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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Instead Of More Mining Controversy......

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 08/30/16 17:09

by Dave Mindeman

I am sure that most of you, at one time or another, have seen the North Dakota tourism ads (Legendary). North Dakota invested a pretty sizable chunk of money to bring in some tourism dollars.

Here is a summary of a 2014 report on that campaign....

The campaign generated 1.1 million incremental trips that would not otherwise have taken place, which brought $211.1 million in incremental visitor spending and $15.9 million in state and local taxes.

It cost $1.80 in advertising to generate each incremental trip.

Every $1 invested in the North Dakota ad campaign generated $107 in visitor spending and $8 in state/local tax revenue for the benefit of North Dakota residents.

By almost any standard that was a pretty good return. And the additional value of that is that the ad spending can implant the idea that ND is a tourist destination for future trips as well.

The reason I bring this up is that we have, at least I feel, an underutilized tourist destination in this state....I'm talking about the boundary waters.

The Iron Range gets some tourism dollars, but I believe they could be getting a whole lot more as millenials get into more of the rugged outdoor vacations.

Instead of the controversy of mining development that could actually be a detriment to this potential industry, why doesn't the state invest in national advertising in the way North Dakota has done.

I know there is the "Explore Minnesota" campaign and that has provided some benefits, but with the need for jobs in northern Minnesota, why not take the opportunity to greatly expand our tourism outreach.

Before we get into another heated debate about sulfide mining and the controversies that develop with that, how about an extended discussion of what we can do to make the Boundary Waters a national destination?

Hey, what have we got to lose by the conversation?

The People That Know About Broadband Go With The Senate Position

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/21/16 22:35, Edited: 04/21/16 22:36

by Dave Mindeman

Here is a list of people who lead various Minnesota organizations. All of these people signed a joint letter that was sent to Minnesota government leadership in the Governor's office and the legislature.

Laura Ziegler
League of Minnesota Cities (LMC)

Emily Pugh
Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC)

Kent Sulem
Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT)

Mike Reardon
Minnesota Association of Community
Telecommunications Administrators (MACTA)

Joe Gould
Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA)

Dan Larson
Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus (MRCC)

Charlie Vander Aarde
Metro Cities

Tim Flaherty
Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC)

Brad Lundell
Schools for Equity in Education (SEE)

Dan Dorman
Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP)

Denise Dittrich
Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA)

This letter was sent to promote one common idea...

Unified Support for Senate Broadband Position

These organizations are advocating for greater Minnesota. They are asking the legislature to do something to push broadband. Notice that they are NOT advocating for the MN GOP House position...the supposed "champions" of greater MN. Nope. They believe that the Senate has the position that will most help greater MN with their desire to expand broadband...their top priority.

So even though the leadership in the Minnesota House keeps talking and talking about how much they are the ones who are working for greater MN needs, it is the people who live and advocate for greater MN who say that it is the DFL Senate that has their back.

So are you going to believe Speaker Kurt Daudt or the people on the above list? The people in the know are the latter.

House Democrats Propose Change On "Dark Money"

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 02/07/16 09:22

by Dave Mindeman

Election season. The end of the campaign. With the election just days away you go to your mailbox and pull out five, six, or more of these slick, glossy cards with lots of bold type words, grainy photos, and a guarantee that someone running for office is the worst possible human being ever.

You wonder how they know this or who is saying it. But you can't know because it is hidden by the "dark side" of campaign finance disclosure.

Oh, there will be a small note at the bottom that says "paid for by....", but the name used will always be some generic, innocent sounding name like "Americans for Prosperity"; Friends of Trees; or Society for Energy Independence. You maybe would want to know who is behind this group. Maybe you look them up on the website - but what you will get is more of the same words and pictures that your glossy friend in the mailbox has displayed so prominently.

But you will never see the name of any specific person connected or responsible.

Dark money.

Most political money hides. It avoids the sunlight. It is like the smoking guy on the X-Files.....stays in the alley and talks from the shadows.

Political donors with large checkbooks gravitate to these shadow groups because they can advocate without consequence. They don't have to be open about the way they want things to be...and often it is because what they want is very self serving. And if people are aware of that, it will affect how they see the information.

The Minnesota House Democrats have proposed a Minnesota Constitutional amendment to fix that. Their bill would....

The bill would require disclosure for "contributions and expenditures made for communications that clearly identify a candidate and use words or phrases of express advocacy." It would also cover any ads or mailings that a reasonable person would interpret as advocating for or against a candidate, even if they aren't explicitly mentioned.

Rep. Laurie Halvorson (Eagan) will carry the bill in the House. Her campaign and other Eagan Democratic campaigns are certainly not strangers to this type of political advertising....

"I saw what it did to my community to have those kinds of mail pieces hit day after day after day," Halverson said. "I saw the confusion that it caused my constituents, and the frustration it caused, and the ways their voices felt diminished."

Now, this is a MN Constitutional Amendment. I imagine it will only apply to State politics, not Federal. It would have to pass both Houses of the Legislature to get on the 2016 ballot.

And it will probably never see the light of day.

Because Republicans like it this way. Oh, you will hear them complain about this problem. They will agree that "something should be done". There is too much money being used in this way.

But when the votes get tallied, they will support the status quo. They will stop this measure in its tracks, because corporations and wealthy donors do not want to see their names on public disclosure forms. And what they think is what Republicans think.

It would be nice if the bill could at least get a hearing. If a debate could be had on the floor. Minnesota could use some transparency in how the political system operates.

It would be nice. But don't hold your breath on that one.
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