Rep. Phillips Supports Legalized Marijuana, Ignoring Police Concerns

Dean_Phillips_1.JPGRep. Dean Phillips wrote in a letter to his constituents on May 19 that he “believes that it’s time for us to … recognize the benefits of legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis.”  He made that belief known by sending a letter to Minnesota’s legislative leaders endorsing House File 600.  This bill, one of the few to be pushed this legislative session in the DFL-controlled House, would legalize adult use of cannabis in the state.

Ironically, in the same letter to constituents, Rep. Phillips reflected on his endorsement of Minnesota’s law enforcement officers on the House floor.  Dean apparently is not aware of the opposition of many in law enforcement to the sweeping nature of HF 600.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson is one.  Rochester’s Fox 47 News reported that Torgerson spoke at a House committee hearing on behalf of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association.  The Association has raised multiple concerns about legalization.

Torgerson’s primary concern was with the lack of an accurate roadside test for marijuana.  Unlike with alcohol, “There is yet no way for law enforcement to test and confidently know when a driver is under the influence of marijuana at the time of contact, other than by observation,” Torgerson said. “Testing can only determine if the drug is in the system of an individual but cannot determine the level in one’s system.”

The sheriff said “we should all agree” to ensure better testing before going forward with the measure.

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Kendall Qualls "Takes Charge" Against Critical Race Theory

Qualls.jpgKendall Qualls is leading a new organization, TakeCharge, which is committed to countering the prevailing narrative in popular culture that America is structured to undermine the lives of black Americans.  TakeCharge's objective is to inspire and educate the black community and other minority groups in the Twin Cities to take charge of their own lives, the lives of their families, and their communities as citizens under the rights fully granted to them in the Constitution.

TakeCharge also denounces the idea that the country is guilty of systemic racism and white privilege.  It also denounces the concept of identity politics and the promotion of victimhood in minority communities. 

TakeCharge will build a coalition of community champions, academic professionals, and business leaders to ignite a transformation within the Black community of the Twin Cities by embracing the core principles of America – not rejecting them. These principles are embedded in the belief of hard work, education, faith, family, and free enterprise in the personal pursuit of dreams that can be realized by anyone regardless of race or social standing.  These core principles include the following:

  • The promise of America is open and available to all individuals regardless of skin color or station in life.
  • The private sector and free enterprise are the fastest and most financially rewarding routes to a better life for the Black community.
  • A quality education is the gateway to prosperity.
  • Restoring the two-parent Black family should be a priority both locally and nationally.
  • The first duty of government is to ensure public safety of its citizens.
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UMLC Fighting for Liberty and Rule of Law

Seaton-Dickey.JPGThe Pints & Pent-up on-line forum held on May 19 featured the impactful work being done by Doug Seaton and James Dickey.  These two attorneys are the litigating power behind the Upper Midwest Law Center.  

The UMLC is a center-right, non-profit, public interest law firm willing to take on legal battles in Minnesota when public officials and government unions exceed their authority and infringe on personal liberties.  Their work is particularly important when officials, elected to uphold our laws, act counter to those laws.

The UMLC is 100% donor-funded.  Their mission is to take cases that they believe advance values of liberty, equality under the law, the rule of law, constitutional limitation on government authority, and limitation on government union abuses.  The forum highlighted the important cases that are being pursued on behalf of individuals who would not be able otherwise to seek redress due to the ever-increasing expense of attorney fees. 

Attorney James Dickey summarized seven of their recent legal actions:

Stop the Defunding of the Minneapolis Police (Spann v. Minneapolis City Council) – The Minneapolis City Charter requires that the City fund and employ a minimum number of employees of the “police force” equal to a specific percentage of the population of the city. Based on that formula, Minneapolis should be employing 751 officers.  Currently, there are fewer than 650 officers active and enforcing the laws.  The judge in the case ruled that the Mayor Frey and Council President Lisa Bender may be deposed.  UMLC found that the number of officers will continue to dwindle absent Court intervention.

