The Government You Deserve

A friend and regular correspondent sent this from a Linden Hills Zoning Committee meeting last week:

There were about 40 citizens there to hear Council Member Palmisano speak about having to do this moratorium. Most there were opposed to the moratorium. The clear and present danger (my words) that prompted an immediate moratorium was so that a “study” could be done correctly to determine the effects of all this positive economic energy. Good heavens, storm water run-off might increase. Really folks the reasons are additional storm water, increased demands on landfills, irritating construction workers, dumpsters parked on the street (hey how about PLOWING the streets better) and ugly remodels. Wow if those are the reasons have I got a stadium remodel that should be moratoriumized for the same reason plus a burden on the current and future taxpayers.

That’s the thing about NIMBYs (people who say “not in my back yard” to everything) – they don’t want anything in their backyard!

Most people got up and said this is a real drag on their businesses, their personal lives, and it simply is an over-reaction to a problem that is already solved by zoning and permit laws. Just enforce the laws on the books. But the complaint from Mr. Cress of the planning department (CPED) is that his staff is stretched. Welcome to the real world so add some staff, authorize some overtime, work a little smarter. When asked if he recommended the moratorium he said that’s what elected officials do.

Then the last speaker from the zoning committee said she thanked the council member for not caving in to “scare” tactics of job loss and business loss. Really? What about the scare tactics of storm water increases and overflowing landfills. Good grief what a hypocrite.

This city is in so much trouble. We need more diversity at city council. The current groupthink is wildly destructive.

There’s an old adage – when you pay people to do things, they’ll do them.

The obverse of that adage is “if you get a city full of people who are True Believers in the power of government, you’ll get a lot of it”.

Squeezed

I got this via email from a friend in Minneapolis:

Cam Winton posted about this on Facebook. The current city overseers do not want single family dwellings. They have said as much. We are not in their vision for the future. Our little happy lives living in single family homes is destroying their view of the world.

I rode the bus this morning with a neighbor today who shared his story of increased taxes, I shared mine, he told me of neighbors with huge jumps. At work I talked to another county employee who is ready to sell her house which is located about 4 blocks from mine. Reason…unbelievable hikes in taxes.

This is nuts. We are about to get rolled big time.

We certainly are.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are indulging in several parallel liberal conceits:

  1. “Progressives” do, in fact, believe that there’s always a few more bucks they can wring out of any population.  The correspondent wrote that, suddenly, home valuations are skyrocketing in parts of South Minneapolis.  The idea is “pay up, or move away and let us get at all that choice property!”
  2. The idea that they know better than the free market how people want to live.  The essence of the free market is that if people don’t like, or want, a product, service or idea, they just say “no”.   As long as we have a free market for homes, people will choose what they want, and say “no” to what they don’t.  As Minneapolis is not New York or San Francisco (whatever its pretensions) – it’s built in an place with lots of land – most people eventually will look for some kind of breathing room.

Joel Kotkin predicts that at some point, “cities” as we know them today will become playgrounds for the very wealthy, and warehouses for the very poor, surrounded by…not so much “suburbs”, but exurbs and smaller communities where actual people will hold actual jobs.  I think Minneapolis is well on the way.

The War On Home

It’s one of those lines conservatives have been using for a decade, maybe two; the “progressive” left wants to move people out of single-family homes with yards and driveways, and into high-density housing.

Only it’s not a “line”.  It’s here, and it’s in Minneapolis right now.

Without warning, on Friday March 7th, 2014 the Minneapolis City Council passed a Moratorium(a full stop) on all new construction and certain remodeling projects EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY in the Southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods of Linden Hills, Fulton, Armatage, Lynnhurst, and Kenny. This Moratorium prohibits anyone without a completed permit from starting construction on a project for up to one year from the effective date.

They passed it unanimously.

The moratorium hurts everyone (except progressive planners), especially taxpayers in Minneapolis:

The reduced potential property tax base and permit revenue lost from the moratorium will cause property taxes on residents to go up yet again. So the question you should ask is, “Why should I pay the same tax rates now with a moratorium that I paid when I could fully use my property?”

Dear (mostly) relentlessly PC liberals of South Minneapolis:

This was the sort of thing that, 240 years ago, impelled a bunch of other impeccable liberals to throw a…

…dare I say it? A Tea Party.

Scorecard: Light Rail 10, Concealed Carry 0

The Ventura Trolley has its tenth victim:

Spokesman John Siqveland said the gate arms were down, an alarm was sounding and lights were flashing at the intersection when the accident happened. The sidewalk is adjacent to the gate arms, but is not covered by the gate arms. The southbound train stopped just a few feet beyond the intersection after the accident.

