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Win the vote when the Election

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels: , ,

An editorial by Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, and Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune by highlights a great number of problems with our current system on electing a president, the problem with the solution does not in any way solve the problem.

Election money goes to where the votes and more specifically where a large number of voters who may be the fence are, this isn't going to change simply because of a change to how we award Electoral votes in Minnesota.

The State of Minnesota needs to look at how we award Electoral Votes, that much we agree on, however the solution I prefer is to award an electoral vote based upon the winner (person with the most votes) in each of the congressional districts and two electoral votes for the over all winner in the state. Puts as much importance on the Eighth Congressional District as the Sixth Congressional District.

Republican - Congressional Reistricting Plan

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels:

statewidecong

The Republican Plan, released on Monday, has about as much chance of getting approved by Governor Dayton as I do of winning the Powerball Jackpot tonight, virtually Nil.

So why make the proposals, it is called Negotiations, you start at what you really want and than work you way towards an agreement. The problem is Governor Dayton holds to many cards for the Republicans in this case.

The Republican Proposal is an attempt to make the reelection of it's four Republican Congresspeople easier, notably Chip Cravaack in CD 8 who has at best an uphill battle to hold onto his seat.

There are some nice things about the Republican Plan, like separating St. Paul and Minneapolis, which they have done in the past. However to do so they did some weird lines, including dividing my city of Woodbury into multiple Congressional Districts which runs counter to state law, except where necessary.

Also intresting on the Changes to the 6th CD, which on map doesn't shed much but supposidily drops several hundred thousand voters, got to say I don't believe it.

Liquor Sales on Sunday

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels:

In Minnesota we are one of 13 states that does not allow Liquor Sales on Sunday or a number of Federal Holidays and recently a push has been made to change our Sate Laws to allow this and make other changes to our Liquor Sales system.

The problem of course you looking at making a change and you must ask is who benefits?
Obviously the consumers benefits, but do they really?

Liquor Sales on Sunday will cut into minimal profits of many smaller, Mom and Pop Owned or Community Owned Liquor Stores. This will greatly hurt those stores in the out state area where sales on Sunday will be negligible. Allow me to explain, my parents had a small business with a Liquor License while I was growing up, even in Wisconsin Liquor Sales on Sunday where an incredible small portion of their sales. It wasn't that Joe Schmoe and his friends didn't buy a bottle of Wine or a Case of Beer, rather it was just one or two people. So the reality is it is just a minor convenience to the individual who forget to buy that one item.
Minnesota requires that Liquor Business be broken up into separate business, so unlike my parents who also sold groceries and gas, these are just Liquor Stores. How many of these businesses are going to turn a profit for being open on Sunday, my guess is damn few. These businesses are not going to have enough in sales to justify being open but will be required to.

To continue to make their current level of income that means the cost of Beer, Liquor, and Wine will have to increase so that one person in several hundred who wants to buy an Alcoholic Beverage for Off-Sale purchase.

In my opinion unless you are going to overhaul a great number of Liquor Laws this one should be left alone.

The Stadium Deal that Isn't

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels: ,

In my letter to Governor Dayton on April 6th I warned about the hidden or not included costs of building a new Stadium and in today's article by the Star Tribune those same issues are brought up and let's not forget today's editorial in the Star Tribune either.

I cannot believe that educated people who do this for a living, I mean our elected officials, did not or ignored these issues.

While I personally would like to see the Minnesota Vikings get a new stadium, the sites being talked about are not in anyone's best interests. They cost too much and have too little improvement for anyone but the Wilf's pocketbook. Nothing against people making money with Big Time Businesses.

I still believe that building a stadium near the Minnesota State Fair Ground makes the most sense for the people of Minnesota.

Looking ahead to 2012

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels:

On a State Level the Republicans control the majority in the House and Senate how will their campaign look next year when running to retain control.

Expect to see a lot of hot topics which score points with the conservative base pushed, these include Abortion, Gay Marriage, Gun Rights, and Taxes. The question that will need to be answered is how are the people in the Middle with Right leaning tendencies going to take those issues being forced upon them.

In several latest polls (including the one by the Star Tribune) indicate as much as 70% of Minnesotans support a women's right to choose. While this has been a hot button issue with the state politics for years many don't think it is an important issue, especially with the state deficits. If the Republicans push too hard on this issue the risk large black lash from the middle.

Gay Marriage is another issue that the Social Conservatives want to push, well more specifically they want to push a Amendment to the State Constitution in an effort to further block Gay marriage in the State. Worried about "activist judges". It is interesting that Minnesota is considered to have an extremely Liberal Judicial base in both State and Federal courts, yet so far no challenge to the law has gotten any legal traction here. This push can only be made to get more support, I mean dollars, from the Conservative base. The big problem for the Republicans is there plan may back fire on them. This is an issue that could come to dominate the elections come next Summer and since Minnesota Leans Left on the Social Issues could this issue get more Democrats to the Voting Booth than Republicans?

Gun Rights just like Gay Marriage is another Conservative issue that could back fire for the Republicans if pushed too hard. I expect to see this issue early in the election cycle than basically forgotten until three weeks before the election in November.

The No New Taxes issue which always hits home with people, including the 90% of Minnesotans who it doesn't apply to in the first place is going to be the top issue. However for the Republicans it is putting them in a very hard place to stay. Most Minnesotans understand that for Government to work it needs Money, that money is collected in Fees or Taxes (spelled Fees if you read Tim Pawlenty's Lips). If you play less in one form you need to pay more in another, for most Minnesotans the Statewide issues will result in higher local taxes, um property taxes. Minnesotans are going to have gotten thier 2013 Tax stuff by the time the elections happen and this is not going to be pretty for the Republicans. This is why they are pushing bills and the like to hold down Property Taxes. The funny part is for Most Minnesotans who would be effected by tax increases aren't as high effected by the property tax increase and Vice Versa.
If the left can hit that fact home this is a losing effort by Republicans, if Not expect 90 mailings a day highlighting the "Tax and Spend" Democrats.

Bruce Anderson - Austin Herald

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels: , ,

An Article in the Austin Herald about Bruce Anderson being elected Party Director.


Bruce Anderson, whose parents are still locals, was named the state Party
Director of the Minnesota Independence Party during its annual convention
Saturday.

“It was exciting,” Anderson said. “It’s not a role that you
take lightly and just decide that you’re going to do it within a week.”

Mark Jenkins Elected Party Chairman

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels: , , , , , , ,

Mark Jenkins, the Interim Chairman, was elected to a full term as Party Chairman at the Annual Party Convention.



My focus for the next 12 months is to build the IP brand. In 2011, the party behind great candidates like Tim Penny, Dean Barkley and Tom Horner will put its own message in front of Minnesotans. In 2012, we will put that messaging to work in state legislative races throughout the state.

The Independence Party of Minnesota will continue to be the voice for Minnesota’s moderate majority by presenting real, reasonable solutions to the issues that are central to all Minnesotans.



Bruce Andersen was elected Party Director, Sally Paulsen was relected as Party Treasurer and Chris Pfeifer relected Party Secretary

More than a new Stadium

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson

Dear Governor Dayton.

There has been much discussion statewide concerning the construction of a new venue used primarily by the Minnesota Vikings football team. To this discussion I would like to add my small voice to make some suggestions.


Minnesotans have a great opportunity not only to keep the Minnesota Vikings Football team here but greatly improve our State by providing jobs on both the short and long term, improving our Transit and Mass Transit infrastructure but improving the Great Minnesota Get Together, preserving our heritage and creating new traditions, as well as looking to improve everyone’s recreational and hopefully physical and mental outlook.


Allow me to explain.


There have been several locations suggested as possible locations for a new stadium, including Arden Hills, the current location of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, near Target Field, and Golden Valley; however there is one location that I am surprised that no one is mentioning, just south of the Minnesota State Fair Grounds situated between Como Ave and the rail line. The location south of State Fair Grounds is currently owned as a mix of private property and Minnesota State Fair grounds trust.


There are disadvantages to building at this location, the increased cost to purchase the property owned by the private entities, infrastructure work to support moving people and vehicles into and out of the venue and the lack of opportunities to build and construct privately owned secondary venues (restaurants, bar and grille, hotels). Construction could create hassles for the Minnesota State Fair during the Construction. This includes loss of parking and loss of access. The leadership of the Minnesota State Fair has not been enthusiastic about construction on or near the State Fair Grounds.


Just as there are some disadvantages there are a greater number of advantages to building a venue in this location that cannot be over looked. The dates for the Minnesota State Fair are well known in advance construction schedules and project dates could be organized to actually benefit the State Fair. Imagine building an improved parking structure and Mass Transit Station starting in September after the conclusion of the State Fair and prepared for the next year’s State Fair.


Construction of a not only a Stadium but a series of parking structures, both lots and ramps, could be used not only for 10 to 12 football games a year and a handful of other events but almost year round in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Fair, the current location of the St. Paul Saints baseball team, and other activities on or near the fair grounds.


With 30,000 parking spaces used on average of 30 times a year (900,000) vehicles with an average parking fee of $15, plus 6,000 parking spaces used daily with an average parking fee of $3 this would generate $13.5 to $14 million a year more than a standalone stadium in a remote location would. That amount generated in parking is almost enough to cover $788 million in bond payments if put into a trust that generates 5% interest.


Construction of a light rail and other mass transit infrastructure could be used for multiple events. This includes the State Fair, events at the Stadium and events at the State Fair Grounds like the annual Car Show. A light rail line could link the University of Minnesota Campuses currently served by the Campus Connector Bus, plus provide parking support at remote locations such as the University of Minnesota Huron Parking Complex. Mass Transit infrastructure, such as a Bus Terminal could support parking at other remote lots for the same events.


Building a venue on a location other than the current location of the HHH Metrodome will require spending on infrastructure, such as improvements for traffic of 30,000 or more cars and other vehicles per event, the location south of the Minnesota State Fair Grounds would provide the benefit that there is already a right away used by the University of Minnesota Campus Connector and other bus service that could be expanded to handle traffic in and out of the location that goes beyond the 10 events at other locations.


Using the location south of the State Fair Grounds allows the State Fair to actually grow without creating additional problems. For example a plaza near the Stadium and Parking could easily house dozens of new booth locations including maybe a relocated Porky’s Drive Inn which could be used for Friday Night Hot Rod Shows in addition to the State Fair.


A great opportunity presented by the location south of the Minnesota Fair Grounds would be the space to build other facilities at the same time or in the near future. A 20,000 seat Soccer/General Use Outdoor Stadium, a indoor long track speed skating facility, plus retrofitting some of the buildings and facilities located on the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. Beyond location we as a State need to think about funding a people’s stadium.


Do we really just want to fund the one Stadium or use the funds to support other venues as well. Including retrofitting the Target Center in Minneapolis, a Baseball Stadium for the St. Paul Saints Baseball Team, the Duluth Huskies Baseball Team, a Soccer (or Futball) venue for a Professional Soccer Team, and dozens of other Recreation Facilities. Minnesota really has the opportunity to set the stage for future funding if we do this right. Rather than just funding a Stadium we could fund a Trust Fund that could be self funding for decades that provides the ability for the State to build and construct Sporting and Recreation Venues, purchase Downhill Ski areas, support Golf Course, support Wilderness areas, and build venues for other potential sporting events, including making a bid at bringing the Olympic Summer Games to our great state.


If my numbers are correct just using the revenue from Parking and $30 Million a year from the Minnesota Vikings in rent for the Stadium, as well as revenue from the Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball Team and others you could create a fully funded Trust Fund that not only pays for a stadium and renovations to places like Target Center in Minneapolis, but a fund that could be used to pay for improvements to State Parks, build an Outdoor Amphitheater for the Minnesota Orchestra, build a facility for a new Professional Football Team and support Olympic Sports.


Very Respectfully Jeffrey M. Johnson

Rob Hahn - Reform Family Law Now

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels:

Read the Full post on MinnPost

Rob Hahn forming Reform Family Law Now group to seek change in child custody
laws
By Jay Weiner Published Thu, Jan 6 2011 6:24 am

Former Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Rob Hahn is expected to announce today that he has formed Reform Family Law Now, an organization that will seek to change child custody laws in Minnesota and other states.

