Monday, October 31, 2005

More buzz on the SD 43 race

Be sure to pick up the Sun Sailor and the Lakeshore Weekly News this week for more election information, including polling locations and a new crop of endorsement letters-to-the-editor. In SD 43 we'll have two election days in November: next Tuesday for school board elections and school district levy referenda; and on November 22 to elect our next state Senator.

I found some interesting insights into the Senate race at a post from earlier in October on The First Ring Blog, in the post itself and in the comments.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wayzata school board candidate forum set for Nov. 3

The Wayzata School District PTA/PTSO Liaison Committee is conducting a School Board Candidate Forum next Thursday, November 3, at 7:30 PM in the Central Middle School Auditorium.

Now what could possibly be exciting enough to get everyone to TiVO The Apprentice in the precious few hours of free time on a Thursday night and drive over to Central Middle School to sit through a debate on the esoteric issues of running a public school district?

How about one word: trust.

We elect directors whom we trust to run the schools in our district, so we don't have to. Over the years I have met, spoken with, served on committees with, and gotten to know Wayzata Board of Education directors Greg Baufield, Gary Landis, Carter Peterson, Pat Gleason, and Connie Doepke. Peterson is running for re-election along with John Moroz; Doepke is retiring from the board at the end of her current term.

While I may not agree with them on every issue, I have found them all to be smart, dedicated public servants whom I trust to work with each other and the community to make the Wayzata School District one of Minnesota's best. This is important to me as a resident, a taxpayer, and a parent with children in the Wayzata schools.

You can't trust someone whom you don't know anything about. So if you are a district resident, read the candidate bios and essays in the latest Plymouth Sun Sailor voter's guide (in home this week), and show up to next week's forum ready to listen and ask questions. If you live elsewhere, I encourage you to do the same due diligence where you live.

Then vote for the candidates of your choice on Tuesday, November 8.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bonoff and Johnson to meet voters again November 14

The League of Women Voters of Plymouth-Wayzata is hosting a candidate forum for the two candidates running for the Minnesota Senate District 43 seat. The event will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 14 at the Wayzata Central Middle School Auditorium. Judy Johnson of Plymouth, the Republican endorsed candidate, and Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka, endorsed by the DFL, will participate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bonoff and Johnson appeal to business leaders at TwinWest forum

TwinWest candidate forum. (Photo: North Star Liberty)
DFLer Terri Bonoff and Republican Judy Johnson, opposing candidates for the Senate District 43 seat in the Plymouth-Medicine Lake-Minnetonka area, introduced themselves to voters at Tuesday's TwinWest Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at the Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel, near the Ridgedale mall in Minnetonka. It was the candidates' first appearance at a public forum. Partisanship was practically non-existent between the candidates; in fact, at times cordiality ran so high that they almost sounded like members of the same party preparing to face each other in a primary election.

Approximately forty attendees sat at the five round tables for lunch, with over twenty more in the cheap seats around the perimeter and spilling out into the hallway outside the small banquet room, where hotel staff delivered an extra stack of chairs. Most of the attendees were TwinWest Chamber of Commerce members, but a few Wayzata school board members and Plymouth City Council members (including Johnson's campaign manager Tim Bildsoe) were also there. Lloydletta's Nooz blogger Eva Young introduced herself to me; she was already acquainted with Johnson and struck up a conversation with Wayzata School Board member Gary Landis.

One of the local TV stations covered the event with a videographer and reporter. Both candidates had a campaign brochure at the registration table, and Bonoff wore a campaign button. There were no signs or other campaign presence, which was appropriate for the event.

The moderator emphasized at the beginning of the program that the nonpartisan TwinWest does not endorse candidates.

Terri Bonoff and Judy Johnson at the TwinWest forum. (Photo: North Star Liberty)
TwinWest asked the candidates two questions prepared in advance. Then eight written questions from the audience were read to the candidates by the moderator. The candidates took turns answering first. Both candidates were also permitted opening and closing statements.
  • Transportation - both candidates agreed on the importance of a comprehensive transportation plan (including roads and transit) to the public and business. Johnson said that growing population projections make such planning imperative.

