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If A Horner Vote Is Not A Wasted One, Then What Is It?

Category: Tom Horner
Posted: 10/08/10 20:54

by Dave Mindeman

Michael Osterholm who has one of the longest titles attatched to his name I have ever seen...(Ph.D., MPH, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy)...says he has never ventured into the realm of partisan politics before, but for the sake of his "children and grandchildren" he comes forward to endorse Tom Horner for governor.

Osterholm outlines his endorsement at MinnPost's Community Voices with the title: A Vote for Horner Is Not A Wasted Vote.

To which I would have to ask....If it is not a wasted vote, then what is it?

Is a Horner vote a vote for populism? like voting for Jesse Ventura?

Hardly. Horner is the virtual opposite of Ventura. A public relations guy by trade, Horner will never be compared to any no holds barred personna that can take an election by storm. Horner carefully chooses every word. His statements have a precision that steers clear of the spontaneous or the inflammatory. He won't appeal to the restless populace because he would never be able to relate to them in their day to day life....only in how to sell things to them.

Is Horner a vote for a truly independent voice?

Again, hardly. Horner has made his living catering to corporate interests. He wants things from them; they want things from him. His thought processes are those of a lobbyist. He helped FlatIron get the bridge contract. He's like a front man for the Vikings stadium. Horner carries the Independence Party banner but the name of the party is the only thing that can remotely describe Horner as any kind of independent champion.

Is Horner the anti-government candidate?

Oh brother. Horner may not have served in public office but his tentacles have wound around every aspect of government. His partner was a former legislator and he spent several years as a spokesperson spinning tales for the Republican party. He was ever present in his connections to Pawlenty in the early days of the T-Paw tenure....and it was only when the Conservative wing of the party began to shut out people like Horner that he decided to take an outsider approach to getting "in".

Is Horner that true centrist, middle of the road guy?

The middle of the road has intermittent painted yellow lines. You don't drive over them; you stay on one side or the other. Horner has no intention of playing the middle in any kind of reality. His budget policies protect whom? Corporations and the wealthy. When the nurses went on strike, who did he side with? The hospitals. When talking about a football stadium, who does he champion? The billionaire owner of the Vikings. When he talks about protecting education what helps to balance his budget? The $1.4 billion shift away from education. When he talks about tax policy, where does he start? A corporate tax cut and taking wealthy income taxes off the table. He gets his revenue from a regressive clothing tax. Really, what middle is he talking about?


So what is Horner? Well, you get a pretty good clue by his big announcement regarding former GOP legislators endorsing him over Tom Emmer. He has visions of resurrecting the Arne Carlson coaltion.... moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats joining forces to eke out yet another 35% plurality.

And what's worse, Horner would be a governor that wins with barely a third of the vote and absolutely no legislative allies. Horner is not building any Independence Party machinery... have you seen him looking to campaign for any Independence Party candidates? Seen any grass roots organization? Anybody pounding the pavement?

No, Horner is just another IP candidate looking to boost his own ego. To use the IP platform as a way to get media access....to get a ticket to the debates....to "sell" his way to the Governor's mansion.

After all, that is what a PR guy does. He tells us what we want to hear and makes us think that we just have to buy it.

Are we buying it?
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Horner & The Stadium: Lots of Backfield in Motion

Category: Tom Horner
Posted: 09/23/10 13:30

by Dave Mindeman

In Minnpost today, Jay Weiner has a good article that examines the Vikings stadium proposal from governor candidate, Tom Horner, ICR (Independent Corporate Republican).

Being a sports guy, Weiner diplomatically goes through all the provisions of Horner's proposal, trying to put the best construction on what is yet another potential corporate giveaway from a candidate who already wants to strip corporate taxes and regulations out of the Minnesota budget.

But, in the end, I think we end up with a plan that has numerous flaws and little chance of working as proposed.

For instance, the 40 year lease....

The length of the bond is tied to Horner's notion that a new lease should last for 40 years. That is, if it's going to take four decades to pay off this stadium, then the team has to commit to play there for that long.

A 40 year payoff means a 40 year lease. Both premises fall flat. First of all, as Weiner points out, bond rating services are skeptical of terms longer than 30 years....and then there is the age of the stadium -- the Metrodome is only 30 years old itself and we talk about it like it was a relic. A new stadium lasting 40 years is impossible.

Then there is the Vikings 40% contribution....

Horner said, he envisions a stadium in which the Vikings control a limited number of dates, pay one-third of the operating costs "and the public gets all of the rest of the revenue ? As a starting point, I think this is fair to the Vikings."

