Politics in Minnesota

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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ALEC Operation on Blast & knives out for solar as fossil fuel lobby gets what it paid for: MN House plan to gut clean energy policy, unload more fracked natural gas

//// Update 4 1AM: see Radically retro energy omnibus bill prompts MN citizens to step up for clean energy policy for more on the groups that have started moving on this last day or so. The Sierra Club Northstar post from Monday has details on several key bad parts of the energy omnibus bill. Alliance for Solar Choice has this action page for testimony starting Wednesday. ///

Quick post to roust people on another impending political disaster in Minnesota. Nationwide the American Legislative Exchange Council politicians (ALEC - a corporate establishment coordinating body, essentially) are trying to kill decentralized rooftop solar panel systems and the policy apparatus that lets them trade extra electrons into the grid for cash.

National: see their scheme directly: Updating Net Metering Policies Resolution - ALEC - American Legislative Exchange Council

ALEC, climate change: A fight over rooftop solar panels could decide America’s energy future. (Sept 2014)

Utility Trade Group Funds ALEC Attack on Americans Using Solar | PR Watch (July 2014)

Now this plan is in Full Effect in Minnesota and at least on social media, almost everyone has been asleep at the switch (although this is changing).

In Minnesota the new energy omnibus bill here (PDF) which was composed by GOP Rep. Pat Garofalo, one of ALEC's point men, is trying to thrash the entire renewable energy standards system which sets clear targets for carbon reduction and deters utilities from buying environmentally dirty power from the region. It also obliterates the current program to promote "made in Minnesota" local solar companies. (energy committee homepage)

I just heard from a friend that "Fresh Energy, MN350 are all testifying….. The hearings on the bill are extended now Wednesday evening, Thursday AM, Friday from noon until midnight. That sounds to me like lots of folks are registering to testify." Hit up the committee administrator at the link above if you want to testify this week too.

For the full rundown see Bluestem Prairie: Rep. Wagenius charges that MN House energy omnibus bill sabotages solar and much more

DFL Rep. Jean Wagenius, a truly long term dedicated environmentalist, made this post. The worst energy bill ever sabotages solar. And that’s not all:

Rep. Pat Garofalo has introduced his draft Omnibus Energy Bill. d0b80283-da3f-4839-baf9-551613c2b6d9.pdf   Since he is Chair of the House Jobs Creation and Energy Affordability Committee, his bill is the Republican bill.

The Garofalo bill incorporates the energy-related ideas and bills that had been heard in his committee. Rep. Garofalo then found more bad ideas to include. This post would be much too long if it did more than scratch the surface. So it just covers the worst of the worst. Two of the worst of the worst were presented earlier in committee so there are earlier and more detailed posts about them. The earlier posts are noted below.

In summary, Rep. Garofalo’s bill would dismantle most of Minnesota’s efforts to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by repealing the laws that support these efforts. He totally sabotages solar.

In 62 pages he does a lot more, like proposing to make gifts to coal, the Koch brothers, and people wealthy enough to buy electric cars.

Before the worst of the worst, the back story needs to be told. The fight brewing in Minnesota is just one of many happening across the U.S. In anarticle entitled “Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar,” The Washington Post reported on the campaign by utitlites and its fossil-fuel supporters to stop residential solar. The Post says that legislation to make net metering illegal or more expensive has been introduced in legislatures in nearly two dozen states. The Los Angeles Times article, “Koch brothers, big utilities attack solar, green energy policies” links the effort against net metering to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch brothers.

… meanwhile virtually nothing has been published by 'energy watchdogs' about it. (note her post is about the 3/27 draft, while the newest is the 4/6 draft but the same in most important respects.)

I had an exchange with Garofalo on Twitter. Clearly you can see the political economy in effect. As previously noted by hongpong.com (thanks to great tips from friends), the fossil fuel lobby bought its way into controlling the MN House through independent expenditures paid for by Northern Oil & Gas of Wayzata, which is currently trying to unload as much dirty fossil fuel as they can.

Here, can you see Garofalo's political economy? Smells like fracksauce to me...

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Unfortunately various energy watchdogs such as www.midwestenergynews.com are 100% asleep at the switch [on this issue in a very bad session] so it's up to you to try and intervene. Get crackin or you'll be fracked!!

