consultants are sandburs

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I caught a minute of Paul Ryan's speech last night.

The man came across as prone to platitudes (and vapid sound bites), not too bright, egotistical to a fault, and with an agenda. I doubt he will play well to a national audience. He and Romney are an odd couple. Ryan's hair line, that dip in the middle makes him look like he belongs on Starship Enterprise. A minute, more or less, then back to the Twins channel to watch the commercial in progress. It was a better done commercial than Ryan's. Fewer empty platitudes to the Silver Bullet Express.

It bothers me that all of us are paying a humongo pension to Colin Powell whose greatest moment was lying to the UN about WMD, while Ryan has dedicated a large part of his life's work to screwing over almost every other old person besides Powell and a boatload of Old Admirals and Generals who never die, but just fade away. To defense industry jobs. To lobbying.

photo credit
Do you know what General Brent Scocroft is doing these days, besides collecting the pension? Of the three in the picture, Scowcroft is the one who has not died under uncertain circumstances, being still alive; compare here and here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Harold Hamilton's barking has inspired me.

Hamilton writes:

Many readers concurred that Lister is a true "empty suit" candidate at this point, offering no real agenda other than some simple platitudes and vapid sound bites via her web site.

If elected along with Carol LeDoux this November, Anoka County would be the first in the nation to feature not one but two empty suits on the same county board, according to the Watchdog Analysis and Statistics Department.

Agenda? We don't need no stinking agenda!

Certainly, she has ducked every chance to address Watchdog readers and explain where she stands on key issues facing the county.

In short, she's a candidate with no agenda and no name recognition, having never run for office before (to the best of our knowledge) and not having any kind of public profile in the county besides some whining about the county board while she was a county employee.

[...] So how did she take second place in a four-way primary?

The answer seems to lie in the one thing we do know about her. She's supported by the Good Ol' Boys and their special interest PAC, "Citizens for Responsible Government," otherwise known as the "We Ran This County and Want to Again" PAC.

Being supported by this PAC says much to voters about Lister and her real agenda. If you're in with this crowd, it speaks volumes about who you are and what you want to do to the taxpayers in this county.

[...] Hurling vague accusations is classic Good Ol' Boy [tactic].

Good Ol' Harold. Not liking "vague accusations" while making a string of them. The gentleman inspired me to send this email:

Am I mocking Harold by sending such an email.

Of course I am.

He deserves it.

He has overused that "empty suit" line one time too many for women he wants to belittle. He is way out of line and needs to be ridiculed.

How will Commissioners Sivaraja and West regard my email? I hope they will read it with regard to Hamilton's name calling, and then dismiss it accordingly.

Do I expect either of the commissioners to respond, detailing an agenda which I can then attack point by point, item by item, post by post up to election day?

Of course not.

They are not stupid individuals.

My purpose is to highlight that Allison Lister is not stupid either, and Hamilton knows from the outset "every opportunity" to be waylaid and criticized further is a disingenuous thing to write of, in the way he writes. It smacks of insincerity. Hence the insincere email he inspired, to highlight insincerity for what it is.

My impression is Harold's bias against the Erhart brothers is extreme. Yet he has never called either an "empty suit." Not Dan. Not Bill. I dislike the gender bias of this pattern, and am posting to call it out to community attention.

If it were the first instance for Harold that would be different. LaDoux running last term faced the same stuff, although then it was "an empty Ann Taylor suit."

Variations on a theme.

Hamilton does not like the Lister website, his words being, "no real agenda other than some simple platitudes and vapid sound bites via her web site."

Harold likes this instead:

Trust the bark? If the Lister website were to contain that kind of "solid non-vapid" content would he bark?

Lister's bad is her website does not say as Rhonda's does, "Construction and maintenance of local roads and bridges, public safety, and child protection are just a few examples of our core services. Just as families have to live within their means, so should county government," but instead, in woofer eyes, is "simple platitudes and vapid sound bites." Contra to Sivarajah's website? Sure, if Harold says so, don't bother looking here to compare.

Understand where Harold's coming from. He's lobbing his home plate throws from deep, deep Right Field.

Good Ol' Harold.

The inspiration may never cease. He inspired me to send a fifty buck campaign contribution.

To "Citizens for Responsible Government."

After all who is not for responsible government?

I want it. Don't you?

Harold propagandizes the organization which allows citizen contributions which can be in modest twenty-five or fifty dollar amounts, to benefit election chances of a range of candidates, and thus a small contribution obviates any need to pop such amounts to multiple individual election efforts. If you indeed believe the candidates listed by Citizens for Responsible Government on the whole represent a move away from the status quo and toward "responsible government," which I do, then you probably would agree that being able to send one modest contribution to spread the benefit is a good citizens' opportunity.

SO - Read the names of who this campaign effort supports, from this page of the county elections disclosure filing:

Those supported by Citizens for Responsible Government still in the running after the primary election: Dan Sanders, Allison Lister, Sarah Strommen [proper spelling, not "Strohman" as listed], Mark Kuzma, Chris Riley, and John LeTourneau. That select group includes the decisive frontrunners in each of the primaries in Ramsey; i.e., Kuzma, Riley, and LeTourneau. And they are not just frontrunners, but majority choices. With each of those the organization supports getting a majority of votes [not a plurality but over 50% each - Kuzma even getting 60%, LeTourneau at 55%, Riley at 53%]. Those are devastating numbers for the opposition, and Harold does not talk of Ramsey's vote counts. The bottom line is that a lot of Ramsey's citizens want responsible government of a kind these individuals represent and offer despite what good Ol' Harold may want to write in persuasion for what appears to be a voter-disfavored Ramsey status quo.

Those votes are real. Harold ignores them. We should not. Those votes are not anyone's propaganda. Not woofing, but real at the polling place VOTES. Those are citizens making the effort to voice citizen choices.

It's not PAC this, or PAC that, as good Ol' Harold would have you believe, nor is it anything nefarious simply because one of the Erhart brothers donated cash.

Harold has his dislike for the brothers which he most certainly has not hidden. It's something he will have to deal with because neither of the two appears inclined to go away. That is Harold's longstanding bugaboo, and anything he publishes has to be read in context.

Indeed, to be honest about things, I think Hamilton sees Erhart hands at play even more frequently than I speculate about a particular county board member being something of a puppet master, in Ramsey ...

Dan Sanders. This is a candidacy I previously was unfamiliar with. Sanders is running to replace Robyn West on the county board. Had Hamilton not called attention to Sanders as one of a group supported by Citizens for Responsible Government, and given that the board district is not mine, Sanders would have gone under my radar.

Now, after Hamilton called attention to him I want to contribute to Sanders. I already have contributed my fifty bucks directly to the Lister campaign. Problem, Sanders on his website is not soliciting contributions. However, I still can help.

With the fifty Harold has inspired me to send Citizens for Responsible government; I know I am spreading some of the amount to help Sanders, with the remainder to be allocated by the Citizens for Responsible Government managing people in a manner I fully and unequivocally trust to be well thought out and effective. I want to be helpful and would not want to send token amounts to multiple campaigns where it can be more of a headache for campaign treasurers to process than it's worth. Thanks to Citizens for Responsible Government there is a way to avoid that.

Do not doubt, I appreciate that option despite anything Hamilton may write or think. For me, it is a helpful thing, not some manner of public pariah as Hamilton paints it.

