Archive for the ‘Cronyism’ Category
This article by Katherine Kersten is another outstanding article from her on the subject of how the Met Council intends to govern cities.
Kersten starts by informing readers that the “council’s vision to transform how the people of the Twin Cities region live and get around has two prongs. First, the Thrive plan will promote compact, high-density housing and ‘transit-oriented development’ (TOD).”
Prior to that, Ms. Kersten explained that mission “creep has been escalating for some time, but under Dayton, the overreach has reached a crisis point. The Thrive plan is a power grab that will impose intrusive, top-down controls on 186 municipalities, neutering the power of local elected officials. The plan, wrapped in vague and noble-sounding goals, imposes a host of new, ideologically driven criteria for municipal development that will give the council the raw power, unchecked by elected representatives, to dramatically remake our region.”
That’s a fancy way of talking about top-down, unelected government dictating the terms of how urban life will work under their vision. The DFL, BTW, is all in on this anti-democratic form of governing. Apparently, the DFL supports any type of government that silences dissent and We The People.
People shouldn’t trust appointed politicians. That’s why Minnesota needs to dramatically overhaul the Met Council. Unaccountable people who weren’t elected (they’re appointed) with the ability to raise taxes, which the Met Council has the authority to do, are anti-democratic. They shouldn’t be respected or tolerated.
Finally, in a just world, they shouldn’t exist.
UPDATE: A loyal reader of LFR sent this video to me:
It’s a great (and frightening) picture of the Met Council’s mission creep and its misguided ‘mission’.
When the Strib first reported that the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority, aka MSFA, had used 2 suites at the Vikings new stadium to entertain family members and DFL political allies, Minnesotans were rightfully outraged. According to this article, that outrage hasn’t diminished much, if at all.
I’m sure, though, that Minnesotans will sleep easier knowing that the MSFA has a new policy towards those suites. Michele Kelm-Helgen announced that “I clearly heard and understand that people did not support having friends and family in suites. We now have a new suite policy.”
Ms. Kelm-Helgen isn’t stupid. She had to know that this wasn’t right. It’s more likely that she’s arrogant or that she felt entitled. Initially, the MSFA said that they used the suites “to host potential clients”, which I wrote about in this post. Back then, the Pioneer Press wrote “Kelm-Helgen and Mondale said they and the four MSFA commissioners use the suites to host potential clients who are looking to rent all or portions of the stadium, which opened in August. But they also acknowledge they regularly invite friends and family to the suites. The two say they can’t reveal the identities of their guests because that would hinder their marketing efforts. However, they did release the identities of 12 current and former public officials who reimbursed the authority $200 for their tickets to the suite.”
This time, Ms. Kelm-Helgen was more forthright:
The chairwoman of the government authority that manages U.S. Bank Stadium defended the use of two luxury suites for officials’ friends and family before a panel of state lawmakers Wednesday, saying it’s been common practice for years.
Here’s a picture of one of the suites controlled by the MSFA:
Democrats will always do the right thing … when it’s the only option left.
Salena Zito’s article turns the spotlight on the MSM, aka the Agenda Media, to highlight why the media got this election badly wrong. Early in the article, Salena wrote about the NY Times, saying “Take The New York Times’ public editor’s laudable call for more diversity in the newsroom. ‘The executive editor, Dean Baquet, is African-American,’ Liz Spayd wrote. ‘The other editors on his masthead are white. The staff with the most diversity? The news assistants, who mostly do administrative jobs and get paid the least.'”
Then she made the important recommendation (I’d argue it’s essential) that reporters “need more people who come from a blue-collar background, who perhaps didn’t go to Brown and can be found in a pew on Sunday on a fairly regular basis.”
Yesterday, I wrote this post to highlight the absurdity of E.J. Dionne’s column. He’s totally certain that a Trump administration will be a disaster with a silver lining for Democrats. Last night, on the Kelly File, Nomiki Konst ‘debated’ Marc Thiessen and Guy Benson about whether Democrats were learning the lesson of this election. Konst insisted that it was all drive about the economy.