Update 1: The section about appropriations for low income energy assistance, as I understand it is something that is usually included in energy omnibus bills in years past, it is not a novel addition really. The fossil fuels and striking of all renewable language, giveaways to nuclear, dumping carbon/emission reduction targets etc are all major policy shifts that need our full attention.

Update 2 - 5:40pm: I was sent over this bulletin that went out an hour ago from MNIPL. It is encouraging to see more groups are nudging the issue but they need to get it accelerated in public as soon as possible, not just action alerts that are hard to discover:

From: Claire Curran - claire@mnipl.org
Date: Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 3:44 PM
Subject: Tell Your Representatives to Do the Right Thing!

Dear Friends,

Key people within the Minnesota House of Representatives are working to gut Minnesota’s successful landmark clean energy policies, but people of faith are stepping up and calling on them to do the right thing.

Over the past twenty years, Minnesotans have built a responsible transition beyond fossil fuels to a clean, renewable energy, and a thriving industry that employs >15,300 people. Faith actors have been at the forefront of these successful steps forward.

But the Minnesota House bill would:

Eliminate Minnesota’s science-based goals aimed to reduce and offset climate pollution;
Repeal Minnesota’s energy savings program that has saved the energy equivalent of 8 Prairie Island nuclear plants;
Repeal the nuclear moratorium;
Destroy the progress made on solar energy in 2013
Roll back Minnesota’s renewable goals by watering down standard renewable energy by allowing existing, large hydro from Canada.

Tell your State Senator and Representative to vote NO on the House energy bill and instead supporting clean energy & jobs policies by supporting the Senate clean energy package.

The right thing to do is to continue to make progress by supporting the Senate clean energy package that sets Minnesota’s renewable energy benchmark to achieve at least 40% renewables by 2030 and increases energy savings.

Thanks for all you do to build the climate movement!

Together,

Claire Curran
Campaign Coordinator, MNIPL

Their action alert URL on the email is http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Auxa8Gzj01ypA1nY1qyd5QdF... .. keep rollin on!!

Update 3: 7pm: North Star Sierra Club put this up yesterday covering the bill in detail. There is apparently a phone bank going right now tonight somewhere on this issue... Good work, keep it up!

Delicious pro-carbon calories for Minnesota politicians could be yours: FREE FOOD from North Dakota coal flacks March 4th

The "Coalition for a Secure Energy Future", a front group for North Dakota government sponsored coal interests, is peddling free food to Minnesota politicians, so if you are feeling hungry on March 4th just head down to McGovern's Pub on West 7th and pretend to sell out your constituents!

free-coalfood4.jpg

Feel free to pass along this image wherever you like, originally from facebook.com/occupymn. If you want to do something socially useful with the dirty coal food, just bring it up the street to Dorothy Day.

Plenty more info is available here: Bluestem Prairie: Will scheduling woes keep lawmakers away from Coalition for a Secure Energy Future's free food?

I am compiling a bunch more information about the players in this network on LittleSis.org, hoping to get that done pretty soon. For network info see: Horse hockey: who's pushing the puck for new Coalition for a Secure Energy Future TV ad?

MN Legislature 2015: A bill for lowering fees on bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota: HF 652

Bankruptcy is a process that the modern banking establishment has made a point of hiding in plain sight these days, since it lets regular people cut loose tons of debt that would otherwise make a mess of their life. Unfortunately student loans are not dischargeable this way, because it's better to keep graduates on the hamster wheel and prop up the higher ed debt bubble.

I am cross posting this post w permission from Nathan Hansen - it covers a nasty local fee required to clear more local debts even after a federal bankruptcy has been accepted and put in motion. via Nathan M. Hansen's Blog: Rep. Mary Franson introduces HF 652: A bill that helpsa lot of consumer bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota:

One of the major parts of my law practice is consumer bankruptcy and litigation in bankruptcy court related to consumer bankruptcy. I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and have been for several years.

Bankruptcy is a Federal proceeding that a debtor can bring to absolve themselves of their debts. At the end of a bankruptcy proceeding, an honest debtor receives a "discharge" order signed by a United States Bankruptcy Judge. This discharge order absolves a debtor of most debts (there are exceptions to this, but such a discussion is beyond the scope of this post). For example, credit card debts are generally dischargeable in bankruptcy.

