Minneapolis

Minneapolis police attack child with pepper spray at #mpls2madison march

#MPLS2Madison – May 13, 2015 – Minneapolis, MN

The Black Liberation Project organized a #MPLS2Madison rally in solidarity with Tony Robinson, an unarmed black man killed in Madison, and other black lives taken by the police.

The night rally started at the Government Center in downtown Minneapolis and turned into a march that snaked through the streets stopping at the First Precinct. The police repressed the march with pepper spray as it marched back to the Government Center. Victims of the pepper spray included 10 year old Taye.

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#Pointergate Pieces: Hodges merged out politically powerful police pensions; KSTP Quadruples Down; Minneapolis gang intel plugs away

On Nov. 13th another KSTP reporter tried to extend the segment which grabbed national attention by blithely erasing a young Northside guy's life context, framing him as so many before, simply "felon". KSTP turns its attention to his Instagram, and no snarky quips from Minneapolis Police Federation's Delmonico this time. They're turning away from Hodges and only cited a few bullet points from her most recent #Pointergate statement, a nicely hard hitting item when most politicians would stay boring.

TL;DR? Have some material here w links to show depth Hodges-vs-MPD pension fund tussle, gang investigator angle, lastly some info to earlier gang database public process info, 2010 BCA video. Previously on Hongpong.com: Jan 2013: MPD Tracking OccupyMN Facebook BBQs: Minneapolis "secret" Strategic Information Center / Emergency Operations and Training Facility 25 37th Ave NE in Fridley. Data releases indicate gang members & activists are tracked here on social media routinely. [Also site for Obama photo-op against gun violence]

The Thurs KSTP clip is mirrored here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI5lvu08XFw


Bruce Ferrell, president of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association talks at length about how scary finger pointing is. They never come up with any evidence associating the young man w any specific gangs. Nor did he ever deny having trouble staying on the right side of the law in his life, but KSTP triples down on it anyway.

Anyway a couple angles were flagged to me by a hawkeyed friend. Ferrell's organization has a familiar figure as it's Minnesota lead member, Mike Martin. Inquiring souls might want to ask Martin where he fits in this scheme.

The other angle here is the "political economy" depth of the grudge match between Mayor Hodges and MPD elites because Hodges spearheaded a successful effort to take away perhaps the greatest police goodie jar of all, the Minneapolis police pension fund. She was chair of the City Council’s Ways and Means/Budget Committee the four years prior to becoming mayor.

In my days poking through campaign finance records at Politics in Minnesota I was always a little surprised by the generously minded pension funds, pouring money into local and legislative races. These taxpayer-supported funds also let managers walk out with fat percentages. Hodges led the effort to roll these into the more efficient state fund, which neatly took away a huge political carrot, the Minneapolis Police Relief Association, for the Delmonico ... gang. I mean affinity group like a local brass SuperPAC.

The police fund had been closed to new officers for 30 years but still gave profusely to politicians. How dare she take the cookie jar!

MPR candidate bio:

In 2010, she helped cut Rybak’s proposed budget by $6 million. She also spent several years working on pension reform, and she helped engineer a plan to merge the city’s pension system for retired police officers with a state fund.

“It is not sexy to talk about fighting for six years for pension reform. It is not sexy, until I tell you that in 2012, fighting hard for pension reform saved you a $20 million tax levy bill,” she told supporters when she launched her campaign in April.

Minnpost QA:

On the other hand, you need to know how to take on a tough fight and win. I’ve done that, too.
I worked on pensions for six years. [The merger of the Minneapolis Employee Retirement Fund with the state Public Employee Retirement Association]. I was told it would never happen. I was told I was ruining my career, but I knew it was the right thing to do and I kept fighting and I won.
We saved the taxpayers of Minneapolis a $20 million bill in 2012. It was a fight worth taking on, and it was a fight I’m glad we won.

Star Tribune: Minneapolis' pension tension May 2011:

Rybak said his fight isn't with pensioners but with fund leaders, "the middlemen who have wrongly taken money from taxpayers." Relations soured so far that the funds used member political dues to disparage Rybak's role in the lawsuit in a mailing to DFL delegates last year when he sought party endorsement for governor. The police fund also asked the Democratic National Committee to not choose Minneapolis for its 2012 convention, citing the pension cuts....

Merger prospects in the past were blocked by the clout of the police and fire funds at the Capitol. Their political arms donate liberally, and fund leaders assiduously attend political fundraisers.

Schirmer has breakfasted with governors Mark Dayton and Tim Pawlenty. Minneapolis police and fire retirees reported contributing at least $180,000 in state political races last year. Most legislative pension commission members got the $500 maximum. The political arm of retired firefighters gave $44,500 to the House DFL caucus but also $11,500 to the new Republican House majority.

That's one reason leadership of both parties pays heed to the pension funds and that the city had trouble finding bill sponsors from among Republicans this year.

"They have some power there," Rybak conceded. "But the growing understanding that people have has made it easier to take some of the positions I have that are tough politics but are right."

[See also Police Officers Federation fund 300085 - a different one.]

In the last election Hodges' lead opponent, Mark Andrew, represented the police-aligned side of the city's political economy and Brian Rice, longtime attorney for fire and police, was a close ally. An embarrassing story, Sept 2013 in SW Journal: "Brian Rice: Mark Andrew has said ‘no’ to me many times". LOL, just imagine how much leverage Rice lost when the police pension fund was taken outta the game. It's ok, this year he got AFSCME Council 5.

More w Brian Rice Schemes: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/212857381.html
His lobbyist registrations: http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/lbdetail/lb6485.html
"widespread influence": http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/225742511.html
"Rasputin of Parks And Rec" ranked by CityPages, the lobbyist of the pension funds : http://www.citypages.com/2010-01-20/news/the-10-most-influential-lobbyis...
2008 Pension Scheme stuff: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/01/just-movies-minneapolis-...
2013 Web of Alliances - the Old Guard in Mpls: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/212857381.html

The Star Tribune Editorial Board has also raised this issue more recently again:

Hodges won the Editorial Board’s endorsement for mayor in October 2013, in part because of her work reining in fiscally irresponsible city pension funds while serving on the City Council. Those efforts no doubt labeled Hodges as an enemy at police union headquarters, and she failed to win the union’s backing for mayor. Delmonico’s comments on Pointergate confirm why that’s a badge of honor.

And a mention mapped out this connection earlier in Strib: Tensions between police union and Mayor Hodges may trace back to her council actions.

[Former MPD chief] Dolan said that some of the rift may be traced to Hodges’ time on the council, when she clashed with union leaders during contentious pension negotiations.

Lt. Mike Sauro, a 40-year veteran of the department who was at the negotiations, said the process did not endear cops to Hodges.

“Promises that were made, she said those were made by past administrations, those don’t apply now,” Sauro said Monday. “I don’t think she likes cops, regardless of what her actions suggest.”

In Feb 2011 Hodges a public face on pension:

Council Member Betsy Hodges, who has championed pension reform at City Hall, explained that the conditions of the pension were written into state statute, and therefore needed to be adjusted by the legislature. The city is also embroiled in a court battle with the pension fund.

2010 FOX9 March 2010:

Councilwoman Betsy Hodges says the old police and fire pensions are unique. Not only do pensioners control the board, but benefits are determined not by what the retiree made while working, but what the oldest and highest paid still on the force are making.

In 2011 she posted on Facebook:

Sep 14, 2011. Yesterday was a good day for Minneapolis property tax payers: the police pension fund voted to merge with the state fund, the biggest ramining step to finalizing the deal that will end one of the biggest and unfair drivers of Minneapolis property tax increases, and I voted on the Board of Estimate and Taxation for a 0% maximum property tax levy increase. It passed 5-0, with Carol Becker abstaining.

Star Tribune endorsed on basis of fighting w police over pension money:

Hodges won her first four-year term on the Minneapolis City Council in 2005, and not long after started work on what would become her most notable accomplishment: reform of fiscally irresponsible pension funds in the face of a fierce counterattack by the powerful police and firefighter unions. The reforms saved city taxpayers from $20 million in potential property tax increases in 2012 but were politically costly for Hodges when mayoral endorsements were handed out. Taking on special interest groups has never bothered Hodges — an attribute that helps her stand out in the field of top mayoral contenders.

SW Journal article reposted on campaign site says similar: http://www.betsyhodges.org/blog/2013/betsy-hodges-proud-of-her-record-at...


Anyway turning from Hodges & the pension issue to this new MGIA: Midwest Gang Investigators Association http://www.mgia.org/ who are speaking up for the cops on #Pointergate.
Minnesota Chapter Board - http://www.mgia.org/board.asp
Position 	Name 	Email
President 	Michael Martin 	Email memartin@umn.edu
Vice President 	Tony Spencer 	Email Tony.Spencer@ci.stpaul.mn.us
Secretary 	Susan Schema 	Email Sue.Schema.state.mn.us [sic, probably @state.mn.us]
Treasurer 	Kris Lundquist 	Email kristina1lundquist@msn.com

MIKE MARTIN: NEXUS MPD / MIDWEST POLICE GANG INTEL ORG: Mike Martin from MGIA is available as an expert witness these days and his organization jumped into the #pointergate fray with KSTP. Check out this page:: http://www.minnesotagangs.com/training.html

My favorite item here. Even the URLs: http://www.minnesotagangs.com/contact-us.html

Fourth Precinct at forefront of MPD terrorism - MN Spokesman Recorder March 2010:

we ask how Mike Martin continues as the inspector in charge of the precinct compared to why Black inspectors Dan Battum and Lee Edwards were dismissed.... I say "rogue," for how else are we to explain that over half of the lawsuits and millions of dollars paid out these past 14 months came out of the Fourth Precinct? http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2010/03/13/opinion-fourth-precinct-for...

MN Daily: http://www.mndaily.com/2010/03/21/mpls-police-team-fills-gap-left-metro-...

This is not Rugel’s first endeavor into gang territory. He was a member of both the Minnesota Gang Strike Force in the late 1990s and the original Minneapolis Police Gang Unit in the mid 1990s.
Minneapolis police Inspector Mike Martin worked closely with Rugel in the Minneapolis Police Gang Unit. Martin said he and Rugel were sergeants at the time; Martin supervised patrols, Rugel intelligence and both handled investigations.

LinkedIn profile. Note Mike Martin affiliates with Police Executive Research Forum which was directly responsible for coordinating the crushing of the Occupy movement via police chief conference calls. Perhaps the worst gang networking event of all time were those police chief phone calls that organized the Big Banhammer.
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-martin/1b/91/a9b

Mike Martin
Assistant Director, Department of Emergency Management at University of Minnesota
    Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
    Law Enforcement
Current	
    University of Minnesota,
    National Gang Center,
    Minneapolis Police Department
Education	
    Senior Management Institute for Police - Police Executive Research Forum
Summary

I joined the Department of Emergency Management after serving as a licensed police officer for 23 years. During this time I rose in rank from being a Police Officer to being a Civil Service Captain. I also worked for five years as the appointed Inspector, Commander, of the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct.
During my career I had the opportunity to be awarded and recognized for my work as the Investigative Commander and Acting Incident Commander for the 35W Bridge Collapse, for leading the MPD as the Incident Commander for the Northside Tornado response, and for coordinating the response and recovery efforts of the MPD as the Incident Commander during the active workplace shooter incident at Accent Signage Systems. I have completed FEMA and DHS certifications for NIMS and ICS.
In my current position I work to protect the students, faculty, staff, and visitors on all of the University of Minnesota campuses and properties.

MPR 2012 story on gang violence spike: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/04/12/gangs-driving-crime

2004: http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/03/19_williamsb_cops...

Police Chief William McManus suspended Lt. Mike Carlson, Capt. Mike Martin and Deputy Chief Lucy Gerold, and asked for a BCA investigation into allegations that the officers ordered the destruction of an internal memo.

The memo was critical of the department's handling of the shooting of officer Duy Ngo by another officer. Ngo was shot last Feburary while Ngo was working undercover. The memo details mistakes by officers investigating the shooting.

CityPages: May 2010 http://www.citypages.com/2010-05-12/news/alisha-neeley-s-death-leads-to-...

