MinnPost A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO NEWS in Print Read more at www.minnpost.com Wednesday, June 25, 2008 State campaign leaders for Obama, McCain taking different tacks By DOUG GROW Golnik never really left the campaign. He “A huge flip-flop!’’ said Golnik. continued working as a volunteer and, a few Do you think voters really will care about Jeff Blodgett was among the thousands at weeks ago, became one of McCain’s 11 re- how candidates finance their campaigns? St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center on June 3 when gional campaign directors. Golnik is to run “Absolutely!’’ said Golnik. “It shows he made his decision. As he watched — and campaign operations in Minnesota, Idaho, people who he really is.’’ felt — all that was around him, the man who Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. Blodgett, who never has worked directly was Paul Wellstone’s campaign manager for That seems like a massive hunk of ground for the DFL, is a lifelong progressive, but three U.S. Senate runs decided he would ac- to cover, but Golnik points out that Repub- there aren’t so many exclamation marks in cept an offer to run Barack Obama’s Minne- licans are confident about most of those his political conversations. Though filled sota campaign. states — and have high hopes for Minnesota. with progressives, Wellstone Action, the “When you feel that energy, it’s pretty Therefore, most of his time will be spent in organization Blodgett has run, holds train- hard to sit on the sideline,’’ said Blodgett of Minnesota, which hasn’t voted for a Repub- ing sessions on grass-roots organizing for the Obama victory rally that drew more than lican presidential candidate since Richard people of all political persuasions. an estimated 32,000 Twin Citians to fill Xcel Nixon in 1972. Blodgett even allows as to how he moved and the streets surrounding the arena. He has toward Obama slowly during the primary taken a leave from his position as director of Campaigns, campaign leaders differ in process. Wellstone Action for 4½ months of nonstop style, structure “I was uncommitted early on,’’ he said. work, exhilaration and anxiety. There are big differences between the state “I thought it was a great (Democratic) field. His counterpart, Ben Golnik, the regional campaign leaders and their campaigns. As the campaign went along, I began to feel political director for Sen. John McCain’s cam- For starters, Blodgett is 46, and in political more and more connected to his message of paign, comes at the presidential campaign a field work, that’s old. hope. I kept gradually moving to his camp.’’ little differently. He was among the scores of “Most of the people (who will be working There’s also a substantial difference in campaign workers laid off when the McCain the Obama campaign) are half my age,’’ he the structures of their campaigns. express was seemingly doomed a little more said. The McCain structure, with 11 field direc- than a year ago. Golnik is just 31. Perhaps because of his tors, each reporting directly to the campaign In retrospect, he said he didn’t really be- youth, or perhaps because he has worked di- director, Rick Davis, is unique. Each of the lieve the campaign would wither away. rectly for the Republican Party in Minnesota field directors is supposed to have consider- “At that point in the campaign, everything and, before that, Vermont, he wears his parti- able power in making such big decisions as was fluid,’’ said Golnik. “He was always the sanship on his sleeve. buying TV ads. But some Republicans fear underdog, but he’s also a workhorse. He’s at For example, Golnik was all juiced up that the system will invite chaos. his best when he’s an underdog.’’ about Obama’s decision to forgo public fi- Although the checks stopped coming in, nancing when we talked on Friday. continues on page 4 “When you feel that energy, it’s pretty hard to sit on the sideline,’’ said Jeff Blodgett of the Obama victory rally that drew more than an estimated 32,000 Twin Citians to fill Xcel and the streets surrounding the arena. INSIDE MINNPOST.WORLD CASEY SELIX Plight of the Uninsured: What would it take to solve it? With Obama’s mes- page 3 sage clear, GOP worries about McCain’s shifting DAVID BRAUER slogans. The Daily Glean: The local housing market ... worse than advertised. page 2 page 5 COMMUNITY VOICES Does GOP really want to run on its record of support for Xcel? page 6 MinnPost in Print contains highlights of MinnPost.com – high-quality reporting by top Minnesota journalists of news that matters. MinnPost in Print A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO NEWS Wednesday, June 25, 2008 • www.MinnPost.com PAGE 2 MINNPOST.WORLD With Obama’s message clear, GOP worries about McCain’s shifting slogans By DOUG STONE had ditched that slogan and re- rageous stand on any issue? Yes he benefitting from fact that enormous placed it with ‘Reform. Prosperity. can — but it’s not clear if his cam- part of public wants a change. ... 