consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Major levels of political mendacity are not reached until one mouth says, "We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington and empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs," ...

... and then says, "“BP is the responsible party, but we need the federal government to make sure they are held accountable and that they are indeed responsible. Our way of life depends on it.”

In effect, we need to shrink the federal government to the size of a moth ball, because the private sector is king, but when the king messes up in my backyard; Uncle Sugar, help, bail out my children, my huddled masses, my waters, my land -- you are essential.

Only a Jindal would do that. It's even below a Pawlenty, and that means below the level of a snake's belly in a wagon rut.

Brad Delong has the full presentation, this link.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The horse and buggy days, when Americans had no worry about car bombs or Islamists or militia members plotting mayhem.

This link.

The book to read, to understand the times, truly, is Pynchon's "Against the Day."

Every word of it true. Not a hint of unresearched fiction or opinion in the entire book. If you live in Anoka County, the Library system has three copies.

High tech litigation, Google [YouTube] vs. Viacom claims and crossclaims; with email evidence of the degree of sophisticated and genteel but trenchant analysis within corporate managements.

Google, as an information company, gives you information about the litigation. While the saying is there are two sides to every lawsuit, do you expect them, as an information company, to give equal access to each of the two sides?  This link.

As to the incredibly genteel level of analysis and dispute within large-firm corporate management; this link.

As to the question of what the prevailing HTML5 video codec will be; in particular will it be open source or patent pool licensed; there is reporting, this link.

As to whether the patent system is broken, and the Patent Office would give a patent for as innovative an idea as "Downloading Music on the Internet by use of a keyboard, mouse, trackball or joystice," well that would be stupid to expect to be granted that kind of patent because there is nothing novel or innovative about THAT. What, instead is sufficiently intellectual to be patentable intellectual property; with what may be granted and what might hold up in court always interrelated but not exactly congruent questions; this link.

And, you know, even being a bit of a savage if I ever had ungenteel thinking about Ramsey and local politics, I would of course try to shift to more genteel ways to state things if emailing, trying, I guess, to imitate large-firm role models of prudent and sagacious communication. Figure it this way, NSA is reading your email, our email, and they are sensitive individuals who might take offense at coarseness. There's no cause to inappropriately give uncalled-for offense to such active and diligent sensitive public servants.

I chatted a half-hour, forty minutes, or so with Gary Greb, candidate for the open At Large council seat in Ramsey.

He said something about a fund raiser for Republican Jim Abeler, people talking there to Mayor Ramsey who was there too, indicating that on state, national and international issues his opinions and mine might differ.

And - don't confuse him with Gary Gruber - the names are close but Gruber owned and ran the Diamonds Sports Bar, while Greb is a retired Qwest worker, still involved in related work, as a Minn Telco Pioneer volunteer community service officer and grunt worker.

He lives behind the retail node along the west side of Hwy 47 between Hwy 116, and Hwy 5 merging, where the historic old Ramsey City Hall is located (could they but shrink and fit themselves in there now so the new building could be sold to recoup something for the rest of us in Ramsey not buying into shared-wall village - aka Ramsey Town Center). As with the last council, none of the current council members live there, they each have pleasant detached single family homes on reasonably sized lots. I may be wrong but I think Dave Jeffrey is the only one on Municipal sewer and water rather than private well and septic systems, and last council Strommen and Jeffrey were the only two.

Quiz: Name the last mayor of Ramsey who lived on municipal sewer and water while voting for it to be infiltrated into the community? Did Arnie Cox, way back then, live that way? I recall that it was 1976 with a letter he signed as mayor in city records, that the infiltration via the CAB big pipe across the river began to have play in Ramsey. So, the answer unless I am wrong is there never was one.

Anyway, because some raging activists closed down a public road near where he lives, we discussed that, and he seems largely in agreement with my view that when the rest of the world pays half the cost of tarring the roads and all of the cost of snow removal for those public streets it is for a public purpose, road travel by autos, motorcycles, etc., and not for selfish neighbors wanting streets as playgrounds for family children who have parks a simple short walk or two away.

With childhood obesity such an epidemic the little tykes should walk more.

And it would be good parenting to encourage them to walk a short block or two to the pedestrian friendly Hwy. 116 and Hwy 47 traffic light, where well marked pedestrian crossing lanes abound and are clearly marked for the children to follow.

That gets them safely to the Rum River Park under the Hwy 116 overpass, with play and nature areas, and there is The Ponds park nearby too. But a loudmouth or two got the road closed so that the rest of the world has a lessened way of dealing with exiting the shopping areas and there is the consequent lessening of business traffic at those shops - all done despite protestations of present council members of being business friendly.

Greb said he also opposes a Matt Look proposal of an unneeded traffic light on 116 between Thurston - Dysprosium, and Sunfish Lake Blvd; a light he said he believes would be serving little purpose in his mind but to allow Matt Look as a council member to have a special ingress-egress light for himself and a few neighbors to the detriment of the rest of us not wanting or needing such foolishness. In both instances, closing the road and proposing such a light, I have to agree that my view of the public interest, vs local folks wanting to be treated as special, I agree with what I heard from Greb. It would leaven the decision making to add new blood at the council table. Differing views of public vs. private interests makes for best government.

Greb seems to share my view that the entire Landform money drain going on now in Ramsey is questionable - we do get a few nice pastel posters to decorate city hall - I admit that - but at fifteen grand a pop, per month, for Landform alone and another ten grand a month flowed through Landform to others in ways and for services I am unclear about - especially as to value, if any, to anyone in Ramsey who might prefer lower taxes instead. Professional services, they call it. They say lawyering is the second oldest profession, so land planning must be third.

For that twenty-five-grand-a-month amount I know from the recent Paris art theft that we could not get Picasso or Matisse, but we're getting something that looks insufficient for the cash and little different from stuff Feges-folks churned out in exchange for bleeding cash from Bruce Nedegaard before he went broke on the same set of bad Town Center dreams and ideas that few wanted, but which proved amenable to Met Council and land speculators, and others taking a liking to unsound stuff --- as in, can you say "Smart Growth?"

That term seems to be buried these days as deeply in a grave as is Natialie Steffen's responsibility for her publicly inflicting of bad dreams, may they rest in peace.

More on that angle and some Met. Council press clippings, in future posts. For now there is but a quick nostalgic look at an image I posted before of a dreamland fabricated by known dream-weavers and cookbook recipe fans - with the outcome also known as "taxpayer nightmare" or simply the hide-my-wallet-shakes:

Somebody surely dropped a really heavy anvil of a dream on top of unsuspecting, sleepy Ramsey. And the tidy easy 1-2-3 soufflé, somehow also seems to have dropped precipitously, while baking.

Here is a facebook page screenshot, from here, and I think it is the same Gary Greb, given the Abeler "friend" link.

In an ideal world all candidates would take the high road. Hal Kimball, DFL Senate District 18 candidate has gotten two items on that point published within District 18. His thoughts should echo and be honored statewide.

Click each screenshot to enlarge and read:

[original link credits, here and here] Two caveats, and the second is the BIG one, first, the thing on the Governor's candidates should reach also to the IP, to candidate Horner (for someone familiar with the IP and the Barkley campaign against Franken and Coleman, lack of mention of the IP presence now, or re Franken and Coleman, was a bit strange).

MOREOVER: Kelliher is endorsed, but has no lock on anything with a DFL primary in the works where polling indicates MARK DAYTON, not Kelliher is the current front runner by a substantial margin (and with Matt Entenza so far a polling footnote).

