jerry Johnson
Nisswa

Gazelka is no fiscal conservative

Rep. Paul Gazelka writes a letter to the editor in the Brainerd Dispatch to defend breaking his pledge to the Taxpayer League and the taxpayers in his district. When Gazelka ran for office, he pledged to vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes. With his vote to increase the Hennepin County local option tax without a referendum, he has broken his pledge and should be held accountable for that.

Many of us who live in Hennepin County vacation in the Brainerd area and contribute to the economy up there. As a Hennepin County resident I find it offensive that Paul Gazelka wants to stick it to the Hennepin County taxpayers to pay for something he wants (the Twins), so he can go home to his district and say "I didn't raise your taxes."

In Minneapolis we are having parks, libraries and police service cut. My local branch library is open three days a week. Having good police service, parks that are kept up, and libraries that are open more than three days a week are things that I would benefit from much more than having a new stadium for the Twins. In my opinion the Dome is just fine for the large sports events.

Legislators like Paul Gazelka are perfectly happy to vote to increase my taxes. If the Twins are an important resource for the state of Minnesota, then Rep. Gazelka should introduce a bill to make this tax increase statewide to "keep the Minnesota Twins." That's only fair.

Paul Gazelka has criticized Paul Koering for not being fiscally conservative enough. Any legislator who votes for the Hennepin County local option sales tax increase without the required referendum is no fiscal conservative.

Eva Young
Minneapolis


Koering never lost any votes

Even though Kevin Goedker congratulated Sen. Paul Koering on winning the Senate District 12 endorsement recently, he still had to comment he "lasted seven rounds." Yes, the endorsement may have taken seven ballots, but Sen. Koering never lost votes, he gained them. It was Goedker who lost votes.

Despite the fact that Goedker had decided he would challenge Sen. Koering in a primary election, he still had to complain about his legislative work in St. Paul. He is especially enamored with the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and their ratings of legislators' spending votes and uses that to attack Sen. Koering as a big spender.

Sen. Koering has voted for spending to clean up the Hennepin Paper site on the Mississippi River in Little Falls, to dedicate $2.4 million for the Paul Bunyan Trail, a 4.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Minnesota's nursing home workers, an additional $1.5 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs, $3.2 million to improve the economy of rural Minnesota, $4 million in grants to community organizations that assist pregnant women with services needed to carry their babies to term and many more local projects.

Every one of these projects affect the people of Senate District 12. Should Sen. Koering have checked with the Taxpayers League to get their permission to vote for these projects or should he have done what was best for the people of his district? Goedker seems to think the League should have the last word.

As for the Defense of Marriage Act: Senator Koering has voted twice this session to bring the bill out of committee and to the floor of the Senate for a vote. He has said he will vote to place it on the ballot so we can vote on it this November. That is good enough for me.

Paul Duncan
Brainerd


This thing isn't going to get to the floor, so Paul Koering won't have that opportunity.

Senator Julianne Ortman - Fraudulent Conservative

I received this statement in an e-mail from the distinguished non-Hennepin County senator:


Twins, Twins, Twins. Stadium, Stadium, Stadium. Could we just
vote already?! I have been in the State Senate for 4 years. I have
served on the Tax Committee for the entire 4 years. Yet, I have never had
the chance to vote one way or another on the Twins’ Stadium
Bill.

The House passed a reasonable proposal 76-55. The bill had authorized the Hennepin County local option sales tax (3¢ on every $20.00) with an up-front cash contribution of $130 million from the Twins for a total projected cost of $522 million.

Like most Minnesotans, there are things I like about the proposal and there are things I don’t like about it. However, the most important thing from my point of view is that Minnesotans have become very familiar with the proposal. They know whether they like it overall or if they don’t. We have been talking about it for
years in our grocery stores, fire stations, churches, city council chambers,
county boards, newspapers and on the radio. At the Capitol we have heard
from our constituents and they want us to vote. This proposal is more than
ready for debate and a straightforward “yes” or “no” vote.

In contrast, the last minute, overly-political proposal to fund both the Twins and
Vikings Stadiums (and transit!) with a ½ cent metro area sales tax has received
almost no public consideration and no hearings in our committees. The tax
is never scheduled to expire. Once the stadiums are built, it continues to
fund transit forever. I will not support this $1.2 billion proposal this
year and I will work to defeat it at every opportunity. Neither the
residents nor the elected officials in the seven county metro area have been
consulted or engaged in the process. Even the teams have not supported
this plan.

