consultants are sandburs

Monday, June 30, 2014

Boycott Hobby Lobby.

MoJo reports/opines, here.

Eric Hagen reports those folks are going to open an Anoka County site.


It is our right to encourage a boycott of a commercial site, it is speech. An action for commercial disparagement should fail if filed. So, DO IT.


This Paul Levy - Strib link.

Train to nowhere.

Without having studied the opinion or the issue, and in belief that national and regional reporting will be so extensive that readers can find the news on their own, I link to opposing-view blogging in Minnesota.

RE: Latest from The Supremes. On unionization rights/requirements.

These likely will be representative:

GOP view.

DFL view.

Not to put either blogger into a constrained category that way, but the labels are offered to let readers have in mind a pro-decision vs anti-decision expectation for each item.

Do your own web searches for reporting, to find the opinion text online; etc. It will be more a wheat-from-chaff winnowing task for readers, than looking for a needle in a haystack.


Worse, the contraception decision - reported, e.g., here.

The Supremes, as now constituted -- proof positive of lasting dangers of Republican presidents and their predilection to appoint mediocre narrow-minded idiots to the nation's top court. The wise answer, elect Democratic presidents, avoid the nasties like Roberts, Alito, Siamese twins Scalia-Thomas, all that stuff.

This sort of judicial activism is appalling and should result, in the best of worlds, in a big-time moderate/liberal voter turnout this November to aim to begin to curb the forces of darkness and theocratic imposition upon the many, based on the biases of the few with strident vocal intensity.

Taking the narrow [and narrow-minded] 5-of-9 majority's view to its logical conclusion, a for-profit private corporation could avoid providing healthcare coverage for full-time employees by putting Christian Scientists in control.

Yes/no? You read the opinion and decide that for yourselves. I don't have patience to suffer stupidity in many, many pages of sophistry. I understand that's a weakness, in today's world, but it is how it is.

PUZZLING EVIDENCE, MORE THAN MAJOR NEWS - Sivarajah, Emmer and Schulte, in a storied online item. It is puzzling in its timing - why now - and its instigation - why bother taking that insider item to the press?

Republicans all, the three of them, with two contesting a single general election ballot position as the CD6 GOP candidate, and the third with a story he told, whether in response to a press inquiry or as a thought it's nice to stir the pot a little, and release some steam. Note how the SC Times report, here, declines to obscure how the situation came to the reporter's attention, instead attributing instigation of press attention at the outset:

Candidate Rhonda Sivarajah says her Republican primary opponent, Tom Emmer, tried to muscle her out of the race in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District.

As evidence, she cites Anoka County Commissioner Scott Schulte, a Sivarajah supporter. Schulte says Emmer personally called him to ask that he urge Sivarajah to bow out.

Sivarajah, who chairs the Anoka County Board, hopes to convince primary-goers she's a viable challenger to Emmer, the Republican frontrunner in the 6th District. The two square off for their party's nomination in the Aug. 12 primary election.

Schulte is vice chair of the Anoka County Board and represents a district that includes Andover, Anoka and Coon Rapids. He said he's active in local Republican politics and met Emmer at a handful of events but isn't on close terms with him.

Schulte said Emmer called him in late May, before the deadline for candidates to withdraw from the race. The purpose of Emmer's call quickly became apparent, Schulte said.

"It was clearly to convince me to ask Rhonda to step away," Schulte said. [...]

So it appears Sivarajah told the reporter, "Talk to Schulte," and it seems unlikely that she said that without some form of prior conversation between her and Schulte.

Any reader knowing such a scenario to NOT be the case; or having any information at all of why this was put into play as if it were significant news regarding the Republicans' CD6 primary, is requested to shed a little light on things, via a comment.

If either Sivarajah or Emmer expects any cross-over liberal/moderate voter support, that candidate should make clear how he/she would differntiate himself/herself from how Michele Bachmann did things.

Emmer appears to be both as outrageous and marginally competent for the job as was Bachmann, perhaps less a theocrat but cut from the same bolt of cloth; while Sivarajah has not made clear her theocratic tendencies, if any, and she seems not to be the zombie dunce Bachmann is/was/will forever be. But, clarify such important things and jettison such stupidity as "Emmer went to Schulte and said he'd like to get Sivarajah on his bandwagon."

So what?

Who cares?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

RAMSEY - After a short loop walk, thoughts arose of road upkeep and franchise fees.

This image shows the route I walked, with corners labeled in sequence, from A to K, completing the loop.

Enlarge, note letter labels, and route dotting.

Segment A-B (and on return K-A) is 154th Lane NW, where I live; A being, roughly, home.

Segment D-E is Ramsey Blvd. which was recently reconstructed, by Anoka County, without assessment of abutting property owners. The improvement is great, and we in Ramsey should all be happy it was a county priority for the year.

Segment F-G was the only stretch of the walk where, to my unskilled non-civil engineering eye, the road appeared worse for wear and neglect.

Except for stretches of county roads, (Ramsey Blvd, and Nowthen Blvd.) traffic evidencing cause for wear and tear beyond weathering effects was absent, mid-day, on a Saturday when people are home more than in the Cities on weekdays, at work.

With segment F-G looking as it did, it was curious to see the Segment "I" road, less than or about 10 years old, had been seal coated (with grey gravel atop the tar layer), suggesting there is gapping in planning which roads get which services, and if that is not assessed but from general funds, there is some inequity.

Bottom line, 154th Lane NW as an example, homes were built mid-1970's - roughly - with dirt road status lasting roughly into the mid-1980's when many Ramsey roads were first tarred. Most wear and tear traffic is garbage trucks, once a week. 154th Lane NW seems to be good for another 5-15 years or more, after a recent sealcoating, and presuming in that time range another sealcoat; meaning it is part of the road grid not at all in decrepit condition.

 Calendar-gazing alone will not show differences in road bed quality, hence, projecting costs into the next five to ten years without somewhat extensive boots on the ground reconnaissance can be both unwise and misleading.

E.g., if my "home road" is representative vs unique, with representative being the appearance I infer from walking regularly upon different routes; then projected costs being suggested as requiring franchise fee income of a bit less than two million dollars a year could be tainted by substantial overestimation error.

Inferences from bad or insufficient data will, themselves, be unreliable for setting policy. Methodology matters.

Ann Coulter. Soccer mom?

This link.

photo credit

Thursday, June 26, 2014

With in-state GOP GOTV drumbeating, the DFL should aviod failing to mobilize its supporters to be certain to vote.

The drumbeating is clear, e.g., here, publishing this image

The GOP has the most primary election contests, but DFL voters may have feelings about best choices on the GOP ballot, and can cross-over vote in the primary. While in November each individual's vote in each contest will be for the candidate thought best, it is nice to feel the best in each party is on ballot, since each election there is a mix of winners from the major two parties (with majorities set by overall election results). Given that the other party's candidate could win any race, it makes sense to cross over if your party lacks major primary contests, in order to assure that the best pairings possible will reach November voters.

Renewable energy is going to market at encouraging rates. The economy has not gone thud in the process. It is no worse for renewable power's ascendance.

See, at this link, or online here, linking to a FERC report for May, this screen capture -

click to read, go to original for FERC link


Previously in a June 10 Meeting and by a 4-3 vote, Ramsey's council elected to break off discussion of franchise fee use for road-only purposes.

Whether there may be an intent to rekindle the issue, such as after the election or early next year when two new council members are seated, remains a presently indeterminate question.

At last night's charter commission meeting, based on the 4-3 council vote mooting the franchise fee question at least for now, the mood of the charter commission was to not make it a ballot question for the November election.

The issue was postponed indefinitely, leaving the matter open to possible future action, though moot at present.

Discussion focused far less on more complicated possible charter chapter 7 amendment text, and far more on an earlier charter amendment proposed months ago by commission vice-chair Niska, which would append language to the end of the italicized charter text

Sec. 10.4. - Power of regulation reserved.