A website — rflnow.com — has been established.

Hahn wants the "legal presumption" in a divorce situation to be joint "50-50" custody arrangements. Hahn believes that fathers are often discriminated against in post-divorce custody battles.

Op-Ed by Tom Horner

Posted by Jeffrey Johnson Labels:

Original Posted Here

When the Minnesota Legislature convenes Jan. 4, Republicans and Democrats
will be laying claim to their respective version of the “voters’ mandate.” Republicans – who won majorities in both houses of the Legislature – are convinced that Minnesotans want all solutions to fixing the state’s deficit to come from the spending side of the ledger. Democrats – backed by the election of DFLer Mark Dayton to the governor’s office – will be equally adamant that Minnesotans are willing to accept some higher taxes to maintain vital services.

If those are the only mandates Democrats and Republicans heard in the 2010 elections, Minnesotans better get used to hearing a lot of another word: gridlock. Meaningful, long-term solutions won’t be found if spending cuts or higher taxes are the only two tools used by legislators and the governor in an effort to forge good policy.

Legislators and the governor would do well to look beyond what one party or the other claims as a mandate and find in today’s divided government the great opportunity for reform – not policies that simply make the status quo cheaper (by cutting spending) or larger (by raising taxes), but innovations that build a stronger Minnesota for everyone.

Education is a good place to start. The debate in 2011 is shaping up as a re-run of the past several years in which the key question asked by both DFL and GOP state leaders is “how much?”. How much should we spend on teachers? How much should we ask property owners to pay to support local schools? How much should we ask students and their families to go into debt for college education?

A far better question is “what for?”. What we really need to be paying for is outcomes – not measured by test scores, but by citizens who are prepared for the future. The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that by 2018, 70 percent of Minnesota’s jobs will require some level of post-high school training. Today, we are falling far short of that measure.

Yet, the policy discussion in Minnesota too often revolves around fixing an institution – traditional classroom instruction in traditional schools – that is hopelessly out of date with today’s students. What is needed are entirely new approaches. Put teachers in charge of schools. Really in charge of schools – trusting them to hire and fire, to decide curriculum and to make decisions about how resources are allocated. Engage students as partners in education, not just passive sponges of facts. Use technology and student-directed learning projects in ways that allow students to create their own paths to knowledge. Invest in early childhood learning to make sure kids enter kindergarten prepared to succeed.

The same is true of economic development programs. Democrats and Republicans need to think differently about economic development. Minnesota’s future is much more tied to the Biomedical Discovery District at the University of Minnesota – a center of research that will produce breakthroughs in medical science and private sector job creation – than company-specific tax incentives.

In other words, economic development of the future will be about knowledge, requiring more public and private research dollars; a strong talent pool of workers, making accessible and affordable life-long learning essential for all; and, a marketplace that values innovation and risk-taking, necessitating streamlined regulatory processes and a tax system that promotes investment.

Minnesota’s tax system is the third area crying out for reform. Minnesota’s tax system should ask more of the wealthy, as Dayton proposes. But do it by simplifying the state’s tax system, curtailing deductions that disproportionately reward the well-off. Republicans are right in their contention that raising the income tax rates punishes job creation (higher individual income tax rates fall heavily on the small businesses that are creating the most jobs) and makes it difficult to attract and retain top talent in Minnesota.

The state needs comprehensive tax reform, starting with a transition to a system that rewards investment and savings. That means more revenue has to come from consumption taxes. Minnesota should lower the sales tax rate, but apply it to more goods and services. The result would be a tax system that rewards investment, promotes economic growth – including job creation – and creates enough revenue education and other core public services.

If policy makers heading to St. Paul are looking for the mandate of the 2010
election, try this: Voters are tired of politics as usual. They tossed the incumbent parties – Democrats from control of the legislature and Republicans from the governor’s office – as a way of telling all politicians that it’s time to end the gridlock. Reform offers Democrats and Republicans the opportunity to deliver on their principles and to restore Minnesota to a state of prosperity through innovation. That’s a mandate for the future.