I routinely communicate with my fellow members of NACBA in Minnesota. These are excellent attorneys with varying political beliefs as diverse as the general population. For the past few years, a serious issue has been plaguing bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota, our clients. The issue is debtors having to pay exorbitant filing fees to state court administrators to remove state court money judgments entered on debts that were already discharged in bankruptcy. While Minnesota Statute 548.181 Subd. 1 states that this removal of judgments should only cost $5.00 payable to the court administrator, the Minnesota State Court Administrator has taken the position that debtors with "default judgments" against them need to pay the full filing fee for an answer to a lawsuit in addition to the $5.00. In my home County of Ramsey, this extra fee is $327.00, for a total of $332.00 per judgment to be removed. If a debtor had several judgments, they could easily be forced to pay $1,000 to $2,000 or more to remove their judgments for debts that have already been discharged by the bankruptcy court. Regardless of political beliefs, almost anyone can run into financial troubles for any number of reasons.

Representative Mary Franson (R- Alexandria) listened to the concerns of Minnesota NACBA members about this common sense issue affecting all kinds of people in Minnesota. She introduced a bill today,HF 652, to address the bipartisan concerns of NACBA members for their clients. This bill will prohibit Minnesota Court Administration from charging these exorbitant filing fees to debtors for filing their applications for discharge of judgments, and keeps the fee at the $5.00 originally set forth by the Legislature.

My fellow NACBA members are absolutely elated that a bill has been brought to fix this injustice that keeps people from getting their fresh start to which honest debtors are entitled. Bankruptcy is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, so I do mean entitled. On behalf of Minnesota NACBA members who are my friends and colleagues, our sincere thanks to Rep. Franson for taking a leadership role on this issue.

Please contact your Representative and Senator and ask them to co-sponsor and support this very important bill that will have a very positive effect on Minnesotans trying to get back on their feet. If you want to know who represents you in the Minnesota Legislature, here is a link to a tool for finding out from the Minnesota Legislature's website.
If anyone has any questions about this issue, please feel free to e-mail me at nathan.hansen@gmail.com.

Also disclosure note I did some professional work w Hansen back in the day - nice guy to work with. You can say hi to him at twitter.com/nathanmhansen .

Pipeline Politics: MNGOP moves fast for fossils; Minnesota Range Congressman Rick Nolan certain Keystone XL will "support" 42,000 jobs

A tough fight is brewing at both the state and federal level over the direction of environmental policies. In Minnesota, Republicans are totally committed to expanding fracked gas, shale oil from Bakken, and genocidal tar sands bitumen pipelines from Canada.

The Sandpiper pipeline project in Minnesota is the current major project with ongoing public hearings, opposition spearheaded by Friends of the Headwaters, the Carlton County Land Stewards, Winona LaDuke's Honor The Earth group has worked on this; MN350 has also been working on this. The PUC calendar has other date info..

Pipelines in the MN political economy: To capture the House in 2014, Minnesota Republicans leaned heavily on independent expenditures from the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, which in turn leaned heavily on Northern Oil & Gas Co., a shale oil finance shop in run by a colorful family in suburban Wayzata, to pay for it all.

The joke's on Northern (NOG): as the international oil price war has taken hold their stock plummeted, but if they're going to salvage any of this they need new pipelines more than ever.

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The MN House GOP isn't wasting any time fighting for their backers' needs. One of the first House bills posted in St Paul this year, HF21 would slash pipeline review to 150 days up or down - just enough time to get ahead of ticked off locals before they know what's going on.

Democrats are split over the pro-pipeline agenda in Minnesota, and the pro-industry crowd has a plan this year. The Iron Rangers are trying to wheel out "streamlining" mining regulations, willing to work with ALEC-friendly GOP. Key players here include DFL Sen. Tom Bakk, GOP Rep. Rod Hamilton for Big Ag (especially hog corporations) & the affable GOP Rep. Paul Garofalo for twitter-friendly ALEC corporate agendas.

For the top circles of people pushing this agenda, ideally environmental concerns will get flipped around — usually pollution affects poor people & people of color (POC) communities the worst — to make it appear a hobby of oblivious, elite metro consultant people. They are interested in reframing environmental justice as an elitist hobby, all the better to roll queasy and/or suburban Democrats.

