Category Archives: Government’s Footprint

The GOP War on Voting | Rolling Stone Politics

“Voting rights are under attack in America,” Rep. John Lewis, who was brutally beaten in Alabama while marching during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, observed during an impassioned speech on the House floor in July. “There’s a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process.”

The GOP War on Voting | Rolling Stone Politics.

1 Comment

Filed under Accountability, Elections, Government's Footprint, Minnesota

CITY 101| How Property Taxes are Calculated

If you want a better understanding of how property taxes are calculated take a look at these great videos prepared by the Richfield City Manager.

CITY 101.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accountability, Government's Footprint, Minnesota

An Innovative Proposal for Red Wing – a New Public/Private Partnership

Today, the Red Wing Municipal Golf Corporation (a non-profit corp.) released its proposal to the city of Red Wing for the management and operation of Mississippi National Golf Links (MNGL). The city of Red Wing is considering selling MNGL in order to address budgetary pressures.

This substantive proposal is an example of the possibilities available to communities searching for new ways to thrive in these challenging economic times. Beyond the obvious financial issues, the potential intangible benefit to communities of such private/public efforts is enormous. An engaged public is what very well may make the difference between those cities that stagnate, too focused on the bottom line, and those cities that embrace change and prosper.

View the proposal here.

As always, your comments are appreciated.


Leave a comment

Filed under Accountability, Economic Development, Government's Footprint, Minnesota, Mississippi National Golf Links, Red Wing, Red Wing City Council, Sustainability

Youth Vote Faces Challenges With Voter ID Legislation | The Nation

Youth Vote Faces Challenges With Voter ID Legislation | The Nation.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accountability, Government's Footprint

Red Wing Rental Code | Interview with Dana Berliner – Attorney for Institute for Justice

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
—Fourth Amendment
                        U.S. Constitution

On July 28, 2011,  I interviewed Dana Berliner.  She is the attorney for the Institute for Justice representing the plaintiffs before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of Red Wing’s rental code ordinance which allows for the issuance of search warrants to inspect homes, even without showing any reasonable suspicion that there may be code violations.

The issue currently before the Minnesota Supreme Court is whether the plaintiffs have “standing” (the right to sue) to challenge the ordinance before search warrants are actually issued.

One thing seems certain, this case, (which has been in the courts for five years and has cost local taxpayers about $200,000), will be coming back to the district court for further litigation.  Then up on appeal again to the Minnesota Supreme Court for a decision on the merits of the constitutional issues.

Listen to the interview with Ms. Berliner here.  She does a great job explaining what this case is about and why it should matter to you. Individuals would have hardly any ability to challenge government actions were it not for groups like the Institute for Justice.

Visit the Institute for Justice’s analysis and background of the case here. You can look at the categories on the right to view previous posts on this issue.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accountability, Government's Footprint, Minnesota, Red Wing, Red Wing City Council, Rental Code

City of Red Wing Spending Comparisons

Attached is a report from the Minnesota State Auditor’s Office showing city revenue and expenditures. I reduced it to include cities from previous comparisons.  They are: Albert Lea, Austin, Farmington, Faribault, Hastings, Northfield, Owantonna, Red Wing, Rochester, and Winona. Interesting to see the range of spending among cities in the different categories.

I think we need to have a Truth in Spending Report that requires cities to explain their spending as compared to other cities.  Property tax comparisons only present one measure, often distorted. As City Councils begin to grapple with LGA cuts, falling tax capacity. etc., they should want to know how they stack up compared to other cities and why the difference.

View the report here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accountability, Government's Footprint, Minnesota, Red Wing, Red Wing City Council

Colbert On Voter ID Laws: Why Not Let Only GOP Lawmakers Vote? (VIDEO)

Colbert nails it!  Governor Dayton vetoed their bill, but they’ll try again next year, maybe in the form of a constitutional amendment.

“We need something a little more selective than a photo ID,” he said. “These ID laws prove Republican legislators are great judges of who should vote, so let’s just cut out the middle man and let only Republican legislators be voters. That way, we will finally be certain that only the right people get elected.”

Colbert On Voter ID Laws: Why Not Let Only GOP Lawmakers Vote? (VIDEO) | TPMMuckraker.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accountability, Government's Footprint, Minnesota