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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bird Makes Statement on Bush

ABC News... Talk Radio has been talking about this one.

Theocrats React to Birth of Mary Cheney's Son, Samuel

Good as You and Pam Spaulding chronicle the reaction.

Fred Phelps is the most over the top, but Peter LaBarbera's and Matt Barber's reactions are only slightly less unhinged.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Panda Bear

RX RE: AGs + NSA



Get your memory back.

Marty Seifert - Pathetic Partisan Whiner

From a May 21st Star Tribune Story on the end of the Legislative C-F, Um, I mean, session:

"We're feeling great about how things are shaping up," said Seifert as he and other GOP House members chowed down homemade sloppy joes and cold watermelon in a back room of the Capitol's third floor. "Any time a caucus as small as ours can pound back $5 billion in [proposed] Democratic tax increases, we're doing great," he said.

Seifert said that the Republicans' latest negotiating positions were ironic and that they were in the process of pulling traditional DFL issues out from under them.

"Wait until they [DFLers] have to go back and explain they could have gotten more per-pupil funding and more for nursing homes but didn't," he crowed. "Suburbanites and moderates are getting hosed this year. They'll be sorry they ever voted for Democrats."


When I read this on Monday, it sounded to me like Mr. Seifert was quite pleased about certain constituencies getting 'hosed'.

Then he gets a 'poor me' letter to the editor published in the Friday Strib:

Letter of the day: Seifert not happy about people getting 'hosed'
Published: May 25, 2007

The letters to the editor about me in the Star Tribune are disgusting and inaccurate. I do not think it is funny, nor am I proud that the DFL "hosed" suburban or moderate voters. I think it is sad. The Republicans in the Legislature did everything to stop this from happening. The biased school formulas and tax increase proposals were entirely of the DFL's making, and people have to evaluate their success -- or lack thereof.

As for the Arts and Outdoors Amendment not coming up in time, please look at which party was in control of the Legislature. If this were a high priority for the DFL, why would it wait until five minutes before session was over to have the bill ready? Should it not have passed weeks or months ago? The Legislature had hours upon hours of recess time that could have provided time for this bill in the last week of session. Don't fall for their excuses -- they have 85 seats in the House of Representatives while we have fewer than 50.

Please do not be so naive as to believe the twisted explanations of the DFL as to why it had some failures this session. DFLers need to point to the mirror, not me.


REP. Marty Seifert, Marshall, Minn.; House minority leader



He didn't sound 'sad' in Monday's story.... he sounded smug and self-righteous.

Which is it?

This guy, who seems to exist in a bizarre, double-talking ethical house of mirrors, gets kudos from the Bible bangers at the Minnesota Family Council.

MFC Salutes Rep. Marty Seifert

MFC thanks House Minority Leader Rep. Marty Seifert (Dist 21A) for his influential defense of pro-family values in the closing days of the session. Rep. Seifert played a key role in protecting children from a state mandate to teach unhealthy sex education curricula in grades 7-12.

A study of several MN public school sex education curricula exposed unhealthy sex activities including anal and anal-oral sex.

Rep. Marty heard the voices of thousands of concerned parents and fought to protect their children's sexual health from an ideological agenda that has been a colossal failure.

Call Rep. Seifert at 651-296- 5374 and thank him for his leadership.

Posted by Chuck Darrell at Thursday, May 24, 2007


I didn't recognize any Christian values in the way Mr. Seifert talks about the DFL. I guess what really matters to the theocrats is sex, sex and more sex.

Michele Bachmann Opens a Second Office in Waite Park

St Cloud Times:

STORY CHAT (6)

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., will be on hand to open a district office for the St. Cloud area and talk with constituents next week.

The grand opening is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at 110 Second St. S, Suite 232, Waite Park.

Bachmann represents the 6th Congressional District, which covers all or most of Anoka, Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright counties, including the St. Cloud area.


When will Michele Bachmann have a town hall meeting?

Story chat.

Breaking Nooz from Sam Brownback

'Roe' Endorses Brownback for President
"Sam Brownback is the right person, in the right place, at the right time for our nation as we seek to embrace a culture of life"

DES MOINES, Ia -U.S. Senator Sam Brownback announced today that he has enlisted the support of Norma McCorvey, the now pro-life "Jane Roe" of the infamous Roe v Wade decision, for his presidential campaign.

In 1970, Norma McCorvey, then an impoverished pregnant woman, was convinced by a team of ambitious lawyers to be their plaintiff in a case to challenge the state law prohibiting abortion in Texas. This case, Roe v Wade, was eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and led to one of the most tragic judicial decisions in American history, essentially giving the consent of the nation's highest court to tens of millions of abortions since 1973. In 1995, realizing her error and touched by the neighborly love of a number of her pro-life opponents, McCorvey abandoned her pro-abortion activism and became a vocal pro-life Christian. In 1997, she founded the pro-life ministry, Roe No More. In 2005, McCorvey formally petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 decision that bears her name.

