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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Washington County DOUBLES Transit Sales Tax as Feds, State, and Local Funding Jump Ship

The blinders the Washington County Commissioners have are thick and heavy. For every one perceived step forward there are two ignored steps back. In January they were quick to tell the media the Gateway Corridor/ Gold Line was accepted into the new starts program... But in February the news is that the parent program over the new starts, the capital investment grants (CIG) program is axing all MN corridors! Yes starting for 2019... but even for fiscal year 2018 no corridor in Washington County was going to get a cent from the feds. See the 2018 FY report from the FTA

So the "good" news that the Gold Line got into the smaller new starts program looks null and void because the larger parent program has recommended for all our corridors to receive nothing. It's like getting hired for a job by a branch manager on their last day of work. Then the district boss comes in and tells them they're out and so are most the projects and new hires they were working with are gone too. The new  management is in and they've announced they're going to fire the Gold line... but this major step back is going unreported just like most of the major steps back for the Washington County mass transit corridors. Who, by their own numbers, will relieve less than 5% of traffic off the highway they wind down the side streets next to on the slow ride to St. Paul. See:


The transit corridors in WC have been NINE YEARS in planning! The furthest along, the Gold Line, is only a year into the $25 million dollar Project development phase, with another 3 years until construction will supposedly start (p.12). In 2014 they told the legislature they'd be a year into construction by now! (p.49)

Transit planners are in the business of over promising and under delivering. The year before the Red Line they predicted 1,800 riders a day... they only got 850 and even less today as they assumed ridership would rise with awareness... it's been a stagnant 850 or so riders a year since it opened in 2013. The Northstar corridor predicted there'd be 9,500 riders a day by 2020 in the current Big Lake to Minneapolis layout in 2006 (p.27); but only has 2,500 riders on this design today (p.16)... They were off by 7,000 riders a day! 

Washington County Dumpster Fire
The transit corridors in Washington County are a dumpster fire of tax dollars. 
- It's on the third County lead transit planner for the line (Gitzlaff the first, Leitner the second, Jan Lucke the third). 
- The state hasn't directly funded a corridor with a dedicated bill since 2011; 
- The sole source of back door funding, the un-elected Met Council, has it's days numbered in failed mass transit funding business. 
-The County Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) that used to fund the corridors is disbanded. 
- And finally the feds have announced they're not interested in funding any of the corridors here

The County likely suspected this when the Trump administration said they were planning on redirecting funds from failed mass transit to roads and bridges in early 2017. So in June Washington County Commissioners voted to DOUBLE the transit sales tax on residents to try and keep the quickly sinking ship a float. But they'll still be short hundreds of millions of dollars on this unsustainable track.

It seems there is no amount of pulled State, Federal, and local funding that would discourage the Washington County board, Representative Kelly Fenton, Franke, and Jurgens and the Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, from saying enough is enough... We've wasted over $51,000,000 local Washington County tax dollars planning these horribly bad transit lines (the amount of money raised since 2008 from the county by the transit sales tax).

All 5 county commissioners have voted unanimously to keep it going full steam ahead. Don't be fooled by an isolated, and pre-arrange no vote from commissioner Fran Miron and Gary Kriesel to double the tax. They've continued to vote to approve steps to move the mass transit projects forward before and after their isolated no vote.

Not all public transit is bad. The express bus, park and ride, service with peak service during rush hours directly to and from the city is good. Metro mobility, that provides door to door service for elderly and disabled people is good. Even some local bus routes in Washington County are useful. No buildings to maintain, no service during the mid day and night where LRT and BRT run with largely empty (for express bus), lower operating costs, and no costly infrastructure to pay for and maintain other than the buses themselves.

For the over $50 million we've lost for nothing we could have built expanded express bus service in every major city in Washington County or better yet, fixed/expanded our county roads:  Gateway Corridor vs Metro Transit: How State's $9 million Route Upgrade Could Replace the Gateway Corridor

-Matt Behning




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fleet Farm Fondler Convicted of Groping 13 y/o. In Rare Occurrence, No Plea Deal but Sentence Still Weak

The Fleet Farm Fondler, Jesse Garrett Erdman of St. Paul has been convicted of the original charges of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct -Victim under 16 for groping the private parts of a 13 year old female in the Oakdale Fleet Farm in
Pic of Jesse Erdman, same DOB & city from public facebook
Washington County in April 2017. We did the a post about his disturbing crime that was caught on surveillance video last year: 

We stated in the article that typically these child predators get offered deals to plead guilty on lesser charges so the County can avoid costly and time consuming trial. So was the case of Caleb Wolfgram of Forest Lake who had two prior convictions for spying on children undressing at stores and a tanning salon. While on probation Wolfgram struck a third time and sexually assaulted a 12 year old girl on camera in the Forest Lake Target in 2016. He was charged by Washington County Prosecutor Imran Ali with 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC); however, the County gave him a ridiculous plea deal down to 4rth degree CSC and is eligible for release in just 24 months if agrees to treatment. When he gets out in November of 2018 it does not appear he will be on probation or the sex offender registry. Not that it matters because the sex offender registry in MN is not public like it is in 47 other states.

For this case of Jesse Erdman, he was not offered a plea deal and was convicted of the original charges. Shocking since it was nearly the same crime as Wolfgram and both were caught on camera. More surprising is the guy with multiple convictions got a plea deal but Erdman got nothing. This rare occurrence goes to show the County is capable of getting convictions to the fullest extent of the law. Hopefully this is a new trend for the County Attorney Pete Orput.

Erdman was Sentenced to 3 years in prison and fifteen years of probation. He will be on the sex offender registry for the maximum of ten years.

The solution is in Minnesota law makers hands to make it so no sex crime against a child goes without mandated prison time and lifetime sex offender registration. Currently most child rapists rarely do more than a year in jail and no more than 10 years on the sex offender registry. See more about the solution here: Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

The problem is further explained in our related article: Watchdog Review of Each of the Fifty States Sex Offender Laws Finds Minnesota Ranked the Most Unsafe

Please contact your legislators. see: www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder

For many more examples from Washington County of convicted sex offenders still on our streets see our other posts here:
wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/


DATE: 2/9/2018 
DEFENDANT: Jesse Garrett Erdman
DOB: 4/20/1989 
CITY/RESIDENCE:
MN AGENCY: Oakdale Police Department 
JUDGE: John C. Hoffman 
CONVICTION: Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree  609.343.1(g)
SENTENCE: 
15 years probation after completing 36 months incarceration as stay of execution; conditional 365 days jail if violates probation; 1st 180 days are straight time; no Sentence to Service; no work release; after 180 days in jail Defendant can petition court to go to sex offender treatment program and court will consider (no promises) furlough to sex offender treatment program; restitution of $886.73 to victim via Court Administration and keep restitution open for potential of continuing therapy for victim; probationary domestic abuse no contact order with victim; no unsupervised contact with any minors without probation/court consent except own children

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's data allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What the MN GOP can Learn From the February Special Election and Choosing a Candidate

Democrat Karla Bigham has beat Republican establishment pick Denny McNamara in the February 12th, Senate District 54 special election. It's an embarrassing loss for the GOP who saw Trump win by 6 points and two republican house members Jurgens and Franke also win in this district just over a year ago. It should have been easy to beat one of the most extreme left wing, tax and spend, democrats to have formerly been in office. Bigham, in her final year in the legislature, was one of only six democrats out of 87 in the legislature at the time to get a 0% lifetime rating by the non-partisan Tax Payers League.  Republicans could have offered a clear choice for voters by endorsing a fiscal conservative. But dropped the ball and instead picked the less liberal than Bigham moderate Denny McNamara. Moderate is putting it lightly, see: Fourteen Years of Broken Promises. No Problem. Denny McNamara Wins Republican Endorsement 

When will the Minnesota GOP realize that running candidates who are "democrat lite" is a sure way to lose to a democrat? They tried in district 23B to put an establishment moderate republican on the ticket for their 2/12 special election after delegates chose the more fiscal conservative Jeremy Munson at their endorsing convention: Speaker Kurt Daudt's MN Republican House Mafia Plans to Primary Against the GOP Endorsed Candidate. The delegate choice prevailed because he beat the democrat by 20 points! Munson campaigned on being against "wasteful government spending, high taxes, and over reaching government". For reference, District 23B is hardly a republican stronghold. In 2010 the democrat beat the republican by 13 points.

What the Minnesota GOP can learn from the February 12th special elections is to put up candidates like Jeremy Munson who support the party's core values and can communicate how that will improve the lives of voters over the opposing party's strategy of growing government and taxes. Whereas, candidates like McNamara who may say the same things; but have a record of growing government and taxes, but just not as much as a democrat, inspire no one (democrat lite). When these candidates are chosen they're easy to defeat when challenged by even the worst democrat. We all saw the massive amounts of ads against Bigham and her record of voting to raise almost every tax there is to raise. But it's all a waste when the opposing republican can't claim they'd do the opposite and propose legislation to lower taxes and spending. 

-Matt Behning

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Man Who Repeatedly Raped a Child in Oakdale, Raped another Child While on Probation and Will be Out in 2 Years


Robert Heinze
Robert Heinze who admitted to police he horrifically raped a 9 year old boy on multiple occasions from 1996 through 1997 in Oakdale. Got convicted of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct. He served a short 5 years of 7 and moved to Green Bay and raped another child there and was convicted in 2010... again, only 5 year sentence. Comes back to Washington County MN in 2015 and the judge that convicted him in 1998 presided over his violating probation hearing. The judge, with the horrifying rapes burned into the mind from years back, tries to throw the book at him with an "upward departure" above MN sentencing guidelines by giving an additional 20 months (not much, but the best weak MN law would allow). The Supreme Court ruled in the 1980s that it was legal to do this with documented reason. 

(Over a dozen articles just like this here: wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/)

The rapist, Robert Heinze appealed to the higher court with his free court appointed attorney (as most do when faced with going back to prison, as it doesn't cost them to try). He wins in April 2017 and reversed the judge's decision because of weak and loophole filled MN sex offender law. The higher court ruled that because the required reason for upwardly departing was not put on one page of the paperwork it was therefore illegal for the judge to upwardly depart from weak MN sentencing guidelines. They ruled the lower court had to give him a weak sentencing guidelines sentence. So in June 2017 he got 4 years and 4 months with credit for 2 years. This serial child rapist will be back on MN streets in two years because of this. But even with the upward departure it would have only been an extra 20 months.

This horrifying story is a prime example of failed MN sentencing guidelines and failed MN law that functions under the assumption child rapists can be rehabilitated and that sex offenders should remain anonymous on the sex offender registry.  47 other States post the name and exact address of Sex offenders and it works; but it doesn't grow in MN because the public isn't aware the 17,000 MN sex offenders who are out of custody are also out of the public eye. 

Also, the biggest obstacle to better sex offender laws we believe is the Minnesota County Attorneys Association (MCAA). They're a powerful group of county prosecutors who provide opinions to law makers on proposed law changes with their expert testimony. For some reason, they side with big lawfirms for sex offenders. There's articles on the MCAA website defending their ridiculous positions. One is titled "It's Time To Rethink Sex Offender Registries" written by Laura Fenstermake in 2017. She talks about how the 47 states who have public sex offender registries are wrong. Arguing that sex offenders "need more support from society to help keep them on the straight and narrow." She cites how an 18 year old who sleeps with his 17 year old girlfriend can be on a sex offender registry. This is not possible in many states because of what's called "Romeo and Juliet" laws. Arguments like this fill the MCAA articles and have no mention of the protections written into law to keep people who shouldn't be on the offender list, off it.  In this Kare11 story: Lawmakers fail to close sex crime loopholes MCCA calls some of the loopholes for sex offenders "Tools for prosecution."  