See: links, here and here - with the ending excerpt from the second item.

I see Dayton as the better choice of the three, and will vote that way. Any of the three, if winning the primary, would have my vote, for certain, against Tom Emmer. But for now, any op-ed that ignores mention of Mark Dayton is distanced from on-the-ground realities.

I am certain Hal was more concerned with the gist of his hopes, rather than that glaring there-will-be-a-primary "detail."

Good luck to you, Hal. I do hope you get all who are running in District 18 to take the high road, from now all the way to November's election day.

And I know, Hal, you did not say it but are aware - state and local - there is a need to fix the potholes.

_____________________POLLING FACTS______________________

Among likely voters, Mark Dayton leads Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Matt Entenza in the contest for the Aug. 10 primary to choose the DFL Party’s nominee.
Although Kelliher has tied her campaign in part to her gender, Dayton holds a similar lead over her among women (36 percent to 28 percent).

Dayton also enjoys a slight edge over the presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer, among Minnesota adults.
When matched up with the two other contenders for the DFL Party’s nomination -- Kelliher and Entenza -- Emmer is slightly ahead.

Anyone presuming Kimball is a DFL party lock-step regular, drinking ideological Koolaid, it way off base. Some might forget that in looking at individuals and policies last election cycle he favored Barkley over Franken and Coleman. He did not let the IP label get in the way of guessing who might be best for the job, or might have better ideas. I think Hal is wholly free from any ideological baggage equal to that carried by too many GOP hopefuls these days, in their near missionary zeal towards abstract imagery trumping realities - as in probably waiting for the private sector and the "invisible hand" of the market to fix the potholes.

This cycle, in contrast to Hal, I favor the Sixth District candidate with IP activity in her background, Maureen Reed, while I believe Kimball knows and favors Tarryl Clark.

In both last cycle and this one, Kimball and I exhibit differing choices, but each of us forms opinions independent of any party regular machinery or insider shaping.

It is having independent judgment. I liked Franken better than Barkley, and like Reed better than Clark, based on considerations besides who says what about endorsements and such. I respect and mention and endorse Kimball's ability to also not be a lock-step marcher in someone else's parade.

Kimball will first and foremost exercise his best independent judgment, if elected. That might be less true for GOP idealogues who more frequently than not are surfacing in their own party purge of those they label "RINO" - including many long term GOP officials not in lock-step with current tastes of the ultra-right.

I see Kimball's independence in practical judgments and willingness to work with others as being closer than many Republicans approach, to Steve Dille, the long-term GOP District 18 Senator who declined to run again.

I believe there are far, far too many current GOP zealots who would be casting their vilest "RINO" terminology at Dille, had he chosen to run again.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ellison cosponsors a Too Big To Fail bill to curb the big banking powers from exploiting the domino effect their size and position carries (poising them to again meander at will while blackmailing the financial integrity of the world, again, when again their misadverturing goes splat).

They don't have to eat their failures because making them do so is too injurious to everybody else. That is "too big to fail" in a nutshell.

Too big to fail is where the intertwining of things financial differs from say K-Mart, which can go to bankruptcy court and downsize, or an airline which can go to bankruptcy court in order to screw the unions and airline workers.

There is no domino effect to K-Mart or the airlines because the only counterparty risk is consumers of K-Mart being stuck having paid in advance for some delivery and having to suffer thourgh delay and possible small loss. Or with airlines the risk is pilot or mechanical error and death, one flight at a time, and the world's interrelationships are not at risk.

So, banking is different, and the big guys know that and manipulate things. I always viewed the Bush bank bailout [with Barney Frank a willing partner] as these guys saying, "We've kidnapped the world, financially, and if you do not pay the ransom we kill it. Here's a severed finger [Leahman Brothers] to prove we are serious."

Others might view it differently.

Whether the Miller bill will be the answer or a starting point is unclear. It recognizes something needs to be done, and is vague because nobody really knows the best way to bring about a too-big-to-fail reform from the present situation, but everyone with a brain knows it is needed and that Goldman Sachs cannot recklessly continue to rob everybody else by manipulating the market by its size alone and having the most advanced fast trading system platforms.

In every trading market worldwide the big players, (some from other nations [a problem for US legislation]), are big local players - having big player footprints in each and every trading market, regardless of locale.

They can arbitrage, and put in fiie-then-quick-kill order pairings that influence short term prices but where no short term counterparty has a quick enough trigger-finger chance to close a trade before it has been pulled as an offer.

Do the big guys do that, phantom offers? There are things your gut knows, but cannot prove. This seems a question in that category. Can manipulating a market be done, profitably? Turn that one around, if markets were to fit the economic theories of ideal equilibrium markets these firms could not have had the opportunity to get as big as they are. Something gave them an edge. And presumably they used it. Once only? Twice? Get real. They milk any advantage dry.

How do regulators, (on a global basis fitting the reality that the world has only one "economy"), police things, and set rules that optimize efficiency but disarm wrong favortism of some over others? That is the ongoing problem of good regulation, with a companion problem being how do you set up a regulatory system and over time keep the foxes from ruling the henhouse, as a practical matter of money and politics and human nature.

To read of the role of Ellison as a cosponsor, and for text of a letter the bill sponsoring group sent colleagues, THIS MINN INDEPENDENT LINK.

A pdf download of the bill text, THIS LINK.

More info on bill progress, here.

With Ellison on the House Financial Services Committee, he does something, unlike Michele Bachmann on the same committee, who does nothing, but does it with Sean Hennity, in their gossipy dumb Rupert Murdoch now-and-again manner.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Without the approval of the change, the city [Ramsey] will not have a valid comprehensive plan, said Tim Gladhill, city assistant planner.

Well my opinion is they did not have a valid one since it was written and approved. Legally valid perhaps, but not valid in the grander sense of fairness to the citizens, since it ended up with more housing than the Met. Council quota setting demanded. The idiots went and did that. Not that it was outside of their powers. They had the power. It's the judgment I dislike. I don't question the power.

The headline sentence is from ABC Newspaper reporting, this link.

The item also reported:

“We have never had a situation like this before,” said Natalie Steffen, Metropolitan Council representative for this area.

My understanding is that when Terry Hendriksen, Margaret Connolly and Jerry Zimmerman were the city council majority and Susan Anderson and Tom Gamec the minority, Terry did all he could to protect the citizens from overreaching by Met Council but then four votes were needed, a super majority, and Susan Anderson could never be moved to change her mind, make that her position.

But Ramsey went for years with the Met Council allegedly demanding concessions here and there, or at least that's what James Norman told the city council and the Met Council communication was with him so that the city council only had hearsay of where the Met Council actually stood.

But Steffen had already had her Ventura appointment to the post, so she should remember that.

Perhaps what she was saying is never before had there been a unanimous refusal of a Met Council "suggestion."

Readers if any of you have a different understanding of those times and decision making, please leave a comment explaining where you believe I might be in error.

That's when, if memory serves me correctly, Hendriksen coined the term, "Dealing with the Met Council is like arm wrestling with a ratchet."

It seems the current council is seeing a bit of that now.

The Met Council claims to defer to local intent and preference.

Go figure.

Michele Bachmann. A special hypocrite. Socialized medicine. Farm subsidy welfare queen. No adult working job without the paycheck from the government. Campaigning on the franking privilege.

One screenshot is worth a thousand words. You can click on the image to enlarge and read.

But the article gives much further detail. Have a look, (the entire Minn. Independent [Andy Birkey] story of the Bachmann family prospering off of socialized medicine is reported here).

