The good and the bad in Mayor Hodges’ first budget

Article by: Cam Winton
In her budget address on Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges gave cause for both cheer and alarm. Cheer, because the mayor proposed real investments in our residents and took steps to hack bureaucracy’s vines from the path of our city’s would-be job creators. Alarm, because we’re still wasting money on bells and whistles, missing opportunities for vital reforms and forgetting that not all of us can afford property tax increases.
First, the good. Too often, elected officials use the word “investment” to describe any new spending, but Hodges’ proposal to increase spending on public safety really is an investment that will yield a return over time. By increasing the number of sworn officers and community service officers on the Minneapolis Police Department, City Hall will enable the force to build stronger relationships in the community. Body cameras on officers will stop the hemorrhaging of cash to resolve incidents and allegations of police misconduct — and, more important, will foster citizens’ trust in the force. And adding approximately 30 firefighters will ensure our first responders have the personnel they need to keep our growing city safe.
Another true investment: The money Hodges proposes to spend on early childhood education. Her proposal reflects the consensus across the political spectrum that if we greet young children’s natural enthusiasm for learning with enriching instruction, we’ll ensure that the smallest among us are ready to thrive in kindergarten and beyond.
The budget address also noted that City Attorney Susan Segal is working to slash the red tape currently entangling entrepreneurs who want to employ tomorrow’s workers. That’s a good first step toward relieving the underemployment and unemployment afflicting too many of our fellow city residents.
So, there’s plenty to cheer, but also plenty of reason for alarm. First, the spending. The mayor’s budget address conspicuously omitted any reference to the proposed streetcar line, but nevertheless the city is still siphoning funds away from essentials to pay for engineering of the Nicollet Avenue line — an epic boondoggle with a price tag of $54 million per mile. The money would be better spent on building heated bus shelters along existing bus lines.
To those who prefer the streetcar: Are you willing to go to an unsheltered bus stop on a toe-numbing February morning and explain to a mother guarding her two children from the wind that you prioritize a shiny trolley over her children’s comfort? (And to those who argue that we should build both the streetcar and the bus shelters, I ask for some of the seeds from your money tree.)
Speaking of extravagances, the mayor used her address to propose an $8 million program to recycle organic materials like food scraps and dryer lint. Under the plan, every household in Minneapolis would have to pay $40 a year to fund the program regardless of whether they wanted to participate in it. Well-intentioned proponents note that diverting organic waste to recycling would obviate the need to burn it in the trash facility near Target Field.
True, but that statement ignores the negative impacts of driving another set of trucks through the city’s alleys and the positive potential for allowing organics to decompose in a modern landfill and capturing the resulting methane for energy. Furthermore, if the city required families to spend that $40 a year, what important thing would those families then cut to find the money? School supplies? A bike helmet for a budding bicyclist? Healthier food from the farmers market? Elected officials forget: Families in the real world have to make these kinds of choices.
After wasteful spending, the second cause for alarm: The city’s review of regulations barely scratches the surface of determining how our state, county and city should divide responsibility for governing in the 21st century. The current model is marred by duplicative back offices and is unsustainably expensive. To fix the problem, I encourage smart, dedicated public servants like the mayor, Hennepin County Board Member Marion Greene and newly appointed City Coordinator Spencer Cronk to combine procurement, IT and accounting functions and implement open-source, cloud-based software platforms for the benefit of both the city and county. The combination of certain functions by St. Paul and Ramsey County; the merger of city and county library functions, and the University of Minnesota’s use of Google Apps all provide instructive models.
The third cause for alarm: the proposed levy increase of 2.4 percent. No matter how well-intentioned the increase, if we keep making it more expensive to live in our city we’ll price out the socioeconomically diverse residents we claim to want as neighbors. The mayor acknowledges that part of the proposed levy increase is due to increased spending, which is irresponsible as long as we’re still buying duplicative bureaucracy and a streetcar we don’t need.
In summary, there are strengths and pitfalls in Hodges’ respectable first cut at the budget. The City Council now has the opportunity to partner with the mayor and Board of Estimate and Taxation to develop a final budget that empowers and respects all Minneapolitans. I wish them all well in the process.

Cam Winton, a Republican, is a resident of Minneapolis and an attorney in the power industry. He was a candidate for mayor as an independent in 2013.
© 2014 Star Tribune
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/271917861.html

Super Saturday

Have fun calling while helping your candidates!

Join us for Super Saturday July 19, make calls at our Golden Valley office with MN Young Republicans. Enjoy free food and craft beer — and those who make over 200 calls in the office are entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card! Stop in any time between 10:00am and 8:00pm. Treats all day, beer served after 7:00 pm.

Golden Valley Victory Office
1405 North Lilac Drive, Suite 131
Golden Valley, MN 55422
> Map

Get more details on our Facebook event page.

For more information, contact Dan Hanks at 763-479-9747 or email at dhanks@mngop.com

Thank you for helping your endorsed GOP candidates to victory!