Senator Brownback is deeply honored to have earned Norma McCorvey's endorsement. "Norma McCorvey knows firsthand the darkness of the abortion industry - its danger to both unborn children and their mothers. Her experience as the poster child for the abortion movement exponentially increases the power of her pro-life testimony. I stand with her in her quest to overturn Roe v Wade," Brownback said.

Norma McCorvey said, "I know the hurts of countless women who have been lied to and manipulated by the abortion industry in this country. Our nation needs a President of strength, courage, and moral fortitude - one who will lead our society on a path that respects human life and human dignity. Senator Sam Brownback's love for all Americans at every stage of development is unquestioned, and his leadership of the pro-life movement if unrivaled. Sam Brownback is the right person, in the right place, at the right time for our nation as we seek to embrace a culture of life."

Brownback continued: "I am encouraged by Norma's story of hope, I am emboldened by her great courage, and I am deeply blessed that she would stand with me in my bid to become President of the United States."

McCorvey further stated: "As the lead plaintiff in one of the most tragic Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history resulting in abortion-on-demand, I can appreciate as much as anyone the importance of the pro-life movement accepting converts. However, it should give us great concern when certain politicians join the pro-life movement just prior to announcing a run for president in the Republican primary. Conversions are critical, but so is sincerity. Sam Brownback is a candidate that we can trust to fight for life, because he's already done so for many, many years."



There's an abortion 'industry'????

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Julianne Ortman's Constituents Seem Unhappy with the Ortman/Rich Stanek Scam

Chanhassen Villager Discussion:


Senator Ortman has a lot to
Submitted by overhere on May 19, 2007 - 10:41pm.

Senator Ortman has a lot to explain to her constituents. As a state senator, her ultimate duty is to show up for legislative sessions and meetings and represent her constituents.

I am very concerned that she is quoted as saying that she has been showing up for the important issues where her vote really counts. The media coverage is going to get worse if she does not come clean with us. My biggest concern is that she has accepted the $96 per diem for the entire month of April (totalling $2,880--much more money than many of her constituents make on a monthly basis) and seems to be considering her legislative responsibilities secondary.

What will it take for Senator Ortman to quit her Hennepin County position and represent her constituents fully as she promised to do when she took her oath of office?

» reply | email this comment
It would be nice NOT to show
Submitted by daisy on May 20, 2007 - 8:07am.

It would be nice NOT to show up for work and collect $96 a day.
I wonder how she got that job in Hennepin County? I thought she was
a lawyer.


That's my question too. How did she get this job? It doesn't match her resume. Rich Stanek's explaination that the legal background was especially important doesn't pass the smell test.


What do you get when you cross a lawyer and a finance manager?
Insert your own punchline here.


On Sunday night, Fox 9 News weighed in with a report on Sen. Ortman and her new job in the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. The TV report focused on the Sheriff's Office hiring an attorney instead of an accountant and explored whether it was a conflict of interest for Ortman to have co-authored legislation that benefited the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. Did you see the TV news report? What do you think?

Submitted by daisy on May 22, 2007 - 8:50pm.

Who cares where they got the story from!
The story it self is very disturbing.
Sen. Ortman has some explaining to do!

Juliaaanne,
yous got sun splaining to dooo!


Julianne Ortmann has embarrassed her district, Sheriff Rich Stanek has embarrassed Hennepin County, and the Taxpayers in Hennepin County are getting stuck with the bill.

Outfront Responds to My Criticism

Jo Marciano commented on Lloydletta's Nooz and sent me the following email:

OutFront Minnesota has a full time lobbyist and Public Policy Director who've both worked closely with lawmakers throughout the duration of the 2007 legislative session. Through their efforts, four pieces of GLBT-friendly legislation moved forward and momentum was good. We secured 59 lawmakers in the House and Senate to cosponsor the bills, which went through painstaking but successful committee hearings and floor votes.

Due to the governor's vetoes and threat of veto, these bills did not become law. We are as disappointed as anyone in the results of the session. Political work to move a community forward is difficult and takes a long time. The governor must answer to the social conservatives who helped elect him and unfortunately that means sacrificing what's best for our community.

What we must remember is to maintain relationships with all of the bills' cosponsors as well as leadership. Only in maintaining these relationships do we have any hope of moving these bills forward next year or in another year.

Critics have the luxury of throwing stones at anyone who doesn't do precisely what they think is best. At OutFront Minnesota, however, we prefer to keep trudging forward, one success and failure at a time and never give up the struggle.

Jo Marsicano
Communications Director
OutFront Minnesota


I don't know why Outfront Minnesota of all groups calls the MFC "social conservatives" rather than the more descriptive "anti-gay activists". Ann DeGroot has used the term "neoconservatives" to refer to the anti-gay activists - and that one doesn't make much sense to me at all. Outfront this year - with Jo serving as the Communications Director, did do a good job putting out updates on the legislative session. I posted a number of those here.