Fourth Precinct Inspector Mike Martin says girls in the past were more likely to be auxiliary members of gangs through their boyfriends or brothers. Now they are increasingly independent, and their violence is escalating as they fight other girls with mace, padlocks, and knives.

"We've been fortunate that not a lot of serious violence has been associated with girls in gangs or cliques, but that's a natural evolution we might be seeing in the future," Martin says.

Lake Calhoun shooting 2010: http://www.streetgangs.com/billboard/viewtopic.php?f=174&t=48933

Inspector Mike Martin, commander of the 4th Precinct in north Minneapolis, says the increase in gang activity is due in part to a volatile mix of gang members on the streets.

"Some career offenders, even young people who've been in prison or juvenile detention facilities, are getting back out and who are acting on revenge and retaliation for incidents that have occurred in the past," said Martin.

TheGrio.com on Native gangs: http://thegrio.com/2012/11/23/street-gangs-gain-foothold-on-native-ameri...

“One of the problems traditionally has been these individuals feel they can commit crimes in the city or on one reservation and then go hide in another reservation or another state,” said Minneapolis Police Inspector Mike Martin, a department gang expert. “I think the federal authorities and state authorities here have sent a message to them that you can run but you can’t hide and we will bring them to justice.”

Hybrid Gangs - Nov 2007 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_7361324 Nov 2007:

Hybrid gangs harder for police to track: " Capt. Mike Martin of the Minnesota Gang Strike Force said hybrid gangs are a major cause of that state's increase in violence. Nearly half of their gangs are now hybrid, he said. "

MNForum booster post. The idea of pushing drugs into polygons is pretty quaint: https://www.mail-archive.com/mpls@mnforum.org/msg36017.html

Then "Lieutenant" Mike Martin once stood in front of our community meeting and told a hundred people that he had once been charged with moving the drug dealers out of Whittier and across the bridges over I-35, and now he was promising to move the drug dealers out of the Third Precinct. That he "did not care what bridge they went across, but they were going to be moved some where out of "His " community, or they were going to be going to jail". If Minneapolis wants to clean up the Northside and keep the Drug-Gangs from coming back to the Central or Phillips Neighborhoods then allow Capt. Mike Martin to have the man-power, and just as important, the "Command" he needs. Then the bridge Mike will move the drug dealers across will be the I-94 St Croix bridge, or the I-35 bridge over the Minnesota.

Native Mob sweep 2012:

Authorities are still investigating at least 10 unsolved homicides in Minnesota that may be linked to the Native Mob, said Mike Martin, a gang expert with the Minneapolis Police Department.
He said gang members in custody are under pressure to talk. Most of the defendants are in their 20s. If convicted in federal court, they face sentences between 20 years to life in prison, with no chance of parole.
"In a case like this, it's not unusual for some of the defendants to cooperate and provide information that would lead to other arrests or indictments in the case," Martin said. "The ones who are still out and about are going to be worried that they're going to be next. ... They should be worried."

He ran this listed gang training in Bemidji:

Minnesota Gang Awareness & Identification - Bemidji
Monday, May 13 2013 8:00am - 12:00pm Presented by:

Mike Martin - Minnesotagangs.com

This training session promises to be the most comprehensive overview of gangs you can attend. Designed for teachers, police officers, corrections, probation, social workers, and others who work with kids, the curriculum will cover gang definitions and statutes in Minnesota, why kids join gangs, factors that predispose kids to be involved in gangs, and varying levels of gang involvement. The instructor will then conduct a thorough overview of gangs operating in Minnesota, from the larger Chicago and L.A.-based gangs, to homegrown gangs, and modern hybrid gangs. In addition, participants will receive an overview of Latino gangs, White Supremacist gangs, and Minnesota’s unique brand of Native Gangs. Questions will be encouraged and participants will be exposed to additional sources of information available to them.

Event entered on: April 11, 2013
Event entered by: Basecamp Business via Eventbrite

He wrote MPD report about gang feud w "Skitz Squad and Y.N.T." Strib said in 2012: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/161686565.html

"They consider it to be kind of a fact of life that people get killed, that houses get shot up, that adults go to prison, and therefore those things are not a deterrent," said Inspector Mike Martin, who wrote the department's internal report. Though he agreed to discuss the report, Martin was not the newspaper's source in obtaining it.

Anyway if Martin's obscure regional police organization is jumping in with KSTP then that strongly suggests he's involved in the story's momentum somehow.


MORE INFO: A lot of good discussion has gone around #pointergate. I recommend my ol colleague Brian Lambert for the media angle: http://www.wrywingpolitics.com/kstp-tv-and-pointergate-post-mortem-of-a-...

Javier Morillo also has several posts and has quit appearing on KSTP: http://thuginpastels.com/ - Twitter: https://twitter.com/javimorillo

Nekima Levy-Pounds particularly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nvlevy . Here is some info she posted on FB. Emphasis added:

Maybe it's just me, but I am still reeling from that ‪#‎pointergate‬ @KSTP "news" story and feeling a little queasy. It is sickening to see a news station quadruple down on their original story and attempt to undermine our intelligence about the intent and meaning of the original photo and story by working to show Navell in a negative light. They also once again tried to connect him with throwing gang signs, even though the original story said, "There is no evidence that Navell is in a gang." As someone who grew up in a neighborhood with gangs in Los Angeles and who currently works with young men who have been involved in gangs and the criminal justice system, I am appalled and deeply disgusted by KSTP once again and their demonization of young black men; as well as their attempts to have us believe their word and law enforcement's word over what our own eyes and common sense tells us. They just don't get it. We do not see Navell Gordon as evil. He is a young man working hard to turn his life around.

The other aspect that is troubling about this story is the fact that in Minnesota, there have been major concerns about the conduct of certain law enforcement officers in racially profiling and abusing people of color, and mischaracterizing them as gang members. Anyone remember the Metro Gang Strike Force and the ways in which they used fear tactics to gain a license to engage in lawless behavior and assaults of people of color as well as theft of their belongings? I was part of a group that challenged their conduct between 2009-2010, which ultimately resulted in the state's largest gang database being shut down because of racial profiling, a failure to follow the law, and abusive practices. The first link below is an article about their conduct. The second link is the legislative auditor's report. The third link is an evaluation that one of my colleagues, law students, and I conducted in collaboration with the St. Paul NAACP about the use of gang databases in Minnesota.

We have to take a stand and hold the police accountable for abusive practices and demand transparency and accountability. The bad apples make the entire force look bad, and this has to stop. We also must continue to hold KSTP responsible for their racist reporting and irresponsible journalism. They also personally owe Navell Gordon an apology for running a smear campaign against him.......It's time for change.

"Victims of Metro Gang Strike Force Awarded 840,000": http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/163478566.html

Legislative Auditor Report on Metro Gang Strike Force: http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/fad/2009/fad09-18.htm

Evaluation of Gang Databases in Minnesota & Recommendations for Change: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/bca/Documents/Evaluation%20of%20Gang%20Data...

Reminds me way back in 2010 I went to the SF 2527 Workgroup meeting involving this whole gang database issue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kld_gcSXdd8

Original 2010 story covers the MN gang intel process: http://www.hongpong.com/archives/2010/10/04/avalanche-fed-local-police-s...

Anyway hopefully this informs the larger problems, some info about intermediate power players and of course the policy process of WTF counts as a "gang" under this system called the "state".

Welcome to the Skinner Box: Corporate industrial psychology, consent-free operant conditioning of Hennepin County residents, "mystery shoppers" & mental illness

Hennepin Skinner.jpg

"Now you never know… the owner sends people to buy things here and see how you act…."

Oone-dimensional-man.jpgne pernicious pattern in our modern age is the application of Industrial & Organizational Psychology to control the masses. Arguably the I/O Psych modern trend started in the 1920s, with strategies like Ed Bernays' Propaganda approach. Gradually this converted a nation of independent & frequently militant people into pacified corporate consumers through "massification" (PDF) of egos & identity, as left-wing scholar & intelligence specialist Herbert Marcuse put it. (see One-Dimensional Man text)

Let's look at abusive industrial psychological practices in Hennepin County for a moment. Some people are trying to take action, and it appears a pervasive but latent social control conflict is spilling into the open. [Photo illustration courtesy Ulya Aviral]

Local examples of abusive psychological programs run by government and corporations abound, but they lack broader context and scrutiny. A recent one: In April-May 2012 a number of Minneapolis activists discovered a program called Drug Recognition Evaluator training (DRE) was enticing people to take drugs and possibly receive drugs from law enforcement, without any Institutional Review Board or informed consent paperwork involved. This was documented by us in 'MK Occupy Minnesota'. It continues to be unraveled in a federal lawsuit handled by my friend, attorney Nathan Hansen (more info here). [And don't forget pro sports as mass mind control & the illegally financed Vikings stadium…]

Today's case is but a small example of the total social control system, an unexpected window into how corporations manipulate individual employees. While activist circles fear & loathe government and corporate informants, everyday employees, including independent contractors and those working on sales commissions, are conditioned by trained corporate managers to fear another type of encounter: the "Mystery Shopper" or secret shopper. Mystery shoppers are people hired to pose as regular customers, and then they test the behavior of the employee or contractor without their explicit consent. This provides an opportunity for the corporate managers to punish the employees for supposedly failing on some point of behavior.

Arguably, one desired effect of the mystery shopper system is to trigger mental illness. It exists to cause anxiety & create more uncertainty: after all, if one cannot be sure if a fake persona is going to try and manipulate you at work while you are selling Comcast cable boxes or lawnmowers on commission, you will certainly become more anxious. In a higher state of anxiety, is it easier to control all the employees and keep them subjugated, as well as create new levers to demote and punish them. Weirdly, it feels like a commercialized version of the FBI's anxiety-inducing informant system.

Hennepin County will soon be releasing a new plan for handling mental health, and the conflict here is between those who want psychologically abusive corporate tactics to be regulated, vs those who do not want this issue formally acknowledged by the county.

In Hennepin County, this system is currently a free-for-all, which enables corporations to develop large programs to psychologically traumatize and control their employees through generating more stress and mental illness. Another point: whenever a mystery shopper eats up the time of an employee or contractor working on sales commissions, it prevents them from earning commissions from legitimate customers.

A few members of an obscure citizen volunteer board in Hennepin County have been looking into this, conducting extensive research on the industrial psychology of secret shoppers with an eye to compelling these organizations to be regulated, since there are certain statutes and county rules that in theory could subject the corporations to some kind accountability. [Notes below - in Nevada mystery shoppers have to be licensed under private investigators!]

The Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council (LAC) meets on the third Thursday of each month from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Hosmer Library, 347 E. 36th St., Minneapolis. [more official info PDF] On August 21st it seems the issue will actually get addressed, though this has been in question.

Here is a message from volunteer Hennepin County Local Advisory Council Adult Mental Illness consumer member Neil Elavsky earlier today about pushing for licensure for industrial and organizational psychologists.
Below the fold...

Libertarian Party candidate for MN Governor arrested, injured at Minneapolis' Lake Calhoun collecting signatures for ballot access; Parks apologizes

libertarian-arrested-1.png

Today's local moment of maniacal fascism comes from the Minneapolis Park Police who arrested a candidate for governor from the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, Chris Holbrook. Minneapolis Park Police & regular city police arrested the candidate for noncommercial political activity. Basic facts are still unknown but emerging right now…

UPDATE 6PM Saturday: Wider coverage from major media on story: City Pages cites this post for a relevant city ordinance; FOX9 interviewed people at Lake Calhoun about MPD officer's demand for ID in detail: Libertarian candidate for Minnesota governor arrested - KMSP-TV // AP story carried as far as Texas: Police sorry for detaining Libertarian candidate. KARE11 also did video report: Mpls. Park Police apologize to libertarian candidate. Well done everyone who contacted the media about this story - it's precisely stories like this about democratic processes getting chomped by the state which need to reach a wider audience. Hopefully this won't happen any more!

UPDATE 1PM Friday: I heard about another incident of harassment towards ballot signature gathering -- NOT from the Libertarian Party crew. If anyone has more of this, try to get video & tweet @hongpong or email hongpong @ hongpong.com . Remember signatures are due Tuesday 5PM!!

