Tag Archives: 2010 election

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.

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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

Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge: the worst (and best) of the Chaska Herald Q&As

The Chaska Herald published their pre-election Q&As with the Mayor and City Council candidates this week.  As is typical in these sorts of questionnaires, there’s a lot of mushy language and unwillingness to commit to specifics.  Let’s dig in, though, and see who did the worst (and best):

Worst spin:  Mark Windschitl

I am not a fan of raising taxes, especially in these economic times.  That is why the council and I voted to keep the tax levy the same for next year.

When you raise tax rates, you are raising taxes.  Period.  Don’t try to weasel out of what you voted for — if there are legitimate reasons for your vote, then stand behind it.

Best new idea:  Charles Stech

What if I told you there was a business that has hundreds of customers every day in downtown and has outgrown its current location.  Should we try and keep it?  Yes.  This business is the Carver County Library. Give the land (keep the Met Council grant) for a joint powers agreement to build a library/learning area. 

Putting a new library on the former Ohnsorg site might be the proper way to thread the needle with the issue the city is having with finding a suitable development for the former Ohnsorg corner.  A new library would definitely serve a public purpose and would be compatible with the surrounding park area.

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Do you know Leanne Pouliot Kunze?

Frank Long is the chair of the Carver County Republican Party.  I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I can tell you two things I already know about him.  First, he’s a highly partisan guy.  Second, he doesn’t know Leanne Pouliot Kunze.

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Show your work, part 2

Remember all the talk we’ve heard in recent years about how the city of Chaska was going to do a better job of communicating with residents?

The city of Chanhassen will be approving their preliminary tax levy on Monday, September 13 — the same day Chaska will be doing the same thing. Chanhassen has a 129-page document online showing their proposed budget including line-by-line detail. They evaluated three scenarios (a small increase, a no change scenario, and a small decrease). It’s been available on their website since August 18. The agenda and all the supporting documentation for their council meeting was posted by yesterday (some pieces were available last week).

Here’s the link to their budget document.

Here in Chaska, none of the above information has been posted. Trumpeting the fact that you signed up for Facebook is worse than irrelevant if you aren’t going to make the effort to truly communicate with people about the things that really matter.

Everything doesn’t need to be red or blue

The Carver County Republican Party is planning on taking a novel step this evening — issuing endorsements for nonpartisan county commissioner races, and possibly for local races as well.

This is not a positive step.  County and local races don’t need to be infected by the partisan venom that has paralyzed progress in St. Paul and Washington over recent years.  And, in fact, most of the issues dealt with by city and county officials are well-defined and only have tangential relationships to the larger philosophical issues grappled with at higher levels of government. 

Voters should be wary of candidates in these races who flaunt their party affiliation.  Whose interests are they really looking out for?

Windschitl unopposed; races on tap in Wards 1 and 3

Chaska Mayor Mark Windschitl will be running unopposed in November’s election, as the two-week filing period came and went without a challenger entering the ring.    Windschitl will have a full term to more fully flesh out his platform and record accomplishments before 2012.

The two City Council races on the ballot this fall will be contested.  In Ward 1, incumbent Gino Businaro will be challenged by Scott Millard.  Ward 3 Councilor Chris Schulz will be challenged by Charles Stech.  More about these races between now and November.

Money matters in the House District 34A race

DFL-endorsed candidate Leanne Kunze reported strong fundraising results through July 19, with a total of $5,456 raised.  Kunze’s cash-on-hand was a solid $3,173.14. 

Both figures represent significant improvements in fundraising over previous DFL challengers in the district, and show that Kunze is doing a better job of fundraising than other non-incumbent DFL House candidates in the area. 

Ernie Leidiger, the Republican-endorsed candidate has not yet filed his report with the State Campaign Finance Board.  Per statute, Leidiger is incurring fines of $50 per day for each day late (the report was due on July 26).

As with the State Senate race, the DFL candidate is placing themselves in position to be very competitive in November.  With 34A being an open seat, and Kunze’s long background in the area (compared to Leidiger’s relatively recent move into the area from California), this figures to be a hard-fought race to the end.

[UPDATE]:  Leidiger has filed his campaign report.  He reported raising $7,158 — which includes $2,000 in loans and $1,100 in cash contributions directly from the candidate.  Leidiger reproted a cash on hand position of $3,640.60 with unpaid bills of over $3,800.   After the filing period, Leidiger lent his campaign an additional $1,000.

Money matters in the Senate District 34 race

This week saw the first required campaign finance filings by state legislative candidates.  The two candidates in Senate District 34, incumbent Republican Sen. Julianne Ortman and her challenger, DFL-endorsed Laura Helmer raised nearly identical amounts of money through July 19.  Ortman raised $7,118.40, while Helmer raised $7,077.40.  The cash-on-hand scenario for the two candidates was substantially different, though.  Ortman only had $817.30, while Helmer had $3,399.59.

Helmer goes into the final three months of the campaign with a significant cash advantage, and a major August fundraiser still on the docket.  When was the last time a Democratic candidate in this area could say that?  The dynamics of this race are becoming very interesting! 

A look at the House race in District 34A coming soon…

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