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The final scrum in St. Paul

by JeffStrate on May 16, 2017 · 0 comments

DFL strategist/consultant Darin Broton and DFL statesman Tim O’Brien take measure of the coming proceedings at the Minnesota Capitol.  The legislators need to finish their work come Monday May 22.  But it’s never over until its over when the special session remains an option.  This Broton/O’Brien discussion is an exclusive, on-line, Democratic Visions Channel presentation.

 

Democratic Visions is hand made by unpaid lefty volunteers from Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Bloomington. Our program is not financially supported or endorsed by any political party, political action committee or special interest group.

 

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Hann Meets Cwod

by JeffStrate on October 20, 2016 · 1 comment

Minnesota Senate Minority Leader David Hann is seeking a fifth consecutive term in the Minnesota Senate. He represents Senate District 48, southern Minnetonka and all of Eden Prairie.

 

Challenger and first time canididate Steve Cwodzinski has recently been endorsed by former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson (R) and former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale (DFL).   I have met the recently retired Eden Prairie High School teacher and debut candidate several times this year, most recently for the taping of a discussion with DFL elder Tim O’Brien for Democratic Visions.

 

‘Cwod’ (pronounced ‘swod’ – a nickname that his students long ago attached to him), seems to be energized by the same progressive, populist currents that propelled Paul and Shiela Wellstone. Cwod, however, has a more engaging sense of humor then the Wellstones, who are among Steve’s heros. Cwodzinski is from a Superior, Wisconsin working class family and says that he will fight to get Minnesotans paid medical and family leaves and equal pay for equal work.

 

Steve says he will also work to close loopholes in gun laws that continue to enable criminals and domestic abusers to acquire guns. He will work to ease the severe, statewide shortage of school counselors and to get more 4-year olds into pre-school programs to fix what he calls “the opportunity gap.” Although Southwest Light Rail has found local funding to qualify for a federal matching grant and is moving forward, Cwodzinski has been aligned with local Chambers of Commerce and the elected City Councils of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka in support of the project. David Hann, the buttoned-down obstructionist, has not.

 

Senate District 48 is seen as a can win opportunity by the DFL and the left of center PACs. Cwod’s campaign itself, has been infused with an unusually high number of un-paid volunteers; former students who are energized and social media savvy.

 
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My Problem with Huggy Democrats

by JeffStrate on February 15, 2016 · 1 comment

Image of MSNBC debate stage

Rachel Maddow hugging Bernie after a recent Hillary/Bernie ‘debate’ on MSNBC.

 

Over the past seven years I have recorded on my video cam a variety of DFL functions, conventions, rallies, town meetings and Senate District central committee meetings.  I have edited the raw video for segments on Democratic Visions, the public access TV program that I produce with the help of other, unpaid volunteers.

A few elected and rank and file partisans have mistakenly thought that I was a “tracker.”  I and my production colleagues are not trackers.  Trackers are those pale, silent and creepy gents who quietly place a tripod with a tiny, mounted camera at the back of a town meeting.  They are  hoping to record gaffes and clumsy sound bites that can be used against the progressives and liberals of this world.  Lefty organizations also employ trackers, but I am not one of them nor do I know anyone who is but I know a cockroach from a real video journalist.  One of Democratic Visions’ missions has been to capture and to share on cable access TV and its  YouTube channel  the joy, humor, thoughtfulness, diversity and humanity of being a lefty.   One cannot do that from a stationary tripod or from the voyeuristic employ of a cell phone with a peephole lens.

 

When I am at, say, a DFL convention, I am waltzing about with a serviceable Sony Handicam for different angles of the speakers, panelists, audience members, coffee sippers, applauders and getting shots at the sign-in, candidate and refreshment tables.  I look for moments that can be used to show our essences in our various degrees of genius, wit, gravity and serendipity.  The tracker, on the other hand, with the tiny camera on the tripod or, for that matter, the hired professional/institutional ‘media’ crew with their own tripods and tiny cameras at the back of the room, cannot make anyone look good.  In that respect, they have something in common with the non-partisan, gray ladies who run the League of Women Voters candidate forums.

