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A loyal reader of LFR just sent me a notice that the SD-14 GOP is hosting a gubernatorial debate next Wednesday, April 18. Here’s the details of the event:

All of the GOP candidates will participate in this debate so it’s people’s chance to gauge the candidates’ command of the issues and their poise without having to deal with the Twin Cities’ Media filter. See you there.

After watching the interview (see video below) and reading this article, it’s obvious that Prof. Larry Jacobs isn’t an objective observer in the Minnesota governor’s race in 2018.

Speaking about the GOP race, Jacobs said “It’s quite possible that Jeff Johnson, who has been in the race and winning a lot of these delegates, could win that endorsement headed into the primary as the party’s endorsed candidate against Tim Pawlenty. Everything is up in the air.”

First, I don’t have a dog in this fight beyond wanting the strongest candidate possible. I’m tired of candidates that can’t raise money and don’t excite the base. At this point, I’ll support the strongest candidate but only if they can raise money and get elected. Right now, I don’t see Jeff Johnson being able to raise the money it’ll take to be competitive. We’ve seen this episode before. (See 2014 vs. Gov. Dayton.)

Let’s admit something else right now. Both candidates are establishment candidates. They aren’t Trumpists, which is fine. They’re both excellent on policy. They’ve both proven that they aren’t inept like Gov. Dayton. When it comes to major projects like MNLARS, MNsure and the elder care crisis, Gov. Dayton has been terrible.

What’s telling from Prof. Jacobs’ interview with WCCO’s Esme Murphy is that Prof. Jacobs’ statement that “Tim Pawlenty has got all sorts of great things going for him — name recognition and a gold-plated Rolodex to raise money from and he’s a fabulous communicator to the point that both Republican and DFL leaders say that he’s probably the best candidate but he’s also the guy that came out against Donald Trump.”

Let’s be clear about this. When your potential opponents from across the aisle say that you’re likely the best candidate, that’s going to open fundraising doors, both in Minnesota and with the RGA. If Pawlenty’s the GOP candidate, the RGA will dump lots of money into the race. If Jeff Johnson is the GOP candidate, that isn’t likely.

Those are definite starting structural advantages in Gov. Pawlenty’s favor. They aren’t impossible to overcome but it’s daunting nonetheless. Things might be “up in the air” but I’d rather start in Pawlenty’s position.

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This evening, a pair of loyal readers of LFR sent me an email chain with a list of questions from an area resident who is worried about some things in his community. The question that caught my attention asked “What individuals have made determinations on what, when and how many refugees would be resettled to the greater St. Cloud area? What organizations do these individuals represent?” Karin Blythe replied “These two questions both strike at the federal role and responsibility in administering the Refugee Reception & Placement (Resettlement) Program. The State Department overseas the program through the Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration, and they determine the location in which refugees are resettled. The State Department develops a Cooperative Agreement with affiliates, such as Lutheran Social Service of MN, that stipulates the services we must provide in order to maintain our contract with them. In that Cooperative Agreement, we are instructed to develop relationships with seven designated stakeholders in the community and provide information from our meetings with those stakeholders back to the State Department. They clearly detail the agenda for that meeting and then require that we provide notes and quarterly reports of the meeting. They use that information in their assessments for resettlement placement. The stakeholders required in that Cooperative Agreement are 1. State Refugee Coordinator, 2. State Refugee Health Coordinator, 3. Rep from Local Governance, 4. Rep from Local Public Health, 5. Rep from Social Services, 6. Rep from Public Safety, and 7. Rep from Education. You attended our most recent convening of that gathering.”

I’m betting that Ms. Blythe doesn’t realize that she just admitted that the State Department didn’t obey the Refugee Act of 1980. I’m betting that Ms. Blythe doesn’t know that 8 U.S. Code 1522(b) states that ‘The director shall develop and implement in consultation with representatives of voluntary agencies and state and local governments policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees within the United States.”

8 U.S. Code 1522(c)(2) states “The director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement will provide for a mechanism whereby representatives of local affiliates of voluntary agencies regularly, not less than quarterly, meet with representatives of state and local governments to plan and coordinate in advance of their arrival the appropriate placement of refugees amongst various states and localities.”

First, the director being talked about in 8 U.S. Code 1522(b) is the director of the office of “the Minnesota Office of Refugee Resettlement.” Next, it’s worth noting that Ms. Blythe states unambiguously that the State Department “develops a Cooperative Agreement with affiliates, such as Lutheran Social Service of MN” and that this Cooperative Agreement “stipulates the services” Volags like LSS of Minnesota “must provide” to maintain their contract with the State Department.

In other words, Ms. Blythe thinks that the State Department dictates to the Volag what they must do and that the local government is just to be informed. She clearly isn’t informed. Other things that can be learned from Ms. Blythe’s reply are that she anticipates refugees needing to use lots of health care and that they’ll use lots of things from Social Services.

In Councilman Jeff Goerger’s resolution, Goerger insinuated that there wasn’t much of a cost to city taxpayers. Based on the stakeholders list, I’m betting that there’s a substantial cost to taxpayers.

This past Tuesday, St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson participated in a high-profile discussion of the Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980. Saying that it was a fascinating discussion is understatement. Each panelist made an opening presentation, which was followed by a Q & A period. These presentations were made by Don Barnett, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, Richard Thompson, the president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, and Councilman Johnson.

Follow this link to the transcript of the presentations.

During his presentation, Don Barnett quoted Ted Kennedy, the chief author of the bill, as saying “because the admission of refugees is a federal decision and lies outside of normal immigration procedures, the federal government has a clear responsibility to assist communities in resettling refugees and helping them to become self-supporting. The basic issues here were the length of time of federal responsibility and the method of its administration. State and local agencies were insistent that federal assistance must continue long enough to assure that local citizens will not be taxed for programs they did not initiate and for which they were not responsible. The program must assure full and adequate federal support for refugee resettlement programs by authorizing permanent funding for state, local, and volunteer projects.”

That might be one of the most sensible things Sen. Kennedy ever said. Here’s the video of Barnett’s presentation:

Based on what the bill’s chief author said, the federal government isn’t living up to its responsibilities. Certainly, there’s no denying the fact that the bill’s chief author knows what the legislative intent is. During his presentation, Councilman Johnson focused on the bill from the “perspective from the local city level.” Councilman Johnson said “And I want to say on my watch this really started brewing in St. Cloud approximately three years ago, where my constituents – I represent Ward 4 – started asking questions about the Refugee Resettlement Program, about why am I spending money in a program that I have no representation. This is a classic case of taxation without representation. So this started to boil over time.”

Johnson continued:

To summarize that meeting, what I saw, four things were occurring. One, we have a nonprofit religious organization, OK, taking federal dollars, and they were pocketing approximately $1,000 per refugee. The allocation’s about 3,300 (dollars), but they got to keep about $1,000 per refugee, OK? They were not being transparent with the public, and it got to the point where they actually had a deputy at the door monitoring who was coming into the meetings. And I said you need to open up these meetings because you’re using federal dollars, you’re a nonprofit organization, and to me it was becoming apparent that they were acting like a for-profit corporation.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s more of that ‘iceberg’:

So finally, what led up to kind of a culminating event in St. Cloud was a resolution that I had introduced into the City Council in November. And it’s a simple one-page resolution. I call it legalized plagiarism: All I did is about two-thirds of this resolution was quoted right from the Refugee Act of 1980. And I’d like to read a couple parts. Mark mentioned it early on in the presentation; it’s so important I want to mention it again just briefly. And this is the actual language in the resolution. It says “Whereas the Refugee Act of 1980 states that 8 U.S. Code 1522(b),” quote, “‘The director'” – I’m talking about the Minnesota Office of Refugee Resettlement director – “‘shall develop and implement in consultation with representatives of voluntary agencies and state and local governments'” – that’s me, OK? – “‘policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees within the United States.’” The next paragraph has even more teeth from the U.S. Code: “Whereas the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S. Code 1522(c)(2) The director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement will” – “will” is a pretty strong word – quote, “‘provide for a mechanism whereby representatives of local affiliates of voluntary agencies regularly, not less than quarterly, meet with representatives of state and local governments to plan and coordinate in advance of their arrival the appropriate placement of refugees amongst various states and localities.'”

