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No Endorsement For Mayor Doesn't Denigrate the Process

Category: DFL2012
Posted: 06/19/13 16:54

by Dave Mindeman

The DFL Endorsing convention for Minneapolis Mayor received a lot of commentary.

The Strib gave it a thumbs down.

A Betsy Hodges supporter said it was "No Way To Pick A Mayor".

City Pages called it "chaotic".

And an outsider watched in wonder.

A lot of verbage....and... well.... there should be.

This was a contentious endorsement process. It was a wide open DFL process....several candidates....a lot at stake.

And, as usual, when we have this kind of contest, some of the players will start questioning the entire process.

That is not necessary.

In Minneapolis politics, the DFL endorsement is an enormous prize to take home. This is a peculiarity which pertains mostly to Minneapolis city politics, because the DFL simply controls a huge electoral advantage here.

So, the endorsing convention was dealing with high stakes and a lot of pressure for the participants. This can lead to a lot political games which one side or the other is not going to like. That's OK, politics is not a low contact sport.

But to challenge the entire process is somewhat out of line. The people that walked that convention hall are the political working class. They man the phones, walk the sidewalks, hold the signs, and make strategies work.

To me, their opinion is a very important one and although, yes, the process can be manipulated, it still comes down to delegate votes. And those votes mean everything.

I realize that a lot of people want to dump the caucus system and have Minnesota be a primary only state. But I think that would be a mistake. The people who do the party work; the people that are in the trenches for their candidate; the workers who do the countless thankless jobs, should get their say on which candidate their party will support.

The primary is still there. It will still happen. And in the case of this particular endorsing convention - it can be (and is) a primary strategy for some of the 2013 candidates.

There was no endorsement at this convention. And it wasn't for lack of willingness to endorse - it just seemed that it was meant to happen. With a strong field of candidates, that is always a viable alternative. And in this case, a lot of us on the outside think it was the correct thing to happen.

It also leads to another benefit. A full test of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).

Today, candidate Gary Schiff dropped out of the race. Whether this was for personal reasons or as a strategy to promote the Betsy Hodges campaign....doesn't really matter. It is something that we will need to watch as strategies for RCV come into play.

It was a long day for the delegates and yes, there were a number of unhappy people - but I believe that the process ended up showing the strength of the system -- rather than exposing any weaknesses.

I know many people will disagree with that but there are results to point to --

1) Mark Andrew and Betsy Hodges rose to the top and got exposure as top tier candidates.

2) The field will be narrowed down as paths to victory get fully assessed. Which in turn, can consolidate some resources.

3) The activists got a chance to really get to know their candidates and what kind of vision they have for the city.

Even with no endorsement, these are valuable parts of the puzzle.
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Emerson Management Is (gasp!) Expanding In Minnesota

Category: DFL2012
Posted: 06/12/13 19:09, Edited: 06/12/13 19:10

by Dave Mindeman

As an investor, maybe you should steer clear of Emerson Process Management Rosemount. Obviously, they are prone to terrible business decisions....

Emerson Process Management President Steve Sonnenberg said in a statement, "We are delighted to expand our operations here in Minnesota, which not only offers a quality workforce and excellent business climate, but also already serves as a major hub for Emerson in North America.

Hey, what is he smoking? Really.... Minnesota?

And then there is this...

The long-term plan for the Shakopee facility will include both office and manufacturing use, with the first project phase focusing on office space. According to a company spokeswoman, the 500 new jobs will include 300 salaried and 200 hourly manufacturing positions. On average, the 500 jobs will pay $60,000 annually.

Expansion. Good paying jobs. Excellent business climate.

Didn't these guys get the memo? You can't talk up Minnesota business climate. The Chamber will blackball you.

Republicans spend so much energy talking Minnesota tax blarney that they simply ignore that Minnesota's economy is just plain improving and moving ahead.

The real message here is not tax cuts, but targeted and temporary tax breaks. Emerson will be getting a $6 million tax break on sales and property taxes.

The same type of tax targeting moved Mayo's DME plan and the Mall of America expansion.

You don't need Job-Z and massive business tax breaks, you just need to find the right fit and give the right incentives.

You build business with relationships....not rhetoric.
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The Case Against Majority Leader Tom Bakk - Part 2

Category: DFL2012
Posted: 06/03/13 22:27

by Dave Mindeman

Although Republican obstruction is the main problem with moving a Minnesota agenda forward, it is not the only problem.

Compromise is a good and necessary thing within a legislative issue, but taking a broader "let's make a deal" approach with unrelated pieces of the puzzle can be a set back.

Majority Leader Tom Bakk's role in the end game for the 2013 Legislative Session changed the course of legislation...and not in a good way.

Two Republicans and one DFLer told MinnPost that the minimum wage bill - and a proposal to toughen the state's anti-bullying law in schools - fell victim to last minute political maneuvering between DFL and GOP legislative leaders.

DFL Rep. Ryan Winkler and two Republican legislators who declined to speak on the record say Senate leaders came to deal that secured a bonding bill for Capitol repairs and ensured an orderly end to the session in exchange for no action on those two policy provisions.

Of course, for the record, Bakk denies that it happened that way....

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and a Senate staff spokesman deny such a tradeoff......"We just kind of ran out of time to get an agreement with the House on raising the minimum wage," Bakk told reporters at a press conference the morning after the session ended last week. "I do believe we're going to come back next session and do that."

...but the scenario does explain a lot of the odd maneuvers in play during that last day.

As for the time element...the Senate passed its version of the minimum wage bill on May 8th. The House had already passed its bill on May 3rd. So, there were at least 12 days of conference committee work available, yet no serious efforts were done until the final day.

Rep. Winkler kept working till the last minute in conference but gave up when cooperation just didn't materialize.

The Bullying Bill also passed the House on May 6th, but in the Senate it was always pushed aside as Senate Republicans threatened a long debate.

When the bonding bill failed in the House, Capitol reconstruction was going to die with it. And so Bakk worked to resurrect that with a smaller bonding bill.

Efforts on minimum wage and the anti-bullying bill got the full support of the House and despite all the other issues, the Speaker and House leadership worked to move these bills.

The Senate did not move them along - and in the end, Bakk seems to have used them as bargaining chips for that bonding bill which he Bakk seemed to feel had more importance than both the minimum wage and anti-bulling bills combined.

No one will argue that Capitol renovation is important...but the minimum wage and anti-bullying legislation did not have to be mixed into that agenda. Bakk use them as an opportunity.

Sure they can be brought back again. But next year is an election year and moving legislation is always tougher. Republican opposition to these two bills will only strengthen. And after the 2014 elections, who knows if these bills will have the same legislative opportunity with the majority party still to be determined in the House.

Majority Leader Tom Bakk has been on his own legislative page. He is not in tune with the progressive cause....

and quite frankly, there may need to be a change.
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