The latest franking privilege move, reported here.

Has she in her entire working adult life had any paycheck other than one some government's paid? If you know of any, please add a comment with detail.

Then there is the family taking farm subsidies, welfare, while not wanting poor people to have healthcare.

It is Michele Bachmann.

Wanting you to listen to what she says. Talking a talk. Walking a different path.

Somebody should see if they can research back far enough, whether any of the twenty-three foster children she brags less about these days were also troubled, needing clinic counseling.

Democrats, as good citizens, pay their taxes on time. This link. Others need a public kick-start.

A Matt Look email to me on concretifying a ditch at the failed town center site.

Matt wrote:

I never thought I would see the day when a progressive takes shots at building a new park.

Again, if you are going to blog about might be within your best interest to get all the information before you stick you neck out (publicly) and get it stepped on.

1. Park dedication funds were paid by the residential units in Town center for the park they were promised, as part of the plan, before they bought in.

2. Park dedication funds cannot be spent anywhere else or on anything else, but parks.....not even park maintenance.

3. This park is the same park that was planned as part of the development.....that same park that Strommen loved and must have been ecstatic about when we approved it.

4. In the depressed economy in which we find ourselves, we are seeing request for proposals coming in as much as 30% less than they were coming in a year ago.

It would be completely insane to argue that funds expressly for this purpose should not be spent NOW, in light of the incredible value we are getting. Would it be better to generate .3% interest on the money and wait for the market to rebound and RFP goes up 30%?

Please tell me I misunderstood/read your blog?!!?

I may be missing something, but he does not seem to be saying that concretifying the ditck under Rhinestone at Town Center, and the cost of it, is sound, although that's implied.

How it will bring restaurants, all I care about since that is the promise made to me and the rest of the citizens, and Acapulco is the lone milestone that way, may it succeed.

But dropping more public cash down the rathole, why?

And an amphitheater is such a dumb idea I wonder whose brain fart it was, initially, while what i do know is the Met Council had a hand in things. It sounds like something Natalie and John Feges worked out together - that sound and that appealing.

Yet they are building it, and I look at it so far in the ground, and I want Russell Crowe at the dedication. That and the chained tigers and other fighters, all gala, all that. Or cap it and call it Thunderdome.

Dumb as dirt. And Matt, that step on the throat stuff, stuff it. My take on the situation is that you guys stepped on another anotomical part.

Another email from Matt, this one can stand on its own, and in quick communicaiton, I don't mind the spelling detail, and I find the content worth reading - no neck stepping phrasing in the way here:

[...] You apparently are ranting about restaurants. For you information, 2 restaurants are coming to town center. Acalpoco (or however you spell it) and Wells Catering has plans drawn up for an upscale lunch spot.

Interesting enough, we did sit down with the owner of the old Vinyard, in an effort to entice him into Town Center. He wouldn't even consider it until there was more establishment/buildout.

It has been said that restaurants are now the new "anchor" concept for they bring traffic. It used to be Target, however the paradigm has shifted. The problem is old school restaurant do not believe in that paradigm yet. Until they do, you will probably not have business owners assuming the risk of being first into a development.

Thought I would bring you up to speed on current event restaurant news.

John Dehen did not vote for the contract because he believes that we should not do anything and let the market decide. The reason we are trying to do something, is to build a concept that people can buy amenity into the project so as to sell a project....maybe to a large medical campus....who may be very interested in quality of life for employees. The market right now is willing to invest in something "special"...something unique. Same old is not selling today.

I tend to be a Laissez-faire market guy myself as well. I struggled with the contract, as to whether support or not. I do think with the right catalysts we will be able to be first in the running when the market softens. It is at that point that we need to have our ducks in a row in terms of what we want. I voted for the contract largely because I didn't think it prudent to plan when the market turns. The VA, possibly a large outdoor retailer, maybe a medical campus, could be the necessary catalysts to kick start the market, at least artificially in Ramsey

The concept I buy into is sit and wait and see what happens. If it remains a failure on the ground and you have cut your losses to what history's handed, it's better than a failure on the ground with more gambled on it.

You revise the Feges-folks' visions, you may simply have to pay again, revising the revisions.

My crystal ball says you could be front running the competition in a wrong direction, one the market does NOT choose, and what's your advantage then? Money is money, spent once, spent twice, and I doubt the Landform crystal ball is more certain than what you'd want to not be gambling with public money.

You can like the gamble in the abstract. But if it was your own money would you so freely give it to consultants?

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Let me summarize. I don't think there's much return to pushing on a rope, and neither Matt nor Bob Ramsey thinks that. The difference is I think it's exactly what they are doing, and they disagree.

Matt is correct, Bob told me and I forgot, not only is Acapulco committed and is almost installed and ready for business, Well's Catering has also committed to a dining site nearer to city hall.

Each is a benefit to have available. Every reader is encouraged to give them attention and patronage so that they succeed, prosper, and stay in business.

No disagreement over other things should detract from everyone being thankful for the two. And supportive in favoring them as a first choice, especially the nearer Ramsey Acapulco as an option to the Riverdale branch. Hopefully, their Ramsey site might prove to be quieter and a more restful place to dine than at Riverdale. Their food has always been excellent. I am unfamiliar with Well's but have heard positive things.

And everyone should realize that without enough business the venture will close. Canyon Grille, was a culinary asset that did not return enough business to continue, and we lost it. Whatever restaurants Ramsey attracts, we should want to keep. Ricebox, in the strip mall at Hwy. 10 and Sunfish Lake Blvd., is another asset readers should know of. Vietnamese cuisine. Very reasonably priced.

FURTHERMORE - I will concede a step further than Matt mentioned. There is the Subway sandwich shop, which I do not consider a restaurant but more a take-out. There is Caribou Coffee, which arguably fits the coffee - bakery scenario, but the range of sweet rolls is limited, bakery wise. But rolling those two into the other two, Bob and Matt have a point. There has been movement, and the Caribou and Subway were early entrants. If Well's Catering's restaurant outlet approaches the quality Canyon Grille offered in Coon Rapide before closing, that would be outstanding, and again, I have heard positive things about their quality and capability.

I will wait and see, and probably did the republishing and ranting prematurely and out of frustration dating back years beyond the original mid-year 2007 first posting to at least the Anoka County Union's reporting of May 2002 mailings about restaurant preferences. That is eight years ago. A long time frame. Only one sitting council member dates back to the Town Center Task Force cheerleading days.

Wells and Acapulco are fair milestones.

In hindsight I would not have pulled the trigger on the "restaurants" rant if I had slept with it unpublished and reread it in the morning.

FURTHERMORE - While the exact Anoka - Ramsey border is a bit funky at the Hwy 47 and Hwy 116 intersection, there's a Subway in that area and another Caribou, a Dunn Brothers, plus the Azteca restaurant which is excellent. Whether it's in one town or the other, it serves Ramsey, and residents should appreciate that. However, it has nothing to do with the Town Center promotion, and serves people particularly well who are closer to it than to the Town Center site. Finally, Ramsey does have the one soup and sandwich outlet at the daycare center on the north side of Hwy 5 where Sunfish Lake Blvd. has its north ending. I have never been there.

FINALLY - Margaret Connolly sent a helpful email, "I think the name of the deli by the daycare is Cubby's and we have stopped there and it was very good.  I hope people support it.  It remains interesting to me that the area of 47 has a nice area of businesses and more diverse business than town center without the government push."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An early summer rerun. Add three more years, and enjoy a bite of irony as tasty as it was back then.

