• Is a Referendum on Organized Trash Collection a Lost Cause?

    Bloomington Council Ignores Petitions, Proceeding Without Vote

    In its February 11 edition, the Bloomington Sun Current reported that the “effort to put [organized trash collection] to a vote of the city’s residents appears to have been a lost cause.”

    This statement may be a bit premature.  The reporting was certainly incomplete.

    The Bloomington City Council adopted its organized trash collection ordinance in mid-December on a simple vote of the city council members.  By the City Charter, residents had 30 days to petition the city to put the question to a vote of citizens.  Less than 1,250 signatures were required; approximately 1,400 were collected prior to the deadline. 

    On January 15, a representative of the petition drive met with the City Clerk to discuss the Charter requirements and to review and turn in the petition. The clerk did a cursory review and indicated that the petition forms looked good and the quantity of signatures looked sufficient.

  • Letter from Erik Paulsen on the 2016 State of the Union Address

    January 15, 2016

    Tuesday was a historic day for our country - it was the final State of the Union address by Barack Obama.

    We are all aware of the disastrous impact of the President's tenure on America's leadership and our economy - it's real and significant. There is a decline in the belief of the American Idea. Today, only 27 percent of Americans believe that their children or future generations will achieve the American Dream.

  • Racism in Schools is Overstated


    By Mitch Pearlstein ** November 8, 2015

    I won't say it doesn't exist.  I will say that an excessive focus on it is an obstacle in addressing very real achievement issues.

    When people say they believe a particular institution is racist, or are convinced that they their children or others have been treated unfairly for reasons of color --by educators or the police or anyone else -- I'm in no position to disagree with what's in their hearts.  My history is not theirs; their shoes are not mine, and if that is what they sincerely believe, that is what they sincerely believe.

    What I can do, however, if I disagree with their views about the presence or power of race in particular situations, is to explain, with full appreciation for centuries of sinful American history, why I believe their arguments are faulty on the facts or excessive in gravity.

  • Early Learning Scholarships vs. Universal Pre-K: Addressing the Education Gap

    Special Report ** November 14, 2015

    Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”  -Vladimir Lenin

    Like Comrade Lenin, Governor Dayton understands that the key to controlling the hearts and minds of Minnesotans to is control education and that the longer the government can control education, the “better”.  In that vein, Governor Dayton, with the committed support of SD49 Senator Melisa Franzen and Representatives Paul Rosenthal and Ron Erhardt, has been working tirelessly to expand the size and scope of Minnesota’s government, insisting that we all provide what he calls “free” education to younger and younger Minnesotans.  Governor Dayton, of course, prefers to claim that he is trying to close the “achievement gap” and that he is doing it “for the children.” In truth, he and his legislative minions are trying to move Minnesota even closer to Lenin’s paternalistic dream of cradle to grave big government.   

    In 2014, the legislature, at Governor Dayton’s urging, voted to dramatically expand the role of government in the lives of our children by providing “free” all-day Kindergarten for all Minnesota children.  Previously, Minnesota families had the option to choose either all-day or half-day Kindergarten for their children and only 54% chose to send their children to all-day Kindergarten.  Beginning in 2014, the first year of implementation, our Big Government liberals took away this choice, herding all of Minnesota’s children into all-day Kindergarten.  In 2014 these new mandates drove 99.6 percent of all Minnesota Kindergarteners into all-day Kindergarten.  Governor Dayton is very proud of this, as are his supporters in the education unions.

  • Minneapolis' Failure to Educate

    The numbers show the need for systemic change.

    Devin Foley | October 17, 2015


    As you can see by the statistic shared on our billboard above, which is located directly across the street from the Minneapolis Public Schools' district headquarters, the plight of Black students in the district is absolutely unacceptable. Minneapolis has given all manner of excuses, promises, and "new" plans for years and years, yet little changes. And that's while spending an average of $21,000 or more per student each year

    The truth of the matter is that between the years 2001 and 2014, the average reading proficiency of black students was only 33%. Again, absolutely unacceptable. 

  • Katherine Kersten Speaks on the Metropolitan Council's Thrive 2040 Plan

    Special for Senate District 49   *   October 31, 2015


    Katherine Kersten was the featured speaker at our SD49 Dinner Meeting on October 27th, part of our monthly scheduled Dinner & Conversation Series. Kersten drew a full house to hear her description of the Metropolitan Council’s Thrive 2040 Plan.

    Nancy Carlson, SD49 Executive Committee vice chair, introduced Katherine Kersten. The audience perched at the edge of their seats and remained fixed throughout the narrative. 

    Ms. Kersten outlined the four goals of the Met Council-high density, racial equity, inclusivity, and affordability. She stated that one of the intents of the Council was to “spread poverty equally throughout the 7-county Metro area in one grand homogenizing brushstroke.”

    Clearly opposed to the Met Council’s Thrive 2040 Plan, Ms. Kersten reiterated the Council’s lack of elected representation.  She pointed out that the Citizen’s League, the organization that originally spearheaded the drive to form the Met Council, now is reevaluating its support for the council. 

  • Taxation without Representation Again? Meet the Metropolitan Council

    Special for Senate District 49     *     October 15, 2015

    The Metropolitan Council is a 17 member regional super-government appointed by the governor and accountable to no one else.  The Council has full taxing authority and a new mandate to change housing, transportation and the environment; in short, how you and I live our lives every single day.  The prospect of an unelected board of apparatchiks micro-managing how we live is a chilling consequence of the radical expanse of governmental authority.

    The Council was founded in the mid-1960s as part of a then-popular move toward “regional planning.”  In essence the Council was sold on its promise to make sure that intra-county resources like roads and utilities are developed in a cooperative and efficient manner.   As originally conceived, the Council’s charter to encourage efficiency by minimizing duplication among counties made a great deal of sense.  After all, it made no sense if Scott County installed a system of waste-water pipes that failed to connect with the waste-water treatment facility maintained by Hennepin County.  Over the past half century, however, the Council has gobbled up more and more power, gradually expanding its scope and size.  In the process, the Council has gained full taxing authority and has dramatically expanded to the point that, under Governor Dayton, these 17 unknown bureaucrats have virtual plenary power over every single person living within the seven county metropolitan area.

    At the end of 2014, the Council adopted its most audacious power grab ever, adopting the innocuous sounding “Thrive MSP 2040.” This plan, reminiscent of the great centralized plans so popular in the former Soviet Union, will dramatically reshape how every person in the metro area lives and gets around.   Like other grand governmental programs, the Thrive plan is full of vague and lofty sounding goals.  In reality, however, the Thrive plan imposes a host of new ideologically-motivated criteria for municipal control; control that will be the exclusive domain of the central governmental authority unchecked by elected representatives and unaccountable to the taxpayers of the region.

  • About the Met Council's stamp on housing: Do we really want to live like this?


    By Katherine Kersten * September 25, 2015

    Impositions on municipalities. People moving out farther to find home prices they can manage. Subsidies. Affordable housing that’s not. A mentality of entitlement, not choice. All of this is what we’ll get from our unelected regional government.

    The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is a great place for ordinary folks to buy a house, put down roots and pursue the American dream. For now — but likely not for much longer.

    Today, fully two-thirds of homes in the metro area are affordable to a family of four making $63,900 — which is 80 percent of the 2014 area median income for such a family, according to the Metropolitan Council.

    But a new, top-down “housing policy plan” from the Met Council, our unelected regional government, now threatens to drive up housing costs for everyone — ironically, in the name of creating more affordable housing.

  • Why You are Paying More For Your Energy

    By Eric Strobel

    A generation ago, electricity was less expensive in Minnesota than in other states. This low-cost energy provided Minnesotans with a significant benefit and was a rare expense break for beleaguered state businesses. If you feel as if you have been paying more and more for your monthly energy bill, that is because you are, a lot more.

    The cost of energy in Minnesota has increased 12.5% over just the past eight years compared to an average reduction of 1.5% in the rest of the nation. The primary cause of the price increases was a mandate passed in 2007 which requires all state utilities to generate 25% of their energy production from so-called “renewable energy” by 2025. This is even more aggressive than the federal mandate of 20% “renewable energy” production by 2030. As disastrous as this state mandate is, however, it is made significantly worse by a series of wrong-headed and costly subsidies handed out to so-called “green energy.”  

    While everyone is in favor of renewable energy, the issue is at what cost to the public will these energy programs be implemented? As Warren Buffet noted, "…we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit." This is also why Bill Gates has said that the costs of reducing carbon emissions with current technologies such as wind and solar power are “beyond astronomical.” Simply put, without massive taxpayer subsidies and mandates, “green energy” is not currently viable.

    As an example of the increased costs necessary to support “renewable energy,” Xcel Energy and other electrical providers are required by state law to purchase excess solar energy at retail prices. What this means is that the electrical providers must reduce their own output of less expensive electrical energy and purchase higher-cost solar power at the exact same rate as the electrical providers then charge their customers.

    This is called “net-metering” and results in significant increased costs as well as inefficiency at the producer because the available solar power fluctuates depending upon the available sunlight. The effect is that utilities, and naturally their customers, must subsidize solar and other “green energy” by paying more than the market will bear for their products. Of course, the fact that utilities must subsidize their competitors by paying retail prices for electricity that they previously produced at wholesale cost also helps drive up costs.

    In addition, because of state energy mandates, utilities must spend more money to promote “green energy” technology. Xcel Energy customers currently are paying a 5% surtax to permit Xcel Energy to promote so-called “renewable energy” programs, a direct tax to every rate payer.

    Minnesota’s current energy program, focused on renewable requirements, raises electricity prices yet demonstrates little environmental benefit, especially when compared with other options.  The best answer is not more state and federal regulation and taxes on existing energy. It is a sensible environmental policy that embraces an “all of the above” approach to energy usage.  

  • Opinion: The Minnesota Constitution requires that bills embrace a single subject

    Minnesota's Constitution states that "No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title." Our legislature consistently violates this requirement. Why does this harm the voting public?