Subject to any applicable state statutes, the council may by ordinance reasonably regulate and control the exercise of any franchise, including the maximum rates, fares, or prices to be charged by the grantee. No franchise value shall be included in the valuation of the grantee's property in regulating utility rates, fares, or prices under any applicable state or municipal law, or regulation, or in proceedings for municipal acquisition of the grantee's property by purchase or eminent domain.

The "Niska amendment" would adapt italicized language from the state statute authorizing municipalities to impose franchise fees

Any public utility furnishing the utility services enumerated in section 216B.02 or occupying streets, highways, or other public property within a municipality may be required to obtain a license, permit, right, or franchise in accordance with the terms, conditions, and limitations of regulatory acts of the municipality, including the placing of distribution lines and facilities underground. Under the license, permit, right, or franchise, the utility may be obligated by any municipality to pay to the municipality fees to raise revenue or defray increased municipal costs accruing as a result of utility operations, or both. [...]

Per that language franchise fees are nominally imposed on utilities and not taxpayers, but with utilities allowed a pass-through to ratepayers. City staff and council admit the actual effect and impact is an indirect taxation of ratepayers.

Vice-chair Niska's proposal was adding language tracking statutory wording but limiting franchise fee use in Ramsey to "defray increased municipal costs accruing as a result of utility operations," and not for raising general revenue. The impact of that amendment, were it to happen, would be reasonably clear, to all.

The prevailing mood of the charter commissioners was to favor such a simple and direct charter prohibition should the issue again arise in a way triggering a commission reconsideration; but to be restrained rather than proactive; i.e., to not confuse the general election in November with a franchise fee ballot question of any kind.

Hopefully the wisdom of restraint will prevail, although ill-advised and confrontational citizen initiative could happen, with a ballot issue on franchise fee use raised that way and cluttering the November ballot.

It would be unfortunate were that to happen.

The last thing the Commission did, by a five member majority was to send the council this amendment proposal

Petition against council initiated improvement. If the local improvement was initiated by council resolution without an initiating petition and, within 60 days of the conclusion of the public hearing, a petition is filed with the city administrator against such local improvement and which petition is signed by greater than 50 60 percent of the owners of real property proposed to be assessed for and benefited by the local improvement, the council shall not make such local improvement at the expense of the benefited property owners. For purposes of the foregoing sentence, "owners of real property" shall not include owners of properties zoned for commercial or industrial uses or owners of properties zoned residential greater than ten acres in size based on zoning classifications in effect at the date of such petition, or owners of non-homestead real property greater than one acre in size.

Nothing else was changed in charter chapter 8, nor anywhere else in the charter.

Staff via agenda language suggested a change to a higher number might be more favorable to council sentiment, yet after substantial commission discussion the split was between leaving the lower original number unchanged, or suggesting it be raised to 60, but to no higher number than that.

During discussion, assessment language used by Ham Lake was suggested as potentially useful in Ramsey, but no formal action was taken. Presumably staff now holds that text as appropriate in public works commission deliberation and in possible future amendment of special assessment provisions of city code.

The charter is online here, and the franchise fee statute here. The city clerk noted in commission staff input at the meeting's end (before adjournment) that some charter language "housekeeping" was needed, and this was discussed along with preliminary thoughts about procedural matters for future meeting deliberation. No specific date was set for any future commission meeting.

One of the aspects of using revenue generation via a generic franchise fee, to create an ongoing pot of road related money [suggested primarily to be available to fund road upkeep, (and not new road projects), in order to avoid assessment impacts on existing homeowners] that has received inadequate attention, is evidenced by the history of the beginning of Town Center planning and effort.

Prior to the approval of Town Center sketch plan and preliminary platting, then council member Terry Hendriksen publicly argued and published on the web his argument that the city was poised to spend millions on infrastructure for a private developer/development whereas the norm always has been the developer pays for his/her/its infrastructure costs within the development, fronting whatever money that way which the market at the time requires.

Without delving into the politics of another council member owning land to be sold into development as a part of Town Center at the time Hendriksen posed his argument, (and conflicting interest problems that way), which is all history now of unfortunate decision making that cannot be undone, there remains a possible inclination of city government, if having a neat and tidy "road fund," to extend it beyond upkeep of existing infrastructure to giving subsidy to development which would socialize the costs and/or risks of the for-profit adventurer's efforts, but with the profits [if any] going narrowly into the private pocket - and more importantly - with the risk of failure/bankruptcy/incomplete activity shifted from the profit-seeker to the public.

Surely situations such as the Town Center were structured so that infrastructure cost fronted by the public was to be recouped by incremental payback as development to full build-out progressed. And the city lending Flaherty money had its payback plan too, but with the risk of failure shifted there also.

The "Town Center" subsidy problem which was then being foreseen by some who were characterized by Town Center project boosters as "negative thinkers," was that the situation was rift with risk shifting from the privateer profit-seeker(s) to the public.

A contrary situation was when sewer-water was extended to the gun club and to John Peterson's cornfield project on Nowthen Blvd at Trott Brook, in that to get development potential, sewer/water extension to the two sites was fronted in large measure - to the tune of six million dollars - by Peterson and the interests he represented [a council member's in-laws showed up prominently in the gun club chain of title, suggesting another conflicted interest situation]. That six million did not cover up front the full cost of sewer/water extension to the benefited properties, but it was a substantial majority of the infrastructure cost, [with in-project road financing, gun club and corn field, being unclear to me as to who fronted what].

Having indirect revenue channels (i.e., franchise fee) for road infrastructure invites such mischief; whereas having an attitude that for new development the developer cannot socialize either the costs or the risks of failure to the public is more in line with assessment principles.

It seems that whatever charter related franchise fee amendment, if any, may happen; the Charter Commission should study the question of whether, by charter, the citizens of Ramsey might want to forever curtail risk-shifting subsidy of private development.

The charter, and its suitable amendment that way at some point should be made a ballot question.

I would rather see that than some possibly ill-thought-out and polarizing franchise fee thing being raised this election, by citizen initiative.

The question of development subsidy restrictions, by charter, has the failed Town Center as historical fact, and the Flaherty subsidy levels pending (i.e., a risk shift for which chickens have yet to come home to roost).

Hence, may Flaherty's success happen so the city is paid back its millions that a past council put at risk; but more importantly, might the charter presently be fine-tuned to make all manner of risk shifting from private profit seeking developers to the public become "history" in Ramsey.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
In terms of where Ramsey spent, in anticipation of developer promises coming to fruition, add Legacy Christian Academy, and that business they pulled, "We will move the school," which of course is still in Andover where it's been and yet the wisdom of the previous council was to pave Puma Street [aka street to nowhere] and to waste MSA money on intersection work at Hwy 116 and Armstrong, well north of where any change was needed in anticipation of the Armstrong - Hwy 10 interchange being built. It was MSA money for that, and now franchise fee spinning because Mother Hubbard's made her cupboard bare. 

Dumb is as dumb does; and we've had our share of dumb. It would be a sound charter provision to require that infrastructure cost and risk of project failure within a development be the sole responsibility of the developer, without risk or cost shifting to the public and without any part of the financing of any development cost being fronted by our town. Town Center, Flaherty, the Legacy Christians - that's what's called a track record, and if the decision makers were claimer horses with that track record, there'd be no claim but for putting the poor animals out to pasture. For all the scorn some heap on Jim Deal, he has paid his own way and put property into the tax base; or readers, if any of you know otherwise, please leave an on-point comment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


This should interest Anoka County Repulicans who are not in dread of somebody the Minnesota House district has favored year, after year, as a practical conservative able to work with others, rather than being a raving idealogue or an inexperienced Romney-of-Minnesota clone that only gentlemen named Norm and Vin would ever in a first instance favor.

What is the payscale for being an idiot? Speaker of the Idiots?

Boehner, Strib carrying an AP feed. Read it and marvel.