First published All Fools Day, 2007; this link.


Four-and-one-half years ago, almost to the day, and trust me you don't want to read the entire article, it will only make you cry, so I will not link to it. But, this:

Anoka County Union
4101 Coon Rapids Blvd.
Anoka, MN 55303
Fax 763-421-4315

Posted: 9/26/02

Town Center plan offers a glimpse into the future
-- Preferences identified

In May, the city of Ramsey sent 1,300 three-question surveys to find out what residents wanted to see included in the proposed Town Center. Approximately 882 surveys were return[d] by the end of August.

The top five categories in the three questions are:

-- If you could pick the places you would like to shop in the Town Center what stores would you support?

Bakery/coffee shop Yes: 648 No: 231

Hardware store Yes: 510 No: 368

New/used books Yes: 448 No: 431

Women's clothing Yes: 447 No: 431

Craft/gift store Yes: 416 No: 463

-- What restaurants would you like to dine at in a Town Center?

Italian Yes: 479 No: 399

Bakery/coffee Yes: 459 No: 420

Mexican/Tex Mex Yes: 443 No: 435

Seafood Yes: 438 No:441

Steaks/chops Yes: 411 No:468

-- What other services or businesses would be valuable in a Town Center?

Post Office Yes: 697 No:180

Park/Walking Trails Yes: 537 No: 340

Indoor Pool Yes: 492 No: 387

Movie Theater Yes: 444 No:435

Community Center Yes: 396 No: 481

Source: city of Ramsey
Copyright ©ECM Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved
by Tammy Sakry
Staff writer

Yes, TexMex, Northern Chinese, Thai, and - a real nice steakhouse. Prime rib at Town Center. Yes, your City of Ramsey tax dollars at work, in a survey 4-1/2 years ago. You may ask yourself, have you gotten your money's worth for all the tax hikes since then? When you answer, keep smiling. Ben is smiling, but then look at the nice place where he lives -- A walkable distance from a job at City Hall.


So much for nostalgia, the question of the day -

So where are the restaurants?

More money is being spent, no restaurants.

The citizens wanting them are chopped liver in the decision process.

A mantra is there has to be more buildout before the restaurants will arrive. It's been a mantra for quite some time.

First, "might" is the operative word. as in, "... the restaurants might arrive." "Will" in that context, after so long, is presumptous. Insulting even.

Second, it's ass-backward.

There have to be restaurants before any more money is wasted on "might" be this, or "might" be that. Either that, or continue screwing people, and throwing money down a rathole.

What's hard to understand about that? Horse in front of cart. It is not working the other way, the council's way.

Where is the message being lost - or worse, ignored? Why did John Dehen refuse to sign that one consultancy contract?

If no restaurants ever are built, then at least by abandoning cart-before-the-horse horsing around, there will have been no intervening useless waste of public cash.

It should be, if restaurants do arrive, then and only then consider spending on other stuff. Restaurants are what the people living 2, 4, 6 miles from Town Center care about. They get zippo from new housing. Zippo from concretifying a ditch.

Without Coborn's the thing would be an absolute failure without virtue of any manner, to any degree, upon any one square inch of the three hundred acres of waste.

Yes, a VA clinic will be nice for veterans.

But we were not promised veterans being treated fairly in town center; we were lied to about nice places to eat being months away.

Stop the BS.

Deliver the restaurants.

Or cease the ongoing wasting of time and money.

It is bleeding the fisc.

Mayor Ramsey and I have exchanged emails, the gist being, his contentions:

Please do not use half truths to try to bolster your point of view. We lowered taxes for 2010 and your rant is over the top!

The objective is to get restaurants in Ramsey along with other things that would benefit the community. They will come when the market is ready for them. This council has spent hundreds of hours working to re-vision and plan to make something out of the mess to deliver on a failed promise, we will deliver in the markets time, not yours.

My response:

Reserves have been depleted on gambling. Sure the budget's down, but
the reserves, they are really down. You showed me a drawing with a ton
of dreams on the east end, one hoped for restaurant site, and
emptiness and no detail about shops and restaurants in the useful
utilitarian region neighboring Coborn's.

Was I unclear sitting across the table saying that Coborn's is the
only thing of any value to me and I presume to many others in the
entire town center? I thought I spoke directly. I did not disguise my
frustration with that. At least you have Acapulco. The schedule
slippage there does not worry me.

I admit I do not watch much QCTV, but are the HRA sessions televised?

Mayor Ramsey did get me a printout of the total city expenditure on Landform from first consulting contract to the present, $177,282.56

There are numerous pastel poster size renderings at city hall to show for it.

He indicated HRA minutes and the full agenda from around March 16, 2010 would be where to look for the current contractual arrangements between the city and Landform. There was a 6 - 1 vote and Dave Jeffrey signed the contract on behalf of the city - HRA. I have not seen much cause to be routing the Landform dealings through the HRA instead of directly through the council, sitting as the council, but that's how it is being done.

The situation in a nutshell - he is frustrated that there is impatience over delivering on the past promises - dating well back to before he was mayor, that the COMMUNITY apart from special interests, would benefit from having restaurants and amenities.

Aside from Coborn's what at Town Center is worth much to YOU?

I am in agreement with the move to put the licensing center off busy Highway 10 where ingress and egress has its hazards; into available space at the city hall. That was a good move.

But the mayor and I did have a chance to discuss my impression that the Ricebox restaurant in the small mall on the northwest corner at Ramsey Blvd. and Sunfish is so far the best restaurant option in the city. It is not in Town Center.

He and I differ on the hard barrier installation decisions implemented in some highway upgrading, his view being more concerned about impact on businesses and my view favoring it as a matter of driving safety.

The major issue of disagreement I have with him is on spending now more money on what's a proven failure, and not waiting. Sunk capital that's not performing is little cause to sink more presuming the gamble might pay off.

The council has been spending, but saying, as the emails indicate, citizens must wait for a return, if any, for the market to perhaps rebound in ways we cannot know in advance, to determine things.

My view is you do not spend heavily on consultancy costs in a down market, when there will have to be more spending on revisions of visions, when the market changes in ways neither the mayor, I, nor Landform can really crystal ball with assurances.

Also I think that amphitheater stuff costing millions is vastly stupid and is not adding a single restaruant, while sucking up cash.

It will be a noise pollution source, if used at all, and otherwise will be an attraction for skate boarders liking risk and concrete challenges.

Latest filing info, Ramsey, Ward 1. Let the man's Facebook notice speak for itself.

As always, click to enlarge and read; or this link.

A lawyer, this link.

The credentials are sound, and FEC has a Harry Niska giving to GOP people and things. Wishy-washy things like this get to me:

Sensible Economic Development
Economic development will raise the standard of living for everyone in Ramsey, and the city should foster the creation of new places for Ramsey residents to work, eat, and shop. But development plans must be realistic and cost effective. We must learn lessons from the mistakes of the past (especially regarding Town Center), and together we can make Ramsey a great place to live, work, and do business.

Sir, beyond rhetoric and getting instead to specifics on the ground now in Ramsey, if you read this and I will send an email to your firm email address requesting you leave a responding comment, is this - and the cost of it, stupid or wise? Or do you defer to and agree with your friends?

I just sent the email. I hope there's no "spam trap" excuses or problems.

I do like the man's campaign website, because it says as much as the facebook item, but more directly, in fewer words.

We wait.

We see.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Candidate Harry Niska sent this email yesterday, giving detail:

Eric --

First, thanks for mentioning my candidacy on your blog. I appreciate the work you put into it to dig into local political issues.