Several passengers were on the train at the time. They were questioned by Metro Transit police and put on a bus to continue their ­journeys, Siqveland said.

No word yet if Rep. Michael Paymar feels “intimidated” by trying to cross the tracks; the Ventura Trolley is, statistically, infinitely more dangerous than a citizen with a carry permit. 

(No, not to make light of the death; my condolences to the victim’s loved ones.   This isn’t about mocking the dead; it’s about mocking the priorites of the vacuous hamsters some parts of this state keep sending to office). 

 

Who Knew?

Minneapolis has a car idling law:

We caught about a dozen Minneapolis residents idling their cars past the legal limit this morning, and none of them knew they were breaking the law…15 minutes is all the time you have if you’re within Minneapolis city limits. In below-zero temperatures, drivers in Minneapolis can leave their car idling and unattended for up to 15 minutes. When the temperatures warm above zero, the idling limit is just three minutes.

 

“Maybe half an hour,” said Kissel, on how long she lets her car warm up. “But I wouldn’t know the difference. It’s the morning. You forget time!”

And yet they have no idle politician law.

It’s not a “green” thing; it’s about preventing auto theft – by making it illegal to leave a car in a condition where it can easily be stolen.

Honestly?  I’d almost prefer the “green” law; at least it’d be stupid, rather than  stupid and insulting.

Buck Passed

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The old Sears Roebuck building on Lake Street in Minneapolis was converted into Midtown Global Market, an indoor bazaar.  It’s been losing money for years.  Now the mayor wants another $1.8 million to bail them out.

 

Look, Mr. Mayor:  if the project can’t make enough money to fund its own operations, it’s not a business: it’s a hobby.  The City has no business funding hobbies.

 

Granted, it’s Minneapolis, so I don’t care what they do in their own town.  But whatever Minneapolis does, St. Paul wants to do, like a younger brother who whines “How come I didn’t get a train?”  Throwing cold water on damn-foolishness is wise, no matter where it occurs.

 

Joe Doakes

That, and the bill is eventually going to be passed on to taxpayers in Moorhead, Wilmar and Lakeville (and any left in Saint Paul) via Local Government Aid.

Which is, of course, why we have Local Government Aid – so the citizens of Minneapolis can continue to be gulled into thinking their government is doing its job with the tax money they extract for life in the city.

Minneapolis: The Racket Wants To Strike Back

Minneapolis has always wanted to roll back Minnesota’s “Pre-emption statute”, which prevents city governments from enacting gun laws different (especially more stringent) than state law.

And they’ve been lobbying to change that as long as I’ve been aware of the issue – and that’s getting to be a long time, now.

“Ron V” of the Minnesotans for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms blog notes that the City is not above lying through its teeth to try to do it.   Mr. V writes:

The (post Sandy Hook) Minneapolis City Council Legislative Agenda on Firearms recommendations were prepared by Melissa Lesch, Intergovernmental Relations Specialist, and WIFE OF REP. JOHN LESCH (66B DFL), who was one of the MN legislators leading the gun control charge in the Minnesota legislature post Sandy Hook.

[Minneapolis Police Department assistant chief Matt] Clark testified before the city council at the request of Melissa Lesch/IGR. Included in the recommendations from Melissa Lesch/IGR was full support for Obama’s extremist federal gun-grab agenda. The Legislative Agenda ultimately approved by the city council included:

–A plan to use the city’s weight to lobby the state legislature for the repeal of the state pre-emption provision currently included in Minnesota’s right-to-carry law (MN 624.714).

Meaning, the city of Minneapolis wants to be able to override state law and set its own ordinances in regard to permit holders and gun owners who live in, travel through or visit the city of Minneapolis by implementing ordinances to:

—-Require concealed carry and outlaw open carry by lawful permit holders within the city limits of Minneapolis;

—-Ban lawful carry from parks and public buildings within Minneapolis;

—-Ban common use semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines within city limits;

—-Require that permit-to-carry applications be approved by local police chiefs (returning to arbitrary “may issue” standards);

—-Deny the 2nd Amendment rights of any person who has experienced a “mental health incident that required the intervention of law enforcement” or anyone who has ever been placed on a 72 hour hold;

—-Add additional regulations to the transfer of firearms;

—-And a number of other vaguely worded recommendations designed to allow infringement of 2nd Amendment rights

Nothing new, there.

Here’s the rub;  Minneapolis is lying, via its police department, about the data it’s using to try to convince the legislature.

Here are the verbatim statements made by asst. chief Matt Clark during the testimony:

—-“We’ve had incidents where handgun owners have had handguns taken away from them. Where they have lost those firearms because somebody knew they had them on their person, and they specifically took it away from those individuals.”