NOTE: I speak only for myself in being thankful that Citizens for Responsible Government exists to allow me to spread my limited resources in what hopefully is a most effective manner. But I believe we all should be thankful, the greater our options. So, again, where my contributions went and where I urge readers to contribute $25, $50, or more if resources allow, in the order I feel most important:

Allison Lister
(make checks to: Allison for Commissioner)
20530 Ivywood St.
Oak Grove, MN 55011
Home: (763) 205-5814
Cell: (218) 330-9924

Citizens for Responsible Government
1207 Constance Blvd. NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304
Phone (763) 434-5929

In closing, it is clear from disclosure, Citizens for Responsible Government has paid for signage.

Mailings will be needed, and mailings cost a lot in order to reach even modest numbers of voters. Without the capacity to properly fund opposition candidacies between the primary and the general election the status quo might end up prevailing; and that is something which I join with the Citizens for Responsible Government in not wanting.

So again, I urge readers to spend accordingly if in agreement with my thinking and with the clear orientation of Citizens for Responsible Government.

Contributing is the responsible thing to do. That and voting. I probably will contribute more to the Lister campaign before the general election because she is running against a guy who prints his own highway signs in his garage while Lister faces a larger charge to compete. But I appreciate having the Citizens for Responsible Government existing, so I also can help several others, something which would not be feasible otherwise because I am not a wealthy man who can afford to contribute in a lot in diverse directions like Harold can. Finally, apart from politics, Harold is and has been a gentleman who I do not resent and for whom I wish total continuing success and prosperity on the business side of his life's efforts. There exist differences of opinion and each of us freely speaks his mind and publishes, but there is no personal rancor.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Being as fair to Hamilton's position as he would be to mine, here is the gist of campaign reporting that has him seeing the bogey man -

[click to enlarge and read]. The word "Erhart" is to Hamilton like the red cape to a maddened bull, and Hamilton is critical of the other two donors listed. My fifty bucks would not be reported - I just sent the check in and this is from a report already filed. Also, I do not know if all donors get listed or only those above a threshold. Check with the county elections office on that.

Harold also objects to the citizens having duly chosen and formed a corporate activist format. This is entirely in line with the GOP instigated Citizens United decision, so I am unclear whether Hamilton is complaining as a critique of that jurisprudence, or a complaint of its use by others than bona-fide GOP franchisees. A bad shoe can pinch anyone's foot, and while I detest the decision, if it has to be lived with it has to be utilized by the good guys, not just the Republicans.

Hamilton has not made it clear how he squares Citizens United with his own unhappiness. Bill Ehhart, an attorney, handled the Citizens for Responsible Government incorporation detail - laymen can form corporations but it is best to use an attorney - so it appears again that the Hamilton unhappiness is not with use of counsel, but with the bogey man brother of his major bogey man official. Hamilton's Moriarty, if you want to view it that way.

Things seem to boil down to Hamilton's dislike of the Erharts, and his unhappiness with a GOP tactic being used by some who are outside the GOP tent. Give him a crying towel for that haunting. It is not going to go away until that repugnant Citizens United decision is undone. Until then, it is fair game for all to utilize. Indeed, to me there is more glee to its being used against the Republicans who foisted it off against the public. Aside from that, again, I welcome the vehicle that allows people to spread effectiveness of donations when they have limitations on the amounts they can afford to contribute.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
In exhorting help to Citizens for Responsible Government with mailers in the future, here is one candidate's past filing of a mailing cost; identity does not matter; but the mailing amount dwarfs much else.

Please help the Citizens for Responsible Government position to be ready to send sufficient mailings to allow their supported candidates a fair shot in November's general election. With down-ballot offices sometimes overlooked by presidential year voters, the importance of mailings is even greater with cycles such as ours. Add to that the redistricting effect, with more county seats up for voting than normal that way, and every donation helps.

Again, the candidates that Citizens for Responsible Government list:

Dan Sanders, Allison Lister, Sarah Strommen, Mark Kuzma, Chris Riley, and John LeTourneau.

If you support three or four people on that list and can only afford $25 or $50 as a contribution, consider the Citizens option. It might work best for you.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
I am informed and believe that persons contributing one hundred dollars or less to a candidate or organization are not required to be listed on disclosure forms with the County. That would mean multiple contributions of a hundred dollars or less, each to a separate candidate or organization would not be subject to required listing. A candidate can, of course, list all donors. That, however, is not a requirement. Also, contributions are aggregated. If one person gives two separate hundred dollar checks to one candidate, that is past the threshold. If two spouses each give a personal hundred dollar contribution to a candidate, that is not aggregated because each is a separate person making a personal decision.

That is as I best understand things. Again, check with county election officials for a definitive answer.

Should Kurt Bills enlist Katherine Kersten to rescue his campaign, or are the naysayers correct? Begger his campaign and then say, "I told you so."

Trust me.
City Pages on Bills, where Brodkorb dumps on him, then Dave Wellstone, and all with the first linked item ending:

"It's time that the rest of the GOP understands this. It's time to pull all resources from this race and re-deploy them to other races where we have a shot," [GOP pundit Jeff] Kolb continues. "Every dollar spent, every phone call made, and every yard sign placed for Kurt Bills between now and November will be wasted."

Our guy, yeah, but off to the rendering plant, in August? The heat will just ripen the corpse? And in the north metro, we have our sour-grapes on the vine too. His dog in the hunt, Pete Hegseth, never intended to get the nomination and be swamped by Klobuchar. Always he was establishing name recognition for a run at Franken. AAA scoffs at that analysis, but, wait and see.

With such friends in his own party, does Bills need any DFL enemies?

Now that Flaherty's contractors reach the wood framing and covering stage, our police are for our citizens' security, and Flaherty's duty from experience is to hire suitable, adequate, private security.

They have an arson at a major project in their portfolio, as reported previously on Crabgrass, here.

Their premier "Cosmopolitan by the Canal" rental thing that they are now supplementing by a similar thing on a neighboring Indianapolis lot, was nothing during construction but combustible wood frame above a reinforced concrete retail ground floor:

Then there is this picture of it:

Cosmopolitan - this link.

They did a "Phoenix" from the ashes, and it's now near 100% occupancy, and I hope they are getting first floor commercial tenants, since that's what was lagging.

Presuming they want to minimize or eliminate any chance of a repeat in Ramsey, those folks have to pay for private security at a level sufficient to meet that purpose.

Our Ramsey Police are not Flaherty hand-holders. It is NOT their job, and with budget being a concern, those the city are able to afford to employ in law enforcement are for the city, its residents, and not for Landform or its allied developers to overutilize and begger the security of existing and established neighborhoods.

Hopefully with the fire history Flaherty's insurance carrier will be requiring site security as a term and condition of issuing a policy. The point is that it is Flaherty's private sector responsibility, his cost to bear, not the responsibility of Ramsey's taxpayer-citizens to watch that project tightly while at vulnerable stages. And if there is a fire, possibly then an owner project abandonment, one wonders, what's Ramsey's security position re insurance proceeds? Zippo, I expect.

I hope the city is insuring itself separately, for the bonding amount, in case of tornado, fire or other devastating mishap.

Bottom line put simply: I don't want the neighbor's home burgled because the cops are subsidizing Flaherty yet more, in yet another way. End of story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today, at the televised Ramsey council meeting's citizen input, live streamed on QCTV. I confronted the McGlone-Flaherty job situation and there was one result that was promising.