I am hopeful that the “leaders” of the Senate DFL will stop playing politics with this bill and just let us vote on the straightforward proposal from the House. I believe the full Senate supports it. I know the House and Governor support it. I know that a majority of the residents from my district who have contacted me support it. We’re already in extra innings on this issue; it is time to vote.

Supporting the House/Mike Opat version of this bill, with no referendum, is not a conservative position. C'mon, Senator. Act like a Republican. Were you lying when you voted in favor of a referendum in the Senate Tax Committee?

And her e-mail includes a photo - what's up with that? I know what she looks like.




DNC Chair Howard Dean Tells Christian Broadcasting Network DNC Platform Says Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman

From Out for Democracy:

Howard Dean recently appeared on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. He told the audience “The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says.”

No Howard, that is most certainly NOT what the 2004 Platform says. Is this a baldface lie to pander to the religious right? I'd like to give Dean the benefit of the doubt, but some Democratic insiders who have corrected Dean on this very point in the past say yes.

Here's what the 2004 Democratic Platform actually says:

"We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been definited at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a Federal Marriage Amendment." Our goal is to bring Americans together, not drive them apart."

The status of the LGBT community in the DNC has gone from troubling in May 2005, to disappointing in February 2006, to bad in May 2006. Currently the situation is just shocking, confusing, and downright bizarre, like really bad reality television. But unlike tv, in this show our lives, our families, and our futures are on the line. We need to know whether or not Howard Dean and the DNC have our back, and we need to know soon.


I don't understand how this is much different than what John Kerry said when he was running for President.

No wonder Aravosis is so peeved about Mary Cheney's statements in her book. Truth hurts.

Mary Cheney's Book is Out

She's getting lots of press.

I think she's got a good point about John Kerry.

Cheney saves her harshest words for Bush's 2004 opponents, calling Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry a "son of a bitch" and his running mate, John Edwards, a "total slime" for discussing her sexual orientation during nationally televised debates during the campaign....

In her interview with Diane Sawyer, Cheney said of Bush: "I think he's a very good man. On these issues, he hasn't caught up."

Cheney is less generous to Kerry and Edwards, who she accuses of "sleazy" politics for mentioning she was gay during debates with Bush and her father.

"John Kerry didn't 'out me', nor did he offend or attack me by calling me a lesbian. It wasn't a secret that I was gay, and I certainly couldn't be offended by the truth," she writes. "What was offensive was that he was obviously trying to use me and my sexual orientation for his own political gain."

Sitting in the studio audience when Edwards mentioned her sexual orientation, Cheney said she looked at the vice-presidential candidate and mouthed the words "Go F*** Yourself" a phrase her father had earlier employed against Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy.


There is an interesting comment thread over on the Independent Gay Forum about Dianne Sawyer's Mary Cheney Interview. It goes without saying that John Aravosis is having a cow. John Kerry has responded. I happen to think in 2004, neither major party was honorable on the topic of gays. John Kerry showed the most honor on this topic, when it was revealed that he refused to listen to that defender of marriage Bill Clinton's advice and publicly support anti-gay constitutional amendments in the south.

Update: Check out the venom from the reviewers of the book.

Antonio Rosell announces candidacy for Minnesota House District 58B

For Immediate Release
May 10 2006

Antonio Rosell Announces Candidacy for Minnesota House District 58B

Antonio Rosell announced his candidacy for the District 58B seat at theState of Minnesota House of Representatives. The seat is currently occupiedby State Rep. Keith Ellison, who won the DFL endorsement to replace US Rep. Martin Sabo in Washington this last Saturday. Rep. Ellison was up for reelection this November.

In announcing his candidacy, Antonio Rosell said: "Our district and the people of our state have been well served by State Representative Keith Ellison, but as he prepares to go to Washington on our behalf his seat in the Minnesota House is open. I am stepping forward as a candidate for this seat because I believe I have the ideas, energy and passion to continue the work he has started, and to make a positive difference in our district, our city and our state."

Antonio Rosell is an urban planner and a civil engineer, and is founder and director of Community Design Group (http://www.c-d-g.org), apeople-centered, asset-based urban planning, policy and design consulting group in Minneapolis. The focus of his firm's work is economic development, urban design, transportation planning, and community participation
processes. He also has first hand experience in small business development, having helped start up and manage Guayaquil Restaurant, a successful family-owned restaurant on Lake Street in South Minneapolis. He is a regular
guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute and writes a weekly column for Insight News.

You can find more information about Antonio Rosell and his candidacy by visiting his campaign website at:

www.voteantonio.org

###

Prepared by the Committee to Elect Antonio Rosell
P.O. Box 11193, Minneapolis, MN 55411
http://www.voteantonio.org

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Metro Tax Stadium/Transit Bill Passes Senate

Now it goes to conference committee.

Brainerd Dispatch Letters on the Stadium Boondoggle

Here.

Farewell to Twins and Vikings

What am I missing here? A billionaire business owner wants the tax payers to pay for a structure for his business so he can make millions of dollars more, some of which will go to his already overpaid team members. Why don't I understand this? Let the taxpayers keep their money. Those that like to watch sports can watch the games on TV in the comfort of their homes. Think of the money they can save on admission, hot dogs, drinks, transportation, etc.. I say, "Go Twins, go. And take the Vikings with you."

Julie Pawlak
Hackensack

No public money for stadiums

I am very much against public money for private businesses, such as sports stadiums.

Minnesota highways seem in very rough shape. As work takes me around the state, my vehicle is constantly going "thunk," and I have to avoid even worse potholes.

How much wear and damage is this doing to all vehicles? Would it be cheaper to fix the roads than repair all the worn vehicles and replace damaged tires?

If we are wasting money by poor management, this hurts our overall economy and thus the nation, and therefore is even unpatriotic!

What about safety? Are there "pothole related" deaths?

I also understand our schools are very short of funds, as many of them are in financial difficulty.

Public pension funds are short $10 billion.

Yesterday a state politician on PBS stated that funds for child care are short.

Minnesota, under Gov. Pawlenty's promise to not raise taxes, is instead borrowing almost $1 billion.

In the middle of all this, we have a governor and state politicians who are busy figuring out how to spend public money on private sports entertainment centers, to the benefit of millionaire athletes and billionaire owners, Mr. Wilf and Mr. Pohlad. Politicians hope this will get them campaign funds, and ultimately re-elected.

There are no guarantees the teams will even remain here.

The most consistent argument I've heard for approving these projects is that those nagging for stadiums will then go away.

"Can we have a pony?"

"No."

"Can we have a pony?"

"No!"

"Can we have a pony, huh?"

"I said no!"

"Can we have a pony?"

"Oh, all right! Anything to shut you kids up!"

Is this how you handle your children?

Our current politicians make lousy parents, I guess. Is this part of their "family values?"

A. Martin
Merrifield


Rep. Paul Gazelka, the guy who recruited a candidate to run against Paul Koering, claims to be a fiscal conservative and signed the Taxpayers League pledge - and voted in favor of the stadium bill in the house.

Hopefully Rep. Gazelka is paying attention to the sentiments expressed in his local newspaper. Gazelka is no fiscal conservative.

Extremist Legislation Targets Judges

DFL Press Release:

EXTREMIST ORGANIZATION ENDANGERS JUDGES

ST. PAUL (5/8/06) – Today, the Minnesota Senate is considering its version of the Supplemental Finance Bill that the House passed last week. One provision of the House version sure to be offered in the Senate politicizes the judiciary and puts judges’ safety and security at risk. The provision prohibits Medicaid funding for a woman’s right to reproductive choice. It also modifies the law stating that minors can seek a waiver from parental-notification laws from a judge. The new provision would require courts to submit a public record of any such judicial authorization. The misnamed "Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life" (MCCL) has lobbied for the provision.

The public-assistance restriction has already been ruled unconstitutional by the Minnesota Supreme Court. This amendment would undoubtedly bring the matter back before the court.

"By denying women on public assistance their constitutional rights, MCCL is putting both the women and our judges at risk," Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez said. "Across the country, we've seen the lengths to which sick individuals will go to prevent women from exercising their right to privacy and reproductive freedom, or to punish judges who uphold the law.

"From murders, attempted murders, assaults, arson, vandalism, death threats, stalking and burglary, we've seen the lengths that the extremists on the anti-choice side of the debate will go to to restrict women's rights. This amendment lets them target judges as well. MCCL wants to undermine the Constitution by intimidating the judges whose job it is to protect individual rights.

"MCCL is putting a bull's eye on judges who would have the audacity to uphold the Constitution -- the very job that judges are supposed to do, the very job for which we need courts the most -- whenever the Constitution doesn't conform to MCCL's beliefs. If MCCL succeeds in trashing the constitutional rights of women on public assistance, whose rights will they try to intimidate judges into curtailing next?'


The piece of this legislation that deals with judges is appalling. MCCL alienates legislative supporters with their heavy handed tactics.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Eden Prairie Republicans on the Stadium Boondoggle

BOUGHT AND PAID FOR -- Twins owner Carl Pohlad and his family have donated over $750,000 over the years to Minnesota politicians. Meanwhile, Matt Abe reports that the rank and file are refusing to fall into line. Mark Stotz has some thoughts about a party that says it "opposes taxes" but voted for this bill. Craig Westover warns that Republicans who use the "only 3 cents of $20" argument have no right to complain when the DFL wants only 10 cents of that same $20.


Here.

Good for Senate District 42. I hope this means that David Hann will vote against this boondoggle.

The Greet Machine has an update of what's going on from the Twins fans point of view.

Bad news of the week: Phil Krinkie lost the GOP nomination for the 6th Congressional District to Michelle Bachmann. And not only did he lose, he got crushed. Why is this bad? This means the Minnesota legislature, and Minnesotans in general, are stuck with him for eternity. Yes, eternity. It is that bad. Phil Krinkie's motto seems to be "Making Minnesota into the 3rd Dakota Today!"


I think it's unfortunate that Michele Bachmann won the Republican endorsement but for different reasons than Shane.

I think it's appalling that branch libraries in Minneapolis are open 3 days a week and Mayor Rybak tells the branch libraries to "raise their own money", while Rybak used his bully pulpit to promote the stadium boondoggle. That shows real misplaced priorities.

Brainerd Dispatch Letters

After Paul Koering got Republican Endorsement, Paul Gazelka, who supported Koering's opponent, sent a letter in to the Brainerd Dispatch congratulating Koering on his victory. He later told the Brainerd Dispatch that he was not personally endorsing Koering. Minntelect points out that right below Gazelka's letter was a letter from a Koering supporter.

Koering targeted by bigots

Bigotry is alive and well in Brainerd. Before you relegate bigotry to the deep South or a time gone by, look at our current situation in Brainerd. Our state senator, an honest, upright, moral man, is being targeted by bigots, those who hate people different than themselves either in race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I find it very disturbing that some people who profess their Christianity are ignoring His commandment to love one another.

Sen. Koering is a hardworking, plainspoken, truthful person. When confronted with being gay, he chose to respond truthfully, trusting the people he represents to judge him fairly. There are those who quickly decided to use this as political ammunition. Others, to promote their own political careers.

A great disservice is done when we zero in on a single issue and ignore a lifetime of commitment and service. Dont be swept along with those who would misrepresent Paul or question his convictions. Let Koerings voting record stand as the final word on his views.

Serving in the Legislature is a difficult job. I know Paul was dismayed at the amount of maneuvering and manipulating that goes on in St. Paul. Despite this he has worked hard within the system on behalf of his constituency. Paul has represented our district well.

As for his sexual orientation, it is important to remember that Paul did not choose to be gay. He has chosen to lead a life of integrity. Paul has very strong family values and morals. Being married with children does not make one more or less qualified to serve the people. It is time we stop using that as a platform.

Sally Campbell
Baxter


It's to the credit of the Republican Party in Koering's district that the bigots did not prevail. Senator Dick Day has been a huge supporter of Koering.

Will the Real Brad Biers Please Stand Up?

Brad Biers is Michele Bachmann's former campaign manager. He is now running for an open house seat in Blaine.