UPDATE 2AM Friday: It seems from the next two videos (they are pretty short) that the Holbrook campaign posted on FB tonight, that it was what looked like an MPD officer who really instigated the situation, after the Park Police had essentially called upon the MPD 'district' officer to figure it out.

Park police earlier, waiting on MPD: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1379526958988516

Then the MPD officer got ticked off at Holbrook and arrested him, & the officer clearly understands it's a political, not commercial activity. Video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1379527655655113 -

Video mirrored at http://youtu.be/dnz3TQ8SfIk:

Video Still here:

mpd-no-petition.png

UPDATE 9:30PM: The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board says they've apologized, while Holbrooks is seeking medical attention according to the LP Facebook page. Parks statement via Chris Steller:

parks-dept-apology.png

Verified by same email sent & posted by @Sen_B_Petersen as well (scribd).

VIDEO posted by Libertarian Party of Minnesota at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=654897927893344 copied to youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve2sP2a94xs

I sent this to my city council member:

I was rather shocked to see a video of the Minneapolis Park Police arresting a candidate for governor, Chris Holbrook of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, on Lake Calhoun, posted a couple hours ago. URL here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=654897927893344

The Park Police state he "can't advertise in the park… you need a permit for it" but this is wrong. Minneapolis Ordinances Chapter 332.20: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@clerk/documents/webconte...

(1) Non-commercial door-to-door advocates. Nothing within this chapter shall be interpreted to prohibit or restrict non-commercial door-to-door advocates. Person engaging in non-commercial door-to-door advocacy shall not be required to register as a solicitor under this chapter.

This is a really major affront to the processes of democracy, specifically the onerous ballot signature access collection process which has to be performed in public places. I would hope that the City Council can make clear to the Park Police that petition signatures do not require permits, and indicate to Minneapolis' members of the Legislature and the Secretary of State's office that a candidate was unlawfully impeded from their Constitutional, statutory & ordinance recognized right to do noncommercial activity in public parks in Minneapolis. The independent candidates only have until next Tuesday to collect signatures and this is really just terrible.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

..Dan Feidt, .. resident .

Thanks to "Iam B" on the thread for the cite on city ordinances.

I don't support various elements of the LP-MN platform but I strongly support them getting on the November ballot statewide, especially because they are adamantly fighting against drug war policies and cannabis prohibition. I definitely think Minnesota voters need options like Libertarians (and Independence and Greens etc) in order to pressure the prohibitionist corrupt Boomer Democrat level to drop their ever-profitable prohibition schemes. [I've also been working with MN NORML lately because dang it, it's time!]

Totally unacceptable. I have put a pretty good chunk of time in dealing with trying to get people on the ballot and stuff working for change in this system, and right in the home stretch of ballot signature collection the Minneapolis cops thrash Libertarians right here in the area. Not OK in any way.

Also the 2014 All-Star Game and 2018 Super Bowl are coming to Minneapolis as Rich Neumeister notes, could political speech be advertising without a permit? e will certainly see with all the dodgy deals cut (including with secret, undisclosed money flows) whether any freedom of speech will be able to withstand the silencing power of cold hard cash + police weapons. (Also: AP: more tax breaks!?)

@chris_steller sagely points out right away something I missed: in 2005 suppression against Jason Stone, a candidate for Minneapolis Park Board, see: Star Tribune: Minneapolis parks chief reverses flier ban (June 2005)

Star Tribune Letters: Stifling Free Speech

listserv items: [Mpls] Re: Jason Stone && [Mpls] An Ode to Jason Stone and Free Speech

Southside Pride background profile by Ed Felien

Minneapolis Park Board has pattern of problems with free speech | Twin Cities Daily Planet article by Chris Steller from 2009 Minnesota Independent helpful previous context.

VIDEO STILLS:

libertarian-arrested-4.png libertarian-arrested-3.png libertarian-arrested-2.png

STILLS VIDEO SOURCE: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=654897927893344

Fortunately there's a classic Atmosphere song "Between the Lines" (2001) relates well to overheated Minneapolis police on summer days & goes pretty damn well w. clips above::

Scott Hargarten Pirate Party City Council candidate for Ward 10 in LWV debate tonight

ward10debate.jpg

A friend of mine, Scott Hargarten, (@scotthargarten) is running for Minneapolis City Council with the new Pirate Party of Minnesota and participated in the Ward 10 debate today. While of course the Pirate Party is a small new political venture we are getting somewhere with advancing ideas of direct democracy. The debate was pretty interesting and shows how wide open the general political situation in the city right now really is.

Also with the Pirate Party, Kurt Hanna is running for mayor, Michael Katch and Vince Coffeen are also running for City Council and Doug Sembla is running for Board of Estimate and Taxation. Get out of the Two Party Box and vote Pirate Party! :D

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Local cell phone spying KingFish stonewall: Minnesota law enforcement at BCA & Hennepin County refuse to disclose SIGINT cell phone snooping capabilities from NSA contractor Harris

kingfish.jpg

It's been dawning on Americans this year that their everyday electronic devices are used by law enforcement for investigations. However the lawmen and the county attorneys are withholding the policy information about the Harris Corporation Kingfish system which is a device that can alter the electronic behavior in a cell phone, also known as a CDMA Interrogator or cell phone interceptor.

The MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has declined to share any policy information about Kingfish. I have also heard that Hennepin County Sheriffs Office and their legal counsel are putting up rather high barriers to disclosing anything at all about Kingfish. The whole case is weirdly parallel to the 1978 Rockford Files episode House on Willis Avenue, which ended with this unprecedented title card:

rockford-files-willis-ave.pngWe still have "no legal right" to know about who in Minnesota is building dossiers and how. The main question: what is Hennepin County and the BCA hiding in their versions of the House on Willis Avenue?

At the Hennepin County level in the 2010 they earlier promised to come up with sensible and clear policies about if and when law enforcement uses these devices to interfere with cell phones. Now they are claiming that stuff is non-public data - which of course precludes informed public debate at the Legislature in 2014 about electronic law enforcement interference in technical devices.

Several people including Rich Neumeister are looking into this nasty Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) mess. Follow @RichNeumeister - he is helpful answering about the details on this via Twitter.

In a shocking surprise Harris Corporation is a major contractor with the National Security Agency and KingFish is part of the domestic-grade apparatus for local but still unchecked NSA-style electronic snooping. The NSA didn't seem like a big deal when KingFish was approved, but now everyone has finally started noticing the tremendous power of unchecked electronic data collection. It's a much Hotter Potato than in 2012!

See: Sept 2009: Harris Corporation and National Security Agency Announce Certification of First Tactical Radio with Type-1 Suite B Information Security

July 2012: Harris Corporation Receives National Security Agency Certification for Soldier Radio Waveform in Falcon III AN/PRC-117G Multiband Manpack Radio

April 2007: National Security Agency Certifies Harris Corporation's SecNet 54 Top-Secret Capable Secure Wireless LAN Product

September 2004: Harris Corporation Receives NSA Certification for Programmable Cryptographic Module

Wikispaces notes: PIRT - Harris Corporation etc. More Harris links at end.

rockford3.pngAnother angle here: Hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone into KingFish in Minnesota and they are not willing to share the expense information. Ars Technica reports the boxes cost $25K so where the hell is the rest of the money? Meet the machines that steal your phone’s data | Ars Technica:

The Kingfish is a surveillance transceiver that allows authorities to track and mine information from mobile phones over a targeted area. The device does not appear to enable interception of communications; instead, it can covertly gather unique identity codes and show connections between phones and numbers being dialed. It is smaller than the Stingray, black and gray in color, and can be controlled wirelessly by a conventional notebook PC using Bluetooth. You can even conceal it in a discreet-looking briefcase, according to marketing brochures.

First used: Trademark records show that a registration for the Kingfish was filed in August 2001. Its “first use anywhere” is listed in records as December 2003.

Cost: $25,349.

Agencies: Government agencies have spent about $13 million on Kingfish technology since 2006, sometimes as part of what is described in procurement documents as a “vehicular package” deal that includes a Stingray. The US Marshals Service; Secret Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Army; Air Force; state cops in Florida; county cops in Maricopa, Arizona; and Special Operations Command have all purchased a Kingfish in recent years.

[…]The code of silence shrouding the above tools, however, is highly contentious. Their use by law enforcement agencies is in a legal gray zone, particularly because interference with communications signals is supposed to be prohibited under the federal Communications Act. In May, an Arizona court ruled that the FBI's use of a Stingray was lawful in a case involving conspiracy, wire fraud, and identity theft. But according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), when seeking authorization for the use of the Stingray tool, the feds have sometimes unlawfully withheld information from judges about the full scope of its capabilities. This means that judges across the country are potentially authorizing the use of the technology without even knowing what it actually does. [But in MN who needs judges?? LOL]

That's not all. There is another significant issue raised by the Harris spy devices: security. According to Christopher Soghoian, chief technologist at the ACLU, similar covert surveillance technology is being manufactured by a host of companies in other countries like China and Russia. He believes the US government’s “state secrecy” on the subject is putting Americans at risk.

"Our government is sitting on a security flaw that impacts every phone in the country," Soghoian says. "If we don't talk about Stingray-style tools and the flaws that they exploit, we can't defend ourselves against foreign governments and criminals using this equipment, too."

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Soghoian makes an excellent point - the vulnerabilities exploited by KingFish are in some ways a major public safety threat, and the security establishment is accruing power by hiding the flaws as usual instead of forcing society to deal with the overall crappiness of today's telecom technology.

"Security by obscurity" is the dominant principle of political accountability here, and of course it is doomed to fail. Responsible disclosure of the flaws exploited by KingFish and their granular legal circumstances are what we need, not moar domestic SIGINT fog and mystification.

All of these cell phone attack avenues should be known because similar tech to KingFish would be more widely available soon. The disruption under the federal Communications Act is also relevant.

Some time back I pointed out the problems with MN statutes about these kind of cell interceptor technology at a Senate committee and former Sen. Mee Moua suggested that if I wanted to go fishing for KingFish I might need to find some alternate way. At least these days more people care about this stuff!! [It should be recalled Moua - a Hmong war refugee - was hounded by law enforcement at the tail end of her service. See MPR clip below]

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Earlier: March 3 2010: Sheriff Stanek landing Fed cash for KingFish military cellphone tracker in Hennepin County; National Guard intelligence analysts fuse to metro police departments; Lobby for warrantless wiretaps in St. Paul | Twin Cities Indymedia -- March 15 2010: Surprise bill for interstate fusion center data sharing pops up Tuesday; Specs found for Harris StingRay & KingFish cellphone tracking devices | Twin Cities Indymedia

via Rich Neumeister: Open Secrets: An indefensible and odious practice with (Foia-Data Practice) data requests (Oct 15th)

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Office of the Commissioner

445 Minnesota Street - Suite 1000 - Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

Phone: 651.201.7160 - Fax: 651.297.5728 - TTY: 651.282.6555

Website: dps.mn.gov

October 3, 2013

Rich Neumeister VIA Electronic Mail

Re: Cell Phone Tracking Data Request

Dear Mr. Neumeister:

Thank you for your data request. You ask "to inspect and review all government data about the cell phone location tool known as the (Kingfish) including, but not limited to, such items as protocols, procedures, legal thresholds, Attorney opinions, evaluations, correspondence, and results of use."

The BCA does possess cellular exploitation equipment; however, we cannot provide details about the equipment because it would compromise ongoing and future criminal investigations including AMBER Alerts, kidnapping cases, fugitive searches and homicides.

In addition, any disclosure regarding the manufacturer, model, capabilities, functionality or other specifics about the equipment could be used by criminals and fugitives to defeat the technology and render the system useless.

As a result, any data regarding this equipment is confidential or protected non-public under Statutes 13.82 Subd. 25 and 13.37 Subd. l (a).

Portions of the data are also trade secret data not subject to dissemination. The contracting company has taken efforts to protect the data from disclosure. As you are aware, a corporation supplying trade secret data to a government entity may claim portions are trade secret. The contractor in this case has appropriately made such a claim as it relates to portions of the data, pursuant to Minn. Statute 13.37 Subd. 1(b).

Again, thank you for your data request. Should you care to discuss it further please contact me.