I incorporated the LMC opinion Bill Goodrich provided in response to a data disclosure request into my statement and handed a copy to the transcriptionist. Colin McGlone steeped down from the council table and as a citizen spoke, acknowledging the employment exists. And calling me a "tool of a PAC."

That "tool of a PAC" part of his speech was both false and delusional. Anyone knowing me would apply the term "loose cannon" which I would not dispute, but not "tool" of any person or organization. I skin rats I think need skinning; not rats somebody else tells me need it.

I stated on the record that McGlone's characterization is false, defamatory, etc., and suggested he should consider retracting it.

Should I sue for defamation? We'll see.

I want to again view the streaming video to see the full scope and wording of his assertion. But that digresses from the evening's mainstream.

A motion was passed. Tossey moved, Elvig seconded I believe, to have an independent counsel review things; the amended motion was to request a review by the State Auditor. The motion passed without dissent.

That would work, if the State Auditor felt there was staff time in her office for it and the function belongs there.

My belief is the Attorney General would be the more logical venue, if it is to be offered to a State agency, with a request. The Attorney General is in the habit of issuing opinions. The Auditor is not.

A citizen wanted something of record for talking to voters. I have been emailed about the McGlone employment and whether I knew of any media instance where it has been reported. Knowing of none, I raised the issue as citizens input. Now it is in the record.

McGlone spoke, and Sakry was present and has a copy of the LMC item that Goodrich provided me. My hope would be that she publishes something that would suffice for any campaign volunteer going door-to-door to carry and discuss. That is how voters become informed.

Tossey mentioned other potential conflict situations he would like to have sunshine on. As always the devil is in the details of what gets sent out as "the factual situation(s)" for the Auditor or AG to review and analyze.

That is where the most attention should be focused. Where the rubber meets the road. It is essential that a full and clear and balanced factual summary be prepared.

Not a witch hunt. This should not be a judgmental thing as much as a policy oriented set of findings and suggestions of what should be considered in the future. In that sense the Auditor's office might be best; but the way budgets have been cut for state agencies, there may be reluctance to participate because the AG is in the habit of providing advisory opinions. Again my main hope is disclosure on the record will be looked at as it is required by law, and that the city's officials can learn something for better future considerations of conflict of interest events, as they happen, and as they should be properly processed with ample sunshine and transparency always being the goal and aim that best advances citizen respect for government processes.

There are statutes, and some precedent. In particular, the several conflict of interest sections of MS Ch. 469 have been given scant judicial attention, there being no precise judicial precedent I could find. There is an AGO online, addressing a conflict situation in an HRA and emphasizing giving notice of record.

In parallel with our McGlone-Flaherty job situation, but in a quasi-judicial setting and not a quasi-legislative one, there is a clearly relevant precedent; Petition of Northern States Power Co., 414 NW 2d 383 (Minn. 1987)(the insidious possibilities attaching to employment possibly influencing decision making); see also, Matter of Minn. Public Utilities Com'n, 417 NW 2d 274 (Minn.App. 1987)(improper ex parte contact can poison the well).

See, MS 471.895, where gifts to local officials are banned, and where the statutory definition of a gift is "money, real or personal property, a service, a loan, a forbearance or forgiveness of indebtedness, or a promise of future employment, that is given and received without the giver receiving consideration of equal or greater value in return." In assessing a conflicted situation, or a potential one, the question of "consideration of equal or greater value" necessitates a detailed factual inquiry into an exchange to see if there is any bonus hangover value, putting the consideration one way and then the other out of balance. The facts have to be disclosed, and explored, or the statute is nugatory.

Clearly, not looking beyond a tired rehash of only MS 471.87 is inadequate analysis, and if such a rehash is all that is offered, red flags and siren bells should flap and ring, to give strong notice.

For the future, the present and a full range of analysis of it should be explored. Again, not as a witch hunt, although strongly disciplining an open disdain for even the most basic concepts of due notice to, and respect for the public's right and need to know before an election should not be swept under a rug merely for Minnesota nice palliative feelings - for the McGlone-Flaherty employment situation arising after an unprecedented multi-million dollar credit arrangement was passed which hinged on 4-3 voting is quite extreme. Yet, the ultimate primary focus should be about how to reform and improve things in the city's future.

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
On the offer them jobs to own them potential mischief, those not learning from history, on a bigger scale, can repeat it locally. Please, please reread this Crabgrass post, and watch the linked video.

This is the second time I have exhorted readers to reexamine that stuff. It is that important to an understanding why this "give 'em a job" cynicism must be fought. It can be corrosive.

When candidates and volunteers go door-to-door and the McGlone-Flaherty relationship is a topic of conversation, the homeowner voter should be encouraged to watch that 60 Minutes segment.

Without awareness of business as usual, it will go on as usual.

That is precisely what our Minnesota Supreme Court recognized in writing the opinion; Petition of Northern States Power Co., 414 NW 2d 383 (Minn. 1987). That case is worth rereading by door-to-door election workers. It was a Crabgrass item previously, here, although that "one post short" headline language proved incorrect. The matter stays alive the longer the stonewall stays intact. It was good that McGlone said something on the record, finally, but it was still inadequate disclosure. When did the recruitment start, when did the job start, was it earmarked for the McGlones no matter what, and what's it pay are parts of things McGlone declined to disclose.

_________LAST AND FINAL UPDATE_________
Since it rankles me I will not leave it alone. Colin McGlone calling me "a tool of a PAC" bothers me so much because it is such an ignorant statement and crude as an attempt to deflect attention from his family's capitalizing on an HRA voting record - and trying to keep it hush-hush in the community. However, I respect that Colin kept it there and did not deliver the ultimate insult of calling me "the Katherine Kersten of the left."

That would have hurt deeply.

I am happy Colin showed name-calling restraint. A KK knock probably would have been too heavy a blow to withstand. It would have dropped me to the floor for the count, televised and in front of Sakry.

RAMSEY: McGlone-Flaherty employment - times and events. Including documentary proof of LMC inquiry by Goodrich re "potential conflict of interest issues presented."

May 16, 2012: I do not know the timing or history of Goodrich-LMC communications prior to this item, dated May 16, 2012. [as always click an image to enlarge and read]

In a July 24, 2012, email Bill Goodrich attached that item in response to an earlier data disclosure request of mine to him. The document largely speaks for itself. However, a few things deserve special mention.

The opening suggests and "understands" things in an interesting way, stating, "Your City has a Councilmember who voted in favor of making a loan to a Developer for an apartment complex. Shortly after voting to authorize the loan, the Councilmember indicated that he wants to become an employee of the Developer. You asked me to research the potential conflict of interest issues presented. It is my understanding that the City Council had authority to make the loan and that there was no employment opportunity available when the Councilmember voted to make the loan."

Emily, not Colin. First, it appears that at the time Colin McGlone was the subject of things and was anticipating possibly working for Flaherty people himself; but later things changed to Emily McGlone being the one of the two employed in contractor trailers as construction period project clerk. I doubt that change was intended to give greater stealth to the situation, but that rather Emily McGlone was the more desirable of the two for Flaherty's project manager and for the general contractor to work with. I would feel that way in their place, based on personality and on Emily being the spouse handling the office end of McGlone family business ventures.