  • Legislative priorities - Bonoff would introduce bills to support
    early childhood and higher education, saying that her "strength" is in education policy (which a glace at her resume confirms). Johnson would address unfunded mandate relief for local units of government (cities and school districts among them), and rising health care costs to business and consumers.

  • Intelligent design (ID) - I'd bet my MOB t-shirt that Eva Young threw this one in. Johnson is relatively new to the ID/creationism/evolution debate. She believes that "all points of view" should be taught, but also believes that curriculum decisions should be made locally. Bonoff called ID/creationism a faith matter best taught at home or in parochial schools, but not in public schools.

  • Income Taxes - Bonoff believes in a sufficient level of taxes to support high quality services, but claims not to be "a tax-and-spend liberal," citing her business perspective (most recently as a vice president at Navarre Corporation). Johnson said that government shouldn't penalize success (a reference to progressive income taxation), and that the entire tax code should be evaluated as a whole for sound fiscal practices and reformed where needed.

  • What Senate committees would you like to join if elected? Johnson would join Sen. Larry Pogemiller's (DFL-Minneapolis) Taxes Committee, in a heartbeat. She noted how taxes touch virtually every aspect of citizens' lives. Johnson is an opponent (yes, an opponent) of TABOR, as you may recall from her lively discussion with David Strom on his radio show awhile back. For Johnson, local control trumps "no new taxes" dogma. Bonoff would join the majority party in Sen. Steve Kelley's (DFL-Hopkins) Education Committee, where special education would be an area of interest.

  • Health care costs - Bonoff believes health care costs should be shared between employers and employees. Johnson favors competition between insurers, and employees who take personal responsibility for their health. She cited her family's experience with the more visible expenses in a traditional high-deductible major medical plan, compared to a co-pay type plan like an HMO.

  • Would you favor government-mandated production of energy using renewable resources? Johnson would oppose production mandates, but instead would favor incentives for using renewable energy. She also cited an endorsement by an environmental group as evidence of her dedication to a clean environment. Bonoff would favor mandating a specific percentage of energy produced from renewable sources by a certain target date.

  • Repeal of the 2001 property tax shift - Bonoff says no, Johnson also said no. Confession: I am not a political reporter, I just play one in the blogosphere. I do know that "the shift" screwed up K-12 finance and local government aid when income tax and sales tax collections went south. Johnson revealed her inner tax policy wonk during this discussion, demonstrating how the she would keep up with the best of them in Sen. Pogemiller's committee. I also know that because Mayor, mom, and taxpayer Johnson knows this stuff cold, as a constituent, you could walk up to her at Cub Foods and say, "Judy, could you explain what this market value credit deal means to me," and she could clearly explain it to you in the time it takes to walk from one end of Produce to the other.

  • Caucus discipline - Johnson said that although she is onboard with advancing the Republican agenda, and will vote with the party most of the time, she put Senate Minority Leader Sen. Dick Day (R-Owatonna) on notice that the interests of SD 43 and the state will come before party when she casts her vote in the Senate. Bonoff said that her campaign slogan, Uniting the Middle, says it all. She will not hesitate to break ranks with her party, to work with both sides of the aisle.

  • Clean water - Bonoff is proud of the clean water initiatives in Minnetonka and Plymouth. She is a strong advocate of clean water, while allowing environmentally-sensitive development. She feels that SD 43 municipalities can serve as a model for the rest of the state. Johnson said that funding the Clean Water Act now is imperative for future growth in SD 43 and other fast-growing Minnesota communities.
In closing, Johnson highlighted her experience as a "proven leader" on the Plymouth City Council, as mayor of Plymouth, and as president of the League of Minnesota Cities. Bonoff said that she would take the longterm view in the tradition of past visionary governors, rather than see only until the next election.

UPDATE: I was informed that WCCO-TV was not at the forum, it was another station. I have modified my story accordingly. Also, although I am certain that the TwinWest moderator said that they do not endorse candidates, I have since learned that the TwinWest Political Action Committee will announce an endorsement soon in a press release. Eva Young has informed me and the world via the Internet that she in fact did not submit that ID question (see Comments).

Monday, October 24, 2005

SD 43 candidate forum is tomorrow

Reminder: you can meet Senate district 43 candidates Terri Bonoff (DFL endorsed) and Judy Johnson (Republican endorsed) at tomorrow's public TwinWest candidate forum. Lunch is available for $15 ($12 for TwinWest members). The forum is conducted during during the lunch, which begins at 11:45 am.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Be true to your school

The Star Tribune has published a voters guide for the November 8 suburban school board elections. The web version allows you to scroll down to your district and click on candidate names for a brief bio and brief comments by the candidate. On the Gold Coast, The Plymouth Sun Sailor and Lakeshore Weekly News are preparing their voter guides as well.

In the Wayzata district, there are five candidates running for three seats. Incumbents Carter Peterson and John Moroz are running for re-election. The remaining candidates are running for the open seat being vacated by Connie Doepke, whose term expires this year:

  • Andrea Boado, attorney, relocated to Minnesota from Chicago in 2002, current member of the district's Citizens Financial Advisory Council (CFAC) so she's already familiar with district finances

  • Susan Droegemueller, longtime district parent, gets my awesome website award (check it out for much more info on why she thinks you should vote for her, it's pretty sophisticated, a lot of legislators could learn a few things here)

  • Audie Tarpley, real estate developer/construction manager, member of CFAC and the district's Legislative Action Committee

Minnetonka School District residents have been hearing about some of its board members having difficulties getting along. A set of proposed new "operating principles" could have the effect of stifling minority dissent, according to board member Bill Wenmark.

In that district, six candidates are vying for three seats: incumbent board chairwoman Erin Adams; and Paul Borowski, MaryLouise Bowe, Pam Langseth, Cathy Maes, and Robert Schmidt. Web sites and endorsements are more common among these candidate profiles than in the Wayzata profiles.

(Incidentally, the political parties look to nonpartisan offices like school boards for future legislative candidates. As Lincoln said, "The philosophy of the school house in this generation is the philosophy of the government in the next generation." Well, this is a political blog.)

We elect school boards to run the schools on our behalf, so we don't have to. Get to know your school board candidates, and vote on November 8.

SD 43 candidate forum scheduled

The TwinWest Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a forum for candidates running for the state Senate seat in district 43. So far, the candidates for this seat are the DFL endorsee Terri Bonoff and the Republican endorsee Judy Johnson. Candidates have until tomorrow to file with the Hennepin County Auditor for this election.

TwinWest Chamber of Commerce
Senate District 43 Special Election
Candidate Forum

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Sheraton Minneapolis West
12201 Ridgedale Drive

Reservations due by Monday, October 24: 952-540-0234

The event is free and open to the public (there will presumably be a charge for the luncheon; details to follow).

Monday, October 17, 2005


Regarding the alleged off-field behavior of certain highly-paid professional football players (i.e., Arctic Blast, Randy Moss in general, Vikings sex cruise a.k.a. the Bacchanal on the Canal or Win One for the Stripper), they apparently feel no quaint "obligation to the community" to act as role models for youth, honorably represent the team in their off hours, obey the law, or even hire Minnesota, uh, entertainers.

Perhaps they have earned the right to free-ride college scholarships and pro contracts, but one thing they have definitely not earned is to profit from a state-subsidized football stadium. I applaud Vikings owner Zigi Wilf's outrage, and sympathize with those in the Vikings organization who have kept the franchise's Norm Van Brocklin/Bud Grant legacy. But to today's Vikings: Build Your Own Ballpark.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Election days in SD 43

Checks and Balances incorrectly reported yesterday that there are no elections in Plymouth on November 8. The Wayzata Independent School District is holding a levy referendum with two questions, plus a school board election for three seats. In Minnetonka, some northern precincts of which are in SD 43, is also holding a school board election, where six candidates are vying for three seats.