I call Out MFC's Chuck Darrell

Over at the Drama Queen's Blog:

# Chuck Darrell Says:
May 22nd, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Liberals energized social conservatives to close ranks and fight domestic partnerships, mandatory sex education, smoked “medical” marijuana and others.

Governor Pawlenty received thousands of calls in the last week of the session. Concerned parents thanked the Governor for signaling his opposition to mandatory sex education, and urged him to veto any bill containing same.

Mandatory sex education was removed in the 11th hour of the session.

Thank you Gov. Pawlenty.

# Eva Young Says:
May 22nd, 2007 at 8:42 pm

Have to hand it to the anti-gay theocrats at the Minnesota Family Council - their campaign of lies was effective. That in addition to an ineffective Outfront Minnesota got the Dems to first throw gays under the bus (dropping the domestic partner provisions), then the comprehensive sex education bill.

The Abstinence Only - condoms don’t work sex ed programs that the MFC and their ilk support do not reduce teenage sex - but they do help increase the chances that the teenagers participating in those programs have unprotected sex when they do engage in sex - after all - if “condoms don’t work”, then what’s the point.

I recall well Tom Prichard’s testimony in 1999 in opposition to repealing the sodomy law - Prichard said that repealing the sodomy law would increase teenage pregnancy. I’d challenge Chuck Darrell to explain that one.

Karl Bremer interviewed Prichard after his testimony against repealing the sodomy laws. The interview is published on Lloydletta’s Nooz:


# Chuck Darrell Says:
May 22nd, 2007 at 9:43 pm

Thanks Eva.

What does the defeat of comp sex ed have to do with an “ineffective OutFront Minnesota”?

# Eva Young Says:
May 22nd, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Chuck - I notice you didn’t answer my question. How does repealing the Minnesota Sodomy law increase the incidence of teenage pregnancy? Tom Prichard testified that this would happen when this bill was heard in 1999, and I always wondered about this. Please explain this one.

Outfront Minnesota was ineffective in the DP benefits issue - that showed when they didn’t object when the Democrats dropped the issue - there were other orgs that worked harder on the comp sex ed issue (though I believe Outfront took a public position in favor of it).

# Eva Young Says:
May 22nd, 2007 at 11:36 pm

BTW, Chuck - noticed your CLE Seminar - how is a seminar taught by Jason Lewis eligible for Continuing Legal Education credits?

# Chet Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 8:10 am

anti-gay theocrats

For everyone else, this is Bachmann-Obsessive’s divisive term for vast majority of people who have ever lived who, down through the centuries, view homosexuality as wrong. Dare to hold this normal position and, to her, you’re a “theocrat”.

# otterscrubber Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 10:32 am

And a “theocrat” is somone who is primarily interested in dictating to others what sorts of relationships or arrangements people have in their personal lives. Big Government in the bedroom, if you will.

# Chuck Darrell Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 11:44 am

Eva,

Here is a question for you: Why did you choose to ignore Johnson’s supreme court remarks when you heard them, first hand, at Bethlehem Lutheran?

# Eva Young Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 5:56 pm

Chuck - you are still avoiding the questions - I’ll answer your question when you explain this:

How does repealing the Minnesota Sodomy law increase the incidence of teenage pregnancy? Tom Prichard testified that this would happen when this bill was heard in 1999, and I always wondered about this. Please explain this one.

Theocracy - Answers.com: theocracy

Government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. In many theocracies, government leaders are members of the clergy, and the state’s legal system is based on religious law. Theocratic rule was typical of early civilizations. The Enlightenment marked the end of theocracy in most Western countries. Contemporary examples of theocracies include Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Vatican. See also church and state; divine kingship.

Theocrat is either a ruler in a theocracy, or a believer in a theocracy.

A little history for folks - the MFC - as the Berean League, got started in 1982 to fight repeal of the Minnesota Sodomy Law -

609.293 Sodomy.

Subdivision 1. Definition. “Sodomy” means carnally knowing any person by the anus or by or with the mouth. Subd. 5. Consensual acts. Whoever, in cases not coming within the provisions of sections 609.342 or 609.344, voluntarily engages in or submits to an act of sodomy with another may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

HIST: 1967 c 507 s 4; 1977 c 130 s 4; 1984 c 628 art 3 s 11

This covers married couples - and activities that many married couples engage in. The MFC believes that Government should be meddling in people’s bedrooms - and it isn’t just gay bedrooms.

# Chuck Darrell Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Eva,

Sheesh, you need some new material. The topic is the 2007 session, (less Sen. Dean Johnson) not Eva’s Worn-out Oldies from last century.

The question - germane to this session - was whether mandatory sex education would remain in the E-12 bill. Gov. Pawlenty answered no.
# Eva Young Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 9:27 pm

Chuck, In other words, you can’t answer the question. You can’t justify your organizations support of sodomy laws. And you can’t explain Prichard’s testimony that repealing sodomy laws would increase teenage pregnancy. Are you embarrassed by your organization’s history? It certainly seems like it.