But the problem is....

Horner would seek 40 percent of the stadium's funding from the team. This is slightly more than the Twins' contribution at Target Field and, generally speaking, a bit more than most other NFL teams have put into public-private shared projects.

The Vikings haven't said much about that 40% contribution one way or the other. They can't really criticize it without stopping the conversation. But do you really think the team is going to pay that much considering almost no other sports teams have made such a sizable contribution? And with 40% ownership, they would only get revenue from the dates where they play (10 per year)?

I have to believe that Horner and the Vikings are playing us on this one. They put out that figure as a way to make it "look" viable and keep the stadium viable until we get to the next legislative session.

We are being scammed.

And then there is the other "promises"....

Before he spoke in front of the Metrodome Sunday, Horner was introduced by Cory Merrifield, the organizer of a group called SaveTheVikes. Merrifield, a Vikings stadium proponent of the highest order, cited a report commissioned by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission that said a new stadium could generate more than 13,000 jobs.

When Target Field opened, the Twins touted this figure: 3,500 trades people, and an 800-person peak workforce. For the construction of the University's TCF Bank stadium, Mortenson Construction has said there were 2,200 trades people and a 750-person peak workforce. In speaking of a potential Vikings stadium, a Mortenson executive projected up to 8,000 jobs.


Merrifield has already shown that the Vikings stadium is the only priority that matters to him. He says he will support any candidate that supports s Vikings plan.....so right now, it must be Horner.

But, given that, Merrifield will also say or do almost anything to keep the Vikings in a favorable light; and the 13,000 jobs rhetoric is immensely "favorable" and downright untrue.

Granted, the construction jobs would be great, however many there are. But we also need to have an honest conversation about this stadium deal and Horner's plan is not completely honest.

We all want the Vikings to stay. Our Sunday afternoons in the fall are painted purple. But billionaire owners and millionaire players shouldn't have to rely on the budget challenged state of Minnesota to pay for this game.

And if Horner wants to play political games with us as well, then I think its time we called a few penalties.
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Horner on Education: More Corporate GOP Doublespeak

Category: Tom Horner
Posted: 09/21/10 00:23

by Dave Mindeman

Sorry, but this is another post about Tom Horner. I have trouble understanding why Democrats would send their vote his way because I think he is being intellectually dishonest with us.

For instance, he talked about his programs for education. He gives lip service to educational support but continues the Republican programs that have slowly starved public education.

1) The $1.4 billion Shift. While telling us that education needs to have steady funding, he tells us that he can't find a way to get that back to the schools any sooner than 2014. His position is not a digit different from Tom Emmer.

2) Teacher's Union to Blame. Here's a quote:

"We need Education Minnesota to either join us as partners, or we'll have to work around the barriers the union has established," he said. "There are too many instances of good teachers, and along with them good programs, being lost to outdated seniority rules."

Good teachers and good programs are lost because the funding forces school districts to cut staff. In some instances, tenure may cause a young, innovative teacher to get lost in the shuffle..but by the same token we get to keep good teachers with a wealth of experience that might be gone if salary is the only criteria used to make those cuts.

In addition, Horner expresses support for alternative licensure. Bringing in professionals to teach with a minimum of certification. But what we neglect to talk about it is what type of "alternative professional" teachers will work for the salaries we are willing to pay teachers currently? Will we get the best professionals? Ones who would be willing to give up lucrative private sector salaries?

Horner voices the same tired Republican line that education problems are focused on the teachers. It is easy to demonize the teacher's union --but they have to fight for their membership because they are vulnerable in this budget cutting climate.

He and Emmer, again, are no different.

3) Higher Education Gets More. Horner does step up with significant help (at least on paper) for higher education. At least there is a chance that tuition could be spared yet another hike. But Horner doesn't pay for this higher ed support with taxes on those who benefit from it. No, his revenue source is not taxes on the wealthy, it is taxes on the middle class. The same people who are struggling with tuition for their kids are asked to pay that tax on clothing to keep the funding in place.

Different from Emmer, but mixed revenue priorites.

Horner does talk about about moving to better support for early childhood education....actually all three candidates have voiced support for this in one way or another.

But Horner doesn't talk in this regard with the voice of true understanding:

Horner, who after the forum acknowledged that he had never attended public schools.

He has never been involved in public education up close and personal. How does he really know what teachers are up against? How does he know what the inner city schools deal with?

Horner speaks to what he knows. He's a corporate, 3 piece suit, Republican.

It is as simple as that.
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