While there’s no doubt lots of people voted for Donald Trump because they think a billionaire might know a thing or 2 about reviving this pathetic recovery, it’s more than that. Mr. Trump promises to clean up the VA scandal, build a wall on the US-Mexican border, simplify the federal tax system and rein in the out-of-control EPA. In other words, he promised to make their lives better.
Voters didn’t just reject Mrs. Clinton’s message. In battleground state after battleground state, they essentially said ‘are you out of your flipping mind? We’ve suffered through 8 years of this crap and we’re tired of it.’ But I digress.
Benson and Thiessen both talked about how the Democratic Party is incapable of talking to people of faith or blue collar workers. It’s clear that they haven’t learned their lesson because the people who are the 2 ‘finalists’ for DNC chair, Keith Ellison and Thomas Perez, are incapable of connecting with those voters.
Paul Krugman thinks the Trump economic policies will tank. Thomas Friedman thinks that the Obama administration is the best friend Israel has ever had. Other inside-the-Beltway columnists missed the fact that miners and farmers are fed up with the EPA’s regulatory overreach.
It isn’t surprising why some of the biggest punchlines in Mr. Trump’s stump speeches were criticisms of the corrupt media. That was a galvanizing message. It’s what tied the blue collar workers together with the millionaires who built their companies from the ground up.
The journalist who didn’t miss what was happening this election was Salena Zito. This video illustrates why Salena got it right:
This weekend, I spoke with Ed Morrissey. Admittedly, neither of us predicted Trump winning. We both, however, gave Trump a shot at winning going into Election Night. When I told Ed that the common denominator for both of us is that we both listened to Salena Zito, he quickly agreed. We didn’t know that he’d win Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin but we knew that Trump’s message resonated with those economically disenfranchised voters.
If newsrooms don’t start sending their reporters out into the real world, if they don’t put a high priority on building a newsroom with cultural diversity, they’ll continue missing the big stories.
Finally, it’s time to thank Salena for her fantastic reporting. If she doesn’t win a slew of awards for her political reporting, it’ll prove that political editors are clueless.
Technorati: Mainstream Media, Agenda Media, Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman, New York Times, E.J. Dionne, Washington Post, Elitists, Salena Zito, Guy Benson, Marc Thiessen, Cultural Diversity, Donald Trump, Republicans, Keith Ellison, Thomas Perez, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Democrats, Election 2016
Richard Trumka’s misguided hissy fit should be seen for what it is: the actions of a desperate man who’s losing control of the people who pay his exorbitant salary.
When Trumka wrote “publicity stunts and Twitter rants are no substitute for a comprehensive, coherent economic strategy that invests in America and lifts up the voices and the power of working people”, what he’s really saying is that he’s hoping union workers wouldn’t listen to Republicans. He’s also saying he wants union workers to support the party of elitists, aka the Democratic Party, because he’s thankful for being part of the Party’s ‘royalty’.
Mr. Trumka hasn’t been in touch with the unions’ rank-and-file for decades. He’s blindly supported the Democratic Party’s anti-worker agenda, then tried telling workers that the table scraps that Democrats shovel them is like eating like a king.
Mr. Trumka is wrong when he said the “share of income going to the middle class has fallen in almost perfect correlation with the declining percentage of people working in jobs where they enjoy a union.” The share of income going to the middle class started falling when union fat-cats (like Trumka) paid more attention to lining their own pockets than they paid to fighting environmental activists who crushed their blue collar jobs.
Mr. Trumka was nowhere to be found when President Obama, Mrs. Clinton and Secretary Kerry killed the Keystone XL Pipeline project. That’s because he’d been bought off in the name of Democratic Party unity. The next time that Mr. Trumka speaks before the rank-and-file, the dues-paying members should pepper him with questions for why he isn’t representing them.