Second, that opening "understanding" - "that there was no employment opportunity available when the Councilmember voted to make the loan" stands alone without any evidence mentioned to bolster that understanding vs. any other. If there is evidence to surface of any prior quid-pro-quo understandings with Flaherty people about a McGlone vote and in return a McGlone job, then MS 609.42 and 609.193 might deserve attention.

Third, from the item's second paragraph onward, only the gross misdemeanor [i.e., criminalization] conflict of interest statute was consider; Minn. Stat. § 471.87, (a statute not updated since the 1950's).

The McGlone vote for lending Flaherty millions of city money made that loan proposal prevail by a 4-3 vote of the HRA and then also a 4-3 vote by the council. During that time, Colin McGlone chaired the HRA.

Surprisingly the HRA statute went wholly neglected; e.g., MS 469.009 stating that for HRA commissioners:

Subdivision 1.Disclosure.

Before taking an action or making a decision which could substantially affect the commissioner's or an employee's financial interests or those of an organization with which the commissioner or an employee is associated, a commissioner or employee of an authority shall (1) prepare a written statement describing the matter requiring action or decision and the nature of the potential conflict of interest and (2) submit the statement to the commissioners of the authority. The disclosure shall be entered upon the minutes of the authority at its next meeting. The disclosure statement must be submitted no later than one week after the employee or commissioner becomes aware of the potential conflict of interest. However, no disclosure statement is required if the effect on the commissioner or employee of the decision or act will be no greater than on other members of the business, profession or occupation or if the effect on the organization with which the commissioner or employee is affiliated is indirect, remote, and insubstantial. A potential conflict of interest is present if the commissioner or employee knows or has reason to know that the organization with which the commissioner or employee is affiliated is or is reasonably likely to become a participant in a project or development which will be affected by the action or decision. Any individual who knowingly fails to submit a statement required by this subdivision or submits a statement which the individual knows contains false information or omits required information is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

The statute is clear, "A potential conflict of interest is present if the commissioner or employee knows or has reason to know that the organization with which the commissioner or employee is affiliated is or is reasonably likely to become a participant in a project or development which will be affected by the action or decision." Colin and Emily McGlone are affiliated by marriage, and if initially he personally considered taking a Flaherty job and did not disclose, there is a problem. If he or some other official asked Goodrich to check things out, neglecting return notice of this statute was problematic. There is an online AGO of record directly on point, this link. It has been there for nearly twenty years, I easily found it, and I am not a lawyer.

Fourth, the LMC item neglected to consider factual matters, whether the McGlone pay anticipated would be in line with reasonable norms for project clerks, or so far out of line to constitute an impermissible gift; MS 471.895, a more recent enactment than the MS 471.87 statute, which is all Bill Goodrich's friend at LMC wrote of.

May 21 - May 23, 2012: Unfortunately, this is all too true for analyzing Flaherty-McGlone detail - the what, when, how, who aspects of dealing.

In a thread of emails exchanged with the city clerk she first wrote about that May 21-23 date range being when the City sent officials to Las Vegas for what has become an annual trip:

After a specific inquiry of whether Ryan Cronk was being sent too by the city, the city clerk added he was:

Hence, with Goodrich days before having procured the LMC opinion, McGlone and Cronk of the Flaherty enterprises were face-to-face over days in Las Vegas when details of the contemplated employment could be finalized on a handshake. Perhaps there even may be a paper trail from Vegas. I doubt that, however.

In any event, the opportunity for face-to-face Vegas dealing clearly existed, the nearness of the LMC item to McGlone's Ramsey departure and Cronk's departure from Indiana hardly seems coincidental, and the subsequent employment suggests it was all a done deal by Vegas time, whatever happened or not months earlier; and it all stayed in Vegas except for Emily's job and paycheck.

Ulrich and Lazan were part of the Vegas entourage, (Nelson had already left for Wayzata). Hence it is unclear from the record which official or agent of the city tasked Goodrich with procuring a sanitizing opinion for McGlone-Flaherty job plans, but somebody did. Bill does not do that kind of stuff on his own, unauthorized opinion seeking. It is also unclear how many heads may have gotten together in Vegas; but Colin McGlone's and Ryan Cronk's is a good starting guess.

April 24, 2012: A mere month before the Vegas journey, bonding was finalized by the City, for the benefit of bankrolling Flaherty's adventure's risk as his bank of last resort [PNC, a bank in Pittsburgh would only pop for a part of the cost and took a first position lien on the project, while Flaherty would not pop for the balance and the deal would have flipped, no McGlone job that way, but for the city on 4-3 voting (where McGlone was the deciding swing vote) committing to provide millions of city generated bond money to Flaherty]. See, this ABC reporting, and this email to me from City CFO Lund in response to a data discovery request:

April 10, 2012: Right. Two weeks before the bonding was final, an official Flaherty rental-by-the-rails groundbreaking, as reported April 11, by ABC newspapers.

May 3, 2012: [UPDATE] Quit claim deed of HRA to one of Flaherty's LLC entities recorded; giving notice of change of title to the public. Deed was notarized as signed by McGlone as HRA chair, April 27, 2012, (the notary miscrivening date of expiration of her commission but her stamp showed the notarization was official). A right of reverter was retained.

BOTTOM LINE: With a groundbreaking ceremony a month and a half before the Vegas trip, and the bonding final a month before; and with planning including hiring a general contractor, and arranging for Flaherty entry and starting construction; it appears that the McGlone job was locked in as for the McGlone family; without any other potential project clerk having any time for a chance at the job.

It appears an almost inescapable conclusion that a particular construction job, one of responsibility with an unknown but presumably high pay rate, had been clearly earmarked as being for the McGlones, others need not apply, and that this was finalized sometime between groundbreaking and Vegas, where it may have been that Emily McGlone was picked then, rather than Colin.

The appearance of things is all we can go on. I emailed Cronk and he never responded. I emailed the McGlones. Colin informs me that on advice of counsel he will tell me nothing. The appearance of things is quite problematic, and question prone where an unreliable and incomplete sanitizing analytical LMC thing was procured days before Vegas, and where there now has been a total stonewall erected.

I await any reader to say it is not so and to present some evidence, such as when Emily's first paycheck was issued, who she interviewed with, who else if anyone had a shot at the job, and what the pay rate is relative to prevailing wage for project clerks such as the wage rate at the rail stop trailers, a few hundred yards east of the Flaherty trailers.

It was all within a short window of time, April and May of this year.

This is a lot of work to assemble things this way simply because McGlone will not put it of record in minutes; Emily has the job, and it started on xx/yy/12. That's all he needs to say, but will not. The LMC document all but says that, except for identifying McGlone, and giving a starting date.

______________FURTHER UPDATE___________
The opening LMC item does in an ending paragraph note:

Another important consideration is that while these facts may not technically involve a prohibited conflict of interest, they certainly do raise concerns that something improper occurred. The appearance of impropriety can be damaging to a both a councilmember’s image and a city’s reputation. Thus, there are prudential reasons for the Councilmember to pass on this employment opportunity.

Amen, brother. Amen.

