Archive | October, 2010

Brick City Blog Endorsements

State House District 34A:  Leanne Pouliot Kunze

Frequent readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of Leanne’s.  The two posts linked below give you key reasons to understand why I am so enthusiastic about her campaign for the State House.

I’m Voting for Leanne Pouliot Kunze

Do You Know Leanne Pouliot Kunze?

State Senate District 34:  Laura Helmer

Laura Helmer would be a terrific addition to the State Senate.  A moderate, pro-business Democrat, Helmer intends to start a bi-partisan small business caucus in the Senate — putting actions to her words.  The election of Helmer (and Kunze) would give this area responsible, solutions-focused representation in the Legisalture — a welcome change from the partisan games we’ve seen from Julianne Ortman.

Carver County Commissioner District 3:  Randy Maluchnik

There are certainly some valid critiques one could make of the current incumbents on the Carver County Board.  The septic system situation at the Waconia Ballroom has certainly been handled poorly.  Depending on which property tax metrics you use, you could make the argument that Carver County is somewhat overtaxed.

That said, Jay Swenson (and the challengers in the other districts) have been light on specific changes they would make.  It’s easy to point out things that may have gone wrong in the past, but it’s far more difficult to indicate specifically how you would accomplish what you say you’re going to do.

Randy Maluchnik has been a solid Commissioner.  He has good relations across the County.  He (and the rest of the board) have seemed to get the message on keeping a closer eye on the tax levy, as the county has reduced the levy for 2011.  Importantly, Maluchnik has also rejected the call to make the board a partisan body.  We don’t need partisan politics infecting our county and local affairs.  He deserves re-election.

Chaska City Council:  No Endorsements

As I don’t live in Ward 1 or Ward 3, I’m not going to give a formal endorsement.  However, a few thoughts on the races here.  As I noted about a month ago, the challengers in these races have the burden of proof.  There are decisions made and actions taken by this Council that could provide a platform for making such a case.  Based on what I’ve seen, though, the challengers have not made their case (and granted, not living in the Wards in question, I may not be aware of all the campaign activity). 

I’m particularly hopeful that Gino Businaro will push for increased financial discipline on the city’s part should he be re-elected next week.  His “no” vote on the city budget last year was appropriate, and he should not be afraid to vote “no” again.


Money matters revisited

A few months ago, I looked at the campaign finance reports filed by the candidates for State Senate District 34 and State House District 34A.  The last pre-election reports are now in — let’s check out how things have changed.

State Senate District 34:  Incumbent Republican State Senator Julianne Ortman has raised $22,823, while DFL challenger Laura Helmer has raised $16,896.  Ortman received a larger state campaign finance subsidy — $13,603 versus $11,026 for Helmer.  As of October 25, however, the two are essentially equal in cash on hand.  Helmer has a slight advantage here, with $10,883 to Ortman’s $10,663.

State House District 34A:  The battle for this open seat continues to be tightly contested on all fronts.  DFL-endorsed Leanne Pouliot Kunze has raised $12,320, while Republican-endorsed Ernie Leidiger has raised $12,901 (which includes a $3,000 loan from Leidiger to his campaign).  Kunze maintains a signficant cash on hand advantage, with $5,935 versus Leidiger’s $1,306.

In summary, both races continue to be more competitive than in past cycles.  In particular, Kunze is on equal footing in her race, which stands in stark contrast to the 2:1 financial advantage Republicans have traditionally held in the district.

Incumbents comfortably ahead in commisioner races?

I haven’t spent much time talking about the races for Carver County Commissioner.  Clearly, though, there has been an effort (much of it partisan-driven) to replace incumbents Gayle Degler, Randy Maluchnik, and Jim Ische.  Challengers Neil Kennedy, Jay Swenson, and Bruce Schwictenberg have run well-organized campaigns against the incumbents.

The Maluchnik campaign released internal polling last night that shows all three incumbent with 10 point (or more) leads in each of the races.    It’s obviously internal polling, so take it as you will, but I have to admit the magnitude of the leads seems a bit surprising, given the energy of the challengers’ campaigns and the general national mood.  Although I think all three incumbents stand a good chance of winning, I anticipated all three races to be closer.  It will be interesting to see if the results on November 2 track with these polling numbers.

I’m voting for Leanne Pouliot Kunze

We’re about two weeks before Election Day, and it’s time to review the critical local races on the ballot.

The race for State Representative in District 34A has been one I’ve spent a lot of time with this past year.  It’s really a critical race, and unlike most cycles, it figures to be a truly competitive race.

I’m voting for Leanne Pouliot Kunze.  Let me tell you why.

Leanne is an exceptional candidate.  She has lived in this area for her entire life.  She has raised her family here.  She knows the needs of our community inside and out.  She is a moderate, responsible voice who will bring fair-minded people together to find solutions.

Continue reading

Ernie Leidiger mangles the facts

Ernie Leidiger is entitled to his opinions, but he’s not entitled to his own facts.  In his Q&A in the October 7, 2010 edition of the Waconia Patriot, Leidiger asserts some things that just aren’t true. 

First, Leidiger claims that state spending is out-of-control.  In fact, state spending (adjusted for inflation and population growth) has declined by over $900 per person over the last eight years.  If cutting spending is key to economic growth, why is our economy struggling like it is?  Why are we lagging the rest of the nation – over that time, Minnesota is 38th in employment growth and 46th in wage growth – using the very same philosophy Leidiger would use to guide his votes? 

Second, Leidiger asserts that the gasoline tax increase passed by the State Legislature hasn’t been going towards construction of roads and bridges.  Article XIV, Section 10 of the Minnesota State Constitution dedicates gasoline tax revenue to the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund, which is split between state, county, and municipal road projects.  Leidiger is just plain wrong on this point.  Maybe the Legislature has the power to divert transportation funding in California, but not here.  If you don’t understand how transportation funding in this state works, how can you expect to work on legislation to improve the situation? 

Either Leidiger doesn’t know these things, or he’s shading the truth for partisan advantage.  Neither speaks well to his suitability for representing our interests.  We certainly don’t need another under-informed or overly partisan person in St. Paul.

Who is going to make the case?

I watched the replay of Tuesday’s candidate forum for the Chaska City Council.  What was striking to me was that the challengers (Scott Millard and Charles Stech) failed to articulate a clear rationale for why they should replace the incumbents (Gino Businaro and Chris Schulz). 

In part, this could be attributed to the bland and overly general questioning, but the challengers themselves ultimately are responsible.  After all, they bear the burden of proof here.  If you can’t provide a compelling argument for why you should replace the incumbent, people aren’t going to vote for you instead of the incumbent.

Continue reading

Let’s get off the sidelines, 34A

For the last eight years, State House District 34A has been represented by Republican Rep. Paul Kohls.  Since Republicans went into the minority in the State House in 2007, Kohls has precisely zero significant legislative accomplishments. 

Kohls chose to grind the partisan ax and engage in pointless antics designed to position himself for his short-lived campaign for governor.  Continue reading

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