This image

from a web posting titled, "The proud peacock of today may be only a feather duster tomorrow." Aside from preening and display, what's the Speaker's skill-set?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"4. the bigger point of this article isn’t actually about economic inequality, it’s about ecology. all of us, rich and poor, are going to have to change the ways we create value, measure success, make money, and live our lives if we want our planet to be habitable for future generations."

The headline is a quote of the page-ending paragraph, here, and curiously presents a hypothetical [worded "if"] that is the last thing the Koch brothers care about. Their focus is upon keeping power in their hands and the hands of their elite by birth into wealth cohorts. They are extreme short term thinkers, wanting to rape the world's resources to increase their power and status, now. Never mind ten or two hundred years from now. They are extreme short-term buy-the-politicians thinkers. If we are to become more planet friendly it will have to start with birthrate curbs, and giving up the extreme profligate wastefulness of the automobile. If we do not consciously change, disease and peak oil and exhaustion of other resources will impose the same end result - adapting to a limited planet, but with much more human misery in the process. The planet is finite. Population cannot keep exponentially increasing in that context.

Again, the link.

Monday, June 23, 2014

No fault, no excuse absentee voting. You can do it as more convenient and genteel.

Strib reports, here.

This excerpt:

A new law, approved overwhelmingly last year, will allow voters to request absentee ballots regardless of whether they can get to their polling places on Election Day.

The program, coupled with online tools that will let voters register online and check the status of their ballots, is part of a nationwide movement to make voting easier. Minnesota’s law doesn’t go as far as those in some states, where vote-by-mail and early voting have become commonplace, but its supporters say the changes will help the state maintain its best-in-the-nation turnout status.

“I think anything that permits more people to vote, as long as they are doing so lawfully, is a boon,” said DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. “The more people who will vote, the better off we’ll be.”

The changes will further speed up an election cycle that already seems to start earlier every year. This year, absentee ballots for the Aug. 12 primary will be available starting Friday.

Republicans are promoting the new absentee ballots at county fairs and campaign offices as a way to get people to shake off the summer doldrums and vote in the primary. [...]

Before the change, Minnesotans voting absentee had to attest that they would be physically unable to get to their polling places because of travel, illness or several other specific reasons. Now no explanation will be necessary.

“Finally, we’ve joined the rest of the nation,” said Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

The new law also means that people can vote “absentee in person” for any reason. Minnesota has long permitted voters to go to their local city or county offices to cast ballots ahead of election day, but now more may do so.

[emphasis added]. Friday would be June 27, 2014, so if your vacation is next week, you can vote in person in the primary election starting then, at the County Election office, before setting off on travels. [Ramsey City Hall is also a vote-in-person absentee site, per this Ramsey elections link].

Remember to read and follow rules that will be on the ballot as to staying within whichever primary ballot column you vote, in order to not void your ballot and your vote.

NOTE: The Strib item has much additional detail; this link.

The Indepencence Party. It's platform is worth reading.

The IP "about" and "What we stand for" pages, are:

They make the party platform easily accessible, this link. First, this excerpt:

The IP rejects the U.S. Supreme Court's ‘Citizens United’ ruling, and we move to amend our U.S. Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech and that human beings, not corporations or unions, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

- We support partial public funding of elections to reduce candidate dependence on fundraising, thereby making politicians more independent and responsible to voters.

- The IP supports an amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution stipulating that candidates for public office can only receive financial donations from eligible voters who reside within the jurisdiction of the office they seek.

- We support lowering the minimum age to run for state elective office to 18 years of age.

- We support the establishment of an independent nonpartisan commission to implement legislative redistricting.

- We support same-day voter registration to ensure that all eligible citizens have the ability to vote and to maintain Minnesota’s tradition of high voter turnout.

- The IP supports an amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution to limit the term of office for elected officials for state or national office to no more than 12 consecutive years.

So, favoring open voting, (not ALEC-Kiffmeyer favored restriction of access to the ballot box). And favoring financing reform, while the floodgates of Citizen United are open and exploited by DFL and GOP candidacies.

An interesting pair of Platform Planks, going with the previous excerpt:

Reliable, Affordable and Clean Energy

- We believe it is important to decrease America's dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, to protect the environment by promoting the use of the clean energy, and to have access to reliable and affordable energy to support our economy.

- The IP supports renewable energy made in Minnesota as long as the environmental benefits outweigh any negative environmental impact.

Protecting the Environment

- The Independence Party is committed to preserving the quality of our environment for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

- We support strong enforcement of environmental protection laws.

Last, this:

- We support high standards of morality, family values and personal responsibility, but we oppose having the government impose state-sponsored morality or values on people of good conscience with differing views.

- The IP supports, as a legislative priority, the principles of the ‘Impartial Justice Act’, which will empower voters by giving them non-partisan information about the performance of judges through public performance evaluations and allow judges to be chosen based on their qualifications.

- We support the separation of church and state for the benefit of all.

- We believe that all law-abiding citizens are entitled to the full rights and protections of citizenship and that discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion are contrary to American values.

- We support the legalization, taxation and regulation of cannabis.

So, "liberty" is a real concept of the IP, and -

Wouldn't it be refreshing to find more DFL or GOP candidates running on such clearly well grounded principles?

The problem is especially acute in today's GOP, where voter restriction, homophobia, and theocratic notions (however couched) of government are most at play and have recently been used as ways to motivate GOTV among those few citizens in the electorate holding restrictive, homophobic, (and worst of all), theocratic worldviews of governmental intrusion into citizen freedoms of other people. Such viewpoints recently have been and still are all too prevalent among GOP caucus attendees who choose party candidates (while such a dominant viewpoint is serving to move the GOP in Minnesota toward permanent minority status to where the big-business corporatist agenda and its proponents have too strongly moved to and influenced DFL thinking and policy).

Note, however, individual candidates define their own candidacies whether they be party endorsed or primary challengers. Ultimately one votes for a person and not a party. Specifically, voters of Minnesota House District 35A have, currently, three major-party candidates running where such voters should inform themselves of where the three; Perovich in the DFL, and Whelan and Boals in the GOP; stand on the issues.

Likewise, candidate viewpoints should be readily available in detail on the web, in coherent and reasoned position statements, rather than giving us bullet-point lists devoid of detail. We should all want that. It is needed to cast informed votes in Minnesota primary and general elections.

Not a focus point above, but worth mention, in those quotes: term limits, and cannabis.

And as to theocracy in the GOP being a problem to some in the GOP, there is a recent Taxpayer League chairman's editorial woofing, ending paragraphs, to consider (i.e., where the euphemism "social conservative" is used for what plainly is nothing except a clear theocracy agenda).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

Connexus and solar power in the Connexus service area. ABC Newspapers reporting.

The ABC report by Eric Hagen is online, here.

Missing, contact information of a who/what department nature, at Connexus. Presumably you get questions routed by calling their main number. Check your latest billing/mailing.

The Connexus (residential) home page is

Their "SolarWise" page is

It links to a Strib online item, and the Connexus sitemap is

I am agnostic about this "SolarWise" thing. As it stands. The contract terms and conditions are the details where devils dwell.


RAMSEY - After watching the June 10 council meeting segment on franchise fees, and hoping ABC Newspapers would cover things, there now is an online item, hence a link.

Eric Hagen reporting, this link. The item speaks for itself, so have a look.

Briefly, among much more detail, Hagen wrote:

The city charter allows residential property owners to petition against a city-initiated project. If more than 50 percent of residential property owners sign a petition within 60 days of the council’s public hearing, the project is called off.

The council unanimously asked the charter commission to take another look at this language, with some suggesting an increase to the percentage of petitioners required to stop a project.

I missed that in watching the meeting. However, the Charter Commission has a planned meeting, this link to view an agenda.

The pdf version of the agenda includes a quick transcription of the council's public hearing segment [in draft form - since there has been no formal approval of council minutes for the June 10 meeting].

