Category Archives: DFL58

A Tale of Two Cities: The Plight of Local Politics

A tale of two cities…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was…”          -Charles Dickens

With just days until the 2014 election, Minnesota candidates were just required to submit their campaign financial data to the state to make it public record.  In my district, 58, Lakeville/Farmington and most of the rest of Southern Dakota County, the campaigns on the A and B sides are vastly different.

On the 58A side, which is most of Lakeville, Amy Willingham and Jon Koznick are competing against each other to win the open seat vacated by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg.  The two candidates are very evenly matched in donations, with Koznick edging out Willingham $41,964.77 to $41,558.29.  Together they have collected over $83,000!  That is a huge number in our area.  To put that in perspective, in 2012, Mary Liz Holberg and Colin Lee raised $26,433 collectively, and if you add in the 58th district senate race between Dave Thompson and Andrew Brobston, the total for all four candidates was $68,291.  Willingham and Koznick, have spent more than those four candidates raised in 2012.

On the other side of the district in 58B, the numbers are nowhere similar.  Incumbent Rep. Pat Garofalo has raised $13,038 this year, of course he started the year with over $52,000 in the bank, so he didn’t have to raise much, and Marla Vagts raised $7,065.  Together they raised just over $20,000, and one quarter of that was from the state public subsidy.

In summary, A side = $83,000. B side = $20,000.

It is understandable, that the A side would be higher, it is an open and contested seat, but there is another side to look at on the A side.  Both Willingham and Koznick have received over $5,000 each in individual identified donations from outside the district, and combined, have received over $10,000 from PACs and lobbyists.  In addition, together they have over $35,000 in unidentified donations, which probably increases those outside the district contributions.

Of course that is not surprising.  There are so many groups trying to influence elections, I expect it.  But that does not make it right.  Koznick and Willingham have raised more money from outside the district, than Garofalo and Vagts have raised total.  There is a fundamental problem with our election system when other people outside the district have as big of an impact on the election as the local voters – if not a bigger impact on the election.

When I hear people say government doesn’t work, well get a clue!  Where do you think it starts?  Right here, right now, on November 4th, and the 6-10 months leading up to that day.  If we want government to work, our election system needs to change to be about local voters, and local voters only!

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Is Pat Garofalo the biggest hypocrite in the Minnesota Legislature?

Yesterday I wrote about a 2009 email from Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington.  In the email, Pat chastised the DFL members of the legislature for passing a bill to lower the amount of interest that can be claimed as a tax deduction.  The bill capped the interest that could be claimed, meaning the higher the value of your home, the less you could deduct in taxes.  Seems like a pretty progressive tax solution to me.  The poorest people tend to own the least valuable houses, so the impact would be minimal.  The million dollar home in Wayzata might be impacted a little more.  Seems fair to me.

That bill was vetoed by Governor Pawlenty.  Pat was happy because in his words it “would increase the cost of home ownership.” Those are Pat Garofalo’s exact words.  Fast forward from 2009 to 2012, and Pat Garofalo tweets “Remember when Democrats tried to repeal the home mortgage interest deduction and raise taxes on the middle class? I do.” Ignoring his lie implying that DFLers tried to get rid of it, it is odd that he remembers 2009, but seems to forget that he just voted to eliminate the Homestead Credit for Minnesota Homeowners.  Didn’t that vote “increase the cost of home ownership?”  His vote not only increased taxes on the middle class, but it impacted the poorest Minnesotans as well.  It is a true regressive tax that impacts the richest Minnesotans the least.

Pat Garofalo must be considering running for Vice President.  Because like the current Republican Vice Presidential candidate, he can only focus on events and votes in a narrowly viewed and skewed way that make everything positive for him, and nothing bad happens in his Republican world.  Is it delusion? Has he forgotten his vote? Is the word ‘hypocrite’ even in his lexicon?

Pat is truly an embarrassment to rational, principled and cordial voters in Farmington and the surrounding townships.  His opponent Jim Arlt is a truly caring Christian, with a big heart, the integrity of a career cop serving the people in the most honorable way, and he has a great sense of humor that does not include insulting one-third of his neighbors on a regular basis.

When you vote on November 6, vote for Jim Arlt.  If enough people vote for Jim, maybe Pat Garofalo who loves Las Vegas might move there, where the integrity and values he has shown as a Representative are much more common.

Hypocrisy from the 5/7/09 “Inside Scoop” by Pat Garofalo

Pat Garofalo likes to send out his “Inside Scoop” newsletter.  For some reason I saved one the “witty” representative sent out on May 7, 2009.  As I was cleaning out email files, I found it, read it, and laughed.

First, he commented on something he titled “NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS.”  He states the government has no business “controlling what web sites people visit on their own personal computer” and continues saying that it is “NOT a proper function of government.”  Apparently the proper function of government is to decide who can get married and who cannot.  Partisan priorities trump what is “NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS!”  Pat Garofalo either let his far-right and extremist allies lead him, or if it is his religious beliefs, he let the Pope in Vatican City make a decision for him rather than make his own decision about what is government’s business.  Reminds me of how absurd he thought it was for NYC to limit how much pop people could buy. I guess soda and gambling are more important freedoms than marriage.

Secondly, in a paragraph he titled “APPARENTLY…HOUSING PRICES AREN’T LOW ENOUGH” he lambasts the DFL controlled legislature for passing a bill to lower the amount of interest that can be claimed as a tax deduction.  Obviously, with a high value house, the richest Minnesotans couldn’t get quite as much free money returned to them.  He states “This would increase the cost of home ownership… To say this is a bad idea is an understatement.”  Hello? Eliminating the Homestead Credit?  A question for Pat Garofalo: You did vote to eliminate the Homestead Credit, right??? Was that a good idea?  Can you say hypocrite?

It is time for the smarmy Pat Garofalo to stop embarrassing the voters of Farmington.  I believe if more voters actually paid attention to how he conducts business, and how little respect he seems to have for people he disagrees with, they would demand change.  This year, voters have a great independent choice for 2012 in Jim Arlt.  Let’s try and make sure Pat has tweeted his last insult. Vote for Jim Arlt.

Below is the entire 5/7/09 Inside Scoop:

THE INSIDE SCOOP Representative Pat Garofalo 5/7/2009
-End of Session (or not) Update
When my son was younger, one of his favorite books was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day “.  In that spirit, I’d like to describe the last week as “Representative Garofalo and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Week At The Legislature”.  Keep in mind, you couldn’t possibly make this stuff up.
NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS
An official with the MN Dept. Of Public Safety has ordered 11 Internet Service Providers to block access from Minnesota to 200 gambling related web sites.  Whether you like gambling or not doesn’t matter.  Controlling what web sites people visit on their own personal computer is NOT a proper function of government.  I have no idea how this could be constitutional.  Here is an article about it.
IF ONLY SPOT KNEW HOW TO READ
After an extensive debate, the MN House passed legislation that would require warning labels to be posted whenever selling cocoa bean mulch.  For a small percentage of dogs (2%), the mulch can end up being poisonous.  No word on if government is going to tell those who put the mulch down, that they need to post signs as well.  The bill passed by one vote.  Here is a StarTribune story on the issue.
APPARENTLY…HOUSING PRICES AREN’T LOW ENOUGH
The legislature recently passed a bill to repeal the home mortgage interest deduction from state tax returns and replace it with a partial credit.  This would wipe out the state interest deduction above $6,000 of interest paid.  This would increase the cost of home ownership and discourage home purchases.  To say this is a bad idea is an understatement.  How the legislature could pass such a bill given the collapse in housing prices is beyond me.  I can assure you that Governor Pawlenty will not allow this to become law.  So I guess that is good. 🙂
I’m hopeful that in the next week the legislature will get serious about balancing the budget.  Stay tuned.  As always, it is an honor serving as your State Representative.  Thanks!
Rep. Pat Garofalo District 36B 221 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155 (651) 296-1069 1-888-667-3337

The “Red Shirts” send an intern to crash the DFL58 Picnic In the Park Fundraiser

In my last post I wrote about a young man creeping around the DFL58 Picnic in the Park Fundraiser.  I assumed he was a tracker for Klobuchar or Obermueller, but I was upset when he walked around videotaping each person in attendance at the event.

I became even more disturbed when I wondered if he videotaped the kids at the event. I think that could actually be illegal, but either way, whether kids or adults, people should be free to enjoy a picnic without their privacy being intruded on by Republicans who express a desire for more freedom.

I guess freedom is limited to Republican events, opinions and ideals, because the mystery is solved.  Drew Christensen was an intern for John Kline.  He wasn’t wearing his red shirt at our picnic, but that’s him on the far right in the picture. No, that “far right” comment was not intended to be a pun.  The Drew identified in the picture popped up on my screen when I opened Facebook a few minutes ago.

Drew must have been sent by the other red shirts to videotape Mike Obermueller. Maybe John Kline should show a little courage and show up himself for an impromptu debate with Mike at events like this, instead of hoping for a racist comment to post on Youtube – oh wait! It is always Republicans that say that stuff isn’t it?

A beautiful night at the DFL58 picnic, or was it a GOP event to ID those who are un-American?

Friday evening, the DFL58 group held its 2nd annual Picnic in the Park.  It was a beautiful cool and comfortable sunny evening.  57 people attended the picnic, and the organization raised $834 dollars in donations dropped in buckets and in silent auction bids.  Plus, we collected, on very short notice, two full bags of groceries for our local food shelves.

While most of the guests enjoyed some good conversation, great food, and exceptional homemade cookies and brownies, there was one odd guest. Right at the beginning of the event, a young man named Drew Christensen signed in. I was happy to see a young face, and not just a young face, but a young face who came alone, not with his parents.  I greeted him, but as we were still getting set up, I didn’t have time to talk to him and find out more about him.

Once I had a chance to talk to him, he was gone.  Then I noticed him sitting on a bench pretty far away.  I walked toward him, told him the hot dogs were ready and he should come and eat.  He said OK, but he just moved to a different bench.  That’s when I began to wonder what was up with him.

Drew kept creeping around the edges of the picnic.  Not close enough to be part of, or even listen to conversations.  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was incredibly shy and just observing from a safe distance, but I was begging to think maybe he was spy.

Spy is the wrong word, because our group is incredibly open. In fact, if Sen. Dave Thompson had made an appearance, I would have let him talk.  Heck, the TEA Party judicial candidate Dan Griffith came, and we let him talk twice as long as anybody else.  We are no secret society or exclusive group, everybody is welcome.

My guess is that Drew was a tracker sent there to video tape Amy Klobuchar or Mike Obermueller if they came. By the way, I am extremely disappointed neither of them came. Another blog will be forthcoming about that.  But since neither major candidate showed, he was stuck creeping around the perimeter.

As the picnic was winding down though, Drew moved in and went from creeper to just plain creepy.  He walked around the outside of the picnic shelter, videotaping each person in attendance.  I was in the front talking as he was slowly walking the edge, getting each person on tape.

He is either into some weird video fetish of middle-age old people eating potato salad, or he was some sort of a tracker.  But how creepy is it, and I know I’m using the word creepy a lot, but the word fits, how creepy is it that he was videotaping the faces of people he didn’t know, some that weren’t even DFLers who came with their DFL active spouses.  Was he doing it so some GOP version of the brown shirts could review the tape and try to identify moles in their own party, by the way, none of them were there tonight, or are they going to identify the people to crack some heads later when they get the chance to show DFLers who is boss?

Maybe they have one of those elaborate TV crime show computers that runs a picture against another picture that’s running like a slot machine until it finds a match, then when it does, they can enter that person into their data base as being “against America” as Michelle Bachmann would say.

I guess this is just my opinion, but if somebody told him to videotape the people in attendance, what other use is there than some sort of intimidation, they don’t have names.  The people at out meeting are good people, good families, who as a group believes in a lot of things that we think are good for our community.  Just because many of us believe the richest Americans are not better than you or me, or just because we think some people who can afford to contribute a little more than others to make our schools, towns and society better, stronger and safer, does not mean we are enemies that have to be identified so when the time comes we can be sent to the gulag.