I also understand your criticism that my statement on economic development is somewhat vague. That is true, but it reflects two things. First, the statement is intended as an expression of high-level principles, not a detailed policy paper. Second, I am not running as someone who has all the answers, but rather as a problem-solver with certain principles (which I tried to lay out in the statement) and an open mind.

All that said, Ramsey Town Center is a tough nut to crack. We are not drawing on a blank slate, and we have to do the best we can going forward with the hand that we are dealt.

Though tempting, I don't see it as a viable option at this point to give up on Town Center. Not only has the city made commitments to property owners there, but it has skin in the game now by virtue of its purchase of some of the land out of foreclosure. As a result, all of us, as taxpayers, have skin in the game as well. Certainly not an ideal situation, but we have to make the best of the situation going forward.

All this is a long way of working around to the specific question you posed about the amphitheater and "East Meandering Commons Park." At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, it's a complicated question. It came up for many votes before the city council and I really can't say for sure how I would have voted on any one of those votes without looking at a lot more information. But let me tell you a little about how I would have analyzed the issue.

First, I am troubled by the idea that, if the city just spends enough money on parks and public buildings, private development will come later. We have several years worth of evidence now that that approach doesn't necessarily work. So there are fair questions about building this park at this time.

That being said, it's my understanding that some of the funds to pay for the park came from a dedicated park fund which developers (and indirectly, homeowners) had paid into with the expectation that the city would build a park. Just as I'm opposed to the government wasting taxpayers' money, I am also opposed to the government taking money while promising a service, and then reneging on that commitment.

Bottom line: like I said above, it's complicated. I will not tell you that the answers are simple, or that I have them all. But I do commit that I will tell you the truth, work hard, listen, keep an open mind, and alway put the interests of the taxpayers and citizens of Ramsey first.

Thanks for your involvement and your perspective. I would love to talk to you more about this and other issues in Ramsey. I hope I can earn your support.


It speaks for itself. I informed Harry, (and the mayor so far, now all readers), that I likely will not run for council this time, but if I do it would be for the at large seat. If so, it would be a low-budget and limited time commitment thing, as in 2006 running for Ward 1, but less so, and surely not as aggressive as 2004 when I ran for mayor.

Both times were unsuccessful, and I have no expectations that any run this time would be different. If I run, it would be against city waste and speculative consultancy dealings.

I wonder how the Tea Party view of proper government function vs. "socialism" would focus upon what City of Ramsey is doing, speculatively buying land and not leaving it to private sector developer speculation. Should cities do such gambling? Depleting reserves in the process, to be replenished if the gamble pays off.

There is "conservative" ideology and rhetoric, and then there is "conservative" reality.

The two might not always mesh, mirror and square with one another, one hundred percent. With some, perhaps. With others, less so.

New blood on the council might be a good thing for Ramsey and Ward 1. The Niska campaign will be interesting. Again his credentials are impressive. The law firm he is with is not numerically large, but it seems skilled, from reading online firm bio info.

The firm's homepage is a bit vague, mentioning "four lawyers" and presenting a picture of five people.

It reminds me of the Orson Welles film, here, who is the fourth man?

________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Niska identified the fifth person, the one not having a separate lawyer bio, as the firm's paralegal, Paul Mau. They look like a top quality, tight-ship firm. I expect they do well. With his having that responsibility to the firm, it is good Niska will commit to finding time for public service. Pro bono publico, legal latin, for the benefit of the public.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Consultancy business cards. From site to finish. Cash flow along the way

I'm from site to finish, to collect my spinich,
I'm Popeye the business man.
Kimball Files for SD 18 Seat
'It's time for real, lasting reform,' Army veteran says

Immediate Release
Contact: Dori Kimball

ST. PAUL -- Hal Kimball, the DFL-endorsed candidate in Senate District 18, made his campaign official today (Wednesday, May 19) by filing his candidacy papers at the Secretary of State's office.

"We're excited," said Kimball, a Cokato resident who served 11 years in the Army. "We've knocked on hundreds of doors already and it's clear people are ready for a new direction in St. Paul. They're tired of half measures, talking points and posturing for the next election. It's time for real, lasting reform and that's why I'm in this race."

Kimball, a 1990 graduate of Annandale High School, is married to the former Dori Erickson. He said it's time to "stop re-fighting the same old battles of the last 10 years and start focusing on real solutions for the next 10."

"I've heard a lot at the doors, but I'm yet to have someone tell me they like what's been coming out of the Capitol over the last few years," he said. "They're worried about jobs, defending our rural economy and making Minnesota work again. It's that simple."

Kimball entered the race in December and has earned the endorsement of the DFL Veterans Caucus. Recently he gained statewide attention for calling on the DFL- and Republican-endorsed candidates for governor to avoid the kind of attacks that marred the 2008 U.S. Senate race.

The Senate District 18 seat is currently held by Steve Dille, a moderate Republican who's retiring after 24 years in the Legislature.

"I have a lot of respect for Sen. Dille," Kimball said. "He brought a much-needed dose of common sense to the Capitol and is a real model for public servants across Minnesota."  

Hal Kimball lives in Cokato. He graduated from Annandale High School in 1990. After serving 11 years in the Army he earned a degree from St. Cloud State University, where he was student body president. Kimball and his wife, the former Dori Erickson, attend Grace Lutheran Church in French Lake Township.

Four candidates so far for the County Board of Commissioners District 1 seat that Dennis Berg held a long time. Two filed, so far, in District 5.

Becky Fink, (right), filing candidacy papers for County Board District 5

Terry Hendriksen, filing for County Board District 1

Yesterday, near to county hall closing time, I was at the county election office when Terry Hendriksen and Becky Fink filed candidacy papers for the District 1 and District 5 seats, respectively. Jerry Newton also filed for reelection to his House District 49B seat in the legislature.

It was not a group thing planned in advance, merely a coincidence.

At the time, Julie Trude had previously filed for the District 5 seat [the one Scott LaDoux is vacating because of his ALS medical situation worsening].

The election office keeps a binder book of filings it receives. It is a public record open for inspection. The practice appears to be putting items atop others in the binder, as recieved, forming a list with the earliest filers' papers lower in the book.

For the seat affecting Ramsey most directly, the First District, in descending order in the book,

Terry Hendriksen
Terri Cleveland
Matt Look
Natalie Steffen [aka Natalie Haas-Steffen].

By now there may be others.

I only noted those two as having filed for District 5, and the four as having filed for District 1, when I was there.

Also, I may have the temporal order of filing reversed for Cleveland and Look.

However, Steffen filed earliest. Poised for the move apparently.

I have no direct cause to believe Berg might have privately given notice to some before publicly announcing his intent to not seek reelection, yet it is conceivable, and it is interesting as a coincidence to see the Steffen name first in line.

It made me wonder. With her recent track record at Met Council, the water adequacy doubts, her role over Ramsey Town Center, and her driving sewer and water comp plan expansion thinking within the county, (even beyond Ramsey into City of Nowthen, Oak Grove and Ham Lake), where there was a clearly mixed reception and some substantial hostility; I was surprised that she'd make that move from Met Council back to seeking a job in the county.

I doubt she can expect people will overlook such things. She has to anticipate questions will arise over her role in leading the promotion of the failed Town Center fiasco, and in aggressively wanting to lay pipe in the ground hither and yon with the people then having to deal with it.

She is on record with the Town Center being her dream, not necessarily Ramsey's, with an understanding that some can force their dreams on others, (and ditto for nightmares); this link.

