I spoke with Rhonda after one of the election forums at the Cow and told her that while I was initially concerned about her connection to Transformation Northfield (TN) and Rejoice!, I was no longer worried. Yes, she abstained on the marriage amendment vote and was the only council member to vote against the domestic partner registry ordinance this summer and I disagree with her on those issues. But those votes in my mind have been outweighed by her overall performance as a councilor and to my knowledge, she’s never spoken or acted in a way that would convey she believes God or Pastor Dan Clites are telling her what’s best for Northfield.
Am I voting for Rhonda or Dana Graham for mayor? I’m still undecided.
2. Jeff Quinnell
I haven’t followed the School Board very closely in the past four years and I have no specifics, pro or con, to say about Jeff’s performance.
It does bother me, however, that on one of his campaign websites he links to his personal Facebook profile where, if you become his ‘friend,’ you’ll see that he regularly posts Bible verses to his Wall, as well as, at times, questionable quotes for a school board member, for example:
"Education is useless without the Bible." — Noah Webster
So Jeff is still a concern to me. I’ll be voting for Galen Malecha.
3. Dan Cupersmith
Dan and his wife Karianne just returned from the 23rd annual Harvest Evangelism conference in Hawaii with Dan Clites, Brett Reese (co-leaders of Transformation Northfield) and a dozen or more other Northfielders. You can hear their testimonies in the Oct. 14, 2012 "Aloha to Transformation!" podcast, listed on the Rejoice! Weekly Sermon/Podcast page. A partial quote from Dan Cupersmith:
This is starting with the youth. One of the examples/testimonies that we saw was Valley Christian School in California, a school that was really on the down and out [garbled] and possibly being closed and now has turned around to be one of the top schools in the nation and it was all led through prayer evangelism.
That may not seem like much but it’s worrisome to me, especially when you hear Brett Reese predicting that "Northfield will become a city of God" and Dan Clites proclaiming, "If you really want to change the world, you have to change the marketplace. You gotta change the atmosphere of the government, you gotta change the atmosphere of the education system…"
I will not be voting for Dan Cupersmith for Northfield School Board. I will be voting for Rob Hardy, Ellen Iverson, and Anne Maple.
One word on David Bly’s campaign signs could lead to the Democrat for District 20B being fined by the state. Bly was elected to serve as representative for District 25B in 2006 and served in that capacity from 2007 to 2010, when he was defeated by Rep. Kelby Woodard. Now the DFLer is campaigning for the newly created District 20B, but is allegedly using the same signs as he did in 2010.
Those signs say “Re-elect David Bly,” and have been placed in lawns across the district for months now, according to a complaint filed Monday with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. The problem? Bly isn’t the incumbent in the race and state law restricts candidates from using the term “re-elect” in a campaign unless they are the sitting official.
District 20 Republican Senate candidate Mike Dudley will be before a panel of judges on Wednesday defending himself in a case that accuses him of violating state law because of some of his campaign literature.
Thomas A. Rees of New Market Township filed the complaint in August. Rees believes Dudley violated state law when he didn’t include a disclaimer on campaign material stating who paid for the material, according to the complaint filed with the Minnesota Office of Administrative hearings.
Contented Cow proprietor Norman Butler hosted a two-hour forum for Northfield City Council Ward 2 and At-Large candidates last night on the Cow’s outdoor patio.
At-Large Council candidates: Betsey Buckheit, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher
2nd Ward Council candidates: Frank Balster, Paul Reiland, Wade Schulz; David DeLong did not attend.
Steve Engler moderated the panel and made it much more interesting by interacting with the candidates when he thought their comments needed to be clarified. I loved it whenever he refused to accept empty platitudes.
Norman goaded citizen/patrons into expressing their opinions instead of just asking questions.
Among the Northfielders he interviewed: Chuck DeMann, Peggy Prowe, Sue Lloyd, Al Linder, Jim Johnson, and me.
Sue Lloyd was quoted: "How we’ve come to such extremes I don’t know… Are there middle [ground] people? I don’t know anymore."
Sue, we had a "middle ground" legislator not too long ago: Ray Cox, a moderate Republican by most measures. Back in 2007, Ray got a measly 26% score from the Taxpayers League, was at times branded at RINO by some in the GOP, and received the endorsement from the Star Tribune. Ray wrote in a Jan. 2008 blog post after he lost the special Senate election to Kevin Dahle:
In the recent Senate Special election I was honored to receive the endorsement of the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. That meant a lot to me. The editors and writers there conducted a thorough review of my voting record. They conducted a comprehensive interview about current issues. While they were careful to keep partisan politics out of their discussion, the editors are well aware of the environment that the legislature must conduct its work. They noted my ability to work in a bipartisan manner on state issues in an attempt to resolve some of the more pressing concerns.
Northfield’s liberal voters rejected this moderate Republican and instead voted for Dahle in large numbers. Likewise, Cox was not enough of a social conservative for a large number of voters in the western part of the district and so they didn’t vote in large enough numbers to offset the liberal vote in Northfield.
Northfield’s liberals won the battle of 2008 but they lost the war in 2010 when the Republicans fielded much more conservative candidates in Al DeKruif and Kelby Woodard who were able to get out the D-25 conservative vote in big numbers.
So for 25B voters to now complain about extremes, partisanship, and gridlock seems a little disingenuous. Al and Kelby and the rest of the freshman Republicans know who and what got them there. Why compromise with Gov. Dayton until you have to?
But one Democrat who felt the sting of the corporate lash was David Bly, a state representative from the cow-and-college precincts of Northfield who was seeking a third term… The corporate-funded attack ads that flooded his district even slimed him as a crook that would steal cash right out of the hands of the elderly… "It’s outrageous," says Bly. "It was cleverly crafted — it didn’t outright accuse me of being a crook. It only implied it. But I was trying to make the case for why I should be reelected, and I was drowned out by accusations against me that were totally untrue. I had no way I could counter them. My name was dragged through the mud."
I hate those nasty attack ads as much as the next guy. But it wasn’t too long ago (2004?) that Ray Cox was the target of attack ad mailings that falsely distorted his record as a school board member in his race against David Bly. In 2010, if the backers of Democrats had judged Bly’s 25B seat to be at risk, I think it’s safe to say that similar slime ball attack ads would have targeted Bly’s opponent, Kelby Woodard.
Regardless of the outcome between Bly and Woodard, we’ll have a business-friendly Minnesota legislature come January. I’m eager to see what they can do. Editorial writer Lori Sturdevant in today’s Strib: Well, that worked out pretty well for business
But if the business money that elected Republicans is accompanied by business savvy to truly remake public services into more efficient and effective operations, "reform" and "redesign" will become cues for applause. And Republicans will be more likely to occupy the Capitol’s majority office suites for years to come.
For another perspective on the Supreme Court decision, see Vance Opperman’s opinion piece in the March issue of Twin Cities Business, When Corporations Speak.
The Supreme Court’s opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission held that the free speech protection of the United States Constitution extends to all speakers, regardless of whether they are individuals or corporations. Companies, labor unions, and all other types of entities are free to spend whatever they want to at any time for election communications, as long as they are independent of political parties or candidates.
… The best antidote in a democracy for speech you do not like is more speech. Corporations are not monolithic. Large pharmaceutical companies, some large insurers, and some doctors associations support the current administration’s health care reform. Other corporations do not. There are corporations variously supporting windmills, solar power, natural gas, coal, and petroleum as energy resources—all attempting to persuade our democracy to join them in their divergent positions on energy. Entities such as the National Right to Life Committee and Planned Parenthood share the corporate form, but little else.
The story of the day today seems to be NPR’s firing of Juan Williams, who exercised the poor judgment to go on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox to admit to being concerned when he sees Muslims on an airplane, but cautioned O’Reilly not to brand Muslims as terrorists.
Lots of Fox and NPR fans in Northfield so this should be a good discussion.
With the political season winding up, we’ve added 3 more local candidate blogs to our lower right sidebar aggregator: Mark Murphy, and Al DeKruif. Other candidates there include incumbents Kevin Dahle and David Bly.
2 PM update: I mistakenly added Mike Piper’s blog, thinking that he was the Republican endorsed candidate for 25B. Kelby Woodard is the endorsed candidate but he currently doesn’t have a blog or RSS feed. I’ve removed Mike Piper’s blog.
As Tracy reported on Friday, Councilor Rhonda Pownell has filed for her at-large seat and Councilor Jon Denison has filed for his Ward 4 seat. Suzie Nakasian has filed for Jim Pokorney’s Ward 1 seat. He’s decided to not run for re-election. Nathan Kuhlman has filed for Ward 4. Since then, Galen Malecha has filed for his District 2 county board seat, according to the Nfld News.
Two years ago, these were the people who filed for the 4 City Council positions:
I surprised Mayor Mary Rossing in her store Present Perfect this morning with my video camera. I mostly asked her questions that had to do with Monday night’s City Council meeting, which you can read a bit about here. We touched upon her changes in meeting procedure, her tactics on facilitating meetings and her outlook on information exchange in Northfield and on the financial health of the city’s businesses. Continue reading New Northfield Mayor Mary Rossing talks about her first day
Helen Albers: A big Tree Hug to all of our town tree-lovers! With thanks to all who have responded to express their appreciation of trees! Happy Holidays! Helen Albers
Beth Kallestad: Thank you Helen for your tree planting and reminding us of the need to protect those trees!
John S. Thomas: It truly is a beautiful tree. I am still “sick” of the way the trees on Fourth Street look. It will be MANY years before they mature… and I hope they do!
Marsha Kitchel: What a lovely photo of Helen Albers, beautiful in red, hugging her red maple. Hold on for dear life if “new and improved” means touching this gorgeous tree or any of the trees on Bridge Square. Northfielders would be...
Griff Wigley: Northfield City Engineer Joe Stapf sent me these photos today of the repairs to Armstrong Road and the adjacent Mill Towns Trail. Joe wrote: The trail paving is complete (still being rolled so not yet open), and the roadway is...
Doug Peterson: Hi Griff, After reading Jan Hill’s reply, I realize my mis-understanding on “riding the rails”. You got me. Can I blame that on getting old?
Jan Hill: I knew this was a send-up, Griff, having investigated possible routes ourselves (and knowing you!) But I thought for sure the cyclist on the rail was a fake–until I watched the video. Now that’s scary.
Griff Wigley: Nick, I’ve heard from another Northfielder on this who wrote via email: The part where you suggest that riders go on to the active rail line does not make good common sense to me. I have worked on the railroad as a head...
Nick Benson: Your non-pussy readers should note that trespassing on railroad tracks, as shown there, is both dangerous and illegal; trains can be surprisingly quiet when approaching on smooth welded rail like that, which doesn’t...
Ross Currier: I just walked through Bridge Square and ALL THREE of the tables were occupied. It didn’t look like they were playing chess, though, more like eating lunch… …and what a day for it, in beautiful downtown Northfield,...
Griff Wigley: The three picnic tables were installed last week. Each has an inlaid backgammon and chess/checkerboard. I’ve added photos to the blog post above.
Griff Wigley: Joe, thanks for that explanation. And if your eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Gentilini, is still around, I think she might approve of your communications style.
kiffi summa: Joe or Mr. Stapf… Thanks for the explanation; I think its/they’re great, and long overdue… I just didn’t want anything to put off the Bridge Square redesign implementation … and often it’s...
Joe Stapf: Ah-h-h-h, yes, The Gaming Tables… Question #1) Who authorized them!!!??? I did. The picnic tables (if you recall, a trial) were deemed by me to have been a success. We received absolutely 100%, pure, unadulterated positive feedback...
Griff Wigley: Two new parking-related blog posts: A bicycle field trip with Dale Gehring to get smarter about ‘making the connections’ http://northfielddowntownparki ng.org/2013/08/30/a-bicycle-fi eld-trip-with-dale-gehring-...
Griff Wigley: New blog post: Proposed layout of directional and way-finding signs for public parking
Griff Wigley: New blog post: Washington St. lot restriped to optimize parking spaces
Griff Wigley: Blog post update: recommended downtown parking management action steps for Aug. 13 Council work session
Griff Wigley: Blog post update: July 31 parking management planning meeting at City Hall
Griff Wigley: There is a Prayer Walk for the Northfield School District today, 4-8 pm: By Maria KayLynn Olson and Kiersten-Kiwi Williams Bielenberg Schedule: 4:00-4:25 Prairie Creek 4:30-4:55 Arcadia 5:00-5:25 Greenvale 5:30-5:55 Sibley 6:00-6:25...
Griff Wigley: Hi Marie, thanks for asking. I’ll contact you via email.
Marie Wright: I’d like to use this photo on my website. My theme is vintage Main Street USA. I feel that I need your permission to copy this photo and use it. (Julia Rose Grey is my pen name for my genre of novels.)
Griff Wigley: Dave, I like the two-prong attack, too. Can you let us know when the short-term task force is due to meet? I’d like to attend, and I’m sure some of the neighbors would as well. And make sure that pizza with mushroom...
Griff Wigley: Nfld News article on Tuesday’s Council action on this issue: Subcommittee to explore fixes for tax-forfeited land acquired by Northfield During heavy rain, water has overtaken the yards and basements of Karen Moldenhauer and...
David DeLong: Griff, I’m told there’s over 50,000 cubic yards of dirt in the pile which translates to over 2,500 dump truck loads. I think there’s enough to go around. The problem is moving all that over residential streets, if we sell it or...
Griff Wigley: At last night’s meeting, the City Council opted to A) form a 4-week task force of 3 council members plus engineering staff and citizens to deal with the runoff problem in the neighborhood; and B) ask the Parks & Rec...
kiffi summa: good to know, Griff… I trust that you’re correct about the amount of dirt needed for the create of a bike park. Maybe if there’s so much more than needed, a berm could be created between the park and the houses, if...
Nancy Averill: Ah KDWB. THE best radio station ever. We had the KDW-Beatles. We had the KDW-Beach Boys. We were color radio. We had leaky billboards. I maintain that Professor James Francis Patrick O’Neill is the very basis of my humor. We...
Griff Wigley: Paul/George, they reopened the old culvert and put in a new larger secondary one. I’ll try to get photos.
Griff Wigley: Thanks everyone for your kind comments about the photos. I’ve added a few of downtown to the blog post above. See Rob Hardy’s comprehensive listing of links related to the flooding on Northfield.org.