consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kyle Potter of The DAILY, reporting. Subject - Indoor smoke pollution.

This link. This opening excerpt:

Lawmakers, lobbyists and bars unite to oppose indoor smoking ban changes

Recent proposals in the Legislature would allow some bar and restaurant patrons to smoke indoors again.

Recent proposals in the Legislature would allow some bar and restaurant patrons to smoke indoors again, but there is little chance students will be able to do so in Dinkytown anytime soon.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel, at the end of January would allow smoking in certain sections of bars and restaurants for the first time since October 2007, when the Freedom to Breathe Act went into effect.

But critics of the bill have vowed to crush it, and former opponents of the smoking ban have gone quiet.

The bill and its companion in the House of Representatives have bipartisan support — both Republicans and Democrats have signed on as co-authors of each bill.

If passed and signed, the bill would allow smoking in sections that are walled off from the rest of the establishment. Owners would have to install a ventilation system in these sections that brings in a fresh air supply every two hours.

Smoking would still be prohibited in the other areas of the bar or restaurant.

The bills are awaiting hearings in the Health and Human Services committees in their respective bodies. Jungbauer did not return multiple requests for an interview.

The American Cancer Society of Minnesota is gearing up to lobby against the bill in the coming months, state Government Relations Director Matt Schafer said. ACS lobbied on behalf of the smoking ban that passed three years ago.

The carcinogens in cigarette smoke are too fine to be removed by the ventilation systems, and the smoke will spread throughout an establishment regardless of separation, Schafer said.

"This would be like trying to designate a non-chlorine section in a pool," he said.

Schafer also expressed concern about the bill’s deadlines for installing ventilation systems. The more alcohol that accounts for an establishment’s sales, the longer it has to install the system.

If alcohol makes up 40 percent of its gross sales, the deadline is July 2012. That deadline is July 2017 if alcohol accounts for more than 80 percent of sales.

After the FTB act was passed in 2007, the percentage of Minnesotans who reported being exposed to second-hand smoke dropped 12 percent to 45 percent in 2010, according to research from the Minnesota Department of Health.

The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association was a staunch opponent of a smoking ban when the debate on that bill was ongoing.

But now, Executive Director Frank Ball said virtually none of the bars and restaurants that MLBA represents has asked him to fight for the proposed change in the legislature.

"Their places are clean, they smell good — they don’t have issues with [the smoking ban]," Ball said. "They would just as soon have this go away."

The MLBA has played an integral role in shutting down the perennial attempt to keep Minnesota liquor stores open on Sundays. But when it comes to this bill, they’ll be watching from the sidelines.

"It doesn’t sound like it’s going anywhere, but you never know," Ball said.

Captain Fishsticks. Yo, Captain.

Captain, your favorite Senator needs allies. Ones who can state a counterargument succinctly, such as, "This would be like trying to designate a non-chlorine section in a pool," cuts to the chase. Or, "Their places are clean, they smell good - they don't have issues [...] They would just as soon have this go away."

KISS. All that. A counterargument to this point of view:

"Do you mind if I smoke? No, do you mind if I fart? It's one of my habits."
- Steve Martin

Governor Dayton - for eight long Pawlenty years these kind of people have skated. Dodging their duty to pay fair taxes. Please, Governor Dayton, will you do everything you can, tirelessly, to see that even though shareholders allow themselves to be exploited, the citizens of Minnesota can see robber-barons finally held to a standard of decency Pawlenty and his people ignored?

Strib, this link, as source of the screenshot -- with everyone on the list sucking roughly $300,000 or more annually from the system - in some cases vastly more - and thereby leaving everyone else to pay more taxes than if these individuals were required; with such vast annual increases in wealth accruing to them as they have; to pay fairly, for a change, as a departure from unfair Pawlenty practices where the vastly rich could skate as effortlessly as Pawlenty did, on hockey ice when younger and more fit.

Top forty - each a million a year, and up.

Remaining sixty - nothing to sneeze at.

And a big time hat tip to Strib, for publishing the data, as it is -- just the facts and only the facts -- while others could (and truly should) editorialize.

Dissembling hypocrisy? You decide.

The only place another Northstar stop would make sense, for actual commuters - ostensibly the ones the thing is aimed to serve, would be at Foley Park and Ride - where acres of parking is occupied by those now riding a more expensive transit delivery option, a series of express buses that add far more carbon to the atmosphere than stopping and restarting the Northstar there would produce.

And labor cost and bus maintenance costs could be lessened, but Sivarajah is log-rolling for Matt Look, as are West, and Westerberg, with Look wanting a Northstar stop in the Ramsey Town Center, as if dumping infinite amounts of public cash - this at fourteen million for a stop at the Town Center - would rescue that incredible mistake from its proper, moribund status.

It's a sow's ear. Admit it Matt. Move on.

It's your WANT, Matt, admit that. It's nobody's NEED. You ran on that want-vs-need rhetoric, Matt, now deliver.

For Sivarajah to simply say, "I'm doing log-rolling for Matt," would be okay. It would be honest.

But this (Paul Levy of Strib reporting, this link):

Fiscal conservative Look has different view of proposed Ramsey station
The Anoka County commissioner wants the $14 million price tag to be part of the state bonding bill.

[...] A vote for veterans

Sivarajah, the new chairwoman of the board, has never been bashful about bashing Northstar. Even with a perceived alliance on the board among Sivarajah, Look, West and Westerberg, her support of a Ramsey station is somewhat of a surprise.

"The only reason I would support the Ramsey station is the veterans clinic," Sivarajah said of a new outpatient clinic for military veterans that is to open in Ramsey this fall.

Of Northstar, she said, "Frankly, the way I look at it, we inherited what we have. Northstar is here. At this point, we have to do what we can to boost ridership in order to bring down the subsidy per rider.

"Am I happy about it not being a success? No," she said of the line, which missed ridership targets in 2010. "It would be great if I was proven wrong. We're stuck with what we have."

Northstar began operating in November of 2009 with stations at Target Field in Minneapolis, Fridley, Coon Rapids, Anoka, Elk River and Big Lake. After falling 21 percent below projections for 2010, ridership showed a 19 percent increase in January.

What a crock, Rhonda. Veterans are going to pile out early to catch a Northstar for an 11:30 am appointment at the VA clinic, and hang around the sandburs at Ramsey Town Center until the evening rush hour, all day long in Ramsey, so they can then take the Northstar back?

Before that happens pigs will fly.

Give me a break, Rhonda.

Some lies and excuses clearly are transparent.

This is most surely Sivarajah bringing "transparency" (in one awkward sense) to the county board.

Madam Chairman, call it like it is. Don't make the veterans walk your plank, for doing log-rolling and being too disingenuous to admit it. Don't insult veterans that way. Don't insult the intelligence of your constituents that way.

Would the Watchdog please bark about this one? Why the silence, there, Harold?

Yo, are you there, Harold?

Woof, woof? Not a bark? Not even a desultory growl?


Lap dog, or watchdog?

Rhonda, Matt, Watchdog, Westerberg, all of you "conservative" "reduce spending and waste" Republicans, such as you are, here, first is the Foley Park and Ride, and environs, (with adjacent rail tracks in view), note autos all over the place - there are real honest-to-goodness commuters there (ostensibly the target group Northstar was built to serve), without a commuter rail stop. After that image, juxtaposed, the moribund Town Center's vast emptiness, with a multistory ramp, without visible autos, with a handful of people served by the cash-losing express bus service -- waste that could be cut -- and these conservatives and their lap dog, excuse, their watchdog, wanting to dump fourteen million of taxpayer money into somebody's pet want, nobody's need. Note, both images are to the same scale. No trickery there, only clear evidence.




And I drove recently by the Foley site. It's presently more crowded than in the above somewhat dated Google aerial image.

Folks on the county board, get real about money.

Voters, please pay attention. It's only tax dollars they intend to waste.

Finally -- Veterans, are you happy being trotted out as somebody's excuse for waste?

GOP detritus given Regent appointments and paychecks.

STRIB report -- This link. Photo credit, here.

Laura Brod. Laura Brod! LAURA BROD!!


They are intent in driving good faculty away. Texas, Austin will gain, as the U. Minn. Twin Cities campus again loses.

The former head of the Chamber of Commerece. A lobbyist. As a Regent.

Give me a break. This is a disaster perpetrated by idiots in the legislature who don't know better, or worse, who know better but scornfully do it anyway.

Could you hand pick a more mediocre bunch? It would take effort.

It is casting ruin, deliberately laying waste, on what had been a world class educational institution.

Even the new morons in power in Wisconsin have not gone this route, yet.

I can see it, the Madison campus laid waste, by barbarians of the same kind, intent in undoing quality, nationwide, wherever it exists - deliberately ferreting out quality to despoil and ravish.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

HIGHWAY ROBBERY: Dennis Berg as victim of the Champlin heavy boot of government. Caught in the egregious speed trap known as "Champlin." It is a shameful thing that the people of Champlin should have the decency to shut down. Their government, out of control, gouging highway traffic, but it's an offset against local property taxes ... Given that I guess they can live with the shame.

Stand and deliver!

Those morons in Champlin should be slammed upside the head and told to stop.

Strib reporting. This link.

'Blackmail fee'

Berg was further irked, he said, when he learned that instead of contesting the $142 ticket, he could settle the matter with the city of Champlin and have his "driving record protected ... have the slate wiped clean," for $150.

"I cannot bring myself to pay the blackmail fee," Berg wrote to Freeman. He also said in his letter that the Champlin Police budget for 2011 includes "a fine revenue quota of $300,000."

Get after them like an angry pit bull, Dennis. If anybody deserves being hounded and publicized over it, it is them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

John McCain might enjoy falsely calling himself a "maverick," but some are.

Now that Ron Paul has taken the lion's share of the CPAC attention, where will "Audit the Fed" go?

Now that the GOP controls the House, will "Audit the Fed" grow legs?

Or is the GOP ruling faction happy with the Fed exactly as it is, the bailout of Wall Street as it was, and the Obama inattention to bailing out Joe Public facing a looming foreclosure where bailed out banks stand to pick up title to a bunch of real estate, housing and commercial, for their portfolios?

Obama seems to have delivered more for the GOP mainstream, than change. "Change" was a hoax, never mind those saying global warming is a hoax. The Koch brothers cannot really be too upset with Obama, so far.

Who will be the next mayor of Chicago? A Blago style of maverick? And is mayor-of-Chicage all that important to the rest of the nation? Boeing moved headquarters there from Seattle. It must have some attractions.

What's Russ Feingold doing these days, and what might it indicate about his future intent? He's started a PAC. If you believe Google, he's contemplating a book. It seems the thing (e.g., Sarah and Timmy - if you want puff pieces). Feingold reportedly intends a book on foreign policy.

Any readers with any insights are invited to comment. People looking at Ron Paul's domestic agenda and inclinations should also consider his foreign policy thoughts. Ceasing to rattle the sabre is not bad policy. Others can rattle their own sabres if so inclined. Put their own in harm's way. Ceasing payouts is also an interesting thought.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Potholes and money.

Strib reporting, this opening screenshot (as always click on the image to enlarge and read - or read the original Strib reporting, this link):

Strib continues.

What we see locally is what other local towns and counties also see. Ramsey's public works employees do okay. They earn their paychecks. Potholes cannot yet be patched until a dry spell is attained after the freeze-thaw cycling that works against the roads has ended. Springtime is when it can be done. It needs funding, and that means State aid to local government, or further burdening homeowners with property tax hikes to cover for withdrawn state aid. One or the other. If the rich are taxed for a fair amount for a change, by the State, ends can meet and budgets can be balanced without major cuts in services, so that driving can be a less jarring experience.

It is called "government services," and is what citizens should expect and demand.

I want a state senator who will leave global warming and the UN to people knowing something about each, and who would instead concentrate on getting local assistance out to fix the streets. And I want a city government that will cease paying five figure monthly money away foolishly, and put tax money into public works - fixing the streets.

Jungbauer is employed by Landform and Landform takes down City of Ramsey for five figure money monthly, every month, like clockwork.

A modest proposal is that Landform be taken off the dole, and the money spent toward keeping streets decently patched and paved. It's called government services, and it's what people want, not pie in the sky CORpse work.

Be a responsible set of officials, please, spend on services not Landform, and Senator, leave the UN and global warming aside, and assure that money gets to local government to fix roads.

It's called "responsibility" and is not that hard a concept to understand and pursue.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two things I would like my SD 48 Senator to articulate, as best he can if he can, is what's wrong with taxing the rich, and what in the world his SF 65 is about. ALSO NOTE: New sidebar poll.

If he could take time away from his obsessive global warming demagoguery, and his ill-timed and time wasting resolution aimed at activities of the UN, (i.e., things well outside of the borders of Minnesota and its direct and present needs), to worry a moment about other perhaps less appealing topics to his mind such as the economic state of the State; (and rising property taxes on homes as the State is denying local government aid that was instituted to lessen the upward spiral of local property taxation need and the overall burden of property taxes); if he could do that; I would like the Senator to explain why the rich should not be paying a fairer share of tax - especially since he's not one of them (so it is beyond any gain-loss personal interest for him to be opposed to taxing rich people, as an idea whose time has come).

This for context, as covered today online by Strib; the governor's budget proposals; roadway plight (presumably Jungbauer is not in favor of bumpy pot-holed roads); and the State aid programs aimed to lessen local property tax impositions.

The excerpting is from here:

Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a budget that would raise taxes on wealthier Minnesotans by $4 billion while requiring relatively modest spending trims.

Dayton said that under his proposal, nearly 95 percent of Minnesotans would pay no additional tax. Instead, only the top 5 percent of earners — about 138,000 filers — would see an increase in income and property taxes.

“This is about restoring tax fairness in Minnesota and asking our most affluent residents to help us out,” Dayton said, noting that in previous years, high earners have paid a smaller share of their income in taxes than the middle class.

But the proposal runs headlong into a Legislature dominated by Republicans, who have vowed to block any tax increase to wrestle down the state’s $6.2 billion shortfall. “I don’t want to say it’s dead on arrival, but it doesn’t have much of a heartbeat,” said Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina. He called Dayton’s proposed income tax — which includes a higher permanent top rate and a temporary 3 percent surtax on the super-wealthy “just breathtaking in its scope.”

Dayton said that after scouring every nook of the budget, he could not find additional cuts he found acceptable. “I refuse to make barbaric cuts,” he said.

In proposing his $37 billion, two-year budget, Dayton attempted to crush any notion that the budget-balancing task could not be resolved by the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment of May 23. A special session or government shutdown, he said plainly, “is not an option.”

The proposal would impose a top-tier tax rate on high earners of 10.95 percent, which would include single filers with taxable income above $85,000 or couples with taxable earnings above roughly $150,000. Dayton would add a 3 percent temporary surcharge on taxable incomes higher than $500,000. The resulting tax rate of 13.95 percent would be the highest income tax rate in the nation.

But Dayton said of the surcharge, “I give my word that it’s temporary.”

Dayton said he would keep local government aid intact, which he said would protect most home­owners from property tax increases on their homes. But he also called for a higher property tax rate on the 9,400 homes worth more than $1 million.

Dayton would also close the “snowbird” loophole that allows Minnesotans to shift their residency to their winter homes in states with lower taxes, even though they spend the remainder of the year in Minnesota. That move, Dayton said, could bring in about $15 million a year.

Asked if he believed some Minnesotans really do this, Dayton quipped: “I know some of them.”

[emphasis added] I could understand the Anoka County Watchdog barking up other trees than treeing the rich for not paying their fair share of taxes to keep the State running decently; after all, the Watchdog's one of the rich, and has that meat in the fire. So expect him to be more of a flounder on this one than a watchdog - you know - a fish with both eyes on one side of the head so he can only see things from one point of view.

But the Watchdog was not elected to represent the normal, non-rich. Jungbauer was, (although, don't blame me - I voted for Perovich).

And then there's this hogwash.

But wait. There's more. Strib, here, expands on helping the little guy, like Ben:

The Dayton budget actually would increase city and county aid levels compared with current levels because of a temporary cut last year.

The GOP majorities in the House and Senate have made local government aid a target as the state attempts to cope with a $6.2 billion projected budget deficit. Meanwhile, cash-strapped cities and counties have seen local taxpayers in revolt as residents cope with higher property taxes and fewer services.

"Dayton's commitment to [local government aid] shows that he isn't going to stand for it anymore," said Nancy Carroll, president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and mayor of Park Rapids, Minn.

Dayton makes that point in a page of the budget proposal to be released Tuesday.

"The state has exported part of its budget problems to local taxpayers," the page says.

So, Senator - put global warming and the UN aside for a moment or two and work with the Governor to take undue burdens off the little guys, off Ben Dover the Ramsey taxpayer, and shift them to those more able and better positioned to pay with less pain.

Monday, February 14, 2011

While the military now controls activity in Egypt, some opposition effort already has taken hold aimed at following the money, the cronyism, and the corruption. We should do the same sometime, but without the military presence.

From Haaretz, Feb 5, 2011, this link, this screenshot excerpt:

Blowing up pipelines is not ordinary news, nor is it overly rare. It's happened in Iraq since the occupancy began under Bush, for instance. This one, coincidence I am sure, looks like a big burning cross the Klan would be proud to have caused. One camera shot, yet what a coincidence.

So what's it got to do with the headline? First, more on the gas pipeline explosion, this google. If you care to read more.

The headline is about NY Times reporting, Feb. 12, this link for the first of two pages. To encourage reading what's in between, the excerpt is of the opening three paragraphs, and the concluding three:

After Hosni Mubarak’s younger son, Gamal, left his job as an executive with Bank of America in London in the mid-1990s, he joined forces with Egypt’s largest investment bank. Today he has a significant stake in a private equity company with interests throughout the Egyptian economy, from oil to agriculture to tourism, corporate records and interviews show.

During President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule, he and his family were not flamboyant with their wealth, particularly by the standards of other leaders in the Middle East. While there is no indication that Gamal Mubarak or the bank were involved in illegal activity, his investments show how deeply the family is woven into Egypt’s economy.

Now with Hosni Mubarak out of power, there are growing calls for an accounting to begin.

[...] As the protest intensified last week, government prosecutors froze the assets of five government ministers and imposed a travel ban on them. The move appeared to be an effort by Mr. Mubarak to distance himself from the wealthy businessmen who had become the focus of public ire over corruption. It is unclear whether the military, which now runs the government and has vast business holdings itself, will allow a full inquiry into the Mubarak family’s wealth.

Perhaps the most difficult question to answer is the level of corruption involving Hosni Mubarak himself. Former American diplomats said he appeared to live relatively simply, particularly by the standards of rulers in the region. His main residence outside Cairo was a villa in a private compound in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheik, where he went after resigning the presidency on Friday. Diplomats said the villa was not particularly grand for the neighborhood, smaller than the nearby home of Bakr bin Laden, a member of the wealthy Saudi construction clan and a half-brother of Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Mubarak’s villa is in a compound developed by Hussein Salem, an Egyptian businessman and close friend of the former president. Mr. Salem pleaded guilty in 1983 to overcharging the Pentagon $8 million for shipping military equipment to Egypt. Despite the conviction, he prospered in Mr. Mubarak’s Egypt and heads a lucrative business that ships natural gas to Israel.