As posted earlier, how Charter Commission agendas get constructed for Charter Commission meetings is not subject to much sunshine, and there are no procedural rules for a Charter Commissioner to get topics onto an agenda or to initiate possible meetings. It is strictly ad hoc, and for a body having a municipal equivalent to constitutional jurisdiction, it is wholly improper that there are no procedures, and that is a problem in need of fixing.

Part of the posted Wed. Jan 25, 6:00 pm meeting agenda is a post of Charter Chapter 8, this link. Readers should notice how Sections 8.2 and 8.3 seem parallel, except for "services" mentioned in 8.3, while 8.4 is focused on "all local improvement projects." Those sections raise interesting possibilities aside from the Sect. 8.4 "agenda" item focus. They read:

click the image to enlarge and read

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Four horsing around stories of Apocalyptic Dayton dimensions.

Johnson, Zellers, Siefert, Honour

Politics, here. Revelation, image source, here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Erroneous handling of a comment leads to a post. [UPDATED]

Erroneous: MN political rountable:

The comment was directed to this Crabgrass post, and references this roundtable item.

Also of interest, another recent roundtable post, here.

It looks as if it is a site finding fault with Paulsen and Kline; and with that motivation, it can't be bad.

The bottom line with the Medtronic situation, the Tax Code needs to be reformed to tax US firm foreign earnings as and when earned; regardless of whether the earnings are parked offshore or repatriated to our nation. Tax them and they will cease their games.

Yes - possibly some pernicious trade agreement or two sits in the way of such tax reform; international law for billionaires being somewhat in vogue - favoring them, hurting Joe Citizen on Main Streat, USA. However, long term, do what is needed to reform things - to police them and make them pay tax so that Joe Citizen has less of a burden holding them on his back while billionaires and their corporate ventures party and skate [while such corporate interests also are directly or indirectly being Citizen United hemorrhoids to the body public].

Shake the hand, that shook the hand
of P.T. Barnum, and Charlie Chan.
The bottom line with Kline - Obermueller him out of office [Obermueller not only being a surname of a DFL opponent to Kline, but a verb, "to Obermueller," standing for giving Kline the hook, this election, in order to graciously retire him to his hobby farm or collecting stamps or writing memoirs or speculative investment in military paraphenalia, whatever -- but get him out of DC].

More on the Medtronic situation, the taxation ploy at play, per the term "inversions."

Strib's editorial board published an opinion piece, online here. The editorial's headline tells most of the story, "Medtronic's new poster deal for U.S. tax reform." Strib's item notes both Klobuchar and Franken support a Senate bill draft from Sen. Carl Levin, "The Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014," explained here (with a link to actual bill text).

The answer does not seem to be to bemoan a merger and a token "headquarters" move to shave tax dollars from the US Treasury's income; rather it does seem to be tax reform that takes away the monetary incentive for such a bogus ploy. It is only being a headquarters shift for the tax saving, so gut that payoff and firms will totally be expected to stay home, quit playing games, and behave.

Going over the fifty buck attaboy contribution. Giving a hundred. Rob Zerban. Everyone should contribute there. Wisconsin CD1, a seat currently held by super smarmy Paul Ryan.

This screen capture:

click the image to enlarge and read

If you still want cause to help finance a Rob Zerban for Congress campaign, then: here, here, here, here, here.

Get that wad of sh charlatan out of Congress.

Not only is removal of Ryan from Congress good reason to support Zerban:

Aside from his opponent's glaring defects, Zerban advocates sound policy ideas - ideas that are overdue to improve the nation for the rest of us, beyond Ryan's obsessive toady service to the top 1% (the Ryan constituency).

Mail your check as I mail mine:

Rob Zerban for Congress
P.O. Box 2286
Kenosha, WI 53141-2286

Contact detail from the Zerban website: (262) 657-7400 | P.O. Box 2286 Kenosha, WI 53141-2286 | 5711 8th Ave, Kenosha WI 53140 |

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Flaherty adventuring in Kansas City reported - and why note that here?

This Bizjournal link.

It is featured as actual proof that, unlike Darren-speak, Flaherty building something can be presented - indeed featured - without use of the word "catalyst."

Check it out. "Catalyst" usage is absent. The English language says thanks.

There is Cronk-speak, friend Ryan Cronk of the Flaherty empire speaking of "an untapped amenity with big potential." But if he said there was a Cronkian will to "catalyze" something at that "untapped amenity" it mercifully was not quoted in reporting.

Well, nothing is perfect. That item had a "Ryan Cronk" link, which led to an earlier item stating:

"The public-private partnership between the Port Authority and Flaherty & Collins is exciting for the redevelopment of Berkley Riverfront Park," Port Authority CEO Michael Collins said in a release. "It was vital that our initial development partner embrace the history of the river and the future of Kansas City. We are excited that this mixed-use development will provide riverfront residential options and serve as momentum for further development."

Yes. P3. That favored cliche of Darren-Heidi speak, rearing its ugly head.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

RHONDA SIVARAJAH - Have I missed something, a possible offensive theocratic bent, in looking only at fogging a mirror and the lady's appeal in not being the buffoon, Tom Emmer?

Having second thoughts, it is always proper to solicit reader comments about information sources I might consider. I have recently spent a bit of time looking at some Facebook pages [a hateful task since Facebook IS Facebook].

A page or two have been eye openers.

Not changing my mind yet, but keeping it open.

The abandonment of prevailing wage as the Anoka County contracting norm WAS DONE UNDER HER WATCH. An easy inclination was, blame it on Matt Look, but in retrospect, Look only has one vote. A big part of the make-a-change agenda, yes, Look clearly was a voice and a vote. But, with Sivarajah the County Board Chair, what's on her watch ought to be expected to be with her prior knowledge, it is not as if she was sandbagged with the done-deal putsch, as was the case with Jim Kordiak, an outsider to the inner power bloc. Kordiak was sandbagged on that one, very much as David Jeffrey and John Dehen were, on Darren Lazan's firm's hiring when Matt Look was on Ramsey's council and Jungbauer was on the Lazan/Landform payroll. Cause to simply say, "Look again." Yet back then, Look only had one vote, and others with him were part of the sandbagging. His M.O. through both instances; however, then Look was on council, but not Mayor. All of that: parallels and pratfalls: food for thought.

More to publish later. Clearly so.

We are still weeks away from primary voting day.

But further posting likely will be helpful in presenting to readers what Facebook dredging disclosed to me. Things some people posted that to me were unfavorable, even grotesque, but of which they appeared proud.

Bottom line: If I am wrong about something, (with the only way to avoid error being to do nothing), I willingly and promptly try to admit error and correct the record.

So, bottom line: Reader help - have I favored an entrenched theocrat happy with governing by off-the-record cabal? Was I being blinded that way, from dislike of a clown?

I have been accused [by a Republican of course] of not understanding the local Republican power plays and twitchings; and I do admit that from outside it is something like trying to decipher the moves of forty or fifty Byzantine generals, each in alliances aimed at setting emperor succession and empire action; each faction against yet in league with the others; more or less, not either-or; and it surely is not the same as Newtonian physics with reliable rules of observation and inference. About as clear cut as White Visitation comings and goings in Gravity's Rainbow.

photo credit, this link

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Bluestem Prairie, here.

UPDATE: Nobody likes/believes him, neither end of the spectrum; e.g., here.

UPDATE: "U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minneapolis Democrat who once served in the Legislature with Entenza and was a his classmate 26 years ago at the University of Minnesota Law School" likes Entenza. Big brain fart, Keith. Married to UnitedHealthcare money, food on the family table from there, Entenza is no friend of single payer healthcare reform, on top of being a nuisance to his party - a Marty Siefert of his party. 

Entenza doing this makes crossover GOTV harder, in that the hope should be he gets buried in the DFL primary. Yet DFL crossing over to vote the GOP primary ballot side is so appealing, in CD6, to have a voice at all, given demographics. Perhaps just hope for and let Perske and Perovich win on their merit; their obvious quality over GOP alternatives.

