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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Hey Pawlenty, MN House: FIX THE DAMN ROADS!

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/20/06 12:10

by Dave Mindeman

Democrats. You can quit wringing your hands looking for a message. You can stop wondering how to break through the right wing noise machine. Your message has been handed to you and suburbia will listen.

Fix the damn roads!

I don't think there is a single voter in metro Minnesota who doesn't swear under their breath when they drive the Crosstown. Go to a Twins or Vikings game -- head for Wisconsin or Lake Country, you run into some form of back up at the junction of Highway 62 and 35W. My knuckles turn white just thinking about it.

MnDOT in their "infinite" wisdom has had the Crosstown project on their radar for years. This is a huge fix to undertake and any government entity with a lick of sense should have had this planned out in excruciating detail. Well, sorry, this GOP led government hasn't got even a dab of sense.

This project has been scheduled to start in June of this year and it will take 3 and 1/2 years to complete. It is probably the focus point for revamping our highway system for the entire state. But believe it or not, we don't have the money. Yes, that's right... with all the rebate checks given in the past and talked about this session and with all the talk of we are taxed enough, we are not prepared for a highway project that has been years in the making.

And here is the even more ridiculous aspect of this idiocy. The solution that MnDOT has come up with is to ask the contractors to "float" them the loan! Are you kidding? We are asking construction companies to take on a multi-million project and then tell them, "Oh, by the way, we don't have any money -- can you take out a loan and pay the costs yourself, and we will pay you later?" The State of Minnesota has now been reduced to the level of panhandler!

Fix the damn roads!

Oh, and here's another good excuse. It was Congress' fault. They were two years late passing the highway bill that contains the federal funding portion of this project and so the money is coming in "late". Let's review: The Minnesota House has appropriation authority; they are controlled by Republicans. The Governor makes budgetary decisions -- he is Republican. The US Congress appropriates federal highway dollars -- controlled by Republicans. So, let's see -- who's fault is this? REPUBLICANS!

Fix the damn roads!

Borrow, borrow, borrow. Can't we pay for anything anymore? The other solution MnDOT floated was to borrow $50 million from the Met Council. Needless to say, they were not inclined to do so. Has Minnesota turned into that free-loading, couch potato sitting, chip munching, mud on the floor tracking, face stubbling, brother-in-law you can't get rid of?

Will the party of personal responsibility please show some public responsibility? And please, please, please:

Fix the damn roads.
comments (1) permalink

DREAM Act: Pawlenty Says What's Fair...

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/19/06 17:27

by Dave Mindeman

Immigration status seems to be a popular political football for the GOP. Pawlenty's latest ploy is to road block the DREAM act, a proposal to allow in-state tuition for children with illegal immigrant status but have attended a MN high school for 3 or more years and have graduated.

According to Pawlenty, its a fairness issue. Fairness in what sense? These students live here; they have contributed to the state economy; they have worked hard; and they have expressed a desire to improve their lives via a good education. So what determines fairness?

Has Pawlenty been fair in forcing everyone to pay higher tuition because of higher ed cuts? Is it fair to tack on higher student activity fees to pay for a stadium? Is it fair to penalize immigrant students for the choices of their parents?

Tell us, Governor Pawlenty, what's really fair?
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Choose: Defeat Kline or Criticize Rowley

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/18/06 14:17, Edited: 04/18/06 15:48

by PDW58

I'm not a big fan of the establishment in the DFL. I'm going to say that right up front, so you understand where I'm coming from. They are so damn inconsistent that it reeks. Every election cycle they annoint candidates before they check with the rank and file. One year endorsement is sacrosanct... the next year it doesn't matter a lick. All they really care about is money raising. The money people have the veto power... the rest of us are fungible worker drones.

Which is why I have a particular interest in the 2nd Congressional District. Coleen Rowley doesn't fit their typical candidate model. She drives the regular DFL nuts. She has critics from the left... critics from the right. She defies labels and frankly doesn't care. She relies on her instincts and shuns marching orders from on high.

She's a maverick -- like John McCain (at least the old McCain), like Paul Wellstone. She believes in grass roots and is uncomfortable with the way campaigns are financed.

So, the FEC reports have come out and the old guard critics are out in force. She is not raising enough money -- John Kline is outraising her 5, 6, 7 to 1. Woe is us!

But, change the conversation to Tim Walz in the first district and the old guard is sweetness and flowers. He outraised Gil Gutknecht! His campaign is on a roll. Tim Walz will be the upset special for 2006! Hooray for us!

Alright... first of all, I like Tim Walz and I think he is working on a great campaign. I have talked about him before -- before he was the new darling. He is an excellent candidate and I think he has a great shot at winning.

But let's take an honest look at the numbers that have the Rowley critics in a tizzy.

Total money raised for the cycle:

Tim Walz ........$245,414
Coleen Rowley $269,186

Money raised for the 1st Quarter:

Tim Walz .........$127,259
Coleen Rowley $ 98,877

Cash on Hand at end of period

Tim Walz.........$124,452
Coleen Rowley $101,779

Now the Rowley critics will point to the $30,000 extra dollars that Walz raised and raise the red flag. However, look at this number:

PAC Money during the Quarter:

Tim Walz ......$ 25,000
Coleen Rowley $ 2,373

Tim Walz got labor union contributions.. Coleen Rowley didn't. Tim Walz got $1,300 from the local Democratic party unit; Coleen Rowley got $ 0. Coleen Rowley has had a contested endorsement, Tim Walz didn't.

Then there was the money Democrats gave to the Marko campaign. Marko raised $27,264 during her 2 month campaign -- about $22,000 of it from the bigger itemized donors and PAC's. In fact 1/3 of the total money raised ($9,100) can be attributed to six individuals...."sensible" Democrats as one blogger put it. Apparently, sensible requires having money.

So, Coleen Rowley is basically running a campaign against a big money Republican and getting virtually no help from big money Democrats.... and then they criticize her for raising $30,000 less than Tim Walz.

But Rowley believes in the grass roots. It was organization that captured 70% of the delegates at the district conventions. It is the small donors that have supported the Rowley campaign. It is the House parties that get the volunteers.

It is a campaign that has worked hard to find its way... they made a lot of mistakes, but the Rowley campaign is beating the odds. I still remember the "little feller" that wasn't given much of a chance about 16 years ago. He had to work hard to gain the trust of the "money people", but he won in the end. Will the Democratic establishment support the Rowley campaign? Guess that depends on whether they want to win or not...






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