Sandy did very well, and presented as the seasoned and experienced candidate that she is. She was articulate on issues and really said something (and whooo-boy, do I disagree with her on a couple of things, but we’ve agreed to disagree… ahem… until I have to bang on her door at the SOB and then we’ll have a cat fight or two) and I’ve got a lot of notes that I’ll get posted tomorrow. But one hting stands out — Iocco’s bizarre demand that Wollschlager call radio stations to have an independent expenditures ad pulled — and I hope that people listening and there in person understand that it is completely beyond a candidates’ control. He also took an example she gave of quickly turning away an offer of “dirt” and twisted it into an example of her playing “negative politics” and that kind of manipulation I HOPE shines through exposing the nature of his character. But that’s what people do when they’re losing.

Now this one, oh, my. Had a brief confirmation of Murphy’s position on the Utility Personal Property Tax cuts and whether he’d work to restore the rates, HE WON’T, “that would be going backwards,” and I need to do a bit of background before I put all that up — it’ll be a separate piece on Utility Personal Property Tax. How he gets elected I do not understand. But the other Steve is so clueless and petty, and obsessed with this Gay Marriage amendment, wants to nail Murphy on his refusal to bow to these bizarre special interests (just what on earth is their interest, anyway?) What I know about Steve is enough to make me not vote for him… yes, there are two Steves, and one I know a lot about and one I know litlte about, but what I do know about each is making me ill. I’ve been able to remove that “ice pick in the brain” feeling, but my gut is still turning… more later, when I get the stomach for it. (plus, to add insult to injury, Murphy used the code words for including hydro as “renewable” though the uninitiated wouldn’t have noticed). Drazkowski was also behaving like a loser, and much as I love to see someone slapping up Murphy, they don’t do it about the right issues, and in this case, it was just stupid grandstanding that did not work. But again, I do wonder about voters’ ability to discern.
And then there’s this one, once again at issue is voters’ ability to discern:


Well, let’s just say that Terry Rogers was his usual self, and, when I cornered him about her deficient website, he confidently stated that Rowley does indeed have “Issues” and “Position Statements” posted. Thinking that she may indeed have posted something since I last registered that complaint, I said I’d look. Here’s what’s there: Rowley “Issues” This does not convey an understanding, it’s saying a lot of nothing. There’s a world full of resources, but here’s what we get — here’s a hint Terry — it doesn’t say anything:

Issue: Energy Independence

American innovation and invention must lead.

As long as we depend on Middle Eastern oil, we will be involved in Middle Eastern conflicts and invite the wrath of terrorists everywhere. As long as we are held hostage at the gas pump, our economic growth will be less and less guaranteed. As long as we must drill deeper into habitats to sustain our growing energy needs, we will continue to deface many of the remaining pristine areas we share. And as long as we continue to embed our atmosphere with fossil waste, we will incur increasingly destructive natural disasters similar to the record number of devastating hurricanes endured this year.

A new energy strategy is one of the 21st century’s most urgent causes. Emerging powers such as China and India will invariably demand a growing percentage of the global energy supply, and the status quo simply is not equipped to meet tomorrow’s demand. How we resolve this impending challenge will have a profound impact on our environment, economy, and national security.

We have never backed down from a challenge, and with our innovative abilities America can lead the world into a more secure energy future. However, today America is following because our policymakers do not have the vision to guide us. I believe this century can be the century of American global leadership for new technologies that are environmentally sustainable and will free us from dependence on foreign states. In the short term, we must undertake greater conservation and fuel efficiency measures. The energy of the future is in sustainable fuels like biomass, ethanol, wind and solar power. It is time for a new vision of America, not as a dependent energy consumer, but a trailblazing energy creator.

Tell me, what will she do to stop new coal plants from being built? What will she do to pull back FERC transmission siting authority? What will she do, not to enhance the carbon trading market, but to stop generation of CO2 — changing lightbulbs just won’t do it! And how will wind generation lessen our dependence on “foreign oil.” Will she champion a permanent wind PTC? This is just not sufficient for a Congressional Candidate.

Oh barf… When’s the next plane to Costa Rica?

City Council race in Red Wing

October 26th, 2006


Two candidate forays in one day!

There are times when this all drives me insane and I want to pack up the doggies and split to Costa Rica, where even if it’s as bad, at least I won’t understand it until I”m fluent! This “candidate forum” process, which does not allow for redirect, and lets candidates get away with non-responsive and non-sensical mumblings and strongly worded statements — no follow up at all — aaaaaaagh, it’s just all too much! It was all I could to do keep from jumping up, “OBJECTION!!!” And then there’s “assumes facts not in evidence.”

Yeah, I’ve got a bee up my bonnet. It’s about Utility Personal Property Tax. Why? Well, better read my Primer, which has links to a lot of good information and primary documents on this: Utility Personal Property Tax for Local Governments Because Xcel continues in its dogged persuit of nothing short of elimination of this tax in one way or another. I’ve reviewd this “agreement” between NSP/Xcel and the City, I’ve experienced several other agreements with NSP/Xcel where there was something else, something more, going on. I’ve had numerous conversations over the years with Brad Johnson, former County Auditor, about personal property tax. Earlier this week, I had a good chat with Marshall Hallock after approval of the agreement was delayed because they didn’t have it all there for the public to review for the hearing, all the odd pages were missing! Anyway, my talk with Marshall allayed my fears… until today…
For City Council candidates, here’s what I want each of them to ANSWER, not blather, but ANSWER:

Do you support restoration of Utility Personal Property Tax?

If no, why, and how would you replace this revenue?

If yes, why, and what would you personally do to restore it?

Why am I disgusted? First, when this question is not asked, the implicit assumption is that the tax rates will go down and we’ll get screwed — NSP will again unilaterally finagle this tax cut and leave the City (and County and School District) high and dry. One candidate, Joe Kruger, went so far as to say that he doesn’t know of any other community faced with such a dilemma — EARTH TO MARS — this has an impact on ALL communities across the state, and ones like Becker are affected even more severely than Red Wing! Utilities are regulated, and they generate not just electricity, but profits. More important, they built this nuclear plant after making a deal with the community, that they would pay utility personal property tax. In 1994, they pile people in busses to go up to the capital and lobby and lobby for “keeping the plant open” and “keeping the tax base.” Before the ink is dry on the 1994 dry cask legislation, they’re in court fighting to cut that very same tax. Then over the last decade, they’ve been trying and succeeding in cutting it legislatively, and they’ve been trying and succeeding in cutting it through the Dept. of Revenue rules. Here’s the Rules: Minn. R. Ch. 8100. And once more with feeling, here’s a “must read,” the House Research Primer on Utility Personal Property Tax, written by Mikey Bull, and others (OH, NOOOOOO, it’s been changed, revised, and no Mikey, damn, can’t post his photo with Ray for target practice), anyway, here’s the NEW & REVISED PRIMER ON MINNESOTA’S PROPERTY TAXATION OF ELECTRIC UTILITIES.
What is so difficult to understand about the fact that utiltiies remain regulated? THAT HAS NOT CHANGED!
OK, City of Red Wing council candidates, I’m going to leave messages with all of you to determine:

Do you support restoration of Utility Personal Property Tax?

If no, why, and how would you replace this revenue?

If yes, why, and what would you personally do to restore it?

What’s so hard about these equations:

Plant = Tax

Build Plant = Pay Tax

Extend Life of Plant = Pay Tax

Eliminate Tax = Shut Down Plant

I mean really, who has the power in this situation? They want to relicense this plant because it is very, very profitable for them. What gives them the right to unilaterally change the deal? What will they do, move it somewhere else (please!)? Each time we help them keep it open, help them get more casks, help them relicense, and letting them operate in our community, each time they’re screwing us over by cutting that tax.

Hey, NSP, we do indeed get it. We’re getting screwed, and we’re not getting off!

Nope, this sorry state of affairs will not do!

Now, will these folks collectively stand up?


It’s October 25 today…

October 25th, 2006

…the day they died in a plane crash — Paul Wellstone, Sheila Wellstone, their daughter Marcia Markuson Wellstone, and his political pit-crew Mary McEvoy, Tim Lapic, and Will McLaughlin. Take a few minutes to remember… and then take a lifetime to STAND UP! Don’t just hum Larry’s song and think life goes on, life is wonderful, GET OFF YOUR HINDER AND GET UP ON YOUR HINDERS AND ACT.


While you’re doing that, though, here’s some inspiration:

Be the Change


There’s a lot happening about ethanol south of Dundas in Bridgewater Township. The township has a moratorium on, triggered by announcement of an ethanol plant proposal for land along Co. Rd. 8. Despite the moratorium and the ongoing township planning process, the folks of Advanced Bioenergy (763-336-2705, ask for Jim Hamm) are digging a well and doing pumping tests on neighbors’ wells — all without an application submitted to the county and/or township!

