The St Paul School Board race consists of many phone conversations between candidates and convention delegates. Because of the lack of newspaper coverage, one might not know how intensively delegates look at the candidates. Imagine 300 phone interviews for getting a job. I believe this party endorsement process is the best vetting system because it allows longer and more thoughtful conversations. It also allows candidates who are quieter to run.
One of my three votes will be for Chue Vue. Vue is the co-founder and a senior partner of United Legal Associates, LLC. Previously he was a research scientist for US Department of Interior. The Hmong community is very involved with our school system. Vue’s candidacy demonstrates that the Hmong involvement extends to all levels. An excerpt from why Chue Vue is running:
When my family had to flee Laos and I came to this country, I was ten years old and had never set foot in a classroom. I began my education in fifth grade. I had the good fortune to have excellent teachers, who cared deeply about a shy boy from a far away country.
Education opened uncounted doors for me since those first days of school half a lifetime ago. Now, I have my own children. For them, and for all our children, I want the same opportunities I was given.
A jury of eight unanimously found that deputies, Alexander Graham and Joseph Miller, had NOT been dismissed for political reasons. Basically Sheriff Bostrom’s office was able to terminate two unworthy probationary deputies and prove that it was valid in civil court.
On the last day of trial, there were just the last closing arguments and the judge’s instructions. To find in favor of Miller and Graham, the jurors would have to answer “yes” to two questions that concluded that Sheriff Bostrom did the termination and that he also did the termination for substantially political reasons. Lead defense attorney Charles Nauen did a great summary defense of the Sheriff’s office. In his closing argument, he begged the question of what was missing, like an explanation of how Sheriff Bostrom had supposedly done the termination. Miller and Graham’s attorney, Mark Gehan, then felt compelled to give an explanation in his following closing argument.
Attorney Gehan apparently thought Chief Deputy Kirkwood’s clear and confident testimony of being responsible could not be challenged. So he suggested that Sheriff Bostrom and Commander Camitsch conspired to set up information so that new Chief Deputy would be tricked into firing Miller and Graham. I am lucky to have been able to hold back laughter, otherwise I could have been in contempt of court. Gehan did not want to suggest that Commander Camitsch had ordered Sergent Erik Lerfald to write a negative summary, so Gehan suggested that Sergent Lerfald had “read the tea leaves” and knew what to do. To be fair, Attorney Gehan was playing a poor hand of cards. …READ MORE
Apparently, we, bloggers have power. As mainstream newspapers actively promote rich owners’ world views or simply avoid controversy, then bloggers become the voice of journalism. Our voice may be small, but given controversy and social media, the word can spread fast. We become even more powerful when we do investigative reporting and first-hand reporting.
So I guess I should not be surprised when a pre-emptive strike is taken at me by naming me in a lawsuit. What did I do to get named in a lawsuit? I took pictures at a parade.
From Case Filing 11-02401:
“On several occasions, Graham, along with several other Fletcher volunteers, witnessed members of the Bostrom campaign, including Bostrom’s wife, Cheryl Bostrom, and a Bostrom supporter, Grace Kelly, photographing the license plate of Graham’s personal vehicle during parades in which Fletcher was campaigning. “
The third day of civil trial of Alexander Graham and Joseph Miller was grueling. In the last week of being Sheriff, Bob Fletcher created 11 new probationary deputies. Two probationary deputies, Graham and Miller, were terminated. They claimed that they only lost their Ramsey County Deputy status because of political retaliation. The Sheriff’s office claimed that when the Minnesota mandated requirements were completed, it was obvious that Graham and Miller were unworthy to be deputies.
When the deputy is first appointed, there is a probationary period of a year, where the deputy “can be discharged for any reason” under Rule 23.5. After that probation, Graham and Miller expected a silver spoon job treatment. Graham and Miller expected that they would have a lifetime employment, at the maximum salary of $65,000 with full benefits, early retirement, overtime and full benefits. Clearly, Graham and Miller are privileged with many back-door connections. Miller got 3 chances to pass a psychological evaluation where candidates normally only get one chance. Graham had chances in 3 police forces: Roseville, White Bear and Ramsey County. Graham’s father was able to arrange a meeting with the Roseville chief and change the contents of his file. Even after no-hire recommendations, Graham and Miller had multiple jobs from previous Sheriff Fletcher. How many people can expect this silver spoon treatment in employment?
