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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pawlenty's Brian McClung Insists on Correction from City Pages

For this from GR Anderson:

2:53 a.m.: Pawlenty finally hits the stage, accompanied by chants of "E85, E85." "I'm going to ask for your help," the governor says. "It's a time to be humble. It's a time to be grateful. And it's a time for our nation and our state to come together." He concedes that "the country is divided" and that "we need to come together and we need to do our part by starting that here tonight.... The next four years is going to be different than the last four years. We got different leadership in Congress. We got different leadership in St. Paul. There are big challenges ahead of us."

He then offers a "shout-out" to "my red-hot smokin' wife," before reading a Bible verse and concluding, "God has blessed me... Amen."

From the print version of this week's CP:

Brian McClung, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's communications director, took issue with G.R. Anderson Jr's summary of Pawlenty's election-night speech at GOP headquarters. City Pages wishes to clarify the following: The governor paraphrased but did not "read" a Bible verse near the end of his speech, and did not say "amen" after announcing that "God has blessed me" near the end of the speech. City Pages regrets the misstatement.

It's interesting that the Governor's office took the time to insist on a correction on this one. It suggests that the Leviticus crowd may be beginning to be concidered more of a liability than an asset to Republicans - especially those with national aspirations.

NARNians Mitch Berg and Captain Ed Don't Let Facts Get In the Way

During their show today, they were discussing the New Jersey legislature passing a Civil Unions bill. Neither Berg or Captain Ed had a problem with that bill, which they described as allowing people to enter into contractual relationships. Then they made the claim that all the constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage passed with 70 or 80% of the vote. That's not the case. South Dakota's referendum passed narrowly (52%), and Arizona rejected the referendum.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Lloydletta in Bloghouse


Lloydletta (7) was peeved by Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels' insinuation that the city had a choice between libraries and law enforcement. "Libraries are a core part of government services. Putting money into libraries does not prohibit having police. Having libraries open helps keep young kids from getting into crime. I am embarrassed to be represented by someone who makes such an appalling statement."

I've been meaning to write a letter to the editor, but it's getting less timely.

The Science of Cuteness

Jeanne Moos at CNN asks people to say which is cutest - a baby or a panda cub - and the panda wins hands down. Video here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lloydletta from the Archives: Council Member Don Samuels Opposes the First Amendment

Avidor took this movie and described this circus earlier this year here.

Loosestrife transcribed Samuels statement at Minneapolis Upside Down.

While I do value our freedoms. . . there are some of them that our community has not demonstrated the responsibility to bear. . . and. . .one, for me, would be certain freedoms within this new electronic category which has been as lethal as the guns that are pervasive on our streets. . . . I don't think that we have demonstrated the capability to deal with this freedom, neither by the ones who perpetrate it as weapons or by the ones of us who are called upon to oversee the responsible utilization of these media.

Until that day comes, and until, personally speaking, I . . . cease to be a victim of the irresponsible use and incapacity to supervise the freedoms that are now brought to us by these incredible advances in technology, I will have to vote against--and again, again, and again--until we demonstrate responsibility and supervising capability for our new freedom.

. . . All the advances we have have kind of gone to our head and our guts. . . . We forget that the freedoms that we have have worked, not because the freedoms themselves have virtue but because we ourselves as a nation have certain principles whether they be religious or spiritual or cultural--around fairness, hard work, honesty etc. that makes democracy work. . . .

Freedom of speech, unbridled, and without supervision, can create more harm than good. There's no doubt about that. If we, as a nation, continue to increase our freedoms while decreasing our responsibility both in terms of our laws and in terms of our responsibilities as citizens and as leaders to defend each other and protect each other from the abuses of people, then we do not deserve and will not maintain or sustain our democracy and our democratic principles. . . .

. . . Have no doubt about it, democracy and freedom of speech are not virtues in and of their selves. They can only exist within the framework of civility.

Do not delude ourselves that our freedoms are our highest goal or our highest value. No they are not. Our highest values are our cultural civility and fairness and kindness and generosity. And then freedom can come. . . . Unless we can find a way to turn the tide on this, then we will go down in a flame of freedom.

Lloydletta Commenters Weigh In on Don Samuels

Where did our tax money go?

Billions go to the stadiums, and the next is the vikings givaway, again the city will cough up tens of millions for more stadiums. (infrastructure, street building, reroute of utilities, special tax deals, etc) Samuels is just carrying the loot from the taxpayers to Pohlad and the billionaires.

His own ward is a mess and usually gets nothing from the bigtime deals.
Not even a couple of books.

