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Ortman votes no on marriage equality

The marriage equality bill, S.F. 925, had a hearing today in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  State Senator Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) was part of the party-line vote on the bill, with all five DFLers voting in favor of the bill and all three Republicans voting against the bill.  The bill is now eligible to vote to the full Senate for a vote.

In the 2012 election, Ortman’s SD 47 voted in favor of the amendment, earning 51.4% of the votes.  However, the results sharply varied from the eastern side of the district to the west.  The eastern portion of the district, House District 47B, voted against the amendment (only 45.4% voting yes), while the western portion of the district, House District 47A, had 57.5% voting yes.  It will be interesting to see if the dynamics in 47B play a role in influencing State Rep. Joe Hoppe’s vote.  Hoppe voted in favor of the amendment last session.

The counterpart bill in the House, H.F. 1054, had a hearing this morning in the Civil Law Committee that will continue tonight.   State Rep. Cindy Pugh, who represents northeast Chanhassen as part of District 33B, sits on that committee.  Pugh is a solid “no” vote on marriage equality.

 

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It’s All About the Narrative: Lance Armstrong, the Fake Dead Girlfriend, and our toxic politics

Much of the air in our 24-hour news cycle the last couple of days has been sucked up by a couple of stories of deception from the sports world.  Wednesday afternoon, Deadspin released a well-reported story that showed that the dead girlfriend of Notre Dame standout linebacker Manti Te’o was a hoax.  Not only did Lennay Kekua not die a day after Te’o’s grandmother (and just days before a critical game with Michigan State), she never even existed.

Concurrently, we’ve all heard far too much about Lance Armstrong finally confessing to what had become crystal-clear months ago:  that he had engaged in years of blood doping and use of performance-enhancing drugs in order to win his seven consecutive Tour de France titles.

Both these stories were propelled, amplified, and sold by the media.  Why?  Because they had compelling narratives.  Te’o wasn’t just a great football player, but one overcoming great personal tragedy.  The story of the player who doesn’t stop to grieve but keeps playing — and playing well — is one of the most cherished in all of sports.  And it wasn’t happening at some backwater college — it was happening at Notre Dame.  The home of George Gipp.  And Rudy.  The legend of Te’o, the leader of a fearsome Fighting Irish defense that led the team to an undefeated regular season and an unlikely appearance in the national championship game grew and grew and grew as a result.

Armstrong’s story fit one of our time-honored narratives  as well — the story of the athlete who overcomes injury or illness to reach greater heights.  (Like this one.)  We all knew that cycling was a cesspool of doping and performance-enhancing drugs.  We saw literally dozens of riders per year get kicked out of the Tour de France for violations of rules.  Credible sources were saying Armstrong was violating the rules as early as 2001, but there was always just enough plausible deniability to keep the Armstrong legend alive — he “never failed” a drug test, or the people making the accusations were flawed.

The media was happy to lap up these stories because they fit the narrative and were easily sellable.  Sports Illustrated reporter Pete Thamel uncovered a number of red flags on the Te’o story.  He couldn’t find an obituary or funeral notice.  Searches on Kekua and her brother turned up nothing.  Calls to Stanford produced no record of her being a student.  No details were found on the supposed car crash that had put Kekua into a coma in April.  How was this handled?

You were able to write around it,” Thamel told radio host Dan Patrick.  ESPN made similar mistakes.

Meanwhile, Armstrong had a steady group of stenographers willing to sell his story.  The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins is at the top of that list, although even now, she still seems nonplussed by the whole scenario.  It helped that Armstrong was legitimately involved in doing good things for cancer research, treatment, and prevention.  Such things helped keep Armstrong’s image largely pristine even in the face of mounting evidence of doping and decisions in his personal life that would have otherwise been more heavily questioned (such a dumping his wife and father of his first three children — the one who stood by him through his cancer treatments — for a singer).  Narrative trumped reality.

