Recent Posts


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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Worrisome Legalize Cannabis Parties

by Grace Kelly on June 4, 2014 · 1 comment

CANNAB~1Twelve candidate filings are not yet up on the Secretary of State website because they are petition filings. It could take up to ten days for those filings to appear. The petitions come from the Green Party, the Libertarian Party. versions of Legalize Cannabis party and no party at all. Except for 65A and 41B, they all cluster at the top of the ticket. So it is more of a statement vote. Still with close votes, how much could the Legalize Cannabis party make a difference?


Of the petition filers, Andy Dawkins of the Green Party is the most noteworthy. Yet his reputation is within St Paul.


There already is a very long list for US Senator with more names coming:


TOM BOOKS Independence
STEVE CARLSON Independence
JACK SHEPARD Independence
KEVIN TERRELL Independence
JIM ABELER Republican
O. SAVIOR Republican
AL FRANKEN Democratic-Farmer-Labor
SANDRA HENNINGSGARD Democratic-Farmer-Labor


The good news is that there is enough competition in the Republican party that there should be no cross over voting mischief.

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The spring edition of  our progressive-friendly political and public issues program includes sequences we taped at the Congressional 3, DFL Party Convention on May 3 in Brooklyn Park; my perspective of Eden Prairie’s recent Southwest Light Rail municipal consent hearing; Senator Al Franken’s heartfelt response to the passing of Jim Oberstar; a Mary Stanik commentary on Minnesota’s Sunday liquor store law and Eden Prairie’s Joan Howe-Pullis.  The DFLer will face either GOP incumbent Jennifer Loon or Mrs. Loon’s right wing challenger, Sheila Kihne, to represent House District 48B, the south half of Eden Prairie.


Loon and Kihne will face off in a Republican primary.   Loon, now a Deputy Minority Leader in the Minnesota House, was just one of four Republicans who voted for legalized same-sex marriage.   Mrs. Kihne is reported by Politics.MN to have campaigned against legalized same-sex marriage.   Eden Prairie progressive, first responder/scribes, Two Putt Tommy Johnson and Bill Lapadat will likely be writing about the formerly self-fashioned “Activist Next Door” blogger.


Mrs. Kihne has exhibited in your face, right-wing swagger over the years at Eden Prairie School Board, City and commission meetings and hearings.  My Democratic Visions perspective on the light rail hearing in Eden Prairie includes sound bites of the self-confident, self-imvolved. wacky right edge of Eden Prairie politics.  Mrs. Kihne is among them.


Jennifer Loon is reported by Minnesota Politics to have lined-up an all star team of GOP supporters and will not take the summer off.  DFLer Joan Howe-Pullis is a first time office seeker but is no wallflower and is assembling a savvy, top-shelf, Eden Prairie campaign team.


Democratic Visions Cable Cast 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.


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




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A week ago, Sharon Sund was endorsed by acclimation during the early part of the DFL 3rd Congressional District  Party’s convention in Maple Grove.  Party activist and former CD3 Chair, George Greene nominated Sund.  The seconding and the voice vote took a few additional seconds putting Sund in the ring with G.O.P.  incumbent Eric Paulsen.

Sund photo


Two years ago, Brian Barnes won the DFL  CD3 Party endorsement over Sund.  Barnes went on to lose to the conservative Eden Prairie Republican.

Sund’s early endorsements include Congressman Keith Ellison, MN 2020 founder and former State Rep Matt Entenza, Carver County Commissioner Randy Maluchnik, former State Rep. Betty Folliard, State Rep. Mike Nelson (40A), and Democracy for America.   I have assembled video that I had lensed of Sharon’s endorsement and post-endorsement speech into a segment for the next edition of Democratic Visions.  The segment contains only a portion of Sharon Sund’s speech.

Sharon Sund’s campaign website is here.

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When Defense Becomes Murder

by Grace Kelly on May 1, 2014 · 1 comment

Hoodie Gun TargetWhen I read about Byron Smith being found guilty in murder of teens, then I am greatly relieved. There is no doubt that the teens were in the wrong in harassing and stealing from an old man, who they probably thought was defenseless. I would thought taking a video of them coming in and grabbing stuff would have been sufficient, with a few gun shots into the ground to scare them off. Then let them face the justice system.


Shooting them once might have been argued as justified given that it is old man vs two rigorous young teens. But when there was a “finishing shot”, then it clearly became murder. Suffering is not a reason to “finish” killing someone. Under that justification, no woman would survive childbirth or nor would any person survive breaking a leg.


I am clearly relieved that Bryon Smith was easily convicted of murder here in Minnesota. We are not Florida. It means our justice system is still working.


I do not think that Bryon Smith represents a normal person who keeps a gun in the house in Minnesota. Indeed the gun carry laws are not even in play because many people keep hunting rifles in their house with no need of considering gun carry laws. This case does not belong in the discussion of gun carry issues. This is a case of murder. That happens. This case is outside that discussion because there will always be Bryon Smiths.


Perhaps there is some responsibility with the gun carry people, in that their rhetoric has gone too far. Clearly Byron Smith thought he did no wrong, even recording what he was doing. So I do think that gun carry people have to reconsider how they talk about gun use. Strange as seems, it is the words and rhetoric that has been the most dangerous. It is the words and the ideas that set off the marginal people like Bryon Smith. Maybe those words and rhetoric ought to be considered more carefully.

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