Sincerely,

E. Joseph Newton

General Counsel

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Lol "any disclosure regarding the manufacturer, model, capabilities, functionality or other specifics about the equipment could be used by criminals and fugitives to defeat the technology" - so they are counting on ignorance to succeed in controlling society. A perfectly sound way to invest public Debt-Dollars, counting on perpetual confusion over some metal box's legal & technical specifications. Perhaps this kind of clever spending theory contributed to the federal government shut down - it's not like millions haven't vanished on deficient & wasteful Homeland Security gear :-/

Well then let us take a look at MN Statutes 13.82 Subdivision 25. 13.82, 2013 Minnesota Statutes

"Subd. 25.Deliberative processes. Data that reflect deliberative processes or investigative techniques of law enforcement agencies are confidential data on individuals or protected nonpublic data; provided that information, reports, or memoranda that have been adopted as the final opinion or justification for a decision of a law enforcement agency are public data."

Justification for a decision of a law enforcement agency are public data and that would really seem to include the legal memos about the process for when to fire up Kingfish to poke at cell phones.

here is the 13.37 Subdivision 1 a: 13.37, 2013 Minnesota Statutes

Subdivision 1.Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.

(a) "Security information" means government data the disclosure of which the responsible authority determines would be likely to substantially jeopardize the security of information, possessions, individuals or property against theft, tampering, improper use, attempted escape, illegal disclosure, trespass, or physical injury. "Security information" includes crime prevention block maps and lists of volunteers who participate in community crime prevention programs and their home and mailing addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail or other digital addresses, Internet communication services accounts information or similar accounts information, and global positioning system locations.

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It seems like this is worded to mean that the "information" would be subjected to "theft, tampering, improper use, attempted escape, illegal disclosure, trespass, or physical injury". "Defeat the technology" is not on that list, and indeed the question of who the technology has been used on remains decidedly open.

Here is Rich's list of questions which is a good starting point: What's behind the secrecy wall of Hennepin Co Sheriff and BCA?

Some of the few questions I am trying to get answered are as follows: In what situations are the cellular exploitation devices used?

Are the BCA/Hennepin Co Sheriff invading people's privacy and liberty at a low legal threshold or no threshold rather than get a search warrant?

Who oversees and approves the use of the equipment? Where is the accountability?

How many innocent people have been within sights of the Kingfish or similar device, the data collected and those subjects of the surveillance who may not even know about it,? How many arrests have happened with the use of this device?

Kip Carver, an official in the Hennepin County Sheriff's office stated to the county's commissioners three years ago that the cellular exploitation device may be used hundreds of times a year.

How frequently are the cellular exploitation devices used and the number of subjects?

Depending if the cops are using a low threshold or none at all in using this device are they doing so to avoid an appearance before a judge where a search warrant (top standard to protect our privacy & liberty) needs to be issued and where questions can be asked?

What is the role of the prosecutors in situations when this equipment is used?

In my data request I asked for the legal thresholds that the agencies must go by in order to use the Kingfish? What is so secret about that?

At this time, the attitude that both agencies have taken with my data requests give the Minnesota Legislature and most important the public no idea how this tool has been used, is being used, how an individual or individuals get chosen to be pursued, and who is accountable.

As some people may currently know I have been working to possibly update our state laws so that the rule of law applies to whats happening now in 2013 not in 1988-1989 when 626A had its last major update.

Even though the Department of Public Safety and the Hennepin County Sheriff do not want to tell me or the public their protocols, policies, procedures of accountability, legal thresholds, and other appropriate public data I will still push on and I hope others will. I am not interested to live in a state where law enforcement rules and not the people.

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Story from Feb 9 2010 Star Tribune. You Can LOL about how Kip Carver claims that the device would only track cell phone numbers obtained through a search warrant: via Sheriff Stanek landing Fed cash for KingFish military cellphone tracker in Hennepin County; National Guard intelligence analysts fuse to metro police departments; Lobby for warrantless wiretaps in St. Paul | Twin Cities Indymedia | Movement Media for Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul has a KingFish device and makes it available to local agencies, said Jill Oliveira, a BCA spokeswoman. Only a few people know how to use it because the training is expensive, she said.

Stanek couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. Kip Carver, a Sheriff's Office inspector who heads the investigations bureau, told commissioners that the device would track only cell phone numbers obtained through a search warrant, and couldn't be used without a court order.

The KingFish can't eavesdrop on phone conversations, Carver said. Instead, it locates cell phones that might be in the possession of an abduction victim, he said, or a robber making a getaway.

"I truly believe [we] would be very busy using that," Carver said. Asked how many times a year the device might be used, he said it could be in the hundreds.

Commissioner Jan Callison agreed to table the request to get more information, but added she was not as troubled by the device as some of her colleagues. "It seems to me that there are certainly ways to make sure this technology is deployed legally. ... It's really the sort of law enforcement that we want," she said.

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rockford-files2.pngHere is something handy, a contract surely similar to the ones being currently hoarded by BCA and Hennepin County Sheriffs Office, a 2012 Harris Government Communications Systems Division June 25 2012 from the city of Tempe Arizona: Harris Corporation Wireless Surveillance Products Standard Terms and Conditions of Sale | Public Intelligence - 11 pages.

Harris Corporation’s “StingRay” Used by FBI for Warrantless Mobile Phone Tracking

Harris Corporation AmberJack, StingRay, StingRay II, KingFish Wireless Surveillance Products Price List. Thanks to PublicIntelligence.net as always for stacking the key infos nicely!

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December 2008: Harris Corporation Receives National Security Agency Certification for Type 1 Ethernet Module for SecNet 54

June 2013: Harris Corporation Receives NSA Type 1 Certification for Cryptographic Component of Anti-Scintillation/Anti-Jam Modem

July 2011: Harris Corporation's Small Secure Data Link Receives National Security Agency Certification - aka drone radios

January 2008: Harris Corporation Receives National Security Agency Certification for Falcon III Multiband Manpack Radio

Photo source: Ars Technica: Meet the machines that steal your phone’s data | Ars Technica

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Sen Mee Moua hounded by law enforcement: Mee Moua leaves state Senate, legacy | Minnesota Public Radio News - Laura Yuen June 29 2010

Yet Moua made waves with some law-enforcement officials this year when she proposed legislation that would ban police departments from sharing secret files on gang members and activities. Moua said she had concerns about racial profiling, especially of young African-Americans who she says could be entered into the database simply for being photographed with a known gang member. The proposal came after a series of scandals involving the now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force.

"So she saw abuse in law enforcement, and I think that's why she wrote the bills she did," Limmer said. "Was it an overreach? Hmm. Some people might say so, but you could understand where she was coming from."

Some law-enforcement officials, though, painted Moua as a gang sympathizer. And Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at the time that Moua was overreacting to isolated problems with the strike force.

"I think that overreaction has caused her to introduce reckless legislation that will jeopardize the safety of citizens, officers and case prosecutions," Fletcher said.

Moua said she was taken aback by the reaction from law enforcement.

"They wanted to make this about cops vs. dangerous criminals," she said. "But the actuality is it's about cops vs. people in the community who haven't done anything [wrong] and who were being profiled in these databases."

Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight said Moua has been known to question police practices -- which may have irked some law enforcement officials.

"While sometimes some of my peers had some frustrations, I thought she was very healthy for the global approach to law enforcement, and the balance with community and citizens' rights and fairness," Knight said.

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To paraphrase Rockford Files Jim says: "You can stomp someone into the ground using computer technology as a club"… Evil CEO guy: "To my knowledge none of this is illegal." Jim: "It should be!" The House on Willis Avenue is easily the most applicable episode to this scenario, with its combination of unregulated electronic spying and shady local government operations:

See also: Rockford files data surveillance didactic ending — Critical Commons

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Finally I would add there are several candidates for Pirate Party in Minneapolis in November - if you want to send the signal that these issues matter, consider voting for them. The two parties are almost certainly not going to help you and the other minor parties are all over the map.

Pirate Party Australia sets sail - with transparent principles & runoff preferences

The Pirate Party in Minnesota is starting to cruise along with several candidates for Minneapolis mayor, city council and Board of Estimate & Taxation -- a part of a larger network which includes three national parliament seats in Iceland and one in the EU parliament from Sweden.

Here are some infos from the Pirate Party of Australia including I thought an interesting set of deals with other Australian political party and friendly member support for the new Wikileaks Party as well.

Australian politics is strange, and controlled partially by outside powers such as the US/British coup-de-etat in 1975 over resistance from a labor prime minister's opposition or at least some kind of scrutiny to the NSA SIGINT bases. The classic CIA Nugan Hand bank was involved and the mini-series Counter-Intelligence by Metanoia Films - metanoia-films.org does a fantastic job exposing this underappreciated intervention against a major English-speaking ally.

In this context perhaps the Pirate Party and Wikileaks Party movements might get a good response from the electorate - improved also by general paralysis and failsauce among more recent prime ministers.

Follow: https://twitter.com/piratepartyau. also check out asher_wolf on twitter who has been posting tons of stuff lately.

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Great article:: Pirate Party: Pirates in the modern age | Independent Australia by Mark Gibbons - Sept 4 2013:

.....The self-styled “anti-piracy” movement invariably seeks to impose cultural and informational hierarchies and undermine civil liberties and technology. Pirates, in the political sense, seek to take the exact opposite stance.

Pirates oppose abusive hierarchies in every form. They stand with ‒ and surpass ‒ narrower groups, which oppose only government or corporate over-reach (copyright law being the fusion of both). The Internet ‒ liberator of potential and destroyer of scarcity that it is ‒ needs strong defense against control, censorship, and monitoring.

Pirates are advocating patent laws that safeguard inventions under development rather than strangling them and entrenching market domination for large players. The time has surely come to stop recognising patents on human genes. Support for science and technology puts pirates in a strong position to advocate meaningful action against climate change and many of the other scientific challenges of our age.

Abusive hierarchies melt in the face of scrutiny, openness and accountability, and whistle-blowers should always find help and support among political pirates. Free speech and privacy always need defense against perpetual undermining conducted in the guise of “striking a balance”. Pirates often advocate the withdrawal of heavy-handed state interventions in marriage rights, euthanasia and the war on drugs.

The values of pirates apply across many different areas of law and policy, but copyright law needs particular scrutiny. Copyright needs reform to protect “fair use”, and the right of artists to re-use and sample earlier works. The moral rights of creators to be identified with their work should never change. Crown copyright should be abolished to ensure the public has access to the work it has paid for. Copyright duration should be reduced to a level more consistent with supporting creative output. Non-commercial use of copyrighted material cannot be stopped, and the futile campaign of abuse against the general public should end. And the state should shift to a supportive stance with regard to live venues and facilities that provide a path for emerging artists.

Ultimately, political pirates believe that business models which must violate civil liberties in order to make money should not exist. Criminalising normal behavior in the name of anti-piracy is self-defeating: it simply makes pirates of everyone.

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Preferencing Statement in open process provides pretty solid basis for forming alliances with other groups in a transparent fashion.

Example pirate party greens / WA deal poster: http://imgur.com/Nn1FJ2R

YOU ARE THE METADATA campaign poster: https://twitter.com/piratepartyau/status/366140384436449280/photo/1

Detailed evidence based policies - transparently & democratically: https://twitter.com/piratepartyau/status/366516627673587712/photo/1

http://pirateparty.org.au/2013/08/18/preferencing-statement-for-federal-election-2013/

Preferencing Statement for Federal Election 2013

Preferencing Process

Pirate Party Australia has completed its preferencing for its first federal election. All group voting tickets (GVT) have been published on the Australian Electoral Commission’s website.

In keeping with the Pirate Party’s commitment to transparency and participatory democracy, this election the Party pioneered a form of preferencing unprecedented in Australian politics.

All parties were invited to provide members of Pirate Party Australia with a statement explaining why they deserve preferences.These statements can be found on the wiki.

After publishing the statements publicly, the members of Pirate Party Australia ranked all 53 registered parties according to how they should be preferenced.

A rundown of the process is as follows:

  • Party members were given a ballot listing the parties to be preferenced in an order predetermined by the Party’s Election Committee to be a good general order of preferences based on the Committee’s research. They were given three days to respond to the ballot.
  • The Committee used the preferencing order prior to the closing of the ballot in order to determine how to best go about negotiating preferences with other parties in order to get them to reciprocate the preference order determined by our members.
  • As soon as the GVT ballot closed, the deals ballot was put to our members.
  • 24 hours later, the deal results were determined and the other parties were informed.
  • The Election Committee met as soon as possible after receiving the Group Voting Tickets for each state and democratically determined any changes necessary to the GVT that were not possible to determine in advance.
    • The minutes of that meeting can be found here.
  • These results are now being published in this statement.

An example of the digital ballot that the members of the Party used to determine their preference order can be found here!

Member-determined Preference Order

The member determined preference order can be found below:

(1) Pirate Party Australia
(2) Australian Greens
(3) The Wikileaks Party
(4) Australian Democrats
(5) Secular Party of Australia
(6) Senator Online (Internet Voting Bills/Issues)
(7) Australian Sex Party
(8) Future Party
(9) Australian Independents
(10) Drug Law Reform Party
(11) Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party
(12) Voluntary Euthanasia Party
(13) Stop CSG Party
(14) Liberal Democratic Party
(15) Animal Justice Party
(16) Nick Xenophon Group
(17) Australian First Nations Political Party
(18) Australian Stable Population Party
(19) Carers Alliance
(20) Bullet Train For Australia
(21) Coke in the Bubblers Party
(22) Republican Party of Australia
(23) Bank Reform Party
(24) Building Australia Party
(25) Australian Sports Party
(26) Socialist Alliance
(27) Australian Voice Party
(28) Socialist Equality Party
(29) Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
(30) The 23 Million
(31) Democratic Labour Party (DLP)
(32) Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
(33) Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party
(34) Australian Labor Party (ALP)
(35) Uniting Australia Party
(36) Country Alliance
(37) National Party of Australia
(38) Shooters and Fishers Party
(39) Liberal Party of Australia
(40) Katter's Australian Party
(41) Australian Sovereignty Party
(42) Smokers Rights Party
(43) Palmer United Party
(44) Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop The Greens)
(45) Australian Protectionist Party
(46) No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics
(47) Australian Christians
(48) Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
(49) Family First Party
(50) Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
(51) Rise Up Australia Party
(52) One Nation
(53) Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated

The raw ballot data and pair-wise comparison tables can be found here.

Member-determined Preference Deals

In line with the preference order determined by the membership, the Election Committee attempted to forge deals with other parties that would result in the reciprocation of preferences as closely as possible to the decision made by the members. These deals were then put to a majority vote of the membership before they would be put in place.

The deals as put to the members that were agreed to are as follows:

Greens

The Greens offer:

  • 3rd preference in Queensland
  • 2nd preference in NSW
  • 4th preference in Victoria
  • 2nd preference in Tasmania

We offer in exchange:

  • 3rd preference in Queensland
  • 2nd preference in NSW
  • 4th preference in Victoria
  • 2nd preference in Tasmania

Wikileaks Party

The Wikileaks Party offer:

  • 3rd preference in NSW
  • 3rd preference in Victoria

We offer in exchange:

  • 3rd preference in NSW
  • 3rd preference in Victoria

Australian Democrats

The Australian Democrats offer:

  • 2nd preference in Queensland
  • 4th preference in NSW
  • 2nd preference in Victoria
  • 4th preference in Tasmania

We offer in exchange:

  • 2nd preference in Queensland
  • 4th preference in NSW
  • 2nd preference in Victoria
  • 4th preference in Tasmania

Sex Party

The Sex Party offer:

  • 8th preference in Queensland
  • 7th preference in NSW
  • 8th preference in Victoria
  • 3rd preference in Tasmania

We offer in exchange:

  • 8th preference in Queensland
  • 7th preference in NSW
  • 8th preference in Victoria
  • 3rd preference in Tasmania

Australian Democrats deal considered null and void

Due to an apparent misrepresentation by a group claiming to be representatives of the Australian Democrats as registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, the reciprocation deal between the Pirate Party and the Australian Democrats is considered null and void.

We had sent an email to info@australiandemocrats.org.au requesting someone to speak to regarding preferencing. The respondent, Stuart Horrex, claiming to be the National Secretary of the Australian Democrats, put us in contact with their alleged National Campaign Director, Dan McMillan.

We received a phone call from Mr McMillan at 7:39pm on August 12 to discuss a reciprocation deal based on the preference decisions made by our members. The phone call lasted approximately 10 minutes. We roughly agreed to some terms and continued our discussions with other groups.

On August 13 at 7:03pm, we called Mr McMillan back to confirm the terms of the arrangement to be put to our members by majority vote. These terms were sent by email to Mr McMillan with a suggestion of a slightly better deal. He responded saying they could not make a better deal, and the deal was put to members as worded, and the deal was carried by our members.

Unfortunately, the preferencing deal was not held up by the Australian Democrats, as can be seen by the group voting tickets for each state. It has become apparent that Mr McMillan and Mr Horrex do not represent the registered political party Australian Democrats, and as such, this deal is considered null and void. They seem to have falsely claimed that they represented the Australian Democrats from day one, including having a strong Twitter presence and having the first result in Google for Australian Democrats. Nothing in our communications led us to believe that these individuals were acting fraudulently, as they even provided a response to our initial email asking for information on why our members should preference them in the upcoming elections. Not only did these individuals apparently misrepresent themselves to the Election Committee, they have misrepresented themselves to over 700 members of the Pirate Party.

It has come to our attention however that the AEC has dealt with these individuals before, apparently attempting to take over the Australian Democrats by submitting documentation unsupported by the current executive. We will be reporting this matter to the AEC as we believe these actions may have contravened certain provisions of the Electoral Act and we will keep you up-to-date on the results.

The real Australian Democrats can be found at http://australian-democrats.org.au. We took part in these negotiations in good faith and we were misled. The Election Committee apologises to the members of the Pirate Party for this entire situation.

At least one thing has been proven in this preferencing debacle: the Pirate Party can be trusted to follow through with the deals democratically and transparently determined by our members.

Update (22 Aug 2013): the original group we discussed preferences with has sent us an email. We are publishing it and our response to it here.

Update (22 Aug 2013): a follow up email has been received, confirming that the period of time we negotiated was between the time they knew the AEC had denied their request and before they had filed their new appeal.

How other parties have ordered their preferences

All parties have submitted their preferencing order to the Australian Electoral Commission and can be viewed here.

Voting below the line

The Pirate Party wholeheartedly recommends that if you wish to vote below the line in this election, to assist you in limiting your chance of accidentally voting informally:

  • Place a 1 above the line for the Pirate Party. In the case where your below the line is considered informal, the above the line will take precedence and your vote will still be counted.
  • Use a service such as belowtheline.org.au or senate.io to prepare your below the line ballot in advance. (These websites are not endorsed by the Party and you should consider your privacy before entering any information into these websites)

Raw Results and Datasets

The raw results and datasets can be found here.

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More Pirate Party Australia stuff including their full principles below...

Resistance to Illegal Minnesota Vikings Stadium Special Law: Writ of Mandamus in court August 20th

With a little luck the Vikings Stadium could be forced to a vote in Minneapolis this November. A petition for writ of mandamus with the District Court in Hennepin County initiated by Doug Mann and supported by several activists asks the court to consider if indeed the way the stadium was "legalized" by gleeful Democrats & Republicans at the Legislature in defiance of the Minneapolis City Charter as well as the Minnesota Constitution should trigger an immediate block on further stadium construction without a city-wide referendum. A writ of mandamus is a directive from a judge forcing a government unit to do a certain action in part because no other remedy in the law is available - in this case, forcing a vote onto the ballot.

Thus the voters would have a chance to reverse this deceitful scam sucking in taxes new and old from all directions.

The counter-argument from city attorneys is mumbo-jumbo about what counts as expenditures or taxes etc., basically they can slip out of having a vote by subverting the definition of the needed revenue from shifting taxes around to pay for it. The whole setup subsidizes structures that provide advertising surface for booze which only worsens chemical dependency and public safety problems in Minnesota.

On Tuesday August 20th join stadium opponents - INFO: Fill the courtroom to demand a stadium vote! - 8AM: Courtroom 1359, Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 -- Doug Mann's petition for a writ of mandamus, demanding a referendum on the city's expenditures for the Viking stadium as per the charter, has a court date. We will gather outside 30 mins. before for a low-key press conference, then proceed to the public seating in courtroom 1359 to demonstrate the immense support for this action.

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Also of course it shockingly turns out Zygi Wilf is a dodgy New Jersey businessman and now state authorities are sort of backpedaling on the whole deal.

Minnesota Vikings stadium plan on hold while Wilfs are investigated | Audibles - SI.com - August 15 2013

What does latest delay on Vikings' stadium mean? - ESPN

Judge says Zygi Wilf cheated partners in N.J. apartment project | Star Tribune & Stadium authority to ask Vikings and Wilfs to pay for extra legal work | Vikings stadium: The build | StarTribune.com - ah yes paying attorneys to scrutinize oneself. Seems legit.

Vikings stadium: Dayton losing faith in Wilfs - TwinCities.com - August 14 2013

Brian Murphy & Bill Salisbury note the black hole of subsidies swirling around cigarettes and gambling:

Last year, Minnesota officials expected to pay the state's $348 million share of the project with tax collections from newly authorized electronic pull-tabs and bingo games. But those games rolled out more slowly than projected, and the state's original forecast that e-gambling would generate $35 million a year in tax revenue was shrunk to $1.7 million last spring.

To cover the gap, Dayton and the Legislature in May closed a corporate tax loophole and earmarked a one-time cigarette tax to back up stadium funding.

They raised the cigarette tax to $2.52 per pack beginning July 1 and assigned the estimated $24.5 million from a "stocking fee" on the existing cigarette inventory to a stadium reserve account.

Anyhow on top of this the Minneapolis voters long ago instructed local officials that they would have to be consulted through a referendum about any new vote. The writ of mandamus could in theory bring this whole project to a halt by ordering officials to put up a referendum.

SEE ALSO: US DOJ Second Amended Complaint in Garden Homes && Garden Homes Consent Decree on June 21 1999, not that long ago.

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THE WRIT! So here is the deal basically: "The petition is the main thing that the judges looks at first. But they don't want the petition to have any legal argument in it, so that's what the memorandum is for. All three have to be together, consistent with each other and dependent on each other." So I am

MEMORANDUM:

State of Minnesota District Court   

County of Hennepin Fourth Judicial District

Doug Mann,

petitioner,

v. Memorandum of points and authorities in

Minneapolis City Council, support of petition for a writ of mandamus

respondent. Ct. File No. 27-CV-13-13029

_________________________________________________________

ARGUMENTS BASED ON FACTS AND THE LAW

Chapter 299 of the 2012 Minnesota Session Laws, the Vikings Stadium Act is a special law authorizing the State of Minnesota to use revenues from City of Minneapolis sales taxes to pay the costs of building and maintaining a football stadium in Minneapolis, including the repayment of bonds in the amount of one hundred fifty million dollars and maintenance of the stadium at a minimal cost of seven million five hundred thousand dollars per year.

The Minnesota Constitution Article 12, sec. 1 states ". . . In all cases when a general law can be made applicable, a special law shall not be enacted except as provided in section 2. Whether a general law could have been made applicable in any case shall be judicially determined without regard to any legislative assertion on that subject. . ."

The Minnesota constitution invests local governments with the authority to approve special legislation. A local government unit affected by special legislation can refer the approval of the legislation to the voters in an election.

The Minnesota Constitution, Article 12, sec. 2, states: "Every law which upon its effective date applies to a single local government...is a special law... The legislature may enact special laws relating to local government units, but a special law, unless otherwise provided by general law, shall become effective only after its approval by the affected government unit expressed by the voters or the governing body. . ."

Minneapolis Charter, Chapter 15, sections 9 and 13 restrict the City's authority to incur indebtedness or use city resources for a professional sports facility . Under section 9, if the city shall incur a debt of more than fifteen million dollars for a stadium project, the city's board of estimate and taxation may not incur any indebtedness until the project has been approved by "a majority of the electors voting on the question in a regular or special election." Under section 13, the City may not use city resources in excess of ten million dollars to pay for a professional sports facility without the approval of a majority of the voters at the next general election.

