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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Rep. Roz Peterson: New Heights Of Hypocrisy

Category: Legislation
Posted: 02/14/15 12:07, Edited: 02/14/15 12:09

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Roz Peterson has an interesting hypocritical streak.

During the Commissioner salary kerfuffle, she has been an outspoken critic of Governor Dayton's decision to bring Commissioner salaries in line with the private sector. This meant some hefty one time raises - but considering that there had been an effective wage freeze for 12 years, the salary increases seem reasonable compared to the importance of the position.

Roz Peterson wants to take away the Governor's authority to set those salaries. An authority granted him by the legislature....which intended for him to find a way to get and keep good people for these positions.

Roz Peterson is also a hypocrite. As chair of the Lakeville School Board, she approved an raise for that district's superintendent to $187,000 plus a bonus. That would give the Lakeville superintendent, in charge of one school district, a salary that is significantly higher than the Commissioner of Education - even after the raise.

Yesterday, Peterson was quoted:

"At a time when take-home pay for families remains flat and some Minnesotans are still struggling to make ends meet, it's outrageous that the governor would approve enormous salary increases for commissioners and political appointees already making six-figure salaries."

Well, I guess the same could be said about the Lakeville superintendent, but apparently Roz Peterson is able to compartmentalize all of that.

Then their is the matter of "open meetings".

A "secret vote" by the Lakeville school board has called into question whether the board violated Minnesota's open-meeting law and has some residents demanding greater transparency. The six-member board took an anonymous vote earlier this month on which of them should be the next chairperson, vice chair, treasurer and clerk. Each member cast a ballot and outgoing chairwoman Roz Peterson tallied them. The vote was done during an open session, but who voted for whom wasn't shared since they didn't sign the ballots.

Now the excuse was that this was not an "official" vote because final action could not be taken until the January meeting. And the board thought it would avoid "animosity" going forward.

But, it also gave Roz Peterson, the outgoing chair, a chance to weigh in on her successor - and an ability to lobby for her personal choice if the vote leaned toward someone else.

The anonymous ballot was Peterson's idea, Volk said she believes. It was a way to "smooth things over with the board because it gets pretty personal."

Peterson pulled this secret/public thing again as the new legislator from her district....

Freshman Republican Representative Roz Peterson held a property tax listening session in Burnsville earlier this week. She advertised the public event through her official legislative email, her official Facebook page, and in the local paper. But then, at the event, they kicked a person affiliated with ABM out of the event.

I guess it was a "public" event in a sorta kinda way.

Roz Peterson advertised her listening session as a public event, but then at the door, Rep. Steve Drazkowski treated it like a private event, deciding who could and could not enter.

Roz Peterson seems to have standards regarding public service. There is the "Roz Peterson" standard and then there is the standard for the rest of us.

Peterson was the only Republican legislator that managed to defeat an incumbent DFLer in the suburbs during the last election. Because of that, the majority GOP House caucus is trying to give her a high profile.

But when you look at her record, that profile is pretty hypocritical and suspect. Every criticism she makes seems to reflect a flaw in her own record.

Roz Peterson is giving us a new standard in hypocrisy.
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The Advantages of Moving On Medical Marijuana

Category: Legislation
Posted: 03/06/14 14:54

by Dave Mindeman

The subject of marijuana has a lot of baggage that follows it. Especially with law enforcement.

The efforts to alleviate law enforcement fears in order to move on medical marijuana have become more tortured than they are worth.

Law enforcement will never be mollified because their attitude is entrenched in decades long cannabis drug policy that has been wrong from the beginning.

Marijuana is NOT a gateway drug. It is only involved with harder drugs because it has the same illegal status and is trafficked in the same way. Remove marijuana from the seedy methods of selling and it will cease to be identified with heroin or cocaine.

Marijuana does need to be regulated...and if we can find acceptable regulations that can make alcohol socially acceptable, then we can do the same for marijuana.

My view is that marijuana shouldn't be limited to just medicinal use. However, its use for nausea and pain are relevant enough that if we can get a restricted use for medical purposes, then we should accept that vehicle for its legalization.

The regulation and restriction that will be needed to specify it for that purpose alone will be cumbersome and lead to more needless penalties and legal ramifications - as well as more prosecutorial time that could better be served on more serious problems. But, if that is all that can be done right now, then so be it.

Governor Dayton has abdicated his decision making on this subject by deferring to law enforcement. But law enforcement has never moved beyond marijuana as a street drug. They cannot separate the drug from the criminal avenues from which it has to be sold under its current status. They have never accepted the ongoing medical evidence - they only see current legal issues.

The other factor that begs to be debated is the incarceration numbers on illegal marijuana....

....marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (approximately 52 percent) of all drug arrests reported in the United States. A decade ago, marijuana arrests comprised just 44 percent of all drug arrests.

Using this magnitude of law enforcement resources to fight against a drug that is hardly more dangerous than alcohol, makes little sense. How much money could we save by eliminating marijuana arrests, convictions, and incarcerations? I think the dollar figure would be staggering.

And that doesn't even account for the potential for jobs that would be available for the growth, manufacture, and sale of marijuana. As well as the tax revenue available to the states that allow legalization.

Colorado expects to take in about $184 million in tax revenue from marijuana in the first 18 months after legislation.

Minnesota needs to seriously debate this issue and hopefully find a way to move, at the very least, a medical marijuana statute.

This has too many medical, legal, and economic advantages to ignore.
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The "Nuclear" Option

Category: Legislation
Posted: 11/21/13 12:36

by Dave Mindeman

Majority Leader Harry Reid has finally had enough. He is looking to invoke the "nuclear" option and end filibusters on Presidential appointees and federal court nominations.

What took you so long, Harry?

This new rule change does not apply to legislation and also exempts Supreme Court nominees. This is reasonable. Any President - Republican or Democrat - needs to be able to pick the people he wants to work for him or her....and the courts need to have positions filled to simply do their job.

The Federal courts are full of Bush nominees and the Republicans have been trying to stonewall any replacements in hopes of getting back a Republican president or at least a GOP majority in the Senate.

Any of that could happen but the Democrats have handcuffed themselves in regards to filibuster changes because of those possibilities.

Given the pseudo " good word" of Mitch McConnell, who has agreed countless times to "compromises" to avoid any filibuster change - only to reneg on the agreement immediately - this has become necessary for Democrats, even if only in the short term.

We have court positions that need filling. It has not only become a need to fix the balance of philosophy, but so many positions are vacant that the court cannot do its job.

We have seen how a one-sided ideological court can make a game change on how we govern. It is time for Democrats to balance the scales.

I just hope Reid will stand by his declaration this time.

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