Other corporate agendas: The industrial agriculture lobby wants to max out factory farm sizes with minimal oversight. Killing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's citizen review board system is another major priority, and disinfo is already rolling out on that topic.

They've also tried running meetings without public notice (see Rural Task Force and AURI in Sept 2014 via Bluestem Prairie) in order to reconfigure obscure government organizations to their agenda.

In this context we have to wonder what you're supposed to do when your member in Congress peddles blatantly deceptive spin (Nolan represents an area where a lot of my family is from). I will highlight some major chestnuts in bold. Source from a friend on FB:

Dear [Submitter].,

Thank you for contacting me regarding your views on the Keystone Pipeline project.

The simple truth we must deal with is that the Alberta tar sands are already being developed and producing roughly two million barrels of oil per day which are then shipped by truck and rail. Additionally, the U.S. State Department and the government of Canada have confirmed these tar sands will continue to be developed regardless of this project's approval. Therefore, those of us who care about saving the environment must ensure that the heavy crudes are transported in the safest and most environmentally sensitive way possible. Pipelines – while not immune from accidents – have been shown to be a safer energy transportation method than truck and rail, producing a lower carbon footprint and preventing further rail and highway congestion. The fact is, the State Department concluded alternative rail transportation options to move the heavy crude from the tar sands would result in the release of 28-42% more carbon emissions than through the pipeline.

Moreover, the Keystone project will provide access to additional oil reserves not subject to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, while supporting more than 42,000 good-paying jobs across our nation, translating to $2 billion in earnings for workers, substantial local and state tax revenue, and an additional $3.4 billion to our gross domestic product.

The Keystone XL Pipeline has been rigorously studied and will generate urgently needed jobs and economic development across our nation. To that end, I recently joined the majority of the House in voting to pass legislation (H.R.3) to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline project. Unlike previous Keystone legislation I opposed in the past, this legislation requires that Keystone be compliant with all other existing EPA and other US federal agency requirements that would need to be met by a domestic pipeline application.

I am disappointed we were not permitted to amend the bill to require use of 100 percent American steel in construction because it is proven to be better and less accident prone. Nonetheless, this legislation puts an end to almost seven years of gridlock, requires the pipeline operators to comply with tough U.S. environmental protections, and allows for a route change in Nebraska that will avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region.

Please know I have long been a strong supporter of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act, as well as other laws and regulations to protect our precious environment. To that end, during the 113th Congress I proudly cosponsored H.R.3674, the End Polluter Welfare Act of 2013 which would eliminate tax loopholes and subsidies that support the oil, gas and coal industries. Additionally, H.R.3674 would end taxpayer-funded fossil fuel research and prevent companies from escaping liability for spills or deducting cleanup costs. At a time when energy companies are making record profits, we should not be providing them with generous subsidies.

Rest assured I will keep your concerns in mind as I continue to look for ways to protect our precious environment here in the Congress.

Thank you again for sharing your views with me. I truly appreciate your advice and counsel and hope that you will contact me in the future whenever I can be of assistance.

I encourage you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and visit my website at nolan.house.gov to receive daily updates.

Sincerely,

Richard M. Nolan

Member of Congress

/////

"Heavy Crude": Nolan distributes disinformation here. The product thrown down these pipelines is superheated tar sands diluted bitumen ('dilbit' - wiki). It is a trade-secret laden petrochemical mixture which makes the bitumen (essentially raw asphalt - wiki) just slick enough to move along. In order to smooth the political process, diluted bitumen is reframed as "heavy crude oil (wiki)" and occludes the presence of environmentally dangerous secret diluent ingredients.

The bitumen also contains tiny quartz (sand) particles which steadily etch the pipeline interiors, as NRDC/Sierra Club mention (PDF). Whenever this mixture leaks, the bitumen sinks in water while much of the more volatile diluents tend to float - making cleanups a far messier affair than with conventional or "light crude", which does actually float and is pretty familiar in Hazmat training world. See: The Dangers of Diluted Bitumen Oil - NYTimes.com (OpEd Aug 2012) re Kalamazoo River in Michigan:

After the dilbit gushed into the river, it began separating into its constituent parts. The heavy bitumen sank to the river bottom, leaving a mess that is still being cleaned up. Meanwhile, the chemical additives evaporated, creating a foul smell that lingered for days. People reported headaches, dizziness and nausea. No one could say with certainty what they should do. Federal officials at the scene didn’t know until weeks later that the pipeline was carrying dilbit, because federal law doesn’t require pipeline operators to reveal that information.

Transcanada has its view on dilbit: "Is it really crude oil? Yes." but… "Dilbit and synbit approximate the characteristics of typical conventional heavy crude oil." Seems like they're having it both ways. And they're blatantly lying here: "Does it float or sink if it spills in water? Oil sands-derived crudes behave the same way as conventional crude oil, which floats in still or slow-moving water."

More on dilbit controversies: Will Canadian Crude Make the Keystone XL Pipeline Leak? | StateImpact Texas

Here is the actual Keystone XL State Dept thing on Dilbit:

Dilbit is bitumen mixed with a diluent so it can be transported by pipeline. The composition of the dilbit is only provided here generically because the particular type of bitumen and diluents blend produced is variable and is typically a trade secret. A common condensate stream (liquids derived from natural gas) is currently the primary type of diluent used for Canadian heavy crude. Diluent consists of condensates, ultra-light sweet crudes, and refinery and upgrader naphtha streams from several supply sources. Typically, dilbit uses approximately 25 percent of condensate, where companies use either their own supply sources of light hydrocarbons or purchase the above condensate stream. According to the Saskatchewan Condensate Monthly Report dated September 1, 2012 (Crudemonitor 2012b), the composition of gas condensate is mainly light hydrocarbons such as iso-butene, n-butane, iso-pentane, n-pentane, and hexanes. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) (for informational/planning purposes only) for two types of diluents, naphtha and natural gas condensate, assuming a maximum diluent mix, are provided in Appendix Q. It is important to note that the chemical make-up of the diluents can vary greatly from source to source. The bitumen-diluent mixture with bitumen from the oil sands is generally similar to heavy sour crude, which is discussed in more detail. SCO may also be used as a diluent for bitumen, in which case the commodity is known as synbit (bitumen diluted with SCO). Properties of generic dilbit are shown in Table 3.13-1.

dilbit-chart.png

Huh Toxicity is Class D Division 2 Subdivision A: Very Toxic Material. Interesting, didn't see that on Transcanada's page. Also "BTEX = benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes". Benzene is definitely carcinogenic.

See also: Keystone pipeline's 'dilbit' moment - Los Angeles Times - Dec 2012.

A Dilbit Primer: How It's Different from Conventional Oil | InsideClimate News - June 2012

Keystone XL Primer: Secrecy Still Shrouds Diluted Bitumen Risks | InsideClimate News - Nov 2011.

"supporting more than 42,000 good-paying jobs": This is another block of disinformation and reaches into the more dishonest level by adding "good-paying". This has been heavily debated since it counts temporary and partial work, and general economic ripples, as partial equivalents to a full job.

The most recent mainstream coverage on this spin chunk: Will Keystone XL pipeline create 42,000 ‘new’ jobs? - The Washington Post - Glenn Kessler Jan 6 2015 (reported by wapo in 2013 originally)

See: Keystone XL Job Claims Wouldn't Live Up To Hype, Experts Say - March 2014.

TransCanada CEO says 42,000 Keystone XL pipeline jobs are 'ongoing, enduring' | PunditFact - "Girling said, 'the 42,000 jobs is in ongoing, enduring jobs.'" Sure buddy. Even his spokester had to walk that whopper back.

This figure comes from the State Department study which, for example, claims that 300+ entertainment jobs indirectly get supported by pipeline construction, and assumes that the actual construction jobs last 19.5 weeks. These are batched together to count as one full "job", and the totals for the physical pipes that have already been completed are also included in this figure.

"these tar sands will continue to be developed regardless of this project's approval": That is not necessarily true - on two levels. The projects have been hitting the skids and losing investors, and funding is getting pulled as rapidly as they can from early-stage projects. Saying they "will continue to be developed" when they're losing investors is inaccurate. And of course, the projects only move if they are financially feasible. If they get priced out from transportation due to lack of capacity, then the overall statement is also false.