80 At a communications seminar Peace.’” paign will be much help.” percent say the country is going in I attended recently, the speaker New York Times conservative Paul West writes in the Balti- wrong direction. They believe the asked the 45 members of the audi- columnist William Kristol weighed more Sun that “John McCain once economy is going in wrong direc- ence what Sen. Barack Obama’s in, focusing on McCain and Obama had the most powerful brand in tion. The notion of change is hold- message was. Nearly everyone in events the night Obama clinched American politics. He was often ing people for Obama. ... He’s been the room repeated “change,” or the nomination earlier this month: called the country’s most popular successful in not getting specific. some variation. She then asked the “He (McCain) read a disjointed politician and widely admired for He becomes an empty vessel into same question about Sen. John Mc- set of remarks at a badly staged his independent streak. It wasn’t which people throw their hopes. Cain, who has been in Washington rally at the Pontchartrain Center too many years ago that ‘maverick’ If he can figure out way of saying and around politics far longer than in Kenner, La. Here’s part of an e- was the cliché of choice in describ- ‘change’ at same time providing Obama. No one could say what his mail message I received as McCa- ing him. just enough, but not too much de- campaign message was. in spoke, from a Republican who “But that term didn’t even make tail, his message works.” The lack of a clear message admires him: ‘They could have the list this year when voters were Adrienne Christiansen, a politi- and a focus to McCain’s campaign done so well tonight, shown a tone asked by the Pew Research Center cal science professor at Macalester has the critics wondering what the of confidence. Instead it looks like to sum up McCain in a single word. College who studies political rhet- problem is and why. And some of a bad Congressional race: dumb ‘Old’ got the most mentions, fol- oric, told MinnPost that McCain’s the Arizona senator’s harshest crit- green puke background, small lowed by ‘honest,’ ‘experienced,’ message seems to be “ ‘I’m more ics are fellow Republicans. crowd ... Makes me want to cry.’ ‘patriot,’ ‘conservative’ and a doz- experienced.’ That doesn’t say Michael D. Shear and Juliet Eil- Soon after Republicans finished en more. The words ‘independent,’ much. Unfortunately, most Ameri- perin write in the Washington Post: shedding tears of frustration, Dem- ‘change’ or ‘reformer’ weren’t cans care less about experience “But even as McCain’s strategists ocrats were weeping tears of joy. among them. Voters have notori- than a compelling idea. He’s in a claim tactical victories, Republi- Obama spoke about an hour later ously short memories, but it could difficult position because people cans outside the campaign worry in a packed sports arena in St. Paul, be argued that McCain cheapened know who he is. It will be hard that underlying weaknesses in its Minn…. his own brand. for him to come up with a mes- organization and message are cost- “In any case, with the battle “He embraced President Bush sage. He’s roundly disliked by the ing him valuable time to make the against Hillary Clinton behind and attempted to become, like Republican base. ... He’s riding case for his own candidacy. Allies him, everything seems to be go- Bush, the choice of the Republi- on his good will with the media. complain that the campaign has ing swimmingly for Obama. can establishment. In the process, Rather than fashioning a coherent offered myriad confusing themes Meanwhile, the McCain campaign he helped obliterate recollections message, he’s riding on his image, that lurch between pitching McCa- dog-paddles along. And almost of his first run for president, when ‘straight talk express.’ “ in as a committed conservative one every Republican I’ve talked to he became the first Republican in In the end, Christiansen says, day and an independent-minded is alarmed that the McCain cam- a long time with strong crossover McCain’s “compelling personal reformer the next, while display- paign doesn’t seem up to the task appeal to independents and Demo- story may be his most effective ing little of the discipline and focus of electing John McCain. Several crats. Losing his reputation for message: soldier, patriot, P.O.W, that characterized President Bush’s of these worried McCain support- independence could prove particu- likeable, maverick.” successful campaigns. Several ers cited the decision by the cam- larly costly this year.” McCain’s campaign advisers Republican supporters of the pre- paign gurus that McCain’s Tues- say they aren’t worried, telling the sumptive nominee said they were day night speech should consist in ‘A muddled message’ Washington Post that criticisms of puzzled by a series of easily avoid- large part of criticisms of Obama’s Hamline University Political the campaign are “armchair quar- able mistakes, including sloppy po- various proposals. The attacks of- Science Professor David Schultz terbacking” and citing polls show- litical stagecraft and poorly timed ten concluded, ‘That’s not change said in an interview that McCain’s ing a close national race. comments that undercut McCain’s we can believe in.’ Is it wise to be- problem is that “he has a muddled And among independents, reputation as a maverick. gin a general election campaign by message: On one hand wants to where much of the election may “ ‘I’m baffled that the McCain making fun of your opponent’s slo- inculcate the straight talk express; be fought, polls show the two guys have somehow managed to gan and presenting yourself mostly the maverick. The second mes- candidates running even. take a guy who practically had “re- as a debunker of his claims? Even sage is experience or leadership form” tattooed to his forehead and hard-hearted Republicans think a message. Third one is to appropri- Read the complete story at turned him into the bastion of the general election message should be ate Obama’s change message. His www.minnpost.com. status quo,’ said one Republican a bit more positive than that.” message is muddled because of strategist, who like others spoke on difficult position as a candidate. He Doug Stone is director of College the condition of anonymity. Support for the surge in Iraq can’t overtly break with Bush, but Relations at Macalester College They cite the changing cam- Kristol concludes by contend- because the President is unpopular in St. Paul and a former reporter paign slogans. At one rally, “a ing that McCain was right about he has to have some significant for the Minneapolis Tribune and much-ridiculed green background the troop surge in Iraq and that he breaks. He has to figure out a way assistant news director at WCCO- behind McCain sported the new should hold that up as an example of messaging to shore up fiscal TV. The views in this article are phrase ‘A Leader We Can Believe of his leadership. “Can McCain get conservatives and evangelicals. not those of Macalester College. In,’ a play on Obama’s message of voters to consider his leadership in He’s trying to appeal to so many ‘Change We Can Believe In.’ But this instance, and get them to ask different constituencies.... just a few days later the campaign when Obama took a similarly cou- “Obama, on the other hand, is MinnPost in Print A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO NEWS Wednesday, June 25, 2008 • www.MinnPost.com PAGE 3 First in a series of occasional pieces on health-care policy. Plight of the Uninsured: What would it take to solve it? CASEY SELIX bar graphs and pie charts on tance. He invested in prescrip- What are the pros and cons? the state’s comparatively good tions for morphine and diuretics How would it work? My friend could have been statistics, this fact stands out: instead. Trying to connect all those a poster boy for the health-care My friend was 100 percent “I’m in charge of my health.” dots sounds daunting, doesn’t industry. “Running is my health uninsured. He outlived the six-week, or it? But now I must try to make insurance,” he’d tell me as he So, he ran, he played tennis, 43-day, diagnosis by two days. sense of this predicament – for set off for another run or signed he swam, he lifted weights. He Those 48 hours bought him my friend and others like him. up for a 10-K race. Another quit smoking decades ago. He enough time to enjoy a party in I have a lot of questions. I need frequent refrain: “I’m in charge appeared to be in great physical his honor, to see family, friends some answers. of my health.” shape most of the time, though and clients gathered on a cool A week after my friend’s My friend died this month of he liked to eat the foods we spring evening in a friend’s death, presidential candidate colon cancer. He was 60. probably shouldn’t eat that backyard, to let us wait on him John McCain was in St. Paul He was self-employed and he often. hand and foot, to admire photos for a town hall meeting and was uninsured. “Running is my health of him through his life, to listen I wondered if he might have I’m not going to use his insurance. I’m in charge of my to live Irish music once more some answers as I read Min- name because he wouldn’t want health.” with him, this time the plaintive nPost writer G.R. Anderson Jr.’s to be remembered for his lack But because he didn’t have wails wishing him farewell. report on the event: of health insurance. He was not health insurance, he probably When I share my friend’s “The second question came proud of it, but he was trying to didn’t undergo the colonoscopy story, people are visibly shaken. from a woman whose son has make the best of it with a little recommended at age 50 by the I’ve seen and heard enough a ‘chronic disease’ and the bravado. American Medical Association, reactions that I can confidently family’s health insurance can’t “My running is my health the screening procedure covered report the consensus: He didn’t keep up with the bills. McCain insurance. I’m in charge of my by insurance. He ignored the have health insurance? What looked positively morose, but health.” symptoms until it was too late. is wrong with our country’s offered nothing concrete on He just couldn’t afford the “I started feeling bad in health system?! Why don’t we health care, other than saying usual health insurance. March,” he told me a few days as a nation, with all our wealth, to people who want socialized before he died, “but I didn’t do have some form of universal medicine, ‘I suggest you go to One among 374,000 anything about it for a while.” health care for our citizens? Canada or England.’ “ Some might well say he Why is health care/insurance so If only my friend had couldn’t afford not to have it. Once diagnosed, little time expensive? thought of that option. Yet he was among the 374,000 By the time he was diag- Minnesotans who didn’t have nosed, he was given six weeks Looking for answers Next: Minnesota’s 374,000 health insurance in 2007, which to live. The cancer had metas- Provocative questions. I’ll uninsured people could fill a statistically translates to 7.2 tasized into his liver. He was explore them in the coming city close to the size of Min- percent of the state’s population turning yellow with jaundice, weeks in a series of posts and neapolis. Who are the people – reportedly among the lowest and his once-trim belly and stories. in this population? Please uninsured rates in the nation. muscular legs were bloated. Since 2001, I’ve been read- feel free to pose some of your Of that uninsured group, he was The discussion turned to ing and collecting reports from own questions for our ongo- among the 20.6 percent called whether chemotherapy would various publications on our na- ing series in the comments self-employed, the 3.7 percent buy him time to settle his affairs tion’s health-care issues, hoping section at www.minnpost. with postgraduate degrees and and whether he had enough somehow that I (an editor most com. the 68.3 percent who were money on hand to pay for a of this time) could persuade unmarried. Though a Minne- round or two of treatment and others to report a public-service sota Department of Health Fact how much he’d have to spend project asking these questions: Sheet (PDF) has a lot of details, down what he had in the bank What would it take to get uni- to qualify for Medical Assis- versal health care in our state? MinnPost in Print MinnPost in Print includes highlights of Cities, but anyone can print a copy from a PDF that contributes to the health of our democracy MinnPost.com, a new daily providing high- available at www.minnpost.com. Visit the and the quality of our lives. Please consider quality journalism for people everywhere who website for audio, videos and more stories. making a donation to MinnPost, a nonprofit care about Minnesota. MinnPost in Print is We believe that high-quality journalism is not enterprise. distributed at selected locations in the Twin just a consumer good; it’s a community asset Joel Kramer, CEO and editor Contact us: email@example.com • Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org • Membership/donations: email@example.com MinnPost in Print A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO NEWS Wednesday, June 25, 2008 • www.MinnPost.com PAGE 4 State campaign leaders for Obama, McCain taking different tacks ing. “Our big job is to harness in-roads with the great silent fore. That doesn’t seem like an continued from page 1 all the energy we have... . I be- majority with the sort of conver- easy task, given the fact that lieve that by the time this cam- sational town-hall meeting Mc- Minnesota typically has let the With a 50-state strategy, the paign is over, almost every voter Cain held in St. Paul last week. nation in voter turnout. Obama campaign has a direc- in the state will have had at least “That’s how he turned his “There was something like 80 tor in each state, a first for the one knock on the door from one campaign around in New Hamp- percent (actually, 79 percent) in party. Those directors will report of our volunteers. We want sig- shire,’’ he said. Minnesota four years ago,’’ said to Steve Hildebrand, a Mountain nificant voter presence through- Golnik also expects big sup- Blodgett. “But that doesn’t mean Lake, Minn., native and deputy out the state. We want people port from an “Independents for there isn’t room for improve- campaign manage, who, like greeted at their workplaces by McCain’’ drive, headed in Min- ment. If you look at Minneapo- Blodgett, is a Carleton College our volunteers. We want people nesota by former DFL congress- lis, voter turnout was in the low graduate. forming discussion groups.’’ man Tim Penny, who ran strong 70s, that means there’s an area It is Blodgett’s belief that To date, McCain hasn’t gen- enough as an Independent can- where we have room to grow. If each of the state directors will erated that sort of excitement in didate for governor in 2002 to we can add a percentage point or have independence in develop- Minnesota. He was a nonfactor destroy any chance Roger Moe two (to turnout) we’ll be OK.’’ ing plans for turning out the vote in the Republican caucuses, de- might have had in defeating As a campaign manager for and in using volunteers. “We spite the strong support of Gov. Pawlenty. Wellstone and a consultant to control what’s happening on the Tim Pawlenty. It’s been very dif- Blodgett and Golnik do face a both Amy Klobuchar and John ground,’’ in Blodgett’s words. ficult for hosts of the Republican different sort of pressure in Min- Kerry, Blodgett is undefeated in The big strategic decisions will National Convention to attract nesota. Minnesota politics. come from the national cam- young volunteers to work at the The Republicans would LIKE But Golnik was 13 when paign office. convention where McCain will to win Minnesota. On good days, Blodgett was running Well- accept his nomination. they even THINK they can win stone’s first campaign. He grew Campaign ‘energy levels’ “It’s a fair assessment that in Minnesota. up in the Northeast and is not different, too Obama is exciting the young,’’ The Democrats MUST win easily impressed by such events But at the moment, at least, said Golnik. “But... .’’ the state. in the past. the big difference in the cam- Golnik believes Democrats “We can’t let down for a “We’re making inroads ev- paigns is energy. are “very divided’’ and will re- minute,’’ said Blodgett. “This erywhere,’’ he said. The Obama campaign is main that because of the contest is a must-win state for Obama; overflowing with youthful vol- between Obama and Hillary therefore, we will take nothing Doug Grow, a former metro unteers. Rodham Clinton. It was the two- for granted. But that’s the way it columnist for the Star Tribune, person nature of the race, not should be.’’ writes about public affairs, state “Tina Smith (a senior adviser party loyalty, he says, that had There will be constant meet- politics and other topics. He can to the Obama campaign in Min- be reached at dgrow@minnpost. nesota) told me, ‘It’s not about Democrats setting primary turn- ings with former Clinton sup- out records all over the country. porters. And there will be a big com. crowd building; it’s about crowd control,’’’ said Blodgett, laugh- Beyond that, he believes his push to get more Minnesotans candidate will continue to make registered to vote than ever be- To date, McCain hasn’t generated that sort of excitement in Minnesota. He was a nonfactor in the Republican caucuses, despite the strong support of Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It’s been very difficult for hosts of the Republican National Convention to attract young volunteers to work at the convention where McCain will accept his nomination. Want to add your voice? If you’re interested in joining the discussion by writing a Community Voices article, email Susan Albright at firstname.lastname@example.org. MinnPost in Print A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO NEWS Wednesday, June 25, 2008 • www.MinnPost.com PAGE 5 THE DAILY GLEAN The local housing market ... worse than advertised By DAVID BRAUER earning such dough as airlines Celebrating homosexuality current business model, but no cut back flights. How does goes against church teachings, a fix is offered. Ka-boom: Home prices in raising pilot compensation help spokesperson says. (Somewhat the Twin Cities fell 15.5 percent this merger pay off? The two amazingly, he claims previ- A couple of high-powered in a one-year period through pilot groups will try to merge ous archbishops didn’t know ex-politicos say they’ll help April. The Standard & Poor’s seniority lists themselves but of the service or they’d have instant-runoff-voting advocates figures are nearly double Real- have agreed to arbitration if that canceled it, too.) It’s another sue the city of St. Paul. That’s if tors’ reported declines, notes fails. jerk of the reins for the liberal council members keep the elec- the Strib’s Jim Buchta. The congregation, which could lose tion reform off the ballot, the S&P report only focuses on Gov. Pawlenty responded to members. Strib’s Chris Havens says. IRV single-family homes. Despite the Legislature’s bridge report: advocates successfully peti- a sunny “at national average” It did not make “any connec- A second group got a GOP tioned their way onto the ballot, spin, we’re doing worse than tion to maintenance decisions” National Convention protest but the St. Paul city attorney any area not named California, and the bridge collapse’s cause. permit. The Poor People’s Eco- thinks the technique is unconsti- Florida, Arizona or Vegas. However, the PiPress’s Jason nomic Human Rights Campaign tutional and says appeals courts Hoppin lists several undone will march on the convention’s have already ruled a council can Ouch: The Strib’s Steve plans directly related to gus- second day, with a different, spike such initiatives. Attorneys Brandt says the Minneapolis- set plates. The Strib’s Mike longer route, the Strib’s Chris Jay Benanav and John Hotting- Hennepin County library merg- Kaszuba