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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Senate Bonding: Political Games and Payback

Category: Transportation
Posted: 03/30/12 00:17

by Dave Mindeman

When you look at the Senate bonding bill, it is very,very hard not to think about a political tinge to the whole affair.

Here is a quote from the Star Tribune....

Released Wednesday, the bill offers no money to renovate Nicollet Mall, nothing for a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints and no funding for the Southwest corridor light-rail project.....The Senate package emphasizes improvement projects at college campuses, heavily favoring the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities over the University of Minnesota, triggering strong protests from the U. It allocates just $25 million for renovation of the aging State Capitol -- a top priority for Dayton and a project for which the House proposed a separate bonding bill of $200 million. (The) Mankato civic center (was) left out even though St. Cloud and Rochester centers were included.

OK - here's the coincidences....

Sen. Sandy Pappas and Sen. John Harrington represent St. Paul and were involved in the ethics complaint against Geoff Michel. St. Paul Saints ball park funding disappears.

Sen. Kathy Sheran is the Mankato Representative. Mankato Civic Center funding goes away....Rochester and St. Cloud stay in. Majority Leader Dave Senjem represents Rochester and chairs the bonding bill committee.

Steve Sviggum, Senate spokesman, is forced out at the Board of Regents. The bonding bill shifts money from the U to MnSCU.

Another disturbing aspect of this is that the bill leaves out money for the Southwest Corridor Light Rail. Even though the state would only have to provide 10% of the money, the legislature is slowly strangling the project.

The full value of light rail will never be met if we don't get a full Metro wide system. Every piece that we have scratched and clawed to get into place has exceeded expectations. Yet, Republican lead legislative houses continue to block or slow down this vital transportaion alternative.....which even the business community supports.

Republican leadership is more interested in political games and political payback than jobs for Minnesota.

This is a fact.
comments (1) permalink

Supremes On Constitution: Health Care - No. Unlimited War - Yes

Category: Society
Posted: 03/29/12 00:38

by Dave Mindeman

This court...this arrogant, partisan Supreme Court. How can they in all good conscience exercise a veto power on Congressional action for the uninsured and turn a blind eye to the use of military force at the President's discretion....including the illegal use of torture.

How can a judiciary call itself an impartial arbiter if helping people is unconstitutional and brutal military force without a Congressional declaration of war is ruled within constitutional boundaries?

What has happened to this country? Where is justice? Where is fairness?

The Supreme Court is questioning the Constitutionality of an extension of Medicaid...of helping people in need, as beyond the government's scope. Yet, torture and military intervention and executive authority on indefinite detention and military tribunals are all held as valid executive power.

When did the Supreme Court become a tool of the Defense Department and the enemy of health and human services?

If the Health Care Law is struck down, millions will go without insurance. Thousands will go bankrupt from medical expenses. And children and seniors will be at the mercy of their own future health.

It is so, so important that Minnesota brings the Democrats back to control the legislature. It is now imperative. Health Care will have to be decided by the states and Minnesota has a plan waiting to be implemented. The Minnesota Health Plan. We just need to bring the supporters of this plan back on board. We have Governor Dayton....now we need a DFL legislature.

Minnesota will have to do this on their own.

comments (4) permalink

2nd Congressional District - Candidate - Yes; CD Support -???

Category: John Kline
Posted: 03/28/12 23:05, Edited: 03/28/12 23:07

by Dave Mindeman

It looks like Congressman John Kline will be getting an opponent after all. Patrick Ganey, Northfield City Councilman and Mike Obermueller, former Eagan legislator are both going to be seeking endorsement as a DFL opponent.

I have had one conversation with Patrick Ganey..... he seems like a reasonable guy with a a good approach and understanding of what it will take to run against Kline. I know a little more about Mike Obermueller and am confident that he would be a good choice as well.

But candidates are not the problem.

Candidates have a case to be made against Kline. Our current Congressman is a do nothing guy. His district has suffered enormously from neglect. He has let his committee chairmanship go right to his enlarged head. He was, and is, an abject failure on solving our No Child Left Behind situation. Kline is more concerned about bashing unions than educating our children.

The case is there. It can be made.

But here is the real problem.

Our 2nd Congressional District (I say our because I am a part of this district) does not support its candidates. Oh, we give lip service to the idea. We spend a few hours on phones or signs or lists (and it is much appreciated) but we don't really, really, really support the entirety of an opposition campaign against an entrenched incumbant.

In a nutshell, I am talking about money. I truly believe that if the powers that be in Washington thought that the 2nd Congressional Distict was really going to show some powerful support behiond any particular candidate, then the DCCC or Unions or other groups would absolutely jump on the bandwagon and enter the fray.

But the 2nd District has been notoriously lacking in monetary support. We, as a district, seem to believe that candidates wave some kind of magical wand and produce the 2 to 3 million dollars that is needed to run a viable Congressional campaign.

Coleen Rowley, Steve Sarvi, Shelley Madore.....all good candidates and all lacking monetary support. Even Shelley Madore, who angered some district Democrats by forcing a primary, had a great campaign approach with her 35 cent tour....pointing out the absence of Congressional help for a District that repeatedly asked for such help. If she had had a normal campaign budget to bring a broader media presence to that effort, she most certainly would have been able to make Kline sweat.

I realize that you are all sick of hearing about money in campaigns. I am sure you get all the phone calls like I do...money for this, money for that. And I don't think there is anyone who dislikes the bigger and bigger pile of money that it takes to operate campaigns in this country, than me. It is distasteful....it is rancid. But it is what it is.

Kline has a lousy record and the district is probably slightly more DFL friendly than it has been...thanks to redistricting. But Kline is not afraid of us. He sits on his pile of cash and makes brief obligatory notes about who will be his opponent...knowing from experience that he will always have the advantage --the cash advantage.

We will have a candidate file against Kline. Somebody will take him on. And I have little doubt that there is a potential for a winning campaign strategy.

But the question is....are we, as a district, going to be in the game? Will we finally take the big chance and fully support a candidate with money -big money -- from the get go? It is so important that our support be visible and strong in the early stages because that is what everyone else bases their own involvement on.

It is hard to tell what will happen come November, but we can't worry about that now. What we CAN do is make sure that the 2nd District DFL nominee is given every opportunity to compete.

This time we need to prove our worth to the candidate....not the other way around.

comments (4) permalink
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