Let’s remember that Mr. Trumka sold out workers by supporting Obamacare, which essentially killed the unions’ Cadillac care health plans. That hurt blue collar workers immensely. It’s time for private sector unions to ask if people like Mr. Trumka has their best interests at heart.
Kim Strassel’s latest column highlights an exciting possibility for the American people. What’s exciting is a nerdy subject but a subject that might teach the average person the virtues of the system that our Founding Fathers gave us.
Ms. Strassel opened her article by writing “Donald Trump had barely finished announcing his pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency before the left started listing its million reasons why Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was the worst nomination in the history of the planet: He’s an untrained anti-environmentalist. He’s a polluter. He’s a fossil-fuel fanatic, a lobbyist-lover, a climate crazy. Mr. Pruitt is not any of those things. Here’s what he in fact is, and the real reason the left is frustrated: He’s a constitutional scholar, a federalist (and a lawyer). And for those reasons he is a sublime choice to knock down the biggest conceit of the Obama era—arrogant, overweening (and illegal) Washington rule.”
Then she wrote something that some of us have known for the entirety of President Obama’s administration:
We’ve lived so many years under the Obama reign that many Americans forget we are a federal republic, composed of 50 states. There isn’t a major statute on the books that doesn’t recognize this reality and acknowledge that the states are partners with—and often superior to—the federal government. That is absolutely the case with major environmental statues, from the Clean Air Act to the Clean Water Act to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Based on the Democrats’ description of Gen. Pruitt, you’d think he’d look like Lucifer himself. Instead, Pruitt looks like this:
If I earned $100 each time that the EPA has overstepped its statutory authority or constitutional boundaries, I’d be Warren Buffett-style rich. Scott Pruitt’s mission is to put the EPA back into its proper box. That’s only possible if Gen. Pruitt applies the principles of federalism to the EPA. That’s the last thing the environmental activists want. They want the EPA’s decisions moved as far away from the people and local control as possible. That’s why they support globalism. It’s the ultimate in unaccountability.
After his first two years in office, [President Obama] never could convince the Congress to pass another signature initiative. His response—and the enduring theme of his presidency—was therefore to ignore Congress and statutes, go around the partnership framework, and give his agencies authority to dictate policy from Washington. The states were demoted from partners to indentured servants. So too were any rival federal agencies that got in the EPA’s way. Example: The EPA’s pre-emptive veto of Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine, in which it usurped Army Corps of Engineers authority.
There’s much to unravel after 8 years of this administration running roughshod against the Constitution and the rule of law. Gen. Pruitt won’t fix it in a week or month or even in a year. Still, he’s the man uniquely qualified to dismantle the Obama administration’s regulatory leviathan.
One of the things that Donald Trump campaigned on was draining the swamp in DC. Lots of people question President-Elect Trump’s ability to do that. Former Minnesota State Sen. Ellen Anderson is the latest person to question Mr. Trump’s ability to drain the swamp. I’d tell Sen. Anderson that it all depends on what you classify as swamp. While researching this post, I found this article that offers a definition for draining the swamp. The article says “At its bottom, drain the swamp is a metaphor: If you drain the swamp, you eliminate the mosquitoes (or snakes and alligators, in other iterations) that breed disease. But, ironically, the original disease the expression referred to was the very thing Trump has built his campaign on: big business. Etymologist Barry Popik has traced drain the swamp back to the socialist movement of the early 20th century. In a 1903 letter to the Daily Northwestern, Winfield R. Gaylord, state organizer of the Social Democratic Party, precursor to Eugene Debs’ Socialist Party of America, wrote: ‘Socialists are not satisfied with killing a few of the mosquitoes which come from the capittalist [sic] swamp; they want to drain the swamp.'”