Jeff Johnson for Governor

Your Twenty-four delegates to the Republican State Convention in Rochester joined over two thousand other delegates from around Minnesota to overwhelmingly endorsed Jeff Johnson to run against Mark Dayton this November 4th! Jeff is a fantastic candidate and a great choice.

Here’s our challenge: three other candidates have chosen to ignore party endorsement and challenge Jeff on August 12th in the primary. What is the point of endorsement? The delegates to the state convention are elected locally through the process that begins at caucus. No delegates are appointed, they are all elected by citizens that come to the caucus. They are chosen by their fellow Republicans to invest the time and effort in getting to know the issues and the candidates. All of us had the opportunity to talk to each candidate and learn about their positions. If you would like to be a delegate in two years or have questions about it, please come to our picnic and meet the delegates.

That being said, you can see that this process mimics the Republic in that we choose people we respect to represent us and invest the time and effort to educate themselves and make reasoned decisions. A primary is more akin to mob rule — who has the best ad, who gets hurt by a ‘gotcha question’ — admittedly good tv and entertainment, but hardly a logical way to run a republic.

So we need to ask our friends and like-minded citizens to take a moment of their time to go to the polls on August 12th and vote for Jeff Johnson, not only because he is the best candidate, but also to maintain the integrity of the endorsement process.

To learn more about Jeff, please watch his video below, check out his website: johnsonforgovernor.org and watch his interview on TPT’s Almanac!

Time to Fight. Time to Lead. Time to Win. – Jeff Johnson for Governor of Minnesota from Jeff Johnson on Vimeo.

Mike McFadden for Senate

Twenty-two delegates from SD61 attended the Minnesota GOP State Convention in Rochester over the weekend of May 30th, 2014 and we joined with party activists from around the state to endorse Mike McFadden to represent us this November 4th in the battle to unseat Al Franken.

The Convention was exciting and we all have some great war stories. Please join us a the Annual SD61 Picnic on Sunday, June 22nd at 1pm to meet our candidates and the delegation can answer any questions you have about the candidates, the process or how you can get involved to help up turn Minnesota into a Red State!!

To learn more about Mike McFadden right now, check out his campaign video below and visit his website: mikemcfadden.com

Doug Daggett for Congress

Doug Daggett is the Republican endorsed candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Minneapolis, Richfield, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Hopkins, New Hope, Crystal, Robbinsdale, Brooklyn Center, Fridley, Columbia Heights, Hilltop, and parts of Edina, Spring Lake Park, and St. Anthony. He is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis).

Covention Results

State Convention Delegates
1 MITCH ROSSOW
2 ANDREW GILDEA
2 Juliette Jordal
2 CHRISTINA PIERSON
5 WILLIAM OPSAHL
6 MARK MILLER
7 GREGG SOUGSTAD
8 Andy Post
9 SAMUEL WINTER
10 RONALD EIBENSTEINER
11 Franklin Jesse, Jr.
12 JAMES PATTERSON
13 Patrick Waddick
14 GAYLE BELKENGREN
15 DENNIS NGUYEN
16 BRIAN BERGS
17 RUSSELL HILK
18 Mary McGnaney
State Convention Alternates
A01 Peter Glessing
A02 SHEILA FRANEY
A03 LAURIE EIBENSTEINER
A04 CHERYL STEWART
A05 ANDREW STAKSTON
A06 THOMAS GALLAGHER
A07 SUSAN REDDIN
A08 Barry Lazarus
A08 TIM LOVESTRAND
A10 Barbra Lunde
A10 KATHY MARSON
A10 JENNIFER ZIELINSKI
A13 DOUGLAS DAGGETT

If you were elected as a delegate or alternate to the State Convention, you will receive your convention call from the MNGOP.

CD5 Delegates
1 MITCH ROSSOW
2 DOUGLAS DAGGETT
3 Juliette Jordal
4 ANDREW GILDEA
4 Andrew Rich
6 CHRISTINA PIERSON
6 GREGG SOUGSTAD
6 WILLIAM OPSAHL
9 MARK MILLER
10 JENNIFER ZIELINSKI
11 SHEILA FRANEY
12 SAMUEL WINTER
13 Patrick Waddick
13 ROGER ODANIEL
13 RUSSELL HILK
16 GAYLE BELKENGREN
17 THOMAS GALLAGHER
18 Barry Lazarus
CD5 Alternates
A01 Tony Bergmaan-Porter
A02 CAROL TILLEMANS
A02 CHERYL STEWART
A02 Franklin Jesse, Jr.
A02 JAMES PATTERSON
A06 Peter Glessing
A06 SUSAN REDDIN
A08 ANDREW STAKSTON
A09 Barbra Lunde
A09 ROBERT CARNEY
A09 TIM LOVESTRAND
A12 ROBERT KOLAS
A13 KATHY MARSON

If you were elected as a delegate or alternate to CD5, you should have received your convention call at the convention, if not, please email mitchrossow@sd61gop.org

In the case of a tie vote, those candidates are given the same rank. If delegates are absent, alternates will be seated according to rank; resolution of ties to be determined by the BPOU Chair.