—-“What we’re looking for… is that if you have a permit to carry a firearm that it [be] concealed in public. We have a lot of calls from constituents, individuals, residents, visitors that are very ‘shocked and surprised’ to see a handgun on somebody out in the open…”

As to the latter?  In parts of this world, people are “shocked and surprised” to see same-sex couples, women without headscarves walking without male relatives, or Jews without Stars of David on their person.  We don’t dignify any of those, either.

But it’s the former that Mr. V went after:

Following those statements by asst. chief Clark in January, I immediately made several attempts to contact asst. chief Clark and chief Harteau, as well as the MPD public information officer, to request the data upon which Clark’s testimony was based…After multiple attempts over several months to get the information, I NEVER received a response from Clark or Harteau, and finally filed a Data Practices Request with the city of Minneapolis to get the information on which his testimony was based.

Mr. V requested the info and math behind the dates, places and case numbers of incidents where people openly carrying firearms had their guns stolen – and of course whether they were carry-permittees carrying legally at the time.

And the result?

In total, the response to my Data Practices Request for the cases used as the basis for Clark’s testimony to the city council includes 15 incidents between 2000 – 2012 where a firearm was taken during a crime incident, NONE OF WHICH INCLUDE an incident where a firearm was taken from a lawful permit holder while open carrying in a public place. The 15 incidents they tried to palm off as citations for Clark’s testimony include:

–Six (6) Robbery of dwelling (that’s NOT a permit holder lawfully open carrying in public…

–Four (4) Car-jackings (that’s NOT a permit holder lawfully open carrying in public…

–Two (2) Business robberies where a store gun was taken (that’s NOT a permit holder lawfully open carrying in public…

–Two (2) Random street robberies where one female had a gun in her purse, and the other, which made the news last spring, was a guy randomly attacked who had a permit but his gun was concealed in his pocket …

–One (1) incident where a holstered firearm was taken from a victim IN HIS OWN YARD BY SOMEONE HE KNEW (that’s NOT a permit holder lawfully open carrying in public…

If “ProtectMN” and its official minions couldn’t lie, they’d be silent.

12%

That’s what got Betsy Hodges the victory in Minneapolis’ mayoral election last night.  About a third (36.55%) of a 34% turnout in the first round.

Cam Winton came in just under 10% with 7,500 votes.  Which is about ten percent better than a Republican did in the last Minneapolis mayor race.  Or the one before.  Or the one before that.  Ad infinitum (or at least back to the nineties, which was the last credible GOP candidate I can recall in Minneapolis).

Now, we know there are more than 7,500 Republicans in Minneapolis.  240,000 people in Hennepin County voted for Mitt Romney, for crying out loud – and the “Republican districts” in Henco would fit into a phone booth and leave you enough room for someone to come in and ask you what a phone booth was.  If even 20% of those 240,000 were in Minneapolis, and they’d come out to the polls last night, Winton would have crushed Hodges.

But Republicans never come out for local races.  My theory:  they’re so used to getting beaten down in local, county and Congressional elections, they only come out for statewide and federal races, where their votes actually end up mattering; a GOP vote from Longfellow is worth exactly the same as a GOP vote from Dassel.

The upsides last night?  The fake Republicans, Bob “Let’s Build a Bike Skyway” Carney and Ole “Will Run For Office For Food” Savior, got less than a percent of the vote.  In a cycle in which the 5th CD GOP started out being run by people whose main goal was to destroy the GOP, that’s not a bad job of protecting the brand – although most of the credit goes to Winton, who ran a great race.

Nationwide?  I can’t be too disappointed.  Christie isn’t my favorite Republican, but he had my favorite result – crushing his opponents in a blue state.

Ken Cuccinelli outperformed expectations immensely last night, coming within two points in a race everyone counted him out of – and (this is important) losing to a Democrat vote surge in the only part of the country that’s doing well financially right now, the DC suburbs.

Takeaway?   A good candidate is better than a bad candidate.  A well-organized party in an area is better than a party that’s a Bulgarian goat rodeo.  A two-party city is a better prospect for a challenger than a one-party cesspool.   And all three factors matter, every election,every time.

And it’s going to take either a Detroit-style calamity, or several cycles of rebuilding the GOP as credible contenders, to change either Minneapolis or Saint Paul.  Which would mean spending less time in a circular firing squad shooting other Republicans and more time actually making a case to actual voters.

And I think I started saying that seven years ago, and it’s only gotten worse in the metro.

Winton For Mayor Of Minneapolis

I don’t “endorse” candidates on this blog or on my show. 

Partly because I’m not under the illusion that anyone cares what I think.

And partly because on the off-chance someone does care what I think, I’d much prefer they make up their own mind for themselves, rather than piggyback on anything I, or anyone, says. 

