Recent Posts


Otto Vote Had No Sulfide Mining Effect

by Grace Kelly on August 13, 2014 · 9 comments

Even though Matt Entenza never talked about the sulfide mining issue, there was a suggestion of sulfide mining advocates voting against Otto. Otto had recommended that sulfide mining companies put up the equivalent of rental deposit on the risk of harm to health and environment. The sulfide mining effect would show up in Congressional District 8. Dayton’s percentage between state wide and CD 8 drops by 3%. Simon’s percentage between state wide and CD 8 drops by 10%. So Otto’s drop of 6% is between those two numbers. I conclude that there was no effect based on sulfide mining.


Steve Simon was having a name recognition problem against two perennial candidates, so he has lower numbers and more variation. Simon was considered safe although I must admit those numbers were closer than I felt comfortable with.


This table was generated with a 93% of the precincts counted.


otto analysis


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.


Republican Seifert Back to Stealing Reserves

by Grace Kelly on August 8, 2014 · 4 comments

marty seifert theifThe one time that people really count on government is during an emergency. Our emergencies include tornadoes, droughts, floods, heavy storms, mega fires, oil train spills and toxic accidents. We are more exposed to all emergencies more than before. To be able to respond, government needs a reserve of money. Republican candidate for governor, Marty Seifert wants to spend money on transportation. Since a Republican can not ever raise taxes, he has to steal or borrow the money. So he is stealing money from the reserve. Republican thinking is that a nice shiny road is preferable to saving lives in an emergency. Scumbag is the safest language I can use, but it does not adequately state the despicability of this move.


Can Entenza Buy A DFL Race?

by Grace Kelly on August 5, 2014 · 1 comment

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 7.34.11 PMState Auditor is an executive services office that traditionally is seen as better if all the advice, rules and treatment are applied the same for every party and every person. Good management of money is a very high Democratic value. Our current state auditor, Rebecca Otto, has even asked for better financial practices on big current political projects.


Minnesota’s own League of Cities thinks Rebecca Otto’s work is excellent, giving her the President’s Award. Minnesota State Fire Chiefs gave her a “Golden Axe” Award for distinguished public service to the Minnesota firefighting community. Nationally, she was named one of the 15 most influential professionals in government auditing at any level by the Institute of Internal Auditors, the 180,000-member worldwide association of the auditing profession. Even I have used several of her reports in my articles. Otto is that good.


Here is the real craziness. Everything that Matt Entenza would want to stand for, he can do better outside of the state auditor’s office. In fact, it would be better for Entenza to be full time and not be a state auditor. Matt Entenza could even buy the Pioneer Press and have the ultimate speaking platform. Or buy a TV station. We do need a champion for all those great issues and I do wish Matt Entenza would do it.


In a total misfire of direction, Matt Entenza instead targets a excellent state auditor when he does not want to do auditing. Here is what the Otto campaign believes that Entenza has spent of his own money:


$227,000 on July 29
$15,000 on July 31
$125,000 on August 1
$622,000 as of August 1


Since all of our major media is now Republican owned, I truly want Entenza to buy a major media outlet instead.

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Zellers Brags About Failure in Leadership

by Grace Kelly on July 14, 2014 · 2 comments

zellars failure

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers is bragging about his failed leadership in shutting down the state government in a press release:


“Democrats, political pundits, special interest groups, and even many Republicans predicted that we wouldn’t hold to our principles and that the Republican-controlled legislature would cave to the intense political and media pressure during the shutdown,” said Zellers. “But I did not surrender and the GOP legislative majorities did not cave. Instead, it was Governor Dayton who surrendered to us after two weeks.”


In the legislative races in the year after the shutdown, it was clear that Minnesotans thought the shutdown was the worst possible choice, They rightly blamed the Republicans because the Republicans are still bragging about it. I knew in the Jim Carlson race that I had a winning argument with Business Republicans. I would ask Business Republicans: Would they run a business this way? Would they run a negotiation this way? Would they trust a supplying business that ran this way? The answers are resoundingly “no”. As an MBA, I knew this. There is even a class in negotiating in the MBA curriculum, that Minnesota Republicans would have failed. Obviously, the improved winning margins in a non-presidential year meant that many voters saw the shutdown as wrong.



jon applebaum1

Jon Applebaum is running for state representative in the Minnetonka-Plymouth-Woodland community (44B) where highways 494 and 394 intersect.


Jon continued the tradition of his family of entrepreneurs and small business owners by starting a company that provides real estate consultancy services. He is a practicing lawyer as well. He volunteers with Tubman Pro Bono Safety Project to provide pro bono legal service. Jon was also co-president of The Leadership Emergence and Development Project, a non-profit organization that involves young professionals in the charitable and philanthropic communities of the Twin Cities.


Jon is dedicated to reaching to everyone in his district. In addition to knocking on doors, Jon has coffee hours at People’s Organic in Minnetonka every Monday from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Jon even publishes his phone number.


Below is the questionnaire that I provided, with the answers from Jon Applebaum. I think there are some fascinating answers. Like Jon’s ideal political hero combines the pragmatism of Bill Clinton, the perseverance of  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and determination of Abraham Lincoln.


1) What is your background? How does this background make you the better choice for representative?


I grew up in this district and attended Hopkins Public Schools from kindergarten through high school.  Some of my favorite memories include summers spent playing little league baseball at Big Willow (where I am probably in the running for the lowest all-time batting average) and riding my bike along the area’s many trails and through its parks.


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DFL $2 Million Ahead While GOP Still In Debt

by Grace Kelly on June 17, 2014 · 2 comments

Minnesota DFL raised more than $2.4 million in first five months of year. That puts the DFL $2 million ahead while the GOP has raised enough to cover its debt (if the GOP believes in paying debts). While this is great news, it probably does not take into account that most GOP funding is now done by outside sources. However, the GOP second string candidates that are running might be passed over for better  investment opportunities elsewhere.


dfl finances 1


Otto Ensures Confidence in Justice

by Grace Kelly on June 14, 2014 · 1 comment

rebeccaottoThe ability of the police to convict on the basis of evidence collected depends on the ability of the jury to trust that evidence. Following best practices of handling evidence is a great way to establish that trust. Rebecca Otto, our State Auditor published a best practices review of evidence handling by Minnesota agencies.


At the time of the auditor’s report, local news was featuring scandal by the Metro Gang Force involving evidence handling. Previous Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher attempted to block an audit of financial operations of the Metro Gang Strike Force, which his office has fiscal oversight. Later investigation found mishandled cash and confiscated property. Examiners could not account for more than $18,000 cash and at least 13 vehicles. Unwinding the responsibility led to civil lawsuits and the dissolution of the Metro Gang Strike Force. Sheriff Fletcher lost his next election.


The importance of evidence control cannot be overstated. If evidence can be questioned, it not only risks current prosecution cases but every case ever connected to that enforcement agency.


The case of a scandal in one Minnesota agency can cause questioning of the nearly 500 other law enforcement agencies in Minnesota. The best practices review by the State Auditor helped restore the public’s trust. In court, compliance with the results of this study is a good way to display evidence integrity.


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Otto Ensures Confidence in Energy Savings

by Grace Kelly on June 12, 2014 · 0 comments

 What if you were a County Official who wants to implement energy cost savings measures, but you are not sure if those savings actually come true? It would be ideal to have an independent agency that verified those savings in an actual installation. What a dream!


But wait – there is such a study! Our Minnesota State Auditor, Rebecca Otto did such a study. It was a study good enough to be recognized with an award (see image).

The mission of the Office of the State Auditor is to oversee local government finances for Minnesota taxpayers. Audits verified the actual energy savings of various energy savings projects. The office also publishes best practices for local governments reducing energy costs.


Here are some highlights of verified actual energy savings projects that county officials can emulate:

Over $7,000 a Year Savings For Public Works Truck Bay Energy Retrofit


The City [of Minnetonka] replaced metal halide light fixtures with more -efficient super T-8 electronic ballast fixtures. The City incorporated additional energy-saving measures, including motion sensors, light reflective floors, and the increased use of natural daylight… Cumulative energy savings of 145,427 kWh over two years reduced energy costs by $14,898.96.



Waiting for the Tent Caterpillar Invasion

by Grace Kelly on June 5, 2014 · 1 comment

 On a regular basis, Minnesota has insect plagues. The most famous is the locusts that would look like an incoming snowstorm. This year we may have the tent caterpillar invasion. Our cold spring may have saved us this year, although there is just enough seed population that the tent caterpillar invasion will happen one of these years. Just to give you an idea of the cycles, here is a chart published by the Minnesota DNR.

Tent caterpillars flourish until they eat everything. If they eat everything before they mature then there are no seed sacs for future years. Otherwise they form seed sacs that survive very cold winters. The good news is that in any case, they die off half way through the summer. However, trees that are already stressed also die off. A defoliated forest is very ugly.
With climate change, I am expecting that trees are more stressed. There are more droughts, more heavy rains, and generally more bad weather. So when this tent caterpillar invasion happens, I think it will have a more significant impact.

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