LSS was doing its utmost to hide their actions:

What was going on here in St. Cloud is Lutheran Social Services – and after kind of pulling some teeth I finally got their abstract to kind of find out what was going on – is they were going ahead with this process. And then, because I was so persistent, it was like show and tell. I’d show up at the quarterly meetings and they’d tell me what they did. My argument is that is a violation of federal law. That is not in advance planning, all right? This is show and tell. I’m finding out after the fact. So what was going on, this was feeding into the frustration, again, to the taxpayers, the people of Ward 4 in St. Cloud that I represent.

This is how refugee resettlement rose to become the potent political issue it’s become.

The first truth about the Refugee Resettlement Program is that the federal government isn’t living up to its obligation. The next truth about the Refugee Resettlement Program is that it’s become more like an unfunded mandate with time. The third truth about the Refugee Resettlement Program is that the federal government is hostile to counties and municipalities. They don’t care whether their program drives up local taxes. The federal government’s attitude seems to be that ‘that’s their problem.’

The other thing that’s important in all of this is that the City Council, the people on the front lines on this, are supposed to protect their citizens’ interests. They aren’t there to protect the state’s interests. That’s what we have legislators for. They aren’t there to protect the federal government’s interests. That’s why we have congressmen and senators. If the city council won’t push back against the federal government, then they’re worthless. They should be replaced by people who insist on accountability and transparency.

The finger-pointing must stop immediately. While the program is administered by the federal government, it’s indisputable that municipalities and counties have shouldered an increasing percentage of the burden for this program.

It isn’t that St. Cloud is hostile to refugees. It’s that we’re upset with the federal government and with Lutheran Social Services.

Tuesday morning, the Center of Immigration Studies, aka CIS, held a panel discussion on the topic of refugee resettlement. The participating panelists were Don Barnett, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and widely published on refugee resettlement and asylum issues, Richard Thompson, the President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, and St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson.

Based on the verified information presented during the discussion, it’s clear that the United States needs to rethink its refugee resettlement policies, not just for its own good but also for the good of the refugees. During the discussion, moderator Mark Krikorian said that the “point of refugee resettlement should be a last resort for people who literally cannot stay where they are for a second longer.” He then highlighted a report from “the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees”, which said that just “281 of the over 118,000 refugees, or 0.40 percent, the United Nations has dispatched to safe nations around the world, most to the United States, actually faced threats requiring their immediate removal. This emergency level applies to cases in which the immediacy of security and/or medical condition necessitates removal from the threatening conditions within a few days, if not within hours.”

Further, one of the other statistics presented during the event shows that it costs 12 times more to resettle refugees in the United States or other western nations than it costs to resettle refugees within the region of their birth. This information makes this propaganda video virtually irrelevant:

People need to start asking pro-refugee resettlement organizations whether it’s more important to import refugees into unfamiliar surroundings at high prices or whether it’s more important to resettle these refugees into regional camps in familiar territory at one-twelfth the cost. If the goal is to improve these refugees’ lives, then keeping them in familiar territory is imperative. If the goal is to use a federal government program to pay the salaries for Volag fat-cats, then we shouldn’t change anything.

UniteCloud has been a leading advocate for maintaining the status quo on resettlement policy. In this post, UniteCloud spends most of their bandwidth criticizing Jeff Johnson but they made some important admissions:

Much of Jeff’s focus has been on Lutheran Social Services, since they are the only refugee resettlement agency in Central MN. He claims that LSS has not been transparent enough and, to some extent, that has been true. Because of the combative nature of some of the attendees at their quarterly meeting, LSS has limited the meeting attendance to “invite only”.

LSS, aka Lutheran Social Services, hasn’t been transparent because they don’t want people to know how little they do to earn $1,000 per refugee resettled to the United States.

The truth is that LSS isn’t in the resettlement business to help refugees. They’re in it because it’s a lucrative business that pays the lucrative salaries of their leaders. There’s no proof that LSS works with these refugees to teach them about American culture or how to assimilate or, most importantly, access the American Dream. That isn’t compassion. That’s a racket.

It’s time to rethink US refugee resettlement. The goal should be to improve the refugees’ lives at the least expensive price. We’re failing on both counts right now.

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St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson will participate in a panel discussion on the refugee resettlement program in Washington, DC this Tuesday morning. The discussion is being held at the National Press Club. It’s being hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies, aka CIS. CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian will serve as moderator to a panel that will include Councilman Johnson, CIS fellow Don Barnett and Richard Thompson, the president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.