There is not some magic way to make these projects profitable without export capacity - and even with more export capacity the whole thing is going over the cliff anyway. See:

“Citizen Interventions” Have Cost Canada’s Tar Sands Industry $17B, New Report Shows | DeSmogBlog: "The report said market forces and public opposition have played a significant role in the cancellation of three major tar sands projects in 2014 alone: Shell’s Pierre River, Total’s Joslyn North, and Statoil’s Corner Project. " Yeah sounds like they are continuing to be developed, for sure.

Tar sands industry faces 'existential' $246 billion loss - The Ecologist- Nov 27 2014: "The report suggests that that investors are being misled about the economic viability of oil sands production… CTI calculate that 92% of future oil sands production will only viable if oil prices are $95 per barrel. However, prices stand at only $85, so producers are losing money for every barrel of oil they sell - unless they are cushioned by existing higher-priced contracts, which will sooner or later expire."

Is it time to panic in the oil sands? - Macleans.ca - Nov 29 2014 - graphic shows that bitumen is lower-priced because it requires so much processing, making it even worse of a business prospect. Plenty of industry details in this story.


ab_oil.jpg

As Oil Prices Drop, Canadian Oil Sands May Be Wasted Investment

Tar-sands industry loses $17.1 billion thanks to public opposition | Grist Nov 4 2014

////

It is also worth noting that the anti-pipeline candidate, Green Party American Indian elder Skip Sandman got 4.3% or 11,450 votes. The diligent efforts of many at least forced Nolan to cover his flank with some better votes — frustrating but hardly wasted. Nolan received 48.5%, narrowly edging Stewart Mills at 47.1%. (Side note: the cheesy DCCC messaging to pigeonhole Mills as a rich guy seems to have backfired, this district shouldn't be that close really.)

For further nitty gritty updates: Please check out Minnesota Brown for the Ranger side and BluestemPrairie.com for industrial agriculture & related political maneuvering. Both sites did a great job covering another ranger, DFL Sen. Tomassoni, trying to double dip with lobbying gig.

#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".

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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Nasty situation in Crystal with police officers sanctioned, partially corrupt city administration clamps down

The mayor of the City of Crystal locked the doors on locals & people speaking out against improper actions by city executive officials against two local police officers. Our friends at Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) have been organizing around the case.

I heard that video from what happened this Tuesday at City Council got reported as "abusive" on youtube very quickly.Videos via Sam Wagner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fueqi3yaXF8&feature=youtu.be

Outside: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGQoLjC1PYw&feature=youtu.be

This partially goes back to the disbanded multi-jurisdiction Metro Gang Strike Force which went around ripping property off from immigrants in particular - and the fallout there in Crystal.

Star Tribune Aug 29th Crystal fires 1 police officer; another faces termination | Star Tribune

Response to Star Tribune pulled off facebook open group: JUSTICE FOR CRYSTAL COPS ERKENBRACK AND WATThttps://www.facebook.com/groups/181768828663493/ - [I'm posting this because the whole thing is set open/public already, not a closed group and has a lot of key details not widely known.]

https://www.facebook.com/groups/181768828663493/permalink/199339270239782/

via Linda Riedle Erkenbrack:

Dear Mr. Adams,

I am very disappointed in the end result of your article. When I read the article it feels to me that it is in favor of Revering & Norris.

First of all, my husband did not commit the minor policy violation, Officer Watt did. Revering was trying to say that Rob failed to supervise him and that is why she had placed him on leave and then demoted him but Rob clearly proved by the schedule that he was not even present at the department when the minor policy violation occurred. That is in the report that she refuses to release.

Also, this minor policy violation has been committed by many other officers (including Revering) and there has never been any discipline given.

Norris' claim of Watt misinterpreting the letter is not true. You can read the letter for yourself. She also claims that Rob's termination isn't final. His letter states midnight on August 27, 2013. There is NO private employee data at this point. Every investigation has been completed which makes everything public.

Every time there was misconduct on the part of Revering and/or others in the administration there was never any discipline given. This does not mean the act was not committed and yes, this is retaliation because a lot of the misconduct was reported by Rob and this is how she is paying him back.