C&B also reported that Tony Wagner is in the race. Either they scooped both me and Eva Young (who has been following this race very closely), or C&B is reporting old news (Wagner is not in the race to my knowledge).

See y'all on the campaign trail!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Special election to be held November 22

You read it here first, sports fans.

Terri Bonoff and Judy Johnson will face the voters in Senate District 43 in a November 22 special election called by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. If a special primary is necessary, it will be held on Tuesday, November 1. Since the DFL and Republican parties have endorsed their candidates, a primary election is unlikely unless two or more candidates emerge from a third party.

Both candidates now have about 40 days to execute their ground game: lit drop, door knock, phone call, put up signs, shake hands, kiss babies, and state their cases on web sites and in the blogosphere. Debate, anyone?

Vikings stadium tax: tough act to swallow

Tonight at 7:00 p.m., the Minnesota House of Representatives Taxes Committee (Rep. Phil "Dr. No" Krinkie (R-Circle Pines), Chair) holds a public hearing on the proposed Anoka County sales tax for a Vikings stadium. The hearing will be held at the Majestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. in Ham Lake, a short distance from the proposed site near I-35W and Lexington Ave. For details, see the web site of the Taxpayers Against an Anoka County Vikings Stadium.

Last month, Pat Kessler at WCCO-TV provided a Reality Check on pro football stadium funding: is common for taxpayers to pick up stadium tabs. The public paid for 100 percent of the construction cost for the Tennessee Titans. The public also paid for 58 percent of the cost of renovating Lambeau Field for the Green Bay Packers. [Only 58 percent? --Ed.]

Yet, the owner of the New England Patriots built a new stadium in 2002 with no tax money.
The Vikes and Anoka County are asking the Legislature for permission to raise a county tax to pay for the majority of the stadium -- without approval from the voters of Anoka County. Sound familiar?

The timing of this hearing is unfortunate for the Vikings, with the team off to a 1-3 start, and KARE-11 and KQRS-FM abuzz about certain upstanding players allegedly using their bye week to take in more than just the sights on Lake Minnetonka.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Parties endorse candidates for state Senate

In the special election for the Minnesota Senate seat being vacated by David Gaither, whom Gov. Pawlenty named his new chief of staff, Terri Bonoff won the DFL endorsement, and Plymouth Mayor Judy Johnson won the Republican endorsement, at party endorsing conventions last Saturday.

Since the Patty Wetterling entry into the U.S. Senate race seems to have pushed this story off the Star Tribune front page, check out Lloydletta's Nooz for the details. (This delegate was a no-show due to being on my son's Boy Scout camping trip over the weekend.) Blogger Eva Young noted the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the lack of fire and brimstone from the "Leviticus Crowd" at the Republican SD 43 endorsing convention. I wonder if the F--- Bush/Michael Moore/Cindy Sheehan Crowd was at the DFL endorsing convention. My guess is no, that's more of a Minneapolis deal, even in the Blue precincts of the Gold Coast.

In other SD 43 news, the #4 Wayzata football team thrashed crosstown rival Armstrong 49-7, with quarterback Ben Gaither (yes, that Gaither) passing for 222 yards and four touchdowns. With the Gophers bringing the Little Brown Jug back to Minnesota from Ann Arbor, it was a big football weekend.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

GOP, DFL to endorse candidates for Gaither seat

The DFL and Republican Party endorsing conventions for the special election in Senate District 43, to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. David Gaither, will be held this Saturday, October 8.

Democratic Farmer Labor Party
Senate District 43 Endorsing Convention
Wayzata Central Middle School, Plymouth
10:00 a.m.
Announced candidates: Terri Bonnof ("Uniting The Middle")
SD 43 DFL web site:

Republican Party of Minnesota
Senate District 43 Endorsing Convention
Hopkins North Junior High School, Minnetonka
8:30 a.m.
Announced candidates: Judy Johnson ("Common Sense at the Capitol")

I haven't heard when the special election will take place, but apparently it will be after the November 8 general election. In November, the Wayzata School District is holding a levy referendum and an election for three school board seats. The Minnetonka School District is also holding an election for three school board seats.