Archive for the ‘Jerry Relph’ Category

Of all the decisions that St. Cloud State has made in the past decade, closing the Aviation program is the worst. While St. Cloud State suffers through another year of enrollment decline, United Airlines bought a flight training academy to build a pipeline for the 10,000 new pilots they’ll need.

According to the Chicago Tribune article, “United Airlines is buying an Arizona flight training academy to help train the more than 10,000 pilots the airline expects to hire within a decade. The academy, currently operating as Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, will be part of a recruiting program United announced last year, called Aviate, that lets pilots join a pipeline to United with a conditional job offer early in their careers rather than waiting until they rise through the ranks at regional carriers or complete military service.”

Had St. Cloud State kept its Aviation program open, it likely would’ve gotten approached by Delta or some other airline to supply pilots to the airline. It’s fairly common for these airlines to offer bonuses to graduates from these flight academies if they stay with the company 2-3 years. It’s even more common for these airlines to fast-track these pilots through the regional airlines to the major airlines.

That’s before talking about expanding the Aviation program to train people in aerial firefighting for the western states. That’s before expanding the program to train students on drone operations. I’d guarantee that each of these program expansions would increase SCSU enrollment dramatically. That means a new energy for the University. That means a reinvigoration of SCSU, which is essential to the school’s survival.

What’s required is leadership from our local politicians, starting with Dan Wolgamott. Rep. Wolgamott is a member of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Division. Wolgamott and Sen. Relph are working together on extending NorthStar to St. Cloud, which might create a dozen jobs while costing the state millions of dollars in operational subsidies over the next decade. (Yes, I’m being slightly sarcastic about the jobs number. I’m not sarcastic about the subsidies.) Why can’t they work on something that revitalizes St. Cloud’s economy?

Building a world-class aviation training center in St. Cloud as part of a new and improved SCSU Aviation program would reinvigorate the University and the city of St. Cloud. After losing major employers like Electrolux and Herbergers, St. Cloud needs an industrial-strength shot in the arm economically.

Without legislative leadership, this vision won’t happen. It won’t happen if left up to Gov. Walz. I’m being polite in say that his economic growth vision for Minnesota is lackluster. Thus far, the jury is still out on the St. Cloud legislative delegation. As for our mayor, he’s had the opportunities to reinvigorate the city and failed. Companies are leaving town or going out of business. The University has shrunk during his time in office.

Professor Emeritus John Palmer noted this:

United said last year it expects nearly half of its 12,500 pilots to retire within a decade. Over the next 20 years, Boeing estimates that airlines will need to recruit about 131,000 commercial pilots in North America and 514,000 more throughout the rest of the world.

It is not just United that will need pilots in the next 20 years. After subtracting the 10,000, a 1,000 a year on average, 55,000 new pilots will be needed for the rest of domestic airlines. Worldwide, 240,000 will be needed. Why would SCSU not want to explore how it could re-enter the aviation training market?

Even if it could only attract .25% of the annual market for new pilots that would be over 130 new entering freshman a year and in four years would result in an increase of 500 FTE each year. When the aviation program closed during the Great Recession 100 entering freshman intended to major in aviation and over 180 were admitted to an aviation major. With the strong recovery in the aviation industry, SCSU could serve a societal need and help address it’s enrollment decline by re-entering the aviation training market.

This is from later in the article:

United said the academy, which will be renamed United Aviate Academy in September, will initially produce about 300 graduates each year, but it hopes to expand that to 500. Graduates would be able to work as instructors at flight schools United has partnered with to rack up hours of flying time required to qualify for entry-level jobs with regional carriers, such as ExpressJet, Air Wisconsin or Mesa Airlines. Pilots in the Aviate program hired by the regional carriers would be then eligible for jobs with United.

With industrial demands like this, why isn’t SCSU interested in supplying these needs while rebuilding the University? Better yet, why aren’t our legislators (Relph, Theis and especially Wolgamott) pushing this blueprint?

Aric Putnam’s LTE in the St. Cloud Times is totally unimpressive as a political document. I’d say it’s worthless but I don’t want to be divisive. In Putnam’s LTE, we’re told that we “all see great local business leaders who know that you can build business and community at the same time” and that we “see people of great faith driven by moral example and desire for right.” Next, we’re told that we “see people who work hard and believe that their efforts can make tomorrow better than yesterday.”

What a bunch of BS. Despite the strong urge not to subject myself to pain, I visited Putnam’s campaign website to find out what his vision is. Here’s what I found:

We need to develop a business climate that builds on our strengths. We need jobs that supply a paycheck, but we also need jobs that allow people to improve their standard of living, jobs that create hope for promotion and social mobility. Quality of life is as important as quantity of profit. We can’t have one without the other. To accomplish this, we must build and maintain good roads, bridges, and transit to help grow jobs and a sense of community, incentivize entrepreneurship, and provide broadband to all of us. We need jobs that grow the middle class and allow our children to find opportunity here.

That isn’t the vision of a capitalist. That’s the vision of a crony capitalist. First and foremost, we need politicians who want to make Minnesota’s tax system competitive again. We need a regulatory system that doesn’t give special interests the opportunity to fight job creators in the courts for 10-15 years. Will Aric fight the environmentalist wing of the DFL? I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

Aric promises to clean up corruption, too:

When I am in office, I won’t do that. I will work to pass legislation that increases transparency in government. I will advocate to eliminate some of the perks legislators get. I will work for more accountability in campaign finances so that we know who is paying for all those mailers, and I will lower campaign spending limits so legislators can work on creating good policy instead of raising money.

That’s a different way of saying that Aric is pro-censorship. That’s cookie-cutter DFL gibberish. Which perks that legislators get would Putnam eliminate?

Hold Government Accountable
Elected officials should be public servants. They need to be reliable and accessible to all their constituents. But public service isn’t passive; it is active. An elected official should be a leader, should reach out to the community, and have a vision and the skill and will to communicate it.

It’s not the job of government to solve all our problems — but a healthy democracy can foster vigorous dialogue and discussion. Elected officials must provide leadership and foster connections between elements of a community, stand up for each of us, and make all of us stronger.

When I am elected, I will hold regular town hall meetings and write columns for our local media. I can’t say you’ll always agree with me. But you’ll always know what I believe, where to find me, and how to get in touch. And you can trust me to always call you back. We deserve representatives who don’t take us for granted. We deserve a Senator who works hard to listen to and be heard by all of us.

What will Putnam do to push for reforming the Department of Human Services? Will Putnam ignore the corruption like other DFL politicians have ignored corruption? Will the DFL continue to pass the buck on opioid addiction program corruption? Thus far, there’s no indication that the DFL is interested in fixing those problems. Republicans have introduced legislation that will require accountability.

Gov. Walz hasn’t paid attention to the problem. Speaker Hortman didn’t take the crisis seriously. Sen. Bakk hasn’t taken this seriously, either. Why should I think that Mr. Putnam will fight the DFL leadership to fix this crisis?

This video is frightening to capitalists:

In the video, Putnam talks about planning the economy. Stop immediately! Lowering taxes, eliminating regulations and getting government out of the way as much as possible is the way to unleashing the economy’s animal spirits. Government meddling in the economy is as welcome as a back-seat driver constantly instructing the driver.

It’s shameful to read an article like this one, then think that it’s called a news article. It reads more like a press release from the Central Minnesota Transportation Authority, the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce or from Dave Kleis’s office.

The article started by saying “The first Northstar commuter train left Big Lake 10 minutes before dawn on Tuesday. St. Cloud commuters who started downtown on the Link bus left at 3:50 a.m. to catch that train. They arrived in Minneapolis before 6 a.m. I took the last Link and the last train on Tuesday morning, and it still felt early. My trip from bus, to train, to light rail, to the Minnesota Capitol in downtown St. Paul took nearly three hours, but it was easy, prompt and clean.

“For a few moments I felt like a traveler in Europe, looking over farm fields and forests from the top deck of a train. I’ve driven between St. Cloud and the Cities along Minnesota Highway 10 hundreds of times. This was more relaxing. After I arrived at the Capitol — I am the government reporter, after all — I wound up walking a few miles for coffee and a meeting off site. My feet got sore.”

It’s good that Ms. Hertel mentioned that she’s the SC Times’ government reporter. If not for that mention, I might’ve thought that she was the PR director for the Chamber of Commerce.

Later in the article, Ms. Hertel wrote this:

Wolgamott commuted to the Capitol on Northstar a couple times this year as he was pushing his colleagues to fund research into a route expansion. He preferred the train to “sitting in traffic, inching down the interstate,” Wolgamott said Tuesday. He brought his daughter Lily on one trip and they met conductor Vincent Roberts, he said. “She thought it was pretty cool to meet the conductor.”

That’s nice. That doesn’t tell the Times’ readers why this is a vital project. It’s just a cute story. On the other hand, this is important information that’s buried deep in the article:

Relph wants to get a sense of who would benefit from the extended route, so participating communities know how much to pitch in to the cost, which won’t be covered solely by ticket sales, he said. “This will be subsidized.”

The article doesn’t say how big the subsidy will be. It just says that there will be a subsidy. Then there’s this:

The cost of a route extension is not clear. A 2017 Legislative fiscal note estimated capital costs around $37 million. As lawmakers consider expansion of Northstar, $4 million is already allocated for facility improvements in Big Lake to maintain the existing fleet for 20 more years.

The more I learn about this project, the more it sounds like a total boondoggle.

There’s an old saying about boats. It says “A boat is a hole in the water surrounded by wood into which one pours money.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? There’s another saying that dovetails with the first saying. It says “the 2 best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.”

With Northstar, unfortunately, there won’t be a day we sell it. The subsidies will never end. They’ll only get more expensive. The replacement costs for the train will be forever. Like the subsidies, those costs will only go up.

Just for comparison, there are more cars that use I-94 in a single day than there are riders on Northstar in a year. What’s more, I-94 pays for itself. Plus, it’s capable of transporting goods to markets. Northstar can’t do that if its life depended on it. At best, Northstar is a niche produce. At worst, which I suspect is likely, it’s a boondoggle.

I don’t have a problem with the SCTimes publishing this LTE. What I’ve got a problem with is the liberal stupidity in this LTE.

Liberal stupidity, aka DFL stupidity, is on full display when the author says the “problem with Jerry Relph and his Republican colleagues in the Minnesota Senate is that they completely ignore what income and wealth Minnesotans are creating and simply assume that none of us can afford to pay anything more in taxes.”

That’s BS. I wrote several articles over the weekend stating that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to raise taxes when there’s a surplus well in excess of $1,600,000,000 and there’s $2,523,000,000 in Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund. Further, revenues are rapidly increasing. Further still, the DFL hasn’t lifted a finger to look into the money that fraudsters have ripped off out of the CCAP program or that the idiots at MnDOT have pissed away on rest stops.

While it is true that many Minnesotans have not had a real increase [inflation-adjusted] in wages in many years, there are some that are reaping huge rewards from our collective efforts.

Some blatantly argue “tax the rich.” I’m not saying that. I’m saying don’t assume that no one has made money from our state when some have made a lot. Look at who is making money and make them pay their fair share in light of what they are making. When Republicans like Jerry Relph refuse to make wealthier Minnesotans pay their fair share, it unfairly burdens everyone else.

Clearly, this idiot was taught economics by Bernie Sanders or one of his stooges. Ronald Reagan’s economy created tons of jobs, 22,000,000 to be precise. In Oct. of 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs. Wage growth exploded. GDP that quarter jumped. President Reagan famously said that you can’t be pro-jobs if you have employers. The DFL hates employers.

The DFL hates employers by imposing high taxes and unreasonable levels of regulations while suing pipeline companies that play by the rules. No wonder wages are stagnant. No wonder why manufacturers have left Minnesota. What idiot would put his/her capital at risk with such policies in place? The guy who wrote this idiotic LTE should’ve watched this video first:

If he’d watched this video first, he might’ve prevented himself from making such a fool of himself. Then again, the odds of preventing DFL socialists from looking like DFL socialists are exceptionally high. DFL socialists are extraordinary economic illiterates.

This article confirms my worst fear for St. Cloud State going forward. It’s disturbing because it reports that “Minnesota State’s Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra says they are beginning a national search immediately. They are working with a professional firm, AGB Search, and the Chancellor will name a search chair by the end of the week. He says it’s his intention to kick off the search prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.”

