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2018: Year of the Post-postfeminist DFL

by Invenium Viam on June 29, 2018 · 0 comments

Where the boys are
Someone waits for me,
A smiling face, a warm embrace,
Two arms to hold me tenderly…
Connie Francis, 1960

 

In early February of 2016, Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright told young women that it was “their duty to support Hillary Clinton” in her presidential campaign.

 

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Ms. Albright, the first female Secretary of State in US history, said of the broader fight for women’s equality. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

 

A day earlier, Ms. Steinem had stumbled badly on the HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher when she suggested in an Overtime segment that younger women were backing Mr. Sanders just so they could meet young men. “When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ” she said.

 

Those remarks drew an immediate, widespread and hostile reaction from young women across the country.

 

“Shame on Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright for implying that we as women should be voting for a candidate based solely on gender,” Zoe Trimboli, a 23-year-old from Vermont who supports Mr. Sanders and describes herself as a feminist, wrote on Facebook. “I can tell you that shaming me and essentially calling me misinformed and stupid is NOT the way to win my vote.”

 

Word. Keeping it real myself, I have to admit to a brief moment of schadenfreude. Having gotten an earful a time or two for insensitivity to the challenges facing women in a patriarchal society, most recently from my wife and daughter over the recent revisiting of the Bill Clinton / Monica Lewinsky scandal, I was kind of happy to see a feminist leader of the stature of Steinem get flamed. If anyone should get a pass for saying or doing something stupid, she should. They’re probably going to erect statues of Steinem in campus quadrangles around the country. Books and plays will be written about her life and leadership. They’ll name high schools after her. And after she passes, a movie will be made of her life and struggles entitled simply, ‘Gloria.’

 

The most I’ll ever get is an epitaph on a headstone that reads, ‘He tried hard not to be an sh*thead.’ Unless I outlive my wife and daughter, that is. Not likely.

 

As a political junkie, I noted this kerfuffle at the time as a potentially significant event demographically. After all, young women among the Mil-Gen′s who were voting for the first time in 2008 supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Later, in 2016, polls showed they strongly supported Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, prompting the reaction from Albright and Steinem and the counter-reaction just described. I began to wonder if these facts were a bellwether of an attitudinal change in gender relations; hence, a change in gender politics. I wondered if they weren’t early evidence of a post-postfeminist ethos forming among young Democrats.

 

Then came the revelations about Trump the pussy-grabber and serial womanizer. Then came the Women’s March. Then came Cosby, Weinstein, Lauer, Roy Moore, Louis CK, and dozens of others. Somewhere in there came the accusations locally against Rep. Tony Cornish, State Senator Dan Schoen, and US Senator Al Franken. All of which fit perfectly with the focus of Fourth-Wave feminism as defined by feminist writer Prudence Chamberlain: economic and social justice for women and opposition to sexual violence and sexual harassment. Nope, I thought, 2008 and 2016 were just the anomaly of two charismatic male candidates opposed by a uninspiring female candidate with a militant sense of entitlement and a caustic demeanor on the stump.

 

But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

 

Getcha Mojo Below the Fold, Moe

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Mike Gelfand has long been the metro area’s most edgy and humorous sports and political scold. Although “Stretch” no longer splashes vinegar on KQ’s Morning Show, he podcasts on Mondays and Fridays at about 1:15 p.m. on Bob Sansevere’s “The BS Show” at thebsblog.com/.   Mike occasionally supports Democratic Visions, in its Quixiotic mission to rescue local lefties from the pundits, snoozers and wonkers of Almanac, Esme and AM950.

 

Gelfand welcomed me to his St. Louis Park backyard a few days after the Democrats left Philadelphia for the two of us to co-anchor the edition of Democratic Visions that would need to slog through the dog days of August and the annual plague of State Fair boosterism.

 

The two of us introduce an exclusive, 1988 interview I conducted with legendary WCCO-TV newsman, Dave Moore in Loring Park. Dave comments about the silliness of TV news, his then diminishing anchor role at Channel 4, the notable news magazines and documentaries that he fronted, and the fondly remembered “The Bedtime Newz,” an occasional TV news send-up that Moore confesses was not that good.