I found Samuels' comments completely ridiculous as well. Anyone seen the statistics on literacy and inmates? Samuels is more and more disappointing as time goes on.
Molly C

Strib LTE:


Produce better citizens

The Minneapolis City Council recently decided not to provide additional ongoing funding for neighborhood libraries. City Council Member Don Samuels was reported to have said that public safety cannot be compromised and that in a situation of violence the only use for a book is to throw it or block a bullet with it.

But Samuels looks at the problem only from a position of reacting to violence. If we address violence before it starts, by providing for the schools, libraries and parks that get education and programming into the hands of youth, perhaps we'll have less need for books as a defensive weapon.

The police approach to crime may temporarily stop violence, but libraries and education can produce better citizens.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Olson Story Makes Pam's House Blend Again


Kudos to Avidor for wading into the swamp and covering this one.

Don Samuels and His Throw the Book at Em Attitude Towards Public Libraries

I understand that Don Samuels made the statement reported in the Strib when interviewed by reporter Terry Collins, and not at the council meeting as I wrote earlier.

I posted about Don Samuels statement about the public libraries on the Minneapolis Issues list here.

Don Samuels campaign manager, Megan Goodmundson writes:

I can't help but to notice that those list members that are expressing such disappointment in the budget approval meeting seem to be list members that are from more affluent parts of town, or at least parts of the city that don't see the same amounts of street level crime that has a death grip hold on the neighborhood (of course there is crime everywhere).

Eva Young is from the Near North side, but not exactly from an area that has gang bangers and drug dealers standing on the corners. Eva lives in a small development that is isolated from other residential areas, and Eva probably does not know the Northside that I know - in fact I was on the wrong end of a gun about 9 months ago, and I didn't have a library book to block a bullet or throw at the gang-bangers. I am curious as to how these same people would react if they lived where I live.

So rather than addressing my points, Megan mentions I am isolated from the real issues in the ward - and talks about where I live. For some reason, I have never thought of using library books to throw at people. I do know the importance of libraries to people who are trying to raise kids in the city. When I was distributing literature about the stadium boondoggle, I ran into a person who told me they had left Minneapolis after their local library had closed.

Is the idea for crime fighting just trying to fight the gang bangers, or is it trying to prevent kids from getting into gangs? If prevention is part of things, libraries are a good investment - because libraries help create a literate population.

It's especially important in poorer neighborhoods to have good libraries - because this helps brings more people who are willing to buy homes in the area.

I think we have too much money that goes into police brutality settlements - and often those settlements for the same people, over and over again. Where is the accountability there? What is the plan to try to make measurable progress towards reducing those liabilities. Continuing to have the same problems over and over, indicates bad management - at high levels. We also have the on-going soap opera in the Fire Department - and yet more lawsuit settlements.

Megan continues and appears to be happy to have someone who says the only use for a book is to throw it at a criminal.

I am glad I have a council member that isn't afraid to say it like it is, books are great - vital to healthy intellectual growth - I happen to know that Don Samuels has cases and cases and cases upon more cases of books in his own house. Does his quote mean that he isn't an advocate of reading - No. Does his quote mean that he doesn't support libraries - No.

Then Don Samuels needs to correct the record by writing a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune.

Here's my thing with the budget and this whole library issue.

1) It's not like public safety is way over spent. The 43 cops that are proposed in the new budget are not "extra" - the force is severely severely understaffed. And the other money gear toward techincal [sic] upgrades, improvements, crime fighting tools - that is severely needed to save people's lives.

I don't think anyone was proposing taking the money out of the public safety budget.

1/5 of the money (around $50,000 per year) could come out of that ridiculous "car allowance" for City Council members.

Others were proposing taking the money out of the additional liquor license inspectors proposed by the Mayor.

Megan continues:
2) It's not like the Mayor and City Council voted to give the libraries zero dollars. To read posts on this list, it seems as if every single library is being boarded up tomorrow.

The Mayor and City Council made it quite likely that the library board will close the three libraries.

3) Are there other things in the budget that could probablly be trimmed, frozen, knixxed or whatever - I am sure there probably are those savings oppurtunities - so why didn't ANY council members vote NO against the budget?

At my property management job, if I want to spend more money in one category I have 2 options - cut expenses some where else - OR raise more revenue - so what can the libraries do to raise more revenue?

-Megan G.

The City Council and Mayor made this decision. The Mayor is running away from it, and trying to blame Patty Anderson (the former State Auditor), Tim Pawlenty - and everyone else besides who is really responsible - he and the Minneapolis City Council. The buck stops with the City Council on this one.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mayor Judy Johnson's Farewell Party

I went to the farewell party for Mayor Judy Johnson in Plymouth tonight. I've always had a high degree of respect for Johnson and the way she has run the city of Plymouth in a professional way. When I've gone to functions in Plymouth, I keep on thinking, why can't local government run so well in Minneapolis.