If it turns out people want Entenza over Otto, so be it. But, expect a different result, Otto over Entenza by an impressive margin.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Yeah lady, tell it to the judge.

Or to Emmer.

This link.

Derailment in Ramsey. Not an oil train. Not a Federal Cartridge shipment. Not in front of Flaherty's dense housing in the middle of the night.

But adding to a worry nonetheless, Hagen of ABC Newspapers reporting.

This is a story where the follow-up investigation report result will be more news than the event. How did it happen? What are the implications? What safeguards are being put in place to avoid any recurrence?

MPP looking at Cantor's primary election loss.

Recent posts at MPP seem less in agreement than asking, "Huh?" and "What progressive end might be an outcome?"

Of the latter kind, this. Headlined, "Labeling Kline and Paulsen as out of touch." And that pair is out of touch. Constituencies in each distract are broader than health insurer, mining, and other medium to large business corporations, which are served constituents.

Of interest, reader help welcome, what have either Kline or Paulsen done for small business, beyond talking the talk, and schmoozing Chambers of Commerce with speeches or fundraiser appearances? Burns wrote:

Rep. John Kline (R-MN) practically revels in maintaining an aloof distance from, and even an almost contemptuous attitude toward, his constituents. (The ones that aren’t millionaires, that is.) And while Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) perhaps is spending some time here, if that‘s so, I never see it noted in the paper or anything. Even if he is, the perception could well be that he isn’t, because the guy is basically an ambulatory no-charisma zone.

Same author, here. Both items are part of some of the better writing on the site.

The establishment Republicans such as they are, piling on, against one woman's suggestion she's a better choice for a pubic office. What's got them riled? [See latest update to the Justin Boals post, the one below the Sense and Nonsense post]

This link. Why endorsements of one politician by a pile of others means little. Emmer's credibility is based on who he is, where I see little credibility but opinions can differ. But all these other people I think in most instances never should have been elected, if they have a vote in the district they deserve to cast it, but what species of fool is impressed by such a list? You have to wonder. Why the pileon? Get Rhonda the new sport of choice?

UPDATE: I think what has them riled, they know she's a better choice for that particular public office. They don't like it, but they know it's true, and so they collectively Chicken Little a bit over the obvious standing in the way of some faction's desired primary election outcome. As if, "no it's not factional, we all sing in harmony." (From the hymn book.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sense and nonsense.

In images:

Photo credits, respectively, here and here.

______________FURTHER UPDATE_______________
Within the Theo-GOP, a bit of looking around the web shows this:

With a belief that separation of church and state should be absolute with church property taxed as any other, and a belief that a personal reliance upon reason can be a grounding for one's moral code and politics better than one based, somehow, upon arbitrary assumptions of supernatural stuff; there still is less distaste to a Theo-GOP cadre leadership focused upon one list over another; in that the second one should entail a lesser inclination to intrude into the lives of neighbors. That highly offensive t-shirt, carries the unwritten suggestion "God will judge" as I and my family judges, and not like what we don't, and that is both outrageous and preposterous. It is saying rationality aside, my worldview has greater legitimacy than others differing from mine, because I invent a notion of something I call God, say it is all powerful, and then say, it agrees with me on how my neighbors should behave. That offends or should offend anyone capable of reason.

The second list does not suggest anywhere near the level of intrusiveness into the privacy and liberty of others as the t-shirt list glaringly asserts. Or does it? One aspect, that last thing in the second list, "is sovereign," troubles since we have a Minnesota Constitution which at its outset clearly states the people are sovereign, and that just sits better with me. Simply, your mythology is not my sovereign, no matter what, so keep your church separate from my state. Even though a kinder, gentler Theo-GOP with less hellfire/brimstone sits better, it still does not sit well; with liberty having a meaning contrary to anyone's church running everyone's state.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Justin Boals; Republican candidate in this August's GOP primary. [UPDATED - READER HELP REQUESTED]

I have been somewhat inattentive to submitted comments, but Boals submitted two published comments, to posts here and here (in chronological order).

Headlining himself, "A New Guard for Liberty" on his campaign website, online here, the site identifies him as from Anoka, as is his primary challenger, Whelan, while the DFL candidate, Perovich, resides in Ramsey and has resided here for at least a decade to my knowledge, and longer is my guess. One of Boals' comments suggests a willingness to discuss issues:

Eric, feel free to reach out to me at I am more than happy to sit down and discuss my candidacy, my views and my hopes for our district and our State. I look forward to talking with you, Sir!

Others can take Boals up on that suggestion of sitting and having a talk, my preference being to initiate an email correspondence with an email trail, since I do not record/transcribe, and would truly not want to misquote. By an email Boals also suggested a willingness to present his views, something Whelan has not done.

I have known Peter Perovich for a few years and have supported previous candidacies (including a run against Whelan's mentor, Jungbauer).

Perovich has not suggested my having any role in his getting out his message and I have not offered one. I fully trust his ideas and motivation, and that said, the primary fact for today, he is not in any primary this August.

The contest - Boals vs Whelan, with Whelan appearing more the theocratic of the two, in terms of wings or branches within the Republican party [branches being the better figure of speech in that eagles and other birds each have but two wings, with our state's GOP appearing to have more "branches"].

Boals' 2012 website is no longer online, but, except for "Michigan" inexplicably showing up within text, there is this BallotPedia page posting website soundbite quotes; e.g,

Excerpt:"I pledge NOT to vote for tax increases and will fight to lower your already heavy tax burden. The more our citizens have to spend, the more our economy benefits."

Gun Rights
Excerpt:"One of the first tasks that I will set myself to work on is drafting an amendment to our constitution to that effect."

So one thing Boals can clarify in correspondence, what is that last item referring back to, and how important to him is that issue; as a candidate for a state legislative office. Clearly, a corollary, is he a gun owner, how many and what kind and for how long, and has he a conceal/carry permit? It is easy to advocate a position in the abstract, so those questions spring to mind. To assure it is not just getting the ticket punched.

The Big Ticket question that way - when did you join the NRA, and why not sooner?

That rings bells that really resonate with the gun bunnies.

Truly, however, more interesting to me and likely to most readers would be how Boals proposes to solve the sky-high increases in university tuition even at state schools, and the consequent student debt crisis, given that the legislature has power over the University system in Minnesota and can if having the will, fix things.

That's real, and immediate, and yet not an issue with which Republicans seem to have much comfort. No real answer, no comfort, I suppose. And then the obvious follow-up, on that issue and on the phony-college scam, how does Boals' view of higher education differ from John Klines'?

And if not wanting to vote for tax increases, what about inflationary effecs; i.e., is the Norquist-Hamiltonian Taxpayer League pledge conditioned on an inflation escalator exception; or absolute?

Just wondering.

This from the present Boals website troubles me

Minimum Wage Increase
Minimum wage is just that a minimum. It was never intended to be a "livable" wage. The jobs that are minimum wage jobs are primarily jobs that require minimal education and/or skill sets. While I am not disrespecting these jobs or disagreeing that State minimum wage should not be raised from time to time I am opposed to raising it just because individuals cannot "live" on it. I have had minimum wage jobs in my 40 years. I understand how difficult it is to support a family on these wages. HOWEVER, I found ways to better myself and acquire work that paid more. Raising minimum wage AND indexing it to inflation will increase costs to business owners especially our small, independent business owners that we value so much. They are ALWAYS forgotten in the argument against "Big Profit/Big Business". Because of this increase in costs, these business owners will be forced to go out of business or cut back staff. It will cost Minnesotans jobs. Not just the ones that they have now but ones that may have been created if the business owners (who know what is best for their business AND their employees) could have afforded to hire new employees. In regards to our high school/college youth: Since many work part-time hours they could be pushed from the work force by older individuals with families and bills to pay. Also, because many work in service industry jobs, they will see a decrease in available positions because employers will not be able to afford the extra help.