If the people of Minneapolis, expressing their will in an election, reject the use of City of Minneapolis sales tax revenues for the stadium project, it may be the legislature's duty to provide the funds necessary for this project by other means, such as through an increase in the state-wide sales tax rate, in order to ensure that contracts already signed by the Stadium Authority, established by the Act, are not impaired. The legislature can appropriate revenues from sales taxes and other taxes affecting the entire state to pay for the stadium project, rather than heavily rely on "City of Minneapolis" sales tax revenues.

MINNEAPOLIS CHARTER LIMITATIONS, REQUIREMENTS DO APPLY

On May 25, 2012 the Minneapolis City Council, by a vote of 7 in favor, 6 against gave its approval of financial obligations on the City of Minneapolis imposed by the Vikings Stadium Act. This action effectively disenfranchised the voters of Minneapolis in violation of the City Charter and Minnesota Constitution, notwithstanding the following provision of the Viking Stadium Act:

Article 3 Sec. 4. CHARTER LIMITATIONS, REQUIREMENTS NOT TO APPLY.

Any amounts expended, indebtedness, or obligation incurred including, but not limited to, the issuance of bonds, or actions taken by the city under this act, are deemed not an expenditure or other use of city resources within the meaning of any law or charter provision. The city may exercise any of its powers under this act to spend, borrow, tax, or incur any form of indebtedness or other obligation for the improvement, including, but not limited to, acquisition, development, construction, or betterment of any public building, stadium, or other capital improvement project, without regard to any charter limitation, requirement, or provision, including any referendum requirement. Any tax exemption established under this act shall be deemed not an expenditure or other use of city resources within the meaning of any charter provision.

In an opinion dated May 21, 2012, the Minneapolis City Attorney supports the idea expressed in the above paragraph that "Any amounts expended...by the city under this act, are deemed not an expenditure or other use of city resources within the meaning of any law or charter provision...." The argument goes that the state collects and spends the money from special sales taxes that do not pass through the city treasury. However, an opposing view was expressed in a legal opinion provided to City Council member Cam Gordon, by attorney Karen Marty, dated May 23, 2012. Below, in the following 8 paragraphs is an extended quote from Karen Marty's opinion:

[The City Attorney's opinion dated May 21, 2012] "...argues that the stadium expenditures are beyond the reach of the City Charter. That opinion focuses on how local taxes are collected and administered, rather than on the bigger picture. By looking only at whose hands touch the tax revenue, rather than the source of the revenue and the language of the city charter, the City Attorney is able to conclude that this money is not a 'city resource.' That conclusion ignores the specific language in the new stadium law, which indicates that the sales tax is a "City of Minneapolis Sales Tax" (Article 3, section 1 title), and the sales taxes in question are "the sales taxes imposed by the city [of Minneapolis] under the special [1986 sales tax] law. (Article 3, section 1, subd 2(d).) The sales tax revenues must be remitted to the City, except that a portion is deducted to directly pay the City's share of the stadium costs.

"If the city did not impose these taxes, there would be no tax revenue for this funding. As specified in Section 4, subs.1, of the 1986 local sales tax law, "The tax authorized by this section must be imposed and may be adjusted periodically by the city council ..." The legislature mandated that the City impose the tax, and noted that it was a tax subject to adjustment by the City.

"The City Charter defines "city resources" very specifically in Chapter 15, section 13. It provides, "City resources are defined for these purposes as: . . . general fund expenditures, sales tax or other taxes. The use of city sales taxes is the use of a "city resource," triggering the referendum requirement.

"Although the legislature may preempt provisions of the Minneapolis Charter, both the legislature and the City remain bound by the bound by the Minnesota and U.S. Constitutions. The City Attorney's opinion correctly notes that a city charter can be preempted by the legislature. The legislature apparently intended the new stadium laws to preempt Charter Chapter 15, section 13. Whether it can succeed can only be answered by a Court. The attempted preemption occurs in the stadium law in Article 3, section 4, which is bolstered by the newspaper reports from the time this language was crafted, explains the legislative intent: that the Minneapolis City Charter requirements do not apply.

Under the Minnesota Constitution, "Any special law may be modified or superseded by a later home rule charter or amendment applicable to the same government unit, but this does not prevent the adoption of subsequent laws on the same subject." Such subsequent amendment has been attempted by citizens in the past. For example, Minneapolis voters tried to amend the Minneapolis Charter to prohibit taxation for a metropolitan sports facility, and to eliminate a hotel-motel liquor tax. In Davies v. City of Minneapolis, 316 N.W.2d 498 (Minn. 1982), the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed that the citizens had that power. The power to overturn a special law can be trumped by provisions of the U.S. constitution, and was in the Davies case. The issuance of bonds and signing of contracts triggered U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 10, which prohibits the impairment of contracts." The Court rejected the Charter amendment because the citizens failed to show that it was "reasonable and necessary to serve an important public purpose." If no bonds were sold, or a charter amendment served an important public purpose, a court might well reach a different result. One of the most important powers is the voters' right to vote, and the stadium attempts to remove this power from Minneapolis citizens. That, alone (or coupled with the confusing language of the new law) may cause a court to find that the Minneapolis Charter has not been preempted

[footnote] Although not a part of your question, another provision in the Minnesota Constitution places further restrictions on special legislation. Article 12, Section 1, prohibits the legislature from passing any special law "exempting property from taxation..." The new stadium law appears to do precisely that: Article 1, section 21, of the stadium law states "The stadium and stadium infrastructure are exempt from ad valorem taxation by the state or any political subdivision of the state. . . " That section further exempts from taxation "real and personal property which is subject to a lease or use agreement between the authority and another person for uses related to [sports facilities], including the operation of the stadium and related parking facilities.

Conclusion: The 2012 stadium bill is "special legislation" within the meaning of the Minnesota Constitution. As such, the City has the power to accept or reject the legislation. If accepted, any subsequent charter amendment to overturn it will face stiff challenges in court and will need to reflect a strong public purpose.

The stadium law also conflicts with the Minneapolis Charter. It appropriates City sales tax revenues and uses them to fund the stadium, which triggers the voter referendum provisions of Charter Chapter 15, Section 13. The legislature has the power to preempt the City Charter, but may not have authority to disenfranchise Minneapolis voters. [End of quote from Karen Marty's opinion]

JURISDICTION

Minnesota Statute 586.01 states that a writ of mandamus may be issued to any persons acting as a government body to compel the performance of an act that the law specially enjoins as a duty resulting from their office. Chapter 586.11 states that the District Court generally has jurisdiction in all cases of mandamus except where the writ is directed to a district court, or superior court.

The Minnesota Appeals Court has held in Demolition Landfill Servs., L. L. C. v. City of Duluth, 609 N. W. 2nd 278, 280 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. July 25, 2000), “To be entitled to mandamus relief the petitioner must show three elements: (1) the failure of an official to perform a duty clearly imposed by law; (2) a public wrong specifically injurious to petitioners; and (3) no other adequate remedy.”

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the Petition for Writ of Mandamus should be, in all respects, granted

Respectfully submitted

Dated: ____________________________________

By: Doug Mann

Petitioner acting pro se

3706 Logan Avenue North

Minneapolis, MN 55412

612 824-8800

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PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS:

State of Minnesota

District Court

County of Hennepin

Fourth Judicial District

Doug Mann, Petitioner,

v.                                                                                     Petition for Writ of Mandamus

Minneapolis City Council, Respondent. Case No. 27-CV-13-1302

      

   The above-named petitioner hereby petition this Court, pursuant to Minn. Stat. 586.01, et seq. , for a writ of mandamus, and in support thereof, states the following:

The petitioner is a registered voter who resides in the City of Minneapolis, MN and for a cause of action alleges the following:

1. The Minneapolis City Council, voted on May 25, 2012 to approve obligations imposed on the City of Minneapolis by the Vikings Stadium Act of 2012;

2. The Vikings Stadium Act, Chapter law 299 of the 2012 MN legislative session appropriates city sales tax revenues and uses them to fund the Vikings Stadium, including the contribution of $150 million (one hundred fifty million dollars) toward the construction of the new Vikings Stadium, and a minimal cost of $7.5 million (seven million five hundred thousand dollars) per year to pay for maintenance of the stadium;

3. The Minnesota legislature has the power to enact laws that appropriate revenues from taxes imposed on the entire state to pay for the stadium project rather than to rely heavily on City of Minneapolis sales taxes;

4. The Minnesota Constitution Article 12, sec. 1 states ". . . In all cases when a general law can be made applicable, a special law shall not be enacted except as provided in section 2. Whether a general law could have been made applicable in any case shall be judicially determined without regard to any legislative assertion on that subject;

5. The Vikings Stadium Act is 'special legislation' within the meaning of Article 12 of the Minnesota Constitution, sec. 2, which states: "Every law which upon its effective date applies to a single local government...is a special law... The legislature may enact special laws relating to local government units, but a special law, unless otherwise provided by general law, shall become effective only after its approval by the affected government unit expressed by the voters or the governing body….";

6.  Chapter 15, Secs. 9 and 13 of the Minneapolis City charter invest the voters of Minneapolis with final authority to decide whether to incur a debt of more than fifteen million dollars and to use more than ten million dollars in city resources for a sports stadium. The City Council has an affirmative duty to provide for a referendum in such an event;

6. If it is the will of the citizens of Minneapolis, expressed by a majority vote in an election, to reject the use of Minneapolis sales tax revenues and other city resources to pay for the Vikings Stadium project, it may be the legislature's duty to ensure that contracts already signed by the Stadium Authority, which the act established, are not impaired;

7. A specific provision of the Vikings Stadium Act, Article 3, section 4, under the heading "Charter limitations, restrictions do not apply": is intended to preempt the Minneapolis City Charter and disenfranchise voters in Minneapolis, with language that is contradicted by another provision in the same law, and that conflicts with the powers vested in local government units by the Minnesota Constitution.

8. The legislature has authority to preempt home rule charters, within the constraints of the Minnesota and U.S. Constitution, general laws, and equitable principles. However, in this case, the legislature over-reached its authority with an attempt to disenfranchise the voters in Minneapolis;

9. Irrevocable harm will result in the form of disenfranchisement of the Petitioner and citizens of Minneapolis should a writ commanding the City to abide by its legal obligation to provide for a referendum on the use of City sales taxes and other city resources for a stadium project is not issued;

10. There is no other adequate remedy at law;

Wherefore, we petition the Court to issue an alternative writ of mandamus commanding the Minneapolis City Council to place on the ballot in the next general election on November 5, 2013 the question of whether the City of Minneapolis shall accept obligations imposed upon it by the Vikings Stadium Act of 2012, or to appear before this Court and show cause why it should not.

Dated:

____________________________________                                                            

Doug Mann

Acting pro se

3706 Logan Avenue North

Minneapolis, MN 55412

612 824-8800   

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I am awaiting the City Attorney written response to the writ, which is an important part of the narrative.

Memorandum of petitioner in reply to opposition of respondent: Here is what they sent back to the City Attorney.

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STATE OF MINNESOTA DISTRICT COURT

COUNTY OF HENNEPIN FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT

   Civil Division

____________________________________________________________________________

Doug Mann, Case Type: Other Civil

Court File No.: 27-CV-13-13029

   Petitioner, Judge: The Hon. Phillip D. Bush

vs.

Minneapolis City Council, Memorandum of petitioner

in reply to opposition of respondent

   Respondent, to petition for a writ of mandamus

__________________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION

In memorandum of opposition to the petition for writ of mandamus, Respondent overlooks two constitutional issues raised by Petitioner which are germane to this case. Minn. Const. Art. 12, section 2 gives local government units the power to refer approval of special legislation to the voters, and Minn. Const. Art. 12, section 4 enables local government units to be governed by a home rule charter. The legislature made no attempt to repeal a provision of the Minneapolis City Charter that requires voter approval of use of City resources for a stadium in excess of ten million dollars. Therefore, the legislature exceeded its authority under the Minnesota Constitution by directing the Minneapolis City Council to approve the Vikings Stadium Act within a timeframe that did not allow for voter approval. Petitioner further alleges that the legislature incorrectly asserted that Minneapolis City Charter provisions requiring a referendum do not apply because local-option sales tax revenues are not local resources within the meaning of any law or charter provision. Petitioner's status as a voter and tax payer is sufficient to confer standing because the harm to his interests are reasonably connected to the failure of a public official to perform an action required by law and can be remedied by the performance of that action, and because Petitioner asserts that the cause of action is directly connected to an exercise of legislative power which exceeds Legislature's constitutional authority.