His site used to focus on being "pro-life" and favoring the Bachmann amendment:

Where Brad Stands On The Issues
I am for limited government
and that includes controlling increased taxes. I will never vote for an increase in taxes * or a fee disguised as a tax! Increasing taxes is a failed policy that only chases business expansion from Minnesota.

I am pro-life.
I have never supported or worked for a candidate who isn't solidly pro-life. Protecting life is a bedrock Republican value. We had a good turnout at the 2006 pro-life rally at the Capitol and I was proud to once again participate in the March for Life.

As a hunter and fisherman, I am a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights.

I am a strong supporter of traditional marriage.
The Minnesota Legislature is struggling with one of the most monumental decisions we have faced in years: gay marriage. I am a strong supporter of traditional marriage and the marriage amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution.

Blaine stadium proposal.
I am concerned about how Anoka County is handling the Blaine stadium proposal. The question must appear on the ballot so that residents of Blaine can vote on the stadium proposal.

On education, I support the 70% spent in the classroom proposal.


Brad Biers website as it was viewed on 4/29/2006.

Here's what his website looks like now.

The mention of the Bachmann amendment has been stripped from the website. Remember that this is the district where Senate Judiciary Chair, Don Betzold lives and will be targeted by the anti-gay activists.

Brad Biers site has been purged of these references and replaced with this:

Where Brad Stands On The Issues

Transportation -
I want to work with local and state officials to make sure Highway 65 is prioritized in state funding. We also have to work on issues related to the Blaine Airport and Interstate 35.

Education -
I will work for fair funding for our schools and teachers. Our children are the future workforce and we must give them the best quality education that we can.

As a hunter and fisherman, I support Sportsmen's issues.

Health Care -
The cost of health care is putting a real pinch on Blaine families and businesses. I want to work to find ways to provide quality, affordable health care.

Economic Development -
With all the people moving to Blaine, I want to work with the local business community to add to our quality of life by growing jobs and providing a good community for businesses to move to.


Andy Aplikowski is the chair of that Senate District and wrote on his blog:

Support for the amendment is down from last year, it is no longer the 70% issue it used to be. When your enemy sees a weakness they exploit it. The DFL no longer had to beat the Republican ideas, they just have to paint us with a broad brush. And you know what we opened the darn paint can for them.


That's referring to the endorsement last Saturday of Senator Michele Bachmann for congress.

Maybe Republican candidates are finally beginning to get that focusing on the Bachmann amendment at the expense of all other issues isn't going to do it for them.

The Not Very Republican Rep Neil Peterson

At the Sun Sailer here:

To the editor:

It is indeed ironic that Neil Peterson was one of the few Hennepin County representatives voting to allow a Hennepin County to raise sales taxes without referendum.

Neil seeks the endorsement of the Republican Party - a party with a platform that speaks of prudent spending and fair taxation.

So far, Neil has voted to raise gas taxes when the cost per gallon is at a near-record high and to allow "reverse wealth distribution" by taking money from the masses to build a sports palace owned by a billionaire

Last year, Neil said "Hennepin County has the financial muscle to fund the stadium."

Perhaps the taxpayers of this county and the state are tired of exercising their financial muscles to fund government entitlements and that includes subsiding what is essentially an entertainment venue for a sports team.

Now it appears that lobbying and public relations muscle of the Minnesota Twins has worn down the opposition and Hennepin County will be on the hook for $1 billion over the next 30 years.

I believe government should not exist to serve professional sports teams. For the past 11 years, the Twins have asked the state for aid to build a stadium. The people said no. The Twins have threatened to leave the state. They are still here playing in another publicly financed stadium.

If you believe the people of Hennepin County want to fund a new stadium, what is the harm a referendum to let those who are most impacted by this vote on it?

Mark S. Stoltz
Bloomington


Exactly.

Another Boondoggle

The Mall of America proposal for tax breaks isn't getting enough scrutiny. Jeff Fecke at Minvolved is on it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Alan Hooker's Endorsement of Keith Ellison

Dear Delegate or Alternate:

When people ask me why I am supporting Keith Ellison to represent me in Congress, I tell them it's because I want someone who will stand up and fight for me when so many are trying to fight against me. When standing up for someone like me might not be the most popular thing to do.

I am gay. Keith has been fighting for me long before he ever met me. Since first elected in 2002, Keith has stood up and fought hard against every attempt to write discrimination against into the Minnesota State Constitution. I will never forget the eloquence and heartfelt passion he displayed for equal rights for LGBT Minnesotans during his brave speech from the floor of the House in 2004. The following year, Keith was among those who fought to protect the human and civil rights in the Minnesota Human Rights Act and offered an amendment to allow the domestic partners of state employees to purchase insurance from the state insurance plan. Then, Keith spoke out against the attempts by religious conservatives to drive a wedge between the Black community and LGBT community.

When I finally got the chance to meet Keith a couple years ago, I thanked him for all of his work on behalf of the LGBT community. He hugged me and begged off any words of praise, saying only that he was trying to just do the right thing.

That's who I want fighting for me in Washington. Someone who doesn't need to look at polls to decide how to vote on controversial issues. Someone who doesn't march in Pride Parades just for the photo op. I want someone who understands with every fiber of his being that equal rights are not "special rights".

That person is Keith Ellison.

I hope you will join me in supporting him for to be our next 5th Congressional District Representative.

Sincerely,

Alan Hooker
Minneapolis Library Board
/Co-Chair, Ellison for Congress


From Democratic Underground.

Paul Gazelka and the Brainerd Dispatch: Stick it to the Hennepin County Taxpayer for the Twins Stadium

Paul Gazelka is as hypocritical as Al Juhnke on this issue. Legislators who signed the Taxpayers League Pledge, such as Brainerd area reps Paul Gazelka and Greg Blaine, broke the pledge when they voted for the stadium bill.

Paul Gazelka has a letter to the editor explaining his vote:

Open Forum: Positives outweighed negatives with Twins vote
The Minnesota House of Representatives recently approved legislation that creates a Minnesota Ballpark Authority with responsibility for construction and operation of a new Major League ballpark in Minneapolis.

The bill also authorizes Hennepin County to issue bonds, and to impose a 0.15 percent local option sales tax to provide revenue for payment of debt service on bonds, for ballpark construction.

Although I voted for the final bill, I also supported a proposal requiring a referendum in Hennepin County. I don't endorse additional taxation, but I will if the citizens who will be taxed support it.

However, I do believe that teams such as the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings are an important part of our state and our image. The topic of a new Twins stadium has been debated for a long time, and this legislation is the final compromise of those years of work.

Hennepin County would receive some benefit by having additional jobs thanks to a new stadium. These would be jobs lost if the Twins chose to leave Minnesota.

I'm not sure what life in Minnesota would be like without professional baseball - I didn't want to find out.

Rep. Paul Gazelka
District 12A


You can call Paul Gazelka at: (218) 829-9694. Remind him that he signed the Taxpayers League pledge to vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes. Please also send letters to the editor expressing your outrage at Paul Gazelka's vote. Letters can be emailed to: openforum@brainerddispatch.com.

Twins stadium plan deserves support
OUR OPINION: STADIUM PLAN
Twins stadium plans have seemingly been as plentiful as roster changes on our favorite Major League team. They come and go with the frequency of free agents and hopeful rookies.

Maybe we're just carried away with the seasonal exuberance of spring, but this year could be different. This year the long-standing stadium talk could actually lead to concrete action.

The Minnesota House passed a stadium proposal Wednesday that calls for a $552 million open-air ballpark in downtown Minneapolis to replace the woeful Metrodome. A stadium bill is expected to be taken up soon in the Senate.

The current plan calls for no money to be used from the state's general fund. Twins owner Carl Pohlad will put up $130 million and the remaining three-fourths of the cost will come from an increased sales tax in Hennepin County. The current plan is, by far, the best plan that has come forward in the past 10 years. Those outstate Minnesotans who don't give a hoot about the Twins or Major League won't pay a dime toward the stadium if they don't patronize Hennepin County restaurants or hotels. The tax burden is where it should be on the shoulders of those who are likely to benefit from the stadium. While we understand the sentiment for a Hennepin County referendum on the sales tax, any disgruntled residents from that county can certainly voice their unhappiness at the polls this November. Those commissioners who approved the sales tax could be voted out of office.

It's time to put this question to rest once and for all. The Twins stadium bill is a reasonable compromise that deserves the support of the Legislature.