That third sentence, the double negative with "not" used twice is confusing, but the notion you can work full time and not be owed and accorded a livable wage, either it means he supports welfare to span the difference, food stamps and such, or that low-wage earners working full time can simply get fucked. He appears to have no beliefs about the measure of effects government impositions - hidden costs beyond hourly wage - have on levels of employment, or he simply declines to add any thoughts that way into his position on the less than simple issue. At best, he seems to use many words to be saying, "Father knows best." Republicans do that, and bottom line seems he is proving a Republican bona fides.

This makes sense.

The time has come for the full legalization of marijuana in this state and I support it. The tax revenue generated from the regulated sale of marijuana could be used to provide free lunch to all of our public school children. The State of Colorado is predicting tax revenues of over $40 million this year alone. I believe Minnesota could use that kind of money! Legalization will not only create additional revenue for our state but also new businesses and jobs. If the legalization of medical marijuana is the first step towards full legalization then I say, "Let us take that step".

At least he posts something beyond mindless "cotton candy" blurbs saying little or nothing; e.g., this "dear Diary" stuff his GOP primary opponent puts online. He does not bore or insult us, by at least stating issue positions.

Okay, cut the young lady some slack, for she has posted a campaign website of sorts. However, I defy you to find any single thing of beyond-soundbite substance on it. Here. Ms. Twitter-like Soundbite Special of 2014. Little else. Have a look, and you decide. It is an absolute insult to the mental facility of people she expects to have vote for her. So, don't.

Of the two, Boals seems least disdainful toward the intelligence level of people he'd have vote for him.

Neither of the two website-up on problems at the University level, not to mention post-grad where the best and brightest innovators of next generation technology are trained [those not seeking political science advanced degrees but in real and actual disciplines instead] and it is less acceptable from Whelan to present that Iron Curtain silence, since she's been a career student.

With that background one would think she'd have something insightful to say from experience.

Sorry for making it something of a screed, but some things truly test my patience. I will cross-over, I will vote Boals as the lesser evil, as the less offensive and hence the more promising, but it's scary. I also in crossing-over to that ballot side will be voting Abeler. He's not been the greatest, but on balance, okay. Abeler can leave a room without leaving an oil slick like Norm, Vin and their choice. Abeler's sound. He is among those closest to being an actual moderate in today's GOP.

Two thousand more words, a thousand a piece - and are you impressed:

from here

from here

Best minds of their generation?

_____________FUTHER UPDATE_____________
Where the crossover choice is truly stark, CD6, Rhonda with a mind vs. fundiefavorite and Hubbard hustler, Tom The Skating Bloviator. Rhonda deserves the run for the job, by being the better person and candidate. That is being said with the thought that Perske would have a better shot in Perske v. Emmer, than in Perske v. Sivarajah. The latter would have "people of faith" left on the sidelines, for the good of the district. But either a winner with Sivarajah the GOP primary victor presents a better scenario than either a winner with Emmer one of "either." (Yet, a consideration, with Rhonda surviving the primary, it disrespects poor Stanley and his cash for Tom, and would we want that since it could make Stanley unhappy?)

Another quick UPDATE observation. Emmer's hundred grand restaurant servers likely have a harder time of things, given predilections of some of Emmer's support base.

_____________FUTHER UPDATE_____________
Tom Emmer is so patently offensive, that any opponent in general poses a respite. Admitting to being unfamiliar with the Sivarajah campaign, and her as a person, but knowing of the great virtue of her not being Tom Emmer; some reader feedback has me wondering now whether she is more extreme than Emmer. Finding that a mind-boggling possibility, something staggering to the imagination but possible, here is where I ask for reader comments, or email. Educate me. Am I like a misguided watchdog of some sort, barking up the wrong tree?

In any event, getting back to the starting point of the post: Boals is clearly a secular conservative, which is a cut better than those wanting to interject their religion value-set into government - those such as Mary Kiffmeyer [who beyond ALEC ties] shows disdain for separation of church and state.

BOTTOM LINE: Is Sivarajah in fact worse on the separation question than Emmer?

That is my question to readers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

RAMSEY - I did think it was tasteless for the young woman in citizens' input at this evening's council meeting to take advantage of QCTV's meeting broadcast to do her politicking.

Hence I had follow-up citizen's input of my own. And, hey, I live in Ramsey rather than Anoka, which makes me a citizen of the town. Next thing you know, some clown will be advertising business services and opportunities, as "citizen's input." Aluminum Siding. Something like that.

The process was abused. Justin Boals, the lady's primary opponent this summer, did not do that. Peter Perovich the DFL candidate was at the meeting (as he frequently attends), but did not do that. Both had more class. It was an amateur move, standing there saying, "I am amateur."

RAMSEY - I am not sure what today's council decided, but it seemed a decision not to decide.

Succeeding a council that gave obscene amounts of money to Darren Lazan for nothing I can see of genuine value; this council gave the Charter Commission a single finger salute, saying, "Trust us." That's unwise.

Now, Joe, Harry and Jim, perhaps another but not to push the envelope of the open meeting law will decide what they want the Charter Commission to do in response, among themselves, and Joe will call a meeting.

The fact is the entire Charter fails to define the role and checks and balances on Charter Commission procedure; and THERE IS NO CORRECT WAY IN ANY RAMSEY LAW DEFINING HOW A CHARTER COMMISSION MEETING GETS CALLED.

It is Chairman Joe, not King Joe, not Dictaror of one Joe, Joe Field not Joe Stalin, where he calls one when the feeling hits, and declines if the feeling is not there.

That's a crock, how its been and I have so far cut slack on that, but if Joe the Chairman wants to call a meeting the first thing he will be facing is my raising a point of order on the legitimacy of any meeting he cares to call. There is nothing saying he, as Chair, has sole power to call any meeting for anything, depending on when the feeling hits or doesn't, and likewise nothing says Joe and Harry, in concert, have such a power.

There's a blank slate. That is the sorry truth because nobody for the duration of existence of the Charter Commission cared to think there was a need for guiding rules and clear procedure. It's a giant Black Hole, and has been that since God was a child. It's time for reform, do the reform, set the ground rules next meeting, and then move on to responsive though about what the council did and how the Charter Commission should respond. But this is not the wild west where there are two sides facing each other in the one street of town waiting for the clock to chime high noon before anyone draws and shoots.

This is a civic entity in a nation with a tradition of at least lip service to the notion we stand for having a government of law and not of men. That rules and procedure constrict what persons given power can do.

Harry and Joe are both lawyers, and should know the ice is thin with this "solo discretionary" thing, especially Harry on record expressing his dislike for the ways things got done during his residency in Chicago.

Well, time to consider ... this ...



RAMSEY: A reminder - this evening's 7 pm televised city council meeting will include the public meeting on the latest franchise fee proposal.

The franchise fee issue is approached as an ordinance to enact/create a city home rule charter amendment constraining Ramsey's use of franchise fee authority the legislature granted municipalities. It is not an immediate imposition of any such fee by ordinance. The latter type of ordinance requires only a simple majority, at present [which would change under the terms of the proposed charter amendment to requiring a supermajority]. I believe as part of the presentation the City Attorney will explain what majority is required for the council to amend the charter. My understanding is such a step would need to be unanimous.

If you've something you believe needs to be publicly stated at the public hearing, then attend the session. If you only want to see what is said, it is broadcast on QCTV as are all regular council sessions [unlike work sessions which are off-camera but should be broadcast].

RAMSEY: "Ramsey gets $490,000 from feds for pedestrian skyway over Highway 10"

Rendering published as part of ABC reporting. Click image to enlarge.

The quote in the headline to this post is itself the headline of ABC Newspapers' report, by Eric Hagen, online here.

