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You’d better sit down to read this LTE because it features talking in circles. Let me explain.

It says “Although people sometimes paint our campaign as ‘anti-mining,’ we respect the need to maintain that industry in places where it cannot threaten the Boundary Waters.” The definition of anti is “a person who is opposed to a particular practice, party, policy, action, etc.” It’s fair to say that someone who opposes mining is anti-mining. Later in the LTE, it says “We truly believe those Minnesotans who want copper mining near the Boundary Waters are sincere when they say they believe it can be done safely and without risk. However, so are we when we say it cannot be done safely and that the risk is too great. Because of this, we will continue to do everything we can to protect this special place for future generations. We appreciate the position of our fellow Minnesotans who don’t agree with us, and we look forward to continuing this debate not as enemies but as members of a community.”

TRANSLATION: We’re opposed to mining but we don’t want to fight over it. Maintaining the anti-mining status quo is what we’re hoping to maintain.

Continuing the debate is a polite way of saying keeping mining interests stalemated. Taking no action is fine with the environmentalists. That’s precisely what they want. That’s because they win stalemates. This sentence is BS:

Everyone weighing in on sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters is doing so because they care about the future of our state and communities.

I don’t buy the notion that Becky Rom and Reid Carron “care about the future of our state and communities.” Carron is quoted as saying “Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here. They are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.”

That isn’t what respectful dialogue sounds like. That’s what know-it-all elitists sound like. This video shows how aggressive Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness are:

NMW is one of the organizations that Mr. Niemela works with. Save the Boundary Waters is another one of the organizations he coordinates with. Check out this handout to find out how hostile NMW and Save the Boundary Waters are. This LTE is nothing more than a political spin job. Niemela is worried that miners are turning against the DFL because the DFL passionately opposes mining. He’s likely worried that a Republican governor, working with GOP majorities in the House and Senate, might sign reform legislation that would support the mining community.

That’s likely Mr. Niemela’s worst nightmare.

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Last week, this St. Cloud Times editorial said “The St. Cloud City Council did the right thing Monday night when it voted 5-1 to adopt a resolution declaring the city a just and welcoming community.” They’re entitled to their opinion, though they aren’t entitled to their own facts. The truth is that the Council didn’t vote on Councilman Goerger’s resolution, at least during the regularly scheduled meeting. They voted on whether to end discussion on Jeff Goerger’s resolution.

Instead of rehashing what happened last Monday, let’s play a game called ‘What if’? For the sake of this post, let’s imagine that the City Council had 5 people who opposed refugee resettlement and just one that wanted the federal government to send more refugees to St. Cloud. Next, let’s assume that the resolution wasn’t published until minutes before discussion started on the resolution. Next, let’s assume that the majority attempted to end discussion after just 5 minutes. Finally, picture this happening while the audience screamed ‘Out of order’ when they weren’t booing the lone councilmember who supported unlimited refugee resettlement.

Given the different outcome, would the St. Cloud Times write that the City Council had done the right thing? Would the Times say that hiding such a resolution was a good thing? Or would they criticize the angry mob for hiding the resolution from the people? Would they praise the City Council for their lack of transparency? Or would they criticize them for ambushing an unsuspecting city councilmember?

If you attended the meeting 2 weeks ago or watched it livestreamed, you don’t have to imagine anything. You watched it play out that way, just with the roles reversed.

The point of this thought exercise is to highlight the importance of a few things, starting with the necessity of playing fair. Without consistent enforcement of the rules, chaos runs rampant. Without enforcing the rules of the City Council, people might get ambushed, which is what happened on Oct. 23.

Another thing that hasn’t been emphasized enough is the fact that Councilman Goerger’s resolution, which called for a just and welcoming city, wasn’t discussed with respect towards those who didn’t agree with them. The meeting was the definition of chaotic:

This ambush was the City Council at its worst. It didn’t discuss the issue thoroughly or respectfully. The Council didn’t listen to the people before shutting down debate. Worst, the Council wasn’t interested in having a debate. Those that sided with Jeff Goerger were interested in winning. They cared more about mob rule than they cared about principled, respectful governance.

Last Monday, the St. Cloud City Council went off the deep end. On Ox in the Afternoon’s Friday program, it was said that the City Council “flipped us the bird.” This was planned. Most disgustingly, it was a surprise ambush. Jeff Goerger put forward a resolution for the Council’s consideration. In putting forward the resolution, Goerger ignored the rules that the City Council revised this past August.

