OPINION

  • Op Ed: Elkins Remains Out of Step with Voters' Priorities

     

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    SD50 Rep. Steve Elkins (D) issued another newsletter to constituents on July 7, and it continued to reflect that his legislative priorities and personal alignments are out of touch with the voters in Edina and Bloomington.

    Elkins led off the newsletter with a picture showing him with sign-carrying DFL supporters. It is ironic that the closest sign carried the message that all of Minnesota’s DFL Congressional delegation protect children, while none of those in the Republican delegation do.

    Really? How have the DFL efforts to defund the police stopped the drive-by shootings of children in Minneapolis? Has Elkins and his party supported legislation to give students and their parents the freedom to go to the schools of their choice? Did Elkins and his party ever truly consider the ramifications of shutting down schools and isolating kids:  on their mental health, educational achievement, and social skill development?

    How non-partisan was the absolute DFL support for Gov. Walz’ arbitrary closure of small businesses, throwing so many of our most economically-vulnerable people out of work?

    Elkins’ newsletter goes on to say:

    "At this point, it appears unlikely that a special session will be called as Senate Republicans are unwilling or unable to make the compromises necessary to come to a final deal. After the primaries, these legislators will have more room to negotiate. This will be of little solace to school districts or personal care provider organizations that are trying to balance their budgets, now. The collateral damage from our legislative inaction is immense."

    Note that Steve Elkins never acknowledges that taxpayers have their own budget issues, facing the highest inflation in over 40 years. The largest biennial budget in the state’s history was passed and signed by Gov. Walz in 2021. This year was a year that the state legislature should focus on bonding bills. Yet, faced with a $9.25 billion revenue surplus, Republicans reached a bi-partisan agreement to a one-time expenditure of a little over $2 billion.

    After initially wanting to spend all of the surplus, the governor blatantly offered to issue “Walz Checks” while continuing to push for more spending. Elkins’ newsletter certainly shows that he personally supports the spending part.

    The Republicans are right to demand that the budget surplus be returned through tax cuts, to help mitigate the loss of buying power due to inflation. As reported in US News & World Report, the most likely way that this will happen is if Republicans are voted into the majority position in both the MN House and Senate this fall.

  • Support Endorsed and Recommended Candidates in the Primary

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    Early voting starts 10 days from now in Minnesota. Yes, as early as June 24, you can cast a ballot in the Primary Election that will narrow down the candidate fields. On August 9 we will decide who the final two candidates will be in non-partisan races, such as those for Hennepin County Attorney and Hennepin County Sheriff.

    It is important that you vote in the Primary on these races to ensure that we have a conservative candidate on the ballot in November. We urge you to vote for retired Judge Tad Jude for Hennepin County Attorney and Bloomington Police Officer Jai Hansen for Hennepin County Sheriff.

    The Primary Election on August 9 also decides the party candidates that will go on to the November ballot in partisan races. In Minnesota, the political parties have the power to endorse candidates in conventions of grass-roots delegates. If Republican candidates committed to abide by this process and file for office only if endorsed, this would allow our candidates to focus on the November election without the distraction of an intra-party fight in the months leading up to the Primary.

    The Republican endorsed state-wide candidates are:

    Governor/Lt. Governor: Scott Jensen/Matt Birk
    Secretary of State: Kim Crockett
    Attorney General: Jim Schultz
    State Auditor: Ryan Wilson

    The State Auditor race, a partisan race, is not showing on the sample Primary ballot as published by Sec of State.  Note that, confusingly, a similarly-named, non-conservative, candidate is running opposite Tad Jude for Hennepin County Attorney.

    This year, virtually all of the Republican candidates for state-wide office promised to abide by the endorsement process, although the Primary ballot still shows a handful of candidates for each office  as “Republican” who did not seek endorsement; thus the Primary.

    Doug Wardlow, who sought endorsement, promised that he would abide by the process in the MN Attorney General race. Doug Wardlow did not win the GOP endorsement for Attorney General at the May State Convention in Rochester. He broke his promise and filed to run anyway. SD50’s Larry Frost addressed his OpEd below directly to Doug Wardlow.

  • OpEd:  Wardlow is a Politician that Broke His Pledge

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    Doug, I couldn’t be more disappointed.