The Times article highlighted the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center, aka the SPLC, has labeled the CIS as a hate group. The Times article didn’t mention the fact that the SPLC is a hyper-partisan organization that frequently lumps center-right organizations in with legitimate hate groups like the KKK.

Greg Gutfeld exposed the SPLC in a monologue:

So, this is funny. You ever heard the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)? They’re a hard left outfit that loves to label people as extremists. Their ever-growing list seems to defame everyone. Ben Carson, he’s an extremist. Rand Paul. They called Maajid Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist and get this, he’s a moderate Muslim battling religious extremism. It makes no sense. There’s [Ayaan] Hirsi Ali, a black feminist who protests against genital mutilation. SPLC placed her name and a guy to anti-Muslim extremists. So that’s extreme, to be against genital mutilation? I wonder what they’d make of Gandhi?

But that’s not the funny part. It’s the money. This poverty center has loads of it. A $320 million endowment and chucks almost 20% of it into offshore equities. Cayman Island stuff. I don’t understand it. So this poverty group sits on a pile of offshore dough. That’s like a personal trainer with a gut. Or a priest with a harem. The Center paid out $20 million in salaries in 2015 but provided just 61 grants in legal assistance. So the Southern Poverty Law Center appears to have no poverty and do virtually no law. It’s the most misleading name since the Democratic Party. Yes, count it.

Worse, their love for calling people haters incites haters into action. The maniac who shot [House Majority Whip] Stephen Scalise liked the law center on his Facebook page. And a terrorist who attacked the Family Research Council back in 2012, shooting a security guard, did so after the SPLC labeled them a hate group. He was a fan too.

I don’t know, filthy rich, linked to violence. I think the SPLC might end up having to put itself on its own list. Indeed. It’s a pretty amazing story. I have a theory that no one goes after this group because of the name. You hear Southern Poverty Law Center, you go, oh, they must be a really good outfit and you don’t want to be on their bad side.

The SPLC is itself an extremist group. The Youtube video of Gutfeld’s monologue has been taken down. I don’t have much time for Bill Maher but I’ll make this exception:

This highlights who the SPLC is. Calling a moderate Muslim an anti-Muslim extremist tells me that the SPLC is a sham.

There is a cost associated with the refugee resettlement program but it’s intentionally kept hidden. Jeff Goerger admitted it in his resolution when he said “Now therefore be it resolved by the Council of St. Cloud, MN 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.”

There’s no disputing the fact that municipal services cost money. They’re line items in the City budget. That’s the shiny object argument, though. Whether the money is part of the City budget, the county budget or the school district’s budget, it’s still money being paid by the taxpayers. The taxpayers don’t care whether their money is taken from them to pay for health care services, rent subsidies or translators at the local schools. Whatever the money is spent on, the money isn’t at the taxpayers’ disposal. It’s money they can’t use to save for their retirements or their kids’ college education or a family vacation.

Jeff Goerger’s resolution is dripping with contempt for taxpayers. He’s determining whether families should have their taxes raised in the name of making St. Cloud a ‘welcoming city’, whatever that means. What a ‘welcoming city’ isn’t is a place where people want to live. They’re moving to other cities and other states. Capital flight is negatively affecting St. Cloud. That doesn’t matter to people like Jeff Goerger, Carol Lewis or Dave Masters. They just bury their head in the sand and pretend that everything is ok.

Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz won their party’s non-binding straw polls at Tuesday night’s precinct caucuses. Unfortunately for both men, that won’t get nearly as much publicity as the breaking news from earlier in the day. The other noteworthy news from Tuesday night’s straw polls is that Keith Downey underperformed, losing to Commissioner Johnson by a 45.4% – 14.6% margin. Perhaps, more embarrassing for Downey is the fact that he lost to “Undecided” by a 15.6% – 14.6% margin.

After such a lackluster performance in the straw poll, the Downey campaign must ask themselves if there’s a legitimate pathway to the endorsement. At this point, nothing seems to suggest that there is a path to the endorsement.

Full disclosure: I’m still undecided so I don’t have a dog in this fight at this point. At some point, I’m sure that will change. It’s just that it hasn’t changed yet.