But if you live in Minneapolis, I’m going to urge you to vote for Cam Winton for Mayor.

If you’re a Republican in Minneapolis?:  Here’s the deal; 25-30% of Minneapolis is Republican.  The DFL vote is split six ways – or, perhaps most realistically, two ways (the DFL-endorsed Hodges and the well-funded Warner).  If every GOP voter in Minneapoliscomes to the polls and closes ranks and puts Winton as their #1 choice, he’s got a decent shot.

If you’re a conservative voter:  Winton’s no paleo.  He admits it up front.  He’s a former DFLer and it shows.  But Buckley’s dictum holds true; if you’re a good conservative, you vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.  There is no way around it – if there’s a more conservative candidate on the ballot, they are not in a position to win.  Seriously – who’s raised any money?  Who’s knocked a single door?  Who’s gotten any media?  Nobody.  Winton is not a movement conservative – but in the context of Minneapolis in 2013, it’s a miracle that someone even this close to conservative is on the ballot at all.  Winning would be a great step forward. 

If you’re a “Liberty” voter:  one of the biggest problems too many “liberty” voters have is that they have nothing analogous to the Buckley commandment; for too many of them, anything less than 100% agreement is disagreement.  Because Winton is imperfect on a couple of Libertarian issues, he’s not perfect “Liberty” candidate:

  • He favors hiring more police.  The current fad among big-L libertarians is to distrust, even hate, the police.  I get that.  But Winton is running for office in a city that’s 60+% DFL and a fraction of 1% “Liberty” purists – and many of those DFL voters live in North Minneapolis, a place where abstruse Libertarian principle comes in way, way, way behing “stopping gangbangers from terrorizing the neighborhood”.   Public safety is one of very few legitimate jobs of government.  Follow-up question:  Who do you think is more likely to reform Minneapolis’ police department – a mayor from the establishment that made them what they are today, and is utterly beholden to the union that makes any reform via the DFL impossible? 
  • He supports background checks at gun shows – provided they can not be turned into a confiscation list.  Which is both a palliative for DFL moderates who might be thinking about coming over and voting for him, and a statement with no teeth whatsoever; it’s impossible to make a background check anything but a confiscation list, ergo he has no plan.  And – more importantly – Minneapolis’ pre-emption statute prevents the City of Minneapolis, or any city, from imposing gun controls more strict than state law.  And let’s not forget – while Winton may favor background checks under conditions that can never occur in nature, every DFL candidate in the race favors outright bans; they will throw your guns into a smelter if they get a chance.  But either way, anything Winton or any of the other Mayor candidates say about gun control is completely irrelevant.  Tell you what – we elect him Mayor, I’ll undertake the job of convincing him he’s wrong on gun control.  Deal?   
  • He supports modifying, rather than scrapping, the Southwest Light Rail:  The problem is, the mayor of Minneapolis has little influence over the project.  It’s the Met Council.  The SWLR is going to happen, barring a major change in state government – as in, a GOP (or, sure, “Liberty”, whatever) Governor and Legislature to completely gut the Met Council.  So – at election time, you want the mayor to piddle away potentially thousands of “moderate” DFL votes over an issue he has no meaningful control over, to win Minneapolis’ literally dozens of hard-line 100%-er Liberty voters? 
  • His company is in the wind power business:  Lots of misinformation here; I’ve seen “liberty” people claim his company builds wind turbines and collects the big government subsidies.  It does not; it maintains existing turbines.  Someone has to – why not his company?  If you’re a Libertarian who opposes bike paths but rides ‘em anyway because you already paid for ‘em, sound off here. 

For some “Liberty” voters, it’s like talking to the wall – and that’s leaving out the ones who aren’t voting because they just want the whole system to collapse anyway.  For those that are left?  Incrementalism may be a dirty word, but incrementalism in the right direction is better than the wrong direction.  If that makes any sense to you at all, please vote Winton.  Or vote your principle and put the “liberty” candidate, whoever it may be, as first choice but put Winton second. 

For DFLers who care about Minneapolis:  Minneapolis’ current system is unsustainable.  There is no way for the current system to keep running the way it is.  Minneapolis is going to bankrupt itself – maybe later than sooner.  Not only can you not tax yourselves to prosperity, but in Minneapolis under the DFL machine you can’t even tax yourselves to competence.  The streets are terrible.  The schools have among the worst achievement gaps in the United States – worse than Philly or Detroit, for crying out loud.  The North Side is a shooting gallery.  And yet Minneapolis is laying off cops but proposing building a trolley from where people aren’t to where they don’t want to be, at exquisite city expense ($53 million a mile!), and socializing the city’s power system. 