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Why I Am Voting NO on Edina’s Levy and Bond

By Jeff Northrup

Ballot_image_Edina_Bond.jpgEditor Note: Voters in Edina School District 273 are being asked to vote on two questions in a special referendum culminating on Tuesday, May 11.  One question deals with a new $7M bond bill intended to fund repair of the bus garage and improvements to various school parking spaces.  The second question seeks approval of a ten-year, $70 million Capital Project Levy Authorization for Technology in the Edina Schools.

The following is an open letter urging voters in Edina School District 273 to use the opportunity of this referendum to send a message. Jeff is non-partisan, not affiliated with SD49 Republicans or any political entity.

It would be difficult to find a bigger “homer” for Edina than me: I was born at Fairview Southdale, attended K-12 here, own every piece of Edina apparel available, named my company after my grade school (Concord), sat on the Facilities Task Force (the most recent big district referendum for $124.9M), played a big role in the Braemar Dome, and have put 4 daughters through EPS. I am fully invested.

And I am a hard NO on the Levy and Bond. We need a change. Edina Public Schools are not trending well and the School Board and Administration need to get the message: If you put a good product out there, one that is Excellent through and through, we will embrace your Levies and Bonds.

But if the product is bad, we will vote down your requests for more money. Especially when our concerns have little to do with money.

Here are my big three concerns:

  1. Declining Enrollment. When kids who live here don’t go to school here, that is a major red flag. Something isn’t working. We are currently at our highest level of non-resident enrollment ever, and it has been trending in the wrong direction for years. They used to say that 15% was the goal, with no more than 20%. We will likely be over 25% by next year! Declining enrollment impacts budget, staffing, programming, test scores and athletics. I have watched as some of my kids’ best friends disappear from the district in large numbers. One thing I can assure you: many of your kids’ classmates in 1st grade will be learning elsewhere by the time they are in High School. This is a problem.
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Governor Imposes Curfew on 4 Counties After Brooklyn Center Riot


Picture credit: Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Bad mistake: Shoot a young black man instead of tasing him at a traffic stop.

Bad reaction: Protesters pelted police officers with concrete blocks and frozen cans of pop.

Reporter interpretation: “There was no riot.”

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Gannon’s rational response: “I was front and center … at the riot.”

“Protests” grow: 20 businesses broken into, some destroyed (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

A prudent Governor’s possible responses: Deploy enough police and National Guard to arrest anyone who riots and loots. Ban gatherings of more than 20 people.

Governor Walz’ actual response: Declare a four-county curfew. Lockdown 2.6 million people.

Take away: Rather than condemn the riots and the looting, Governor Walz chooses to make the whole metropolitan area suffer.

Critical Race Theory Advocates Would Deepen Divide

two_parent_home_arch-2025658_640.jpgAs a timely follow-up to our March 29 analysis of the FiveThirtyEight article  touching on leftist racial equity initiatives, The Heritage Foundation recently published a report entitled "Critical Race Theory Would Not Solve Racial Inequality: It Would Deepen It", in which Christopher Rufo touches on the tenets of critical race theory and offers an alternative theory of racial inequality.

Rufo notes that numerous scholars have demonstrated that "the real drivers of American poverty - for all racial groups - are the so-called background variables of family structure, educational attainment, and workforce participation." Namely, the solution to poverty for all racial groups is to provide a pathway for stable two-parent households, achievement-based academic success, and full-time work for householders. These factors have a significant impact on poverty in America across ALL races. Ironically, discussions of "privilege" conveniently omit the fact that "white alone, not Hispanic" is the single largest poverty group in the United States.

Unfortunately, critical race theorists and the left would prefer to tear down these pillars as they identify them as key support structures enabling and maintaining what they see as the systemic racism inherent in the United States.

Family Structure

A range of scholars have pointed to family structure as the single-greatest predictor of poverty; i.e., living in a two-parent household significantly reduces the chance that a child will live in poverty. Unfortunately, critical race theorists have targeted the traditional family structure as part of the patriarchal, oppressive system that needs to be dismantled. Indeed, Black Lives Matter at one time listed on the organization's website its aims to "disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement". They removed the statement after receiving justified attention (the author of this SD49 article recalls viewing the statement live on the BLM website in the summer of 2020 before it was taken down).

When analyzing socioeconomic disparities between racial groups, one cannot ignore the impact of single motherhood, a figure that has increased to significant levels in the African-American community over the past several decades, as "children of unmarried mothers of any race are more likely to perform poorly in school, go to prison, use drugs, be poor as adults, and have their own children out of wedlock" according to NBC.

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Lonny Leitner: Inspiration, Insights, and a Call to Action

The following is an abridged version of the keynote speech presented at the CD3 Convention:

Leitner_2.jpgLet’s look back on the 2020 election and ponder the results a bit and then discuss what we should do next.

Pundits predicted a blue tsunami of historic proportions.  It was almost as if they were purposely lying to us. 

Donald Trump received 11 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016. 

Trump won 18 of the 19 counties both Democrats and Republicans regard as the “bellwether” counties that virtually always go with the outcome of presidential elections.  He won four bellwether states - - Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina. 

Republicans held all of the House Seats they were defending and gained another 13 seats. 

Yet Trump lost.

In the lead up to the Election, Democrats made unprecedented efforts to change election laws.  Mostly Democrat states sent out tens of millions of ballots or applications for absentee ballots to people who never requested them.  Voting began in some states six weeks before election day. 

Yet the election was still remarkably close.

In 2016, the states that put Trump over the top in the electoral college were Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  Trump won those states by 77,744 votes … out of the roughly 138 million votes cast. 

In 2020, the states that put Biden over the top in the electoral college were Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin.  Biden won those states by only 42,844 votes …out of over 159 million votes.  Just 42,844 votes.

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Push Back On Leftists' Themes - First in a New Series

marxist_murals-484386__340.jpgA recent FiveThirtyEight article laying out "The Ideas That Are Reshaping the Democratic Party and America" warrants examination given the rise of "woke" ideology on the left in recent years.

"Many Americans probably don’t know exactly what terms such as anti-racism, 'cancel culture,' 'racial equity,' 'white privilege' and 'systemic racism' mean. And it’s likely even fewer could explain such concepts as 'woke ideology,' 'critical race theory' or 'intersectionality.' But these terms are now regularly invoked by activists, pundits and even some elected officials...resulting in new initiatives and policies from corporations, local and state governments and, with President Biden in office, the federal government too. Many of these policies emanated from concepts like anti-racism and systemic racism that originated in academic or activist circles."

First, it is worthwhile to examine and understand the origins of the political philosophy driving these issues into the national conversation (namely, "critical race theory"). Critical theory originated from the Frankfurt School , a group of Germans applying Marxist concepts to broader social theory. While classical Marxists focus on power structures and oppression through an economic lens (the oppressive "Bourgeoisie" or capitalists/owners of production versus the oppressed "Proletariat" or laborers/workers), critical theorists strive to understand and overcome overall social structures more broadly. One of the lenses is race, or "critical race theory", which has risen to the mainstream in academic thought circles since its introduction in the 1980s.

The core tenets of critical race theory underlie the specific points listed in the FiveThirtyEight article, including "narrative/story-telling", "white privilege/supremacy", and "institutional/systemic racism". You can recognize the Marxist underpinnings when you view "oppression" through the critical race theory lens - the oppressors in this case are caucasians (and/ or the middle class/wealthy in other variants) and the oppressed are people of color and/or the poor. Note that Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors described herself and fellow BLM co-founder Alicia Garza as "trained Marxists".

The political left is driving the Democratic Party and the FiveThirtyEight article highlights ten key ideas that are gaining acceptance as public opinion shifts left. In the last few years some of these ideas have gone from far out of the mainstream to serious consideration.

We are starting to see a legislative agenda (at the state/local AND national level) that promotes these ideas:

• The US is not “exceptional” because it has historically disempowered its women, native and black populations, and thus has never been a "true" democracy.
• White men are especially advantaged in our society.
• People of color suffer from systemic racism, not just individualized or overt acts of racism.
• Capitalism is deeply flawed in favor of the wealthy - the economy should not allow people to accumulate billions of dollars.

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Winning Future Elections by GOP in SD49

By Dan Hallberg, Precinct B21 co-chair

question_problem-solution.jpgWinning future elections for local GOP candidates will not come easily. We’re seeing the impacts of changing demographics and successful DFL tactics in our area. Since 2010, we’ve had 13 elections in SD49. The DFL won 12. We won only one (Dario Anselmo in 2016). Recruiting strong candidates is difficult. In 2020, our Edina District 49A had no Republican candidate willing to run as Representative in the MN House.

There’s no question that what we’ve been doing isn’t enough anymore. The road ahead will likely be tough, especially with redistricting coming soon.

What can we do? I certainly don’t have a magic answer. But I do have a suggestion. There were more than 70 people who are vitally interested in SD49 that attended our convention February 20, via Zoom. Let’s invite those folks and anyone else interested in SD49’s survival and success to a planning meeting where we can openly discuss and debate how to win elections.

Our past SD49 candidates, including those who have moved from the area, should also be invited to participate, to share their experience and insights. Many of us have participated in successful business meetings where goals, strategies and tactics are developed. That’s why a meeting such as this, where everyone is encouraged to speak up and present ideas and solutions, is an ideal format.

Schedule this in-person meeting sometime soon, in April/May if feasible. Let’s hold this meeting in a suitable room or auditorium or even outdoors, no Zoom! I want us all to be able to see and talk to each other in the same venue.

Finally, have this meeting chaired by someone outside of SD49 who is strongly interested in and committed to SD49’s future success. A good candidate would be an incumbent or former Republican legislator who is in a leadership position and knows first-hand what we are facing and what is at stake.

On February 20, we spent three hours electing our leadership for SD49. I thought it was productive. Congratulations to everyone who assisted in hosting an excellent virtual SD49 convention. I thought it came off well, especially the electronic voting. Also, congratulations to all of our SD49 officers, chairs, and vice-chairs who were elected. There is much work to be done in 2021 and beyond.

If we spend an equal amount of time in an in-person meeting focusing only on how to win elections, we might come up with some good ideas that will work for us. I believe it will be well worth the effort. Let’s do it.

Editor Note – While an exact date for this meeting is not yet set, we’d like to gather indications of interest. Please respond to the survey CLICK HERE to let us know how you feel about attending such a meeting.

Political Bias of Local Newspaper Challenged

Sun_Current_Logo.jpgLetter to the Editor: Sun Current Newspaper, February 7

I’m concerned that the Sun Current is now embarking down the path traveled by many larger publications, which have chosen political bias over objectivity and fairness. I’m particularly troubled by the gross inconsistency between your reporting of the recent events at our nation’s Capitol and the violence that transpired this summer in many of our cities, including Minneapolis.

Let me be clear: both were utterly despicable and indefensible, and both overshadowed a legitimate expression of discontent. However, only the latter has been subject to mass condemnation in the Sun Current. While that condemnation was warranted, yours went on in virtually every story and opinion piece of your January 14 edition, and was extremely biased in its analysis. In addition to including quotes from numerous area DFL legislators plus Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips, I found it fascinating that you chose to run an article with the usual rantings of Ilhan Omar. This is the very same woman who ignored your request for candidate profile information last fall. I guess she utilizes the Sun Current on her terms, not yours.

I’m aware that editorials in your paper have advocated for healing and unity, but unfortunately so many of your journalistic brethren are doing their best to stoke division. Please don’t join them.

Michael Barg

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