The April Edition of Democratic Visions begins with MN State Representative Laurie Pryor (DFL, HD 48A) and The Uptake’s Mike McIntee. The two discuss the current legislative session, sexual harassment, gun violence and some Hopkins School District girls who are making a difference. And then, North Branch Mayor Kirsten Hagen Kennedy and BelAhdan’s Ahmed Tharwat talk about her bid for the DFL endorsement to run for Congress in Minnesota District 8. Yes, Kirsten is that rare DFL candidate with an easy to take sense of humor! Democratic Visions is handcrafted by southwest suburban Democrats and lefties through Southwest Suburban TV and Bloomington Community Access Television. We also have a YouTube Channel and are seen on public access channels in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Richfield, Hopkins, Edina, Minnetonka, Champlin, Anoka, Rogers and Andover.
The Thanksgiving edition of Democratic Visions provides DFLers and progressives with respite from the cross-talking panels of post-election, conjecturing TV and radio pundits and Democrat Party spin meisters who have been getting it wrong ever since Bernie tossed his hat into the presidential candidate ring.
But first, this week the StarTribune has published commentaries by two of our favorite guests.
TV host Ahmed Tharwat and blogger Steve Timmer.
LeftMN’s Steve Timmer of Edina writes about the possibility of Keith Ellison becoming chair of the Democratic National Committee. Read “In search of a DNR Chair” here. BelAhdan’s Ahmed Tharwat of Minnetonka suggests that American Muslims need a survival guide. Tharwat’s sly think pieces regularly infuriate the trolling hyenas in the Strib’s reader comments section. Read it here.
Click on the photo of Eden Prairie’s Birch Island Lake to see the Thanksgiving edition of Democratic Visions
The new Democratic Visions opens with a video essay of mostly west suburban natural settings underscored by Aaron Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring” and continues with a variety of guests from this year’s video vault. Eden Prairie Council member Ron Case talks about his favorite hamlet of cul-de-sacs, McMansions, SW Light Rail, open spaces, diversity and good government. Humorist Jon Spayde returns as a spacey and failed TED talker who claims that the digital age is “so over, so yesterday.” We have also dusted off an April 2016 chat between DFL activist and Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien and blogger Steve Timmer that foreshadowed a presidential-elect Donald Trump.
Democratic Visions On cableTV
Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, 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.
Democratic Visions is hand made by unpaid 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.
Southwest suburban Democrats Yvonne Selcer, Ron Erhardt and Joan Howe-Pullis are watching their backs in their blue-trending MN House districts.
Three DFL endorsed candidates in three politically purple southwest suburbs define their positions and records on the pre-election edition of Democratic Visions. Moderate Democrat Yvonne Selcer is seeking a second term in House District 48A. She is being challenged by Republican Kirk Stensrud who held the same southern Minnetonka/northern Eden Prairie seat for a single term prior to narrowly losing the 2012 election to Selcer. Selcer’s team claims that the Republicans have made the former Hopkins School District Board chair their number one MN House target to flip.
My family, which includes two voting age kids, lives in 48A. The Stensrud, MN GOP and uber-conservative PAC pollsters, pitchmen and pornographers are hosing us over the phone and on cable TV, YouTube and Facebook ads and through our mailbox. The “pornographers” (employed here in only a figurative sense) include Pro Jobs Majority, Minnesota Action Project and the Republican Party of Minnesota. Yvonne Selcer’s comforting, school marm charm and legislative record expose the right wing smears as graffiti, spray-canned by folks in need of anger management intervention.
Edina’s Ron Erhardt is also a target as he seeks his 11th term in the Minnesota House. Nine of those terms were served consecutively when Mr. Erhardt was an independently minded, moderate Republican; he is now an independently minded, moderate Democrat. Erhardt was bounced out of the Republican Party after he and five other Republican legislators voted to over ride then Governor Pawlenty’s veto of a transportation-funding bill in February 2008. The lean, chiseled bucaroo did not run in 2010 but found time to entertain the usual suspects at a Drinking Liberally therapy session in NE Minneapolis a few weeks before the election. In 2012, Erhardt-the-Democrat was returned to the MN House by Edina voters.
One of Ron Erhardt’s Edina neighbors, DFL elder Tim O’Brien (our lead host on Democratic Visions), sees Ron as the most effective and knowledgeable transportation advocate in St. Paul. Blogger Steve Timmer (also of Edina) notes at Left MN that his fellow villagers are trending blue but do not vote for ideologues blue or red. Explaining, perhaps why Erhardt’s G.O.P. opponent Dario Anselmo says very little.
Eden Prairie’s Joan Howe-Pullis is challenging Republican incumbent Jenifer Loon to represent House District 48B. Loon was one of the few Republicans who voted for the marriage equality law last year. She was punished by south Eden Prairie party Republicans and forced into a very expensive summer primary. Although Loon crushed her right wing primary challenger, she now faces a popular community organizer. DFL endorsed Joan Howe-Pullis helped mobilize Eden Prairie opposition to the 2012 Republican supported ballot question that would have had the State Constitution define marriage as only between a man and a woman. With her votes back then, Jenifer Loon helped put that constitutional amendment question on the ballot.
House District 48B voters rejected the anti-gay, “marriage amendment” by 60%. Joan Howe-Pullis and her marriage equity colleagues did the hard work in a district where very conservative Republican Senator David Hann also lives.
Joan Howe-Pullis can upset her respected and conservative incumbent on November 4th even as Democrats are supposed to wither into minority status. In southern Eden Prairie, as the song goes, “the times they are a changing.” Howe-Pullis is well liked, knows her part of town and is an active member of the large, Pax Christie Catholic Community. Jenifer Loon’s overall conservative voting record (she opposed light rail and recent minimum wage hike legislation) may no longer fit her constituents.
All three DFL endorsed candidates need strong get-out-the vote support.
Minnetonka, Hopkins, Edina, Eden Prairie and Richfield – 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.
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. Democratic Visions is not endorsed or supported by any political party or political action committee.
The Central Corridor reach of the Green Line light rail service begins shortly after the Saturday 9 a.m. ceremonial ribbon cutting at Saint Paul’s Union Depot and continues throughout the day with events at various stations. I am amused that The Current radio station is producing a day-long line up of live music performances in celebration of the opening. The broadcaster is owned and operated by Minnesota Public Radio which continues to haggle with the Met Council about vibrations caused by LRT trains passing by some of their Cedar Street studios. The light rail project has paid for sound insulated windows and a special track bed featuring a concrete slab that “floats” on hard rubber pads to reduce vibrations.
An aside: Me thinks that the MPR board and members should tar and feather the architects and MPR executives who chose to build studios on a street that has long been a candidate for light rail.
The 15.8-mile, southwest half of the Green Line from Target Field to west central Eden Prairie remains in the preliminary planning stage. It is slated to begin operations in 2019.
The recommended preliminary plan to align light rail and freight rail through the Kenilworth corridor in Minneapolis or (during earlier considerations) routing freight rail through St. Louis Park, has so fascinated the scribes at the StarTribune and MinnPost and local television news assignment desks that Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie have attracted minimal reportorial interest. Journalistic coverage of southwest suburban light rail issues has only been generated by Sun and Eden Prairie News community weeklies and occasionally by the excellent Finance & Commerce.
That changed somewhat last week when MinnPost and a few other news outlets woke up and realized that the southwest light rail project was also passing through Minnetonka. The City of Minnetonka held its SWLRT “municipal consent” public hearing on the preliminary route and station location within its boundaries on Monday June 2nd. Residents and owners of the stately looking Claremont Apartment complex were among those who requested a slight re-route and an LRT station.
The current alignment in their neighborhood cuts along the top of a forested escarpment within earshot of the south side of the rambling apartment complex. Even though residents and owners have had more than a decade’s worth of SWLRT community meetings to lobby for an alignment and (more recently) a chance to sit on the project’s citizens advisory committee, it seems that few if any of them were dutiful in representing their interests in an ongoing manner to City of Minnetonka and SWLRT planners.
That said, the purpose of the municipal consent hearings in each of the five SWLRT cities is to provide residents and businesses at this early stage of the project another formal opportunity to comment on track alignments and station locations to possibly make them better. Both elements, of course, are subject to environmental, cost, safety, engineering and political concerns. Minnetonka Mayor Terry Schneider and his City Council colleagues and staff will seriously consider the Claremont requests but unlike Minneapolis, Minnetonka will not stop the entire light rail project for a local problem that is either unsolvable or could be fixed after the municipal consent votes.
The Strib and Finance & Commerce also reported on the Minnetonka hearing but they and the rest of the regional media ignored the far livelier municipal consent hearing in Eden Prairie on May 22. The embedded video is my take on that hearing and is featured in the current edition of Democratic Visions, the independent, cable access and Internet program I produce with help from other un-paid volunteers. (See below for cable schedule.)
I was interested in the tone and content of my hometown’s municipal consent hearing. With our in-your-face, right wing Republican Party and Tea Party operatives, Eden Prairie politics are edgier than those of our suburban neighbors. EP right wingers have attacked light rail as vigorously as the anti-light rail, DFL insiders and PBS liberals along the Kenilworth Corridor. Who would have thunk it? – Bill Moyers-viewing NIMBY’s in Kenwood and Fox-TV News addicts in Eden Prairie on missions with the same goal – kill light rail. From reading their respective rants light rail, one can assume that light rail transit would be as sure an end to La Vida Buena Minnesota as an Al Qaeda take over of the Aquatennial.