says in a two-hour Havens reports. This one edges er counterthat doing so defeats er is $2.2 million over budget. hearing MnDOT’s new deputy into prime time: 4:30 to 7:30 the petition’s purpose. (Note: I The Strib headline emphasizes commissioner “bluntly” asked p.m. worked on Minneapolis’ IRV ef- $3.5 million in higher ben- “irritated” legislators to “trust fort a few years ago.) efit costs and a money-losing us” that the abortive plans In Morrison County, just parking ramp. On the flip side, wouldn’t have kept the bridge north of St. Cloud, police killed Minneapolis Urban League there are $1.3 in savings, which up. A graphic comparing report a bar owner who had taken President/CEO Clarence High- brings the net loss to $2.2 mil- points and MnDOT’s response 10 people hostage at a county tower is leaving for St. Paul’s lion. Savings will accelerate would’ve been helpful. (Note: board meeting, the Strib’s Rich- Community Action Partner- in out years. Commissioner My wife works for the law firm ard Meryhew and Abby Simons ship, the Strib’s Terry Collins Penny Steele terms it “a failure that did the report, but not on report. Gordon Wheeler owned and Patrice Relerford report. to do due diligence” — in other the report itself.) “adult entertainment establish- What change did he make? The words, county’s fault — or a ments,” such as Lookin’ Fine story says he was a cool head “failure to disclose,” which Some outstate Minnesota cit- Smut and Porno. Perhaps not in police-community disputes fingers the city. ies expecting to get state local- surprisingly, he feuded with and annually reported on black government aid increases won’t. board members for years over Minnesotans’ condition. He It’s not a huge number, but MPR’s Tom Robertson reports zoning and license issues. also lead a successful building local travel-hospitality giant that Gov. Pawlenty’s property- At the end of the meeting, he campaign. Otherwise, accom- Carlson will cut 200 Minnesota tax caps apparently undid a walked up with his “big gun” plishments are vague. The new jobs by year’s end. That’s about promise to simultaneously beef that came out from under a red group is also “involved with 5 percent of the company’s lo- up state assistance. Administra- handkerchief. The PiPress says creating public policy and help- cal workforce, and another sign tors say $212,000 evaporated it’s unclear if Wheeler fired. ing reduce poverty.” the economic slump is pound- in Bemidji, as did $500,000 WCCO and KARE talk to a ing discretionary spending on in International Falls. Even a hostage. Nort spews: Mike Lamb trips and dining, the Strib’s rural Republican says the caps who? New Twins third baseman Dave Phelps reports. The com- hurt places like his around the Finance & Commerce reports Brian Buscher homers to help pany recently exited cruise and state. Just wondering: How did that Minneapolis’s pioneering the Twins beat San Diego 3-1. leisure-travel segments to focus bigger cities like Minneapolis, Green Institute is having finan- It’s Minnesota’s seventh win in on business travel, lodging and St. Paul, Rochester and Duluth cial trouble. They operate the a row. “Boos rained down” on restaurants. fare? building-materials haven ReUse legendary Padres closer Trevor Center,and have a 100-percent Hoffman, who gave up back- Northwest pilots have There’ll be some hot pa- leased building. However, to-back dingers to Brendan reached a joint-contract deal rishioners-on-church action in F&C’s Burl Gilyard says they Harris and Buscher, accord- with Delta and its pilots. The Minneapolis’s Regina neighbor- are 60 grand delinquent on ing to today’s Sore Loser. The deal doesn’t yet cover the hood tonight. Folks will hold a a city construction loan, and Lynx break their losing streak, overarching seniority issue, “a lay service” outside St. Joan $185K due on a second city smashing the Liberty 91-69. but brings pay “much closer” of Arc, because new Arch- note. The Institute’s boss to pre-bankruptcy levels, the bishop John Nienstedt canceled blames the housing crisis for a PiPress’ John Welbes notes. the traditional GLBT-friendly $16,000-a-month loss. A city The problem, of course, is that church service, the Strib’s staff report terms the problem there will be many fewer pilots Herón Márquez Estrada writes. “not manageable” under the MinnPost in Print A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO NEWS Wednesday, June 25, 2008 • www.MinnPost.com PAGE 6 COMMUNITY VOICES Does GOP want to run on record of support for Xcel? By MARC HUGUNIN nent some qualifications in the from a triangular-shaped area highly susceptible to ground- environment area,” Rep. Jean of north-central Minnesota run- water contamination, which It’s no surprise that Repub- Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis, ning from the Bemidji to Duluth most observers believe the West licans have decided to contest told a reporter from the Pioneer to St. Cloud areas. One of the Lakeland site to be. Bunn’s leg- the re-election campaign of