So, it’s really no surprise that many in the media are puffing their chest and pointing their fingers at SI and ESPN for their egregious mistakes in fact-checking.  But, really, who are they to talk?  Seemingly everything these days is all about the narrative.  And they’ve been just as guilty of peddling narratives as everyone else.  Reporters swallowed the Republican narrative about Al Gore’s “lies” during the 2000 campaign.  The Republican primary campaign in 2012 was case study in media-driven narratives that came to overrule the news actually happening on the ground, as the media tried them all out on a one-by-one basis to see which one would become the anti-Mitt Romney candidate.

It’s gotten to the point where messaging — creating the narrative — is far more important to politicians than actually having ideas or getting things done.  Mitt Romney ran for President in 2012 with a “plan” that contained for tax cuts, tax reform, and spending cuts.  Yet he offered no details of what the tax reform or spending cuts would be. He chose to run on narrative instead of specifics.

One need only look at the fiscal cliff fiasco to see more evidence of that.  Politicians of both parties conspired to create a fake crisis that could be used to push their preferred narratives — all the way to the brink of putting the country’s economy at risk.  You can’t govern a country when your primary goal is selling narrative instead of doing stuff to make people’s lives better.  It’s toxic to getting the job done.

Listen, it’s certainly important for politicians to be able to articulate what their values and beliefs are.  But it’s far more important to have politicians who are able to get things done.  We need more politicians who are willing and able to bypass an open microphone in order to do the work we pay them to do.  We need more journalists willing to be skeptical and not just buy the narrative or report the “view from nowhere”.  And we need a public less willing to just accept what journalists are feeding to you every night.

More Than Just Ernie: The Best of Brick City Blog in 2012

It’s been another great year here at Brick City Blog.  Readership continues to grow, up 2.5x over 2011 and we tripled the number of e-mail subscribers.  As we prepare to flip the calendar to 2013, let’s look back at some of the best posts on the blog this year.

This year, the blog received a lot of traffic reading about the travails of State Representative Ernie Leidiger.

In February, we broke the story about Leidiger paying for a speeding ticket using campaign donations.  This was the most-read post on the site all year, was picked up by the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press, and spawned complaints that led to $800 in fines from the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board and the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Read it here:

Did Ernie Leidiger use campaign funds to pay off his speeding ticket?

But that wasn’t the only rough patch that Rep. Leidiger hit during the year.  Leidiger’s business activities came under significant scrutiny, first for a series of lawsuits his companies had lost and failed to pay the settlements for.

Meanwhile, Brothers Office Furniture lost a lawsuit and was ordered to pay $7,500 in damages in April 2011 and still hasn’t paid up (Case 27-CV-11-11245).  Per state law, such judgments are supposed to paid within 30 days.  The plaintiff in this case has had to go to court to get a writ of execution in an attempt to collect from Leidiger’s company — as of yet, unsuccessfully, as the judgment is still listed as active in the state court system.

And, that’s not the only lawsuit the Leidiger businesses have endured recently.  Judgments against Brothers Recycling & Liquidation ($32,389,90 from May 2011, also resulting in a writ of execution, Case 73-CV-11-4601) and Brothers Office Furniture & Liquidation ($1,415.28 from November 2011, Case 27-CV-12-3581) are also unpaid at this time.  Total it up and you’ve got over $40,000 in unpaid legal judgments against the Brothers family of businesses.

From: Hypocrisy, eviction, lawsuits and porn: what does the business career of Rep. Ernie Leidiger mean?

Later, it was discovered that Leidiger had $144,000 in unpaid taxes here in Minnesota and a long history of unpaid taxes when he was a California resident.  Finally, we were able to confirm that Leidiger had defaulted on his government-backed Small Business Administration loan.

Under the terms of the Patriot Express loan program that Leidiger took advantage of, the federal government guaranteed up to $450,000 of the loan.  The final amount that the government ended up paying related to this default was redacted by the SBA.

What is surprising is how quickly Jelco Parts went into default after receiving the loan.  SBA documents show that Jelco Parts, Inc. was considered in default by its lender, Crow River Bank, by July 25, 2010.  That’s only 11 months after the loan was finalized (August 26, 2009).  Typically, loan payments have to be delinquent for at least nine months in order for a loan to be considered in default (closing the business can also trigger a default, and documents from the lender in March 2011 requesting that the SBA pay off the remaining loan amount indicate the business was considered closed at that time.