Apart from the tactics used, and infinitely more important, the City Council didn’t listen to the people. There have been a large group of people clamoring for an independent audit that tells St. Cloud residents how much of their taxes are being spent on subsidized housing, education, public safety, health and other things. That’s what was the driving force behind Councilman Johnson’s moratorium. City Council President Lewis, Councilman Laraway, Councilman Libert, Councilman Goerger and Councilman Masters voted against accountability and transparency.

They, along with Mayor Kleis, sang from the same discredited ‘hymnal’ that this is a federal issue that doesn’t intersect with the city’s budget. If they want to continue singing that discredited refrain, that’s their right. It’s also St. Cloud’s right to defeat each of these councilmembers the next time they’re up for re-election.

Goerger, Masters, Laraway, Lewis and Libert exposed themselves as unworthy of being called leaders. They did what Kleis wanted them to do. That makes them sheep, not leaders. Further, Goerger, Masters, Laraway, Lewis and Libert attempted to quiet the city with this resolution. They did the opposite. Rather than having a rational discussion with their constituents, the City Council essentially told the people to shut up, that they knew what’s best.

Goerger’s condescension was showing when he introduced his resolution, which was titled “in support of a just and welcoming community.” The implication wasn’t lost on St. Cloud. It’s apparent that Goerger thinks that those that disagree with him aren’t just. His introductory speech made that clear, saying “This one guy bringing forward a resolution is not the voice of the City Council”:

What is the City Council afraid of? It’s clear that they thought that they had to control the debate. It’s clear that the Council felt they had to repudiate Councilman Johnson. It’s clear that there’s a sizable and growing group of people who simply want to know that their taxes aren’t getting spent foolishly.

The other unmistakable message sent by the City Council was that they have no intention of being transparent with the people of St. Cloud. The unmistakable message sent by Councilman Goerger is that he’s a liberal who isn’t that bright. In his resolution, he stated that “the city of St. Cloud has the capacity to provide municipal services to the aforementioned prospective new residents without an impact on the city budget or quality of life.”

Anyone that thinks that refugees don’t have an impact on the city budget is delusional. I wrote in this post that this was a crystallizing event. Further, it’s clear from watching the video of the meeting that there were essentially as many citizens opposing Goerger’s resolution as supporting. Why, then, was the vote lopsided in favoring Goerger’s resolution?

Further, people are saying that the Goerger resolution passed. It didn’t. The only vote taken was on whether to call the question. No votes were taken on whether to approve Goerger’s resolution. This video clearly shows that:

That’s shown approximately 1:20:00 into the video. Within seconds of the vote to call the question, Council President Lewis adjourned the meeting.

Finally, it’s clear that the anti-transparency activists weren’t there to listen people with a different opinion. They were there to shout down people who disagreed with them. Think about that. The people supporting the resolution titled “in support of a just and welcoming community” shouted down the people who wanted a full, respectful discussion. These anti-transparency activists who demand St. Cloud be a welcoming community were openly hostile to Councilman Johnson.

That’s both ironic and pathetic.

After last week’s fiasco in Duluth, in which protestors shut down public testimony on the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline project, St. Cloud officials exercised caution for Thursday’s planned testimony for the Public Utilities Commission. In the end, Mayor Kleis opted to not hold the hearing. That means the anti-pipeline protestors have won a victory just by threatening a hearing.

St. Cloud Mayor Kleis explained his thinking for shutting down the event, saying “Based on the size of the event and some of the challenges at previous meetings, there’s a cost. The costs have to be met and a plan needs to be in place that meets the public safety needs based on the assessment that our police give us. For Thursday night, based on the crowd (expected) and other use of the facility, the venue would be problematic unless they can meet those demands. It’s their choice to make, but we need to make sure the public and taxpayers are safe.”

Minnesota Petroleum Council Executive Director Erin Roth issued a statement Wednesday night, saying “There’s no doubt that today’s decision to cancel the public meeting on Line 3 is disappointing. What’s worse is that communities are put in this position by highly coordinated protest activities that actively obstruct civil discourse, stifle free speech, and disrespect those in attendance who are there to respectfully voice their opinion. Minnesotans deserve an open and transparent process that examines this important infrastructure project and the benefits that would come from it.”

