Back in 2007, the Republican-controlled Eden Prairie City Council (led by the disgraced former Mayor, Phil Young) wanted to slash City funding to Meals On Wheels (along with other Social Services) – not because there was a budget crisis, but because (to GOPers) funding of Social Services isn’t a “core mission” of government. The “I got mine, Jack” GOPers lost that fight in Eden Prairie – but as usual, they continue the war on the middle class and those in need. The GOP – as a party – is doing everything it possibly can to protect their Boardroom Base at the expense of everyone else. Today, they bring their battle to the state level, and are using GOPer State Senator David Hann to lead the charge.

As noted yesterday on MnProgressiveProject – “David Hann wants to cut Gramma’s Meals On Wheels so millionaires get off easy” – Senator Hann has introduced a bill in the state legislature that not only would slash state spending on Meals On Wheels, the cuts are so severe Minnesota would lose matching Federal funding. Coverage of Hann’s draconian bill is receiving statewide attention. From WinonaRadio.com:

A minor spending cut in a sprawling Senate health and welfare bill threatens home-delivered meals for thousands of poor senior citizens and could result in lost federal dollars.

The proposal from Republican Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie would cut $2.68 million from senior nutrition program grants, costing Minnesota another $1.9 million in federal funds. The grants help feed 70,000 seniors through Meals on Wheels programs and group dining in large senior housing facilities.

From the Marshall Independent newspaper:

Are wheels about to come off Meals on Wheels?
GOP bill would cut projected state spending on senior nutrition program grants in half

March 30, 2011 – By Per Peterson

MARSHALL – Monica Douglas, senior nutrition program director for Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, sums up the prospect of a cut to home-delivered meals in Minnesota with two words: sad and devastating.

The health and welfare bill designed to cut state spending by $1.6 billion over two years is expected to get a vote in the Senate this week as GOP majorities work to pass a plan to erase the $5 billion deficit. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday the bill would cut in half projected state spending on senior nutrition program grants to save $2.68 million.

Douglas said it would be a devastating blow to seniors across Minnesota.

“It affects a lot of people,” she said. “If they ended up cutting 50 percent of our state funding we would lose $232,731 and we would have to cut 35,805 meals out of our budget in more than just one location like Marshall.”

“Sad and devastating” indeed.

And not surprising; Eden Prairie Republican Leadership has wanted to whack Meals On Wheels for years. David Hann is simply their current waterboy. They are cold-hearted conservatives; David Hann is simply delivering the hit.

And Hann is making a name for himself across the state. For instance, consider the following Letter To The Editor in the Albert Lea Tribune:

Family metaphor just doesn’t fly
Published 9:24am Monday, March 28, 2011

I am sick and tired of Republicans such as Legislator David Hann of Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie!) claiming that the proposed cuts to Health and Human Services is what any family would do when adjusting their budgets.

Really? Not the families I know.

The families I know would not have Dad go on his annual trip to the Bahamas while his son, little Johnny, is told he will have to do without lunch for a year. Or if Johnny has an ear infection or is suffering from a fall, are we then to believe that the family decides no doctor care for Johnny? (more, here)

That letter starkly represents what today’s Republican Party’s Leadership is all about; why GOP today stands for Greed Over Principles: it’s because the GOP is asking for sacrifices from everybody but their Boardroom Base.

GOP Leaders – such as David Hann – believe in protecting the Boardroom at the expense of everyone else.

Especially little old Grannies, depending on one simple nutritious meal once a day.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

Here’s what was originally posted on 29 July 2009 here on MnProgressiveProject.com:

“I’ll take dirty politics for $200, Alex”

“Here’s the answer: In 2009, they ran the first negative ad for the 2010 Minnesota elections.”

“Who are FEC Tony and MudSlingerMike?”

“You are correct!”

Smart money was betting that with the election of Tony Sutton and Michael Brodkorb, the GOP was going down and dirtier. So far, those bets look like winners. Over 15 months out, and Sutton and Broadkorb seem bound and determined to make the 2010 elections the nastiest ever.

And these last 15 months have been the nastiest ever. The GOP gleefully dove deeper into the sewer 15 months ago, and have been swimming lower every chance they could.

The dirty politics continued yesterday, with the posting of a letter by Peter Bozanich, the GOP’s “sd42webmaster” from last Thursday’s print edition of the Eden Prairie News newspaper.

That letter was written by Bill Cullen, who as recently as 21 September 2010, was a Vice Chair with the local Republican Party.

Oh – and Bill Cullen was the 2006 GOP-Endorsed Candidate, to run against Maria Ruud; Cullen lost by 10 points.

But Mr. Cullen didn’t tell you that in his letter in the print edition last Thursday – and the Editor didn’t catch it. And Mr. Bozanich didn’t tell you that yesterday, when he reposted Mr. Cullens Letter To The Editor, entitled “Chameleon Candidates”.

Mr. Cullen’s letter to the editor starts out:

“I miss Paul Wellstone and Ronald Reagan. They were both leaders. They never pretended to be something just to get elected.”

Well, it seems to me that former GOP-Endorsed candidate AND until just a few weeks ago a GOP Vice Chair Bill Cullen is pretending, too: pretending to be “just your ordinary, average concerned citiizen” and NOT the guy that lost to Maria Ruud 4 years ago AND until recently, was a local GOP Party Officer.

That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is dirty politics. And the local GOP has a history of playing this trick; in fact, in 2006, a local GOP ViceChair – Al Bode – did the same thing for then-candidate Cullen.

One memorable “trick” the local GOP pulled a few years ago, was reprinting letters to the editor from the EP News on their local GOP website – but changing the title the Editor chose to give those letters. This gave the casual reader it was THE EDITOR that gave the inflammatory titles that the GOP renamed the letters – because the GOP was saying “as published in the Eden Prairie News”

For instance, I had a letter to the editor that read in the newspaper:

“Voter ID bill not understood”

On the GOP website, it read:

Reprinted from Eden Prairie News, Letters to the Editor, Thursday, June 15, 2006
Voter ID supporter asks “simplistic questions” . . .

Another letter to the editor was published in the paper as:

“Election safeguards”

On the GOP website, it read:

“Maria Ruud Protects Vote Fraud”
By Al Bode

Yes, that Al Bode – at that time a current Vice Chair of the local GOP, as discussed above.

When the Editor of the Eden Prairie News found out and told the local GOP to change the titles back to as they actually were titled, do you think the GOPers did?

Of course not. They simply changed the posts to “as published in the Sun Current.”

Needless to say, when the Editor of the Sun Current found out, they were not amused either. It’s a real shame when local citizens visit a local party’s website to get information, and they get DISinformation instead.

It’s that type of behavior by the GOP that causes me to say, and say often:

“reasonable people have no reason to reasonably believe anything today’s GOP “leadership” says.”

Because these are but a few examples of how low the GOP has sunk.

If you haven’t read why LTC (Retired) Joe Repya left the GOP, go read it here.

From it:

So why on Earth have I decided to leave the Minnesota GOP?

Simple: When a political party becomes so dysfunctional that it no longer can operate without tyrannical domination over the grass-roots, it is time to stop enabling bad behavior from that party. I have come to the conclusion that a majority of Minnesotans and many Republicans no longer trust the message of the Minnesota GOP. After years of ineffective party leadership resulting in a record number of defeats, lack of transparency in party dealings, alleged financial impropriety by former party employees, and numerous Federal Election Commission problems, can you really blame the electorate for abandoning the Minnesota GOP?

“…it is time to stop enabling bad behavior from that party.”

Indeed it is, Colonel – indeed it is.

(cross posted from MnProgressiveProject.com; please post comments there)

My least two “favorite” days of the year are “Property Taxes Payable – 1st Half” and “Property Taxes Payable – 2nd Half”.

And yesterday was one of those two least favorite days of the year. I don’t escrow, so twice a year I see – and feel the pain – of property taxes in the great state of Minnesota. As a result of the Property Tax Reform Bill enacted in 2001, and signed by then-Gov. Jesse Ventura, in 2002 I paid $1,845. This year, after 8 years of Gov. T-Bag, I paid $3,374 in property taxes.

The goals of that 2001 Reform were:

Realign the state-local fiscal relationship:

• • Increase state’s role in funding state priorities (education, courts, transit)

• • Decrease state’s role in financing municipal services to give residents more direct responsibility for municipal service decisions

The bottom line, is Gov T-Bag accomplished the latter, while ignoring the former. MN2020.org has a report by Jeff Van Wychen. From it:

Since 2002, Minnesota property taxes, in general, and homeowner property taxes, in particular, have increased rapidly. The cause of the statewide growth in property taxes is not growth in local government budgets. These property tax hikes are the result of state policies that require more public costs to be borne by property taxpayers and a larger share of total property taxes to be borne by homeowners.

Yep – since 2002, my property taxes have increased rapidly; from $1,845 in 2002 to $3,374 in 2010 – dam near doubling during the reign of T-Bag The Terrible (a/k/a, “Worst. Governor. EVER.“).

Go to MN2020.org to find out why.

Locally, right here in Eden Prairie, the total city budget in 2002 was $31,942,977; 2010′s was $40,614,931 – no where near the near-doublling of my property tax bill.

Dan Kitrell presents himself as a “conservative” candidate for city council, and I’m sure he’s a fine hubby, dad, and swell neighbor. I briefly talked to him about municipal liquor stores after the candidate forum. I also have exchanged a couple of emails with him, about comments he made about taxes on the web at EdenPrairieNews.com

Dan Kitrell:
“Future success requires the City Council to effectively manage our limited resources and operate within our means. Eden Prairie topped Money magazine’s list of ‘Best Small Cities,’ but our residents pay taxes that are 33 percent higher than the average of the top 100, 18 percent higher than the No. 2 ranked city, and higher than all but two of the top 10 cities. ‘Quality of life’ is best defined by our residents, not the City Council.”

…and at the Candidate Forum on September 28th…

“Most people are aware Money Magazine recognized Eden Prairie as the best small city in America. But Money Magazine also pointed out that our residents pay taxes that are 33% higher than the average of the top 100; 18% higher than the number 2 city, and higher than all but 2 of the top 10 cities. We can do better as a City Council.”

Well, I asked Dan about a comment of his on his facebook page too….

“Clear differences among candidates tonight at the League of Women Voters candidate forum. I am a strong advocate for a transparent budget process and prioritized spending. Other candidates are ready to turn the “tax spigot” on again. “Experienced” candidates have a tax and spend record that will hurt Eden Prairie.”

…. asking if Dan could tell me specifically which “experienced” candidates he feels have a “tax and spend record that will hurt Eden Prairie” and which candidates will “turn the ‘tax spigot’ on again” but he didn’t get back to me on that.

Dan did tell me where he got the info to base his numbers on; they’re from Money Magazine. And he acknowledged he didn’t look at city/county/school and special districts/etc breakdown of property taxes; he just went with “total property tax” rather than “city portion” of the total.

Hence, the title of this post!

Let’s take a look at one of those percentages Dan bandied about; “…our residents pay taxes…18% higher than the number 2 city,…”

To do that, let’s go to the City’s Finance Department of that number 2 city, “Columbia, Maryland” …

… except, you CAN’T go to the “City Finance Department” of “Columbia City, Maryland” – because there ISN’T a “City Government” of “Columbia, Maryland” – nor a Mayor, nor a City Council, nor a Fire Department, Police Department, nor anything – because in Maryland, the COUNTIES usually run the city, as is the case with the number 2 city on Money Magazine’s list, Columbia – and the number 3 city on the list, “Ellicott City, Maryland” too.

Mr. Kitrell is taking data from Money Magazine, and using to compare Eden Prairie’s city government to at least two non-existent city governments. Some might call Mr. Kitrell’s comparison “Apples to Oranges” – I think “Fact to Fiction” is more accurate.

I could analyze just how wrong Mr. Kitrell’s specific “33%” and 18%” comparisons between Eden Prairie’s existing city government’s taxes compared to Columbia and Ellicott City’s NON-existent city taxes is, but what’s the point?

The relevant point is even though I’m sure he’s a fine hubby, dad, and swell neighbor, he’s campaigning on stuff that simply isn’t true.

So far, in the city races, we have GOPer-Endorsed Jon Duckstad, who denied “deficit spending” even though he voted to “deficit spend” and GOPer-Endorsed Donna Azarian, who plaigerized cut ‘n pasted exact lines from disgraced GOPer-Endorsed Mayor Phil Young’s 2006 website to her own, and now “conservative” Dan Kitrell using specific percentages to compare specifically non-existent city governments.

Which makes Dan Kitrell eminently qualified to be a card-carrying member in today’s Republican Party.

I’ve said before and will say it again because as this post clearly demonstrates, “numbers don’t lie, but Republicans use numbers.”

(cross posted from MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcomed there)

Parents are reacting with concern, and even anger, to the proposed elementary school boundary changes in Eden Prairie. It’s obvious to me the cause is the feeling that an unpopular decision is being imposed upon them – without input; without sunlight. And I feel that pain, although my kids are grown and it won’t directly affect me – directly. That this “plan” is pulled out in an almost de facto manner causes alarm, and reminds me of an opinion piece I wrote here on 18 January 2008, about the potential for another action – potentially planned in secret, and potentially imposed in a de facto manner.

I’m talking about the GOP’s extremist right-wing control of Eden Prairie’s City Council (Phil Young, Brad Aho, and Jon Duckstad), their belief in “core mission, limited government” philosophy, and the intentional deficit spending they will vote for this coming December.

This deficit spending is not sustainable – and by creating the crisis, they enable the remedy – which is part of their “core mission, limited government” philosophy: sell the liquor stores to balance the crisis they created.

Remember, in the “core mission, limited government” philosophy, the City has no business being in the municipal liquor store business.

Also remember that today’s Republican Party is controlled by those that think a “moderate Republican” is no Republican at all. In the extreme rightwing that controls today’s GOP, a “moderate Republican” is a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only).

Which is why GOP State Party Chair Tony Sutton recently called 13 GOP former legislators (including a WWII veteran and a Korean War veteran) “quislings.” Actually, Sutton’s exact quote is: “There’s a special place in hell for these quislings.’ But, that’s a tangent. Back to the liquor stores – which contribute approximately $1,000,000 in revenue that doesn’t have to be raised via tax dollars.

We know the nearly-indicted for felony Phil Young won’t be around to sell the liquor stores; his term is up after he inflicts the next deficit-laden budget for future taxpayers to deal with. Duckstad may be around, if he wins his election (he’s running against former Mayor Nancy Lukens, who was on the Council when the City received Moody’s top rating; a rating today’s alleged “conservatives” seem (heck)bent to lose). Aho still has two more years on the Council.

Will the voters knowingly elect those that also believe in that “core mission, limited government” philosophy? Will the voters know exactly what strict adherence to that philosophy means?

A simple question has not been asked this election cycle: “Will you support and work to enact an ordinance that will only allow the City to sell its Liquor Store Franchise only AFTER the citizens have approved of said sale via referendum?”

It’s a question that needs to be asked, because like the recent proposed boundary changes, it COULD happen here…

Without further ado…

“It Can’t Happen Here?”
Submitted by TwoPuttTommy on January 18, 2008 – 9:01am.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On January 2nd, a day when many people aren’t paying close attention, the Star Tribune printed a story about municipal liquor stores, just like we have here on the prairie.

And in this story, the city of Shorewood is discussed – how a newly elected council member with a “core mission” philosophy (eerily familiar to Phil Young, Brad Aho, and Jon Duckstad) caused that city to sell it’s liquor stores.

It’s all about the “core mission” philosophy – and in the proverbial blink of an eye, extremist “conservatives” battling “socialism” sold a city’s liquor operations.

Now, to think that that couldn’t happen here, on the prairie, one has to put faith in the belief Phil, Brad, and Jon can be trusted.

Can they?

Gentle readers, make no mistake – the ol’ TwoPutter does not think so. In all of the decades I’ve lived and been associated with Eden Prairie, this is the first time I have to say I simply do not trust this city’s council.

Well, I do not trust THREE of the city’s council members: Young, Aho, and Duckstad.

Mayor Young is on record of claiming that the local GOP party would not be helping him on his last election campaign, when, in fact, they were.

Mayor Young is on record of claiming that those opposed to the drastic cuts to social services, selling the senior center, etc etc etc during budgetary deliberations were a “distraction”.

Since when in American history, are informed citizens petitioning government, a “distraction”? This “philosophy” is the philosophy of those that want to “rule”, not “govern”.

Moreso, did Phil Young and Jon Duckstad make clear in their campaigns, what they would immediately seek to do with the budget – and therefore, Eden Prairie’s quality of life – once elected?

I think not. I think had Young and Duckstad clearly articulated where they wanted to take this city, the results of the election would have been quite different.

Now, this lack of articulation is not by accident. Both Young and Duckstad are attorneys; indeed, Duckstad is a Professor of Law. And just what is “law”? To a layman, “words, and their meaning.” When a well-qualified attorney is inarticulate, or not clear on what they mean, that is by design – they are experts in words. An attorney that cannot make a meaning clear is not a good attorney.

So, here we have an issue of trust – two attorneys claiming adherence to a philosophy, but denying where that philosophy leads.

We also have a neighboring city, Shorewood, where Young, Aho, and Duckstad’s ilk reversed city direction and sold the liquor stores in just a few months.

It can’t happen here?

http://www.startribune.com/local/west/12993201.html?page=1&c=y

It can’t happen here? Well, you didn’t think that outrageous school borders plan could happen here either, did you?

(cross posted from EdenPrairieNews.com and MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcomed there)