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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
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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
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For more information, contact Dan Hanks at 763-479-9747 or email at email@example.com
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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.
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 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).
|State Convention Delegates|
|State Convention Alternates|
If you were elected as a delegate or alternate to the State Convention, you will receive your convention call from the MNGOP.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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!