That reporting covers disagreeing views on the council, with Ward 3 rep Jason Tossey having voted against acceptance of the grant; not liking the project and believing among other things reported:

Tossey believes walkers and bikers can go another “half-a-mile” to the Armstrong Boulevard interchange to cross Highway 10. This project could break ground this year and be done around the time the skyway starts being constructed in 2016.

See comments to an earlier Crabgrass post, here.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Flaherty and yet more of his same old, same old "build me a garage" kit.

This link. At least elsewhere than here. There is that to be liked. Little else.

Obama uses executive power to establish student loan debt relief of a sort, and supports Senate bill on same topic.

Doubtlessly reported on numerous outlets; e.g., Strib, here carrying an AP feed; this quote:

"I'm only here because this country gave me a chance through education," Obama said. "We are here today because we believe that in America, no hard-working young person should be priced out of a higher education."

An existing repayment plan Obama announced in 2010 lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in payments, but is only available for those who started borrowing after October 2007. Obama's memo expands that program by making opening it to those who borrowed anytime in the past.

Obama also announced he is directing the government to renegotiate contracts with federal student loan servicers to encourage them to make it easier for borrowers to avoid defaulting on their loans.

Indeed. What has built up as a tidal wave against having an educated electorate and work force, social goods, is reprehensible and SHOULD STOP. Obama is doing the proper thing and deserves recognition and praise, as far as he went, and encouragement to go further. After all, in Libya before Qaddafi was deposed, higher education was free. As a nation, cannot we do as good as Qaddafi's Libya; and more importantly, shouldn't we try while castigating those opposing getting students out of the unconscionable hole the banker-elite have dug them into, go in the hole if you want a college education, or don't and screw you that way too, all that.

The bankers, after all, did that to make the young more pliant. While at the same time exploiting them between a rock and a hard place. After outstanding student awareness and attitude development in the '60s, the banker-corporatist elite wanted to alter the rules in favor of entrenched wealth and power. So they, with their politicians and lobbyists, did exactly that.

As Obama said, without student aid, could he have made it to the White House? Both Bushes, they had the family clout and cash, dating back to Prescott and his 1930's ties to a then-establishing new order in Germany. Earlier the Bush and Walker families were prosperous, no problem there, even with the younger W a shameful scholastic dilettante. Proud of being that. He had his two terms and at least shows the decency to recede into the background rather than continuing to make a spectacle of himself as he did in office.

Friday, June 06, 2014

RAMSEY - The next June 10 televised council meeting will have a pubic hearing and consideration of franchise fee matters on the agenda.

Here is the City Website link from which readers can download council agenda items.

It being set for a public hearing means citizens attending the meeting rather than watching on QCTV at home can voice opinions on the proposed ordinance; which from service on the Charter Commission appears to me to be giving every protective and narrowing concession the Charter Commission, by majority vote, requested.

My hope would be that Joe Field, Charter Commission Chair, attends to share his thoughts. Previously he has spoken at franchise fee - charter meetings, and it has been helpful. With an alternative approach dubbed the Niska Amendment in honor of Charter Commission Vice-Chair Harry Niska who proposed it earlier in deliberations, it might be helpful if Mr. Niska can also attend and share his current thinking with our citizens. The hope is he will find the time to do so. It would be immeasurably helpful for him to do that.

If the draft/proposed ordinance is passed as is, the Charter Commission members who voted to send it to council will have no cause to delay any further. However, one council member in particular may stymie unanimous passage of any charter amendment text of any kind, however laced with protective language, after publicly having indicated an almost complete disinclination to vote in favor of any franchise fee of any kind; and if there is a substantial amendment of the draft ordinance by council vote, there might be further delay at the Charter Commission level.

As a personal opinion, a change in supermajority requirement from the draft's 6 of 7 on council for approval of any franchise fee imposition, to a 5 of 7 requirement would NOT be a deal killer, in terms of checks and balances against misuse of franchise fee taxation authorization the legislature has granted municipalities.

That point, in particular, is where Mr. Niska's input would best serve us all, in that he proposed the 6 of 7 language, and he should be there to suggest why it might be a deal killer to use a lesser supermajority requirement if he would regard it as such. He can explain nuances that I might not fully understand (while having voted in favor of sending the higher supermajority suggestion to council so that they may consider it).

The worse thing possible, it becomes a political football for the Republicans among us as a hoped for GOTV tool used to appeal to those in Ramsey in opposition to franchise fee use and possibly inclined, at the same time, to like one party's favored November ballot candidates over the other party's.

The likelihood: There will be a charter amendment proposal of some kind on the November ballot; indeed, more than one may be placed on ballot; there being political football players around town, all that.

KEY LINKS: The agenda html page, re the public hearing here; and the text of the proposed ordinance, here. (One reader reported the second link broken; so if it fails again, the pdf document can be reached from the agenda [first] link in this paragraph.)

[Please note, the two links given above are by cut/paste from browser tabs I have open displaying the items. If readers have difficulty accessing things with those links; the first "agenda" link given at the beginning of the post will ultimately lead one, with minimal navigation of the website, to the items.]

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

RAMSEY - ABC Newspapers reports Council filings.

A comprehensive review of all filings has been posted by Eric Hagen, here.

Regarding City of Ramsey council seats that will be contested this election, Hagen wrote:

In Ramsey, three four-year council member seats are up for grabs.

Wayne Buchholz, Terry Hendriksen, Thomas J. Towberman, and Kristine Williams are seeking the at-large seat currently held by Randy Backous, who decided to not seek re-election after serving one term. This will be only Ramsey race included in the Aug. 12 primary election.

Jill Johns is running unopposed in Ward 1. Johns was elected in July 2013 to fill the remaining year-and-a-half of the four-year term that David Elvig had been elected to, prior to his resignation.

Jason Tossey is not seeking re-election to the Ward 3 council member seat that he has held for one-term. Frank E. Howsmon V and Melody (Hesselgrave) Shryock will face off in the general election for this seat.

So, a primary contest for the at large seat, a general election contest in Ward 3, and an uncontested incumbency continuing in Ward 1.

For info on other races, follow the earlier link. Hagen posted a comprehensive report.

When will yard and highway signs first be appearing? What is the formal open season opening day, for that exercise?

RAMSEY - Signs from during the last election.

Old saying: All politics are local.

Minnesota's politico-government geekery moves itself into primary elections mode, and who cares? It's summer and the mosquitoes matter less than the deer ticks.

The CD6 fundie fringe cut its deal with the corporatist inner-inner party and who is Jim Abeler to object to robotics?

Neither faction has been particularly kind to Abeler recently, perhaps he's been too responsible to his job to please either of those bands. Something like Sivarajah, with Abeler. There within her quest where the fundies and corporatists are each staying in banded together with the fundies thinking they are in the CD6 driving seat, but with inner-inner party Hubbard buying the gas or the machine does not work. Krinkie is like the Verizon commercial character, "Can you hear me now?"

Liberty Republicans are exiled. The California Guy and the Shutdown Guy and the Ego Guy are contesting for spoils distribution oppertunities along with the Two-Fundies-in-Cahoots Guy who got a send-off blessing but little else of substance for putting in a full weekend of slap-happy ennui. And somebody's put a bug in The Hire-a-Gumshoe Guy's bonnet on the other, Tweedle Dum, side.

Whatever happened? Time for another Line-Item-Veto Wrestler?

In any event, one obsessed by notions of leadership normally would be expected to put a hat in the ring rather than do puppeteering exclusively. Posting on Pinterest does not make it happen. Hat in a ring, any ring, others have done that.

Now we will be annoyed by businessman, coach, mentor, most importantly - Rich Guy wanting to buy an office with fundie help and DC inner-inner party blessing from the start. And with Rich Guy having an SJ tiny cherry picking proof-of-nothing thing the propagandists are told to tout and do.