From: Leidiger defaults on SBA loan; taxpayers left holding the bill

And that still wasn’t all.  In August, Leidiger made headlines for “getting loud” at a League of Women Voters voter ID forum at a senior living facility in Waconia.  Leidiger’s conflict with the LWV was the catalyst for another significant controversy in the County this election cycle — the refusal of many Republican candidates to appear at LWV forums.  This was a move we did not endorse.

What these four candidates are doing is demonstrating yet again that they’re not ready for the offices they seek.  Apparently, the forces in power at the Carver County GOP are immune to the lessons of history.  Just two years ago, they formally endorsed two challengers (and had a third refuse endorsement) to incumbent commissioners, saying that the Board wasn’t conservative enough.  Those three challengers all lost, by an average of 10 points.

Just last month, the same group of folks that spawned these four Commissioner candidates backed one of 2010′s losers, Bruce Schwichtenberg, in a primary challenge against the Senate Deputy Majority Leader and Tax Committee Chair, Sen. Julianne Ortman.  When the votes were tallied, Schwichtenberg lost by nearly 17 points.

The lesson to be learned here is that running further and further to the right — even in a conservative area like Carver County — is self-defeating.  It’s hard to get elected and it’s even harder to govern if you’re only willing to preach to a smaller and smaller choir of true believers.

From: Carver County GOP Commissioner candidates: talking to themselves

And we tested the claims of those GOP candidates — that the LWV forums were biased — and proved them to be utterly without merit.  Fortunately, the good folks of Carver County largely saw through these charades.

Here are the six questions that were asked (not including the opening and closing statements):

  1. Considering the decrease in aid from the State, what are your priorities for Carver County?
  2. Carver has been a rural county.  How do we maintain the rural/urban balance?
  3. The Carver County Community Development Agency (CDA) is responsible for community and economic development in the County.  Please assess the CDA’s record and suggest ways that it could change its operations.
  4. Do you feel that the decision to underwrite $10.8 million in bonds for the Oak Grove City Center project in Norwood-Young America was the correct one given the current economic conditions and the significant opposition of residents?
  5. Are you in favor of keeping the Public Health, Land, and Water Services Department in Chaska or moving them outside of Chaska and why?
  6. The 2011 County budget includes a 1.5% pay raise for county employees.  How do you justify this given the current economic environment?

These questions don’t seem “decidedly leftist” to me, nor do they assume a leftist world view.  In fact, two of the questions directly challenge spending decisions made by the then-current County Board.  All six questions allowed Republican candidates to talk about their vision of government and to advocate for the spending cuts they desired.

So what we’re seeing here from Messrs. Workman, Long, Beaudette, and Walter isn’t a legitimate gripe about the League putting its thumb on the scale.  It’s an attempt to duck real debate and to only have to talk to those within the conservative bubble.

From: Feckless and gutless

The two constitutional amendments that appeared on the November ballot were a hot topic of discussion.  We looked at Voter ID in September, and found it wanting.

A quick review of the numbers is in order.  Since 2008, there have been about 150 convictions for illegal voting in Minnesota.  That’s less than 0.01% of all votes cast in that time.  Practically all of these convictions have been felons voting before their rights have been restored.   Both the amendment and S.F. 509 are silent on this issue.  As one’s criminal record status is not any of the valid ID cards, passing this amendment would do nothing to address these problems. …

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office estimates that as many as 215,000 registered voters don’t have ID that would qualify under the requirements of the amendment and proposed enabling legislation.  That’s over 10% of the number of voters in 2010, over 7% of the voters in 2008.

We should not risk disenfranchising tens of thousands of citizens to prevent fraud that is almost non-existent.

From: How the Voter ID amendment could change voting in this state

In October we ran a guest post from Leanne Pouliot Kunze discussing her faith as a Catholic woman and why she felt it was imperative from that perspective to Vote No.

When I hear our young adults talk about this marriage amendment, it gives me hope.  Many compare it to historical accounts of various civil rights movements such as slavery and voting rights.   I truly hope its our generation of faithful Christians who courageously vote no and defeat this hurtful and discriminatory amendment, but if not, I trust it will not be long for the next generation to correct it and be on the right side of history.

