LTE in Red Wing Republican Eagle

November 19th, 2022

A readable version:

Letter: Thankful for weak mayor

Mayor Wilson’s “Elections behind us; time to look ahead” explains what’s needed, and it’s not complicated. Unfortunately, he hasn’t always exemplified this behavior – remember the recall? I’m thankful for our weak-mayor system in Red Wing.

Full Disclosure: I tend to vote “blue” but am not enamored with Democrats or the DFL, and vote issues over party. I’m a Jesse voter. 

For decades, I’ve been opposing Republican policy shifts – the 1986 tax code cuts for corporations and the rich, gutting of veterans’ benefits, insurance perversion of health care, government interference in women’s medical decisions, defunding Social Security and Medicare, and cuts to public school funding and privatization of education.

In Minnesota, Republican statewide candidates who proposed draconian and sometimes absurd and illegal policies were all defeated. Similarly, nationwide, we have a Democratically controlled Senate, and president, and maybe House.

Locally, however, we’ll soon have “election denier” state officeholders. Our new Rep. Altendorf bragged about being “America First” and endorsed by “My Pillow” Lindell. Our Sen. Drazkowski requested, with other legislators, to add Minnesota to a baseless Texas lawsuit, and protested the “stolen election” at our state capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Together, they proposed the “Minnesota Education Freedom Act,” to shift public funding to private schools. Thankfully, DFL control limits what harm they can do.

Citywide, the “recall” council candidates bloc won two of four seats. They didn’t specify proposals, instead complaining of “taxes,” “reckless spending,” and don’t recognize systemic racism. 

They even rehashed the firing of Pohlman, that process and reasons weren’t made public, despite state law that personnel matters be addressed in closed session. Do they understand the law?

What do I think? Yes, Mayor Wilson, I’m ready to “spend a lot more time focusing on what we are for” and work hard over the next two years.

—Carol A. Overland, Red Wing

This arrived in the inbox… GRRRRR… just what we need to further lock us into outmoded central station power, and to lock us out of distributed generation, here’s a cut and past with links and leads to more info:

FACT SHEET: The Biden-⁠Harris Administration Advances Transmission Buildout to Deliver Affordable, Clean Electricity

President Biden is catalyzing development of thousands of miles of new and upgraded transmission lines that will reduce electricity costs for families and businesses, prevent power outages in the face of extreme weather, and create good-paying jobs in the clean energy economy.

Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that first-round applications are open for competitive grants under the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership Programs, which total $10.5 billion in available funding, as well as the $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program. Funded by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these programs together represent the largest single direct federal investment in critical transmission and distribution infrastructure.

An estimated 70 percent of the nation’s transmission lines are over 25 years old, and this aging infrastructure makes American communities, critical infrastructure, and economic interests vulnerable. New and upgraded transmission lines deliver electricity to where it’s needed, whether that means delivering wind and solar power to towns and cities across the country or moving power from one region to another that needs it in the face of storms, heat waves, and other extreme weather. An expanded transmission system is also critical to cost-effectively achieving the President’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030 and achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035.

Today’s announcement builds on ongoing efforts across the Biden-Harris Administration to accelerate the buildout of long-distance, high-capacity transmission lines, including:

  • Securing historic funding for transmission and grid upgrades: The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the largest investment ever in upgrading America’s power grid. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act provides nearly $3 billion in transmission funding, including $2 billion that will unlock additional billions in federal lending for projects designated by the Secretary of Energy to be in the national interest. The Inflation Reduction Act also provides significant loan authority for the DOE Loan Programs Office and funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service programs that can support grid modernization.
  • Approving new interstate transmission lines: The Administration has also jumpstarted permitting for key transmission lines that cross Federally managed lands. In 2022, three major transmission projects received final approvals for construction from the Department of the Interior, including:
  • Advancing major project reviews: The Department of the Interior has taken major steps forward on environmental reviews for several new transmission lines. Key milestones include:
    • Initiating the review for the Greenlink West Transmission Project from northern to southern Nevada, with potential to unlock up to 5,000 MW of clean energy;
    • Initiating the review for the Cross-Tie 500-kV Transmission Project from Utah to Nevada, with potential to unlock up to 1,500 MW of clean energy;
    • Issuing a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, a major milestone for two lines that could transport up to 4,500 MW of clean energy from New Mexico to markets in Arizona and California. 
  • Improving efficiency of federal permitting: As part of the Administration’s Permitting Action Plan—a strategy to strengthen and accelerate federal permitting and environmental reviews across a range of infrastructure projects—agencies are collaborating to promote sound and timely reviews of transmission projects. The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense, and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve coordination and prioritize reviews for renewable energy projects on federal lands, as well as the transmission lines needed to support these projects.
  • Launching the Building a Better Grid Initiative: To mobilize new funding and enhance collaboration between all levels of government, industry, unions, local communities, environmental justice organizations, and other stakeholders, the Administration launched the Building a Better Grid Initiative with a focus on long-distance, high-voltage transmission lines. This Initiative is administered by the Department of Energy’s new Grid Deployment Office, which supports development of new transmission lines and a more resilient grid through new and modernized distribution facilities to ensure all communities have access to reliable, affordable electricity.
  • Supporting next-generation transmission planning: The Department of Energy is conducting a National Transmission Planning Study to help identify pathways for necessary large-scale transmission system buildouts that meet regional and national interests. The National Transmission Needs Study also identifies current and anticipated future capacity constraints and congestion on the nation’s electric transmission grid. These efforts include robust engagement with industry stakeholders, communities, and regional and local governments.
  • Making federal financing more accessible: The Department of Energy recently launched the Grid and Transmission Programs Conductor to help inform state and local governments, Tribes and territories, utility and industry partners, and other stakeholders about the application process and timelines for a range of federal financing opportunities totaling billions of dollars in grants, loans, and other forms of financing. Today, the Conductor released a new interactive feature for public and private partners to more easily identify which financing opportunities are right for them.
  • Advancing offshore wind transmission: The Departments of Energy and the Interior are developing recommendations, in consultation with key stakeholders, on offshore wind transmission planning and development. This work includes an Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study and an analysis of West Coast offshore wind transmission needs. The Inflation Reduction Act provides $100 million to support transmission planning, modeling, and analysis, including for offshore wind transmission.
  • Supporting other levels of government: The Administration is taking a wide range of steps to help states, Tribes, territories, and local governments advance transmission projects. For example, the Department of Transportation issued guidance to help state agencies host transmission lines along existing highway rights-of-way. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act provides $760 million in grants available to siting authorities and other state, local, or Tribal governmental entities to facilitate the siting of interstate transmission projects.
  • Accelerating innovative solutions: As part of the Administration’s Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative, one of five near-term priorities is research and development to support a net-zero power grid and electrification—including advanced transmission and distribution planning and operations. Efforts underway include the Department of Energy’s Transmission Reliability Program and Energy Storage Program, with support from the National Laboratories, to advance research and development needed for the electricity delivery system of the future.