One hopes that that paragraph was not read by the McGlones, with them saying, well install Emily there instead. The earlier referenced AGO notes:

There is no question that opportunity, or even the public perception of opportunity, for self-dealing by public officials must be carefully avoided. However, it is submitted that not every "personal financial interest" is of sufficient magnitude to support an absolute criminal prohibition against a public officer holding or continuing to hold office if a proposed "contract" affecting that interest may arise. Furthermore, in light of the severe consequences imposed for violation of the prohibitions of Sections 471.87 and 469.009, subd. 3, we believe that public officials are entitled to clearer directions concerning when, and how, their personal interests may permissibly intersect with those of a government agency with which they serve.

Like, at least tell them the HRA statute has a "conflicts of interest" reach.

Do not just hang your hat, coat, scarf, and umbrella all on MS 471.87.

That's imprudent, and makes the LMC analysis incomplete. I guess that's why they put their disclaimer language at the end of it.

We say it, but don't rely on us and what we say.

Worded differently, but that's the gist.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
I recall speaking with Emily McGlone at the Flaherty trailers in early July, and I recall her then stating the job began in late May - early June so that she'd been on the job about a month. And she mentioned "Ryan," but declined to elaborate when questioned. That fits with the timeframe suggesting things likely could have been finalized in Vegas, May 21-23, when Colin McGlone and Ryan Cronk had the opportunity to meet face to face at length to hammer out remaining details of a deal. Employment pay records would show a starting date; and the public could learn that if it were not for the stonewalling.

RAMSEY: Does anyone out there know - has the Flaherty sale closed, and if so, what the note [to be] exchanged looks like, and David Flaherty's promised guarantee?

A bit less than a month ago I examined documents at city hall that were held by the City Clerk - the entire file she had including stuff handed her by Nelson from when Nelson left - concerning the Flaherty transaction.

There was no recorded deed from the city to Flaherty.

There was no note draft, from whichever shell LLC will be signing.

Most worrisome, there was no guarantee draft agreed to by all, within the papers the city clerk held and made available for inspection.


I mentioned that to Kurt the day I was there. Mentioned as something he and Bill and Bray should look into.

That's important stuff.

Consider this: something flips the deal; title transfer is languishing in escrow; and some subcontractor fails to be paid. A lien gets slapped on things - on the property; and what's up if the city is still owner of record? And then Flaherty balks and threatens to walk? Wanting perhaps to escape giving a guarantee? Changing his mind, while being able to assert some technical objections? Where is the city left?

I do not pretend to have answers. I only have the questions and have no idea who, if anyone, has answers. Emily McGlone in the Flaherty trailer? Go ask her? Ask Bray? Ask Darren who can ask Cronk who is sitting in Indiana closer to Flaherty than to here?

Also, related to the Flaherty project. I don't like the safety aspect of driving Sunwood with cranes extended over the road. They fall, big hurt. It seems only sane that the Flaherty cranes be parked overnight and over-weekend over Flaherty's stuff, not our citizens' road.

Aren't there laws, rules, or standards of the contracting trade; you do not unreasonably endanger citizens' roadway traffic?

Any reader thoughts? Any help, from anyone?

It appears the transaction has properly closed. The city clerk emailed me a number of documents which I discovered minutes ago in the inbox. While I have not reviewed them I hold them and hence am reassured.

Look for a FURTHER UPDATE after I check the paperwork.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
I am confused because there are two notes, and two guarantees. Note 1,  $1.4 million, HRA as lender, "F & C Ramsey Member LLC" as borrower; Flaherty and Collins Construction, Inc. as guarantor. Note 2, $6.9 million, HRA as lender, same borrower, David Flaherty (alone, not both spouses) signing a personal guarantee. I have no idea why the baby was Solomon chopped; but it was. One would have to read a ton of paper, I decline. So, a deed, two notes, and two separate guarantees constitute the five documents the city clerk provided. Clearly, it closed. Closing statements were not provided, nor the final escrow instructions. Preliminary items were in the clerk's file, and I admit not studying the escrow instructions. The closing statements would be prepared at the end of things, but approved before the tender and acceptance and recording of the deed; and before tender and acceptance of the notes and guarantees. The escrow agent would make disbursements as the buyer and seller closing statements specified and escrow then ended.

My understanding is the City bonded and raised the cash, but the notes are payable to the HRA. Presumably the HRA assigns all rights to payment under the notes to the City, but keeps the right of reverter. That's a guess. Anyway, as a practical matter, it's the right pocket and the left pocket at play, split hairs however you like. If there is a payment default, then who does what may matter. But the Flaherty people intend to pay, or at least promise it.

Here is one for the lawyers to wrestle with. Flaherty's personal guarantee, at paragraph 10(iii), subject to the "United States Bankruptcy Code" language.  Is it saying discharge of the primary obligor in a bankruptcy would discharge the guarantor? That surely is not in our citizens' best interest, if that's the meaning a Court would assign it. It is wholly ambiguous to me. It looks like a trap for the unwary. If I were the lender, I would want an ironclad unconditional guarantee surviving, expressly, the primary obligor's bankruptcy. They put a deal in Chapter 7 bankruptcy in North Carolina, that's the Flaherty track record.

If Flaherty, himself, goes bankrupt, that's a different matter, but what does that language mean?

Norm reinvents himself, yet again, so is that news?


This Pac-Man link.


While running for mayor in 1993, Coleman wrote in a letter to the City Convention Delegates: "I have never sought any other political office. I have no other ambition other than to be mayor." He goes on in the same letter to say:

I am a lifelong Democrat. Some accuse me of being the fiscal conservative in this race — I plead guilty! I'm not afraid to be tight with your tax dollars. Yet, my fiscal conservatism does not mean I am any less progressive in my Democratic ideals. From Bobby Kennedy to George McGovern to Warren Spannaus to Hubert Humphrey to Walter Mondale — my commitment to the great values of our party has remained solid.

In December 1996, Coleman announced he was leaving the DFL party to join the Republican Party. He cited his frustrations with the Democratic Party and his belief that the Republican Party offered the best chance to continue his efforts to hold the line on taxes and grow jobs.

Coleman's critics, mostly DFL party leaders, speculated that his switch was motivated by his known aspirations for statewide office. As an abortion opponent and a frequent adversary of public employee unions, Coleman's positions put him at odds with the DFL Party leadership in Minnesota. In a letter to supporters announcing the switch, Coleman wrote that “while the political party I belong to changes, nothing about how I govern or what I believe changes at all.” He was re-elected as St. Paul Mayor in 1997, with nearly 60% of the vote.

Prior to becoming a Republican and running against him in 2002, Coleman had chaired Wellstone's Senate re-election campaign in 1996. While making the Wellstone nomination speech at the 1996 state DFL convention, Coleman stated: "Paul Wellstone is a Democrat, and I am a Democrat." At this point in time, tensions were so high between Coleman and the DFL party that a number of delegates at the convention were loudly booing Coleman's speech

Old School. Same old Bullhorn.

Now wholly unrelated to Norm Coleman (the multi-million dollar hush-hush GOP Pac-Man), having nothing to do with Norm, really -- album cover art for a Frank Zappa album:

It has its own story. Mentioning weasels.

Woo Woo. Republicans convene. What is a Republican convention without Bush, Cheney, and Palin? What are these folks ashamed of?

Or do I misread the Tea leaves? And they are shameless?

God sent a hurricane.

Ron Paul sent himself and followers, who are reportedly disgruntled.

Bachmann is trying to maximize the attention she can capture from the media.