STANDING

Respondent challenges the standing of Petitioner to obtain mandamus relief, citing a generally applicable standard. However, in Minnesota Courts, a different standard applies when the plaintiff asserts that an action of public officials represents an unlawful exercise of the power to tax and spend.

   Petitioner alleges that his interests are harmed by an action of the Minneapolis City Council which denies him the right to vote on the imposition of taxes and appropriation of local tax revenues for a professional sports facility under circumstances where the Minneapolis City Council is required by law to put a referendum on the ballot, and that a writ of mandamus commanding the City to put a referendum on the ballot to approve the use of city resources for a professional sports facility in the general election of 2013 is the only adequate remedy.

   In the scheduling order, Doug Mann v. Minneapolis City Council, case no. 27-CV-13-13029 dated July 16, 2013, District Court Judge Phillip D. Bush ordered that "Plaintiff shall serve the Minnesota Attorney General within 7 days of this order since Plaintiff is asserting that the Legislature exceeded its constitutional authority."

Assertions by Petitioner which are germane to the issue of standing in this case:

1)  In the Vikings Stadium Act (Chapter 299 of the 2012 legislative session laws) the legislature exceeded its constitutional authority by forbidding the exercise of a power expressly granted to local governments under Article 12, section 2 of the Minnesota Constitution, which is the power to refer the approval of special legislation to the voters in a referendum.

2) The legislature erred in its assertion that City of Minneapolis, local option sales tax revenues are not "City resources" within the meaning of the charter or any other law. As a consequence, the legislature's directive to the city council to not refer approval of the Vikings Stadium Act to voters in a referendum exceeded its constitutional authority not only under Article 12, section 2 for the reason given in the preceding paragraph, but also Article 12, section 4 of the Minnesota Constitution, which invests local governments with the power to adopt home rule charters that may require a referendum under specific circumstances. The Minneapolis City charter has two provisions that restrict the City's ability to incur debt and to use city resources to pay for a stadium / professional sports facility without voter approval.

In Minnesota Courts, a plaintiff has standing to seek mandamus relief without showing greater harm to him than the public at large if the plaintiff alleges unlawful exercise of the power to tax and spend. The issue of taxpayer standing is addressed in the following four paragraphs from OLSON v. STATE, No.A06-2324., December 18, 2007 - MN Court of Appeals:

   [W]hile the activities of governmental agencies engaged in public service ought not to be hindered merely because a citizen does not agree with the policy or discretion of those charged with the responsibility of executing the law, the right of a taxpayer to maintain an action in the courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds cannot be denied.

   In contrast with standing rules in federal courts, it is generally recognized that a Minnesota taxpayer has a broader basis for standing than a litigant in federal court. Id. at 570. As early as 1888, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that taxpayers may bring an action to compel county officers to perform their public duties. State ex rel. Currie v. Weld, 39 Minn. 426, 428, 40 N.W. 561, 562 (1888). In 1928, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated, “it is well settled that a taxpayer may, when the situation warrants, maintain an action to restrain unlawful disbursements of public moneys.” Oehler v. City of St. Paul, 174 Minn. 410, 417-18, 219 N.W. 760, 763 (1928).

The supreme court has also more recently reaffirmed the requirement that the party seeking to challenge legislative action on the basis of his status as a taxpayer must have more than just a disagreement with a discretionary decision. See In re Sandy Pappas Senate Comm., 488 N.W.2d 795, 798 (Minn.1992) (finding that a citizen did not have standing solely as a taxpayer to file a claim seeking judicial review of an election board's disposition of a campaign violation).

In Rukavina, we acknowledged that taxpayer status alone does not confer standing. 684 N.W.2d at 531. Simple “disagreement with policy or the exercise of discretion by those responsible for executing the law” does not supply the “unlawful disbursements” or “illegal action” of public funds required for standing to support a taxpayer challenge. Id. When the taxpayer's individual challenges to the state action “are based primarily on appellants' disagreement with policy or the exercise of discretion by those responsible for executing the law,” they are insufficient to confer standing. Id.

   http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mn-court-of-appeals/1176440.html

More restrictive criteria for determining taxpayer standing in the federal courts do not apply to actions that fall under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Courts inasmuch as: "A state may grant greater rights to its citizens than are granted by the US Constitution; however, a State Constitution may not limit or take away rights granted or protected by the US Constitution." Kent Law School: Sources of law (lecture notes) top of page 2: http://www.kentlaw.edu/faculty/rbrill/classes/BrillTortsF2009Eve/CoursePages/courseinfo/orient2hndout.pdf

   However, even using the more restrictive criteria used by federal courts for determining taxpayer standing, Petitioner has met the burden of showing he has standing to seek mandamus relief. In Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83 (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a taxpayer has standing to sue the government to prevent an unconstitutional use of taxpayer funds, and set forth a two part test to determine whether a plaintiff has standing to sue. First, by virtue only of his liability to pay taxes, "a taxpayer will be a proper party to allege the unconstitutionality only of exercises of congressional power under the taxing and spending clause of Art. I, § 8, of the Constitution." *479 Id., at 102, 88 S.Ct., at 1954. Second, the Court required the taxpayer to "show that the challenged enactment exceeds specific constitutional limitations upon the exercise of the taxing and spending power and not simply that the enactment is generally beyond the powers delegated to Congress by Art. I, § 8." Id., at 102-103, 88 S.Ct., at 1954."

THE POWER OF THE LEGISLATURE TO REPEAL HOME RULE CHARTERS

   The question of whether the legislature has authority to repeal any provision of a home rule charter is purely academic because the Vikings Stadium Act involved no attempt to repeal any provisions of the Minneapolis City Charter. However, this issue will be examined here because it is raised in arguments advanced by Respondent.

   The Vikings Stadium Act and Chapter 15, sections 9 and 13 of the Minneapolis City Charter deal with the use of City of Minneapolis, local-option sales tax revenues, and the issue of whether voter approval is required when city tax revenues are used to fund a stadium project. The City Attorney's office advances two basic arguments:

1) Chapter 15, sections 9 and 13 of the Minneapolis Charter provisions don't apply / are not triggered by the Vikings Stadium Act, because under the Act, the City of Minneapolis shall not issue bonds, and therefore shall incur no debt; and because the Vikings Stadium Act assigns control of local-option sale tax revenues to the state as needed to repay the City's share of State-issued bonds and cover the City's share of other costs, City of Minneapolis, local-option sales tax revenues are deemed to not be city resources within the meaning of any law or charter provision.

   2) Even if, for the sake of argument, one grants that a Minneapolis Charter provision which requires a referendum is triggered by the Vikings Stadium Act, the legislature's intent was to over-ride / circumvent it. After all, the legislature has the power to repeal local laws. Although the Viking Stadium Act does not expressly forbid a referendum on the use of these tax revenues to fund the stadium project, it does direct the City Council to approve the legislation. Moreover, as the lawyers representing the City Attorney point out in their brief, on page 9: "...The stadium legislation did not allow for approval by submitting the question to the voters for a referendum (nor was this even possible given the 30 day timeframe allowed by the legislation for local approval.)"

WHAT THE MINNESOTA CONSTITUTION SAYS

   Minnesota Constitution Article 12, section 2

Every law which upon its effective date applies to a single local government unit or to a group of such units in a single county or a number of contiguous counties is a special law and shall name the unit or, in the latter case, the counties to which it applies. The legislature may enact special laws relating to local government units, but a special law, unless otherwise provided by general law, shall become effective only after its approval by the affected unit expressed through the voters or the governing body and by such majority as the legislature may direct. Any special law may be modified or superseded by a later home rule charter or amendment applicable to the same local government unit, but this does not prevent the adoption of subsequent laws on the same subject. The legislature may repeal any existing special or local law, but shall not amend, extend or modify any of the same except as provided in this section.

Please note that in the second sentence in the above paragraph, there is a coordinating conjunction - and - which separates two dependent clauses: A special law ". . . shall become effective only after its approval by the affected unit expressed through the voters or the governing body and by such a majority as the legislature may direct. . ." (emphasis added) If the "and" were deleted from that sentence, it would grant the legislature the right to determine both the method of approval and the majority required for approval. However, Article 12, section 2 as written does not invest the legislature with the right to determine whether approval of special legislation by the affected unit will be expressed through the voters or by the governing body. By directing the City Council to approve the Vikings Stadium Act and not giving it the option of referring approval to the voters in a referendum, the Legislature exceeded its authority under Minnesota Constitution Article 12, section 2.

The power of the Legislature to repeal provisions of local home rule charters is not without constitutional constraints, and one of those constraints is a grant of power by the Constitution to local government units to refer approval of special legislation to the voters in a referendum. Moreover, the legislature generally has the authority to preempt local laws without local approval by enactment of general legislation.

   "Under Const. 1857 Art. 4 section 36 providing that any municipality may frame its own charter subject to and in harmony with the state constitution and laws and within general limits prescribed by legislature, but that the legislature has power to provide general laws which relate to city affairs and which are paramount to any provisions in such charters dealing with like subject matter, power given to citizens by virtue of home rule charters is subject to the paramount power of the legislature and may be superceded or abrogated whenever legislature sees fit to exercise power reserved to it. Western States Utilities Co. v. City of Waseca 1954, 252 Minn. 302, 65 N.W.2d 255"

"Minn. Const. [1857] art 4, section 36 specifically preserves the right in the legislature to provide general laws paramount to home rule charters. See State ex del. Smith v. City of International Falls, 132 Minn. 298, 156 N.W. 249; State ex del. Erickson v. Gram, 169 Minn. 69, 210 N.W. 616." Cited in  Monaghan v. Armatage, 15 N.W.2d 241

   "Pursuant to Const. 1857, Art. 4 section 36, the legislature could, by enactment of general laws, modify or withdraw any powers entrusted to a city with a home rule charter. Minneapolis St. Ry. Co. v. City of Minneapolis 1950, 229 Minn. 502, 40 N.W. 2d 353 appeal dismissed 70 S.Ct. 574, 339 U.S. 907, 94 L.Ed 335"

"Legislature may repeal any special or local law, may amend any special or local law by general law, may repeal any part thereof by general law, but cannot repeal a special or local law in part by a special law. Op. Atty. Gen. [of MN], 375, Feb 24, 1933" Cited in Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Article 12, section 1, page 387, bottom of the first column.

CHARTER PROVISIONS REQUIRING A REFERENDUM DO APPLY

   Notwithstanding legislature's assertion to the contrary, Local-option sales tax revenues are "city resources" within the meaning of Minneapolis City Charter, Article 15, section 13

"[Chapter 299 of the 2012 session laws] Article 3, section 4. CHARTER LIMITATIONS, REQUIREMENTS NOT TO APPLY

   Any amounts expended, indebtedness, or obligations incurred including, but not limited to, the issuance of bonds, or actions taken by the City under this act, are deemed not an expenditure or other use of city resources within the meaning of any law or charter provision. The city may excursive any of its powers under this act to spend, borrow, tax, or incur any form of indebtedness or other obligation for the improvement, including, but not limited to, acquisition, development, construction, or betterment of any public building, stadium, or other capital improvement project, without and regard to any charter limitation, requirement, or provision, including any referendum requirement. Any tax exemption established under this act shall be deemed not an expenditure or other use of city resources within the meaning of any charter provision."