It took courageous white men and women to extend human rights to blacks.

It took courageous Catholics to extend the Sacrament of Matrimony to inter-faith couples.

It took courageous Catholics to extend the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to inter-racial couples.

It took courageous men to extend human rights to women.

And it continues to take courageous citizens, straight or otherwise, to stand up for the civil rights of everyone!

It is time for courageous Catholics and others to stand up and fight for the rights and freedom for ALL citizens to enter into a civil contract regardless of their sexual orientation. Our religious belief regarding homosexual acts should not interfere with our religious belief of justice, dignity of human life and Free Will of every individual.

From: Guest Post: Another Catholic Voting No

Another important topic was the protracted process of approving state funding for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.  Our most-read post from that debate tossed the yellow flag in the direction of a half-baked, last-minute funding plan by the legislative Republican leadership.

The press conference where the outlines of this new proposal were sketched out was not confidence-inspiring, either.  At times, the legislators contradicted themselves, and to say the details of what could or could not be counted as “infrastructure” as part of the deal were fuzzy would be an understatement.  Team officials have been working for a decade to get a new stadium, and it’s only now — one day after legislative leaders State Sen. David Senjem and State Rep. Kurt Zellers said the session would be adjourned — that the “silver bullet” legislation comes out of the woodwork?

Zellers, in particular, continues to be a profile in political timidity on the stadium issue. After saying that he would let the legislative process play out and demanding that DFLers deliver one-half of the required votes — 34 votes — in the House, he’s gone back on his word.  The bill moved through House committees as Zellers demanded, and Minority Leader State Rep. Paul Thissen indicated he had the required 34 votes in his caucus for the bill, meaning that Zellers only needed to provide 34 of his party’s 72 members to get the bill passed.  Yet, he won’t move the bill to the floor.

From: Killing it softly: Republicans and the Vikings stadium

Finally, another of our most popular posts of the year touched on the intersection of popular culture and politics.

The constant theme of the Nolan Batman trilogy, in fact, is about how all people need to act nobly, look beyond themselves, and take their society back.  Wayne has an unfailing belief in the people of Gotham City and Batman is a symbol meant to inspire Gothamites to do the right thing.

In Batman Begins, Wayne as Batman — along with policeman James Gordon and assistant district attorney Rachel Dawes — challenge the corrupt Gotham City establishment.  In The Dark Knight, Wayne/Batman hopes that newly elected District Attorney Harvey Dent can be the symbol that helps push Gotham into a new era, by putting honest and worthy people into the existing social structures and positions of power.  We also see in TDK that the two boatloads of Gotham citizens don’t succumb to their fear and blow each other up as the Joker intended.  Finally, in TDKR, we see this notion brought forward again as the entire GCPD — once racked by corruption — comes together to try and stop Bane.  Multiple characters, most notably Selina Kyle and Deputy Police Commissioner Foley, turn away from their narrow self-interest and instead fight for all of Gotham.

From: The politics of The Dark Knight Rises: more complex and less ideological than you might think

Thanks to all of my readers, and the growing cadre of regular commentators who have made this a lively little corner of the internet.  I look forward to continuing the work here in 2013 and beyond!

Eastern Carver County takes some steps in a moderate direction

Every election cycle, we get the requisite story about Carver County’s long history of voting Republican.  2012 was largely a continuation of that trend, with Mitt Romney racking up nearly 60% of the vote in the County, and Congressional and Legislative Republicans winning re-election.  But there were some signs that the “suburbanization” of eastern Carver County may be starting to make Chanhassen and Chaska look more like their Hennepin County neighbors than like the rest of Carver County.

Let’s start off with the U.S. Senate race.  For the first time in recent memory, a Democratic candidate won the county.  Senator Amy Klobuchar cruised to victory by a double-digit margin over Republican nominee Kurt Bills.  Klobuchar won eight of the nine precincts in House District 47B (all of Chaska, precincts 3-5 of Chanhassen, and precincts 1-2 of Victoria), and tied with Bills in the ninth.  Much of that has to do with Bills’s historical weakness as a candidate, but it also speaks to the kind of Senator Klobuchar has been.  (Keep in mind, Klobuchar lost Carver County six years ago to Mark Kennedy).  Klobuchar has taken a moderate, low-key approach in the Senate, focusing on consumer issues and taking centrist positions on civil liberties and foreign policy, as well as many business issues.