Saturday happenings?

This Saturday, there’s a tour arranged of the 50 million gallon ethanol plant at Atwater:

Meet at the Bridgewater Township Town Hall

8:30 a.m. promptly

go by van to Atwater, back by 4:30 p.m.

Week after next, Bridgewater Township is hosting a public meeting on ethanol with an ethanol representative present to answer questions:

Satuday, Nov. 4, 2006
Evening, 7 p.m. ??
Little Prairie Church on Co. Rd. 8

Here’s a Letter to the Editor from the Northfield News about this project:

An ethanol plant update

To the editor:

Here is a short update on the status of the ethanol plant proposed for Bridgewater Township. Thank you to all area residents who have called in their concerns to township supervisors and attended meetings over the past five months.

Advanced BioEnergy presented its plan for a 100-million-gallon ethanol plant at a Bridgewater Township meeting in June. They chose the 220-acre farmsite on Rice County Road 8 due to available natural gas and the railroad. Water usage would be about 1,000 gallons per minute, with cooldown water piped to Wolf Creek. Up to 200 diesel trucks would move in and out on County Road 8 per day. Century farms and a church in Little Prairie Community would be heavily impacted. It would not be a farmer-owned plant.

A petition was circulated, calling for a moratorium on commercial/industrial development so the township could start our own zoning. About 100 signatures were presented to the township clerk. By the end of June, supervisors had hired a consultant and put an interim ordinance in place. Five residents were chosen to review the Rice County Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance on Wednesday nights. Three subcommittees – land use, administrative and ag business) are meeting through Nov. 15. Supervisors may vote in December on whether to proceed with zoning.

Meanwhile, the company continues to survey and drill test wells, in plain sight of “No Ethanol Plant” signs. Worse yet, Dundas Mayor Glenn Switzer has made some overtures to get the plant into the Dundas industrial zone … a tug of war over tax dollars we’d not like to see.

Would the Dundas location be a good fit? Mayor Glenn Switzer and city council candidate John Isaacson have stated publicly that they are receptive to the ethanol plant. Mayoral candidate Chad Marks has said “absolutely not.” John Zander and John Cruz, a thoughtful man serving on the Dundas Planning Commission, have said no. If the right folks are elected in November, maybe Dundas will be spared as well.

David Kamis
Bridgewater Township


Forgot the camera, DRAT!!! We had the whole family there, and I had rousing arguments with all, well, I don’t think I argued with Mike Steckelberg, but he’s ever so reasonable, as is RPU’s Greg Woodworth. Bob Cupit was there, and Al Mitchell representing the former staff of the agency formerly known as the EQB, and did I mention Chuck Micheal was there? At one time it was a delightful feeding frenzy of sorts, with 7 engineers trying to convince me I don’t have a clue, but that just doesn’t work, and is sheer entertainment for me. A guy from ATC was, in all seriousness, ever so earnestly, trying to tell me that the SW line, connecting into the SE line, was going to be running electricity from Hamption Corners NORTH to the metro, HELLO, NORTH??? Do I really look that stupid? And the ATC guy seemed offended that I would suggest they’re building the LaCrosse to Columbia, WI line, he said he didn’t know anything about it, I said DUH, it’s in the WRAO report, and that was 1998! This has all been planned for so long, it’s nothing new, but the wet-behind-the-ears whippersnappers didn’t know.
My major point today was that “it’s all connected,” and of course they don’t want to admit that. They did not include the CapX2020 in the maps that were enclosed with the meeting notice, and so there was no way for someone ot know if they were in transmission’s way! I really, really object to that, I think that much got through to Al, but that’s about it… well, that and my dogs combined weigh 30 lbs more than he thought. The poor new guys from Cap X, Randy, and ATC, Pam Rassmussen was probably glad she had nothing to do with it.

The Red Wing area was well represented, moi of course, and Phil, counsel at Prairie Island, and Kay from the City of Red Wing. I’m thrilled that they’re paying attention, and hope they’ll stick with it and follow this transmission mess as it winds through the process.

So I’ve got to submit comments, yawn, as if anyone gives a rodent’s rump (when I stopped at Chuck & Don’s tonight, this woman who had worked at the Shelter when Krie was there, and now runs a grooming shop in town, she had her pet hairless rat and a litter, probably at least 12, baby rats. eeeeeeeuw. That hairless rat was so gross). Here’s the summation of today’s meeting: