Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soil and Water Endorsements: Ramsey County

Following up yesterday's Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor endorsements for Hennepin county, we now continue with Sisyphus's wisdom on what you should do in the voting booths in Ramsey County.


Ramsey County District 2 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

David Bogue seems to have soil and water credentials, but, based on this statement:

"Water quality is our most urgent resource issue."

we fear that he may be too pro-water at the expense of soil. We are also alarmed at his anti-roof and anti-parking lot views:

"Recharge of our aquifers is decreasing because of increased impervious surfaces from development, such as roofs and parking lots."

We here at Fraters Libertas are in favor of recharging our aquifers, but we are unwilling to give up our parking lots and especially our roofs in order to do so.

(NOTE: Our non-endorsement of Mr. Bogue, has nothing to do with the fact that Grace Kelly of MN Blue (which is an anti-Republican blog; note the anti-Norm Coleman ads) endorsed him. Her endorsement is based only on the fact that Mr. Bogue has a blog (with an Atomizer-esque two posts over three months) and she couldn't find anything about the other two candidates online. Advanced methods research tip to Grace Kelly: both of the major daily newspapers in the Twin Cities have something called online voter guides.)

Nick Quade was a Ron Paul delegate to the state convention.

We previously noted Hennepin County District 5 candidate Karl Hansen's contribution to the Paul campaign. What is it with Ron Paul supporters and the soil and water conservation races? Let me check my pocket U.S. Constitution .... nope, nothing about soil and water conservation. Well, I guess the revolution has to start somewhere.

Tom Tuft is an attorney and a Hockey Coach with the Como Area Hockey Association. While we are concerned that he is a lawyer (and that he seems to think that the board needs a lawyer) we are encouraged by his hockey background (a game played on frozen water) and his succinct answers to the survey questions. We especially like that he left blank the question about what accomplishments the voters can expect from him. Finally a candidate who doesn't make promises he can't keep.

We feel that Mr. Tuft is in step with his district, will grow into a fine Soil and Water Supervisor, and we endorse Tom Tuft for Ramsey County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

The Ramsey County District 3 contest is known for being controversial and vigorously contested. This year is certainly no exception.

As you may recall, this is the seat that led to the most embarrassing incident in the history of Fraters Libertas Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor endorsements. For the first and only time, we had to rescind our endorsement.

Four years ago we endorsed Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson over the DFL endorsed candidate, Marjorie Ebensteiner. After making our endorsement, the Star Tribune reported that Ms. Wilkinson had admitted embezzling money from the Libertarian Party (Star Tribune link no longer available). Alas, our endorsement withdrawal came too late and Wilkinson coasted to a 30,000 vote victory over the DFL endorsed candidate.

Not only did Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson survive the embezzlement charges and complete her term, now she is running for re-election. Sorry, Ms. Wilkinson, no Fraters Libertas endorsement this time. We are not Democrats who are willing to look the other way on financial shenanigans just because a candidate can win elections.

Unfortunately, the choices don't get much better.

This is the only Soil and Water Conservation race in the entire state with a candidate endorsed by a major party. Mara Magnuson Humphrey has secured the DFL endorsement. What we have here is a rare example of the Democrats learning from their past mistakes. Four years ago they endorsed someone named Marjorie Ebensteiner, whose name is similar to then MN GOP Chairman Ron Eibensteiner. Voters in heavily DFL Ramsey County decided they would rather have an accused embezzler than someone who might be related to a Republican.

However, this year the Democrats were so desperate to find a candidate with a traditional DFL name that they didn't care about her background. You see, Mara Magnuson Humphrey is .... a REGISTERED LOBBYIST!

And no, she does not lobby on behalf of the Red Cross or Puppies and Kittens, no she is a lobbyist for the FINANCIAL INDUSTRY!

We here at Fraters Libertas are fair-minded folks, so we concede that Ms. Humphrey is probably not 100% responsible for our current financial crisis. But we are unwilling to risk a similar meltdown in our soil and water. We would almost rather have Jimmy Carter on the board than a DFL financial industry lobbyist.

Also running is former Maplewood City Manager and unsuccessful Republican candidate for the State House in 2002, Greg Copeland. The fact that Mr. Copeland is a Republican is a plus, but not the fact that he lost in a landslide (71% to 28%). We are generally skeptical of candidates who lose in other contests and then try to finally win an election by running for Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor. Are they running because they care about Soil and Water or are they running because they want to win an election, any election? We'd like to think the best about these candidates, but we just have no way of knowing for sure. Also raising concerns is Mr. Copeland's tumultuous stint as Maplewood City Manager.

Finally, we strongly object to Mr. Copeland's pledge to:

"Provide for cable television broadcast of District Board Meetings on public access stations."

Our first reaction to recent Hamline grad candidate Paul Sawyer is, at least he didn't go to Macalester. But, after examining him further, he might as well have. While Mr. Sawyer lost out on the official DFL endorsement, he was endorsed by two DFL State Representatives (Alice Hausman and Sheldon Johnson) with a combined 2008 Tax Payer's League rating of zero.

If that wasn't enough, Mr. Sawyer hasn't learned the counter-productivity of harshly negative campaigning. He has directly and viciously attacked the incumbent's attendance record and has taken a more subtle swipe at his DFL endorsed opponent. On the contributions page of his campaign website, he has pledged not only to accept no campaign contributions from PACs or corporations (take that Big Soil! take that Big Water!), but also to accept nothing from .... lobbyists.

Lobbyists, we are left to presume, like Mara Magnuson Humphrey.

Sorry Mr. Sawyer, but that kind of negative campaigning has no place in Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor races.

Unfortunately, that leaves us no candidates we are comfortable endorsing. Sorry residents of Ramsey District 3, we can offer you no guidance. Except maybe to convince Rahn V. Workcuff to move to the district and run for supervisor in 2012.


Stay tuned to Fraters Libertas for any breaking news on the Soil and Water Conservation Superviser election front. Rest assured, whatever might occur -- embezzlement, indictment, floods, cave-ins, slow erosion -- Sisyphus will be there.

Also remember to tune in election night for his Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor election LIVE BLOG right here on Fraters Libertas. It will begin promptly at 4:30 PM until approximately 6:30 AM the next morning. (Warning to the affiliates, he will be going over this time if any margin of victory is less than the level of litigation.) See you all then!

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