Another notable result was on the marriage amendment.  If you look at House District 47B, the marriage amendment lost by nine points (45.4% yes vs. 54.6% no/no-vote).  The weak performance of the marriage amendment (compared to expectations) in traditional Republican areas like Carver County can in large part explain why it failed on a state-wide basis.

Interestingly enough, this vote puts eastern Carver County’s legislators, State Sen. Julianne Ortman and State Rep. Joe Hoppe, squarely in opposition with a large block of their constituents (While Hoppe’s 47B voted solidly against the amendment, 47A voted in favor of the amendment, allowing it to win SD 47 with 50.1%).  Both voted in favor of putting the amendment on the ballot, and Ortman fought back hard against allegations that she hadn’t been supportive enough of the amendment during her campaign for the GOP endorsement against Bruce Schwichtenberg.  Will Ortman and Hoppe back off of their support for their party’s divisive social agenda?

Meanwhile, the Carver County Commissioner races continued to show trends began in 2010.  In that cycle, the three incumbent commissioners on the ballot withstood challenges from the right.  This year, with all five incumbents up for re-election thanks to redistricting, all five incumbents were victorious.  Four of those incumbents fended off challenges from the right.  Tom Workman was the exception, as he was the lone incumbent who faced a less-partisan challenger.

What does this mean?  Is eastern Carver County poised to “turn blue”?  It may be too soon to say that, but it does show that demographic trends are likely over time to make this area more competitive than it has been in the past.  And Democratic candidates with the right mix of qualities can get a fair hearing from voters in these areas.  Democratic efforts should be focused on party-building and creating the infrastructure to support and develop these types of candidates that can compete and eventually win in eastern Carver County.  Klobuchar and State Senator Terri Bonoff are good examples of the sort of moderate candidates that would fit that mold.

[Edited to clarify a point on the marriage amendment, 11:20 11/13]

Chaska Area Election Results and Quick Analysis

State Senate District 47:  Julianne Ortman (63.8%) def. Jim Weygand (36.0%)

State House District 47A:  Ernie Leidiger (62.5%) def. Keith Pickering (37.3%)

The two challenged legislative incumbents cruise to victories with margins somewhat smaller than 2010.  Probably the biggest change for Ortman, Leidiger, and Joe Hoppe (who was unopposed in House District 47B) is that they will be working again from the legislative minorities, as the DFL flipped the script on the GOP and retook both houses of the Legislature.  In fact, with the current results showing the DFL having a 39-28 lead in the Senate and 73-61 in the House, the DFL is poised to have larger majorities the next two years than the Republicans did in the previous two.

This will mean a significant loss in power for Ortman and Hoppe, who chaired committees when in the majority, but both will still be well-positioned to work on a bipartisan basis on critical issues.  Although Ortman and the DFL majorities are out of step on many tax issues, fulfilling the promise of fundamental tax reform will require hard work from both parties to craft the best solution.  Hoppe has worked well with many DFLers in the past, including Rep. Joe Atkins, who may very well end up taking the gavel on the Commerce Committee.

This will also be a challenge for Leidiger.  His first term was rather unproductive (only one bill signed into law, placing him in the bottom quarter of the GOP freshmen), and that was with a Republican majority.  Is Leidiger only interested in being a lightning rod backbencher, or is he capable of more?  If he is capable of more, now is the time to show it.

Carver County Commissioner District 1:  Gayle Degler (60.6%) def. John Siegfried (38.7%)

Carver County Commissioner District 2:  Tom Workman (58.1%) def. Cheryl Ayotte (41.5%)

Carver County Commissioner District 3:  Randy Maluchnik (67.0%) def. Vince Beaudette (32.3%)

Carver County Commissioner District 4:  Tim Lynch (63.4%) def. Frank Long (36.2%)

Carver County Commissioner District 5:  Jim Ische (53.3%) def. Jim Walter (46.3%)

The five incumbents all win re-election.  The notable thing here is that for the second cycle in a row, the Republican-endorsed challengers all lost.  As I’ve said before, this is a losing strategy for the local Republican Party.  County issues are not partisan issues, and voters don’t appreciate partisan warfare being brought where it doesn’t belong.

Eastern Carver County School Board:  Heather Nelson (25.0%), Amy Logue (24.0%) and Jeff Ross (19.2%) def. Jim Leone (17.8%) and Larry Doran (13.4%).

The housecleaning is complete with this vote, as Jim Leone is the last long-term incumbent on the Board is swept out of office.  Highly qualified newcomers Logue and Ross join Nelson (who won election to reduced term in 2010) on the Board.

Chaska Mayor:  Mark Windschitl (67.8%) def. Richard Swanson (31.1%)

This was a clear show of support for the current city leadership.  Windschitl has grown greatly on the job the last three years, and Swanson’s failure to provide a clear case for change and his tax issues didn’t help his cause.

More analysis to come, including looking at the statewide races and constitutional amendments.

 

Election Resources

Here are some key election resources:

Don’t know where you go to vote?  Use the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Pollfinder.

Not registered to vote yet?  Here’s what you need to have with you for same-day voter registration.

Don’t know who’s on your ballot?  Use the Minnesota Secretary of State’s My Ballot.

Who should you vote for?  Well, here’s our opinion:  check out the Brick City Blog 2012 Endorsements.

Need election results?  Check out the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office or Carver County’s website.

Brick City Blog will not be doing any live-blogging Tuesday night as election results are released — however, we’ll be chock full of election reactions and analysis the rest of the week.

Finally, I encourage everyone regardless of their political affiliation to get out there and vote!

Write-in fever breaking out across Carver County

Tomorrow is Election Day, and Carver County voters are seeing some unusual late-in-the cycle activity promoting the possibility of write-in candidates for State House District 47A and Waconia Mayor.

Some residents in the Waconia area have reported getting the flyer shown below at their door over the weekend.  In it, the author (who claims to be a local Republican), urges Republicans to drop their support of State Rep. Ernie Leidiger and to instead vote for DFLer Keith Pickering or, alternatively, to write-in Waconia Mayor Jim Nash.  The flyers do not carry a disclosure of who paid for them.  If more than $100 was spent on this effort, it would be a violation of state campaign finance rules.

When contacted about the flyers, Nash’s response was “I heard about it on Sunday, but have nothing to do with this at all.”

 

Meanwhile, Nash — who is running for re-election — is facing a write-in challenge of his own.  A group of Waconia residents have started an effort to encourage write-in votes for former Waconia fire chief (and current assistant fire chief) Randy Sorensen.  Sorensen, too (via a third party), asserts that he is not behind the effort.

Hoppe late in filing his campaign finance report

Chaska State Representative Joe Hoppe, who is unopposed for re-election tomorrow, is now one week late in filing his pre-general election campaign finance report.  The state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board can charge late fees against Hoppe’s campaign totaling $50 per day for said violations.

Let’s Go To The Tape, Round 2

It’s time for another episode of Carver County’s new favorite game show, Let’s Go To The Tape.  In our first episode, we checked the claims of the Carver County Commissioner candidates who said that the League of Women Voters were conducting biased forums.  Believe it or not, we found those claims to be utterly without merit.

In today’s episode, we look at the mini-kerfuffle that has broken out within the Carver County GOP over some live-tweeting by Waconia City Council member Jim Sanborn and Waconia Mayor Jim Nash at last week’s candidate forum in Waconia.  If you go to the comments on the linked post as well as on the Carver County Current site, you see that there’s been some questioning of the accuracy of the tweets, and apparently Nash and Sanborn have been taking some heat for their quoting of Rep. Leidiger at the event.  The video of this event has been posted (you can watch it all at the bottom of this post).

So, Let’s Go To The Tape:

Leidiger’s answer to this question begins at the 23:45 mark in the video.  At 24:15 he says, “In terms of education, certainly, once again, the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed a bill that increased education spending by 8 percent over the last biennium.”