Beyond that, chasing money from job killing merger mania, is that anyone's real view of qualified to govern? Of likely interest to discerning voters, the Tax Returns of an actual office-seeking human person whose career has been tax-structuring of one corporate person along with another corporate person merging into a single corporate person, with minimal tax impact maximal bottom line, i.e, plying for profit a fictitious notion of "people" that nobody but a biased dunce (or five, in robes), can buy into.

You can watch that last Guy's - the Rich Guy's - costly to produce empty of content video, by following where two tweets below a Luke Helier tweet in the column of tweets here each post a link to it. Have a barf bag handy. It depends on what you can stomach without saying, "Al, please, please, please say something irreverent, funny, and refreshing; please."

You think about it, it's Rhonda and the flavors of White Guys.

Gilmore's got that story pegged.

Rhonda put a hat in the ring.

Becky on the other side left to say, "Huh?"

Rich Guy posing, wearing the as if of the people uniform? The video. The shirt.

I want to hear the Robot Rich Guy in the Romney shirt explain how in the world this can scale to a nonsecular program the size of Anoka-Hennepin. As a skeptic, it will take more than silence and slick video; so show me what you can say.

A sensible, reasoned, cotton-candy free presentation would be convincing; if ever forthcoming. Expect instead, video packaging by handlers with very much glide-and-slide avoidance of detail of any substantive merit.

The McFadden's double m logo, it could as well stand for "middle market" as in "Lazard Middle Market."

Just saying, ...

LMM, on its main opening webpage touts:

Dealmakers - Experienced deal professionals with extraordinary expertise, judgment, creativity, and intellect

Global Reach - Middle market bankers with access to Lazard's C-level, board-level, and sponsor relationships in 41 major business centers in 26 countries

Now that "global reach" would have to include tax haven expertise; and as to job-slashing denials from The McFadden's camp, LMM features a "restructuring" unit, all under the LMM leadership.

And to not confuse who was LMM head honcho before taking a leave for politicking, this informative screen capture:

So, an articulate cotton-candy free and expansive explanation of top dog/restructuring/global reach, in terms of not-Romney job killer posturing; along with a peep under the tax return kimono; or else where in the world is any credibility to be inferred from a stone wall, puffery, or an Iron Curtain? Put aside video "Coach Mike" hooey, and get soon to the nitty-gritty.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Ramsey - In the past, LWV candidate forums [fora?] were televised on QCTV. After a change in council makeup since the last election the practice may be resumed.

This cycle Ward 1, Ward 3, and the at large seat having Randy Backous as incumbent will be on the ballot.

My present best understanding is that the two wards will not go to a primary but the at large contest might.

I believe neither Backous nor Jason Tossey will be seeking another term. I believe a former councilmember, a present EDA member, and two others have filed.

Filings closed today, I believe, while each candidate who filed has a three day grace period to withdraw a candidacy.

I await ABC Newspapers reporting of detail, and will post a link to their item as soon as they post information online.

Zombie resurrects. Fogs mirror. Causes DFL primary.

This Strib link.

Does that mean fewer will cross over to vote the GOP side of the ballot? Is Becky Otto that loved that folks stay with the DFL side to vote against the twit who had a gumshoe shaddow Mike Hatch?

UPDATE: Lone wolf, or conspiracy? It looks lone wolf. Republicans might fault Abeler's staying in after their convention and endorsement, but he at least declared, gave it a run and was a known candidate. He did not strike last minute without rattling from the weeds. [Sorry, doing it again, mixing metaphors - wolves don't strike from the weeds]

Reader comment on this, and about Abeler's continuation of his Senate quest would be appreciated.

RAMSEY - Anoka County has jurisdiction over Ramsey Blvd., a county road, and will be doing a major road improvement. Work has begun.

It appears the road bed itself is being re-done. Not a resurface, but a rebuild.

This is a good decision. That road was in need, something the pothole season proved beyond anybody's reasonable doubt.

While critical things were written here earlier, now that it appears County action is happening, it is proper to recognize it here and to be glad to see it as a County priority when the road dollars are scarce and needs are everywhere.

We have not reached Brunhilde's final aria.

Not quite how Yogi said it, but will the robot be programmed by handlers to simulate an actual into-issues human face-to-face debate with Abeler? Or will the robot be clammed up for the primary with TV mud slinging against Franken being all the handlers allow?

This Strib link, Abeler is going to a primary; this screen capture from the Abeler for Senate website, here:

Palin's choice, Ortman, got the Tea Party Express endorsement, not Abeler. This was reported per a press release online here, published May 30, 2014, i.e., going into the GOP convention.

Can any reader in a commment indicate whether Ortman has or has not officially used the grace period to withdraw her candidacy? Is she still straddling a fence, with Tea Bags being thrown her way saying in cramped hand lettering, STAY IN, STAY IN, STAY IN? She has that option up until she formally withdraws, and if missing that deadline, she is on the primary ballot regardless. Brunhilde is backstage now, still practicing, warming her voice.

1:55 PM Wednesday, June 04, 2014 -- Ortman's name has been stricken from the official SoS site, as is the case with Krinkie, in CD6. Quietly withdrawn, as she was reported to be contemplating in past days' news.

Mike McFadden. He is not Mitt Romney. There is evidence. NOT MITT!

Different hand. Different flag. Different camera angle. Different lighting. Checkered shirt - white shirt. Suit coat swap for tie. Mounted mic, not hand mic. What more proof do you want?



Not the same cold-as-ice, hard-as-a-stone, uber-capitalist, take-no-prisoners, dance-on-your-mother's-grave eyes. No.

Moreover, as HuffPo explains:

The Democratic-aligned Alliance for a Better Minnesota already branded McFadden "Minnesota's Mitt Romney" in a bid to lump him with the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who was pounded by President Barack Obama's team over private equity deals that led to job losses.

McFadden distinguishes his activities at Lazard from what Romney did at Bain Capital. McFadden describes his role as a middle-man, helping companies looking to sell find a buyer or vice versa. He maintains his firm had no operational control over employment decisions made before or after the transactions. Democrats argue some companies McFadden assisted subsequently engaged in layoffs.

So far, Franken hasn't personally mentioned McFadden or Lazard in public settings. If he does, Herold said the Republican's campaign will highlight the senator's investment.

In 2006, Franken added the Neuberger Berman Socially Responsive Fund to a vast personal portfolio. A Senate disclosure form lists the value of his holding in the fund between $100,001 and $250,000, a small fraction of his total investments.

Fund managers first put Lazard in the mix in 2012 and as of this February that component amounted to about 2.3 percent of the overall value.

"If Mike McFadden survives the Republican primary battle, he's not going to be able to use one-tenth of one percent of Sen. Franken's assets to prevent voters from hearing about 100 percent of his own record as an investment banker," said Franken campaign spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff.

Herold said the extent of Franken's Lazard connection doesn't change things.

Got that? What? Unconvinced? You doubt?

Once more with feeling, main theme - from Strib this time, not HuffPo:

McFadden’s handlers said Wednesday that investment banking differs from private equity in that there is scant operational control beyond simply helping others buy and sell companies. A struggling company will hire an investment banker, for example, to find a buyer and once a suitable buyer is found, the investment banker is usually done with the deal, campaign officials said.

Whatever happens next is now in the new buyer’s — not the investment banker’s — control, campaign officials say.

Still Unconvinced? That alone proves something.

You must be a squalid 47-percenter is all. An Occupy- something/somebody.


So, Mike, you tell 'em, you're not just a lower net worth smaller pond Romney clone, are you?

______________FURTHER UPDATE____________
One of the knocks against Romney was his declining to release tax returns and having money stashed in offshore tax havens. That being so, the questions naturally arise concerning The McFadden, now that the robot's the endorsed GOP US Senate candidate. How has he, if he has, exploited tax code loopholes [including offshore opportunity] and how do his taxes as a percent of income compare to Joe Mainstreet's, union laborers', indeed, all middle-income people in general in Minnesota and nationwide? As a sharp banker's banker, what's the expectation, and how should voters regard any robotic reticence in such matters?