Many people spoke very highly of Judy during the ceremony - Congressman Jim Ramstad, Minnetonka Mayor Karen Anderson, the Plymouth Mayor-elect, Kathleen Murdoch, who just got elected to Plymouth City Council, Phil Johnson, Judy's husband, and so many more. DFLer Sen. Terri Bonoff (who Judy ran against for State Senator) was in attendance, as was DFLer Sen. Ann Rest.

Judy represents the best sort of politician. She works to listen to people and to solve problems. We need more like her.

Appalling City Council Action on Libraries

I was especially appalled by the statements by Samuels, Ostrow and
Rybak at the City Council meeting.

From the Strib:

Samuels said he understands the growing concerns of the libraries, "but at the same time, when you are a person at the other end of gun, tip of a knife, and in the middle of a threatening crowd, the only use for a book is to throw it at them, or block a bullet with it. We have to remember that. We cannot compromise public safety."

Libraries are a core part of government services. Putting money into libraries does not prohibit having police. Having libraries open helps keep young kids from getting into crime.

I am embarrassed to be represented by someone who makes such an appalling statement.

There are lots of comments on the Minneapolis Issues list:

There's plenty of blame to pass around, but when are our local elected officials going to take some responsibility for their own actions? There are tax loopholes that could be closed, there are administrator salaries that could be curtailed, how about those councilmember provided auto perks? The lost LGA is such a tired tune at this point. It's the excuse for lack of funding for NRP, cops, park staff, schools, firefighers, for freezing rain on the roadways--you name it LGA is the sole blame.

Justin Eibenholzl

It's all about priorities...with a budget of $1.3 billion, there's plenty of money available. Apparently our mayor would rather give it away as "subsidies" rather than use it to address the basic social infrastructure of the city such as law enforcement, libraries, and SO much more. I seriously doubt RT Rybak would be mayor if he'd have had serious competition in the last election.
(county officials perceived as arrogant and corrupt do not count as serious competition)

David Piehl

A false choice was presented of police v. libraries.
Even if you run with that fallacy...

43 new police officer positions are to be added.
Libraries sought $250k/year. Will 4 police officers
(est tot $280k/yr) provide greater net public safety
than open libraries? Aren't libraries part of the
crime fighting arsenal?

Jason Stone
Diamond Lake

Rybak tries to play defense:

Knowing that you care about our city's libraries, I wanted to report on
action the City took this week to support our libraries and what you can expect to see over the coming months on this issue:

  • Yesterday the City of Minneapolis approved $24 million for our city libraries, along with an additional $1.2 million of one-time bridge funding to help keep more city libraries open for longer hours than they are today. This additional funding responded to the Library Board's request for $100,000 more than my initial $1.1 million proposal requested.

  • Our decision to provide an additional $1.2 million of city money gives the Library Board more resources along with more flexibility to make good decisions. Along with additional funding, we eliminated budget language that presumed libraries must be closed and we removed restrictions on how funding could be spent, leaving that to the discretion of the Library Board.

The additional funding the City provided to libraries is part of a series of actions we will take to address the deep challenges facing our library system. As Mayor, I will continue to play a large role to keep us focused on real, long-term solutions for our libraries and I will lead whatever discussions are necessary to make sure our libraries are strong and stable far into the future.

The libraries need money right now and we are giving it to them, but we must not abandon our commitment to finding a long-term solution for our libraries. We need to be honest about library finances and continue to ask the tough questions because there is no simple solution to the deep, structural challenges facing our libraries.

In the next few months we will be taking a number of actions:

  • Lobbying the legislature to restore the cuts in local government aid that are at the core of this problem.
  • Working with the Library Board's Advisory Committee addressing long-term solutions.
  • Working with the Hennepin County task force examining the role Hennepin County can play in funding and governing city libraries.
  • Exploring structural library governance issues, including whether the libraries should become a city department.

The library votes taken yesterday were part of our annual city budget. With our budget we focused on public safety, our largest challenge, and we took significant steps to help our libraries. We can aggressively address both of these challenges without playing them off each other as long as we continue to set clear goals and long-term priorities.

Libraries are critical to our community and provide an essential service to Minneapolis residents and visitors. The current situation - with some libraries open only three days a week - is not worthy of a great city. We need to fix this and we will.