One of my favorite colloquies in all the multitude of City of Ramsey Minutes is from a work session in April, 2004, when Jerry Zimmerman, always a gentleman and one of the best public servants Ramsey ever had, was noted as saying, "is it a really good idea to be developing in such a 'leap frog' fashion" with regard to what ultimately was abandonment of a MUSA line concept so that gun club ownership interests and John Peterson (wanting high density housing in his cornfield project on the west side of Nowthen Blvd. just south of Trott Brook) could advance development ambition in a non-contiguous manner.

The question was specifically raised regarding rate of growth, and the debatable wisdom of "leapfroging" it well north of where Sewer-water had been, at a point where Town Center build-out had not been achieved to any real extent. A question about over-building, about possible irrational exuberance.

Minutes reflect, "Ms. Haas Steffen replied that the City has developed in a "leap frog" fashion and they can't change that the only answer is to get the pipe through and let people decide if they want to hook up. Secondly the issue of what it states to the Town Center; she personally contacted the developers of the Town Center they were not upset by it at all."


This hands on participation in detail of town center then, and at other stages, was a Steffen hallmark. She, more than anyone else. was the project pied piper, leading the children of the town astray and into "dream team" mischief and failure.

When there was the tent show groundbreaking at town center, she claimed her "credit" as it appeared due; although the kinship of this child is now being either willfully ignored, or perhaps even denied.

I recall Steffen, along with James Norman before his China junket, along with those standing to make a land-profit killing, as the cabal that collectively propagandized and pushed and pushed and pushed the thing into being.

We know what's there now; and we should never forget that whether the entire county may fare poorly from flawed decision making in the future could depend on this year's ballot box result.

ABC Newspapers, Peter Bodley, today reports information online; this link. No excerpt. Have a look.

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Shamed, chastised and repentant - I erred. Matt Look beat Natalie to the filing window.

Sorry about that.

I heard no news about anyone waiting from the night before in a sleeping bag at the county hall door. Other than that lack of enthusiasm, it is like a fishing license.

An unforgettable portent of things to come. Who then, seeing promised tent show gala times, would have guessed this child, once failed and disgraced, would be devoid of claims of close kinship.

September 30, 2003

Groundbreaking Schedule of Events

We invite community members to join us for a momentous occasion: our official groundbreaking for Ramsey Town Center on Friday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Our Schedule of Events is as follows:

Time What

10:00 a.m.
  • Gather in large tent on the Ramsey Town Center site
  • Enjoy coffee and punch
  • View various maps and visual imagery of the Town Center
  • See how school children define “Community” through art displays
  • Register for door prizes

10:30 a.m
  • Formal Program to unveil Town Center Plans and announce first tenants
  • Official speeches

    Natalie Haas Steffen
    Ramsey Resident, Metropolitan Council Member
    John Feges
    President, Ramsey Town Center, L.L.C.
    Tom Gamec
    Ramsey Mayor
    Jim Norman
    Ramsey City Administrator
    Kathy Tinglestad
    MN State Representative
    Michael Jungbauer
    MN Senator
    Mark Kennedy
    U.S. Congressman
    Tom Weaver
    Metropolitan Council Regional Administrator
    Dennis Berg
    Anoka County Commissioner
    Mick Hedberg
    PACT Charter School Elementary Student Council President
    Justina Coons
    PACT Charter School Senior Student Council President

11:00 a.m.
  • Official Groundbreaking

  • Cake cutting and refreshments
  • Commemorative gift
  • Door prizes
  • More time to view children’s art along with visual imagery of the Town Center 

Data from THIS LINK.

For preservation of history as it was happening, we again are thankful to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine - enabling recapture and re-presenting this text from the failed Town Center promoter's propaganda website. The ground tells the story of yet more money being wasted on glorifying a ditch there - drive through and have a look. I would guess well over a million, to concretify the contours of that ditch, but - a ditch before, a ditch after, the big difference being Ben Dover, the Ramsey taxpayer's pockets will be emptier for ditch-glorification expenditure. Ben will be funding this exercise in good money chasing bad, probably because the poobahs identified in the historic preservation listing above do not like the look and feel of their embarrassing black-eye failure.

What other explanation is there?

The current council likes wasting money? That's not at all unlikely as at least a supporting premise.

BOTTOM LINE: Redoing the ditch will not make it less of an eye-sore. I wonder at the ambitions of those responsible for the initial dumping of good money into a failure, and also for the present same scenario. It appears some are poised to want to gain a chance to do county-wide mischief and to propagate failure and exceptionally bad judgment on a bigger stage.

The question is, who are the ambitious? What is their record of success and soundness of decision making? Do Ramsey taxpayers want to elevate profligate spenders, spenders of tax money on personally satisfying pet projects or on mopping up the same, to a seat on the County Board of Commissioners?

Each primary voter and general election voter should form his or her own answer.

For me, two names stand out.

Matt Look, a present Ramsey council member behind Landform consultancy expenses presently being incurred by Ramsey, and a supporter of the taxpayer costs of concrete ditchifying.

Natalie Steffen, Met Council promoter of and founding lead speaker atop the historical listing of those at the tent, when a dream was being laid on Ramsey.

The story is ongoing. I support another different candidate for the county board seat Berg is vacating. It involves feelings of personal friendship and respect for that person, and I intend to try to be clear in disclosing my preferences, my bases for them, and factors that may be alleged as biasing my view in favor of or against individual candidates. Tha candidate I favor for the job is Terry Hendriksen. He is a person who I have worked with in an effort, unfortunately not successful, to forestall snaking of sewer and water services northward into virgin parts of Ramsey, opposing efforts to spread high density into quieter neighborhoods.

At least there was John Peterson's money (or his bank's) at risk for that hummer; so that city taxes into the unwise and premature thing were less than they would have been had Peterson not felt development ambitions.

I reread that eminent speaker list. The top four.

Steffen, Feges, Gamec and Norman.

I'd recalled that the four horsemen of the Apocolypse all rode their horses toward compass points in different directions; not helter-skelter full-tilt in one direction, each with a tasking and ambiance. At lease one image, here, has them in line and riding the same direction ...

Wikipedia notes, "The third horseman may also reference Daniel 11:38-39 "But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.""

Hmm. To rule over many. Divide the land for gain. It smells of Crabgrass to me. Maybe the four lead speakers all rode into the tent miracle on Black horses. I don't have any photographs ...

Monday, May 17, 2010

The session ends. Strib reports on Guv. wannabe statements marking the start of hunting season. Mark Dayton is Trumanesque.

Having no blood on their hands from the process, Dayton and Horner could each be critical of the budget making. Each said there should be no gimmicks, but then what was it Horner next was suggesting?

Read the listing, Kelliher, Emmer, Horner, Dayton, Entenza; compiled and reported by Stassen-Berger of Strib, this link.

After noting that, readers can seek out their own stories on the end-of-session saga.

Hackbarth on the job:

And some say in that House district race Laurie Olmon is the sleeper.

Being heard, or at least trying. More on John Marty being fed up with Pawlenty politics. Much blame, however, reaches beyond the executive, into GOP legislative ranks. Emmer and such.

The letter John Marty circulated among colleagues and then by email to a limited number of activists did gain MSM attention.

Rachel Stassen-Berger wrote some interesting intro paragraphs at Strib, this link, and posted the entire item - which I only excerpted, below, this link.

It is good that those with a wider readership have noted the situation, giving more readers beyond blogsphere regulars the chance to weigh John Marty's thinking and feelings.