 

I grimace when, say, some city council or legislature candidate begins her/his introductory remarks with an unctuously oily ‘I want to thank the League of Women Voters for inviting me to share with you tonight why I am seeking election and how I plan to give back to a community that my family and I love so very, very dearly.’   Well,  ‘Thanks’ for what?   The televised and streaming versions of the stilted and pinched LWV forums are of interest only to a candidate’s campaign manager and spouse, the weekly community newspaper editor and the occasional tracker (if permitted by the gray ladies to set up a tiny camera on a tripod). These, well intended League attempts to spark voter interest are as reliably dull as a Ford Focus coated in February road salt.   It is my view that the LWV is sucking the juice out of Minnesota’s brand of democracy.

 

That’s why I risk losing what little dignity I still retain as a veteran television producer and journalist by prancing about meetings, kneeling, standing on benches, laying flat on the floor, sneaking up behind the head table or poking my camera into a trio of gabbers.  I am attempting to gather video and sound that local politics, in spite of the muzzle of Minnesota Nice, the leash of the politically correct, and the flare of the Black Lives Matter movements of our times, do indeed have a pulse and an ethic richer than the stump speech or the calculated chit chat on Almanac or the bombastic teasers on FOX and CNN.
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State DFL Party Chair on Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on October 22, 2015 · 0 comments

Ken Martin and Tim O'Brien

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and host Tim O’Brien discuss lefty stuff on the current  edition of Democratic Visions.

Ken Martin, Chair of the State Democratic Farmer Labor Party, and Tim O’Brien discuss challenges that Minnesota Democrats are facing during the build-up to the 2016 campaign season on the autumn edition of Democratic Visions.

The 25 minute long discussion is posted on YouTube.   I’ve listed its cable TV schedules below.

Martin, who became politically active as an Eden Prairie High School student when he volunteered for Paul Wellstone’s first U.S. Senate campaign, is optimistic about DFL prospects in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. Republican Congressman John Kline is not seeking re-election to represent the 2nd District, which Martin points out, is a swing district trending left. Regardless of who wins the Republican nomination, Martin feels either DFLer Angie Craig or DFLer Mary Lawrence can win in what he feels could be the most expensive congressional race in 2016.

 

Regarding the presidential race, Martin advises, “We can’t rely on their (the Republicans’) incompetence to deliver the Presidency.” Martin supports Hillary Clinton, but as Chair of the State DFL Party, says that “We’re Democrats. We don’t do a coronation.” In Minnesota, all Democratic Primary presidential candidates and their campaigns will have equal access and be welcomed to debates.

 

Both Martin and O’Brien also weigh in on next year’s local Minnesota Legislature races and the use of social media in making political connections.  In a related segment, I present my disdainful take politicians who grin for selfies and a humorous advisory from YourTango.com on Facebook etiquette. “Facebook Manners” is a clever, internet video parody of the kind of instructional films that were shown to teenagers during the Eisenhower era.

ON CABLE

EP, Mtka, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Comcast Channel 15 —
Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Bloomington – BCAT Channel 16 — Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.
Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 — Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Program is streamed at the MTN website during cablecasts.

Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Channel 15 — Fridays 8 a.m.,Saturdays 6:00 a.m., 10,30 a.m.,10:30 p.m.
Dem Vis is hand made by unpaid volunteers from Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Bloomington.  Our program is not supported or endorsed by any political party, political action committee or special interest group.

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The DFL Botanical Garden

by JeffStrate on April 30, 2015 · 0 comments


 
Well, MPP possums, few words are needed.  Lets enable the video to speak for itself as the Minnesota Legislature lurches into May.  The bit appears on the new edition of Democratic Visions and is a no budget initiative by Timid Video Theater and a hand full of lefty volunteers.
 

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State DFL’s GOTV tour visits Hopkins

by JeffStrate on October 31, 2014 · 2 comments

Democratic Visions taped some of the action when the DFL’s Get Out the Vote Tour bus visited its Coordinated Campaign office in Hopkins.  State Party Chief Ken Martin, Lt. Gov. candidate Tina Smith, 3 CD congressional candidate Sharon Sund, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and St. Paul Mayor Chris Colemen pumped up the hard working gathered.  Other notables can be spotted behind the speakers.  From Hopkins, the DFL bus headed to Carleton College, Northfield, then to Eagan, Oakdale, Hmong Village on Saint Paul’s eastside and the DFL Office in Frogtown (St. Paul).   Rather than follow the bus of politicos, electeds and worker bees, Dem Vis retreated to its edit bay to assemble this video.  It runs about 9:30.

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Video journalist Bill Sorem lenses demonstrations and press conferences normally shunned by mainstream media.  He posts mostly on The Uptake.

Video journalist Bill Sorem lenses demonstrations and press conferences normally shunned by mainstream media. He posts mostly on The Uptake.

Retired advertising executive Bill Sorem has become a familiar figure at demonstrations and protests staged by the likes of Native Americans, peace advocates, equity activists, minimum wage proponents, police violence whistle blowers and free Gaza campaigners. The issues of interest to Sorem, The Uptake (his primary internet publisher), Twin Cities Daily Planet and Democratic Visions, are underplayed by the Pioneer Press, the StarTribune, MinnPost, the community weeklies and local TV “journalists.” The latter, of course remain primarily concerned with amusing one another in their news studios, promoting themselves and the artistry of make up in the age of high def TV. Mr. Sorem’s takes on impaired mainstream coverage of local minority and controversial issues launch the autumn edition of Democratic Visions. His comments are supported by clips of his work including the July 18 Gaza-Palestine Solidarity march in Columbia Heights which boasted from 1200 to 1500 participants – an event you wouldn’t know about had you only been watching WCCO, KSTP, KMSP and KARE. Click here for the Bill Sorem segment.
 
Community activism themes continue in an Eden Prairie backyard coffee with Rebecca Lowen of Moms Demand Action (for gun sense), ISAIAH’s (Faith in Democracy) get-out-the-vote initiatives and the DFL’s coordinated campaign office in Hopkins.
 
Click here for the Moms Demand Action Segment.

Click here for ISAIAH press conference segment.  Courtesy of The Uptake.

Click here for the segment on the DFL’s Coordinated Campaign office in Hopkins.  Share this video with every one.

And click here for a remix of “He Talks the Line” a satirical music video about Congressman Erik Paulsen by the Junk Yard Democrats. The bit is foot-noted with a pitch for his Congressional District, progressive challenger, Sharon Sund.

 

Michelle Alamoradi and Andy Driscoll, co-hosts of Civic Media MN's "Truth to Tell" on KFAI radio.

Michelle Alamoradi and Andy Driscoll, co-hosts of Civic Media MN’s “Truth to Tell” on KFAI radio.

An in memoriam tribute to the late Andy Driscoll rounds out the program. Driscoll, the long-time St. Paul progressive who co-hosted KFAI radio’s Truth to Tell with Michelle Alamoradi, used public access television and community radio to amplify the voices and issues of whistle blowers, minorities and political reformers.  This segment features a never before seen video from my personal archive of  Driscoll commenting on iconic activist Marv Davidov as well as Driscoll’s forgotten but once celebrated, award-winning KTCA-TV documentary “Power Play.”   Click here for the Andy Driscoll Segment.
 
Democratic Visions is independently produced by Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Edina volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission and Southwest Community Television.
 
CABLE TV SCHEDULE

Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – Comcast Channel 15 – Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.

Bloomington – BCAT Cable Channel 16 – Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.

Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. MTN streams programs as they are cablecast.

Click here for full half hour autumn edition of Democratic Visions.
 

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DSCN6270The newest candidate for Hennepin Sheriff is Eddie Frizell, a Deputy Chief of the Patrol Bureau with the City of Minneapolis Police Department with 21 years of experience. He is also a Colonel in the National Guard with tours in Iraq and Kuwait. Frizell is challenging the current Sheriff Rick Stanek.

 

Just yesterday, Eddie Frizell was endorsed by the Hennepin County DFL after months of consideration. During the endorsement process, Frizell faced tough questions. One person asked Frizell, how would he ensure more probable cause and less profiling. The answer was that when officers better reflect the community, they make better decisions on probable cause. The vote of support was unanimous and enthusiastic.

 

Impressively, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies Association have also endorsed Frizell saying:

 

“It is clear to us that you understand creating a livable, safer community and that this requires a multi-faceted approach involving partnerships at all levels of the community and government. As a result, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies Association supports your candidacy for Sheriff of Hennepin County!”

 

As a writer, I wanted to contrast the endorsements of both candidates for Sheriff. However I ran into difficulties on the Stanek endorsements.
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What Otto Winning Over Entenza Really Means

by Grace Kelly on August 12, 2014 · 4 comments

Rebecca_Otto_Matt_Entenza.jpgBoth Rebecca Otto and Shawn Otto exemplify grace under pressure. Still under shock of an unexpected opponent, they rallied and organized an outpouring of support. Shawn personally ensured that every request of mine was fulfilled. Every one I know said the same. So every DFL event and parade became focused on persuading for Rebecca Otto. It also helped that Rebecca Otto had done great work, that was easily documented with awards and online-published papers.

 

DFLers responded strongly because Entenza threatened the whole DFL endorsement value.

 
I think Entenza thought he could run in the primary because of Mark Dayton. Entenza’s challenge was vastly different than Dayton’s challenge. Mark Dayton’s primary run had been clear when he entered the governor’s race because Mark Dayton had never been a person who flourished in endorsement politics. Yet Dayton was still a good election candidate. At every point, Dayton was clear and honest about his intentions, running against DFL opponents in a fair way. Entenza is great at insider politics, yet he snubbed insider politics. Entenza did not give notice. The way that Entenza made his case was not considered fair by DFL standards. Quite frankly, DFLers talk about the Entenza challenge in way one talks of a friend who unexpectedly changes on you.

 

So this race became about the people power of the DFL vs the money power of Entenza. In the dead of summer, in a race that normal media would not cover well, the DFL had to rally its votes. And they did. DFL endorsements are valuable and important.
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Voter fraud story not quite over

by Eric Ferguson on July 14, 2014 · 1 comment

Brian Rice, we’re waiting. Not for evidence. We waited in vain for that. We’re waiting now for your apology.
 
The news Thursday was bad for Rice. Hennepin County investigated his claim of a “coordinated effort” to have people vote illegally using the address of a business that rents mailboxes. They dismissed this allegation not merely for insufficient evidence, and not even for no evidence. They actually disproved the charge. Ouch.
 
Wasn’t hard to disprove. From the Minnpost link, “In fact, all but 16 of the people who registered there had done so before January of this year.”
 
That was Thursday. It’s now Monday. Well? Any apology coming? Rice surely knew he was dragging the reputations of legal voters through the metaphorical mud. He took his claim to an irresponsible media outlet to play up the story, knowing how voter fraud claims incite the partisans of the right, knowing he was throwing charges at an immigrant community that is detested in some quarters. How detested? Let’s put it this way: the Star Tribune stopped enabling comments on articles on certain subjects because of the hate speech those subjects attract, and one of those subjects was Somalis. Articles on Somalis bring out the racists, nativists, and islamophobes. Rice must have been aware this was the atmosphere into which he was throwing his scurrilous charges.
 
It didn’t have to happen this way. Had Rice restrained himself to claiming it appeared some people voted from an address that wasn’t a residence, he would have been fine. There was evidence for that. He could have said that without claiming or implying organized fraud or individual fraud. That would have saved him looking churlish in light of this paragraph:

A large number of the improper registrations were the result of the change-of-address process, which requires Hennepin County officials to update registration information when voters move. Though many of the 141 voters involved in the complaint maintain a mailbox at the Cedar Avenue center — it’s an easy way for people who move often to keep a permanent mailing address — those voters didn’t expect that their registration information would also change to the mailing center’s address.

In other words, many of the 141 did things right, registering with their current address, and adding the permanent address as the place where mail should be sent, and something got mixed up on the clerical end. Even the rest, where the voters made a mistake, were just voters making a mistake. Not one instance of fraud.
 
Republicans of course took the bait, jumping up and down in excitement because now the voter fraud accusation was being made by a DFLer. Vindication! Oops. Like every other claim of voter fraud, this one fell apart upon examination. So, Republicans, isn’t it time to admit you were wrong on this one? That you believed a charge that proved false? So far, nothing. A word of advice Republicans: if the information is coming from a Democrat, and you don’t want to get played like this again, then no matter how much you want to believe it, check it out first. You see how I saw right through it. You can do the same.
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