[links omitted, italics added] Privatization - is it anything beyond crony looting, while the workers go hungry and unemployed. In Egypt that is. We have had no such tainted privatization here in the US of A, during the Gipper's times when the term was bandied about quite a bit, before then, and after. We are so fortunate. Yet, why shouldn't a ruling family become billionaires from it? In Egypt that is. Not here, not via Carlyle Group or Whitewater, we're not that way.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

UPDATE James Norman - Albert Lea credit card misuse prosecution.

Reported Feb. 2, KAAL tv, that proceedings against the former City of Ramsey city administrator are moved to Austin, Mower County, Judge Fred Wellman presiding. Most recently a Feb. 8 hearing was reported, involving a Norman dismissal effort based on selective prosecution [a claim that others in Albert Lea city officialdom acted no differently, but are not being equally hounded]; this link. It seems that Norman got cross-wise of the Moen family in Albert Lea, and Ms. Rhonda Moen's tenure on the city payroll - indeed reportedly in charge of it as town CFO - is the main focus of Norman claims of biased pursuit and prosecution. This link. See, e.g., here and here, for Moen background, etc. The situation has dragger out since last summer, and Norman and the town severed his employment relationship last September.

Ramsey should have something available for citizens like that Albert Lea Discussion Forum (the last link above). It would be a good place to find newsworthy opinion.

Did you know?

Tim Pawlenty's dog is named, "Checkers."

Not from testing the waters in Iowa.
I bought it, at Sam's Club.

The Republican ticket for 2012 will be McChrystal-Pawlenty; reflecting back to Eisenhower years.

Also noteworthy - remember you heard it first at Crabgrass - Mary P. will be ditching the matching REI-Gortex item from now into 2012; exchanging it for a plain cloth Republican coat (bought at Sam's Club).

Some may remember, GREEN STAMPS. Now Microsoft is giving the web equivalent of green stamps.

This link, for detail, this top-of-page screenshot.

I wonder if Bill will collect green stamps. I wonder if the "credits" homepage links to an optional interactive page, where you can open and page through a "virtual stamp book," and paste your credits into it, as "green stamps."

On how you exchange your "credits" for something you'd possibly want, explore the entire Bing Rewards page and its links; but I'd guess you could save all your credits for Christmas and buy yourself socks and underwear. For online delivery - virtual goods? I think that's where the tangible might intervene. Does sell and ship socks and underwear, or do you need to go to Walmart online, or Target online?

For those too young to remember green stamps, think, frequent flyer miles.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

CPAC straw poll.

And I got everything in between.

Story, with percentages, here. Photo original, here
As always, click the image to enlarge and read..

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mikey in the Senate. Jimmy in the House. Mayor Bob. Will new unusual TIF in Town Center bring us what we want and need? Restaurants?

TIF for Thai?

TIF for Italian?

TIF for Prime Rib?

TIF for French Cuisine?

TIF for Pork Chops?

TIF for Mandarin, Szechwan, Indian, Middle Eastern, or Mediteranean?

TIF for Caribbean? TIF for Matzah Balls? TIF for Borscht?

TIF for Rice and Beans?

TIF for who cares, and who wants it, if something besides a restaurant?

Be reasonable, perhaps?

Restaurants, or simply don't do it.

Stow it as waste or gimmick or something that might do little that existing taxpaying Ramsey residents want. Even if it might make Darren happier or wealthier, stow it if it does not bring what existing folks in Ramsey clearly say and said they want.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Puzzling evidence.

Ramsey hires Landform as a consultant. Landform hired Jungbauer as an employee. Ramsey pays Landform money. Jungbauer sponsors this, sole author. TIF law means what it says for everyone. Except there's somebody's employee's bill in the hopper, saying TIF law means something different for somebody's employer's consulting client. If it passes, it preempts. The particular controls the general. Minn Stat Sect 645.26, subd 1, says that's how you determine the intent of the legislature.

Cash flows.

Companion bill, HF 317, this link. Abeler as sole sponsor/author. To the best of my knowledge, Abeler is free of any ties to Landform. I am puzzled. First, someone knowing more about TIF than I do probably could make more sense out of the special treatment being sought for and by Ramsey. How is it appropriate? How is it justified? What will the impacts be? What's the impact on existing property tax payers in Ramsey, if passed? Readers identifying themselves and posting useful information in comments are invited to help.

Abeler's been far less prolific a chief author this session than Jungbauer. And not a companion House author for Jungbauer's mystery bill; SF 65. That one seems Mike's alone. Abeler's only other "chief author" bill beyond companioning on the Ramsey-TIF effort is a screw the needy thing; HF 128.

JAMES NORMAN - ALBERT LEA -- speedy trial rule difficulties complicate the case of Ramsey's former City Administrator.

KIMT reports the latest, this link.

Anoka County retired Judge Daniel Kammeyer recused himself when, chosen as a judge from outside of the locale, he believed a potential conflicted situation existed. Now they need a judge, and apparently Norman is insisting on a speedy trial rule or making such a request - this excerpt:

Former Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman, 57, appeared in Freeborn County for a contested hearing to work out issues before a trial on charges that he misused a city credit card.

But the retired judge assigned to Freeborn County couldn't hear the case.

Norman had previously requested speedy hearings within 28 days and that timeline runs out on Friday.

Multiple times in court frustrations were expressed by both Norman and his attorney Peggy Rockow, over this case getting delayed time and again. They noted that Norman can't apply for new employment and that his life is on hold.

They are hoping to find a judge to come to Freeborn County and hear the matters as soon as Monday or Tuesday morning, if not they hope a judge in counties like Steele or Mower could hear arguments and then a new trial date can be set.

Norman became Albert Lea's City Manager last May, he was placed on paid leave last September, and a "separation agreement" was signed between Norman and the City later that month.

Who you gonna call? Ghost Busters? My candidate as a special assignment judge to hear the case is the presently in limbo Hennepin County District Judge Patricia Kerr Karasov, who reportedly is amenable to a long commute to reach a courthouse outside of the county in which she resides.

Before his reluctant retirement from full time duty, Kammeyer was one of the most astute District Court judges in Minnesota, serving Anoka County for decades. I am aware of one case involving City of Ramsey where Kammeyer quite aptly cut down a blowing smoke landowner's opinion of value in a road condemnation case, (extending Highway 116 from Ramsey Blvd to Armstrong), and a theft of business case arising in Anoka County, involving a long-time trusted employee who was proved to have been wrongly trusted and to have breached a fiduciary covenant of loyalty to his employer. As in biting the hand that fed him.

I erred. Kammeyer was judge on a condemnation to widen Armstrong Blvd., and that's the one I recall his handling owner opinion (not the condemnation to extend Hwy. 116). It was an earlier case. Kammeyer might also have had the Hwy 116 extension case; where I read in a deposition in the court file of junk auto parts of unknown origin that showed up, the landowner claiming the contractor used bad fill. I think somebody at some point owned a used car lot.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

East Bethel - Landform - Bolton and Menk. Water works and such. Buying anyone's future projections is buying speculation and guesswork. Nobody has an infallible crystal ball. There was much forecasting before the real estate bubble burst, but nobody said months in advance, "Lehman Brothers will file bankruptcy, September 15, 2008."

Eric Hagen reports, Feb. 2, this link, about Landform being hired, apparently for a shade under ten thousand - a cap figure - for now, but Ramsey's experienced. Ramsey's paying more a month to landform than this single shot deal in East Bethel.

Hagen's reporting is Bolton and Menk apparently did projections of sewer hookup demand, future forecasting being fraught with uncertainty, witness Feges projections of "up scale" shops and restaurants when he was in the early part of this decade pitching Ramsey Town Center and before the real estate housing and commercial sectors went splat.

So, 3-2, East Bethel's council votes to bring in a guy from Landform, neither Lazan nor Jungbauer, a credentialed engineer instead, for a second opinion. It makes sense to me, and whether the pricing's fair or not, three councilmembers believed it was and they held the power to hire the firm - whatever firm they wished.

With a ten grand cap, if honored, East Bethel has no major exposure to anything like gouging (Ramsey pays flat fee $15,000 per month, last time I saw a contract, and time and activity accounting is NOT required, not any longer, it's strictly a flat fee, paid monthly, for whatever).

Hagen's item reports in part:

Landform’s proposed contract would not exceed $9,750.

At the same time, the city invited Kreg Schmidt of Bolton and Menk to give a presentation during a regular council meeting. Schmidt had been working on this project until the council voted to cease all contract activity on Jan. 5.

[Newly elected council member] DeRoche said when the council majority decided to suspend the sewer and water project it was because it did not have enough information on how the city and Bolton and Menk came up with the sewer and water hook-up projections and how realistic these projections are.

“You have numbers you’ve thrown around, but they do not bring the full picture of how much it’s going to cost,” [newly elected mayor Richard] Lawrence said to incumbent Councilmembers Boyer and Voss.

Lawrence said before Landform Vice President Robert Schunicht gave his presentation that, “We’re not proposing to spend any money.”

“If you want a third-party review, you should put out a request for proposal, get the most qualified person at the most cost-effective price. And you have no way of knowing whether that’s been done with this proposal or not. We’re just spending $10,000 because apparently somebody knows these people,” Boyer said.

In response to Moegerle’s questioning whether the city had to seek RFPs for this consulting service, [newly appointed] City Attorney Mark Vierling responded that state statute only requires the RFP process if the proposal is over $100,000. Therefore, the council does not legally need to seek RFPs from potential competitors of Landform for this third-party sewer and water project study.

[Incumbent council member] Boyer questioned where the $9,750 would come from.

According to David Schaaf, [newly appointed] acting city administrator, it would come from the savings that the city will see from having him as acting city administrator versus the salary and benefits that former City Administrator Douglas Sell would have received in 2011.

Boyer said that the acting city attorney firm’s rates are much more expensive than what the city paid its last city attorney before the council dismissed him at the Jan. 5 meeting. The council was slated to discuss sending out RFPs for city attorney services at its Feb. 2 meeting. More on that story will be in the Feb. 11 edition of the Anoka County Union.

[Landform engineer Bob] Schunicht said he would be meeting with Bolton and Menk to discuss the basis behind their projections. Landform will also provide the most recent demographic information, provide information on competing projects and cities in the vicinity of East Bethel and prepare a risk assessment on Project 1, Phase 1.

Landform’s letter states that the economic downturn has severely diminished revenue from development. For example, the Metropolitan Council’s Sewer Access Charge (SAC) revenue in 2010 was less than 30 percent of the revenue in 2005. Landform said it would meet with the Metropolitan Council and other government officials at the state and county level to gather the most recent projections on growth and development.

The risk assessment that Landform would provide would consider a range of growth and revenue projections.

Alternate scenario spread sheet comparisons, to me is not a "risk assessment" and I think major insurance industry actuarial experts might agree. Exactly what kind of "risk assessment" East Bethel gets, for its money, is unclear from reporting, other than that Landform would do alternate scenario stuff. If the decision is based on a short proposal letter, good luck, Charlie - or good luck, Mayor Lawrence, Mr. Schaaf, et al.

That reported scope of work seems like a lot to be doing for under ten grand, depending upon it being done in a thorough and professional way by a credentialed engineer, or under a professional engineer's very close scrutiny.

I have no idea whether this Schunicht is the only licensed professional engineer Landform has, while I know Lazan and Jungbauer each lack that qualification.

Bolton and Menk is an engineering firm, it is their speciality, but projecting growth and such is more voodoo than engineering, witness the Met Council and their always high-balling growth projections when imposing comp plan quotas upon the world, or as much of it as they can coerce [Wright and Sherburne Counties, take notice, you're outside of the metro area, and should want to remain so].

Met Council does its "million more in metro by 2030" hand-waving, and it's how reliable, really?

I know the SEC has soft rules about future projections when it comes to standards of security fraud under Rule 10b-5, misstating or omitting material information that makes a statement capable of misleading investors. Future projections are unreliable, no matter who does them. Even your trusted fortune teller, be skeptical. I suppose only Nancy Reagan's astrologer was above doubt.

So, is Landform even better equipped than Met Council to do such grown projections and produce reliable answers?

My simple answer, even while having little regard for the Landform firm, is how could they be worse than Met. Council? It's not feasible to me anyone could be more "overly optimistic" about growth numbers than that bunch.

What I did not see in the Hagen reporting, is anything specifically about consulting the state demographer and comparing that office's relevant projections with Met Council's. Also, reporting is unclear whether Hagen was using Landform-letter numbers about the magnitufe of Met Council cash flow decreases, or whether it is something he independently verified.

That's needed. And, if Schunicht consumes a lot of Bolten and Menk time, that firm deserves to be compensated hourly, and I can see the total cost, reasonably, exceeding the under ten grand figure Hagen reported - which was only to be payment to Landform.

I know Boeing from time to time has low-balled initial contract proposal costs on military contracting, and then prospered greatly on change orders and contract modifications.

With the East Bethel city attorney no longer from Bill Goodrich's firm, I cannot say how carefully contract papers would be expected to cover cost over run possibilities.

Bottom line: I most certainly like as things now stand, the East Bethel situation with Landform, more than I like Ramsey's.

Do you suppose any firm can produce future projections "you can take to the bank?"

Depends upon the bank I guess, and under today's credit pinch, what's your bet, any bank?

Any reader wanting to write a guest post about East Bethel is encouraged to email a submission.

I am not giving up editorial authority, but will accept anything to consider posting.

If submitting any item, please verify factual assertions, and clearly delineate personal opinion for what it is.

If City of Ramsey council members put on their thinking caps, perhaps they'd fire Landform.

Screenshot from Ars Technica, this link.


The last version of the Ramsey-Landform contract I saw had a 30 day opt out for either side, i.e., for the side on a monthly basis continuously paying out five-figure money (Ramsey), or the side on a monthly basis saying, "Thanks," on their way to the bank (Landform).

Now East Bethel has the same firm being paid East Bethel money.

Newly elected people, making choices.

Darren in response to an email, indicated he preferred my further contact to be with his lawyer. I sent the lawyer an inquiry asking, among other things, whether Sen. Jungbauer still has the same job title in Landform as when I was earlier given the Senator's business card, by the Senator, (back at a Franken staff - community open session at Elk River city hall). So far, the lawyer has declined to respond.

What Darren wrote in an email, in relevant part, is:

My partner Bob Schunicht has been working with the City of East Bethel recently on issues related to their plans for sewer service to the area.  Bob is a municipal engineer with over 30 years of experience in helping city’s plan and manage infrastructure, and as such his role on projects is dramatically different that that of a Development Manager, the role I have with the City of Ramsey.

I have included Bob in this reply so he can choose whether to respond to your request on that matter. I would encourage him not to respond, [...] I can find no conflict of interest in this issue, perceived or otherwise.  As is the case with many engineers in town, Bob has consulted for almost every community in the metro area and has never had an issue with competing interests.  

Please direct any further questions of Landform on this matter to our counsel – Vincent King [...]

My earlier email that Lazan was addressing had raised what to me was an obvious conflict of interest question, not really at all answered except that Lazan's opinion was that things were fine with him as is. I had asked, especially in light of SF 2500 in the last legislative session, whether ABC Newspapers would as part of its East Bethel coverage report on Landform being hired for water project related consulting:

[...] I noted the most recent Hagen coverage for East Bethel

omitted to mention anything about Landform, while focusing on other matters. My understanding is the East Bethel council split 3-2 on whether the Landform firm was to be hired to advise and assist the city; the three vote majority favoring it. My understanding is the split was along the lines previously reported by Hagen.

I think the question deserves coverage, of Mike Jungbauer going to the Minnesota Senate with business ties reaching to two cities in his Senate District (via each hiring the firm he depends upon for all or part of his livelihood); and the state cash pie being only so big while having to be sliced with any money Ramsey gets being thereby unavailable to East Bethel and vice versa.

I believe the press should seek statements from the Landform principals about whether they see or do not see any conflict of interest problem, and if not, how they would explain it to ABC readers such as me.

I cc the two Landform key insiders for notice purposes.  My understanding is that Landform was contracted with by East Bethel to advise and assist on water issues.

I am aware that re water issues, in the last legislature Jungbauer sponsored a bill, SF 2500, seeking for water project money for Ramsey, while Landform was retained by Ramsey, but nothing was sought for East Bethel water-related matters in the same bill.

How Jungbauer now intends to handle legislative proposals with Landform now contracted as serving two masters each with conflicting hopes to get as much state cash as possible for its fiscal aid, IS newsworthy, in my view. I think it merits coverage.

Shake a lawyer at somebody, expect a follow-up, it seems to be the next logical step, so I emailed the lawyer:

Mr King-
Per your client's request in the forwarded email; I am emailing you.

Please let me know, is it correct or incorrect to presume Mike Jungbauer's current title with the Landform firm is identical to that on the business card he gave me about a year to fifteen months ago? See attached. It is unclear whether or not he remains as head or water related projects, with your client's email suggesting it is not entirely so any more. Could you please clarify.

What confuses me is Matt Look being quoted in minutes saying Ramsey hiring the Landform firm had a benefit that Senator Jungbauer knew of grant money; with the Senator then sponsoring a bill; SF 2500, after Landform was retained.

It seems as if the Senator was represented as key in Ramsey being initially solicited, per a brochure, and per Mr. Look's expressed statement of record, and that a bill draft followed. Correct me if anything in this paragraph is incorrect.

[...] Also, am I incorrect in the belief that Landform billed three hours of Sen. Jungbauer's time in the past regarding preparation of paper items and such related to some of the Jungbauer senate colleagues then scheduled upcoming visit to Ramsey - regarding a water related project? I reviewed City records per a public data law request, and that is my recollection from items I had xeroxed. Is that billing now contended as somehow in error?

Your client contends I am or have been incorrect about key facts, so please help me.

Zippo, in response. Papers could be served, litigation started, that could happen anytime, but so far I have not heard of a single factual assertion I have made, apart from opinion or parody, contended to be false by Landform and with Landform expressing what it's belief of correct fact would be. Nor have I received a single request-demand for a retraction or clarification of anything. I stand by the entire truthfulness of what I have written, and await anyone pointing out factual inaccuracy within the gist of what I have published.

As already published, there are the Landform business cards given me, this image:

The Darren Lazan email (from Jan. 25), made no response related in any way to this water project thing from last legislative session, (where no money was allocated so that it was mooted, for then). But my understanding is that had the amount of over two million dollars been appropriated, Landform had never recused itself from seeking to participate in proceeds; i.e., the Senator as a senior water project advisory person in the firm was proposing scarce State money to be earmarked for a water project in Ramsey; without disavowal of later cash flow to the firm employing him, and possibly indirectly to him, from such money if appropriated.

If Landform would simply go on record to ABC Newspapers or such, saying any State money gotten in the Legislature for water projects in Ramsey, I guess now in East Bethel too, per the Senator's sponsorship or key effort, would not be sought by it in future Landform contracting with Ramsey or East Bethel - but would scrupulously be off limits to the firm with other competent consultants clearly available - that would go a long, long way toward my being less upset with the firm and its people.

And while Darren Lazan's opinion is of record that he sees no conflict of interest problems in his firm's dealing, my contrary opinion is of record too, that the potential for abuse exists unless and until that firm publicly commits that the Senator's legislative conduct and any cash flowing therefrom to Landform's client municipalities shall be honored as separate, and funds he secures legislatively for client municipalities will be a pie from which the firm and all of its insiders would not ever seek a slice.

So now, what's the firm doing in East Bethel? Would any reader with knowledge send an email?

As yet this session I have not seen any Jungbauer sponsored legislation aimed at earmarking very scarce State money, (in these times of Republican talk about deficite concerns being paramount), specifically for the benefit of East Bethel and/or Ramsey. That is a fact. So far.

Jungbauer's 87th Sess., SF 65, bill remains unclear to me, in many ways; and I have not seen it explained despite requesting explanatory help, as a constituent, in email to the Jungbauer Senate office.

Any reader wishing to contact the Senator's office about SF 65, State money for a Northstar stop in Ramsey, or any other matter, contact info is online at his Senate webpage:

This guy would set the lowest applicant score in a Jedi Knight Entrance Exam.

This link, for more detail.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The cash-colored revolving door revolves again. He's been a Pawlenty person, so you always had to guess his heart was with the marauders. Now his paycheck is too.

The cash-colored revolving door revolves again.

Here and here.

Apart from Brad Moore specifics; but a consideration in general; with the revolving door tradition so entrenched in our political world why would there ever be bribing?

Just wait.


Minn.Indy's database on "Brad Moore" gave this one hit. This excerpt - how Pawlenty people operate:

Copper-mine meetings extracted opinion without polluting public discourse
By Chris Steller | 12.15.09 | 2:06 pm

A massive proposal to mine for copper and other metals in Northern Minnesota underwent exactly the amount of public debate at two meetings last week that government agencies had planned for: none, according to Lake Superior Mining News. Citizens wishing to speak on PolyMet Mining’s plans did their business with a stenographer in a small room, while politicians backing the plan held forth in the main hall.

This is how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) describes the project: “PolyMet Mining, Inc. proposes to develop an open pit mine and to refurbish and modify the former LTV Steel Mining taconite ore processing facility to extract copper metal and precipitates of nickel, cobalt and precious metals near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes in northeastern Minnesota.”

The project promises 400 jobs lasting 20 years. The impact on the environment could be more permanent.

“It would be the largest single wetlands impact that the St. Paul office has permitted,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Jon Ahlness, according to the Tower Timberjay News. He was referring to the Corps’ St. Paul District, which covers 139,000 square miles including most of Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northeastern North Dakota, and small parts of South Dakota and Iowa.

The project has major political backing from U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, as well as state Sens. David Tomassoni and Tom Bakk and state Rep. Tom Rukavina, who gave speeches at the meetings. (Rukavina and Bakk are candidates for governor.)

PolyMet also enjoys paid help from people who have held state posts, including former state Pollution Control Agency (PCA) commissioner Brad Moore and former deputy PCA commissioner Ann Glumac.

But with that much political weight on one side, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Corps opted to hold the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) meetings without an exchange of views.

“To have a public meeting where the public doesn’t get to comment is really a boneheaded move,” Rukavina said, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The Timberjay News quoted Rukavina as telling the crowd in Aurora, ”That decision was a screw-up on somebody’s part. … If I was governor, people would have been able to talk tonight.”


[italics added] With GOP outlets in the recent past whining greatly about Dayton's appointment of a PCA "sheriff" who respects the badge; (i.e., here and here for repeated representative expressions of what PCA regulation should or should not be from a GOP perspective); this Brad Moore appointment is the next logical shoe to drop.

The GOP outlets likely shall see the Moore revolving-door employment as a positive thing, even if giving lip-service to the evils of the revolving door in the past in other contexts. Such an expected GOP reaction is in line with the parallel dislike of Dayton's showing a spine in appointing someone who most surely will not be a wink and a nod agency head for mining interests (and who had affiliations with MCEA, which told the straight and honest no-hokum no-bunkum truth about mining impacts, as already noted by Crabgrass, here).

Chris S. put links into that Minn. Indy post, which I neither transcribed into the quote, nor checked to see if they've become dead links. If you want the full presentation, from then, please go to the original, again - this link. It should be worthwhile to check links and read the entire item. I only excerpted opening paragraphs. Public input clearly was treated as having second class status to the dog and pony propagandists pushing their agenda. Paid reps being who they were. Two former agency honchos.

____________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Besides the MCEA item which you can reach via the Crabgrass link-back above; Friends of the Boundary Waters are actively concerned about PolyMet impacts and the need for safeguards; and you can reach their website, etc., to explore things, per this earlier Crabgrass post. (NOTE: I give it without link checking, so please email or comment if any dead links show up if/when you link back.)

____________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Dennis Anderson's Strib reporting had this:

In a news release, Moore said PolyMet "can demonstrate that non-ferrous mining can be done in a way that meets Minnesota's high environmental standards."

That wholly begs the major question. Feasibility in the abstract (... can be ...) is less the issue than commitment. A better release would have been, from a public reassurance viewpoint, something such as:

PolyMet will never do any non-ferrous mining at any time in ways that do not completely meet all applicable environmental regulations, and will only mine in the most careful and environmentally respectful way possible and will back up that promise with millions and millions placed in escrow to avoid any future abandonment or operating situation of bailing out as a least cost alternative, via bankruptcy court or otherwise, and all of the PolyMet empire will be pledged to secure such promises without any callous attempt to channel things through an interposed shell operation so thinly capitalized as to own little more than three chairs, a table, and a filing cabinet and will when done and before leaving or attempting to free escrow funds will remediate the earth in all places where its mining has had impact including via airborne distant pollution of waters or land and will do remediation to a standard acceptable to Sierra Club and Friends of the BWCA and will not quit on things absent those two organizations signing off approvals.

That would be touching the relevant bases. Or have I left out an "... and ..."?

Surely, taking ore out a teaspoon at a time and processing it in a research laboratory environment behind a fume hood and with personnel wearing protective clothing is feasible.

It is not commercial, and it begs the question of how to stop PolyMet from getting away with all it can, since that's how the firm will maximize its profits and its return on capital.

All else is hand-waving. Dodge ball.

The world does need copper but this is not the only site where ore exists. There is no benefit to Minnesota to make this the cheapest site to exploit. Rather it should be the costliest, as it likely would if properly regulated, so that if mining on the cheap is the PolyMet firm's true and only objective, it will do so elsewhere.

Finally tax PolyMet as much as possible if it will be removing valuable and irreplaceable Minnesota natural resources for its profit. The more taxes PolyMet pays, the less everyone else needs to pay - and we citizens are not exploiting and expropriating Minnesota natural resources for personal profit so we've no cause to subsidize PolyMet or any other mining operation.

Tax them, not us.

PACT Charter School listed as one of many needing to get its sponsorship status resolved by June 30.