And now that Graham and Miller’s history and performance has caught up with them, they are crying fowl. Just the trial alone is costing county the time of 6 expensive people. Multiple people have to testify. Plus there is a judge and jury with court support. …READ MORE
Two Ramsey County Sheriff Probationary Deputies, Alexander Graham and Joseph Miller are suing Ramsey County and the Sheriff’s Office for losing their deputy status. They claim that they only lost their jobs because of political retaliation. In the last week of being Sheriff, Bob Fletcher hired several deputies, ending with 30 more full-time employees than the budget would allow. When the new Sheriff Bostrom came into office, it was obvious that steps had been skipped in the rushed hiring process. Skipped steps included a complete background check and the latest written psych evaluation. Chief Deputy Kirkwood completed the steps and then decided that two of the deputies did not meet the qualifications. From the Memorandum Opinion and Order of Civ. No. 11-2401:
Kirkwood testified that he decided to terminate Plaintiffs after reviewing their backgrounds because of the “derogatory” information they revealed. (Kirkwood Dep. 9.) Specifically, Graham had “failed” three previous background checks for other law- enforcement positions, was investigated for failure to adhere to orders as a community service officer for the City of Roseville, incorrectly counted the razors he distributed to inmates and received poor reviews from his supervisors as a temporary correctional officer for Ramsey County, and had a few cautionary notes in psychological examination. Miller had been arrested and/or cited for misdemeanors four times (including two juvenile arrests), “failed” the psychological examination for Ramsey County twice before, and had cautionary notes in his latest psychological examination.
I was intrigued enough to go to a day of the trial that is expected to last a week. And the supporting details are shocking. I can’t believe that a law firm would even take on the case. Follow me after the fold. …READ MORE
When a violent attack happens we get stereotyped false statements from the right wing. Even from right wing leaders who are considered rational, like Senator Susan Collins, we get statements like this:
“Whenever we have an attack like this it’s difficult not to think that it’s somehow involved in Islamic extremism,” said Maine Sen. Susan Collins, until recently a top member of the Homeland Security committee and still a prime mover on security bills. “I don’t have evidence to back that up. That’s just based on previous attacks.”
Actually when one looks the real evidence, right wing extremism provides the most terrorism threats. Of course that excludes the consideration of corporate greed terrorism that killed at least 14 people in the West Fertilizer Explosion in Texas this week alone.
In the graphic above, it is difficult to see the identical circles because of the surrounding perspective. We can fix our perspective with real information. The In the rest of article, I lay out graphs of where our real terrorism threats exist. …READ MORE
Three spots are open on the St Paul School Board with 6 candidates currently running: Jean O’Connell, David Martinez, Sarah Lechowich, Luis Ortega, Chue Vue, and John Broderick. Attending April 16 precinct caucuses and the party afterwards adds new developments. Everyone that I talked to has Jean O’Connell on their 3-vote list, so I would consider her endorsement extremely likely. The interesting development is the high Hmong turnout in very low-turnout precinct caucuses. I would presume that those Hmong votes might favor Chue Vue, giving him a huge advantage. John Broderick announced that this was his last run for school board. All the candidates were very active.
Three spots are open on the St Paul School Board with 6 candidates currently running: Jean O’Connell, David Martinez, Sarah Lechowich, Luis Ortega, Chue Vue, and John Broderick. The April 16 precinct caucuses will determine the convention delegates that will endorse three candidates on June 8. In between, you can expect at least one forum.
School Superintendent Valeria Silva took the helm at Saint Paul Public Schools in 2009, following a not-so-wonderful outside superintendent. She is high energy and dedicated, taking on difficult school closings and still proposing improvement programs. The Republican stealing of funds from education has muddled any true evaluation of St Paul schools or Superintendent Silva. All schools have suffered for lack of funds. Despite high property taxes, St Paul still approved a bond levy demonstrating a commitment to quality public education.
Last night, I captured some quick 30 second pitches from five candidates:
When I am persuading at events, I can frequently tell if I am going to get a good reception at 20 feet away. That is when one catches a eye of the recipient, and does the smile and nod routine. It seems that the non-verbal persuasions are more important than the verbal persuasions. Social science experiments show that just nodding ones head while listening will make one more likely to agree.
When people talk to each other, it is a little like a singing performance. They match up speaking rates, pauses, breaths and timing of movements. I think that the small talk at the beginning of a conversation is a chance to sync up.
Mix in a positive infectious attitude, and the person is persuasive. Emotion is contagious. We are emotionally influenced by the people around us. Charismatic people are the ones who non-verbally persuade others to join their mood. Oprah has a simplified version of the charisma test that social scientists use. If you take the test, know that you are not stuck with your score. Charisma can be taught. It is being very open and responsive to people. …READ MORE
Everyone can get better at persuasion. Even in small groups, it is worth the time on important decisions to rigorously do the analysis. Here is a sample of what that graphic persuasion analysis might look like, if we applied it to the gun violence issue. The key target here is DFL rural legislators. The graph portrays a very strongly organized but distrusted opposition of GOP, NRA and ALEC type of organizations. The advocates ought to win except they are not well organized and not very engaged.
Note clicking on the graph will get you a larger picture.
The State House has passed a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $9.50/hour and index it to inflation so $9.50 in today's dollars is worth an equivalent amount in next year's. The State Senate is dragging its feet, insisting on legislator pay raises *first*. Tell them to get off the sidelines, stop dragging their feet, and help raise up the working poor!