Friday, August 29, 2008

Clokey’s response to Hillsider Questionnaire

1. Healthcare
The first thing I would do is recognize the fact that perhaps enough is being spent on this issue, but perhaps not serving those who truly need it. Access is available, but if we continue to have doctors and dentists who can selectively say that they will not accept an MA patient adequate access no longer matters. It is understandable that healthcare costs have gone through the roof. The money however is simply ending upon the hands of the insurer or the pharmaceutical companies interested in making a buck. Those funds need to be returned to the provider and should result in quality care for all in need of medical and dental services.

2. Livable wage
The first thing would be to do whatever we could to promote HEALTHY job growth in our community. First, YES we should be able to help those employers to help their employees. Second, I would focus on the quality of jobs coming to our area vs. quantity. 300 new jobs look great on the front page of a paper. But if all those jobs only pay $6.50, then what are we really telling our community?

3. Federal and state aid to cities, and taxes
I can offer TRUE FOCUS ON INVESTMENT...As for youth; cuts continue to be made across the board when it comes to youth. Then quite often we hear the crime among youth is on the rise. Funding that can be restored to such program as the family resources centers and similar programs are vital to those across our state. When centers like ours where shut down statewide, it literally disconnected families and youth, many in vulnerable situations.
I do believe in tax caps for seniors with limited and fixed incomes. The idea that we, at any level, should see it necessary to keep asking more from those who simply do not have it, simply makes no sense to me.

4. Racial inequities
WE ADDRESS THE INEQUALITIES HONESTLY...there are so many out there who have been sucked into the idea that women are not as smart, or blacks always commit more crimes, or native americans always drink.... I have heard them all. Until we as community recognize the value and blessings that we have in our neighbor, equality will never happen. Until we have a true enforcement tool attached to employment and fair housing, discrimination will happen. I would promote this legislation in St. Paul as well as continue to encourage those in our community already taking an honest and sincere these issues are solved best when they start at home and in the heart.

Brandon Clokey, DFL, statement

My name is Brandon Clokey, and quite simply, I want to be your next State Representative. I am a very proud father of three wonderful children and have been a small business owner for over twenty years. I am a common citizen with real life experience and an appreciation for those around me. I realize there are those in Duluth that will tell you that change is good, while others will say that we are fine living life as we have, and it too is good. While I truly understand the value of both, I am rarely identified as either. Many people who know me are aware I am rarely comfortable with the status quo. My excitement comes from seeking opportunities to improve our community and all of us within it.

I currently advocate for and promote healthy families and parent involvement as the Outreach Coordinator for the Duluth Fathering Project. Other local relationships have included working full time with homeless families through Churches United in Ministry and client advocacy for those in housing transition with Reed’s Board and Lodge facilities.

Throughout my adult life, I have been no stranger to public service. My recent affiliations include being the two-term Board President for the Hillsider Community Newspaper and serving a rare second term as Board Chair for Life House Center for teens and at risk youth. Prior to moving to the Duluth area, this same passion led to my involvement with other boards. This includes the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and testifying before the K-12 Education Committee regarding the connections between our low-income children and education.

My purpose has been, and continues to be, to serve, enable, and empower those who are not often heard within our communities. The truth is…not only do many in our community not have a voice or presence, they are also not recognized for their abilities and strengths. Strengths that could be a great asset to all of us, if only they were being heard, seen, and recognized.

These experiences have given me the ability to provide sensible, common sense leadership. This same leadership is guided by the concept of doing what is right and SERVING ALL who we are able. This is why I want to be your next State Representative.
Brandon Clokey