Again, thank you for your continued interest in our libraries. I am actively working on the many facets of this issue and I welcome your ongoing participation as we move forward. I look forward to your thoughts on each of those points and strongly urge you to help us convince legislators of the need for restored local government aid. Together, we can and we will build the world-class library system that Minneapolis deserves.

R.T. Rybak

The Mayor is passing the buck. The point is the libraries need to be less dependent on LGA.

Mark Olson, Mary Kiffmeyer Differ on Mark Foley Scandal's Impact on GOP

ECM's TW Budig has an article about the possibility that Rep. Mark Olson may be expelled if found guilty:

Olson doesn’t believe his problem reflects on the Republican House caucus.

People make distinctions between individuals and parties — lumping them together is something the media does, Olson recently argued. “It’s not their (the House caucus’) mistake,” Olson said.

Indeed, Olson dismisses the idea that Republican Congressman Mark Foley — a focus in the recent U.S House page scandal — negatively impacted Minnesota Republican candidates last election. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said of the scandal’s influence.

Mary Kiffmeyer has a different opinion:

Kiffmeyer explained her campaign polling had her with a double-digit lead prior to the Congressional House page scandal.

After the Foley scandal broke, her polling showed her lead halved, she said.

Additionally, Kiffmeyer argues that Minnesota voter turnout suggests people, Republicans, stayed home.

“Without (Congressman) Mark Foley, maybe I could have withstood that,” she said.

More at the Dump Mark Olson Blog

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Mark Olson Pleads Not Guilty

Mark Brunswick of the Strib reports:

Rep Mark Olson pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he assaulted his wife during a domestic dispute Nov. 12. In a court appearance that lasted less than one minute, a pre-trial hearing was set for Jan. 19, and Olson left the courtoroom quickly refusing to comment.

Update: The Saint Cloud Times also has the story... from the comments:

I almost think that Olson wants to drag this out as long as possible. Maybe he is hoping that by the time this is all over we won't care anymore.

More at the Dump Mark Olson Blog>

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, December 11, 2006

Freedom of Information Act Request

Recall that the Minneapolis Police Department had hired a reparative therapy promoting "psychologist" to do pre-employment psychological screenings? Since Campion's record was exposed, the usual suspects among the anti-gay activist groups have been screaming about "anti-christian" discrimination.

We received your e-mail message concerning the above subject and have
forwarded it to the appropriate Police Department unit to respond to
your inquiry.

Thank you for contacting us.

John Gaffner
Business Technology Unit
Minneapolis Police Department

-----Original Message-----
From: Eva Young []
Sent: Friday, December 08, 2006 11:15 PM
To: Police
Subject: Fwd: Freedom of Information Act Request

I have gotten confirmation that you received this, but never have gotten more. I am interested in getting more information about the MPD contract with Michael Campion's company, Campion, Barrow & Associates.

Eva Young

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eva Young
Date: Sep 14, 2006 5:17 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Act Request


This is Eva Young from Lloydletta's Nooz. I talked to you a few weeks ago about the Campion matter.

I would like to review a copy of the contract with Campion. Is the contract available online, or is it available at the city to review.

Specifically, I'd like to know start and end dates, plus services expected, plus escape clauses.

Eva Young
Lloydletta's Nooz

to Police
date Dec 11, 2006 10:51 AM
subject Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Can you please give me a timeline - and who you sent this to - so I can follow up directly with the unit? I'd like a name, position, email and phone number.

I am a city of Minneapolis Taxpayer.

Eva Young

From: Police
to Eva Young
date Dec 11, 2006 10:54 AM
subject RE: Freedom of Information Act Request

I forwarded your email to Assistant Chief Sharon Lubinski. Her email is and phone is 612-673-3553.

John Gaffner
Business Technology Unit
Minneapolis Police Department

I have emailed Sharon Lubinski for the details of Michael Campion's contract with the City. I also hope to find out more about the RFP for the new group that will handle this.

It appears that Michael Campion is now suing the city of Springfield, Illinois for terminating their contractual relationship with him.

Developing. . .

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Too Much Information from the Drama Queen



Change the food in the vending machine. At around 3:30 today, I ate a Snackwell Cookie Creme Sandwich and for the next hour I paid the price.

I drank a Full Throttle two hours earlier, but I think it was the Snackwell.
posted by Michael B. Brodkorb at 7:45 pm

Andy Aplikowski suggested:

What would have been even better is if the Party popped for some food. They do serve food there. Maybe a lunch break? There are a lot of restaurants around the place, maybe an hour break?

Don’t blame the venue on you not getting fed.

Comment by triple_a — December 9, 2006

For some reason the Drama Queen deleted some snarky comments.