If the Minneapolis Charter doesn't apply, approval of Article 3, Vikings Stadium Act by the City Council without referring it to the voters for approval would not conflict with the City Charter, nor would the legislature's directive to the City Council to disregard any Charter provision. However, the primary source of funding for the City's obligations are local-option sales tax revenues, which are clearly "city resources" within the meaning of the Minneapolis City Charter, Chapter 15, section 13, which states:

   Minneapolis City Charter, Chapter 15, section 13

   The City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Community Development Agency, or any city department, agency, commission, or board, shall use no city resources over ten million dollars for the financing of professional sports facilities without the approval of a simple majority of the votes cast on the question, in ballot question put to the public at the next regularly scheduled election. City resources are defined for this purpose as: Tax increment financing, bonds, loans, land purchase or procurement, land or site preparation, including necessary infrastructure such as roads, parking development, sewer and water, or other infrastructure development, general fund expenditures, sales tax or other taxes, deferred payments, interest-free or below market interest rate loans, the donation or below market value sale of any city resources or holdings or any other free or below cost city services. The ballot question shall not be put before the public in a special election, in order to prevent the costs associated with special elections [emphasis added].

   The assignment of local-option sales tax revenues by the City to the State of Minnesota under the Vikings Stadium Act will indeed place local sales tax revenues required to fund the City's share of the costs outside of the control of the City government, however there can be no reassignment of sales tax revenues by the City to another entity unless the City is entitled to control said revenues in the first place. Although the State of Minnesota will issue bonds to cover the city's share of stadium construction costs, the city is responsible for the repayment of its share of those bonds. Local sales tax revenues necessary to cover the City's obligations to repay bonds issued by the State of Minnesota shall be credited to the City.   

   Below is an email message from Carol Becker, elected member of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, regarding the character of local sales taxes, posted on the Minneapolis Issues Forum, a public online forum:

From: Carol Becker

Subject: Re: [Mpls] Cancer growing around the Wilf Sports Palace

Date: July 24, 2013 7:27:23 AM CDT

To: mpls@forums.e-democracy.org

Tony Scallon wrote:

"1.       The Stadium Debt is state debt not Minneapolis debt. This is extremely important. Also, the sales tax is collected by the state and then dedicated as per law. This may sound technical but in terms of debt and bonding very important."

Not to quibble with Tony but the third sentence is incorrect. Local-option sales taxes are exactly that, sales taxes enacted at the option of local government, per 297A.99. The state gives local units the ability [to impose them] but they are authorized at the option of local governments. It is clear that the tax is a local, not state tax. As far as collection goes, the state collects the tax on behalf of the local unit of government. It doesn't have to be that way - in many states, the local unit of government collects its own tax just like it collects its own property taxes. In Minnesota, it was set up to have the state collect the tax simply for the ease of administration. There is a contract between the City and the State that lays out the provisions of this relationship - how the State will collect the tax on behalf of the City. I know because when I was the manager of the sales taxes for the City of Minneapolis, I made changes to that contract to have the State send the money faster, thereby increasing the amount of interest we as the City could earn. Made the City about $100K a year by that change. But that contract clearly specifies that the state is providing a service to the City by collecting the City's sales taxes. Not that these are state revenues that the state is providing to the City.

   And it is correct, whoever issues debt owns the debt. Debt issuance and funds to repay debt are two different questions and repayment funds can come from anyplace and any level of government.

Carol Becker

Longfellow

In an information brief, "Local Sales Taxes in Minnesota," the Research Department, Minnesota House of Representatives, the following is written:

   Steps That a Local Government Must Follow to Impose a Local Sales Tax

   In order to impose a local sales tax, a political subdivision must obtain legislative enactment of a special law authorizing it to do so by taking the following steps (in the order listed):

   1. The governing body of political subdivision must pass a resolution proposing the tax stating (at least) the:

   a. Proposed tax rate,

b. Amount of revenue to be raised and its intended uses, and

c. Anticipated date that the tax will expire

   2. The proposed tax, then, must be submitted to and passed by of the voters at a general election held at least 90 days after the resolution was passed. The political subdivision may not expend money to advertise or promote the tax.

   3. The political subdivision must request and the legislature must enact a special law authorizing imposition of the tax.

   4. The political subdivision must pass an ordinance imposing the tax and notify the Commissioner of Revenue at least 90 days before the first day of the calendar quarter on which the tax is to be imposed.

Source: Page 2, House Research Department; Local Sales Taxes in Minnesota, updated January 2012

   As of January 2012, voter approval was required in 17 of 23 currently imposed local sales taxes, with exceptions to the rule being the sales tax authorized by Duluth in 1973, by Minneapolis in 1986, by St. Paul in 1993, by Brainerd in 2006, and by Hennepin County in 2006. Voter approval was required for all 4 local sales taxes that were imposed but have expired, for 10 of 11 authorized sales taxes that were never imposed, and 3 of 4 local sales taxes authorized but not yet imposed. See: Tables 1 through 4, on pages 7 through 11, House Research Department, Local Sales Taxes in Minnesota.

CONCLUSION

   For the foregoing reasons, the Petition for Writ of Mandamus should be, in all respected, granted.

   Respectfully submitted by

Dated: August 13, 2013 __________________

   Doug Mann

   Petitioner pro se

   3706 Logan Avenue North

   Minneapolis, MN 55412

   612 824-8800

/////

Here are some other comments from Doug on the venerable Mpls e-democracy listserv about what the city attorney sent out:

City Attorney: You all don't have the right to vote on stadium taxes: Minneapolis Issues Forum: E-Democracy.org

This morning I received the City Attorney's memorandum in opposition to a writ

of mandamus commanding the city to put on the ballot a referendum on Vikings

stadium taxes. It offers nothing new on the main issues.

In my petition and memorandum I did not address the City Attorney's earlier

assertions about the power of the legislature to over-ride the city charter. A

review of the cited case law shows some serious defects in their argument,

which I hinted at, but they didn't take the hint. The City Attorney, in last

year's memorandums cherry picked paragraphs supporting their assertions, and

omitted all pronouncements by the Court on the issue that is decisive in most

of the cited cases: The power of the legislature to pre-empt local laws by

"general" laws without local consent. The legislature may repeal local laws

that not in harmony with general laws and the Minnesota constitution. But the

Vikings stadium act did not attempt to repeal the stadium provisions in the

charter. The Vikings Stadium Act asserted that the charter does not apply

because the local-option sales tax revenues are not "city resources" because

the sales tax revenues required for bond payments and upkeep on the stadium

will not be remitted to the city. The funds won't be under the city's control.

Nothing new there.

The new, yet unsurprising part of the City Attorney's brief is the contention

that "Petitioner cannot show sufficient injury to entitle him to mandamus

relief"

"Petitioner is only entitled to mandamus [relief] if he can show a public wrong

especially injurious to him and that he will benefit from an order compelling

performance of the statutorily imposed duty. Friends of Animals & their Env't

(FATE) v. Nichols, 350 N.W.2d 489, 491 (Minn. Ct. App. 1984); see also

Hollingsworth v. Perry, S.Ct. 2652, 2662 (2013) (reaffirming that under federal

law a litigant lacks standing when claiming only harm to his and every citizens

interest in the proper application of the Constitution and laws, and seeking

relief that no more tangibly benefits him than it does the public at large. To

have standing to maintain a suit, an individual must show an "injury to some

interest, economic or otherwise, which differs from the [injury] to the

interests of other citizens generally." Vern Reynolds Constr., Inc, v. city of

Champlin, 539 N.W. 2d 614, 617

Two points in rebuttal:

Mandamus relief allowed under federal law is one thing. Mandamus relief allowed

under Minnesota law is another. As a rule, States may not be more restrictive

in granting rights than the federal government, however a state may be more

expansive in granting rights than the federal government. (I think I can find

support for this in the US constitution). Mandamus relief is being sought under

Minnesota law, not federal law.

It is likely I will find language in the federal voting rights act, something

to the effect that "each voter is uniquely harmed" by the application of laws

that disenfranchise them. I expect to find that language because the intent of

that legislation was to give any wanna-be voter standing to file a lawsuit to

secure rights for themselves as well as others similarly effected by

legislation that disenfranchises otherwise qualified voters. Moreover, what is

at issue is not disenfranchisement in general, but disenfranchisement in a

special case that assures benefits to a small minority of Minneapolis residents

at the expense of the large majority.

Mann for Mayor (website)

http://mann4mayor.blogspot.com/

Mann for Minneapolis Mayor

http://facebook.com/mann4mayor

-Doug Mann, Folwell neighborhood, northside of Minneapolis

Anyway I will leave it there for now, but I think it's good to get the full text of these filings out of the obscurity of Facebook. Please pass this on to interested parties, as relatively few people know that this petition is in the mix. If it were truly "frivolous" it would have been nixed by the judge already.

Disclosure: Some years back I did technical organizing work for the current Minneapolis City Attorney, Susan Segal, in a preliminary political campaign for Hennepin County Board.

University of Minnesota to test new Light Rail electromagnetic scenarios late at night

This is sort of cool. Went out to U students just recently. I am hoping the Green Line is activated ASAP!! Still moar cables to install in downtown St Paul dangit. On with the show!

From: Vice President Pam Wheelock <noreplywheelock@umn.edu>
Date: Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Good afternoon.

I have two important items regarding the Green Line Light Rail Transit line to share with the campus community.

Overnight Train Testing to Begin

Overnight train testing on the Green Line Light Rail Transit line (formerly known as the Central Corridor) will begin this week and is expected to continue until late September. During the testing, trains will operate through the overnight hours and will move through campus at operational speeds. The cooperation and assistance of the entire campus community is needed to maintain safety and to ensure the integrity of the testing.

This testing for Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Vibration will occur between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. starting Thursday, August 8. During these late night hours, the University will need to limit building operations, and roads and sidewalks will be closed in order to ensure we have the quietest environment possible. This quiet environment is necessary in order to isolate the train vibrations and EMI from the existing background conditions. Please note that these closures and operational limits are ONLY during the late night hours.

More detailed information on the overnight train testing is available in the following .pdf documents:

Overnight Train Testing General Information Fact Sheet
EMI Certification Fact Sheet
Vibration Certification Fact Sheet

Washington Avenue Bridge Closure

In order to complete the final construction items on the Washington Avenue Bridge, the Met Council will close lanes on the vehicular level of the Bridge over the next two weeks. There will be no impacts to the pedestrian level of the Bridge.

The eastbound lane of the Washington Avenue Bridge will be closed from August 12 through August 16. The Metro Transit bus stop at Blegen Hall will be closed. Bus riders will instead use the Cedar/Washington Avenue bus stop.

The westbound lane will be closed from August 18 through August 23. The bus stop for Metro Transit and University of Minnesota Campus Connector at Willey Hall will be closed. Instead, bus riders will use the stop located at the 3rd Street Ramp, west of Cedar Avenue for Metro Transit Buses and the bus stop at the southeast intersection of 19th Avenue and 2nd Street for the University of Minnesota Campus Connector.

More detailed information on the bridge closure is available in the following .pdf documents: Met Council Central Corridor Construction Update

This message was approved by the Vice President for University Services of the University of Minnesota and sent to all Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff.

VIDEO: Minneapolis Rally #Justice4Trayvon #Justice4Terrance

Here is live video from #justice4trayvon #justice4terrance rally Sat night ~12:30AM in Downtown Minneapolis >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RyjuazWlik&feature=youtu.be (creative commons - interview w Mel Reeves!) - several FB events for Monday >> https://www.facebook.com/events/205300609626208/

https://www.facebook.com/events/610769695620223/

https://www.facebook.com/events/300046336807336/

Minneapolis residents hit the streets after Zimmerman acquitted in Florida murder trial. On Friday there was another march for late Terrance Franklin, killed by Minneapolis Police Department May 10th with five bullets to back of head according to a family member.

Video has several interviews including with Mel Reeves @ 17:20who has called for a rally on Monday at Hennepin Co. Government Center (Peoples Plaza). NOTE I heard earlier it was on SUNDAY but there is NOT a rally at Plaza on Sunday according to Mel.
http://justiceforterrancefranklin.wor...

Upcoming events - several posted: :/
https://www.facebook.com/events/20530...
https://www.facebook.com/events/61076...
https://www.facebook.com/events/30004...

Filmed shortly after midnight Sunday July 14th
CREATIVE COMMONS WITH ATTRIBUTION

Original via here: http://bambuser.com/channel/Hongpong
http://bambuser.com/v/3739301 - please subscribe for more videos.

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