Reinert’s response to Hillsider Questionnaire

1. Health care
Minnesota needs universal health care. We must lead on this issue and stop waiting for a Federal solution. It is stifling our economy, choking local governments, and leaving a wide variety of people (including myself) without health care. I endorse the Minnesota Health Plan introduced by Sen. John Marty and will actively support it as a Legislator. It addresses the insurance side of the equation and makes health care affordable by getting everyone back into one large health care pool. It ensures all Minnesotans are covered, provides for quality care including mental, chemical dependency and dental coverage, and allows patients to choose their own providers.
2. Livable Wage
I support a statewide Living Wage Ordinance and Business Subsidy Act similar to the one I have voted for in Duluth. I support requiring projects to create at least one full-time living wage job for each $25,000 of public business subsidy. A subsidy is a grant, loan below market rate, contribution or assistance that is given to a business intending to create or retain jobs. Currently that living wage is defined as 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Standard for a family of four ($13.25 per hour for 2008) or, if the employer provides basic health insurance benefits then 110 percent of the federal poverty rate for a family of four ($11.21 per hour for 2008).
3. Federal and state aid to cities, and taxes
The federal government must restore cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program and begin reinvesting in America. And Gov. Pawlenty needs to remember there IS more to Minnesota than just the suburbs and restore cuts to local government aid. Both CDBG and LGA are critical to basic services local governments in Minnesota, like Duluth, provide. The drastic cuts to both are being felt by all of us. I also support regional cities across Minnesota joining together in the Legislature to change the laws that stop us from doing simple things like charging non-Duluthians who use our library a small fee for a library card.
4. Racial inequities
We should continue existing affirmative action hiring programs. They are needed. Yet the only lasting way to address issues of racial and cultural inequities is through strong public education. We must redesign Minnesota’s funding of education. Reliance on local levies is creating schools of “haves” and “have nots.” Minnesota should also create a program that allows residents to attend a public college for four years free if they maintain a “B” average or above in high school to encourage more at-risk students to remain in school. And I support continuation of MHFA programs to provide incentives for minority home ownership. Owning a home helps build personal wealth as well as economic security.

Roger Reinert, DFL, statement

In order to be a strong state, Minnesota needs strong cities.
The reason I am running for this MN House seat is that the difficult issues we are facing here in Duluth all require St. Paul’s help, partnership or permission in some way. Every major issue - solving retiree health care, improving our streets, stopping sewer overflows, fixing the zoo, restoring parks and library services – requires us to be successful at the Capitol. We need someone in St. Paul who knows these issues inside and out. I do. That’s why I’m running.
These are serious times. This election gives us the opportunity to send someone to the Legislature with proven legislative experience and a record of accomplishment. A leader who can work with people they may not agree with in order to get things done. A qualified Representative who is ready to hit the ground running in January and fight for Duluth.
In the Legislature I will be an advocate for our natural resources. I believe we must restore Minnesota’s position as the nation’s leader in education and it’s about time everyone had affordable health care. Our infrastructure needs attention now more than ever. I’ll make sure that happens. And, with experienced leadership and a focus on our core industries, we’ll continue attracting good living wage jobs to our region.
Specific initiatives I will pursue in the 2009 Legislative session are:
- Funding for the holding tanks necessary to stop our sanitary sewer overflow problems
- A solution to the Great Lakes Aquarium that makes the state a partner
- Fully funding local government aid to Duluth and St. Louis County
- Increasing Municipal State Aid to Duluth for street repairs
- Funding the necessary training dollars for Duluth Police and Fire
- Establishing Duluth to Minneapolis passenger rail
- Connecting the Munger and Lakewalk trails
- Coordinating state assistance for the next phases of the Heritage Hockey Center
Thank you for being involved in this Primary election and thank you for caring about the future of Duluth.
Roger Reinert, DFL Candidate, MN House 7B

Cole’s response to Hillsider Questionnaire

1. Affordable health care
I believe that our whole health care system is too profit oriented and not focused on developing healthy living. A single payer system needs to be developed that allows everyone to have health care.
2. Livable wage
I do support raising the minimum wage to at least $9 p/hr. Is that a realistic amount is all dependent on the ability of a business to still make a profit and stay in business. Providing incentives to encourage business to pay livable wages is more cost effective than subsidies. Working to better educate/train workers is a key to motivating employers to pay a livable wage. Both the worker and employer will benefit from an educated workforce some employers do not understand or put value on educating workers. I will work to create laws that will require employers to put a higher value on education/training.
3. Federal and state aid to cities, and taxes
I believe we as individuals need to take more responsibility in choosing to help others. We live in a very selfish society and the government is not the solution to pay and help. The government can create laws to encourage the private sector and individuals to help and there are business models that would be win/win for all parties affected by government cuts. Costs are going up on everything and creating partnerships between nonprofits, business, and government is the best way to solve our problems.
4. Racial inequities
Educating the public about these unfair racial inequities is a start, creating tougher laws, and creating livable wage jobs. There are other solutions out there which will require me educating myself about them and talking to more individuals about better ways to solve the problem.

