Archive for the ‘DFL’ Category
Gov. Dayton’s latest diatribe is telling because of what he didn’t complain about. According to the article, “Gov. Mark Dayton is criticizing Republicans’ call to abolish MNsure as a way to counter hefty health insurance hikes.”
Nowhere in his hissy fit did Gov. Dayton or Lt. Gov. Smith complain about health insurance premiums being to expensive for Minnesota families to afford. Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith haven’t complained that deductibles are high or that the ACA’s mandated coverages are driving up the price of insurance premiums.
While it’s true that abolishing MNsure wouldn’t drive down insurance premiums, it would eliminate a cost from the budget. The last I looked, that should be a priority for the legislature and the governor.
If taxpayers are paying for something and not getting much out of it, then that should be a prime target for elimination. If Gov. Dayton and the DFL insists on keeping MNsure around while taxpayers pay huge premium increases, that’ll tell Minnesotans that they’re more worried about their ideology than they’re worried about Minnesota families.
Good luck for the DFL if that’s the hill they’re willing to fight for. They’ll need it.
According to Bruce Mohs’ editorial, the St. Cloud School District will host 2 informational meetings to inform citizens what their property tax increases will pay for. Unfortunately, these informational meetings won’t give citizens the opportunity to provide input into what their property tax increases will pay for.
According to Mohs’ editorial, this is informational only. Given how much effort has been put into keeping this vote secret and given how much effort has gone into limiting taxpayers’ options, it isn’t surprising that citizen participation is being limited.
According to Mohs’ editorial, “The first forum will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at Whitney Senior Center. This session will be facilitated by Jay Caldwell from WJON-AM and will include a formal presentation from Neighbors For School Excellence, breakout group discussions, and a question-and-answer period.”
Notice that it doesn’t say that taxpayers will have the opportunity to explore other, less costly, options that would cost less than this Taj Mahal of a project. Mohs and other school board members apparently think that this project is too important to their legacy to give citizens the opportunity to have a real say in the matter.
Here’s a hint to Mohs and his cohorts. School board members don’t have legacies. Presidents and secretaries of state have legacies. School board members, if they’re lucky, are footnotes in history. Unfortunately, taxpayers foot the bill for these people’s egos.
Few people south of Brainerd know that there’s a special election that’s going to be held in the next month. People living in International Falls, Grand Portage and Grand Marais know it well because their representative in the 2015 session, David Dill, passed away this summer after a tough fight with cancer. The DFL hoped to avoid lots of bloodshed by not holding an endorsing convention, which I wrote about here.
I wrote then that “Paul Fish, the DFL chairman of the district, issued a statement on why they chose not to hold an endorsing convention, saying ‘The residents of House District 3A lost a true champion with the passing of Rep. David Dill. The voters of 3A deserve the opportunity to select the DFL candidate who best represents their interests. Therefore, a DFL endorsing convention for the 3A seat will not be held. Participation in the September 29th primary is encouraged.'”
Fish won’t get his wish of not having a food fight after Bill Hansen’s unhinged moment. When talking about PolyMet, Hansen, a hardline environmental activist, flamed out, saying “We need the jobs. Jobs are important. But those aren’t the jobs we want. In this modern age, these projects are going to be man camps … that clear out the community, create a lot of crime, prostitution, gambling. All kinds of community problems and tend to drive out other sustainable jobs.”
That’s stunning. Saying that in a mining district right before a special election can’t be good. Labor’s response was predictable:
“Mr. Hansen has degraded our members for his own personal and political gains. He clearly has a delusional and skewed view of current-day construction workers and the value they bring to their families and community.” — Mike Syversrud, President of the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades Council
I won’t predict the outcome of this special election. I’ll just say that this special election has the potential for some serious fireworks.
Eric Williams’ LTE advocating for passage of the school board bonding referendum isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. For instance, Williams’ first argument to vote for the referendum is “A robust school system adds value our community. Young entrepreneurs who want to start innovative businesses need quality workers. What attracts these entrepreneurs and quality workers is a quality school system.”
I won’t dispute that a well-trained work force is an economic benefit to any community. I have multiple dispute. with the referendum. First, the school board is trying to shove a massive property tax increase down our throats without telling us a) any details about the size of the new Tech HS or b) what enrollment model they’re using to determine the size of the building.
Without knowing that, it’s impossible to say whether a $113,800,000 project is needed. That’s before considering why the school board threw in a bonding request for improved technology. That’s been paid for with the operating levy. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for that with interest tacked on. Here’s Williams’ second bullet point:
Quality schools raise the value of our homes. I would argue that it is the most important reason young families choose to live where they do. Realtors often leverage the quality of a community’s school system when they market a home to a family new to the area.
Again, it’s another generalized argument. For the sake of discussion, let’s stipulate that it’s true. Does Mr. Williams think that taxpayers want to be treated like ATMs? Wouldn’t they be more impressed with a great new facility that the district didn’t overpay for? I’m betting that taxpayers would appreciate it if the district had modern facilities and that weren’t overbuilt. Here’s Williams’ final bullet point:
I think we all agree that a quality school system is a huge attractor for young families. Selfishly, I would love to see my children and the children of my friends and neighbors who have graduated from Tech and Apollo choose to raise their families in St. Cloud. (We won’t have far to go to see our grandchildren!)