A new president who doesn’t know the terrain will require on-the-job training. With St. Cloud State experiencing a financial crisis, the University can’t afford someone whose first steps will be to get to know the communities he or she will serve. As I said in this post, I said “We need a president that will instantly connect with area principals. What’s needed is someone who will sell the University’s programs. It’s imperative to immediately create a positive buzz about the University. There isn’t time for a search committee. What’s needed is someone who’s already familiar with SCSU and someone who’s a no-nonsense person.”

Frankly, MnSCU has screwed up so many appointments that they shouldn’t get the benefit of any doubts. Until they start making smart decisions on the biggest decisions, they should be kept on the sidelines. At minimum, MnSCU should consult with community leaders heavily before making a decision. Further, it’s imperative that our legislative leaders and community leaders be listened to.

We don’t need another pointy-headed academic with a vision for what he wants. Altogether too often, St. Cloud State hasn’t done what the community needs it to do. What’s needed is someone who will rebuild St. Cloud State, not rebrand it. St. Cloud State hasn’t put a priority on rebuilding the University. Fairly or unfairly, people think that they’ve put a higher priority on building new buildings than they’ve put on maintaining great academic programs.

St. Cloud State needs to be responsive and accountable to the city. St. Cloud has been a blue collar city. St. Cloud State hasn’t been a blue collar university. It was predictable that the Wedum project would fail. Then we found out that the administration signed a terrible contract with the Foundation. Building upscale apartments for college students is as foolish as building a condo unit across from a bar.

At what point will the city say ‘Stop making stupid decisions with the taxpayers’ money?’ This is infuriating. What’s more infuriating is the fact that there’s a highly qualified candidate right here in town. This candidate knows the area. Most importantly, he’s got a plan to rebuild St. Cloud State.

Hiring him would help St. Cloud State and MnSCU avoid making another foolish mistake.

Jerry Relph won election to the Minnesota Senate on November 8 by defeating DFL candidate Dan Wolgamott by 148 votes. Because he won by that narrow margin, Senator-Elect Relph had to wait until the recount was finished to celebrate. That recount was finished yesterday. Predictably, Relph maintained his lead, though the margin of victory got a little smaller.

According to the article, “Wolgamott picked up six votes in Stearns County, while Relph lost one. Both candidates’ totals in Benton and Sherburne counties remained the same.” The bottom line is that Senator-Elect Relph’s margin of victory is now at 141 votes after starting the recount at 148 votes.

Thanks to this recount and another recount victory in SD-44, Republicans will hold a 34-33 majority in the Minnesota Senate. House Republicans are waiting for the outcome of a special election in HD-32B on Feb. 14 to find out how big their majority will be. Right now, there are 76 Republicans in the House. It’s expected that Ann Neu, the Republican running in that race, will win that election.

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This St. Cloud Times article reports that Dan Wolgamott “will formally request a recount after the canvassing boards of Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties and the state have certified the election results.” Wolgamott was defeated by Jerry Relph in the election to see who would represent SD-14 in the State Senate for 2017-2021.

According to the article, “Wolgamott said he would request the recount ‘to ensure that our voting process was as fair and accurate as Minnesotans expect it to be.'” The truth is that he won’t win. If Mr. Wolgamott doesn’t know that, then it’s a good thing he wasn’t elected because he isn’t smart enough to represent SD-14.

Seriously, it’s impossible to make up a 142-vote margin in a race where 37,000 votes were cast. When King Banaian was elected to represent HD-15B in November, 2010, he initially won by 10 votes. That triggered an automatic recount. In the recount, Dr. Banaian gained an additional 4 votes. Carol Lewis, his opponent that year, gained 1 vote, meaning that Dr. Banaian officially won by 13 votes, not 10.

In 2014, Jim Knoblach defeated Zach Dorholt by 69 votes. Dorholt didn’t bother asking for a recount, probably because he knew it was a lost cause.

To be fair, it’s entirely possible that the DFL powers-that-be might’ve ordered Wolgamott to request a recount because the majority of the Senate potentially hangs on the outcome to this race.

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