If you’re a DFLer with some common sense – and I know there are a few of you out there – isn’t it time to say “enough?”  To stop the crazy train?  To run a city like a city, and not an excellent frat party for government hangers-on? 

I can’t vote in Minneapolis.  I wish I could.

I Heard It On The NARN

Here’s Cam Winton’s website.  You don’t have to live in Minneapolis to help Cam shock the world.

Here’s my piece about Daniel Henninger’s piece saying we should just let Obamacare collapse from its unwieldy incompetence.

And since it was “Springsteen Cover Saturday” in honor of Bruce’s 64th birthday last Monday – here’s my series on why Springsteen resonates with conservatives.

NARN Tomorrow!

Tomorrow on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, I’ll be talking about the DFL’s absurd endzone happy dance over the state’s Forbes ranking, and the onset of Obamacare.

And in the second hour, I’ll be talking with Minneapolis mayoral candidate Cam Winton about his quixotic campaign – with an emphasis on how you can help, and on how very possible it is for the good guys to shock the world in November.

Uncommon Bravery, All-Too-Common Narrative

It was a year ago yesterday that a depraved lefty walked into the national Family Research Council headquarters a a pistol, 100 rounds of ammo, and the intention to kill every person in the office. 

He was stopped by a building manager and acting security guard, Leo Johnson, who, although shot twice, subdued the leftist gunman, who had walked into the lobby claiming to be a new intern.  Johnson asked for ID. 

After Corkins takes a suspiciously long time rummaging through his bag to produce identification, Johnson cannily stands up and walks around the desk to get a closer look at what Corkins is doing. Corkins bolts upright, gun in hand. Without the slightest hesitation, Johnson rushes Corkins, who fires twice. A bullet shatters Johnson’s left forearm. “And I just couldn’t hear anything, my arm just kind of blew back. So at that point I was thinking: ‘I have to get this gun,’ ” Johnson told The Weekly Standard. “That was my sole focus—I have to get this gun—this guy’s gonna kill me and kill everybody here.”

From there, Johnson somehow manages to push Corkins across the lobby and pin him against the wall with his bad arm. “I just started punching him as hard as I could, until I could feel his grip loosen,” recalled Johnson. Eventually he takes the gun from Corkins with his wounded arm. Before long, Corkins is subdued on the ground. Corkins now admits that it was his intention to shoot everyone in the building. There’s no question Johnson saved a lot of lives.

This was a genuine hate crime; the shooter, Floyd Lee Corkins, had a backpack full of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches he intended to smear into his victims’ faces after shooting them, apperently to suffocate the wounded. 

Johnson was a hero.  And you’ve heard scarcely a word about it in the mainstream media, who spent most of the past 18 months trying in vain to pound the utterly-non-bias-related Martin-Zimmerman case into a “hate crime”, and the past couple of years trying unsuccessfully to politicize the Giffords, Aurora and Newtown shootings.

And yet here was the real thing (and by no means for the first time).  And…

(crickets)

There are some illuminating contrasts between the media’s handling of the political dimensions of the Family Research Council shooting and the shooting of Representative Giffords. In the latter case, the media rushed to assume political motivations and were quick to blame, of all people, Sarah Palin…there is no evidence whatsoever Loughner saw this map or that allegedly violent political rhetoric—even “campaign” is a term borrowed from war—was in any way a cause of the Giffords shooting. That didn’t stop serious news organizations from lending institutional credibility to the irresponsible allegations…though Giffords was shot in January 2011, as recently as this year in an article on gun violence the New York Times saw fit to remind readers that “many criticized Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential nominee, for using cross hairs on her Web site to identify Democrats like Ms. Giffords.”

 And NBC news fairly raced to blame the Aurora shooting on the Tea Party. 

By contrast, the media handled awkwardly the revelation that Corkins admitted to plotting mass murder as a means of furthering a popular liberal cause. “A detail sure to reignite the culture wars that erupted around the shooting is the fact that Corkins told FBI agents that he identified the Family Research Council as anti-gay on the Web site of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” wrote the Washington Post during Corkins’s trial in February. It’s a little unseemly for a newspaper, when finally forced to confront actual politically motivated violence, to worry about the shooting’s impact on the metaphorical “culture war.” Particularly when irresponsible actors in that culture war continue to get a free pass from the media.

The SPLC – cited with grave solemnity as an authority by rafts of lefty bobbleheads – has become a bit of a hate group in its own right:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was once a laudable civil rights organization that sued racists and violent extremists. Now it regularly demonizes anyone who runs afoul of its knee-jerk liberal politics, and despite this it is still regularly cited by the media as a “nonpartisan” watchdog. Some of the SPLC’s newly targeted “hate groups,” such as pickup artists, are merely kooky or distasteful. Others singled out by the SPLC, including Catholics who go to Latin mass or Christian organizations similar to the Family Research Council, are well within the mainstream. Tellingly, the SPLC doesn’t just name the Family Research Council on its website—it posts the council’s address on a “hate map.” That map is still on SPLC’s website, and the organization refused calls to take it down after the Family Research Council shooting.