Why did your organization do auto-calls (I got three messages on my phone) that started with “anal and oral-anal sex” then went on to talk about the E-12 bill. I’m wondering whether Governor Pawlenty would approve of that sort of broadcast message to voters. How many kids picked up the phone and heard that message?


It will be interesting to see whether Chuck Darrell answers the questions about his organization's dirty talking robo-calls.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Democrats Put Minnesota Taxpayers on Hook for Republican National Convention

Pat Kessler:

Top Minnesota politicians from both parties signed and delivered the $39 million promise to the Republican National Committee back in January.

However, in the chaotic final moments of the legislative session many members received the bill just a few minutes before midnight and they were not allowed to debate it.

"We have the right to know what is in the bills! We have the right, madam speaker to know what is in the bills!" yelled Rep. Steve Sviggum.

The line of credit guarantee is a requirement for hosting a convention. Boston and New York City provided similar guarantees four years ago. However, Minnesota's credit line was never placed in a bill and did not get a hearing.

This issue may not matter, since the governor, for other reasons, might veto the entire tax bill.

The line of credit must be provided by August 1 of this year.

Late Tuesday afternoon the governor's office said it is looking into other ways to provide it, including getting a line of credit from the Met Council or a little known agency called the Public Finance Authority.


This is why the bill should have been debated.

Last Day of Session Liveblog

The blog "I don't Hate America" live-blogged the last day of session.

Avidor will like this:

9:07 p.m. Oh great, just what we need. Mark Olson going off about International Baccalaureate and Mental Health Screening. I hope we get some good YouTube out of this. “There is no evidence that screening for suicide risk lowers suicide attempts or mortality, let alone in the public school setting,” he said. “This will create an environment where kids who have nothing more than behavior problems will be put in a chemical straitjacket with drugs. It’s a travesty. It’s destructive to the children.” Nothing really YouTube worthy, but just regular Olson rambling.

I thought the fear mongering was supposed to be done by the federal government!

I have to reword what I said earlier about those who fight against the funding disparity as using “divisive rhetoric.” Fighting for your district is certainly honorable. However, when guys like Dick Day throw around phrases such as “We are saying that a special ed. kid in my district is worth less than a special ed. kid in Minneapolis,” that IS divisive.


We need to look at who is really paying the freight - and who is benefiting.... And if you look at this, there's a great big sucking sound of Minneapolis and Hennepin County taxes being paid to subsidize the rural areas. Then rural legislators were perfectly happy to increase taxes on Hennepin County for a stadium.

Olson is parroting Michele Bachmann's non-profit affiliate Edwatch's rhetoric.

Righteous Indignation for Julianne Ortman

From the Star Tribune Letters to the Editor

Letter of the day: Ortman is citizen legislator personified
Published: May 23, 2007

We take issue with your coverage of state Sen. Julianne Ortman and her two jobs. Minnesota has a "citizen Legislature" that is supposed to be -- and is paid as -- a part-time job.

Name one other legislator that double dipped during the session that just ended. Julianne's supporters act like 'everybody's doing it'. Was Marty Seifert still recruiting students for Southwest State during the height of the session??

The point is to ensure that our Legislature is filled not with full-time
politicians, but rather with individuals who live and work with and among the other citizens of this state, supporting their families and their communities.

Yeah, the ice cream scooper is a great role model.

To suggest that Sen. Ortman is somehow compromised simply because she has a career is to suggest that serving the citizens of this state as a legislator is a full-time commitment, in which case we need to pay these legislators full-time salaries.

Additionally, while the May 19 article suggests that most legislators take a leave of absence during the session, this would work only in certain instances.

Again, give me the list of employers who would tolerate this kind of chicanery. A lot of the legislators are self-employed when they're not in session.

We should judge our "citizen legislators" by the results of their labors and not by how they accomplish them.

She's an ineffective, whining pipsqueak in a minority caucus.

You also allege that there is something improper in the fact that Sen. Ortman's "other" job is with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. While certainly Sen. Ortman and Sheriff Rich Stanek are acquainted -- and even friends and supporters of each other -- she was hired not by Stanek but rather but by the county. She went through the usual process and was hired because she was qualified for and was the best candidate for the job.

'Usual process??? Are you kidding me? Not all candidates for Hennepin County jobs co-author pork bills that benefit the new boss within a week of applying for a job. Not all job candidates at Hennepin County enjoy the benefit of a customized job description prior to the start of an interview process.

Finally, Julianne Ortman is our senator, our friend and our sister. She has impeccable integrity, (except for the inaccurate time card thing) and is an extremely hard worker who has served our district and our state well. She is a mother of four The mommy card! Note to supporters of Citizen Julianne and Represenative Michele Bachmann - a prolific uterus has no bearing on fitness for public service. It neither disqualifies or entitles anybody - its irrelevant. is doing her level best to do right by both her family and her district, and in our view doing it very well.
#
Yeah, I'm just wondering how the family squeeks by on $122k a year, and that's just the ice-cream scooper's compensation.
ORVILLE AND SUZANNE LANTTO, CHANHASSEN



Please

Democrats Drop Comprehensive Sex Education

They should have let Governor Pawlenty veto the bill.

