Navell Gordon, smeared face of #Pointergate, tells his story

Navell Gordon became famous when KSTP-TV blurred his face in a photo where he was standing next to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and broadcast it because police said the two were flashing gang signs by pointing at each other. Social media dubbed the story #Pointergate. Gordon says he is not a member of the kind of gang KSTP-TV insinuated he belonged to. “I’m a member of the NOC gang,” he says with a laugh. “Knocking on doors, and organizing and getting more people involved.”

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Under high pressure, Minneapolis City Council reverses #Lattelevy vote

Local activists obtained a rare victory Wednesday evening after the Minneapolis City Council voted to reverse their decision to cut $225,000 from a racial equity program and a clean energy initiative — a cut deemed #Lattelevy.But the contentious and oftentimes emotional city council meeting highlighted a fundamental and ongoing fray between city leadership and local activists, both of whom displayed intense frustration throughout the five-hour meeting.On Dec. 10, Minneapolis City Council members voted to restore funding to the One Minneapolis Fund and the Clean Energy Partnership as well as to decrease the proposed property tax levy to 2.1 percent. In turn, they voted to cut $174,000 allocated to two new communication positions for the city.Hundreds of activists, including some of whom coordinated the headline-making I-35W rally that reduced a portion of the Minneapolis interstate to a standstill earlier this month, flooded Wednesday’s meeting to call fault to pending budget cuts targeting the One Minneapolis Fund and the Clean Energy Partnership.The cuts, which were drafted during a December 1, 2014 city council meeting, would have increased the Minneapolis property tax levy to 2.2 percent, slightly less than the 2.4 percent increase proposed by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in her 2015 budget.That difference of about $620,000 would have — on average — decreased property taxes by about $2.50 per resident according to activists. That said, property taxes can shift in either direction depending on changes in the value of a property or neighborhood.Activists deemed that $2.50 fiscal gain “latte levy,” or the cost of a single latte, which they say some homeowners could give up in order to keep affordable housing, clean energy and racial equity programs for all. Some activists even brought paper coffee cups as props during their testimony.“There are many ways to balance a budget but saving $2.50 for homeowners in some of the wealthiest areas of the city will be in lieu of developing leadership in your community,” said one of the over 60 community members who testified during Wednesday’s meeting.“This is not a lot of money,” said Zoe Holloman during the public comment portion. Continue Reading

Election 2014: My sloppy, half-baked assessment

It was indeed a bummer, nationally. I thought we’d end with 48-49 in the Senate, not 46, and that we’d certainly at least boot Tea Party governors in Maine and Florida. But it did take Minnesotans – enough Minnesotans, that is, not all, by any means – two terms of Gov. Pawlenty to realize that it’s really better to have a superior quality of politician, and human being, in the governor’s office. And if 2011 is any guide, the left blogosphere will continue to be dominated by over-the-top doom and gloom at least into the middle of next year. I’m not here to be part of that. We’re nowhere near high enough yet, in collective political IQ in this country, to where Democrats, much less progressives, can reasonably expect to win ‘em all. Note that important long-term trends, potentially positive for progressives though it will take a while yet, didn’t change. Continue Reading

MN Jobs Coalition received $355,000 from the RSLC; where’d that money trickle down from?

In a report about Minnesota Jobs Coalition chair Ben Golnik’s new job as executive director of the Minnesota House Republican caucus, Minnesota Public Radio’s Catherine Richert reported in Monday’s article, Golnik to direct House Republican Caucus:

Golnik is leaving his post as chairman of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, an independent political group that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars ushering in the Republican majority to the Minnesota House. Republicans won in nearly every district the group invested in. . . . Continue Reading

Crushed, humiliated Minnesota conservatives face their political doom

So they took the Minnesota House back by 5 seats, on the “strength” of about 51% turnout, the lowest since 1986. In an election where, nationwide, old people, and hardly anyone else, turned out as if it meant something. (Which it does, but, convincing our voters of that…well that’s our #1 problem. Has been, for a long time, now.) In Minnesota, we could well end up with supermajorities, or close to it, in both chambers, after 2016. In particular, Al Franken’s romp over Mike McFadden – who was supposed to be a strong candidate, you know, a Romney-esque “centrist uniter,” – makes clear just where the MN GOP is as far as legitimate, long-term competitiveness. That would be “nowhere.” Their only chance to come back from nowhere is for sane Republicans to take back the party from the Tea Partiers, theocrats, and Paulbots, and convince voters outside of their base that, having done that, it just might be safe to vote Republican again. Assuming, on the basis of absolutely no evidence, that that process has even started, how many election cycles will it take? Three? Five? Ten? And their base voters heading for the pearly gates, and not being replaced, all the while. Continue Reading