 

Our August initiative also includes a post Hillary nomination remix of the Junk Yard Democrats’ rippingly fun cover of “Who Let the Dogs Out” (now sporting Bernie and Hillary cameos) and  humorist Jon Spayde, in the guise of his “Professor of Negativity” character, ruminating about campus political activism and passing snippy judgement on several local colleges and one infamous, national, for profit, online University.

 

Regulars and staff of the Golden Leaf Tobacco gathered for the cigar lounge's wake on July 22nd, its last night of operation. Photo by Mohamud Mumin/Copywright 2016.

Regulars and staff of Golden Leaf Tobacco gathered for the cigar lounge’s wake on July 22nd, its last night of operation. Photo by Mohamud Mumin, Copyright 2016.

The half hour, however, begins with my brief eulogy of Golden Leaf Tobacco, the Minneapolis premium, cigar sampling lounge that operated on Lake Street between Bryant and Colfax Avenues. Until it closed its doors on July 22, “The Leaf” was the kind of institution to which Damon Runyon would have assigned his Underwood Six typewriter. During my three years of visits, The Golden Leaf was an ever changing, collegial carnival of the successful, wounded, thoughtful, entrepreneurial and humorous; of the NHL /MLB/ NFL flatscreen addicted; of the informed and ignorant of American politics, business, literature, cinema, cigars and food. For me, it made life during these strained political times – survivable. And I could read books with paper pages while savoring a hand-rolled cigar un-interrupted by drunks and waiters.

 

Here’s the link again.

 

 

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.
Program is lived streamed during airings

http://www.mtn.org/on_air/channel-16-webstream

 

Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Community Channel 15 — Thursdays 2 p.m. For other times see schedule http://qctv.org/program-guide/

 

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.

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SWLRT Stations - N Mpls

 

The late spring edition of Democratic Visions features a discussion with transit equity advocate Kenya McKnight Ahad and myself on Southwest Light Rail, public transit and North Minneapolis.  There had been hopes that the Minnesota State Legislature would, before end-of-session, appropriate $135 million dollars for the project through bonding or at least pass a bill that would enable other agencies such as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority to raise that amount.  That $135 million, the State’s comparatively small share of the $1.79 billion dollar project, is needed to complete a match to qualify Southwest Light Rail for $895 million dollars from the Federal Transit Administration.

 

Three Chambers of Commerce, the city councils of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie and most of the neighborhoods along the planned alignment are now hoping that a special legislative session will provide the $135 million along with, of course, other transportation needs.  During transportation, transit and infrastructure bill manuverings in the Legislature and opposition by some folks along the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis and the Claremont residential complex in Minnetonka, media discussion of the impact of light rail and improved bus transit on North Minneapolis has been non-existent. I argue that North Minneapolitans will have the most to lose should lawmakers fail to act positively.  During our discussion, Kenya McKnight Ahad advises that good transit studies and plans incorporating light rail and improved bus connections for North Minneapolis within its corner of the metro area and beyond already exist.  What doesn’t exist, Ahad says, is a dependable manner and commitment to fund the plans.  This segment runs about 22 minutes.

 

On YouTube

North Minneapolis, transit equity and Southwest Light Rail –

 

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.
Program is lived streamed during airings

http://www.mtn.org/on_air/channel-16-webstream

 

Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Community Channel 15 — Thursdays 2 p.m. For other times see schedule http://qctv.org/program-guide/

 

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.

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A Muslim Guy and a Jewish Guy talk about things.

by JeffStrate on February 21, 2016 · 0 comments


 
The current edition of Democratic Visions considers two distinct themes: Islamaphobia and Minnesota’s candidate selection and voting processes.  Minnetonka-based commentator and TV host Ahmed Tharwart and St. Louis Park DFL activist Michael Hindin discuss the similar dynamics of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic currents in America.
 
The three of us had gathered in December for chai and chat at Common Roots Café.  At the suggestion, reportedly, of a Somali customer, the Uptown area deli had recently posted a window sign that quietly confirms that, “hate has no business here … we stand with our MUSLIM COMMUNITY MEMBERS … we stand with REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS in our community … ALL ARE WELCOME HERE … “
 

Common Rootes Cafe sign

This sign began greeting customers of Common Roots Cafe in December 2015.


 
A Channel 11 news crew was grabbing sound bites and diner/customer shots when I arrived. The story about the sign and reaction to it made the six o’clock.  The copies of the sign had begun to show up at other Twin Cities restaurants and businesses and were going nation wide thanks to the website of Main Street Alliance, a network of small businesses.   City Pages and MSNBC reports helped give the sign trend momentum.
 
Common Roots restaurateurs Elana and Danny Schwartzmann say that the signs are a signal to all minorities that they are welcome in these places.
 
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slack(This is provided by Jeff Strate.)
 
The current edition of Democratic Visions considers the perspectives of elders who were civil rights and educational activists in Alabama in 1965 and Pastor Paul Slack, a new generation, North Minneapolis pastor who is actively engaged in today’s social justice challenges.
 
This year has marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma/Montgomery peace marches; the martyrdom of six civil rights activists, the Voting Rights Act and voter registration drives in the South. A nearly forgotten, but massive grass roots initiative to help under-funded, southeast Alabama school districts, which was operated by Tuskegee Institute, was also part of the mix. Democratic Visions attended a reunion in October at St. Olaf College of some of the project’s veterans including its coordinator Dr. Bert Phillips. In a separate segment, Pastor Paul Slack, pastor of New Creation Church and President of ISAIAH, a faith-based, state-wide alliance of churches working on social justice issues, shares his perspectives on the black experience in today’s America.
 

 
Democratic Visions is handmade 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.
 
CableTV Schedule
 
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.
 
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.

 
Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Channel 15 — Fridays 8 a.m., Saturdays 6:00 a.m., 10,30 a.m., 10:30 p.m.
 
Seven years of programs and segments are archived on YouTube.
 

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holding accountable magnifying glassBoth Minneapolis Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau are committed to changing the culture of the Minneapolis police into more of community police force. The police abuse has violated community trust. Chief Harteau even called in the federal Justice Department to put on more pressure to change. The Star Tribune describes the conclusions:

 

A year ago, the chief asked the federal Justice Department to conduct an independent assessment of the department’s officer oversight and discipline process. The yearlong study, conducted by the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center, pointed to a need to revamp its “Early Intervention System” and take a more data-driven approach to helping supervisors identify problem cops and provide them with additional training.

 

While the St Paul force does better, it still had a large settlement for alleged police misconduct by three officers, Diskerud, Sullivan and Whitney. The start of the incident was merely the stop of suspicious vehicle near University and Avon avenue, not a crime in progress. When the person that they wanted to question fled, the officers used their fists, feet and a flashlight to hospitalize that person for several weeks. Apparently the officers forgot they had tazers. Once a police target is down, every extra blow looks suspiciously like police abuse. This incident had many extra blows.

 

St Paul police force has 600 officers, where 99% act in a way that has built community trust over many years. Indeed when a St Paul police officer shot the wrong person years ago, the community was unhappy but there were no riots or even protests. Over years, many actions by many officers built that kind of trust. Yet there are still problem officers like Diskerud, Sullivan and Whitney that bring down the reputation of the whole St Paul Police department.

 
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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.

 

Democratic Visions Cable-TV Schedule –

Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.

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.

YouTube’s Democratic Visions Channel boasts nearly 200, finely produced videos

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North Minneapolis transit forum: SW LRT

by JeffStrate on April 8, 2014 · 0 comments

A little after 3 pm on Wednesday April 9, the Met Council will consider a slightly revised recommendation for the scope and budget of the Southwest Light Rail Project.  When completed, the new light rail line will become the westerly length of what the Met Council has branded “The Green Line.” It will link St. Paul’s Union Station to Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie – and the hundreds of businesses and scores of communities along the line.

 

Over the past year, major regional media has obsessed on controversies prompted by recommendations by planning engineers and SWLRT project committees of citizens, businesses and municipal, county and state officials, to route light rail along an active freight line through the so called “Kenilworth Corridor.”

 

Hundreds of recreational and commuter bicyclers travel through corridor between Kenwood and Cedar Lake neighborhoods every day.

 

Teams of planners, consultants and citizens have addressed the challenges of co-locating freight, light rail and bike trails though what folks have understandably come to think of as a recreational area.  The prospect of moving the freight trains to St, Louis Park or Chaska has been rejected as unfeasible several times.

 

Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback and frosh Mayor Betsy Hodges (in a SWLRT Project committee) have consistently argued against Kenilworth co-location plans calling for running LRT through covered tunnels hidden by the bike trail and vegetation.

 

With pinched sound bites and careless headlines, bolstered by hundreds of reader comments (caustic spitballs for the most part) in the Strib’s coverage, the Kenilworth controversy news wise has trumped all other aspects of the $1.6 billion project.

 
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How could a progressive have supported building the stadium? This question is asked by Professor David Schultz and others. What Schultz does not know is that the issue was not enthusiastically supported, it was accepted with great pain. Schultz, being an outside commentator, could not know this. I was in the middle of the discussion.

 

For Progressives that question was whether one can ever compromise or whether one embraces absolute values.

 

Here is what made the case for an acceptable compromise:

 

Minnesota was badly in need of stimulus. At the time of this decision, power was split between a Democratic Governor and Republican-controlled Legislature. A stadium was possibly the only building project that both Republicans and Democrats could support. Remember the possible alternatives are like Polymet that poisons our water for 360 low-paying jobs. I would gladly pay more in taxes to build a stadium in Northern Minnesota to keep out all copper sulfide mining.

 

A wise state senator told me his reasoning for supporting the stadium. In addition to the stimulus reason, there is the reason that no state has ever successfully resisted building a new stadium. In all cases, the stadium supporters eventually won. Building a stadium in the economic recession meant the lowest cost that we would ever get. Buying on sale makes great economic sense.

 

Another person pointed out that having a great stadium makes a Minneapolis, a “destination” city – a place one goes to. Being a destination city means more cash inflow. Proof that the stadium attracts more cash-flow than its’ costs is hard to find. Yet Minnesota is doing better than other states.

 

In this state, Progressives govern, going for every incremental step. It made sense to support building the stadium. But when the stadium support passed, there was no wild cheering. Instead the passage was marked by a funeral-like silence. We, Progressives did what we had to and we don’t like it. For better choices, we need to always turn out the Democratic vote.

 

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432 People Just For A Precinct Caucus

by Grace Kelly on February 20, 2014 · 6 comments

mpls precinct caucusExcitement filled the air as 432 people gathered to resume the Minneapolis precinct caucus that was previously suspended because of a fight. The University of Minnesota’s Coffman Union comfortably hosted the large attendence. Mohamud Noor, a local school board member is challenging Phyllis Kahn for her seat on the House of Representatives. Phyllis Kahn has been the local representative since 1972. Local Somali people were both serious and celebratory, dressing up for the occasion.
 
Buses were used to ensure easy and economical transport. To ensure fairness, outside help was used to facilitate and check credentials. Since residency in the precinct had been a major concern, all attendees were asked to bring the same proof of residency that voting requires. Everyone else was asked to watch in the visitor area which then filled to maximum capacity. Fifty DFL volunteers came from outside the area to ensure a courteous, speedy and accurate registration. Multiple official translators were provided in colored vests. Four tables provided help filling out registration with translation. Five tables provided the actual registration check. I saw only a one person try to register who was not in the area. Everyone could relax knowing that all rules were being rigorously followed and that official translators were providing the correct information. The perception of fairness is important!
 
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