Chuck Darrell from the anti-activist Minnesota Family Council is crowing over on Michael Brodkorb's blog.

# Chuck Darrell Says:
May 22nd, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Liberals energized social conservatives to close ranks and fight domestic partnerships, mandatory sex education, smoked “medical” marijuana and others.

Governor Pawlenty received thousands of calls in the last week of the session. Concerned parents thanked the Governor for signaling his opposition to mandatory sex education, and urged him to veto any bill containing same.

Mandatory sex education was removed in the 11th hour of the session.

Thank you Gov. Pawlenty.


Margaret Anderson Kelliher kowtowed to theocrats at every opportunity. This session the MFC has proved to be a more effective organization than Outfront Minnesota. Outfront needs to get better at what they do - or let a new organization start that focuses on lobbying the legislature, and focus on what they do well - their non-profit piece.

Senate President Metzen Arrested for Drunk Driving

Fox 9 News has the story.

Metzen sent a letter to Sen Pogemiller (Hat Tip Fox 9):

Read Metzen's Letter to Pogemiller
Dear Senator Pogemiller,

It is with deep regret that I am writing to inform that I was arrested last night in South St. Paul. As you know, having just finished a long and stressful legislative session, we all left the Capitol experiencing a mixture of euphoria and exhaustion. Following adjournment I left the Capitol to attend a celebratory gathering with our peers. Unfortunately, the culmination of all this kept me from using my better judgment and resulted in my arrest.

I want you and all of my legislative colleagues to know that I plan to be accountable for my actions. I also plan to seek a professional evaluation and am committed to following through on their recommendations. Once again, I am truly sorry for my lapse in judgment.

Sincerely,

Jim Metzen
Senator for District 39

Monday, May 21, 2007

More on Julianne Ortman/Rich Stanek Scam in the Strib

State Sen. Julianne Ortman said Monday she would strongly consider taking a leave of absence next year from her job as chief financial manager for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office when the Legislature is in session, and said she was doing "my best" currently to juggle both jobs.

Ortman's comments came two days after the Star Tribune detailed her acceptance of the $91,000 county job in early April and her efforts to balance her new position with her Senate duties during the final weeks of the session. County and Senate records show that Ortman worked long hours with the county on days the Senate was meeting and missed some Senate committee meetings and floor sessions.

Ortman said that Senate records, cited in the Star Tribune story, mistakenly indicated that she was present at the start of a Senate floor session on May 11 during the same time she claimed pay for doing work for the county.

County records show she was working from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. that day. Senate records show the day's floor session began at 9:20 a.m. and do not show Ortman being excused for any part of it.

Ortman said she had arrived at the Senate by approximately 11 a.m. from a sheriff's office meeting -- in time to cast the day's first vote -- and said she makes sure to be excused only if she is missing a vote. Chief Deputy Stephany Good confirmed that Ortman attended a meeting with her that morning.


It would be interesting to get calendar records to confirm this. That meeting could have been at 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM allowing Ortman to get the the Senate.

The Strib also talks with Stanek:

Stanek, a former Republican legislator and a political ally of Ortman's, said Monday that there was no consideration of whether her hiring would appear to be motivated by politics, and said that it would be Ortman's decision whether she should take a leave of absence from the job when the Legislature meets next year.

"She balances and does a great job," said Stanek.

In addition, both Ortman and Stanek said there was no conflict when she co-authored proposed legislation -- spear-headed by Hennepin County -- that would provide $1.5 million for a multi-agency violent offender task force in late February. Her co-authorship came nine days before the application period for the chief financial manager job began. The legislation was later defeated.

"I think she's uniquely qualified" for the county job, Stanek said. "She's done an exceptional job."


Still Developing...

Rich Stanek Responds to Channel 9

I contacted the Sheriff's Office about the waste of taxpayer money involved with Julianne Ortman on the Hennepin County Sheriff's payroll. I talked with Kathryn Janicek, Sheriff Stanek's public information officer. She said it was ratings month for Channel 9, and that they had unfairly covered the story. I asked why Stanek refused an interview, and she said he was scheduled to interview today. Sure enough, Channel 9 broadcast Tom Lyden's interview with Rich Stanek on the 9 OClock news. Ortmann had told Lyden that "the day he asked me to join on as coauthor was the day I gave him 3 names to apply for this position." Stanek said he could not recall that this conversation took place, but said it would be a problem if the conversation had taken place. At the end of the story (not available online), they added that Julianne Ortman called Lyden to say that she didn't recall whether it was Stanek or someone else at the Sheriff's office she had the conversation with.

Kathryn Janicek, Communications Officer for the Sheriff told me the Strib would be running a correction on the story. I asked the reporters who wrote the story, and one of the reporters emailed me back to state that was NOT correct.

There's a Democratic Underground thread on this topic.

Developing...

Senator Ortmann Responds to Press Coverage of her Job Working for Good Friend Sheriff Rich Stanek

Chanhassen Villager:

NEWS FROM STATE SENATOR JULIANNE ORTMAN ASSISTANT MINORITY LEADER & LEAD REPUBLICAN: TAX COMMITTEE SERVING THE RESIDENTS OF CARVER AND SCOTT COUNTIES
For immediate release
Contact: Andrea Ross
May 20, 2007
651.296.3988
SERVING IN A CITIZEN LEGISLATURE
Guest Column by Julianne Ortman

There has been quite a bit of media coverage over my new job as Director of Finance for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. Let me offer my perspective, and a little history.

Since I was elected to the County Board in 2000, I have always had full-time employment in addition to my public service. From 1994 to 2006 I worked as the
manager and partner at a law firm, Ortman & Associates. My husband Ray Ortman has always been my partner; it was our family business, and for many years it provided the means of support for us and for our 4 children. In January 2006, Ray assumed a new position as a full time minister and parish administrator at St. Victoria's Church in Victoria. I am very proud of him and his service to the church.

At that time we closed the law firm, and I spent the summer and fall running for re-election. In March of 2007 I applied for the position in the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. I went through the application process, along with other candidates, and accepted the position. I started on April 2 and the Senate reconvened from break on April 10. It would have been impossible to delay the start of my work
or take a leave of absence until after the Senate Session this year, because of the immediate demand to develop the 2008 Budget for the Sheriff's Office. In my mind and in my heart this was a great opportunity for me and my family, even if it meant having to work extraordinary hours for five weeks to fulfill my responsibilities. The Sheriff's Office authorized me to use flexible hours to complete the legislative session, and I have worked diligently for five weeks of overlapping schedules, to work full time and also be present for my work in the Senate. For the most part, the days I have missed in the Senate were ones where we did not take up major bills, and the votes were not close. Most of our bills are heard and receive votes on two
separate occasions on the Senate Floor. I planned and scheduled to make a priority of major bills and those where my vote made a difference. I contacted our Chief of Staff and legislative assistant frequently to monitor Senate business. Members are excused from the Senate for personal and business reasons. We do not allow members to vote for anyone else, as they do in the House, so our journals frequently reflect attendance of about 60 to 65 members.

Much has been suggested about my timesheets, but the scrutiny has led to the invariable fact that my timesheets accurately report my work for the Sheriff's Office, the hours I have worked for Hennepin County have been authorized by my employer, and my absences from the Senate have been excused.


The problem is without media scrutiny, these timesheets would not be accurate. This raises the question about whether the Hennepin County Sheriff's office has the proper controls in the way they handle payroll.

I have never voted on Sheriff's Office legislation at any time in my employment with that agency, and I received an opinion from counsel that my employment by the Sheriff's Office did not create any conflict of interest. The fact that I have other employment outside the Senate is not unusual; many legislators have other work (business people, farmers, attorneys). Noteworthy "legislative all-stars" who worked in government while also serving in the legislature include: Jane Ranum (county prosecutor), Charlie Weaver (county prosecutor), Kathleen Blatz (county services), Phil Carruthers (county prosecutor), Rich Stanek (police officer), Tony Bennett (police officer), Linda Higgins (city property reclamation), and every school teacher who has ever served in the legislature. We have a citizen's legislature, where individuals from throughout the State, with different training, experience, and backgrounds, are elected to make our laws. The work is intended to be part-time. I serve as a resident of Chanhassen, and as a woman, a mother, a lawyer, and now as one of tens of thousands of government employees from throughout Minnesota. I bring the benefit of all of these experiences to my work as a legislator, and I work very hard to bring honor and excellence to my work in all of these roles.


I've asked Sen. Higgins to comment on this one. She is my state senator.

I definitely got caught up in media glare with my new job; I regret that the focus wasn't on my work at the capitol, or the great work of the Sheriff's Office. I don't object to being accountable; but I do object to the unfair innuendo and half-truths, and the effort to scandalize what is a very normal thing to do: to work for a living, to work hard, and to try to achieve great things through public service. This is what makes public service so difficult, but nonetheless I will continue to strive to do both jobs well. State Senator Julianne Ortman was elected to her first term in 2002. Senator Ortman is Assistant Minority Leader and Lead Republican Senator on Tax Committee.

She encourages and appreciates constituent input, and can be reached at (651)296-4837, by mail at 125 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, or via e-mail at sen.julianne.ortman@senate.mn.

Defender of Julianne Ortman Blames the Ortman/Rich Stanek Scam all on Pogemiller Assistant


Hatchet Job on
Submitted by egraymond on May 21, 2007 - 11:51am.

Hatchet Job on Ortmann;

Interesting that our own Michelle Helgen (District 112 School Board Member) is Chief of Staff for Larry Pogemiller, leader of the left in the DFL Senate and head of the Taxpayer Committee. Coincidence with the timing of the Strib Hatchet job, or not?

To say that Julianne has been a pain in Pogemiller's backside over the past few years would be an understatement, but for someone like Michelle to allegedly leak to the Strib on behalf of her boss during the last few days of negotiations means that someone is losing their cool.

Me thinks that Pogemiller is trying to get even because of the losses he's suffering from the governor, and rather than picking on someone his own size; he's picking on the girl in the room.

How come the feminists aren't coming to Julianne's side; after all she's working two jobs at once and supporting a family. Sounds a lot like our School Board member also acting as Chief of Staff for the DFL Senate leader. What are her more important priorities? To School District 112 or the DFL? Would seem that holding those two positions at the same time would create serious conflict of interest issues, with a high degree of ambiguity about which master to serve first.

Or....perhaps everyone can just calm down and realize that a citizen legislature is a citizen legistlature, and people actually hold down two jobs at once. If Michelle Helgen can do it, why can't Julianne Ortmann do it?


This has nothing to do with feminism. Double dipping is wrong whether it's done by a man or a woman.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chanhassen Villager Mentions Story on Julianne Ortman/ Rich Stanek Scam

They are encouraging comments:


Senator Ortman has a lot to
Submitted by overhere on May 19, 2007 - 10:41pm.

Senator Ortman has a lot to explain to her constituents. As a state senator, her ultimate duty is to show up for legislative sessions and meetings and represent her constituents.

I am very concerned that she is quoted as saying that she has been showing up for the important issues where her vote really counts. The media coverage is going to get worse if she does not come clean with us. My biggest concern is that she has accepted the $96 per diem for the entire month of April (totalling $2,880--much more money than many of her constituents make on a monthly basis) and seems to be considering her legislative responsibilities secondary.

What will it take for Senator Ortman to quit her Hennepin County position and represent her constituents fully as she promised to do when she took her oath of office?

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It would be nice NOT to show
Submitted by daisy on May 20, 2007 - 8:07am.

It would be nice NOT to show up for
work and collect $96 a day.
I wonder how she got that job in
Hennepin County? I thought she was
a lawyer.

What do you get when you cross a
lawyer and a finance manager?
Insert your own punchline here.

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On Sunday night, Fox 9 News
Submitted by rcraw on May 20, 2007 - 9:27pm.

On Sunday night, Fox 9 News weighed in with a report on Sen. Ortman and her new job in the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. The TV report focused on the Sheriff's Office hiring an attorney instead of an accountant and explored whether it was a conflict of interest for Ortman to have co-authored legislation that benefited the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. Did you see the TV news report? What do you think?


There's a similar request for comment on the Chaska Herald website, and the story has been picked up by the AP.

As for the apparent overlap on May 11, Ortman told The Associated Press on Saturday that a secretary taking roll that day “made a clerical error.” She said the secretary marked her present for the roll call when she was not there, but she did get to the Senate by 11 a.m. in time to vote on the smoking ban.

“There have been no inconsistencies in my timesheets,” Ortman said. “They’ve been accurately reflecting when I’ve been on Hennepin county business.”


Yeah right.

Through the Looking Glass with Julianne Ortman

I have more questions for the Hennepin County Commissioners:

I've been following the media reports about the hiring of Sen. Julianne Ortman for $91k in the sheriff's department, and I don’t know whether to laugh or have a tantrum. Her on-camera interviews with Channel 9's Tom Lyden were worthy of Jon Stewart and 'The Daily Show'.

I have several questions for the elected leadership of Hennepin County.

1. Have job descriptions for comparable finance leadership roles in other departments been updated to allow for law degrees in lieu of accounting/finance
degrees? Or was this a one-time exception in the sheriff's department? How about a history degree? Biology? Theatre? Latin? Would any of these bachelor degrees qualify someone for a $91k financial leadership role at Hennepin County?

2. What is the purpose of a timecard for a salaried employee? Who reads or reviews
them? I tried to follow the sequence of events as reported in Saturday's Star Tribune story, and I came to two conclusions. 1. Lies have no consequences. 2. The timecard itself has no consequence, since it was reported that a questionable timecard was revised and resubmitted to the newspaper reporter after questions were raised. Did the revised timecard matter at all to Hennepin County? Sen. Ortman claimed that she didn't know she had to complete timecards as a new employee, and some other employee was doing it for her (without telling her????). Why wouldn't timecard reporting requirements be part of new employee
orientation?

3. Who initiated the request to change the qualifications for the job in the sheriff's department? In the Star Tribune, the sheriff denied any involvement in the hiring, but during an on-camera interview on Channel 9, Sen. Ortman said that the sheriff insisted she apply for the job.

4. Does anybody care about the appearance of a very serious, unsettling conflict of interest? Sen. Ortman is in the minority caucus of the Senate, but she has it in her power to introduce bills, participate in her assigned committees, and take votes on public safety appropriations, LGA, and public policy issues affecting law enforcement. Does that dual role bother anybody?

No reasonable, objective person can look at these circumstances and not have words like 'patronage' and 'conflict of interest' pop into their mind.

Please join me in asking Senator Ortman to resign, and investigate the policy decisions surrounding this mess, particularly with the sheriff, human resources and
payroll.


This story is looking worse all the time.

Excellent Investigative Work by Tom Lyden on Hennepin County Sheriff buying a Legislator Scandal

You can read the story and view yesterday's teaser and story here.

When Chanhassen state Senator Julianne Ortman went to work for her old friend, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, the FOX 9 Investigators started to keep a close eye on Ortman, and the time clock.

Julianne Ortman is one very busy woman. Holding down two taxpayer-supported jobs -- sometimes, it seems, at the same time. For the past five years, she's been a state senator from Chanhassen.

Last month Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek hired his old friend as his chief financial administrator, at a salary of $91,000 dollars a year.

But the FOX 9 Investigators obtained Ortman's resume and found no hands-on accounting experience or degrees. We also discovered the job description was changed to include a law degree, which Ortman does have.

We asked Ortman if she feels she’s qualified for the job.

"I am qualified for this job and I'm doing a very good job" she said.

But is she doing justice to both jobs -- especially as the legislature counts down the final hours.

The FOX 9 Investigators followed the paper trial, asking the sheriff's office for Ortman's time card. Her original time card for the week of April 8 shows she worked from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. everyday.

But on April 10th we found her at the capitol, when her time card said she was actually at the sheriff's office.

“I wasn't even informed as a new employee that I had to have a time card. I didn't know" claimed Ortman.

Her response was puzzling -- the new financial officer wasn't doing her own paperwork.

"Another manager filled out a generic time card for me because I was a new employee" she told us.

After we began asking questions, the sheriff's office corrected Ortman's time card, and Ortman says she's been very precise ever since.

"When there was a request for my time sheets I made sure that what I knew to be my flex time from that second week was accurately recorded."

Hamline Law Professor David Schultze is an expert on government ethics.

“She has a lot of problems to sort through at this point" said Schultze. “The second thing that's going on is if everybody's saying 'we know' at the legislature we're not really expecting you to be here, this is a classic no-show job."


The story is followed up with exposing Ortmann's conflict of interest. Ortmann tried to say that she did nothing wrong, claiming that "Scott Dibble goes to the library and votes on library bills." There's no comparison. Dibble doesn't have a high level job in the Minneapolis Public Library System.

I encourage people to go watch the story on the web. Stanek who is typically never one to be shy of a camera avoided Lyden like the plague.

There needs to be an external audit of the Sheriff's office.

HRC Action Center on Hate Crimes

Did you know that one in six hate crimes are motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, and yet today's federal laws don't include any protections for these Americans? What's even more outrageous is that the radical right is running an all-out campaign to stop Congress from expanding hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity -something three out of four Americans support.

The Human Rights Campaign is asking all of us to contact our Senators and urge them to pass this important legislation!

Note: Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a cosponsor of this legislation in the Senate. Sen. Norm Coleman has been a copsonsor in past years but has not signed on as a cosponsor this year and his vote one way or the other could make a major difference not only in whether this bill passes the Senate but also in whether the President chooses to veto the legislation. The more Republican support for the legislation in the Senate(it recieved some Republican support in the House) the less likely it is that President Bush will veto the bill.


That's interesting information about Norm Coleman. It will be interesting to see what he will do on this bill.

I'll Be Voting No to this One

Tax increase for Outdoors/Arts headed to voters. Strib.

In an early morning vote as the Legislature began winding down toward its Monday adjournment deadline, the House voted 86 to 46 at 2:23 a.m. Sunday after nearly 4 1/2 hours of debate to approve the constitutional amendment. Almost a decade in the making, the measure would, if voters approve, raise the state's sales tax 3/8ths of one percent for 25 years. It is expected to generate about $291 million a year.

The House bill calls for divvying up the funds with 25 percent for fish and wildlife habitat, 25 percent to protect and restore waters, 15 percent for parks and trails, 10 percent for the arts and cultural heritage, and 10 percent to be used to fund the programs as the Legislature deems necessary.


These decisions should be made by the legislators, not by constitutional amendment.

This is rather presumptuous:

Debate on the measure was spirited and at times heated, and focused on whether it was wise to raise taxes or to dedicate funding through the state constitution rather than by statute. Opponents also suggested that the arts, a late-comer to the game, should not be included in a bill that outdoor groups have worked almost 10 years to get approved. Some compared the arts groups to the guy on the fishing trip who doesn't fill the bait box or clean the boat but is always there to eat the shore lunch.

"This has not been about adding on to the sales tax. This has always been about taking a little tiny sliver of the millions of dollars for those of us who enjoy the outdoors and putting it back into what we are enjoying now so that our kids and grand kids can enjoy it later on," said Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove.


This is all about raising the sales tax to pay for these programs. There's good reasons to fund these programs, but be honest, this is a tax increase. In my opinion, these programs should be funded through the regular legislative process.

Will the Taxpayer's League call out legislators who made the pledge not to vote for tax increases on this one?