    I supported you when you ran four years ago, during your campaign this year and at our GOP state convention. I supported you during your floor fight for the endorsement, including the last ballot, when you lost to GOP endorsed candidate Jim Schultz.

    Three times during the race I asked you if you would promise me, personally, that you would abide by the endorsement and not run in the primary if you lost it. You made that promise to me, Doug. Now you say you are running in the primary.

    I listened to your announcement of your Primary run. At 1:45 on that video, you say, “We should not tolerate politicians who lie, and rig the game, to subvert the people’s will.”

    You’re right. Then you lied to me, Doug. Personally.

    You broke your word to me to honor the endorsement. I was on the floor during the whole struggle to gain you the endorsement. There was no rigging of the game. In fact, you hardly had a floor fight team at all – one of the reasons you lost. You and Jim Schultz attacked one another, but Jim Schultz did not lie. Again, I was there, I read the handouts you and the winner, Jim Schultz gave out, and you were both hitting hard.

    But there was no lying. And even if there were – you did not put any conditions on your promise to me. None.

    The only lie here is your lie to me, your broken promise to honor the endorsement. In my career – as an enlisted man, NCO and officer first in the Marines and then the Army – a man’s reputation meant more than personal standing. It meant – can I trust you with my life and the lives of my soldiers?

    I hope I would never have followed a military leader who lied because I could not trust him with the lives of the soldiers entrusted to my care. Fortunately, I never had to make that choice.

    I can’t trust a candidate with the office of Attorney General if you will lie to gain it.

    My disappointment in you is profound. I can’t trust you, Doug. Start to repair that trust by forgetting your ego and keeping your word. Withdraw – and support the endorsed candidate.

  • Correcting a Distortion

    By Shawn Holster, GOP Endorsed Candidate for MN Senate District 63, and Christine Bolan, Treasurer, Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota

    The following is a letter intended for MNGOP State Convention Delegates and Conservative LGBT Allies and sent to the Star Tribune for publication.   To date, the Star Tribune has yet to print it.

    Log_Cabin_Republicans.JPGThere has been a great deal of chatter and clamor surrounding the 2022 MNGOP State Convention and the status of the Minnesota Log Cabin Republicans (an organization of LGBT and allies), as an affiliate organization. There is an abundance of rumor, hearsay, and confusion. Let us provide some clarity and lay this controversy to rest.

    There is a contingent, a small contingent, within the Minnesota GOP that attempted to sever ties with the Log Cabin Republicans.  This much is true. This arises, in part, from Log Cabin Republicans’ anti-conversion therapy stance.

    Conversion therapy has been abandoned by most in the behavioral health community, due to lack of scientific credibility. It is bigotry hiding behind a veil of cognitive behavioral therapy. It is marginal theology in a lab coat. Being homosexual is not pathological, therefore, there is no “cure”. While most members of the Log Cabin Republicans personally repudiate thepractice of conversion therapy, the subject itself is not in the organization’s official platform. For clarity, the Log Cabin Republicans do support the right of parents to seek counseling for their children for any reason.

    This claim fuels and dovetails into another - that the Log Cabin Republicans support sexual/gender identity education/indoctrination for small children. Grooming. Democrats promote these policies in the name of inclusivity and acceptance, though, these very policies are especially predatory toward those that they claim to protect: LGBT youth. While these children are exploring and determining all aspects of their identities and where they fit into this world, predators, disguised as educators, groom them to be the perfect pawns in a demented game, where the winner achieves superiority through force and intimidation.  These are the tactics of predators, not the Log Cabin Republicans.

    In this deranged world, trans trumps gay, so young gays and lesbians are at the greatest risk for manipulation. It is difficult to pinpoint the origins of this misconception of the Log Cabin Republicans. We suspect that it is nothing more than effective subterfuge on behalf of these predators, themselves, as the organization has always been against these practices, publicly and vociferously through their official online media publication, getoutspoken.com.  The membership of the Log Cabin Republicans consists of gay and straight parents, gay and straight aunts and uncles, and gay and straight Godparents - No member of the Log Cabin Republicans supports teachers over parents, nor do they support any form of indoctrination in schools. The children must be protected.

  • Bloomington’s Incredible Shrinking Curbside Cleanup Program

    Trash_Collection.jpgStarting in Spring 2018, Bloomington imposed limits on the quantities of items picked up during the annual Spring Curbside Cleanup Program, while increasing the collection fees for that service.  Now in 2022, the city announced the program will only be offered every 2 years at no reduction in annual fees, effectively cutting the value of the service in half.  And, once again, it reduced what’s on the list of accepted items.

    For more than 30 years, the popular program allowed residents of Bloomington to place almost anything curbside for pickup by the city’s contracted trash collectors one week a year. 

    In fact, much of that pickup was done at no cost to the city by drive-by “scavengers” who would take the items for refurbish, reuse, or salvage.  Anything remaining on Saturday was loaded by a trash-hauler crew for disposal at the landfill.  It had been an effective, convenient, and efficient way to redistribute usable but unwanted items and also dispose of general junk.

    In 2018, residents paid $44 per year for the program. In 2019 it was just over $48. In 2020 and 2021 it was $53 per year.

    Residents now pay $106 per 2-year-cycle for a program that hauls an ever-slimmer list of accepted items and has ever-longer lists of “not accepted”.

    Instead of having residents conveniently place furniture and general junk curbside over the span of a few days, the city now plans to invite residents to haul specific potentially reusable items (sporting goods, gardening tools) to a summer community swap. The city will also host a new annual drop-off event in the fall for recyclable materials that will be open to all Bloomington residents.

    Even the language about the service reflects the city-staff misunderstanding of the dual-focus that made Curbside Cleanup so popular with residents.  Now, it’s simply “managing bulky item disposal”. 

    Prediction:  The city-wide, neighborhood by neighborhood, program will be discontinued entirely within 5 years.

  • Times are Difficult, and Rep. Phillips has Failed to Show Up

    By Tom Weiler, candidate for Congress

    Weiler.JPGThe crime in the 3rd Congressional District and the greater Twin Cities is simply unacceptable.  Our community did not get to this point in a vacuum. We are here today because of failed policies and failed leadership. When elected officials abandon law enforcement, promote progressive “zero or minimal bail” policies for those who commit violent crimes, and support the “Defund the Police” movement, criminals are emboldened and law enforcement is undermined.

    Since May of 2020, carjackings and other violent crimes across the Metro have surged to levels never experienced before and murders in Minneapolis and St. Paul are at or exceeding the all-time highs. From the headlines of mid-day carjackings at Byerly’s in Edina, to drive by shootings in Golden Valley, to home invasions in Orono, to the murder of a 15-year-old boy in Minneapolis, the crime wave is real and impacts all of us. Minnesotans in the Third Congressional District and throughout the Metro area deserve a safe place for their families to live, work, and pursue their American Dream.

    It is my goal to better understand the root causes of the crime surge, and to learn corrective actions we can take to improve the situation. While on the campaign trail meeting with constituents throughout the district, I have had an opportunity to speak with a number of police chiefs and law enforcement officers. Over and over, I have heard their calls for leadership and support from elected officials.

    One statement particularly stood out during a conversation with a seasoned police officer regarding the role government leaders could play to address the current crime wave. The officer stated, “I am actually not sure where Congressman Phillips stands on policing.” To me, that said it all. A key member of our law enforcement team -- in a community experiencing a historic crime wave -- is unsure if he has the support of our Representative in Congress. That is unacceptable. Leadership is demanded in difficult situations, and Congressman Phillips is failing to show up.

    Specifically, Congressman Phillips’ lack of leadership further enflames the “Defund the Police” movement, and his vote in support of The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act hurts law enforcement. In particular, the Act he supported would:

    • Effectively defund policing in the district by imposing data collection and additional administrative requirements. Both of these demand significant police resources without providing any additional funding.
    • Remove qualified immunity for police officers. Such changes in the law would allow an officer to go to prison and to lose everything financially for a good faith mistake while trying to defend and protect others. This proposal is already having a significant effect by pushing experienced officers to pursue different careers and limiting the quality and quantity of new recruits.

    I do not support a bill with measures like this, and I will be a different kind of Representative than Congressman Phillips on law enforcement and many other issues.

  • Rep. Phillips Panders to New Left with “Woke” Apology

    By Mark Blaxill, candidate for Congress

    Blaxill.jpgRep. Dean Phillips (D, MN) has won two consecutive terms in Congress, in part by positioning himself as a political moderate and a “problem solver.” As a voting Congressional Democrat in today’s Congress, it’s increasingly hard to claim to be a moderate about anything. And Dean Phillips’ voting record is about as far to the left as anyone in Congress.

    During his first term, Philips voted with Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) 99% of the time, disagreeing with her on only one major vote. During this term, Phillips cast over 900 votes alongside “squad” member Ilhan Omar (D, MN) and voted with her 93% of the time, disagreeing on only 6 major votes. In his second term, Phillips has voted with Pelosi 100% of the time and Omar 94% of the time.

    Based on his voting record alone, we should be working hard to make Phillips’ second term his last. But over the last year, Rep. Phillips has doubled down on his commitment to America’s far left and drifted even further away from his Minnesota constituency. Nothing illustrates this drift more clearly than Phillips bizarre comments on February 4, 2021 on “privilege.”

    Phillips’ four-minute speech from the House floor was a remarkable bit of political theatre, but needs to be placed in context. In the new “intersectionality” sweepstakes, in which Democrats are attempting to build a coalition of oppressed identities under a single banner, he occupies a difficult position. By all accounts, in woke-speak terms, Phillips is a “cis-gendered, heterosexual, white male.” This gives him no standing in the grievance-based politics that America’s New Left has been exploiting to divide us all.

    In those circumstances, what is a “moderate” Democrat to do? In comments that followed the January 6 riots, Phillips chose to put forth a new axis of intersectional grievance.

    Trauma.

    During his speech, which went viral, he began with the following statement

    “I want to start my remarks by addressing those who have belittled, dismissed, minimized or criticized anyone, who has experienced trauma of any type, at any time, in any form.  To you I say I take pity on you and I say shame on you.”

    It’s an odd comment. Is Phillips talking about himself, claiming to be suffering from sort of post-traumatic stress disorder? Is he seeking to cut off at the pass any criticism of his own “lived experience” (after all, the lived experience of oppression renders one impervious to challenge in the new world of social justice politics)? Is he seeking some sort of street cred from his colleagues? He never says it outright, but if you’re paying attention to the clues, he’s certainly suggesting that anyone who criticizes him is, well, a bad person.

  • Elkins' Housing Bill is Really a "KON" Act

    san-francisco_close_houses-g89c6cca59_640.jpgIn our September 2021 edition, SD 49 Newsletter carried a story outlining how our Rep. Elkins plans to social engineer our residential neighborhoods to fit his vision of how we should live.

    Rep. Steve Elkins recently introduced his “Legalize Affordable Housing” Act for consideration in this session of the Minnesota House. It really should be called the “Kill Our Neighborhoods” Bill, as it is a real KON Act. Comparing the bill Rep. Elkins actually submitted to the draft bill we analyzed last September, SD49 Newsletter confirmed that the new bill retains these features:

    1. Elkins’ Kill Our Neighborhoods (KON) bill both requires cities to allow and encourages builders to build low-income, high-density housing. The costs of that housing will still be imposed on the original, single-family residents of the neighborhood, not on the low-income occupants of the high density housing. The new low-income residents are exempted from impact fees intended to make developers pay the costs of new development to the city -- street, sewer and other improvements needed to support the new development. (Article 1, Sec 8 of the KON). In other legislation, projects qualifying as low-income must have at least 30% of their units cheap enough that people earning 30% of the median income for their area can buy them.

    2. Rep. Elkins’ KON specifically allows use of various fees authorized by the KON to build mass transit into our neighborhoods. (Art. 1, Sec. 5 (1))

    3. These fees for “fixed transit infrastructure” must be apportioned to all developed parcels in the district (Art. 2, Sec. 1, Subd (1)(c). However, ‘developed parcels’ is undefined. Fees for street improvement districts must be based on vehicle trips to and from developed parcels over the quarter before the fees are set – based, in other words, on trips by owners of the single family homes which existed before Elkins’ KON strips away their single family zoning and converts our neighborhoods to the high density, low income housing Elkins wants.

    As we pointed out in our January article, Rep. Elkins told us that if we oppose his bill we are NIMBY racists. He told the MinnPost, ““These kinds of zoning restrictions have a clearly disparate impact on communities of color and in some cases have their origins in racism,” said Elkins. “Anyone who has served on a city council in a developing suburban community encountered people at the podium talking about this density will bring ‘those people’ into the community.”

    Rep. Elkins has announced he will seek re-election. If he is re-elected, he will push his KON in our legislature. And if you dislike having your single-family-zoned neighborhood eliminated, you are one of the ‘people at the podium’ Elkins paints so clearly. You could not possibly just prefer low density neighborhoods. In Elkins' view, if you support neighborhood, single-family zoning, you are a racist.

  • Broad Agreement: Oppose No-Knock Warrants

    Fist_on_door.jpgWe on the Senate District 49 GOP newsletter staff support the police and appreciate the work that they have stepped forward to do. However, the killing of Amir Locke by Minneapolis police during the police intrusion authorized with a “no-knock” warrant has sparked renewed discussion and broad agreement across Minnesota. We oppose the use of no-knock warrants.

    If you woke up on a dark morning with armed strangers bursting into your house, screaming at you and you had your pistol in hand, what would you have done? Nobody comes awake and to full awareness in seconds, especially when confronted with that scenario in the supposed security of their own home.

    Your police don’t protect you from violent crime. They can’t. Most violent criminals don’t allow you to call the cops while they rob or assault you, and even if they did, violent crimes are usually over so quickly cops could almost never get there in time to stop it. Minneapolis police have told SD49GOP newsletter reporters that they don’t record how many violent crimes they actually stop in progress because “…it almost never happens.” Minneapolis police also don’t record how many crimes are prevented by citizens using – or more often just displaying – a personally owned firearm.

    Bryan Strawer, chair, Minnesota Gun Owners’ Caucus was quoted this week in the Star Tribune: “Amir Locke, a lawful gun owner, should still be alive. Black men, like all citizens, have a right to keep and bear arms. Black men, like all citizens, have a right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure.”

  • Rep. Elkins, Drop Your Single-Family Re-Zoning Bill

    Letter to the Legislator

    Letter_Writer.jpgDear Representative Elkins,
    Your proposed bill to promote the rezoning of local single family residential housing into multiple unit housing zones under the guise of improving housing affordability and addressing racism appears to be ill-conceived.  Where on earth did this idea come from?  What majority of your constituents is asking for such a bill?  Aren't they who you are supposed to represent?  Or is it Ken Martin and the far left of the DFL Party?  George Soros?  Who?

    Since we moved into our upper middle class Bloomington neighborhood in 1979, we have enjoyed numerous Black, Asian and Hispanic neighbors. Currently, out of 9 homes on just our block alone, lives a black family and two Asian families all of whom have lived in our neighborhood for decades.  When we first moved in, our neighbors across the street were a very nice mixed race (black/white) couple.  We all enjoy living in our pleasant single-family neighborhood.  Everybody worked hard to be able to buy a home here.  The notion that single-family zoning is racist sounds more like far-left ideology than truth.

    In today's America, anybody can get educated, get a job or start a business, start moving up the ladder and, depending on their level of ambition, buy any house in any neighborhood that they want to live in.  The evidence of this is all around us.

    Access to affordable housing isn't the main problem for minorities. It's a symptom of the real problems affecting minorities disproportionately.

    The real problems are that too many minorities live in Democrat-controlled inner cities where the quality of public-school education is poor and the teachers unions are the Democrat's first priority.  Add in that too many minorities become dependent on government social programs that destroy personal initiative and incentivize too many dysfunctional single parent families.  Minority kids suffer greatly in this kind of an environment. This is well known by black leaders who are working to address these problems without much political support from Democrats.

    It's pretty tough for a young minority person to get a good education, get a good job, afford a house and move up the economic ladder with a start in the poor circumstances noted above.  Zoning single family neighborhoods so that lower income multiple unit housing can be built will do nothing to help minorities significantly improve their circumstances.  Only after the above-noted social catastrophes are addressed will minorities make real economic progress.

    Please drop your single-family rezoning bill.

    Sincerely,
    Tom Spitznagle
    Bloomington, MN

    The response from Rep. Elkins: