Tag Archives: 2011 MN Legislature

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.
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.
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.
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

Marriage – Love Home Family Equality

Love.  Home.  Family.  Equality.  Three of those four words represent what it means to be a family in Minnesota.  We fall in love.  We live in a home together.  We are a family.  But we are not all equal.

I married my high school sweetheart.  We got married when we were 22, bought a home when we were 25, started our family when were 26, and are now working, enjoying life, and planning for the future.  After 18 years of marriage, we have established our own family traditions, we have acquired a lot of stuff, we are paying our mortgage and have a fair amount of equity in our house, less and less each year recently, but equity none-the-less, we are building a retirement portfolio, and we rely on each other for practically everything we do, and my wife is my best friend.

How different is that story from any other family in Minnesota?  Some of the details may be different, but the basic story is the same.  It doesn’t matter if the couples are Doug and Nancy or Steve and Andrea, or Jeff and Jason or Michelle and Connie.   We are in love and we are building a home and growing as a family.  Why should there be legal limitations on a family based on the person they love?  Why should one couple face legal restrictions when it comes to healthcare decisions, estate planning, parenting rights, and even separation rights, when other couples don’t?

If I died tomorrow, my wife would still have our house, both of our cars that happen to be in my name, my retirement fund, our bank accounts, my tools, my baseball gloves, my Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killebrew baseball cards, my books, my warm socks she sometimes wears in the winter and my priceless comforter, that my wife made for me when I went away to college, that has kept me warm for more than 20 years.  She would still possess all those things and have rights to those things because we are married.  There is no need to spend the time and money to have a lawyer prepare documents that protect her property rights from my family.

Unlike heterosexual couples that choose not to marry and risk those outcomes, a gay couple that wants to marry has no option.  In many instances families recognize the couple and respect their relationship, but even good families can act strangely and unpredictably when confronted with death.  Anger, grief, even individual economic or personal circumstances may cause family members to be irrational, opportunistic, ambivalent and even hostile toward partners.

I really believe this a basic human rights issue.  I think every couple deserves the same rights.  I think the idea of love, family and home should have equality added on to it.  I also believe this Marriage Amendment is happening at a momentous point in history.  I believe we are less than a generation away from hitting a point in time when people value the relationship itself more than whether it is a conventional relationship.  I think we see it in some of our younger Republican leaders who see this as a matter of being happy and enjoying the freedoms our soldiers fought and died for rather than a biased belief based in religion or habit.  It is already happening, we are on the cusp.  Half of Americans believe the federal government should recognize marriages among same-sex couples.

It is simply and purely common sense.  All couples, including gay and lesbian couple should have the same right to make a lifelong commitment to love and protect each other.   All couples should be given the tools and protections to protect their families, and the homes they have built together.  And all couples who are committed enough to make a life-long personal commitment to one another, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, deserve the cultural respect, social support, and legal protections that come with marriage.

That’s why I will be voting “NO” on the 2012 Minnesota Marriage Amendment that will ask Minnesotans to vote yes or no on the question: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

There is no reason that a slick campaign, an influx of advertising money, buzz phrases and smart wording should be the deciding factor on this amendment.  It is up to you and me to make sure people know what the impact is.  Tell your family it is wrong to vote yes for this amendment.  It doesn’t matter whether somebody disapproves of marriage between same-sex couples.  What matters is that we don’t have a right to decide how others live or what they do privately in with their lives and in their homes, when it is legal and they are of no harm to us, to their families, or to the rest of society.

Everybody deserves equality.  Without equal rights, we are not free.  All couples who wish to be married, should be married.  Love.  Home.  Family.  Equality.

Garofalo is not stealing taxpayer money, BUT THOMPSON AND HOLBERG ARE!

I came across a list of Minnesota legislators who refused their July 1 salary payments.  I was not surprised to see 36B Representative Pat Garofalo on the list.  He came out right from the beginning and said it would not be right to accept a paycheck during a government shutdown.

But what surprised me was that pro-shrink the government representative from 36A Mary Liz Holberg and outspoken Tea Partyish District 36 state Senator Dave Thompson were not on the list.  I just assumed that they would be a couple of legislators who were really willing to prove just how fiscally responsible they are to Minnesota taxpayers.

Dave Thompson and Mary Liz Holberg supporting Tom Emmer

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg is in a unique situation.  She can win elections by doing very little campaigning and by spending a small amount of money.  She has name recognition in the area.  She was a past local beauty queen and has served so many terms in the state House now that it is habitual for people to vote for her.  She can take her pay without it being much of a negative if she continues to run.

Sen. Dave Thompson is another story.  Sure he has the name recognition from his years as an extremist Republican radio show host on KSTP1500, and gets a lot of recognition because he is a great speaker, so he is always out front.  But he probably needs to get that taxpayer’s check.  I’m sure his degree to become a lawyer was expensive and he’s got to think about retirement because in “Dave Thompson’s perfect world” social security and Medicare will not exist.  Plus, he’s got two kids who need college paid for soon and grants are going away and tuition is going up thank to him and his Republican buddies.  Oh, and he has that big shiny maroon Mercedes-Benz that needs gas and car washes.  Yep, he needs that money.  Anyway, he has to deal with liberals, so it is not only need, it is deserved money from the taxpayers even if other state workers who are not as important as him don’t deserve paychecks.

Link to the list of legislators not taking pay: http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/07/minnesota_house_legislators_not_accepting_salary.php




You Can’t Spell (blank) Without GOP

My state representative, Rep. Pat Garofalo was so clever posting the following message on Twitter a couple times:

I really did think it was clever.  I don’t know if he thought of it, but it was clever.  I think it was Thom Hartmann I heard once say you can’t spell Oligopoly without GOP.  That one is pretty good too.  We could come up with several of these on each side, and I love games, so I decided to come up with a few.  I even created the Twitter hashtag #cantspellwithoutGOP to get everybody (crickets) involved.

Follow me on Twitter @MNDem

Here are a few I came up with:

You can’t spell POLITICIZING without GOP
You can’t spell IMPOVERISHING without GOP
You can’t spell PROPAGANDA without GOP
You can’t spell EXPORTING JOBS without GOP
You can’t spell GOLDBRICKING without GOP

Oh, I like this one for Sen. Gretchen Hoffman and Michael Brodkorb
You can’t spell UNAPOLOGETIC without GOP

You can’t spell POLLUTING without GOP
You can’t spell ATROPHYING without GOP
You can’t spell POSING without GOP
You can’t spell GOUGING without GOP
You can’t spell OPPRESSING without GOP
You can’t spell DISEMPOWERING without GOP
You can’t spell POLARIZING without GOP
You can’t spell FINGER POINTING without GOP
You can’t spell MEGACORPORATION without GOP

How about this one, is it in really bad taste or just bad taste?  For Rep. Mark Buesgens:
You can’t spell BARHOPPING without GOP

You can’t spell POISONING without GOP
You can’t spell SPOILAGE without GOP

We can go national too.  For Sen. David Vitter of LA:
You can’t spell PROPOSITIONING without GOP

For former Gov. Schwarzenegger of CA:
You can’t spell GROPE without GOP

You can’t spell DISPROPORTIONING without GOP
You can’t spell MISREPORTING without GOP

If you have your own, head over to the Twitter hash tag #cantspellwithoutGOP and add one in, or leave a comment here.

Rightwingers please stop saying “it’s debatable” if it isn’t

I made a comment on a rightwing blog this week, but I was annoyed by a response I received.  My last post was about that blog post.  In essence, the rightwing blogger called on moderate Democrats to join the Republican’s plan to reduce services that hurt those least likely to afford it like the elderly, people with disabilities and workers who have lost their jobs, rather than tax the 40,000 Minnesotans who make over $300,000 an extra 2% on the income over $300,000.  (By the way, if somebody makes $500,000, they would pay about an extra $4,000.)  My response was that the “moderates” were in the common-sense, moderate position of supporting Governor Dayton because he is 100% right, and a majority of Minnesotans think he is right too.

I made that comment on the original rightwing blog, and received the following response:

markmwhite says:
June 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm
whether the majority is standing with Dayton is debatable. the folly of continuing to grow government at unsustainable levels is not. good luck to Steve and the rest of the looters. let the class war continue

I tend to comment on a lot of right wing blogs, and I’ve learned (and this is nothing new or shocking to politically active bloggers) that rightwing comments tend to be either vague or insulting without proof.  (Example: Michelle Bachman.)  It is not always the case, I know several conservatives/ Republicans/ Libertarians who are very thoughtful, have strongly held beliefs, and make a lot of sense, I just don’t often agree with them because I have my own strongly held beliefs.  But what bugs me are the vague defenses to my comments.

In this case, it is “whether the majority is standing with Dayton is debatable.”  How is it debatable?  That phrase “it’s debatable” is very common.  Here are three polls from three different politically leaning organizations that say it isn’t debatable:

Startribune Minnesota Poll May 2011:
Solve budget…
Primarily with service reductions 27%
Tax increases and service reductions 63%
Don’t know/refused 10%

Public Policy Polling (Raleigh, NC) June 2011
Would you support a tax increase on the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans to help balance the state budget, or do you think the budget should be balanced through cuts only?
Would support a tax increase on the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans 63%
Budget should be balanced through cuts only 32%
Not sure 4%

KSTP Survey USA Poll May 2011
Minnesota has a five billion dollar budget deficit. Should Minnesota
Raise Taxes on Wealthy 31%
Raise Taxes on All 4%
Cut Spending 36%
Both 27%
Not Sure 2%
(That is 62% that would support Dayton’s proposal for the math challenged)

Those are three polls that all say about two-thirds of Minnesotans support Governor Dayton and the DFL position.  What is debatable?

Oh, and by the way, I’m no looter, but I think I am fine if a class war begins.  At the rate we are becoming more and more lopsided economically, something needs to change or a class war is inevitable.  If you need proof, look at our nation’s and the world’s history.  It is repeating itself, it happened a century ago, and a century before that, and as we often do, we have forgotten (or are too stupid to rationalize) the hard lessons we learned.