On the DFL side, it appears as though Paul Thissen, Tina Liebling and Chris Coleman have difficult paths to the DFL endorsement, with Walz, Rebecca Otto and Erin Murphy having the strongest finishes:

Here’s the unofficial results of the GOP straw poll:

Turnout at Republican precinct caucuses were significantly smaller than at DFL, which can’t please Republicans. Still, tonight was the night when initial assessments were made. This isn’t the night when final decisions are made.

If Walz is the DFL-endorsed candidate, it isn’t likely that he’ll have much of an enthusiasm gap in his favor. The Bernie Sanders wing of the DFL is dominant. That’s where the enthusiasm comes from. That isn’t where Tim Walz is from. Further, like I said earlier this week, Walz alienated NRA voters and the Iron Range. OF the 3 DFL finalists, all have difficult paths to the governor’s mansion. Erin Murphy is little known outside the Twin Cities. Further, she’s hated in rural Minnesota. Rebecca Otto is hated on the Range, especially after fundraising off of her decision to vote against approving mining exploration leases.

The Democrats’ battle cry on all things migration and immigration has been ‘that’s not who we are’. Democrats don’t tell taxpayers whether we can afford to accept more refugees. They simply tell us that it’s imperative that the U.S. accept tens of thousands of refugees each year.

When President Trump said halt!, Lutheran Social Services screamed. As I’ve written about before refugee resettlement is how they make the money that pays their executives’ lucrative salaries. At the time, I wrote “LSS gets paid $1,000 for each refugee it finds a home for. This year, LSS will get $225,000 to resettle refugees. That doesn’t sound like humanitarian work. That’s what a lucrative racket sounds like.”

Public servants like St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson has tried to find out how much refugee resettlement costs St. Cloud taxpayers. For being fiscally responsible, the special interests have criticized him constantly. Thankfully, Johnson is about to get some answers:

Did you know that welfare spending in Minnesota is going up about 20 percent or more a year? K-12 budgets are ballooning, as well. All we have is a promise that the Office of Legislative Auditor is going to tell lawmakers in 2018 what costs are currently tracked, so lawmakers can presumably order HHS and other state agencies to begin tracking the costs.

Think of that last statement. At present, lawmakers haven’t told state agencies to track the costs of refugee resettlement. Here’s why that’s important:

Think about this a minute. From 2002-2014, there’s been an outmigration of Minnesota-born people. While that’s been happening, there’s been a strong inmigration of people born in other countries, sometimes hitting 15,000 international-born refugees.

Further, let’s remember that Minnesota’s welfare spending is increasing by 20% per year. What math-minded person thinks that’s sustainable? It’s one thing if a minor department’s budget increases by 10-15% per biennium for a couple biennia. That’s something that we can probably absorb without running a major deficit. The HHS budget is the second biggest line item in the state budget, behind only K-12 Education. Astronomical increases to the second-biggest department in Minnesota’s budget isn’t sustainable.

Our reigning elite, including so-called feminists, have ignored the pleas and shouted down the concerns of Americans who dare to wonder out loud how to deal with incoming cultures that openly reject religious tolerance, profess an allegiance to Sharia law, practice polygamy and mutilate their daughters. These are not the loser racists who show up in ridiculous man-boy outfits to rant and rave at alt-right gatherings. These are good, decent Americans who wonder, “What about my culture? Does that get any respect?”

This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a bipartisan issue. Businesspeople from both parties love cheap labor. If they have to drive the middle class out of Minnesota while importing low-skill international workers that they pay a pittance, then that’s what they’re willing to do.

That isn’t to say that all businesspeople think that way. They don’t. I’m just identifying the fact that there are some entrepreneurs who do think that way. Often, they’re found in the hospitality and meat-packing industries.

The point is simple: importing thousands of international refugees isn’t sustainable. Politicians that tell us otherwise are either lying or they’re too stupid to serve us properly.

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This article provides proof that President Trump would implement an America-first refugee policy. According to the article, Michelle Eberhard, who leads refugee services at Arrive Ministries, is quoted as saying “In my office, I am prepared for a big cut. I would be really surprised if we get even close to that 45,000 number nationally.”