Municipal consent kinds of public hearings do attract folks who have reasonable requests for change as well as the smug, self-involved, anti-government, Bill O’Reilly populists of our times. This was the case at the Eden Prairie hearing. Local bullhorns Sheila Kihne, Donna Azarian, Frank Lorenz and Steve Smith spoke of their disdain for light rail. Collectively, they were an unintended homage to that academe situated, Groucho Marx warbled tune “What ever it is I’m against it” from the 1932 comedy “Horse Feathers.”
The foursome and their confederates applauded one another after each one’s respective turn at the podium; it is one that faces the officious Eden Prairie City Council bench of department chiefs and electeds including the adept and cordial Mayor, Nancy Tyra-Lukens. The LRT opponents did generate a few laughs but employed O’Reilly inspired rhetorical tricks. Bill, however is a highly paid pro.
Attending the hearing too, was a smaller but much more realistic and reasonable crowd of pro-LRT representatives from Eden Prairie’s business and minority communities. They and a majority of all Eden Prairians (according to a City of EP survey) do want light rail to serve Eden Prairie.
Meteorologist Paul Douglas brings his live presentation on climate change to Eden Prairie High School on Tuesday February 18th. The public is invited to attend “Weird Weather: Minnesota’s New Normal? Our Changing Climate and What We Can Do About It”
Mr. Douglas will speak on the increasing frequency of severe weather episodes – the record levels of property damage caused by hail storms that hit the southwest suburbs on August 6th; this winter’s prolonged sub-zero temperatures and the evil sounding “polar vortex”; and the probability of more mega storms on the order of Hurricane Sandy and the Duluth wash outs two summers ago.
Drought and flood are likely to cost just Minnesota’s economy billions of dollars. Douglas will review the scientific data that links the use of fossil fuels to climate change and will consider possible courses of action to manage it.
Shawn Otto speaks knowingly about science and climate change deniers and we share his pain in learning that the number of Americans who bully science and its messengers continues to grow. He does so on Democratic Visions videos. See video number one here and video number two here.
Well possums, Paul Douglas is Minnesota’s first CBM broadcast meteorologist one of the most engaging pro-science advocates we have. Douglas has more than 33 years of experience in broadcast radio, television, web production, printing, and reporting. He currently heads Weather Nation cable channel, writes or the Star Tribune and is a recurring guest on TPT’s Almanac.
Join me and others for this event planned for February 18, 7-8:30 pm in the South Commons at Eden Prairie High School, 17185 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie. The doors open at 6 p.m. to provide attendees time to visit the exhibits that will be set up by sponsoring and supporting environmental organizations including Environment Minnesota, Cool Planet and Citizens Climate Lobby.
Southwest Transit CEO Len SImich and progressive broadcaster Nancy Nelson discuss the future of commuter bus service and light rail transit in the southwest suburbs on the current edition of Democratic Visions.
Simich says that Southwest LRT project planners and the Met Council are expected to begin negotiating terms that would enable light rail to share SW Transit’s large station, parking ramp, restaurant and condo-apartment complex wedged between Highway 212 and Technology Drive and Purgatory Creek Park, Eden Prairie’s most heavily used, non-athletic park.
But those negotiations, says Simich, will only occur if the Met Council chooses to run light rail as far as or beyond Southwest Transit’s large Eden Prairie hub at Technology Drive and Prairie Center Drive. The publicly owned bus company serves Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska. Simich and Nelson agree that the Met Council should not attempt to diminish this award winning commuter service to provide advantage to its own, much larger Metro Transit bus service or light rail. Carver County, Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska have passed resolutions of support for Southwest Transit’s position, but Simich reports that to date, the Met Council has shown little interest in discussing the issue with Southwest Transit.
Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through DFL Senate District 48 at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission.
Cable cast times:
Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – Comcast Channel 15 – Sundays at 9 p.m., Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 9:30 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.
The image to the right is from Republican David Hann’s campaign website (link here for full view). It seems in May 2010, Hann held a Press Conference announcing the beginnings of an ethics complaint about a DFLer who had ethics problems — and is now out of office. This image of Hann’s website shows links to a press conference Hann, along with Republican Senator Geoff “I only lied because I had to” Michel, held — and it’s worth remembering what Hann had to say at that time. Let’s look!