Some things never change, nor cease to amaze.

But no W. (not in person, but a "Bush 41, 43 film" sandwiched between performances by Pawlenty and Huckabee - whether the huckster is with/without guitar being unclear).

No Cheney.

No gee-whiz, Sarah Palin.

Any convention that disrespects Ron Paul and features Rick Santorum is ...

Pawlenty featured.

Todd Akin? Probably not.

Norm? Grover Norquist? No official convention role for either?

This on Timmy:

The on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia locked former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's page early Wednesday morning following Tuesday 's night's Colbert Report during which Stephen Colbert said he was editing the Pawlenty page.

Colbert told his audience he was changing the page to read that Pawlenty was the son of "Mrs. Butterworth" and that Pawlenty "started his career in Santa's workshop," among other things. Finally the political satirist said he wrote, "On August 10, 2012 Tim Pawlenty was named Mitt Romney's running mate."

I think he's Mrs. Doubtfire's son ...

Aside from Pawlenty's ancestry, WaPo helps, this link; no Norm, no Norquist.

But - don't miss the Reagan Legacy Video -- followed by, no less than, the Gingrichs, both trailed by the smell of his/her unisex hairspray. With a hint of shellac for the Mrs.

Sakry of ABC Newspapers posts online, "Ramsey receives $100,000 DNR grant."

This link. This quote:

The city of Ramsey has received a $100,000 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources grant to construct a 10-foot wide trail from Central Park (at 161st Avenue and Armstrong Boulevard), south to connect with the trail at Alpine Drive.

The city will be providing $194,800 toward the project, which will create a 1.2-mile trail along the east side of Armstrong Boulevard.

This is a worthwhile city expenditure, and gaining the grant spreads the cost. This is good news. Presumably, the existing public-use right-of-way is sufficient so that unplanned easement acquisition costs will not arise. A hope is that fence setbacks, etc., will not be impacted, and that the trail will follow as much as feasible the existing terrain so that nobody loses that way. Presumably, the east side of Armstrong Blvd. was chosen because the park is on that side of Armstrong.

Monday, August 27, 2012

We can be thankful there are Justices Page and Paul Anderson, so that the official opinion on wording of constitutional amendment ballot questions had both sides of the argument represented.

Dark forces win this one. See, e.g., City Pages, Strib, MinnPost, each of which posts a pdf of the opinion stating that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie cannot word ballot questions.

Conflicting statutes were argued, one specific on the Secretary of State's duty and authority; one on the legislature proposing amendments. [UPDATE: Actually the amendment procedure is constitutional, and in Art. IX, a separate article from the general legislative provisions of Art. IV. The statute dates back to 1919. Art. IV, Sect. 17, expressly mentions legislative authority to title regular bills, "No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title," while in contrast, Art. IX says nothing about the legislature titling amendments, but the 1919 statute from then onward required the Secretary of State with Approval of the Attorney General to give an appropriate ballot title for proposed amendments, so there are vagaries it issue. And the Constitution specifies no judiciary role in the process where amendments originate in the legislature and the Secretary prepares ballots. Minnesota's Constitution is not without at least one other minor but obvious inconsistency that needs correction. Art. 4, Sect. 5, states in part, "No senator or representative shall hold any other office under the authority of the United States or the state of Minnesota, except that of postmaster or of notary public." Then, Art. VI, Sect. 6, in turn states, "A judge of the supreme court, the court of appeals or the district court shall not hold any office under the United States except a commission in a reserve component of the military forces of the United States and shall not hold any other office under this state." So -- what about legislators in the reserves? Go figure. End of update.]

Read the reports, and the opinion online here. It was issued per curiam, so no Justice claimed authorship credit for the prevailing bloc of four.

While I dislike the pack of plaintiffs in the consolidated pair of cases, the opinion stands as precedent apart from the present aspects in dispute. Viewing this collective pack of plaintiffs as nothing less than willful troublemakers where trouble was never needed, and viewing them as proposing amendments to the Constitution as if it is not intended to be a durable document but instead the equivalent of a newspaper changing to report and reflect the meandering pattern of excesses of a majority of legislators who dislike a governor of the opposite party having a veto of things processed as bills normally are; and viewing that in the context of the same pack's recent history of loving it when they had a governor of their own party having a veto over bills while the DFL held legislative majorities but refused to be so crass as to bypass standard procedure for divisive short sighted political purposes; viewing all that, the opinion now stands as the law.

These plaintiffs would transform our Constitution to a thing that mutates with the political weather, wind blowing one way or the other, just wipe your muddy wet boots on the Minnesota Constitution - it is their mentality, it is what they are doing.  However -

Photo credit, this link.

That said, the decision probably is for the best. I can imagine in the days of Mary Kiffmeyer as Secretary of State the abuse in ballot naming that miserable woman would gleefully have interjected into lawful processes had the DFL been so crass as to do anything such as this Republican pack is doing presently to try to pack the vote for their being a morally and fiscally bankrupt party.

At least if/when the pendulum swings the other way as to the party holding the Secretary of State's position, the present opinion will be there to curb GOP mischief-making and wretched excess.

The unfortunate thing: Ritchie aimed to neutrally phrase ballot wording in an informative way. The Republicans opposed neutral wording; and did not want their mischief presented in an informative manner; bias being their favored flavor to feed to voters.

It's a closed chapter now. Minnesota's Supreme Court had to decide one way or the other; and they chose the other. Which, again, may prove best long-term as the political weather changes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I am going to have to find a Missouri Congressman to explain to me ...

... how in an instance of legitimate fraud the body does not respond to withhold - to block - the investment.

Or the pardon letters. It is almost as if the pardon letters are harder to block than a risk/loss of investor cash. I guess a politician's body is different. Insensitized rather than immunized.

UPDATE:As to Vennes specifics from the FBI, here and here. As the major conduit of snookered money into Petters' Ponzi, Vennes was certainly not a minor player. He provided the fule for the fraud - suckers' money. This blog is helpfully informative. Dumpbachmann has posted of the Vennes "Pardongate" situation.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Strib quotes: "It wasn't about numbers," he said. "It was all about freedom."

This link. See who the speaker is, and weigh the action and the call to liberty and freedom. Are we seeing in Ramsey the founding father of ATV freedoms (not excesses)?

Also from Paul Levy's Strib report:

"With so few people registering, I would question the urgency and why we placed a priority" on the ordinance, Strommen said. "I have had a number of residents who are very concerned from a safety aspect and from a community-image aspect. I remain concerned."

"Community image aspect" is a good choice of words. I remember John Feges, intent on using the word "upscale" for his and Nedegaard's adventuring toward "a billion dollar urban village." Upscale with ATVs on the road? I guess it is all in one's view of what's upscale; and what are important vs unimportant "freedoms."

When he was a minority voice speaking out on Ramsey's council, I thought Matt Look was serving a good purpose by avoidance of the past practice of unanimous voting on camera after the real stuff had been done at untelevised work sessions [which, curiously, under the current majority bloc remain untelevised].

That was before he quit on Ramsey's council mid-stream, declaring the unfortunate purchase of the distressed vacant Town Center land a success, hastily on Facebook, before chasing the bigger paycheck on the County Board when Berg stepped down. That was before he showed up with suit and pretentious props. Do you think he might have found a bigger flag to wrap himself in? Taking the rocket prop with him to a St. Francis parade? That ineptly done cheesy Mount Rushmore prop thing that's overdue for a garage sale? Who does he think he is? Does he envision a fifth face on Mount Rushmore? Seeing his performances documented by him on Facebook, is it time for a change? Less pomp and circumstance, less self promotion, and more real substance in facing local issues and needs? BELOW: This is Look, on his Facebook page, and to me it's a bit much, and venturing far afield for a County Commissioner currently tasked with the problems of seeing how the Northstar trains are to be kept running on time and adjusted to somehow turn a profit - which is what I would like to see him address in running, as that is his assigned county Commissioner's duty.

click the image to enlarge and view

This spectacle below, from a Happy Days event a few years ago, flag, bunting, "God Bless ..." and using the kids as props. And Mount Rushmore.

Pompous. Stand and run as Matt Look, please, as a local politician with a record who makes signs at home for Republicans, (aka a "small business owner" as he phrases it), and put all jingoistic props aside because as a county board member you are not responsible for anybody's worldwide Manifest Destiny. Allison Lister was serving her country for years in the military while Look was printing GOP yard signs, yet Lister stands for herself without any Patriot props. And she does not call herself a "sentinel." She has perspective and restraint. She has class. She is pragmatic, has a balanced agenda-free view, and sees service as County Commissioner as an aim in itself, and not as a stepping stone to further office.

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Some things disappear from the web, but somethings are preserved by interested citizens before scrolling into oblivion with time.

Last cycle, on Facebook, on a single post on Facebook, the man called himself "sentinel" three times and dropped these two bombs.

First excerpt, "fought against government intrusion in private life" and, well, I am against the same thing, and that's why I call myself "pro-choice." With regard to Look, at a guess, the gentleman favors some intrusions into private life, not all, with "government intrusion into private life" to him being a buffet table where you go for seconds of the flavors you like.

And that "promised to be a sentinel- someone who would watch over the business of the city, ensuring that special interests did not prevail," sounds fine in the abstract, but this gentleman voted in the first instance for Landform, and has yet to say "boo" about Flaherty subsidies on an unprecedented scale. Buffet table, again, it appears. And the McGlone employment situation, after all that appeasing special interests, again silence - but I guess the man does not read Crabgrass.

Finally, "sentinel" used three times, and that wrap-up, "[...] I am running to fix the county....expect me at state someday!" Did I say "agenda?" Did I say, "stepping stone?" Well -- he did.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Do you think you are tough? Really tough? As tough as a San Jose, CA, patent litigation jury?

Reporting, here.

Yes, a Judge and a jury making it through Judge Koh reading 109 pages of jury instructions.

Take the test yourself. See how far you get. And you even get to skim read. This link.

And if you think you are really tough, try the special verdict form given the jury.

It is only 20 pages long.

But it goes a step beyond, "guilty/not guilty -- circle one".

UPDATE: More reporting detail; SF Gate.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What do you expect? It is anonymous, and we know the courage that goes with hiding in weeds. Let us hope against the worse of possibilities - that it is not being instigated as a nameless campaign attack site.

When I write something, I name myself, and everyone knows where to send a process server. With the Watchdog, you know you are encountering Harold's barking. Harold Hamilton using his name adds credibility. When that may not be the case anonymity may be the choice.

How about those fifty profile hits, with nothing YET published.

It makes you wonder about -

How many own a piece of this and who they are.

Braveheart, for sure? Love of freedom? All that?

Let us hope for the best. The high road.

Let us hope for a name.

HOWEVER, remember last cycle, the hate blog, "Learn About Natalie," attacking Natalie Steffen after the primary when her opponent for the Berg seat on the county board was Matt Look? Do you remember?

Well, from that 50-hit profile page notice: "Blogs I follow - Eyes On Ramsey.

Before the scrubbing happens, that link at the time of this post said:


If the ownership of this stuff is not claimed by a person giving a name, what are we to conclude as to whose effort it is and what direction of publishing is intended?

Do anonymous bloggers make good citizens?

Another site reporting on the Johnny Northside appellate opinion also contained this.

Johnny Northside coverage, here. And from there it led here. Bless the Libertarian party in Washington State. They have a perspective on things. It reminds me how the Ron Paul backers got all the elector seats and Tampa convention rights, and how Huizenga stepped aside so that Michele Bachmann could go - I think I have that right, it might be only for the Sixth District, but at any rate Huizenga deferred to Bachmann, and some thought this a betrayal. I thought it a brilliant stratagem, given how Sarah Palin was not invited and what's the GOP convening without at least one batshit crazy woman of consequence in attendance? It would have been like the London Olympics excluding the Queen. UPDATE: A reader claimed I am defaming the Queen. However, Michele Bachmann is to the Republican Party of Minnesota what the Queen is to Britain. A figurehead.

photo credit: Avidor, at Dumpbachmann.

If you like Medicare and Medicaid, and do not want federal cost-shifting to the states, you do NOT like Romney/Ryan.

Click to enlarge and read.

The screen capture is from MN Progressive Project, here. You can follow that link and its link, or read the explanatory letter from a year ago, and see the Sixth District impacts, for Medicare and Medicaid, under Romney/Ryan policy. I now qualify for Medicare and prefer it to be unchanged. Funding capability is there, as long as there is a U.S. House and Senate will to do the right thing. And fund availability at the federal level can be improved immediately, by keeping the Bush tax cuts for those with taxable incomes (not gross income but taxable) under $250,000 and allowing the cuts above that level to expire. That is simple and a step toward readjusting the entire top bracket tax levels back to prior levels; this Juan Cole link. I give that link because all should read it. It presents a host of charted data showing the mischief started in 1980 when the friend of Bonzo took office. Juan Cole has authored some quite interesting stuff lately, so check it out, including this item:

Hypocrisy can become crystal clear when there is a lineup to pile on somebody who used the wrong wording to state a collectively held, and unchanged position.

Todd Akin struck multiple times in course of inner party pinata partying, as reported here, here, here and here. UPDATE: Even here, stated as it is.

The Republicans' latest game plan is premised as: Hit the pinata for phrasing rigid choice-bating choice-hating sentiment in ill clothed wording, while the same-party pinata bashers are full of the same stuff as the pinata.

As it has been, as it is, and as it will be for that party's pandering for votes from an inner-party bloc. Has Santorum or Bachmann yet said a thing about Akin?

While whacking at their favorite inner-party pinata seems to be a new GOP sport, the GOP's platform inquisitors came up with this, which seems to oppose RU-486 morning after relief, as well as having no rape, incest, or maternal health exception. Draconian? Calling it that in a sense insults Draco, it being worse.

The platform reads:

Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

Pretty stupid, eh? Repugnant? Yes. Yet, more inquisitorial than tinfoil hat.

But wait, there's ample tinfoil too.

________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Is it getting hard to take? Try lubricating it with a bit of oil.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Birds of a feather flock together, but now, in cases of legitimate flocking a bird's body has its defenses...

This link. Hat tip to Dumpbachmann, here.

Standing with Todd.

Reader help needed. This galls me big time if I am wrongly reading the editorial from a troika of Republicans, (including that village idiot, Drazkowski).

Strib publishes it here.

The learned trio opens:

The tentative contract agreements negotiated by Gov. Mark Dayton with the state's two largest unions are representative of the problem today in state government: protecting the status quo and asking Minnesota taxpayers to pay more for it.