This LTE didn’t address anything of substance. It’s filled with platitudes and emotional appeals. That isn’t a justification for passing the biggest bonding referendum in St. Cloud history. It definitely isn’t a justification for passing the biggest bonding referendum in St. Cloud history without a series of townhall meetings.
Vote no on November 3.
According to the Mesabi Daily News, Bill Hansen is “seething” that the DFL won’t hold an endorsing convention before the special election to fill the House seat caused by Rep. David Dill’s death after a bout with cancer. Paul Fish, the chair of the SD-3 DFL, issued a statement, saying that “The residents of House District 3A lost a true champion with the passing of Rep. David Dill”, adding that “the voters of 3A deserve the opportunity to select the DFL candidate who best represents their interests. Therefore, a DFL endorsing convention for the 3A seat will not be held.”
According to the article, Hansen “is the only DFL candidate publicly opposing the PolyMet (near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt) and Twin Metals (near Ely and Babbitt) copper/nickel/precious metals projects.”
It isn’t a stretch to think that the SD-3 DFL didn’t want to endorse anyone because it might pit environmental activists on Lake Superior’s North Shore against the miners in Hibbing, Virginia and Eveleth. DFL State Chairman Ken Martin has done more tapdancing to avoid setting off that fight than you’d see in an old-fashioned musical.
At the 2014 DFL State Convention, a resolution stating that the DFL supports mining wasn’t brought up by the Platform Committee because it was deemed “to controversial.” That was a stunning defeat for the Iron Range because the initial resolution was watered down to the resolution that wasn’t brought up.
ALERT — THREAT TO DEMOCRACY: A loyal reader of LFR just contacted me with the alarming news that there will only be 13 polling stations open for the upcoming school board vote on a bonding referendum. There’s normally 60 in St. Cloud. The school board certainly hasn’t publicized that fact!
That means the potential exists for thousands of voters to show up at their precinct to vote on this $167,000,000 referendum and find out that their polling station isn’t open, which will cause them to either find their new polling station or go home frustrated that they couldn’t vote.
The school board is 100% liberal. It’s been that way for 30+ years. Two years ago, some Republicans tried getting elected. They were defeated even though they were highly qualified teachers. The word got out that they weren’t “real” education experts, meaning that ‘they weren’t one of us’.
Now the DFL is shutting down 47 of the usual 60 voting stations in an attempt to keep voter turnout limited to ‘their people’ to ensure there’s no opposition to raising our property taxes. If this doesn’t scream of voter suppression, then the phrase is without meaning.
Earlier this morning, I wrote this post urging people to vote no on the school board’s attempt to railroad a major tax increase down our throats. Since I wrote that note, loyal readers of LFR asked me some additional questions that the school district should answer before they get another penny from taxpayers.
For instance, the school district combined the 2 projects (refurbishing Apollo, building a new Tech HS). The way it’s worded, you can’t vote down the Tech proposal and vote for the Apollo refurbishing. That’s a sly way of forcing people who want to refurbish Apollo to vote for the Tech project, too. That’s a sly way of forcing people who want to build a new Tech HS into voting for the Apollo refurbishing.
It’s pretty obvious why it’s set up this way. That isn’t the same as saying the school district should get away with forcing taxpayers to vote for both projects if they only support one of the projects. This is a scam propagated by the school board. This isn’t a mistake. It’s a feature! It’s intentional.
Another question raised by my readers is why the school district is holding the election at a time when literally nothing else is being voted on. As I said in my earlier post, it’s clear that the turnout from the “education community” will be 95% or higher. Those votes have already been factored in. Further, the school board is counting on low turnout from taxpayers. The vote is rigged. The people profiting from these projects passing will turn out in droves. The people who don’t know that there’s an election happening won’t show up, thereby ensuring the referendum passing.
The people running the school board want what they want when they want it. If that means playing dirty, then that’s the path they’ll take. In situations like that, there’s only one way to foil the school board’s plan. That’s to vote no, then insist that the taxpayers vote on 2 separate questions. Then insist that the election be held on Election Day 2016.
It isn’t surprising that the school board hasn’t held a townhall meeting to explain how big the ‘new Tech’ will be or how big the anticipated enrollment will be in the new school. They haven’t said what has to be refurbished at Apollo, either. Considering the fact that St. Cloud’s population of taxpayers is, at best, staying steady, just how many times do these politicians think they can go to the taxpayers’ ATM?
And yes, I meant to say politicians when referring to the school board. They’re as partisan as the legislature.
Though I doubt it was meant as such, I’m betting that the St. Cloud Times Our View editorial is a wakeup call to taxpayers. That’s certainly the intent of this post. The Times’ Editorial Board laments the fact that “there are no yard signs, no visible campaigning, and really not much buzz about the plan.” Then it highlights the “good news” that “the group has experienced leaders and its website, http://www.voteyes742.org/index.php, contains ample information about the history of Tech, the need to upgrade it and Apollo, and how to vote” before returning to lamenting that few people know about this website before the Times’ editorial.