Last week, anti-pipeline thugs stopped a public hearing in Duluth’s Entertainment & Convention Center, aka the DECC. (I wrote about that event here.) These thugs’ intent is to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with them. This paragraph sums everything up perfectly:

Proponents say the line is an essential piece of infrastructure for petroleum shippers and refineries in the region. Opponents say the pipeline won’t benefit Minnesota, and that it threatens Minnesota’s watershed and the Mississippi River headwaters.

I’ve heard the environmental terrorists’ predictions for 40+ years. They’ve been off by incredible amounts each time they’ve made a prediction. When the Sierra Club opposed the Alaskan Pipeline, the Sierra Club said that North Slope and Prudhoe Bay would pump oil for 4-5 years. The pipeline opened in 1977. It’s still transporting oil in 2017.

Here’s what the approval process has looked like for Enbridge:

Everything is wrong with that picture.

Tonight, the St. Cloud City Council, with 1 exception, voted to ignore federal statutes by approving Jeff Goerger’s resolution. Significant portions of Goerger’s ‘Welcoming Resolution’ were incorrect and possibly intentionally dishonest. For instance, a paragraph in Goerger’s Welcoming Resolution said “Whereas the Refugee Act of 1980 does not create a mandate for local, city and county government.”

That’s entirely incorrect. Councilman Jeff Johnson’s resolution, which wasn’t officially introduced tonight, highlighted that “WHEREAS, the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(2)(A): “The Director and the Federal agency administering subsection (b)(1), shall consult regularly (not less often than quarterly) with State and local governments and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities.”

Clearly, the Refugee Act of 1980 required the federal government to consult with state and local governments no less than once every 3 months before dumping refugees into a city’s laps. If Mr. Goerger doesn’t think that that’s a mandate, then he needs a dictionary because the definition of mandate is “a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative” or “an authoritative order or command.”

Earlier in the Refugee Act of 1980, it said “the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(1)(A)(iii) “local voluntary agency activities should be conducted in close cooperation and advance consultation with State and local governments.”

UPDATE: A loyal reader of LFR called me after tonight’s meeting and told me that the resolution didn’t pass. Dave Masters called the question, meaning that the vote that was taken right before adjourning tonight’s meeting was a vote on whether to end discussion on the properly seconded motion. Carol Lewis asked for the yeas and nays, with 5 people voting for and Jeff Johnson voting against. Less than 5 seconds after the vote to call the question happened, Ms. Lewis, as the City Council President, adjourned the meeting.

What’s more is that Ms. Lewis reopened the meeting that she adjourned after she’d been told that they hadn’t voted on approving the resolution. Proper parliamentary procedure requires that a meeting that’s been adjourned can’t be re-opened.

UPDATE II: Another loyal reader of LFR called and told me that between 5 and 7 Somali men surrounded Councilman Johnson immediately following the meeting. According to this eyewitness, Councilman Johnson didn’t have a exit path. I don’t know if this is a picture of these Somalis surrounding Councilman Johnson but it’s certainly likely:

The caption reads “St. Cloud City Council member Jeff Johnson talks with community leaders following a council meeting Monday, October 23, at city hall.”

I’ll have more to say about tonight’s meeting later today. Hint: The City Council ambushed Jeff Johnson.

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Steve Bannon’s litmus test is foolish. Bannon insists that he’ll primary all GOP senators up for re-election except Ted Cruz. What’s stupid about Bannon’s litmus test isn’t that he’s targeting GOP establishment incumbents. It’s that he’s endorsing candidates that were establishment candidates. According to the article, “For months, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been media training Rosendale, according to a person close to the campaign. In addition to any help he gets from Bannon, Rosendale is a client of the consulting firm On Message, one of the most “establishment” consulting firms in Washington, which is running his media and digital operations.”

I can’t blame Rosendale for wanting Bannon’s endorsement. Building the biggest possible coalition makes sense if you want to win. What’s interesting is that Guy Harrison, a partner at On Message, said “In every primary, every candidate learns how to put together a winning coalition. That means various factions of the party. Those that create the largest coalitions tend to win.”