But they won’t. 

I bring it up because we’re seeing the same thing with the Widstrand beating in Saint Paul.  Now, to be clear, there’s no evidence that it was a “hate crime”, per se; in other words, there’s no evidence that any of the youths stood on a soapbox and bellowed “I’m doing this because I Hate Whitey”.  And for purposes of charging that brutal assault, evidence is what is needed.

But you can see, feel and hear the nervousness in official Saint Paul and Minneapolis government circles; as crime as dropped in most parts of the Twin Cities, it’s stayed steadily well above average on the East Side, the North End, the North Side, Phillips.  Parts of the East Side have been deteriorating before our eyes over the past decade, in a city that is generally mostly just stagnant. 

And yet nobody in offical Twin Cities circles will call the elephant what it is.  They hold official observances for the “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” misery-exploitation caravan – which exists to protest the deaths of children who look like the children of NPR executives – and studiously ignore the fact that black on black crime in the Twin Cities is astronomically higher than any other rate in the state.

A Cold Greece

From the City of Minneapolis website, with emphasis added:

Regular meeting of the Minneapolis City Council Committee of the Whole standing committee and Intergovernmental Relations subcommittee.
Municipal Utility: 10:00 a.m. public hearing to consider authorizing the establishment of a municipal electrical utility and authorizing the City to own, operate, construct, and extend electric facilities and to purchase and acquire the property of any existing electrical public utility operating within the City of Minneapolis for the purpose of providing electrical and related services.
10:30 a.m. public hearing to consider authorizing the establishment of a municipal gas utility and authorizing the City to own, operate, construct, and extend gas and similar facilities and to purchase and acquire the property of any existing gas public utility operating within the City of Minneapolis for the purpose of providing natural gas and similar services.

Minneapolis’ unofficial motto: “100 Years of Socialism: Someday It Might Work”

Oh, yeah. Excel will shut down its Minneapolis headquarters if the city takes over the city’s power business.

More government union jobs, I guess.

Small Tents For We, But Not For Ye

Remember what happens every time the conservative mainstream GOP mixes it up with the “moderates” that have descended into near irrelevance among everyone but the Strib Editorial Board? 

How the media establishment chides the GOP to be more open?  Bigger-tented?  More tolerant of dissent?

Well, at the moment, either does at least part of the mainstream media.

Nick Coleman – who used to be one of those Strib people who audibly pined for the good ol’ days when his Dad was in the Legislature and the GOP was a huge tent covering everyone from moderate DFL suckups to really moderate DFL suckups – is now wanting to start checking ideological IDs. He was reporting from the Tatooine cantina that was the Minneapolis DFL City Convention over the weekend:

 

Minneapolis has a choice;  five DFL candidates, ranging from crazy to pants-crappingly unhinged…

…and Cam Winton, the DFLer-turned-GOPer running on the “get some value for all those freaking taxes we pay” platform.

If there was ever a time to shock the world, this is it; Cam could use a buck or two, and even some volunteers, if you’re so inclined.

And Here You Go

The new Vikings stadium has been unveiled.

About a year after $500 million in public money was approved by the Minnesota Legislature for a new Vikings stadium, the curtain was pulled back Monday, May 13, to let the public see what the $975 million facility will look like.

The new design was unveiled at a 90-minute event Monday evening at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

The building will be asymmetrical and multisided. The roof will slope to ensure snow doesn’t pile up atop it.

It looks like a microwave that fell out of a truck on the freeway.

But at least it’s being paid for by electronic pull tabs oops.  It’s going to be paid for out of your taxes.

The least the Strib, WCCO, KFAN and KSTP could do is give away some free tickets, since this is our “present” to them and their long-term viability.

Republicans In The City: The Good News, Part 2

Yesterday, we looked at the changes in voting in the 4th Congressional District after redestricting, and tried to give some context to what were, at face value, disappointing election results.  As I noted yesterday, the Tony Hernandez for Congress campaign had some big handicaps – fundraising was as terrible for him as it was for every other Republican, and a redistricting that was pretty benign for Betty McCollum – and a huge one, an epochal DFL turnout against the Marriage Amendment.

Most of those issues were writ larger across the river in the 5th Congressional District, covering Minneapolis and most of Hennepin County.  By all accounts, Keith Ellison was the biggest beneficiary from redistricting; the 5th CD became, on paper, even more strongly DFL than it was before.  And if anything, the 5th CD’s Republican party was even less functional last year than the 4th’s was.