I never liked that bonding thing that Cairns put through with the then existing Ramsey City Council back in 2003 or 2004; because of the Bethel College sponsorship and my firm belief, in line with Jefferson's thinking, that there must be an absolute separation of church and state and a church "school" sponsoring a charter school, to me, meant Ramsey should totally keep hands off.

The list.

The accompanying article.

I expect the politics are such that PACT will "meet" requirements.

This link, for brief history of PACT school, at the Ramsey Town Center. (And bless the Chamber's presentation, not using that awful "COR" aka CORpse terminology for the Ramsey Town Center because some huckster or pack of huckster-minded or huckster-deluded ones felt lipstick on a pig was a great idea to magically make the pig into something different.)

May some reader with knowledge of the situation send an email or post a comment about how this not yet effectuated-on-the-ground-in-Ramsey proposal may turn out, in terms of adequacy of sponsorship.

For starters, who sponsors the "Legacy Christian Academy," and once knowing that, where will things stand, July 30?

One interesting thing, "Legacy Christian Academy" is not on the list Strib is publishing. Does that mean it is a fully private school in some way not needing to establish charter school sponsorship bona fides; or that it has already crossed that bridge?

What's the story? Should folks count any chickens in Ramsey, before they're hatched?

Although still speculative, the Strib reporting [link above] has a paragraph focused on the TiZA situation, where bedrock religious orientation is noted as an impediment to charter status - with ACLU litigation pending so that the TiZA status is doubly uncertain (there being a question reported by Strib about out-of-state sponsorship difficulties also affecting TiZA).

That suggests the Legacy Christian Academy probably is going along as a fully private school without charter school status, (hence, not needing sponsorship approvals); as with schools operated and owned within the Catholic church community.

Such speculation, however, sheds no light on what the situation is with PACT School.

My hope is that ABC Newspapers finds the question newsworthy and is able to publish something definitive for county readers. The intention and hopes of PACT School management probably is of interest to ABC-ECM readers.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
For access to Legacy and PACT online websites, and other background; there are two Googles:



Tuesday, February 01, 2011

You've got mail ... Yes, but ... What I need is help.

This from District 48A GOP rep, Tom Hackbarth:

This from District 48B GOP rep, Jim Abeler:

First question:

Tom, Jim, that's all nice, but what about 87th Session, SF 65?

This link, for bill text.

For it? Against it? Understand it? Or are you as flummoxed and confused as I am about how it uses our English language to unfortunately obscure what it's intended to mean?

If it makes any sense to either of you, or staff, please help me and others by giving an emailed explanation in less ambiguous language than the bill uses.

And, as you best understand this SF 65, does it in your mind square with the thinking you have expressed in your own recent email?

Second question:

Will either of you gentlemen, emailing as you have, be sponsoring or voting for this session any legislation for State money to be spent in the next two years on a Northstar stop in Ramsey? Actually, a response honestly guessing at the likelihood of any such train-stop funding passing this session would be as good as any other reply to this second item.

And the questions are severable, should you only choose to respond to one but not both.


I will send each, Rep. Abeler and Rep Hackbarth, a link to this post requesting a courtesy response, and I shall post about any email response I receive - indeed, I probably will post screenshots of entire email, as received, to avoid any readeer contentions of editorial bias.

There's only one sensible Republican ticket for 2012. Get rid of the front men/women, and run the hands that operate the levers.

Since they run the show and call all the shots, let them decide between themselves who gets top spot, who gets "heartbeat away" -- if either has a heart.

No more of the errand boys, errand girls, but the nitty-gritty, on the ticket.

Let voters learn their views on "Tax the Rich," for example.

And on, "Tax everyone else."

Open a few eyes, perhaps.

Informed voters offer a better chance for the rest of us, but hey, will the progressives left, in turn, pick a primary challenger against the GOP-lite guy in the White House now?

Needed, but not expected.

Obama and Biden, vs. Charles and David. Or, vs. David and Charles. Let them handicap it once they skulk out of the dark background and own up to who they are and how they operate - sunshine always being the best disinfectant.

Well, perhaps the Tea Bag crowd got to one of them. Will the Tea Bag mood be faced down by Mike Jungbauer, this session, with spending proposals for Cities of Ramsey and East Bethel, where the Landform firm has consulting contracts?

Last session there was Sen. Jungbauer's SF 2500, money for Ramsey, a water project, not passed.

So far this session, nothing comparable that I am aware of, yet, placed in the hopper re spending State dollars in SD 48, especially in places such as Ramsey or East Bethel where his employer, the Landform firm, does business with local government, selling service.

The Tea Party mood is suggested by MN Progressive Project as having curbed some spending enthusiam, regarding one Republican politico, (go to this original link if you want to follow up on the original item's hotlinks):

If such "local assistance" were to be advanced, and they won't tax the rich, who else would be paying for it?

If a highly placed Republican, a judge, does not know and comply with the law as and when appropriate, what's next?

And -- Dick Armey? Lord Almighty, Dick Armey's payroll no less. What next, indeed?

Hat tip to Brad Blog. Also, here, this excerpt:

Virginia Thomas earned over $680,000 from conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation over five years, a group says. But Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did not include it on financial disclosure forms.
January 22, 2011|By Kim Geiger, Washington Bureau

"Without disclosure, the public and litigants appearing before the court do not have adequate information to assess potential conflicts of interest, and disclosure is needed to promote the public's interest in open, honest and accountable government," Common Cause President Bob Edgar wrote in a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The allegation comes days after Common Cause filed a letter requesting that the Justice Department investigate whether Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia should have disqualified themselves from hearing a campaign finance case after they reportedly attended a private meeting sponsored by Charles and David Koch, billionaire philanthropists who fund conservative causes.

In the case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the court ruled that corporate and union funds could be spent directly on election advertising.

The Koch brothers have been key supporters of the group Americans for Prosperity, which spent heavily in the 2010 midterm election and claims a nonprofit tax status that allows it to avoid disclosing its donors.

Clarence Thomas has been the lone justice to argue that laws requiring public disclosure of large political contributions are unconstitutional.

A Supreme Court spokesperson later said that Thomas dropped by the private event, but that Scalia did not attend.

Crooks and Liars.

This Google.

Google News.

If we could get "Tax the Rich" crowds like this in the streets, it might happen. Short of that, the rich continue to rule. Meaning everyone else having anything is taxed while the rich have avoidance laws now with new ones yet to be passed. The rich own too many current politicians and propaganda outlets.

That would include bigger taxes for the Thomas spouses. And for that family's reported chums, the Koch brothers.