I’d modify that definition because it omits too many things that are ‘diseased’. What person with a heart thinks that the Veterans Administration isn’t diseased and infected? I triple-dog dare anyone to read this article, then tell me the VA doesn’t need a major overhaul. This article should turn people’s stomachs.
As disgusting as the situation is within the VA, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of draining the swamp in DC. This article highlights some of the corruption within the EPA:
Two EPA employees, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Susan Morris, will be taking EPA back to court to expose its treatment of whistleblowers and the impact on public health and civil rights. Senior former and current officials within EPA will be deposed, such as Ray Spears, former Deputy Chief of Staff to three EPA administrators; Rafael DeLeon, former Director of Civil Rights and Human Resources as well as legal advisor to EPA administrators; and Karen Higginbotham, former Civil Rights Director now a special assistant in the Office of the Administrator. The depositions will cover decades of allegations of corruption at the highest levels of the EPA. Corruption that has, no doubt, placed the public and EPA employees in jeopardy.
The cases, scheduled for trial in the spring will demonstrate how EPA senior officials in key positions used their authority to retaliate against employees who raised prohibited personnel practices and warned of dangers to public health. Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo won a significant jury award in her case against EPA a decade ago that resulted in the passage of the 2002 No FEAR Act by Congress. She returned to the agency after her successful case only to face more retaliation and eventual termination of her career.
Progressives have pushed the notion that only big business is corrupt. That’s BS. The truth is that the government is every bit as corrupt.
Here’s hoping that Trump cleans out the corruption in DC. It’s a tall task but it’s something that needs to be finished.
It isn’t a secret that Democrats aren’t fans of government reform. They’ve been the defenders of the status quo for years. Hillary Clinton was their presidential nominee. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are the faces of Senate and House Democrats. This trio of fossils aren’t mistaken for having fresh ideas. If they don’t want to be politically irrelevant, they need new management and fresh, appealing ideas.
In Minnesota, the DFL is slightly ahead of the game compared with the DNC. Still, they’re too reliant on cronyism. That’s what this article highlights.
Cronyism is the name of the game that Ted Mondale and Michelle Kelm-Helgen played with U.S. Bank Stadium suites. According to multiple reports, “Kelm-Helgen and Mondale, two government employees, control access to two lower-level luxury ‘Norseman Suites’ for all events at the stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The MSFA controls 36 tickets per game and the agency also got a nearly identical number of free parking spaces in the surface lot used by Vikings players.” That’s just the tip of the U.S. Bank Stadium iceberg. There’s more:
Kelm-Helgen and Mondale said they and the four MSFA commissioners use the suites to host potential clients who are looking to rent all or portions of the stadium, which opened in August. But they also acknowledge they regularly invite friends and family to the suites.
The two say they can’t reveal the identities of their guests because that would hinder their marketing efforts. However, they did release the identities of 12 current and former public officials who reimbursed the authority $200 for their tickets to the suite.
Here’s the description of what’s included in the Norseman Suites:
Norseman Lounge Suites
Highly exclusive 10 person Suites located between the 20 yard line and the end line just 36 rows from the field. Each Suite comes with access to the exclusive Lounge directly behind the Suite featuring a private bar and all-inclusive upscale food offerings, VIP parking, other event access, away game trips and much more. (NEWLY DESIGNED, ONLY 15 BUILT)
ABOUT THE NORSEMAN LOUNGE SUITES
• 36 Rows from the Field
• Side End zone – 20 yard line
• 6 fixed and 4 drink rail chairs with view to the field
• All-inclusive, unlimited beer, wine, high end food and non-alcoholic beverages
• Private/ Elite Lounge access
• 1 Annual Suite Holder Event on the field
• Super Bowl Access
• Away game road trips
• Access to other events
EXCLUSIVE SUITE BENEFITS
• VIP Parking Passes in a ramp in close proximity to the Stadium
• All-inclusive food and beverage package with a full-service concierge staff
• Participation in Team-arranged away road trips at points during the term of your Suite Agreement (limited to two (2) persons)
• The opportunity to purchase a to-be-determined number of Super Bowl tickets (not Suite tickets) in any year the Vikings participate in the Super Bowl or the Super Bowl is held at the new Stadium
Frankly, it’s disgusting that Kelm-Helgen and Mondale insist that they “can’t reveal the identities of their guests because that would hinder their marketing efforts.” That’s spin for saying ‘giving out that list would be politically embarrassing.’
I’d say that some DFL (sense of) entitlement reform is required.
Technorati: Michelle Kelm-Helgen, Ted Mondale, Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, Entitlement Reform, Accountability, Mark Dayton, US Bank Stadium, Norseman Lounge Suites, Betsy Hodges, Cronyism, DFL Culture of Corruption, Myron Frans, DFL
In Part I of this series, I highlighted how the SEIU Healthcare MN union are stealing families’ Medicaid benefits. From a moral standpoint, it’s difficult to justify SEIU’s actions. As Kim Crockett, the vice president and senior policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment, explained in her op-ed, “Minnesota’s Choice PCA program was created in the 1970s when the Legislature wisely decided it was more humane and more cost-effective to care for persons with disabilities in their own homes rather than in a state institution.”
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to think of something more noble or dignifying than a family member taking care of a loved one with a disability in their own home. Picturing that in my mind’s eye is an inspiring thought. What isn’t inspiring is thinking about the things that the Dayton administration has done to protect SEIU Healthcare MN. In fact, it’s a disgusting thought. First, Gov. Dayton assisted SEIU Healthcare in rigging the initial election. The Dayton administration saw to it that voter turnout was low. The result was the SEIU winning “the biggest labor election in Minnesota history with just 13 percent support of eligible PCAs.” It’s especially disgusting when you think of the fact that “most PCAs did not even know there was a vote.”
Now that the PCAs are fighting for a vote to decertify SEIU Healthcare MN, the Dayton administration is fighting these parents. First, “a coalition of caregivers and advocates called ‘MNPCA.org’ was formed to demand a new vote.” The Dayton administration is assisting because the “MNPCA has a very short window of time to demonstrate a ‘showing of interest,’ defined as handwritten signatures of 30 percent of PCAs, to call for a new vote.”
The Dayton administration is fighting these families:
Getting signatures requires a good contact list. The SEIU receives updated PCA contact information every two weeks. But when MNPCA requested an updated list, the state stalled for five months and refused to give them accurate information, instead giving MNPCA two bad lists. Also, the SEIU and state began negotiating a new contract almost year before the current one expires. If that process is completed before MNPCA gets a new election, the decertification effort will be defeated.
With the window to call for a new vote rapidly closing; the last date to file for a new election is Dec. 2; MNPCA took the state to court. A Ramsey County judge ruled that PCAs must be given the data they requested. Yet even with a judge’s order, the state failed to give MNPCA a complete and accurate list. MNPCA asked the judge to help but for now has to assume the deadline will not change.
It’s impossible to believe that the Dayton administration can’t get an accurate list of PCAs to MNPCA in a timely fashion when they’re updating SEIU Healthcare MN with a list every 2 weeks.
Remember this the next time you hear Tina Smith or some other DFL political hack talk about being for the little guy. That’s BS. They’re for whoever will contribute large sums of money to their political campaigns. It has nothing to do with fighting for the little guy.
In this instance, Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t fighting for the little guy. Instead, they’re fighting the little guy. What’s worst is that the DFL is fighting the little guy on behalf of a big money special interest group.
The thieves wearing SEIU union uniforms, along with their DFL political allies, have stolen money from families. This article highlights how the theft happened.
According to the article, “Recently, the union’s stooges in the capital declared some 27,000 of the state’s personal-care assistants (PCAs) ‘public employees’ – but only for purposes of collective bargaining, i.e., so they can be unionized. As a result, the SEIU is siphoning 3% of its members’ very modest Medicaid supplement.”