Jay Cole, statement

“Life Is Choice” Duluth
Duluth needs a leader who will work to get behind the Values most important to the taxpayers of Duluth. I believe in the values of fairness, responsibility, equality, and equity for all.
1. I believe that we need universal/single payer health care in Minnesota.
2. Housing is important to allow individuals stability in their lives.
3. Small business is the foundation of our economy and we need to reduce government regulations.
4. I believe we need to be responsible for our environment and not abuse it with chemicals.
5. Our schools need to be accountable and truthful to the Taxpayer and parents more involved in the schools.
6. Every individual has a right to livable wages.
7. I believe in working to get citizens involved in the political process and government decision-making.
8. I believe individuals need to be held accountable for decisions they make that affect others.
9. I believe biblical values are the foundation to successful living.
Contact: Phone 218-213-3939 or Email:

Marshall Stenersen, DFL statement

I oppose the “Red Plan,” primarily because the citizenry of Duluth was not allowed to vote on the issue. The “Red Plan” as presented, makes bad use of a law designed to help cities of the first class, namely Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, address safety and desegregation problems. The “Red Plan” is too extensive and too expensive. I fear that the manner in which the “Red Plan” was forced on taxpayers will leave, not a chilling, but a freezing effect on the passage of future operating levy referendums, which will inevitably result in teacher cuts, larger class sizes, and program cuts for our children.

To date, the largest bond issue brought under this statute was for the St. Paul School District, which is several times larger than the Duluth School District – and that bond issuance was for under $50 million – six times smaller than the Duluth bonding issue.
The school district, in my mind, even if it is conceded to be in technical compliance with the law, is certainly in violation of the spirit and intent of the law. This plan seems to be more about buildings than it does about desegregation and safety.

I promise to introduce legislation at the 2009 session to address language which will clarify the law to make it consistent with its spirit and its intent. Certainly bond issues of this size should require a vote of the citizenry, no matter its intent. Depending upon actions of the ISD 709 School Board between now and the end of the year, I pledge to meet with my area legislative colleagues in St. Paul, to determine a prudent course of action. However, I steadfastly refuse to make pledges on this issue at the behest of any organization, or spokesperson thereof. My pledges are based on my personal understanding of the myriad of issues and problems involved with the “Red Plan.”

Stenersen’s response to Hillsider Questionnaire

1. Affordable health care
First of all, I would support Sen. John Marty’s bill at the legislature. Beyond that however, I believe we must move towards a single payer system in the State of Minnesota. I am hopeful that our health insurance crisis will finally be addressed at the Federal level. However, I am unwilling to place a bet on success in Washington D.C. We can begin in Minnesota. At one point, not too long ago, Minnesota was an innovator. We can be bold and innovative once again, and begin the movement towards single payer.
2. Livable wage
As a general rule, I oppose corporate welfare of any sort. However, since that is the way jobs are generated these days, I would support incenting business to provide living wage jobs. However, living wage needs to mean something more than providing for wages just over the poverty level. If business is to be rewarded for bringing jobs to Duluth, they must be of the $15 and up variety, not $9 and $10 jobs as is the case with JobZ.
3. Federal and state aid to cities, and taxes
We can and must re-establish the foundation of the “Minnesota miracle” of the early and mid-70’s, when the State of Minnesota was truly a partner with local governments and school districts. That entails increasing local government aids, and more reliance on a truly progressive income tax and less reliance on the regressive property tax. Today cities and counties have few options other than increasing property taxes to intolerable levels or cutting much needed services.
4. Closing unfair racial inequities.
A concrete example is to work to provide universal and affordable health insurance for all Minnesotans. In order to address other inequities, I would offer the following: as a white male, I will never know what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Native American, or in the shoes of an African American. I do know that the only way to break down stereotypes and to begin to understand each other is to engage in an ongoing and constructive dialogue. Whatever growth that has occurred in my life in this area has occurred because I have listened to others.