###

Merrick Garland has appointed Jack Smith as Special Prosecutor, focusing on criminal investigations… focusing on ?? (Trump and I hope others too):

Hard to beat this specific experience, I cannot even imagine the brainpower and legal expertise to serve as he has.

Background on Jack Smith? From the Kosovo Specialist Chambers & Specialist Prosecutor’s Office – emphasis added:

The Specialist Prosecutor is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Specialist Chambers and is independent in the performance of his or her functions.

he Specialist Prosecutor is Jack Smith, a US prosecutor with experience in both high-level political investigations and international criminal investigations. He was appointed on 7 May 2018 in succession to David Schwendiman, and took office on 11 September 2018. Mr Smith was previously Vice President and Head of Litigation for the Hospital Corporation of America, the largest non-governmental health-care provider in the United States, a position he had been in since September 2017.

Between February 2015 and August 2017, Mr Smith served as First Assistant US Attorney and Acting US Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Between 2010 and 2015, Mr Smith served as Chief of the Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice, supervising the litigation of complex public corruption cases across the United States.

From 2008 to 2010, Mr Smith served as Investigation Coordinator in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In that capacity, he supervised sensitive investigations of foreign government officials and militia for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Mr Smith joined the ICC from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where he served for nine years in a number of positions, including Chief of Criminal Litigation and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.  As Chief of Criminal Litigation, Mr Smith supervised approximately 100 criminal prosecutors across a range of programme areas, including public corruption, terrorism, violent crime and gangs, as well as white collar and complex financial fraud.

Before becoming an Assistant US Attorney, Mr Smith served for five years as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office where he was a member of the Office’s Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence Units.

Mr Smith has received a number of awards during the course of his career. These include the US Department of Justice Director’s Award; the US Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service; the Federal Bar Association’s Younger Federal Attorney Award; the Eastern District Association’s Charles Rose Award; the Henry L. Stimson Medal of the New York County Bar Association; and a Harvard Law School Wasserstein Fellowship.

He is a graduate of both Harvard Law School and the State University of New York at Oneonta.

Mr Smith was reappointed Specialist Prosecutor for a second four-year term on 8 May 2022. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATE: At the P.O. today, heard from the horse’s snout that an Amended Recall City Hall report has been filed, accounting for the missing ~$5,600. Will post when it’s posted on the City site. Also advised that amended reports be sent to Judge Lipman for the OAH file.

On November 11, 2022, I mailed a Fair Campaign Practices Complaint to the Office of Administrative Hearings, which was received and filed November 14, 2022 (below). Just now, I’ve received Notice and Order that the “Administrative Law Judge has determined that the Complaint establishes prima facie violations of Minn. Stat. 211A.02, 211A.06, 211B.04 and 211B.15 (but not Minn. Stat. 211B.06). On to the Prehearing Conference, 1:30 on December 14, 2022.

I expect to see some amended Campaign Finance Reports in the near future… and maybe then we’ll have something to discuss in terms of settlement… resolution… but let’s see those amended filings!

Turns out that “Red Wing CRG” filed a Campaign Finance Report with the City of Red Wing, received on November 14, 2022. Because of this, I filed an update with OAH, so that they’d know of this filing:

Under the statues, a Complaint is assigned to an ALJ, who has 3 days to make a determination of whether “Complainant” has made a prima facie case and if a determination is made, notice is provided and a prehearing conference is scheduled.

And here it is, just in, Notice of Determination of Prima Facie Violation and Order for Prehearing Conference – December 14, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.

ONWARD!

Ask and you shall receive? Here is the Red Wing budget info in reasonable form, line items so we can see what’s really at issue here:

RED WING 2023 PRELIMINARY BUDGET INFO

When you go to the link, click on the “Fund Summaries” for the various funds, take your pick, and you’ll get charts and graphs and spreadsheets to keep you busy for a long while: