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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Minnesota Politics: Around the Horn #2

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/10/08 18:23

by Dave Mindeman

Steve Sarvi: The Rochester Post Bulletin reported the campaign finance numbers on DFL challenger in the 2nd district, Steve Sarvi...
... DFL challenger, Iraq war veteran Steve Sarvi of Watertown, was to report donations to date of $114,946, including $42,111 in March, his spokeswoman Bridget Cusick said. He ended the quarter with $38,672 in cash on hand. She said she expects fundraising to quicken after Sarvi steps down from his job as the city administrator in Victoria effective May 9, just after the district nominating convention on May 3.
Have to hope he can do better than that in the future.....

MN Presidential Polling: In case you missed it.. a March 20th poll by Survey USA had these results in head to head matchups for Minnesota:

Clinton....49%
McCain....46%

Obama...46%
McCain....47%

In the state of Washington on April 7th, these were the results:

Clinton....45%
McCain....46%

Obama...51%
McCain....44%

Shows that Clinton and Obama matchups with McCain produce very different campaign maps.

Twins Stadium: Yes, it is April 10, and we have yet another storm watch. Just one more opportunity to point out the virtues of outdoor baseball!

Bonding Bill: It has a tinge of irony. The governor vetoed the $70 million for Central Corridor; but he approved $74.5 million for hockey arenas in Duluth, Bemidji, Crookston and St. Cloud. Maybe we need skates on the trains??????
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Minnesota Transit: Do We Move Forward or Backward?

Category: Transportation
Posted: 04/10/08 04:43

by Dave Mindeman

Two steps forward, one step backward. That's the ongoing story about mass transit in the state of Minnesota.

Maybe some of you think gas prices are going to "hold" at $4.00 a gallon (yeah, right!).... or that commutes are going to get easier (dream on!)....or that construction costs won't keep going up (that's a negative!).

The rest of us are looking at the hard realities of a future that is going to have to provide more transportation options. But the old ideas keep taking their toll; it's like trying to move a boat while the anchor is still dragging on the lake floor.

There are several "potential" light rail lines on the drawing board. They are going to cost a lot of money and the benefits will not be realized for some time. But they can never give us that benefit if they are stuck in the blueprint stage. We have got to move on this issue and as they say, time is money.

Pawlenty's veto of the Central Corridor funding is yet another short sighted politcal stunt that will cost us more in the long run. He thinks the price tag was high before --well, just wait, governor.

But it's not just the light rail issue. Here in the South Metro area they have been talking about Bus Rapid Transit for years. Study after study and delay after delay...it still hasn't been started. For years, legislators in our local districts complained about costs, complained about value, complained about real benefits. And though, they are finally giving lip service to supporting BRT, there has been little in the way of action.

And then there is transit taxing districts. Two south metro communities, Lakeville and Farmington, think that transportation issues are always "somebody else's" problem. Even though residents of these communities use the park and ride facilities in other cities, city leaders continue to fight tax district inclusion.

Oh, they will eventually do it... they will have little choice in the future. These two communities are the fastest growing suburbs in the area and at some point, their citizens will demand some options. The number of commuters keep growing and these "civic leaders" stand and watch as the problem escalates.

They managed to block a legislative amendment that would have forced them to join the surrounding cities in funding transit options.... a hollow victory at best, because the problem only grows.

Transit opponents (especially of light rail) keep fighting these projects to the bitter end. Critics of light rail keep using figures that show a small percentage of transit use involves light rail. They leave out the small detail that we have managed to BUILD ONLY 11 MILES OF TRACK! Central Corridor is back to square one. Northstar is just now getting its funding. The progress is painfully slow.

I have used the mass transit systems in other metropolitan areas. To many of them, it is unthinkable that they could survive without it. We think of Minnesota as a modern, progressive state... we think of ourselves as leaders and innovators. But, we have a problem... a serious problem... in our transporation system.

We have to take more than two steps ahead at a time and we have to stop allowing the one step backward slips. We need a serious, long term committment to getting a modern, efficient system in place. That will take money; it will take community leadership; it will take a certain amount of sacrifice.

The benefits to a modern transportation system are real. Less pollution.... reliable commutes....economic development along the lines....more efficient movement of goods and services. But none of those benefits can be realized if we don't move ahead.

Let's take those two...three...four steps forward and don't look back.



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Minnesota Politics: Around the Horn

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/09/08 18:39

by Dave Mindeman

Amy Klobuchar: Seems that the Senator was cooking up a deal with Obama in exchange for her support...details here.

Norm Coleman: When questioning Petraeus and Crocker, Norm gets the Quote of the Day: "We can't have unconditional support here. There's got to be conditions." And what would those conditions be? Norm voted against conditions every single time. He didn't offer any in the hearing either.

John Kline: His FEC report --Kline raised $194,000....spent $83,000, leaving him with about $500,000 cash on hand. Kind of a mediocre quarter -- does he think he can coast?

Michele Bachmann: Bachmann seems to be debating herself on earmarks.
Michele the Fiscal Reformer says: ?When all is said and done, my guess is that this year Congress will not do earmarks when all is said and done,? Bachmann recently opined. The public views earmarks as corrupt, she said.

Michele the Fiscal Pragmatic says: Asked if U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar, D-Chisholm, placed an earmark in a bill for the district whether she would oppose it, Bachmann indicated she would not. ?If he (Oberstar) would want to put that in, that would be great ? I would welcome him putting something in,? she said.

I hope there is still only one Bachmann out there.... we can only tolerate one.
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