I will take that advice and do whatever I can to defeat Mark Stenglein in November - and I hope the stadium tax will be the reason for his defeat.

Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage Endorse Paul Koering's Opponent

Brainerd Dispatch:

Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage backs Goedker
By MIKE O'ROURKE
Associate Editor
Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage, a political action committee that has pushed for the Defense of Marriage Amendment, announced it has endorsed Kevin Goedker of Brainerd in his bid to win the Republican primary for the District 12 Senate seat against Sen. Paul Koering.

Jeff Davis, president of the group, said Friday the marriage amendment is not going to gain approval this legislative session and his organization has shifted its efforts to gearing up for the next Legislature.

"We're going to take people out," he said. "Our goal is to basically elect candidates this November that are going to support the marriage amendment - fully support it."


Koering told me that Davis called him up and asked him to sign the pledge. Koering refused. What's interesting is there are a number of other Republican senators who have refused to sign this groups pledge. Mr Minnesota 2020 , Geoff Michel is not one of these Republicans. Michel signed this anti-gay groups pledge to push for the Bachmann amendment. Paul Koering is the only one this group is going after.

Koering, Davis said, has a mixed track record on the marriage amendment; he has declined to sign the group's Marriage Protection Pledge; and he has publicly stated he does not support the current bill language.

"It's the fact that he (Koering) has failed to sign the pledge, the fact that he has a mixed track record on the issue and the fact that there's somebody running against him that's fully committed to the marriage amendment, who has signed the pledge," Davis said.

Koering said Friday he would let his legislative record speak for itself, noting he voted twice to pull the marriage amendment out of committee for a floor vote.

"That speaks louder than anything," he said. "A recorded vote in the Senate should state where I stand on the issue. All the pledges in the world that you sign aren't going to speak as loudly as a recorded vote in the Minnesota Senate."

Earlier this year, the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage once had identified Koering as part of a "Gang of 12" lawmakers that had blocked the marriage amendment. The group cited a vote Koering made in 2005 that did not support an effort to send the bill to the floor. Koering said he cast that vote because he did not feel the bill had gone through the committee process.

During this legislative session when Koering voted to send the bill to the Senate the organization took him off the list and took out a newspaper advertisement in the Brainerd Dispatch thanking him for the vote.

"Certainly, we added to the confusion (about Koering's record on this issue)," Davis said. "There's no question about that."

Davis said the group's public endorsement, which came late Thursday, hours after Minnesota Republican Chairman Ron Carey's endorsement of Koering, was not related to Carey's backing of the first-term senator.

Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage has a board of directors, but Davis said he made the decision to endorse Goedker.


Here's my question - did Senator Michele Bachmann work behind the scenes to engineer this endorsement? I wouldn't put it past her. Davis said on the radio that Michele Bachmann inspired him to start this group.

"I basically call the shots," he said.

Goedker, a Realtor and a Brainerd City Council member, announced his bid to challenge Koering in the Sept. 12 primary on Wednesday. He said he was pleased with the MCDM's support and took issue with the GOP state chairman's characterization of the political climate in the district.

"I'm obviously very pleased and I think there is support out there for me," he said. "I think there's a clear division and that's why there's a need for me to run, because people need that choice."

Goedker said if Koering was serious about supporting the Defense of Marriage Amendment he should sign the group's Marriage Protection Pledge.

Koering received 60 percent of the vote after seven ballots at the endorsing convention in Little Falls on April 25.

MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5860.


I hope other Republican State Senators yank their names from this groups pledge in protest. I'd especially like to see Senator Day do this.

While I was at the 6th District Convention, I talked to Ron Carey. Carey told me he is continuing to try to convince Goedker to get out of the race and said the party was fully behind Paul Koering.

Cosmic Stupidity

Cosmic Variance points out some monumental stupidity from Glen Reynolds at Instapundit.

The wrongness singularity
Sean at 7:29 am, May 5th, 2006

The blogosphere has been having its fun with this little bit of instant punditry from Glenn Reynolds:

Of course, if we seized the Saudi and Iranian oil fields and ran the pumps full speed, oil prices would plummet, dictators would be broke, and poor nations would benefit from cheap energy. But we'd be called imperialist oppressors, then.