Later in the article, it says “Lutheran Social Service projects placing 200 people in the Twin Cities and 225 in St. Cloud. With 24 arrivals so far and roughly a dozen more expected in coming months, hitting that target is in question, but the agency says it remains optimistic. Advocates and resettlement officials decry the changes, which they say mean vulnerable people as well as family members already settled here will face longer waits and uncertainty.”

It’s important to ask the question of why Lutheran Social Services, aka LSS, is optimistic of settling more refugees. The simple truth is that LSS gets paid lots of money to settle people in the United States. That money is required to help them pay the exorbitant salaries of their executives.

Also, “About 1,620 refugees came to Minnesota during the federal fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, down more than 40 percent from the previous year. Comparing calendar year numbers is even starker: By the end of 2017, fewer than 950 refugees will have arrived in Minnesota, compared with more than 3,000 in 2016.”

Chain migration must end. It doesn’t make sense to not base migration on what’s best for the United States, not the refugees. This information is troubling:

The new guidelines also suspended the so-called “follow-to-join” program, which allows refugees resettled within the past two years to sponsor spouses and unmarried children. Officials here do not know exactly what share of refugees arrive in Minnesota through the program, which the administration said raised concerns because relatives undergo less extensive vetting. But family reunification dominates resettlement in the state.

Why should DHS accept as fact who is and isn’t family?

It’s justifiable to question a program that doesn’t want to answer the public’s questions.

Who needs constituents when you’ve got special interests that want special favors? First, Monday night’s city council meeting was mild by recent meetings. The big item on the menu was a discussion of this resolution presented by Council President Carol Lewis:

WHEREAS, tobacco use is the foremost preventable cause of premature death in the United States, responsible for approximately 480,000 deaths a year and 208 million premature deaths in the U.S. over the past 50 years since the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking in 1964;

WHEREAS, the annual economic impact of smoking in the U.S. is approximately $300 billion in health care and lost worker productivity costs;

WHEREAS, national data show that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21, and that adolescence is a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use;

WHEREAS, the developing brains of adolescents are particularly susceptible to the addictive properties of nicotine, and tobacco industry documents show that those who start smoking by the age of 18 are almost twice as likely to become lifetime smokers as those who start after they turn 21;

WHEREAS, electronic smoking device use among minors has recently tripled, and use of electronic smoking devices is associated with and may encourage the use of conventional tobacco products;

WHEREAS, 90% of all individuals who purchase tobacco products for minors are between the ages of 18 and 20;

WHEREAS, a 2015 Institute of Medicine report concludes that raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products nationwide will reduce tobacco initiation, particularly among adolescents aged 15 to 17 (by 25%), and that it will improve health across the lifespan and save lives; and that raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 nationwide would, over time, lead to a 12 percent decrease in smoking prevalence;

WHEREAS, the Institute of Medicine also predicts that raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 nationwide would result in 223,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for those born between 2000 and 2019, and that it would result in near immediate reductions in preterm birth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome;

WHEREAS, more than 250 communities have enacted laws mandating a minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21,13 including Edina and Bloomington, MN.

WHEREAS, three-quarters of U.S. adults favor raising the MLSA for tobacco products to 21, including seven in ten smokers;

WHEREAS, the retail impact of ordinances mandating a minimum legal sales age of 21 for tobacco products is minimal, with an estimated decrease of only 0.24-0.48%;

WHEREAS, raising the legal drinking age to 21 led to reduced alcohol use and dependence among youth, and dramatically decreased drunk driving fatalities;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Saint Cloud City Council highly recommends that State of Minnesota raise the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21.

The City Council received a copy of the resolution late last week, which is an improvement over the dissemination of Jeff Goerger’s resolution of Oct. 23. At the Nov. 6 meeting, the City Council passed an ordinance that would’ve prevented St. Cloud businesses from selling cigarettes to people under the age of 21. Fortunately, Mayor Kleis vetoed the ordinance.

This time, Ms. Lewis and Messrs. Laraway, Libert and Masters were prepared to vote for the above resolution. Fortunately, Councilman Johnson injected a little sanity into the discussion by saying that the people of St. Cloud haven’t seen the resolution, adding that he didn’t feel comfortable voting on anything without first consulting with his constituents. (Apparently, their constituents weren’t a consideration. They had the votes and that’s all that mattered to these ‘public servants’.