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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The People That Know About Broadband Go With The Senate Position

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/21/16 22:35, Edited: 04/21/16 22:36

by Dave Mindeman

Here is a list of people who lead various Minnesota organizations. All of these people signed a joint letter that was sent to Minnesota government leadership in the Governor's office and the legislature.

Laura Ziegler
League of Minnesota Cities (LMC)

Emily Pugh
Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC)

Kent Sulem
Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT)

Mike Reardon
Minnesota Association of Community
Telecommunications Administrators (MACTA)

Joe Gould
Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA)

Dan Larson
Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus (MRCC)

Charlie Vander Aarde
Metro Cities

Tim Flaherty
Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC)

Brad Lundell
Schools for Equity in Education (SEE)

Dan Dorman
Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP)

Denise Dittrich
Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA)


This letter was sent to promote one common idea...

Unified Support for Senate Broadband Position

These organizations are advocating for greater Minnesota. They are asking the legislature to do something to push broadband. Notice that they are NOT advocating for the MN GOP House position...the supposed "champions" of greater MN. Nope. They believe that the Senate has the position that will most help greater MN with their desire to expand broadband...their top priority.

So even though the leadership in the Minnesota House keeps talking and talking about how much they are the ones who are working for greater MN needs, it is the people who live and advocate for greater MN who say that it is the DFL Senate that has their back.

So are you going to believe Speaker Kurt Daudt or the people on the above list? The people in the know are the latter.
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House Democrats Propose Change On "Dark Money"

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 02/07/16 09:22

by Dave Mindeman

Election season. The end of the campaign. With the election just days away you go to your mailbox and pull out five, six, or more of these slick, glossy cards with lots of bold type words, grainy photos, and a guarantee that someone running for office is the worst possible human being ever.

You wonder how they know this or who is saying it. But you can't know because it is hidden by the "dark side" of campaign finance disclosure.

Oh, there will be a small note at the bottom that says "paid for by....", but the name used will always be some generic, innocent sounding name like "Americans for Prosperity"; Friends of Trees; or Society for Energy Independence. You maybe would want to know who is behind this group. Maybe you look them up on the website - but what you will get is more of the same words and pictures that your glossy friend in the mailbox has displayed so prominently.

But you will never see the name of any specific person connected or responsible.

Dark money.

Most political money hides. It avoids the sunlight. It is like the smoking guy on the X-Files.....stays in the alley and talks from the shadows.

Political donors with large checkbooks gravitate to these shadow groups because they can advocate without consequence. They don't have to be open about the way they want things to be...and often it is because what they want is very self serving. And if people are aware of that, it will affect how they see the information.

The Minnesota House Democrats have proposed a Minnesota Constitutional amendment to fix that. Their bill would....

The bill would require disclosure for "contributions and expenditures made for communications that clearly identify a candidate and use words or phrases of express advocacy." It would also cover any ads or mailings that a reasonable person would interpret as advocating for or against a candidate, even if they aren't explicitly mentioned.

Rep. Laurie Halvorson (Eagan) will carry the bill in the House. Her campaign and other Eagan Democratic campaigns are certainly not strangers to this type of political advertising....

"I saw what it did to my community to have those kinds of mail pieces hit day after day after day," Halverson said. "I saw the confusion that it caused my constituents, and the frustration it caused, and the ways their voices felt diminished."

Now, this is a MN Constitutional Amendment. I imagine it will only apply to State politics, not Federal. It would have to pass both Houses of the Legislature to get on the 2016 ballot.

And it will probably never see the light of day.

Because Republicans like it this way. Oh, you will hear them complain about this problem. They will agree that "something should be done". There is too much money being used in this way.

But when the votes get tallied, they will support the status quo. They will stop this measure in its tracks, because corporations and wealthy donors do not want to see their names on public disclosure forms. And what they think is what Republicans think.

It would be nice if the bill could at least get a hearing. If a debate could be had on the floor. Minnesota could use some transparency in how the political system operates.

It would be nice. But don't hold your breath on that one.
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MN House GOP Leaves Rural MN Holding An Empty Bag

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 01/19/16 20:37

by Dave Mindeman

The MN House Democrats laid out a strong agenda that focuses on rural Minnesota in a news conference today....

DFL lawmakers released a proposal Tuesday that would help rural parts of the state with investments in transportation, broadband, property tax relief, workforce housing, oil train safety and dementia care. They estimate the proposal will cost at least $240 million.

Which prompted a response from the House Majority Republicans...from Assistant Majority Leader, Ron Kresha:

"Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. ... We know rural Minnesota is important; we have been focusing on that."

But have they?

After taking back control of the House in the 2014 election by flipping some outstate Minnesota seats, the House GOP "said" they were going to be aggressive in meeting rural Minnesota's needs. But let's look at the reality:

1. Rural MN's biggest need involves transportation and infrastructure. But the 2015 legislature produced no bill at all - despite Gov. Dayton's request that transportation would be a priority in the session. Refusing to consider a gas tax, the House Republicans preferred to have no bill at all.

2. Rural MN's second highest priority has been broadband. Upwards of $100 million has been requested, but again, the House didn't seem to be listening and proposed only $8 million in their budget. The Senate had proposed $20 million per year, but were obstructed.

3. And then there is LGA (Local Government Aid). House Republicans have used LGA as a budget cutting tool in the past. Last session they proposed slashing LGA money in the metro cities, like Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth. However, the large cuts did not produce any new money for rural cities and again, the Coalition of Greater MN Cities, was left wondering what it would take to get help out here.

The Democrats new series of recommendations have prompted some rural praise....

Le Sueur Mayor Robert Broeder, president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, praised the DFL's proposal to add $45.5 million to aid the state sends to cities, bringing the total back up to 2002 levels. He also said the coalition appreciates efforts for housing, training, transportation and broadband.

Republicans have not led the way and frankly, are left to follow the Democrats lead in this regard. The House has had opportunities to help Iron Range miners and Mille Lacs resort owners, but continue to choose the "no action" approach.

As we head into 2016, the House GOP is going to have a tough time convincing anyone that their "focus" on rural Minnesota was anything more than a false promise.
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