“I think all of us in public office, we need to exercise the best judgement that we can to make sure that what we’re doing, uh, doesn’t send the appearance to the public that we’re, uh, seeking any kind of special treament or doing things that are of benefit to us personally.” — Republican Senator David Hann, 20 May 2010
OK, why bring that up, now? Well, because of what Hann said about HIS behavior, just the other day: From Minnesota Public Radio:
“What I did was perfectly legal and legitimate,” Hann said. “I did not have a license at the time I did that, was not contemplating having a license at the time I did that. After the fact, I got a license, [which] would no different than anybody in the state of Minnesota who decided to get a license after the law was passed.” — Republican Senator David Hann
OK, working hand in hand with an owner of an insurance company – John Tyler – while working in the legislature as Chair of the committee that affects said insurance company owner, and then going to work for said insurance company owner after getting legislation passed affecting said insurance company owner may be “perfectly legal and legitimate” – but it sure gives the impression of, as Hann stated in May of 2010: “…doing things that are of benefit to us personally.”
Because, Hann’s behavior reeks of “…doing things that are of benefit to us personally.”
Since December of 2011, Hann has been involved in three things that really reek: the sacking of then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch; the infamous Lunch Hour Lit Drop; and now getting licensed to sell health insurance, taking a job with an insurance company who he worked with for God only knows how long on health insurance issues, and taking a board position with a health insurance trade association.
When the Legislature convenes in January, the Senate’s Ethics Committee needs to take a long hard look at David Hann and the timeline of what he’s done.
Assuming, of course, he doesn’t resign first…
After all, if Hann wants to walk through the ol’ Legislator-to-lobbyist revolving door so common today (except in Hann’s case, it’d be “Legislator to now-employee-of-business-owner-he-helped), he shouldn’t let the door smack him on his way out.
I’m thinking if he doesn’t, Hann will get smacked by an Ethics Committee investigation.
The House should take a long hard look at Gottwalt, too.
GOP Senator Hann’s problems started with his involvement in The Gang Of Four; which is a scandal because four Republican State Senators called the media to attend a press conference in December of 2011, smiled at the camera — and one of them, for sure, proceeded to lie through his teeth. As of this date, we don’t know what Hann knew, when he knew it, nor what his role in this scandal is – and he ain’t talking.
We’ll skip to late last month, when the story broke about Hann’s apparent concealment of who he works for/what he does. What we know is Hann has a license to sell insurance and works for a company that sells insurance – Boys & Tyler Financial. Fox9 covered this story; that’s where the image to the right came from. It’s a statement Hann sent Fox9; Hann says was “too busy campaigning” to talk to the reporter. Hann’s been ducking reporters ever since.
And here’s something David Hann is probably NOT going to want to talk about either. That facebook image, to the right? That’s Brad Biers’ page. Who is Brad Biers? According to the State Senate HHS website, Biers is the HHS Committee Administrator; a Committee David Hann Chairs. And what does Biers say, in his facebook post?
“All of my political clients won last night! A Sincere Congratulations to Sen. David Hann, Sen. Paul Gazelka, Sen.-elect David Osmek and Rep.-elect Marion O’Neill. These are four of the finest public servants Minnesota has to offer.
Election cycle 2014 begins. Contact me for winning ideas and and strategies anytime.”
RuhRoh… Committee Chair David Hann’s Committee Administrator has David Hann as a political client???
No doubt about it: a State Senate Staffer – Brad Biers, wages paid by taxpayers – is also doing political work for not only his State Senate Boss, David Hann – he’s also done it for three other elected officials and he’s looking for more.
And not only is he looking for more, he’s looking for more at “anytime.” Let’s look at that facebook post, again:
Election cycle 2014 begins. Contact me for winning ideas and and strategies anytime.
Including the time he’s supposed to be doing the taxpayer’s work??!?
Ladies and Gentlemen, that reeks. Don’t know if it’s illegal, or if it’s against Senate Rules, but I intend to find out.
In the meantime, in addition to all the unanswered questions Hann has regarding his role in The Gang Of Four, The Lunch Hour Lit Drop, his conflict of interest with regards to what he does for a living, Hann can now add the work his staffer did to the list.
The endorsement came in the form of a Letter To The Editor in the local paper; published 18 October 2012.
Now, that’s a nice letter, talking about the great job (“huge contributions”) Hann is doing – seen by the residents that subscribe to the local paper right before election day. But nowhere does Mr. Tyler, of Boys and Tyler Financial, disclose that there might just be a slight conflict of interest: Hann works for Tyler.
One would think the voters of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka, in Senate District 48, should know that.
Should Hann be re-elected, Hann will go back to the State Capitol, in the Legislature, where he’s the Chair of Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. Why is that committee important? Because it oversees and writes legislation affecting the health insurance industry; the industry Mr. Tyler’s company (Boys & Tyler Financial) is in, which is the company Hann works for. How convenient – for them.
We know by this screen shot that Tyler and Hann were scheduled for another health care forum, on 17 October 2012.
Tyler and his employee, Hann, have been involved in working on health care legislation for at least a year. What we don’t know is how long Hann has been an employee of Tyler. In fact, Tyler’s Letter to the Editor failed to disclose Hann even is an employee.