Rep. Press. Indeed, environmental three metro members, Dr. Dan- islation became state law last Julie Bunn in Minnesota House issues currently are not listed iel Foley of Woodbury, already month over the objections of District 56A, which extends all among Lohmer’s top five issues hails from Washington County. the governor and Xcel. This was the way from Stillwater’s South on her campaign website. Geographical balance might yeoman legislative work by any Hill to the northern reaches of “Longtime political observ- have been served by an ap- standard — but especially for a Woodbury. ers,” the Pioneer Press added, pointee from Anoka County, or freshman lawmaker. And it’s no surprise that the “said they had never heard of Mankato or Rochester, but not Bunn’s district is a tradition- GOP has made Bunn its No. 1 someone being appointed to (a) Lake Elmo. ally safe Republican district. target, statewide, for the cur- state board while seeking a leg- Still, critics’ claims that the The GOP may feel that they lost rent election cycle — well, aside islative post.” appointment is illegal or unethi- the district in 2006 more than from the six so-called Rogue The governor’s spokesman, cal would appear to be overstat- Bunn won it, because they sim- Republicans that they also want Brian McClung, disagreed. “The ed. Rather, the appointment may ply didn’t take Bunn’s challenge to defeat. situation is not unusual,” he told be a political miscalculation, and to incumbent Mike Charron se- Nor is it surprising that the the Pioneer Press. “There are that’s something that the voters riously enough. So observers governor, who is also the leader a number of state representa- will decide — not the courts. expect Lohmer to run a strong of one of Minnesota’s politi- tives,” McClung said, “who are The MPCA website says, challenge to Bunn’s re-election. cal parties, sometimes uses the appointed to boards, so it is not “The Minnesota Pollution Con- Still, there is every indica- power of his office to enhance that rare for board or commis- trol Agency (MPCA) Citizens’ tion that Bunn’s opponent would his party’s political prospects. sion members to be running for Board considers and makes de- have been a “yes” vote for the What’s surprising is that Gov. office.” cisions on varied and complex West Lakeland landfill project Tim Pawlenty and Republicans This is disingenuous, how- pollution problems that affect had she served on the MPCA would want to remind voters ever, because in this case state areas of the state.” Citizen’s Board a month ago. in 56A about the fly ash land- law explicitly prohibits double- One such issue was the ad- And there can be no question fill that Xcel Energy wanted to dipping. State law says that no equacy of an Environmental Im- that Lohmer would not have build in West Lakeland Town- member of the MPCA Citizen’s pact Statement (EIS) for the pro- authored legislation designed to ship — a landfill that the Lower Board, other than the MPCA posed West Lakeland landfill. prohibit landfills in gravel soils St. Croix Valley community and commissioner, “shall be an of- The Citizens’ Board voted 5-1 such as are found in West Lake- Bunn opposed, and the governor ficer or employee of the state or to find the EIS to be adequate land. supported. federal government.” — and to allow the landfill proj- It’s hard to imagine why Re- But that’s what the governor ect to go forward — May 20. publicans wanted to run all of has done. He has raised the visi- Couldn’t continue if elected Among the “yes” votes were the that up the flagpole. bility of the issue, and of Bunn’s Lohmer is not now an offi- governor’s appointee as MPCA work on the issue, by appointing cer or employee of the state, of commissioner, Brad Moore, and Marc Hugunin lives in Grant, Bunn’s opponent, Kathy Lo- course. But it’s clear that if she citizen member Dennis Jensen Minn. This piece originally ap- hmer, to the Citizen’s Board of is elected in November, she will of Duluth, whom the governor peared in the Stillwater Gazette the Minnesota Pollution Control not be able to continue to serve re-appointed to the board last and is reprinted with permission. Agency (MPCA). on the MPCA board. week along with Lohmer. Not only that, but claims that Route to enviro qualifica- Lohmer’s appointment was mo- Governor, Xcel objected to tions? tivated by considerations of geo- legislation “It sounds to me like it could graphical balance don’t hold up Meanwhile, Bunn introduced be that (Republicans) are try- either. The MPCA board has four legislation that prohibits the sit- ing to get Rep. Bunn’s oppo- Greater Minnesota members, all ing of landfills in areas that are Want to add your voice? If you’re interested in joining the discussion by writing a Community Voices article, email Susan Albright at email@example.com. MinnPost.com owns the copyright in the MinnPost publication. MinnPost.com grants its readers a limited license to print and distribute copies of the MinnPost publication for personal use and for free distribution in full to others.