As was noted previously, this answer is not fully the truth.  Yes, the Legislature passed an increase to the basic per-pupil funding formula of $50 in each of the two years and chipped in some one-time money.  However, the school shift that Leidiger voted for resulted in most districts seeing a net decrease in state revenues for the biennium.  Leidiger ignores the impact of the shift in his comment.

And, yes, at 24:38, Leidiger does say “The problem is that under the current system with the union controls, we don’t get the ingenuity that we should in the system.”  That certainly qualifies as criticism of the union.  This Tweet is accurate.

At 30:54, Leidiger says “Well yes, we want our elected officials to really be held to a higher standard.”  You can review how Leidiger has performed here, and see if he meets the standard he sets up for himself.  These Tweets are accurate.

It’s also interesting to note Leidiger’s answer to the previous question regarding the role of government in promoting small business (starting at 27:20).  In that answer, Leidiger not only dodges his own history with small business loans, but criticizes the actions of the Carver County Board saying (at 28:00) “they don’t live by their own regulations”.  This coming from the guy with $144,000 in tax liens?  Pot, meet kettle.

At the 49:00 mark, Leidiger says “I’ve never gotten a job from a poor person, it’s always been from a rich person.”, and at 50:34, he says “There should be an environment where everyone has 2 or 3 jobs that they can go to.”  Yet again, the Tweet in question here is accurate.

At 50:50, Leidiger says “So thank you very much for having us here. I think this has been a great audience and I think its very important that we do these kinds of forums far more than what we have in the past.”  I suppose one could argue over what “these kinds of forums” refer to, but Sanborn and Nash’s inference here (and implicit criticism of Leidiger for skipping the LWV forum) is certainly reasonable.

Seems to me that Sanborn and Nash accurately reported what Leidiger said.  Maybe folks in the Carver County GOP who don’t like it should consider how what Leidiger says matches up with his actions instead of shooting the messenger.

BONUS FACT-CHECK

Both Leidiger and State Senator Julianne Ortman refer to the fact that the top 10% of income earners in the state pay over 50% of the income taxes in the state.  This is used to buttress support for reducing taxes on upper-income people.  This is true, but it leaves out some additional context.   According the Department of Revenue’s 2011 Tax Incidence Study, the top 10% earn 42.1% of the state’s income.  They pay 56% of the state’s individual income tax.  However, the individual income tax is less than 50% of the state’s tax base.  When you take into account all state taxes, the top 10% only pay 41.6% of all state taxes.  If you factor local taxes into the mix (because local budgets are highly influenced by state taxes), the top 10% only pay 37.8% of all state and local taxes.  So, in reality, those high-income folks are well-protected in our existing tax code.

Whenever you hear a politician talk about tax burdens but only give you statistics that reference one kind of tax, watch out because it’s very likely they’re trying to avoid telling you the whole story.

Here’s the entire video of the event:

Ernie Leidiger: A day late and a few thousand short

The final pre-election campaign finance reports were due on Monday.  State Rep. Ernie Leidiger missed the deadline, filing his report one day late.  (Given his other history, it would have been a surprise had he been able to file the report on time.)  What’s really interesting, though, is comparing his 2012 report versus the report he filed two years ago at this time.

One of the real advantages of incumbency is supposed to be your ability to fundraise.  Yet, Leidiger’s fundraising has fallen significantly.  In 2010, Leidiger had raised $6,651 in individual contributions (excluding his own contributions).  This year, he’s only mustered $3,973 — a drop of of about 40%.  Even more telling is that none of Leidiger’s itemized individual contributions (those of $100 or more) came from within his district.

Leidiger has successfully been able to tap into additional funds from lobbyists and PACs ($2,320 this year vs. $700 in 2010), but he’s still showing a fundraising gap of nearly $2,800 compared to 2010 (excluding public subsidy payments).

Yes, 2012 is a Presidential cycle, but other Carver County legislative Republicans aren’t seeing the same sorts of dropoffs.  State Sen. Julianne Ortman has more than doubled her individual contributions this cycle, from $14,638 to $31,610, for instance.

It seems that GOP donors just aren’t as in to Ernie as they used to be.  I wonder why that is?

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