A lot of the article focuses on the Ramirez case and that is a big issue which you need to get more of those facts correct i.e. Brandon Johnson's investigation or forced lack of but how can not being present while something occurred and then speaking vaguely to people about being put on leave as you are upset and being sent away from your job of over 27 years in this country where we have freedom of speech- he was not given any kind of court ordered gag order, cause for termination. Why wasn't that asked in your article?

Thanks for your time.

Maybe do more investigating before your next article.

Linda

Longer video report: http://www.twelve.tv/news/newsitem.aspx?newsid=324&newsitemid=22651

Anyway hopefully this provides a quick overview & spots one can engage the battle against abusive suburban inter-jurisdictional police operations & their local government allies.

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   

///////

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.

/////

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.

Minnesota Anonymous to protest "Church of Scientology" travesty-industrial complex in St Paul tomorrow - in blizzard?

UPDATE 3PM SUNDAY: Here's the video I livestreamed at the protest today. Bambuser link: http://bambuser.com/v/3363747 Pretty fun and good champs in the snow amirite?

Youtube version may finish processing this year?

spacegorillasvotexenu.jpeg

A heads-up for lulzcats in the Minnesnowta region: Minnesota Anonymous people have filed a permit to protest at the Church of Scientology "Ideal Org" at Wabasha & Exchange Streets, (the old Science Museum of MN building) starting at 10:30AM roughly, marking five years of Chanology, the large-scale protests which brought the old era of abusive Scientology schemes to a close. I will probably livestream from some part of this at http://bambuser.com/channel/hongpong & keep an eye on http://twitter.com/hongpong for updates otherwise.

Also given the expected snowy weather tomorrow, the exception to "CONCEALING IDENTITY" in Minnesota Statute may clearly apply:

609.735 CONCEALING IDENTITY. - 609.735, 2012 Minnesota Statutes

A person whose identity is concealed by the person in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise, unless based on religious beliefs, or incidental to amusement, entertainment, protection from weather, or medical treatment, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Despite a decidedly lowprofile promotional scheme, this was already in the local paper. Info from PioneerPress.com published Feb 6th, updated 7th: Church of Scientology 'dance protest' in St. Paul a go. Vuvuzela playing? Limited. - TwinCities.com

The St. Paul City Council voted to allow a planned "dance protest" outside of the Church of Scientology in downtown St. Paul, but limited a requested noise variance to a single hour.

Members of Minnesota Anonymous had applied for a noise variance from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 10. The group's application listed vuvuzelas, the type of horns used at sporting events, and speakers among their instruments.

"Free speech is one thing, and a total disruption of people's lives is another," said St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune. "They're free, of course, to picket, carry signs, at various times."

Before the vote, Nancy Schumacher, a public affairs director for the Church of Scientology, told the council that a noisy protest would disrupt Sunday services, church courses and residential neighbors.

"The intent of the group is to actually harass and intimidate church members, and we're hoping you will vote against it," she said.

sci-org-stpaul.jpeg

No one representing Minnesota Anonymous spoke at the hearing.

Here is my commentary on this ugly fake religion on PP:

It was a sad travesty when the once proud, educational and even fun Science Museum of Minnesota building of my youth got taken over by this nasty, greedy little corporate cult which is partially based on the intrinsically selfish & maniacal teachings of Hubbard's personal hero & organizer of Satanic sects, Aleister Crowley. It turns the principles of the Enlightenment on its head to have such 'black disinformation' spammed out into the larger community.

I have met people whose family lives have been ruined, through no choices of their own, because of Scientology's classic cult strategy of dominating and splitting families, requiring years of deprogramming simply to obtain a normal life once more. That type of abuse certainly suffices to justify protesting this corporatist, 'intellectual property' hoarding knockoff cult. Also they kill people through brainwashing at their front organizations such as "Narconon Arrowhead" in Oklahoma. I'm not a "member of Anonymous" but I can agree this travesty of a site offends me as much as anything in the Cities.

See pics from Fibonacci Blue for older local protests at the now-closed Nicollet Mall org: Flickr: Fibonacci Blue's Photostream. See late 2011 opening of this place post: Largest Scientology church in Midwest opens in downtown St. Paul - TwinCities.com.

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