Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chart Pr0n

In advance of the MN economic forecast, here is a chart of the state's annual expenditures since 1960.

The blue line is the nominal dollars. The green line is inflation adjusted or expenditures based on the value of 2008 dollars.

More analysis will come after the forecast is released. Just wanted to prime the pump a little.

Annual MN State Govt Expenditures, 1960-2008

Duluth Set to Fill At-Large Council Seat, God Help Us All

NOTE: Because of this post I am adding a new label, Duluth Needs Help. Unfortunately, I think that I will be using this label more and more.

View Larger Map

Some of you might know (but maybe not care) that due to the retirement of long-time State Representative Mike Jaros there will be a new face representing Central/West Duluth in the Legislatures. This new face is Roger Reinert, a current, soon to be former, Duluth City Councilman.

Since Reinert is vacating his seat, the City Council has to appoint somebody to fill his vacancy until the regular election for the position is held in 2009. The normal way for an open council seat to be filled in Duluth is for the city to solicit applications from community members and have the City Council chose whom they would want to work with.

The open application period ended last week. In total, 35 people applied for the At-Large council seat.

Today, I stumbled on a partial list of the applications for the job. There are about 3 good candidates. Take a look if you want further disappointment in people's ability to make logical arguments.

Rule #1 for a job application is to list accomplishments in your resume. Rule #2 is to write a cover letter that lays out ideas for action. I read about 30 applications and only found a few professional accomplishments and ideas that the candidate would implement. Sadly, most of the ideas were either completely ill-advised (doing away with taxes) or misguided (stopping all bonding projects).

If one looks at the applications, one will notice the citation of nonprofit board experience as a significant reason for consideration. Having been on and worked with boards in Duluth, a person who solely lists board experiences should be automatically excluded. Many of the organizations in Duluth have boards that don't do anything but hold onto the status quo and look inwards. Now, if somebody cited some new innovations that they headed while a board member, that would be a different story. But they didn't, so move on.

I don't know what to think. The candidates with good experience have screwy politics. And the passionate candidates are mostly clueless about creating good policy. I could get behind somebody if they could present ideas, but apparently that's too much to ask for these days.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Showdown: 2012

Minnesota's state demographer came out with a rather unsettling assessment of the State of the State - no, it wasn't that the country is in a recession - its that Minny may lose a Congressional seat if current population trends hold up in the 2010 Census. 

I'm not interested in the reasons for it, they are relatively straightforward: Baby Boomers, snowbirds, Sun Belt, retirement, the reason all major Minnesota politicians fundraise in Florida and Arizona.  

I'm interested in who its going to take down.  Which leads to the first Degausser prediction for the 2012 race - one that is based almost entirely on caveats.

Fact: MN has 8 Congressional Districts now.  

First Assumption: All current occupants run for Re-Election in 2010; all then-sitting Congresspersons would be Incumbents, beyond their first term - arguably the second toughest electoral fight for a Congressperson after their initial election (or scandal).   

**The First Assumption obviously faces the fact that 2010 will certainly bring a slew of Democratic challengers to Pretty Boy Tim, who may come out of the MN House Delegation**

Fact: The US Census Occurs in 2010 and applies to Redistricting in Minnesota in 2012.

Second Assumption:  The Census shows Minnesota losing population enough to yield a net loss of one Congressional District.  

Fact:  Redistricting Plans are drafted in each house of the Minnesota Legislature, must be reconciled, passed then signed by the Governor - OR - Passed by Each House of the Legislature, Reconciled, Vetoed by the Governor, then a Veto Override Occurs.

Third Assumption: DFL maintains majorities in each of the state houses at least through the 2010 election, and a GOPer retains the Governor's manse.   

Think about this for a minute .... so many plausible scenarios.

Prediction:  The MN 6th and 2nd Congressional Districts are the Fastest Growing Districts, and any reallocation of territory will have to be ceded from these two to the 5th (Minneapolis - Ellison) and 4th (St. Paul - McCollum).   This makes Demographic Sense and Political Sense given the DFL's obvious interest in Weakening the 2nd (Kline) and 6th (Bachmann) districts.

But there won't be enough political capital available for the DFL to run roughshod over the two remaining GOP Congressfolk from MN, so they will shoot for the most delicious victory.  

Bachmann is the mark and gets redistricted into the 8th - when the DFL redistricts her Stillwater home into a now very longitudinal Northeast 8th.  

Oberstar v. Bachmann - 2012 
 - He will only get older; 
 - She will only get more batshit crazy.

Get your tix now.