Daniel Maryland's statement

Our public and private education institutions must teach Industrial and Domestic Arts so our children will be capable of using their hands for creativity. A person is only half educated if they do not know how to use their hands to produce employable value.
This is my philosophy and goal if elected to the House of Representatives.

Maryland’s response to Hillsider Questionnaire

1. Affordable health care
Our country and culture have many social problems. However, keeping Medicare viable and effective is our largest long term public challenge today.
In Minnesota, Medicare, Minnesota Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care furnish health care to a large portion of our population. Along with these health plans and employer furnished health plans, there are still a large number of our citizens without health insurance. For the uninsured, I would propose a base health insurance plan where the premiums would not exceed 6 percent of their gross income. We should also explore the Massachusetts Health Plan which has been in effect for three years and includes all citizens of the state.
I have had the privilege to practice medicine for 50 years in Minnesota and in the 7B District of Duluth. With this experience I see this public issue from both sides. I believe I have ideas to deliver health care with more efficiency and reduced costs.
2. Livable wage
A livable wage issue is complex because of fluctuating economic times. This issue is a symptom of our local larger problem. District 7B has large segments of land not being efficiently used. We need new and vibrant industry to move into our area. Government incentives like inexpensive land and less tax for a period of time will help create a favorable environment.
3. Federal and state aid to cities, and taxes
I am not in favor of our city government to offer loans or bonding which can default. Note the past failed city projects.
With vibrant industry and manufacturing, more citizens are employed which increase revenues and high paid wages which improves our total economy. Therefore, the solution to our wage problem is more industry, manufacturing and employment.
4. Closing unfair racial inequities.
Racial and ethnic inequities have been present in human cultures since the dawn of history. Every civilization has had this terrible track record which eventually destroys the culture. We as Americans must not fall into this trap. Education of our citizens with tolerance is essential. We must judge our fellow Man by their behavior and character, not by their ethnic background or skin color.

Minnesota Legislative seat 7B Candidates answer Hillsider Questionnaire

Retiring representative Mike Jaros will vacate the Minnesota Legislative seat 7B. The following candidates are vying for the seat: Democrats Roger Reinert, Brandon Clokey, John Derbis, Marsh Stenersen, and Daniel Maryland; Republican Allan Kehr, and Independent party candidate Jay Cole.

Each candidate was contacted or attempted to be contacted more than once to participate. Candidates were allowed one press release or statement in addition to answering the questionnaire.

The primary election is Tuesday Sept. 9. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

The Hillsider asked all the candidates to participate in our questionnaire. Here are the questions.

1. Health care is on everyone’s mind. What will you do as a representative to ensure that all Minnesotans have adequate access to affordable health care?
2. Half of Minnesota’s jobs do not pay a standard living wage. What is your position on providing subsidies or incentives to employers who provide a livable wage?
3. Federal and state aid to cities have been cut. Basic and important services such as senior meal staff, youth programs in general, those which add to health and prevent crime are affected; also vital services such as residential water have new rules and are expensive.
Question: What can you offer at the state level that would increase access and cut costs to vulnerable taxpaying citizens?
4. Racial inequities in Minnesota exist in most of life’s areas for American Indian and African Americans, they are statistically more likely to suffer: higher infant mortality, shorter life span, less access to health care, fewer high school graduates, higher unemployment, lower income, more often victims of crime, make up a higher percentage of prison inmate population. These historical trends continue to exist today in Duluth.
Question: Describe what specific actions you will take to lead the people of your district to close these unfair racial inequities?

TPAC candidate forum generates large turn-out, vigorous discussion

Twin Ports Action Coalition and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless sponsored a candidate forum on Thursday, Aug. 21 at the Damiano Center Cafeteria. The forum was with six of the seven candidates for Minnesota Legislative House 7B seat which, will be vacated by Mike Jaros. Duluth Third District City Councilor Sharla Gardner moderated the forum and Kennedy Horton from the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless was the timekeeper. “This was a great event, I am glad the candidates came and answered the hard hitting questions about homelessness and poverty,” said Scott Yeazle, Chairman of the Twin Ports Action Coalition.

Sixty people attended the forum, many prepared with questions. The forum will be on PACT TV and was filmed by TPAC Member Shane Pribble.
See the forum on the Twin Ports Action Coalition website at
(See the Hillsider questionaire.)

Welcom back college students, spaghetti dinner

Residents all over Duluth will get new neighbors this month as college students make their annual return to town. Lake Superior College started on Monday, Aug. 25, while both UMD and College of St. Scholastica start on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Reaching Out to Neighbors Nips Problems in the Bud

Getting to know your neighbors can go a long way toward preventing problems. Chester Park United Methodist Church is working to foster good relationships by serving a Good-Neighbor Spaghetti Dinner. Students - along with their parents and friends - and long-time residents are encouraged to attend on Sunday, Aug. 31 anytime between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The church is located at 819 N. 18th Ave. E., one-half block uphill from East Eighth Street.

If you live in a neighborhood with student residents, please consider hosting a neighborhood gathering that includes your new and current student neighbors as well as your long-term neighbors. Parties have ranged from large potlucks to simply asking people to stop in, say hello and have an ice cream cone. As with National Night Out, traditionally, this is an alcohol-free family event. These gatherings traditionally take place on the Sunday after Labor Day (Sept. 7 this year), however, any time during the first two weeks of September would probably work.
UMD will reimburse residents who host neighborhood gatherings for up to $50 of their expenses. To qualify for reimbursement, you must register your event in advance with UMD by calling Cheryl Anderson at 726-6790.

For questions, call Sandy Robinson at 393-9329. Or, contact The Campus Neighbors Advisory Group at P.O. Box 3262, Duluth, MN 55803-3262, phone 724-4389, email campusneighborsATgmail DOT com.

A simple exchange of phone numbers between students and long-term residents can help ease future tensions. Most students would prefer to receive a phone call from you informing them that they are a little too loud instead of a visit from the police.
Additional police squads will be in place for the last weekend of August and the first two weekends in September to handle house party and neighborhood disturbances. If the situation does get out of hand call 911 for a squad to respond. Community Officer Bill Eickhoff recommends giving your name and number to the dispatcher and asking to have the responding officer call you. If a house becomes a chronic nuisance, please call Officer Eickhoff at 730-5563 to discuss options for resolving the issue. Central Hillside residents may phone Officer Barry Midthun at 730-5564. Leave a message as they may not be at their desks.
Officer Eickhoff will speak at the September 16 Campus Neighbors meeting.

American Indians talk about the future at feast and forum

Niko LaFrinier, age 2, enjoys a slice of watermelon at the Duluth American Indian Commission’s Feast and Forum on Aug. 21. He is the son of Rachael LaFrinier.

The Duluth American Indian Commission focused on the future at its community feast and forum last month at the YWCA’s Trepanier Hall. As part of the program, Michelle Gordon, co-chairwoman of the DAIC, asked attendees to envision the 26 housing units for American Indians and the American Indian Center that the YWCA will soon contain. The facility will also provide space for an art gallery, offices for service organizations and a health-care clinic.
Gordon said she could imagine kids drumming on the stage, feasts like the one that night, artwork and Dr. Joycelyn Dorcher’s medical students visiting the clinic. (Dorcher is also co-chairwoman of the DAIC.)

In addition to the future, some attendees took time to comment on the present. Bart Long, for example, had kind words for Police Chief Gordon Ramsay and the current relationship between the police and the American Indian community. “There is more communication [where] previously there was none,” he explains. “There is follow-up. [Ramsay] calls back.”Ron Boushey, another member of the DAIC said he was impressed with the new city council and that Indian people do have a voice in Duluth. “This community as a whole does not realize that there are many Native American businesses in this town that support the community directly,” said Marlene Diver, a retired social worker. “We have so many successful people.” She cited Jim Perrault Construction, Grey Star Electronics, police officers, foster care parents and UMD professors as examples.

In her address, Melanie Ford, St. Louis County Attorney, advocated fair and vigorous prosecution of crime, focus on preventing crime, truancy prevention and racial fairness, and equal justice. Her office is forming an advisory committee of people involved in the juvenile justice system, service providers and community leaders of all races and ethnic backgrounds in the county.

The DAIC meets the third Monday of each month on the fourth floor of City Hall.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace and wholeness in Central Hillside

Day of Prayer and Fasting
for peace and wholeness in our city
Wednesday, August 27
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you …, and pray to the Lord on its behalf,
for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Jeremiah 29:7

Day of Prayer and Fasting
for peace and wholeness in our city
Wednesday, August 27

culminating with Worship & Supper at the Damiano Center
(206 W 4th St)

Worship and Praise
Prayer Walk
through the Neighborhood
Soup and Bread with Thanksgiving
at the Damiano Center
(206 W 4th St )

Come and join the Duluth Faith Community to unite in prayer in response to the recent violence in the Central Hillside Community
(For additional information, contact Kim Crawford,
CHUM Organizer at 218-740-2496)

Sponsored by the Community Safety Initiative, a cooperative program of CHUM, NHS, and the Duluth Police Department

Please pray
for the Central Hillside neighborhood

for our neighborhood leaders:
police, firefighters, elected officials, business leaders, community organizers, parents;

for safety and security
in our homes, on our streets,
in parks and businesses and schools;

for a fountain of hope to spring up,
hope for deliverance
from despair, emptiness, addiction, violence, poverty, racism, homophobia, abuse, and other sin which holds us down;

for God’s presence, power and peace
in our lives and in our city.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Iraq Moratorium anti-war vigil

Event: Iraq Moratorium anti-war vigil
What: Protest
Host: Northland Anti-War Coalition
Start Time: Friday, August 15 at 4:30pm
End Time: Friday, August 15 at 5:30pm
Where: Canal Park [in front of the DeWitt Seitz Building

7B Candidate Forums

Sponsored by the 7th Senate District DFL
No charge for these educational eventsMeet the DFL Candidates for the7B House of Representatives Seat. Hear their positions on issues that are important to you.

August 15-------Lincoln School Cafeteria
2423 West 5th Street
August 26------Morgan Park Auditorium
1243 88th Avenue West
September 4-­--MacArthur School Auditorium
727 North Central Avenue
All forums begin at 6:30 pm with a
Question and Answer period.
Following the forum the candidates
will be available to meet and talk
with voters individually

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Progressive Action sponsors candidate forum

Progressive Action Hosts 7B Legislative Forum August 13Progressive Action is hosting a forum on Wednesday, August 13. The forum will be held in the Duluth City Council Chambers, on the third floor of the Duluth City Hall, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the 13th. Of the seven candidates, the six Democrats and one Republican have confirmed they plan to participate, including Democrats Roger Reinert, Brandon Clokey, John Derbis, Marsh Stenersen, and Daniel Maryland and Republican Allan Kehr. Independence Party candidate Jay Cole is not able to take part in the forum.

Moderators for the forum will be Progressive Action President and local columnist Barb Olsen and Progressive Action Steering Committee member Patrick Boyle. Questions for the forum will be put together by Progressive Action members and the organization' s Steering Committee, and additional questions will be taken in written form from the audience. No questions will be shared with any candidate prior to the forum.The forum will be recorded by PACT-TV (Channel 7 on Cable) and broadcast multiple times, on dates and times to be announced soon. The event is free and open to the public.

Progressive Action is a group of volunteers in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin formed after the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone to continue his work on issues such as affordable housing, living wages, and electing progressives to office. For more information, see