April 1 – Occupy Minnesota announced “an invitation from Mayor Rybak’s office to use their space as the site of the social movement. The reoccupation celebration will still take place at noon on April 7th, but will begin with an official welcoming and speech from Mayor Rybak.” According to the Occupy press release:
According to Occupy Minneapolis organizer Sam Richards, he and others working towards the April 7th reoccupation had engaged the mayor’s office in order discuss how to balance protesters’ free speech rights with City ordinances and regulations, adding, “frankly, this was not the response we had expected.” …
The mayor’s office has recommended that protesters forego their usual tents, instead offering to provide hammocks as an alternative.
The Occupy MN announcement IS dated April 1 …
x x x x x x x x x x x x
Over the weekend, another round of legislative endorsing conventions picked legislative candidates for both parties. Among the highlights:
House Majority leader Matt Dean of Dellwood got the nod in District 38B. He defeated fellow Republican incumbent Carol McFarlane from White Bear Lake. She is deciding whether to run in the primary.
DFL Senator John Marty got the nod in District 54. He defeated DFL Senator Mary Jo McGuire of Falcon Heights, who said she will not run in the primary.
In Senate District 31, Republican incumbent Michelle Benson of Ham Lake defeated Republican incumbent Michael Jungbauer of East Bethel.
Republicans in the Seventh Congressional Lee Byberg to challenge longtime DFL Congressman Collin Peterson
In Minneapolis Senate District 59, incumbent DFLer Bobby Joe Champion was endorsed easily, but the two House races saw contests. Incumbent Joe Mullery got the endorsement in 59A but there was no endorsement in 59B, so there will be a primary contest.
In St. Paul Senate District 67, incumbent DFLer John Harrington did not win the endorsement, so there will be a primary contest with challenger Tom Dimond, and possibly also Foung Hawj.
A Republican-backed bill would end seniority-based teacher lay-offs. Supporters say that seniority-based lay-offs unfairly favor older teachers over younger teachers, regardless of merit. Opponents say that it is premature to require layoffs based on an undefined evaluation system that will not even be set up until 2014. The Pioneer Press reported that Governor Mark Dayton will veto the bill, calling it premature and part of an “anti-public education and anti-teacher” push. As Michael Diedrich writes in Minnesota 2020:
Determining the quality of an employee’s work in a creative field like teaching requires more than an algorithm. It requires supervisors and peer reviewers who are trained in a good system, who identify a different threshold of success for each teacher, and who use a variety of measures to assess that teacher’s success. This is complicated and depends on having good evaluators with manageable workloads, which may be why it doesn’t get nearly as much attention from our policymakers.
A bill to streamline environmental permitting is heading for the governor’s desk. The bill would set a 150-day limit on issuing environmental permits, even if the application was not complete. It would also create a permit coordinator in the Department of Employment and Economic Development and a “Minnesota Business First Stop” project. The unabashedly business-trumps-everything push continues with HF 389, which weakens local control over development and zoning. According to the Land Stewardship Project press release:
Rep. Terry Morrow (DFL-St. Peter) read House members a letter of opposition to the bill from 32 county commissioners saying, in part, “The current law is working and should be left alone.” Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) helped drive the point home by saying, “This is a solution in search of a problem. We really ought not to micromanage how townships and counties manage a public process on controversial issues.”
House File 389, as passed off the floor, imposes new requirements on local governments while requiring NOTHING of development interests. The provision left in the House bill that undermines local control requires a 10-day notice and a public hearing before a city, county or township enacts a moratorium. The problem with this is that neighbors often don’t learn about a proposed project until a few days before a permit is going to be issued. Under this bill, by time the township, city or county posts 10-day notice and has a public hearing on adopting the moratorium, the project could already be permitted. This provision is particularly problematic for township boards, which consist of volunteers with no paid staff. Meeting this requirement will often take them 20 days or more.
Cash mobs have arrived in the Twin Cities! They’re one mob that everybody can love. Using Facebook to organize, they choose target businesses and then gather and spend at least twenty dollars each. With the aim of supporting locally-owned, independent businesses, they combine socializing and social activism.