It doesn’t sound like he’s much of a Bannonite. It sounds like he’s an establishment candidate. Either way, Mitch McConnell isn’t taking this lightly:

PERINO: So, Senator McConnell, is tax reform a must pass? And if you get that legislative success, is it the antidote to Steve Bannon’s agitation against you?
MCCONNELL: Well, let me just say with regard to the element that you’re referring to here, they’ve been out there for a number of years. They cost us five Senate seats in 2010 and 2012. We would have gotten the majority of senators but for the fact that they were able to nominate people who could not win in November. In ’14, they were defeated everywhere. In ’16, they were defeated everywhere. And the difference is, we’ve been in the majority, in 2014 and 2016, two congresses in a row.

Look, this is not about personalities. This is about achievement. And in order to make policy, you have to actually win the election. The kind of people that are supported by the element that you’d just been referring are specialists in defeating Republican candidates in November. And that’s what these inner-party skirmishes about. Our goal is to nominate people in the primaries next year who can actually win and the people who win will be the ones who enact the president’s agenda.

Here’s the videotaped interview:

This article highlights the fact that environmental activists aren’t trustworthy. For years, we’ve heard activists from the Sierra Club, Conservation Minnesota and Friends of the Boundary Waters tell us that the sulfur embedded within the copper deposits will stunt the growth of wild rice while poisoning the water.

Pro-mining people questioned the environmental activists’ claims throughout. We’re finding out why the pro-mining people were skeptical. First, before getting into that, I wrote about a University of Minnesota study on wild rice growth a couple years ago. The study reported that rice growth was stunted except when there was high concentrations of iron in the water. The study found that iron mitigated the damage sulfur caused to the rice.

I said back then that there was a pretty high probability that water flowing through the Iron Range would have high concentrations of iron in it. Back then, I quoted from an LTE that said “In 2013 the state hired the University of Minnesota to do a scientific study of the effects of sulfates on wild rice and to determine what the standard should be. Also the Minnesota chamber hired an independent laboratory to do the same. Both studies agree that sulfate is not toxic to wild rice. The studies also found that if sulfates turn to sulfides it does slow the growth of wild rice. However if there is iron present in the water, iron combines with the sulfides and doesn’t allow the sulfides to affect the wild rice.”

This picture is worth thousands of words of anti-mining spin:

The caption reads “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words: Much has been written lately about how sulfate discharges from mines may stunt wild rice growth. Here is a photo of wild rice on Birch Lake (Dunka Bay) ‘stunted’ by sulfate discharges in the Dunka River from the Dunka and Northshore mines. Why are new studies needed when actual results already exist? Photo by Pete Pastika.” Good question, Pete. Personally, I think the time for studies is over. The time for Minnesota to approve the final permits is now.

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To read Politico’s article on the DNC, you’d think they’re in a world of hurt. That’s the only logical conclusion to be reached after reading “The Democratic National Committee is reeling, facing a turnaround that’s proving a much bigger lift than anyone expected as it struggles to raise enough money to cover its basic promises. Many donors are refusing to write checks. And on-the-ground operatives worry they won’t have the resources to build the infrastructure they need to compete effectively in next year’s midterms and in the run-up to 2020.”

It’s tough to read quotes that attempt to paint over the DNC’s difficulties. According to the article, “Donors, small and large, are so over the party,’ said Nebraska party chair Jane Kleeb, summing up the problem facing DNC chairman Tom Perez and his counterparts in the states. Kleeb, who is working on grassroots fundraising efforts for the committee, said she believes the money will come eventually.” That sounds like spin to me. What has Kleeb seen that makes her think that donor enthusiasm will increase? Or is that statement wishful thinking? It’s most likely wishful thinking.

Much of the immediate anxiety centers on the State Party Innovation Fund, a planned $10.5 million competitive grant program that DNC leadership has made available to interested state parties over the next year. The money is meant to pay for organizing, ground operations and other mechanics seen as essential to countering Republican National Committee investments that helped elect Donald Trump and a slew of other Republican candidates in 2016, leapfrogging Democrats in the process.

Desperation is setting in. This video highlights the outlandish statements Perez is becoming famous for:

In Las Vegas, Minnesota party chairman Ken Martin, the president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, went out of his way while speaking to a gathering of state party executive directors to assure them the grant program was on schedule, since the money will be doled out over the course of a year and so doesn’t have to be raised yet, said one Democrat in the room.

All the wishful thinking in the world won’t solve the DNC’s problems. While it’s a stretch to think the DNC is listening to its death knell, it isn’t a stretch to think that they’re in trouble.