Stassen-Berger also co-authored reporting that Pawlenty is not alone to blame, although not saying it exactly that way, i.e., not editorializing as I do, but instead writing:

Tensions started to deepen on late Friday, when Gov. Tim Pawlenty backed away from his earlier consideration of a plan to shift the poor and low-income working Minnesotans to Medicaid, saying the only way he could support the DFL initiative was to get legislative Republicans on board.

By requiring their buy-in, Pawlenty handed legislative Republicans -- who hold minorities in both chambers -- a powerful bargaining position in the closing hours of session. Their opposition to the health insurance program has been nearly unanimous, and they have increasingly linked it to what they term "Obamacare."

"We've got to find a new way out," Pawlenty said on Saturday evening. With only 24 hours left in which legislators could wrap up their business, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller said, "I think things are going as well as they could." Although Monday is the last day of the session, legislators must finish their business by midnight on Sunday.

Clearly with legislative Republican intransigent do-nothingness, the added italicized emphasis in the quote is merited. That quoted Strib reporting, authored yesterday, is at this link, and is part of the ongoing Strib coverage of the ongoing situation, this year's special session continuing the legislative process into current weekdays; see, e.g., here, here, here and live streaming, here.

With it being a developing situation, I hope the links stay "live" as time passes; but a dead link weeks from now will not matter - just link over now to get it while it's news.

As always, Strib's home page is here. Presumably news will be breaking, in bits and pieces perhaps, until there is a budget - revenue and spending balanced to forestall more unallotment mischief, and adjournment to get onto the serious business of electioneering.

If you like video coverage, please do not miss Sen. Marty expressing himself directly, no quoted text needed, the Uptake, at this YouTube link.

Also, there is this Google News search, "John Marty."

This Microsoft Bing news search, "John Marty Minnesota."

With news evolving, readers should use both search engines again, for fresh search returns.

Bing gave, "14 hours ago," this hit. Have a look. The same result came up on an earlier Google News search, and there's a video at this Twin Cities Daily Planet report, which is either identical to the YouTube item, or comparable. I have only seen one of the videos.

So, readers, check it all out - and I apologize for any hacked up links I might have included. I tried to be clean in the linking, but with so many, error happens.

Sen. Marty understands already, and I hope DFL party contestants in the elections, primary and general, will comprehend and follow the well known Truman adage about him and the Republicans.

“I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell.”

There's a lot of truth to tell about Tom Emmer and his narrow world view; and about the deficient record Michele Bachmann set for herself in the Sixth District. Her perpetual biting the hand that feeds her. Emmer in the same boat.

Among the DFL'ers, whether endorsed or contesting, front runners or challengers, legislators or not, may the primary situation prove to be be largely Trumanesque for the GOP; and the general election even more so.

Also, this link. But be Trumanesque - do it without needing a recount, or ducking one as with Bush-Florida-2000-the Supremes.

A hope is that the Marty - Patricia Torres Ray candidacy focused some attention upon possibilities for Hispanic opportunity to move into leadership roles within the legislature.

We grow as a nation, or we recede. We are educated and open, or we are not.

The groundbreaking choice of Ms. Torres Ray as Lt. Governor candidate is reported well elsewhere.

This link.

If we do not make the effort to advance the US in civilized ways toward sensible representative population demographics in the legislature reflecting demographics of the state, if we do not move forward toward enlightenment, we will have the ongoing tugging backwards into darker thoughts and meaner views; by some in the Bachmann camp of social ethics and ethos.

This link.

Birth of a Nation was well done cinema, but the theme of anonymously hooded intimidating mob night riders as heroes, was as much a falsehood when the film was made as now. My hope is that the one linked-to pro-Bachmann blogger will at some point come to think that his views could be accorded more thought if he had the courage to put his name to them.

Can you imagine the inspiring revolutionary-war period pamphlet being effective as, "Common Sense," by Annonymous? It galls.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I am unsure why a particular film image comes to mind when I read one part of Eric Black's recent reporting of Pawlenty judicial activity. I give the image. I give the quote.



Because he has been in office more than seven years, Pawlenty has had the opportunity to appoint many judges, including many Supreme Court justices. At present, four of the seven justices are Pawlenty appointees. Three of his four appointees voted on his side of the unallotment case, and all three of the non-Pawlenty appointees voted against Pawlenty’s use of the unallotment power.

online credits, here and here

"Tim Pawlenty appoints his middle finger to the Minnesota Supreme Court." "Great choice, Gov. Pawlenty." Consistent statements only if his middle finger were superior to David Stras. And you know, it could be.

Spotty nails truth:

I was alarmed when Governor Gutshot appointed Lorie Gildea as the the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, after she authored the sophomoric dissent in Brayton v. Pawlenty. But when I found out who he appointed to fill Gildea’s spot as an associate justice, well, now I’m with Rep. Ryan Winkler.

I’m nauseated. And I’m ashamed.

If you do the calculation, you will see that new Associate [gag] Justice David Stras, has been a lawyer in Minnesota just long enough to have participated in the Brayton v. Pawlenty case. It is apparently the only Minnesota case he ever worked on. He wrote an amicus curiae brief for the governor in that case when it was before the Supreme Court.

He never picked a jury in Fergus Falls, nor argued a case to one in Owatonna; he never sought an injunction in Worthington, nor pleaded for the rights of anybody in Minneapolis.

So, it would be fair to say that Stras was moved to become a practicing lawyer in Minnesota only when the prospect that poor people might get the nutrition they need reared its ugly head. It will be — well, interesting — to see what new depravities the new justice will bless.

Or try the view in favor of taking and dispensing only the blue pill, over and over again in little differing ways; this link.

Sure, poor people needing special diet to be healthy are dispensible. Who'd ever expect them to vote Republican anyway?

For a somewhat more dispassionate report, Eric Black, i.e., giving that link once again to his exceptionally well reported Minn. Post link; here.

And to the classic question -- Yes, there is the difference - Pawlenty does not come with a sack.

And for those who would claim, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun," and that judges will be judges, low road travelers rather than statesmen, there is this. That wording, "tending to prostitute the high judicial character with which he was invested, to the low purpose of an electioneering partizan." Why is the wording ringing my liberty bell?

Numbers do not lie. Republicans do.

Two pictures are worth two thousand words.

You tell me, when was the debt shooting up irresponsibly, who was in the Whitehouse, and who was cutting the taxes paid by the wealthy and the uber-wealthy.

Republicans are lying when they want to blame their little messes upon President Obama, or others than themselves and their greed when in power. It is obscene, how they will lie.

data copied from the sidebar, this link

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I cannot figure out why the DFL with its substantial majorities in both Minnesota houses does not jump all over the GOP for being the obstructionist asses they are.

Obstructionist, with no decent plan of their own. With no legitimate agenda, and with the only real agenda being hammer the poor - vs a more humane view, tax the rich.

MinnPost has a good synopsis, with links, here.

Polinaut has a running set of posts, e.g., here, here and here.

That first story, Pawlenty in a meeting, makes me think - Trojan Horse - and Cassandra will not be listened to and the snakes will get Laocan and sons - guess which side I see as the GOP in that image - and once the warning voices are quelled the horse will be pulled into town to the detriment of the citizenry.

Minnesota Progressive Project currently is looking elsewhere.

Who is to protect us from mischief? The DFL Senate majority? The DFL House majority? Nobody?

From what I have seen, nobody is the better bet.

May 27 - Mark the Date. Senate District 48. A meet and greet session, I believe, but confirm it with the two campaigns.

My information - possibly subject to change -

May 27th, from 6 - 7 pm at the Nowthen City Hall (19800 Nowthen Blvd, Nowthen 55303)

SD 48 DFL will be holding a candidate meet / greet / forum with Peter Perovich and Laurie Olmon and possible others.

Check for certain with the campaigns.

Peter Perovich, candidate websitge, this link.

Laurie Olmon, candidate website, this link.

The Olmon candidacy also has a generic DFL-party posting, here.

I do not know if Perovich has a comparable page, but I presume so.

A John Marty message. As American as Apple Pie. About dealing with the Unalloter's Manifesto.

It is an email from "".

If you are unfamiliar with the Apple Pie Alliance, check the website:

I could not find the recent item posted there. I do not have an item link. Hence, I will report the message via an excerpt from the Marty - APA emailing.

Start with the title, which in a way excerpts the entire thing, or at least gives the gist of a more detailed and cogently argued presentation:

to Progressive Friends
date Fri, May 14, 2010 at 4:38 PM
subject fyi. Here is a letter I sent to DFL legislators today. Any ideas how we can get people to stand up to the governor?

I quote more below.

However, let us start by remembering the defining moment in the governance of our State by this individual, for which I acknowledge the worthy blog, Norwegianity, and its terminology "Governor BridgeFail" for the one person who's done most to begger the State's meeting its duties.

When the Bridge did fail, this is the esteemed individual who "manned up" to the responsibility being his for fiscal neglect, by throwing one of Molnau's two hats under the bus. I mean none other than the Mighty Tim.

 Being less creative, I call him, "The Unalloter." Sort of reminescent of the "Unabomber," each raising havoc in his own way until stopped; and each with a manifesto, where I need no link to the Unalloter's manifesto, since it's manifest in how he's mishandled his job.

Enough prelude. With that as an arguably superfluous introduction, moving to the text of the Marty message on standing up against the Unalloter's deranged chutzpah and his unending absurdity, which few can match.

Sen. Marty notes:

Remember that the legislature offered him a balanced budget last year, but he decided to veto the tax bill to pay for it, and rather than negotiate with the legislature, he chose to resolve the matter on his own.

Now, the Minnesota Supreme Court dealt Governor Pawlenty a big defeat in its ruling that he exceeded his authority by unallotting $2.7 billion in state programs and services. That left him with a massive budget problem, and little time to resolve it.

It is a big mistake for the legislature to take it on as the legislature's problem, because that is simply enabling his reckless behavior. It enables him to walk all over the legislature and do whatever he wants.

There is no way that the legislature can solve his problem, because he is unwilling to negotiate. Whatever the legislature proposes, he says no. He understands that the more often he says no, the more praise he gets in the Wall St. Journal and from the national conservative audience he is appealing to.

That's why his two day trip for the fishing opener helps his national stature -- he can remain above the fray and attack the legislature for failing to address its problem. Pawlenty couldn't do a better job of orchestrating a bold image. If he's criticized for being disengaged, one can imagine him ridiculing the legislature -- "It doesn't matter that I'm gone fishing...they'll still be bickering with each other when I get back..."

As long as we facilitate his irresponsible behavior, he gets his way on policy, AND he wins political points at the same time.

What is the alternative? Hold him accountable. Tim Pawlenty is the one who failed to sign a balanced budget. Tim Pawlenty is the one who illegally unallotted entire programs. Tim Pawlenty is the one that the court held accountable. Pawlenty broke the law. Pawlenty failed to balance the budget. Pawlenty preaches "personal responsibility." It is time for him to take responsibility for his own problems.

Tell him to come up with a solution. Now that he has left for the fishing opener -- as Steve Murphy pointed out to our caucus, nobody goes fishing when their house is on fire -- tell him we are not going to waste taxpayer time and money in session until he is ready to face up to his problems. We stand by, ready to work with him, as soon as he takes his job seriously, [...]

Because I expect the Apple Pie Alliance webmaster to have the item up soon, I will not steal all the thunder by posting its entirety, as an "excerpt." Once it is prominently posted at the APA site you can read it all, and readers correct me if I have mis-navigated and it already is posted there.

I think that abuse, clear and intentional abuse of the unallotment statute may ultimately be as great a landmark and defining moment for Gov. BridgeFail (I do like that name) as his responsibility - fiscally - for the failing falling bridge disaster.

And this mediocre GOP hack has ambitions of national office. We in Minnesota should feel duly embarrassed. [credit: Unaltered Unabomber image from this site].

In looking at the APA website, its most recent item - or the most recent I could find - is worth a screenshot posting to encourage readers to examine the site. And incidently, Marty is correct in noting that the budgetary "elephant," IS the GOP's elephant. So why exactly has Obama so unquestioningly adopted and nurtured it as if his own? Disappointments abound:

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
I should note, tying the elephant in the room to Obama's inaction in changing things is my complaint alone, not a part of the Marty email.

Indeed, I just got criticism from a friendly linear thinker, over mixing two themes together that I thought a grade-schooler could keep apart - the email on the Gov's hubris and his getting away with it because --- why, I don't know; and a separate APA theme on war cost.

I am sorry and apologize to those I might have confused.

I am unaware of how wide an "activist" circulation the email attained, but in any event it reminds me of the story, probably a folk tale of long standing but I heard it as a Ross Perot story. Somebody threw a snake on the table at a board meeting. A half dozen, perhaps a dozen voices noted in unison, "A snake!" Perot was the only one who thought to beat it to death with a stick. Why I get that thought again in mind, I cannot exactly say.

I'd expect some hold sticks in the legislature. I'd hope some remember how and when to use them.

Anyway, back to the Eric Black "Read This" item I linked to in the body of the following post; see, this link.

It appears the BridgeFail man fishes while the government works because he's packed the court; readjusted the majority nose count; and probably feels he can unallot again and get a different result; somber sophistry and all.

It is offensive that those with little or no wealth are getting raw deals dealt to them, courtesy of the absentee fisherman, while he vetoed a miniscule heightened tax upon the rich.

It is bad, bad, bad, BAD government and I am glad we at least have Sen. Marty to be saying so.

I agree with him, 100%, and do not like the gone-fishing Emperor's clothes.

Nor do I think much about packing the Court. Nor is there much merit in having a situation in the legislature where some GOP members have their own spending pets and likes and are willing to work across the aisle, while the Governor is saying, in effect, screw Minnesota I have my own ambitions and agenda.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
I am so rankled by this it's hard to let the post stand without one more UPDATE, and apparently John Marty is also quite angry, upset and frustrated. That is the look of things. I promise this will close out the post. I worry that John Marty is climbing on his war horse, saying, "Follow me," and that perhaps he's saying it to a bunch of coat-holders. "Way, to go," and "Attaboy," will improve nothing.

So ---- I post yet more of what Marty wrote. Concluding paragraphs.

I ask for us to stand up to him, not to score political points (though legislators are going to have an interesting time campaigning on a platform of "we capitulated to the governor because we had to.")

I write because I am tired of being bullied by someone who doesn't care about the people of this state. Pawlenty doesn't care that his illegal unallotment of GAMC throws the lives of thousands of sick people into crisis. Pawlenty doesn't care that his illegal unallotment of the rent credit is a tax increase on those least able to afford it.

If he becomes known as a governor who needs to send out IOU's to creditors because he has a cash-flow problem, that is his problem. When he is ready to resolve the budget crisis that he created, we will work together with him. Until then, we should not destroy this great state in order to help him score political points with the Wall St. Journal.