But Chris Fields, the GOP-endorsed candidate in the 5th, brought the kind of game the GOP hasn’t seen in Minneapolis in way longer than I can remember.  Fields was a great candidate; he was elected Secretary of the State GOP last weekend, so hopefully he’ll be in a position to be one again soon.  He worked the district hard, had a small but highly-motivated staff, and raised a lot more money than Republicans normally do in the dismal 5th.

And so what happened?

Here are the vote totals and percentages going back to 2000:

But what does this mean in a larger historical context?

As yesterday:  the top two rows show how many more voters each party turned out in 2012 than in the year shown below.  The additional turnout for the DFL – and Ellison – in 2012 was staggering; 33,000 more than in 2008 (a great DFL year by itself), 43,000 more than in 2004 (a decent GOP year), 85,000 more than in 2000 (an excellent GOP year, outside the 5th anyway).

And as yesterday, the bottom two rows show a “rematch”; the DFL’s numbers in the listed year against Fields’ 2012 numbers.  Fields turned out over 30,000 more Republican votes than in most presidential off-years (2002 was a great year for the MNGOP), and 30,000 more than even in 2000, which was a very good GOP year throughout the US.

So what do these numbers mean?

Simply this:  the 5th remains a difficult district for Republicans.  But the combination of a strong GOP candidate, a motivated campaign that knows how to message the district (as Fields most certainly did, although the Minneapolis media was an even more bald-faced Praetorian Guard for Ellison than it was for McCollum) and raise money makes it possible for the district, as badly as it was gerrymandered, to edge closer to being a 60-40 district than a 75-25 one.  And as dismal as that seems, that’s at least within striking distance; Chip Cravaack overcame a 60-40 district in 2010.  It’s difficult – but not impossible.

And that is the mission for the GOP in both the 4th and 5th CDs; take their turf from “Impossible” to “Herculean”, and thence maybe to “Difficult”.

More candidates like Fields, like Tony Hernandez and Teresa Collett, will certainly help.

Better-organized District committees will also go a long way, as will a functional state party capable of raising money and – this is important – not undercutting the messaging of the 4th and 5th CD candidates.

And this last year, top-line percentages aside, was a decent start.

When Making Your Weekend Plans…

…don’t get far from a radio.

Or a computer, or a mobile device.  You get the idea.

Big Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast tomorrow.  We’ll have Cam Winton on to talk about the Minneapolis mayor’s race, and Senator Sean Nienow will be with us to talk about his call for an investigation into the Vikings Stadium funding fiasco.

That’ 1-3PM tomorrow, on AM1280 The Patriot!

Missions Stated And Unstated – Part III

So the “debate” among the DFL candidates for the non-partisan Minneapolis mayor’s race took place yesterday.

What happened?  Probably nothing all that newsworthy; it was a debate of DFL candidates.  

For a non-partisan race.

Of course, Cam Winton – who is running as a fiscal conservative and social moderate – was left out of the debate since he’s not a DFLer (anymore).

There’s been a flurry of emails between Winton and the Humphrey Institute.  And I personally wrote Dr. Larry Jacobs and the Humphrey Institute to get clarification on the debate about the debate.

The debate looks a little like this – and I’ll paraphrase both sides, since the email trail is a long one:

Winton: The Humphrey Institute should not be running partisan debates for a non-partisan race.  It violated the Humphrey Institute’s mission.  And shunting him to the separate “losers debate” with the likes of Leslie Davis and, I dunno, Howling Cat LeLouche and Fancy Ray McCloney and having a DFL-only debate is a straight up sign of bias.

Jacobs:  The Humphrey Institute is aware that there is intense competition for the DFL endorsement – and this debate is analogous to the intra-party debates in the run-up to, say, the Presidential or Gubernatorial primaries.  The Humphrey Institute invites plenty of Republicans to marquee events, and Winton is going to be the subject of a separate event with plenty of media coverage [other than the "Losers' Debate"]

Perhaps Jacobs’ explanation – that the partisan debate is a nod to a traditional endorsement process  - makes sense, in and of itself.  Maybe.  The Minneapolis mayor race is officially non-partisan, so the “endorsement” should be meaningless – but we all know that in Minneapolis, it’s not.   It’s an important bit of PR in Minneapolis, a city full of people who vote party first and foremost.

And that’s the part that sticks in my craw.

So here’s a question for Dr. Jacobs: since the DFL-only “debate” is designed to inform voters in advance of an endorsement that is…

  • officially meaningless, but…
  • worth much in terms of intra-party public relations,

then it follows the entire exercise of the debate is a DFL PR event.