The defeats keep piling up against SEIU. SEIU’s latest legal humiliation wasn’t just a defeat but a humiliation. SEIU “Local 775 filed suit to block the Freedom Foundation, a Washington State-based free-market think tank, from reaching out to home health aides to inform them they could no longer be compelled to pay union dues and fees following a 2014 Supreme Court ruling. King County Superior Court Judge Steve Rosen granted a summary judgment on Friday tossing the union’s claim that the group’s outreach constituted ‘tortious interference,’ in which a party causes economic harm to another.”

Make no mistake about SEIU’s lawsuit. SEIU’s losing streak is bad for business. Their stature and confidence are getting shattered. People understand that public employee unions can’t force employees to pay union dues. That’s resulting in a significant loss of revenue to PEUs. That’s resulting in SEIU losing political relevance, which is the threat most feared by the unions.

“The Freedom Foundation has prevailed on the merits every time a judge has considered them in this lawsuit,” foundation chief litigation counsel David Dewhirst said. “For the unions, this case isn’t about the merits. It’s about inflicting maximum damage against the Freedom Foundation through the discovery process. And it’s also about stalling for time because with every day that goes by, more dues money comes out of the paychecks of people who may not even know they’re in a union, let alone share its values.”

This video summarizes the lawsuit beautifully:

SEIU Local 925 in Washington lost about half of its dues paying members after home daycare workers were no longer forced to keep paying dues, according a 2015 Freedom Foundation report.

If this doesn’t sound like a death spiral, nothing will:

“Nearly half of Washington’s approximately 7,000 family child care providers have exercised their newly acknowledged rights and left SEIU 925 since the Harris decision. The percentage of providers paying dues to the union fell from 100 percent in July 2014 to 53.2 percent (3,738) in May 2015,” the report said.

That’s what happens when people have a choice on whether to join a PEU.

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Mark Jaede has been a DFL activist for years. I remember covering an event he planned during Gov. Dayton’s government shutdown in July, 2011. Jaede’s activism hasn’t waned since then. In fact, Dr. Jaede is using government resources to promote his political activism. Last night, I got an email from a loyal reader of LFR. Included in the email is the email Dr. Jaede sent to St. Cloud State’s Announce listserv.

From what I’ve been told, Announce is only supposed to be used to announce University events. If people want to discuss community-related events, they’re supposed to use the Discuss listserv. This isn’t the first time Dr. Jaede has misused this government resource.

Dr. Jaede opened his activist announcement by saying “Colleagues, St. Cloud City Council Member Jeff Johnson reportedly plans to submit a resolution calling for a temporary ban on resettlement of refugees in St. Cloud. This is an action associated with the anti-Muslim speakers who have been touring Minnesota and recently held an anti-Muslim session at Granite City Baptist Church. You can learn more here: http://www.unitecloud.org/supportcentralmnrefugees/ If you wish to share your views on the resolution, you can find councilmembers’ email addresses here: http://ci.stcloud.mn.us/Directory.aspx?DID=35

This isn’t related to the University. That’s political activism. There’s more to Jaede’s email:

The Mission – St. Cloud, MN – Official Website
ci.stcloud.mn.us
The mission of the City of St. Cloud is to provide high quality public services for our residents in a cost effective, responsive, innovative and professional manner …

Or you can attend the upcoming City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, October 23. If you are a St. Cloud resident you may address the council.

As always, any responses to this announcement should be sent to Discuss or to me personally, not to Announce.

Best,

Mark

If Jaede wants to be a DFL activist, that’s his choice. Being a DFL activist on the taxpayers’ dime isn’t ok, though.

According to his University webpage, Jaede is the “Director of Latin American Studies” at “St. Cloud State University.” Further, the webpage for St. Cloud State’s Latin-American Studies program states “When you choose the Latin American Studies program, you will learn about the people, lands and cultures of Latin America and their interactions with the rest of the world. You’ll study their language and their history as well as the social, economic, environmental and international issues facing the countries of that region. You will complete a year of coursework in Spanish or Portuguese and be encouraged to travel to view situations first-hand. Through service-learning projects and internships, you’ll have opportunities to work alongside those hoping to improve their corner of the world.”

I’m 100% positive that Somalia isn’t part of Latin America.

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