Adequate Notice of CD5 Constitutional Amendment

The SD61 Convention which will be Saturday, March 29th at Burroughs Elementary School —  the same place we had Caucuses. It begins at 10am, so please arrive a little earlier. Registration will open at 9:30am. We will be selecting Delegates to CD5. That Convention will be on April 12th at 10am at the CRYSTAL VFW POST 494, 5222 Bass Lake Road, Crystal, MN 55429. If you plan seek election as a delegate to CD5, please read the notice below.

The 5th CD Constitution Committee has recommended amendments to the 5th CD Constitution. The Fifth Congressional District will consider these amendments at its convention on Saturday, April 12, 2014. The amendments will consist of the following:

  • Grammatical corrections throughout the document
  • Corrections of Article and Section numbering throughout the document
  • Removal of outdated references (including references to non-existent regulatory bodies, and officer positions that no longer exist)
  • Revision of the “Amendments” article:
    • Threshold for passage of a constitutional amendment at the convention reduced from 60% to a majority
    • Deletion of the 60% quorum requirement
    • Requirement that notice of amendments to be provided to delegates and alternates 10 days before a convention (reduced from 20 days) Specification that written, electronic or telephone notice shall be provided for delegates and alternates
    • Deletion of the requirement that constitutional amendments passed at a 5th CD convention be ratified by Full BPOU executive committees.

The text of the proposed constitutional amendments was posted for delegate and alternate review on the 5th CD website on March 17th.

Candidates Considering Running for House

Or if you know someone who might consider it…

The Republican team from Senate District 61 (SD 61) is excited to build our organization and support local candidates in 2014.  Our Nominations Committee is meeting at the Community Room at Lund’s Groceries at 1450 West Lake Street on Tuesday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m. to meet potential candidates for Minnesota State House for District 61-A and District 61-B.  If you are considering a run, you are welcome to come no matter who you are!  We will supply coffee too!  At the SD 61 convention on Saturday, March 29th, we will be endorsing one candidate for each of these races.

As part of the meeting, members of our Nominations Committee and Executive Board will be on hand to answer questions about the process of running for state office.  It can be a very fun challenge to take on!  One of the services that the Nominations Committee will offer is to run background checks for potential candidates ahead of the convention and we ask candidates to bring their Free Credit Report, available at CreditKarma.com  There are two potential benefits to this offer for candidates: (1) the local party can help strategize to address any issues in advance and (2) the Nominations Committee can confirm your background as you seek endorsement at the Convention.

We hope you can make it on March 25th.  If you cannot, drop me a line and we will work with you as we can.  We look forward to working with you on a potential campaign!

The Party of Big Money?

Democrats outspend Republicans 3-to-1 in Minnesota

As several recent reports have confirmed, the largest political contributions in Minnesota, as well as throughout the nation, consistently benefit Democrats.
Despite that fact, Democrats like Senator Al Franken are notorious for blaming the Koch brothers and Karl Rove for outrageous campaign spending. This is the big money fallacy.
The truth is that Democrats outspend Republicans by nearly 3-to1 in Minnesota. In fact, $27 million of the $53 million contributed to Minnesota campaigns in recent years was from just 26 donors: 19 of which are Democrats.

The Facts:

  • Education Minnesota, the public teachers union, contributed $4.8 million to Democrats, since 2007 (Star Tribune)
  • National and state unions combined to spend $17 million in Minnesota from 2007 to 2012 (Star Tribune).
  • Minnesota’s top individual contributor is left wing activist Alida Messinger, Gov. Dayton’s ex-wife and heiress to the Rockefeller fortune, who donated $1.6 million to Democrat political action committees from 2007 to 2012  (Star Tribune).
  • In 2012 Minnesota Democrats had so much money they ended up spending it illegally AND WERE FINED $100,000, one of the largest fines in Minnesota history.
  • “Indonesian native Johannes Marliem and his wife, Mai Chie Thor, continue to throw big money [$75,000] at Democrats, even though the couple is surrounded in controversy” (Watchdog.org).
  • On a national scale, labor unions outspent businesses 2-to-1 in 2013 (Watchdog.org).
  • “The Koch brothers, by comparison, ranked 59th on Open Secrets’ list. The brothers have spent $18 million since 1989, less than 20 percent of what Act Blue has spent since 2004,” (Watchdog.org).
“This is one of the best fundraising hauls that the [Democrats] [have] had in an off year,” – DFL Chair Ken Martin (Star Tribune)

Despite what Democrats would have you believe, the numbers don’t lie. Democrats far outspend Republicans by the millions. Even a small contribution to MNGOP will make a difference in swaying the balance of power in Minnesota government.