Members of AFSCME and MAPE have been working for the past year and a half without a new contract. That wasn't a problem for their members. The current contract, which includes a $43 million increase for built-in autopilot pay increases and free health insurance for state employees, remains in place until a new deal is approved.

In other words, the unions have all the leverage. They can continue working until Dayton offers them a contract even better than the ever-increasing pay and benefits they currently receive.

What sticks is that "two and a half years" stuff.

Dayton was elected in 2010, unless my memory fails me.

So the carping is over a PAWLENTY contract. Why then in the world are these learned savants jumping up and down saying, "Dayton, Dayton, Dayton."

They should be jumping up and down saying,"Our guy Tea-Paw, our guy Tea-Paw, our guy Tea-Paw," but honesty in things and politician posturing never are necessarily congruent.

Again as stated at the start, am I wrong, is there something I am overlooking?

I believe it was negligent of Strib to accept this editorial submission, if indeed the complaint is that Pawlenty cut too good a deal for them to where the unions are happy to live on under it. Dayton is not and cannot logically be held at fault for Tea-Paw and his dealings.

So, am I wrong? This is an open invitation to any Republican who can shed light on how and why I may be reading things wrongly.

The Johnny Northside victory, see post below this one, has a reach to my reporting and analysis of the Emily McGlone - Flaherty rental-related employment sequence, as depicted in THIS POST'S opening image.

In the first three days of July, during the heat spell, I visited the Flaherty trailers southwest of the Ramsey ramp, on the land between Veterans Drive and the BNSF tracks, this image, showing the Flaherty signage.

After testing doors on two of the trailers and finding them locked to the public, I knocked on the door of the larger left-side trailer, loudly, and nobody responded until Emily McGlone emerged from the middle trailer, the one just to the right of the porta-pot, and identified herself as Emily McGlone when she was shading her eyes from the bright and hot sun outside the trailers and I inquired to confirm her identity and took this picture.

McGlone requested I not take more pictures of her and I did not. We talked for over an hour. She refused to say when her employment was arranged, and I have no information of what she is paid in comparison to prevailing wage for a project clerk on a multimillion dollar project, such as the train stop which has State money involved and hence is legally constrained to pay prevailing wage and to disclose pay records. A bonus pay amount in excess of a reasonable prevailing wage band would constitute a gift to the McGlone family, hence a gift to a politician and to my knowledge Goodrich wholly and inexplicably neglected to investigate possible improper gift dimensions of the Flaherty-McGlone arrangement; i.e., applicability of provisions of Minn. Stat. Sect. 471.895 (incorporating by express reference the definition of "gift" in MS 10A.071):

Subdivision 1.Definitions.

(a) [...]

(b) "Gift" means money, real or personal property, a service, a loan, a forbearance or forgiveness of indebtedness, or a promise of future employment, that is given and received without the giver receiving consideration of equal or greater value in return.

[italics added]. Goodrich could not have reasonably blessed this thing as kosher, without knowing the question of whether the giver of the job [Flaherty] received "consideration of equal or greater value in return." That gets to the root of what the woman's pay was, relative to the pay for the same job on a comparable multimillion project just down the road to the east where prevailing wage was a legal requisite. The McGlones are stonewalling and will not say what the pay is, at least not to me and there are no entries in any set of minutes I have seen about what the pay is and how it compares to a prevailing wage.

Now, re the Moore v. Hoff victory for free speech, I could not word the argument better than Prof. Volokh's closing paragraphs:

Sounds right to me, as I’ve argued from the outset, and it’s a big victory for free speech. If someone tells lies about people — or in some situations even makes negligent misstatements about people — that get them fired, he can be sued for defamation. But if someone tells the truth about people, and expresses an opinion that they should no longer have a certain kind of authority and get a taxpayer-funded salary (or even a privately funded salary), that should be constitutionally protected speech.

Sometimes even encouraging illegal conduct is constitutionally protected, compare Brandenburg v. Ohio (speech urging illegal activity protected unless it’s intended to and likely to cause imminent illegal activity) with United States v. Williams (speech urging a specific transaction with the speaker is punishable as solicitation, even if the Brandenburg criteria aren’t met), but here the conduct Hoff was promoting — the University’s firing of Moore — was quite legal. And encouraging someone to do something legal, such as legally terminating an employment relationship, should not be a tort.

Indeed, and encouraging voters to do something legal, such as voting McGlone out of office, should not be a tort. Sepcifically, if I tell the truth about the McGlones, and express an opinion they should no longer have any HRA authority within the family and their family should no longer get a taxpayer-funded stipend for serving on the HRA and another stipend for being on council, then I am engaging in constitutionally protected speech. As Volokh sees things. As I see them, and as I encourage every thinking reader to see the situation.

Now, I note in closing that I have carefully requested time and again that if anything I have written is deemed incorrect by the McGlones that I get a request for a correction or retraction, which I shall duly consider and meet if circumstances require it. I have bent over backwards that way in fairness to the McGlones' having a complete opportunity to have proper corrections made, were I to err. They prefer total and uninterrupted silence, Colin McGlone stating at a mayor's town hall session that on advice of counsel he will not tell me a thing. With evidence exclusively in his and Flaherty's possession [Cronk did not respond to an email inquiry], I am forced to conclude that the evidence, if disclosed, would be unfavorable to the McGlones.

There is more, but for another day.

Here is another shot of the Flaherty trailers, from the ramp a few weeks after the earlier photos from early July; and again the signage is there. Drive by, have a look. Knock on the door and say hello to Emily, if she's still employed there.

NOTE: The latest reader poll at the sidebar top closed the day of the primary election (an election in which non-incumbent individuals in each Ramsey primary contest took an absolute majority of votes in each race). Not a plurality in any of the contests, a majority for a non-incumbent, in each.

NOTE ALSO: I call those sidebar poll items "Emily's List" in that it lists things Emily and her spouse, the two McGlones, have yet to answer to the public for, and which going unanswered is cause to want a different person on council representing Ward 2. I like that name, "Emily's List." I cannot for the life of me say what inspired me to call it that.

I revisit this situation because I was contacted by a campaign volunteer for a Ramsey council candidate who, in door knocking, has a published item on the multi-million dollar decision to provide city bonding for Flaherty which she can show voters in discussing issues; but she does not have any comparable item to show on the McGlone job having followed such decision making - which is something every voter has a right to know of and to judge.

Lack of a mainstream published media item is because Paul Levy at Strib and Tammy Sakry at ABC Newspapers (and their editors), while aware of the situation, decline to publish of it to let citizens know.

I regard this as strange editorializing on the part of those who claim an interest in publishing news because the McGlone job, in its full context, clearly is news.

The employment, following on the heels of subsidy to Flaherty interests, is something that circumstantially raises questions of subjective suitability to continue to hold office.

IN SUMMARY: There are questions of how and why high-impact decisions have been made as they were by the Chairperson of the Ramsey HRA. Questions of what factors may have swayed his mind. There is a question of whether an employment expectation may have had its genesis many, many, many months ago, or not.

Regarding any such rational questioning about the underlying circumstances of the employment and its genesis, our HRA Chairperson chooses to give a circumstantially questionable response, saying that his lawyer advises him to stay silent and that he will follow that advice.

What are we to conclude from that?