Far be it from me to add anything to the trenchant political analysis already available. But as a Physics Blog, we feel it’s our duty here to point out the exciting scientific consequences that our more humanistical friends have thus far missed: the possibility that Prof. Reynolds has discovered a new state of wrongness.

You see, wrongness is a fermionic property. That is to say, a statement is either wrong or it is not wrong; you can’t pile on the wrongness to make a condensate of wrong. By the conventional rules, n declarative statements can be wrong at most n times. By the Pauli exclusion principle, you just can’t be more wrong than that!


There is plenty of idiocy from both sides of the political aisle being promoted in response to gas price hikes.

Craig Westover posts something intelligent on this topic. King Banaian also comments.

Note -- I don't support the incentives for hybred vehicles mentioned in the link King includes in his post. Rather, I support looking at the government incentives given the oil industry that might keep the price of gasoline artificially low. If conservation and alternative fuels are really the objectives, not subsidies to "Small Agriculture," then let's allow gas prices rise to the market rate and unloose competition among oil companies to reduce costs and improve gas-buring efficiency, car manufacturer's to produce low-cost high mileage vehicles and hybreds, and ethanol producers to create a viable industry at market prices that can compete with a tarriff-free foreign source.


Well said. These ethanol subsidies are a huge boondoggle - and don't look for politicians from either side of the aisle to challenge these.

Craig Westover on DFL Politician Cowardice on the Issue of Gay Marriage

Mike McIntee has the audio of the GLBT Equality question at the 5th District Candidate forum.

Gail Dorfman said specifically she supported gay marriage during the debate.

Here.

Just a thought, as is this also from Salisbury's piece --

The candidates don't differ much on the major issues. At a forum Thursday at Minneapolis South High School, they all called for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, strongly supported abortion rights and opposed a ban on same-sex marriages.

A note to Michele Bachmann bashers that knock her for her support of the Defense of Marriage Amendment: note that all the DFL candidates, and for that matter all of the liberal columnists in the Twin Cities "oppose a ban on same-sex marriage." That's hardly a tough call for a DFLer, but nary a one to the best of my knowledge has said they are IN FAVOR of same-sex marriage. Certainly none has made it a campaign issue like they have their opposition to Bachmann's bill.

In fact, rather than move the Defense of Marriage Amendment to the floor of the Senate where they could have openly denounced it and taken a public stand on a very visible issue and convincingly voted the amendment down, the DFL-dominated Senate judiciary committee hunkered down and took the easy path, which while it prevented a vote, did not end the controversy. It did keep them off the hook from making a recorded vote.

In the Judiciary Committee hearing, Republican Senator Tom Neuville raised the point that if those objecting to the amendment felt it was "meant-spirited" and "discriminatory," then they must regard the existing statute the same way. No one from the opposition commented.

While there is philosophical room to say that one opposes Bachmann's constitutional amendment because one shouldn't legislate through the constitution, but one still supports the statute, again, no DFLer or liberal columnist has made that specific argument. They have hedged their positions on same-sex marriage with an anti-Bachmann focus, without actually stating where they stand on the same-sex marriage issue.

My point is simply this -- if one is going to take a stand opposing the Defense of Marriage Amendment then one is obligated to also state how one feels about Minnesota's current marriage law and how one stands on same-sex marriage itself.

Seems to me, DFLers and liberal columnists are in no hurry to be for something; it's easier to bash Bachmann. That's why, while disagreeing with her, I admire her. She's willing to stand FOR something, while the DFL hide behind opposition.

[For the record -- I oppose the Defense of Marriage amendment because to legislate through the constitution is as wrong as legislating from the bench. The state has a legitimate authority to define marriage, including defining it as the union between one man and one woman or, at some future time, expanding the definitioon to include same-sex marriage. I SUPPORT same-sex marriage, repeal of the existing statute thru legislation, because I believe that marginalizing people that want to live in a committed relationship and form families has a negative effect of those people and on society in general.]


Personally, I hope the effort in Wisconsin opposing the constitutional amendment there will ask Craig Westover to do radio ads in opposition to the amendment. He will have some name recognition in the area covered by the Pioneer Press.

Michele Bachmann does stand for something - she is for marginalizing gays for political gain.

Shawn Towle Soap Opera

MNSpeak has picked up on this.