consultants are sandburs

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Abeler's Mar. 30 Town Hall.

At a guess it attracted over a hundred people, some I recognized from Ramsey, one I did not, but the last time I saw him in person he was wearing a Mark Kuzma election T-shirt, and pounding rebar. Abeler discussed the session in general, and during the Q-and-A part of the town hall he indicated that his online survey ...

http://www.esurveycreator.com/s/5988c63

... remains open, and when all results appeared in the response patterns would be reported in one of his email news releases. So take the survey and sign up for his news releases, which is a toggle on his legislative website. Pages of interest being:

Abeler - legislative website
Abeler - bills, this session, primary author
Abeler - Highway 10 bill

Abeler spoke about much in general, a sample of detail being that deserving road projects around the state had total price tags well beyond any reasonable current budgeting and that the "crystal ball" for whether Highway 10 [Armstrong interchange included] is funded or not is cloudy; no prediction being offered although it was clear he was pushing for the funding in Minnesota's House. The stadium e-pulltab shortfall was always possible in that an untried and debatable proposal was advanced where track record was lacking and that if that gambling revenue remained inadequate real money from general funds would be the likely if not only alternative. While having posted about the stadium string being pulled back, I got the impression my viewing the truth of things as that Zygi's subsidy, Wilfare, will be as real (though now less tangible) as the grass, base paths, and seating at Target Field. It is moving and cannot be turned back, so if like me you dislike it and wished there had been a referendum where it clearly would have lost; get over it. Or stew still, but it will not make a difference.

I asked a few questions, none of which I think would qualify for dumb question of the day; and for that award I have one particular question in mind, but leave it there. Those attending can guess, or have their own opinions of dumbest of the day.

If I had to use a single word for my impression of Abeler, it might be unpretentious; which is good and refreshing, given the party he is in and its elected representative to Congress in the Sixth District - for whom the word is less appropriate.

Matt Look attended, and from asking him and Abeler I got the impression that the Armstrong interchange funding would hinge on having a federal component or it would not happen this legislative session.

I do not recall who said it and I think it was during milling around when the formal session had ended, but I was told that Franken might be in State in the next couple of weeks and might then be approached about it, and that Bachmann had committed support (but she's gotten her "pork share" and then some with the questionable Stillwater bridge funding, so that Senate and executive support for the funding would realistically be needed to attain a federal funding goal).

I got the impression Abeler is aware of education K-12 and beyond, including the tuition burden on the young and the need for ongoing post-graduate excellence to enhance likelihoods the next "Medtronic miracle" comes here and not Denver, Omaha or elsewhere; but that education is not one of his major active legislative interests, something apparent from his committee assignments, per the legisaltive page.

_________UPDATE_________
Abeler was questioned about whether he had an opinion on the county's abandoning, after years and years, its commitment to prevailing wage being required on all county funded projects. He said he'd spoken about it to a number of people, and by mentioning the hearing process used in legislative committees I inferred, though Abeler did not say it directly, that his retrospective view was that things might have been better - smoother long-term - had the county board held hearings before instituting such a drastic policy change. He did say that prevailing wage carries a strong likelihood that contractors and labor would not come in state for a project from some place like Texas, returning out of state when finished, but instead would be local labor by local people with wage-earner money remaining in circulation in the local community's economy as a benefit for all.

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