Yes, kudos to Dr. Jacobs and the Humphrey Institute for doing the “make-up” appearance with Dr. Jacobs.  It was the right thing to do, certainly.

But I’ll stifle my endemic snarking about the DFL mien of most regional pseudo-government institutions (like Humphrey) and ask, seriously – why does the Humphrey Institute carry on with an event that the changes in Minneapolis’ electoral system has turned into nothing but a DFL campaign event?

Missions Stated And Unstated – Part II

As I noted yesterday, there’s going to be a debate among the candidates for Mayor of Minneapolis.

The DFL ones, anyway.

Cam Winton – a former DFLer who is running a fiscally-conservative, socially-moderate campaign with backing from Republicans and DFLers who get that Minneapolis is rapidly going broke and frittering scarce resources away on “nice-to-haves” while the necessities go begging, has a murder rate three times the state’s (and double Saint Paul’s), and the city careens toward a pension meltdown – wrote to Dr. Larry Jacobs at the Humphrey Institute to ask why.

The letter is below the jump.

Continue reading

Missions Stated And Unstated – Part I

Cam Winton is running for Mayor of Minneapolis.

Winton – a former DFL activist who told of seeing the economic light after going into business – is running as a fiscal conservative and social moderate, and not as an endorsed Republican, per se.  I attended his kickoff rally a few weeks back in Minneapolis, and had a pretty singular experience for a GOP activists, standing in the same room and cheering along with people who’d opposed the marriage amendment (which Winton also opposed) and listening to Ashwin Madia, a couple of lesbian marriage activists, and Winton’s business partner extolling the candidate’s virtues.

And it was in that crowd, I thought, that one might see a successful challenge to DFL hegemony in Minneapolis; a candidacy that attacks the DFL’s weak spot in Minneapolis – its incompetence at running a city – while ignoring the GOP’s big weaknessses in places like Minneapolis.

Now, some – including my friend John Gilmore – have asked “is Winton Republican or conservative enough?”   He, and they, point to the fact that Winton is a former Democrat, and was in fact a prominent enough activist through 2008.

As a former Democrat myself, I’m pretty forgiving of Road to Damascus conversions.  And if you want to grill a candidate to assess the sincerity, or at least integrity, of their beliefs, then a debate could be a fine place to do it.

And there’s the problem.

———-

The Minneapolis mayor’s race is an expressly non-partisan one.  Party identification doesn’t appear with candidates on the ballot.

The Humphrey Center – the U of M’s Poli-Sci think tank and, if you ask conservatives, DFL hatchery and retirement home – is hosting a debate of these candidates this coming Wednesday.

The DFL ones.

Let’s rephrase that for impact; the Humphrey Institute – a public institution whose mission is at least ostensibly not “furthering the DFL’s interests and hindering their opposition” – is hosting a debate for a non-partisan office in the city in which the Institute resides.  And they’re only inviting DFL candidates to it.

According to the Winton campaign, he has been invited to a second debate.  At this second debate – which will have virtually no media coverage – Winton will appear on a panel with Bob Carney and Leslie Davis, a couple of perennial candidate who are shunted into a side-debate to isolate the comic relief from the “Real” race…

…which, the Humphrey Institute has decided in its infinite institutional wisdom, is among the DFL candidates, who will get the “real” debate.

This brings up a couple of questions:

Is the Humphrey Institute serving as a DFL campaigning tool?: Why the seemingly arbitrary cutoff at “DFL”, in a race where every candidate goes to the final ballot (Minneapolis uses “ranked choice” balloting, resulting in slow, unreliable elections with no need for party endorsements or primaries.   Having a fully-partisan “debate” is not only against the Humphrey Institute’s stated mission – it’s supposed to be irrelevant to the contest at hand.

Is this a debate or a DFL campaign rally?:  The Humphrey Institute’s planned event will include five DFL candidates who differ on policy only in the most tangential incidentals. That’s not a “debate”, it’s a support group meeting.

“Debate” implies “difference of opinion”:  But this “debate” – the one the U of M will actually publicize, the one the media will attend – studiously ignores a sharp, articulate candidate who sharply differs from the DFL on some issues where the DFL itself knows it’s vulnerable – spending, taxes, regulation, public safety, infrastructure.

I asked the Humphrey Institute’s Dr. Larry Jacobs about this last week.

I’ll have that part of the conversation tomorrow.

Who Da King?

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talkradio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • I’m back!  I’ll have Senator Julianne Ortmann to talk about the raft of gun-grab legislation the DFL is spooling up. Plus Cam Winton, conservative candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis. 
  • Brad Carlson is back on “The Closer” from 1-3 tomorrow.  Tune on in!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all four hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

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