Perhaps that’s their strategy.
The Times is right. The “group has experienced leaders” who’ve led the fight for other levy increases. Rest assured that everyone in the ‘education community’ a) knows about this referendum, b) can recite with great fluency the virtues of voting yes and c) can’t wait to start voting. Those “experienced leaders” have already counted the education community’s votes.
It’s foolish to think that this “experienced leaders” is running an under-the-radar campaign because this is a terrific deal for St. Cloud. If this deal was that important and that well thought out, these “experienced leaders” would’ve canvassed St. Cloud at least 3-4 times.
It isn’t a stretch to think that the education community doesn’t want a high turnout amongst regular taxpayers because they’re afraid that regular taxpayers are fed up with all of the tax increases that they’ve been hit with the last 2-3 year. Perhaps the education community is afraid that regular taxpayers are upset that they haven’t seen a meaningful pay raise in 5 years or more. Meanwhile, under Gov. Dayton and the DFL, government spending has skyrocketed.
The state budget has seen major increases while families have struggled. Gov. Dayton and the DFL isn’t on the ballot this November. Still, it’s a great time to send them a signal that taxpayers are fed up with the DFL’s spending increases and Gov. Dayton’s tax increases.
Gov. Dayton is certainly liberal but he certainly isn’t a constitutional scholar. According to this Strib article, Gov. Dayton got a little testy with North Dakota for winning a lawsuit regarding the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. Unfortunately, the lawsuit won’t cause the NGEA to be voided. The good news is that the Supreme Court will make short work of this.
The NGEA imposes restrictions on other states by banning Minnesota utilities from “signing deals to import coal-generated electricity.” It’s entirely unsurprising that “North Dakota sued and won on the grounds that the law constitutes a trade barrier between the two states that is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.”
Specifically, that restriction is forbidden by the Interstate Commerce Clause. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 gives the federal government the authority “[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The text is clear. States aren’t allowed to put restrictions on other states that might hurt that state’s economy. Allowing Minnesota to dictate to North Dakota what it must do or can’t do is, essentially, taking over another state’s sovereign authority.
BONUS QUESTION: How would Gov. Dayton react if North Dakota’s governor signed a bill into law that forced Minnesota to build a pipeline across northern Minnesota?
Gov. Dayton didn’t just expose his lack of constitutional expertise. He went on another diatribe:
He said North Dakota has “its head in the sand,” and that Minnesota would continue to litigate to protect air quality.
What’s especially delicious is this statement:
Dave Glatt, head of the environmental health section for the North Dakota Dept. of Health, said his state is one of just a handful meeting all ambient air quality standards established by the EPA. He said roughly 25 percent of North Dakota’s total electric generation comes from wind and hydroelectric power, both non-carbon sources. Total carbon emissions are down 11 percent below 2005 levels despite the Bakken oil boom, Glatt said. He acknowledged the carbon intensity of the Bakken oil boom but said Minnesota has benefited from the boom. Oil prices have plunged in part due to a rapid rise in supply in places like North Dakota.
Gov. Dayton, stick that in your stovepipe and smoke it.
Gov. Dayton took some well-deserved heat Friday when he held a meeting in the Isle High School auditorium. He got criticized because he didn’t know what he was talking about and because the MNDNR has lost its credibility. A resort owner said that “the DNR’s numbers are skewed from the beginning. From the minute they say that netting over spawn beds is not affecting the walleye population, that’s nuts.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that netting spawning beds will dramatically (and negatively) affect the walleye population of any lake. What does the DNR think happens when you remove walleyes that are trying to breed from the lake? Does the DNR think that they’re magically replaced by other breeding walleyes?
Another thing that Gov. Dayton got criticized for was his mentioning restocking the lake. That’s beyond foolish. As recently as the early 1990s, Mille Lacs Lake produced more walleye fry than all of the state’s fisheries combined. It isn’t possible for the DNR to restock Mille Lacs without hurting most of their other restocking projects across the state. Mathematically, it’s simply impossible.
Thankfully, legislators are pushing back against a special session:
“I think the suggestion of a special session is a little bit premature,” said Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, chair of the House Mining and Outdoor Recreation Committee. The state should look at alternatives, he said, such as promoting other fishing options on the lake and catch-and-release requirements for walleye.
Hackbarth said he isn’t convinced the DNR should be shutting down walleye fishing on Mille Lacs at all.
“Maybe we can get past this without closing the season, and that would take care of a lot of the economic problems that they’re having in the area,” he said. “How critical is it that we close it right now? Maybe we don’t need to do that.”
Rep. Hackbarth is onto something. In fact, he might’ve identified a long-term solution to the problem. The guides in the area have talked about the increase in the northern and musky populations. If Explore Minnesota started highlighting the quality musky fishing on the lake, that might reduce musky populations enough to help the walleyes rebound. I wouldn’t hesitate in highlighting the smallmouth fishing to be had on the north end of the lake.