Kim Crockett’s op-ed explains SEIU’s racket, saying “Minnesota’s Choice PCA program was created in the 1970s when the Legislature wisely decided it was more humane and more cost-effective to care for persons with disabilities in their own homes rather than in a state institution. The Legislature funds a Medicaid benefit, given to a person with a disability, to pay for PCA care at home. Most often, PCAs are family members or close friends.”
First, let’s hear SEIU explain how family members taking care of loved ones with disabilities are government employees. Next, let’s hear SEIU explain why they deserve a penny of these families’ Medicaid benefits. Third, let’s hear Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature of 2013 explain why they sided with the SEIU rather than with families caring for loved ones with disabilities.
PCAs are people who have chosen to be the primary caregiver of a disabled person; in the vast majority of cases, a family member (usually a spouse or child). Some of the disabilities are so severe that the caregiver is unable to work outside the home. And so Minnesota established a PCA program which allows them to receive some Medicaid support.
In the old days, many of the disabled would have been institutionalized in a government-run facility, a system that was costly and scary. The current PCA Medicaid program allows these people to stay at home and be cared for by someone who loves them.
The heartless SEIU thinks it deserves a portion of these families’ Medicaid support. Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislators from 2013 agree with the SEIU. What isn’t known is why Gov. Dayton and the DFL agree with the SEIU from a policy standpoint. It isn’t difficult to figure out why Gov. Dayton and the DFL agree with the heartless bastards in the SEIU from a political standpoint.
When it comes to standing up to heartless special interests, Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t profiles in courage.
SEIU Healthcare insists that it’s helping these PCAs:
Key victories in the contract include workers receiving a paid time off benefit for the first time (five days of paid time off for full-time workers), raising the pay floor from $9 to $11 by 2016, a grievance and arbitration procedure to address wage theft, and a training fund to improve the quality of care they provide to people with disabilities and seniors.
How many parents can take time off when caring for a child with a severe disability? The ‘benefit’ is mostly a mirage.
Thus far in this series, I’ve highlighted the fact that the ISD742 School Board hasn’t talked about St. Cloud’s high school enrollment forecasts for the short-, medium- and long-term. They didn’t tell voters that they’ve already purchased the land for a new Tech HS. That wasn’t announced on the District’s website. It was announced this past week on Dan Ochsner’s radio program when a current school board member called into Ox’s show and blurted that information out.
Last year, voters found out in the newspaper that there wasn’t a finalized set of blueprints for people to look at because, according to Barclay Carriar, “with the cost of designing a building, 80 percent of it isn’t going to be designed until after the referendum. And the plans we’ve got now are still tentative.”
Last year, taxpayers didn’t know that the plans were “still tentative.” This year, we didn’t know that the District had already purchased the land where the new Tech HS is supposed to be built at. The next logical question that taxpayers should demand answers to is what other information the School Board hasn’t disclosed. At this point, taxpayers don’t know where the money came from to pay for the Tech HS land. That’s certainly something that we should know. Did the District have enough money tucked away to pay for the land? At this point, taxpayers don’t know.
The thing that taxpayers know, though, is that they aren’t writing any blank checks this year. This isn’t the time when people are trusting politicians. The School Board is asking taxpayers to approve the biggest property tax increase in St. Cloud history without telling taxpayers that they’ve already bought the land for the new high school. That’s terrible because the taxpayers haven’t approved the bonds yet. That tells taxpayers that the School Board is taking them for granted.
Just because the School Board is a rubberstamp doesn’t mean that taxpayers are a rubberstamp. Taxpayers don’t want a canned presentation. They want input from start to finish. That’s something that the School Board isn’t willing to relinquish.
In my estimation, the ISD742 School Board has transitioned from being public servants to being arrogant taskmasters. That’s why the bonding referendum must be defeated. That’s why we need new School Board members elected ASAP.