Back to this horrifying story, The criminal complaint from 1997 is very disturbing so be forewarned. It's of value considering how open he was admitting to police about what he did and how he did it to the poor child for so long. All the info about the timeline of this is in his Appeal in April 2017

Again the story is, had it not been for the same judge, the serial rapist probably would have got the rubber stamp that ALWAYS occurs when child rapists come back for violating insane plea deals for probation. Usually, child rapists get credit for time served (while in jail awaiting trial) and only get additional probation... this is a result of the EXTREMELY passive County prosecutors who know if they don't pursue an extra day in jail the rapist will plead guilty for violating probation as long as they don't get extra prison time.
Please contact your legislators. see: www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder


The solution is in Minnesota law makers hands to make it so no sex crime against a child goes without mandated prison time and lifetime sex offender registration. Currently most child rapists rarely do more than a year in jail and no more than 10 years on the sex offender registry. See more about the solution here: Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

For many more examples from Washington County of convicted sex offenders still on our streets see our other posts here:
wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/


DATE: 6/15/2017 
DEFENDANT: Robert Nicholas Heinze 
DOB: 5/8/1974 
CITY/RESIDENCE: St. Paul, MN 
AGENCY: Oakdale Police Department 
Case #: 97024060
JUDGE: Susan R. Miles 
CONVICTION: 609.342.1(a) Criminal Sexual Cond-1st Degree-Penetration or Contact with Person Under 13-Actor >36m older
COURT Court File #: KX97001435
SENTENCE: Committed to the Commissioner of Corrections for 52 months, credit 829 days, DNA previously ordered, 5 years conditional release, consecutive to 62-K3-97-742. State requested: 52 months, credit for time served 829 days. 

He was previously convicted of:
9/11/1997 Criminal Sexual Cond-1st Degree-Penetration or Contact with Person Under 13-Actor >36m older and served 86Months (did 5 years of 7 year sentence)
Convicted again for child rape in 2010 in the state of Wisconsin

Aliases:
REST HEINZE ROBERT
HEINZE ROBERT NICHKOLAS
HEINZE ROBERT
HEINZE ROBERT NICHKOLOS
HEINZE ROBERT NICHOLAS

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's data allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources.  

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Predator Who Went to Hotel to Rape Two Children Will Walk With a Clean Record Because Representative Grossell's Bill Did Not Pass

John Duc Pham
Convicted last week, child predator John Duc Pham is #24 on our Washington County Watchdog list. See: http://wcwatchdog.com/stings/  Read the Criminal Complaint how on April 6th 2016 John Pham arranged to meet who he thought was a 15 year old child and her “little sister” for “straight sex” with the children at a hotel in Oak Park Heights. Pham was arrested when he arrived to the hotel room and later charged with agreeing to hire a child for prostitution.

He is one of dozens who have been caught in child trafficking stings the County used to conduct. However, they now focus solely on trying to catch pimps. Nearly all these pimps caught in the County are soliciting adult prostitutes. To best of our knowledge, the county has only caught one operation that may have been using a minor (17 years old). It's unfortunate the County appears to have completely abandoned catching child predators with stings. Some experts believe that the original approach the County was using to combat the rampant sex crime on children in Washington County is more effective than chasing Tinder, Backpage, and Craigslist ads in the "adults seeking adults" section for child victims. That is, continue stings that catch child predators. It dries up the market two fold by catching and identifying sex offenders who prey on kids while scaring off those who have not yet been caught. Better yet, do both, attack the problem from both sides. County attorney Pete Orput is one phone call away from nearly a dozen legislators in Washington County who would most certainly author a bill for any dollar amount to combat child sex trafficking. Especially when we have Representative Kelly Fenton who authored a bill to fund a park that was already fully funded privately!

Problem number one is the County Attorney Pete Orput and prosecutor Imran Ali agree'd to this insane plea deal for Pham. Because he's getting off with a "stay of adjudication." Which means this guy who went to a hotel to rape a 15 year old and her "little sister" is going to have a clean record if he finishes his measly 5 years of probation. Problem 2, is the law exists. See the article on how the loophole works:

How can this be when the law was supposed to be changed thanks to the lead of republican Matt Grossell who authored a bill first thing last 2017 session to close this loophole? The bill was HF1572SF1895 sponsored by Representative Matt Grossel and had over 30 other legislator co-signers combined. There were many other good sex offender reform bills that were also killed in the public safety omnibus that was finished nearly two months before session ended.

It was because Senator Limmer along with other senate leaders who killed this bill at the request of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association (MCAA). They killed this bill and several others like it because they were "too sweeping" and "needed more time for review" even though this bill and others were done months before session ended. MCAA says the plea deals are "tools" for prosecutors.

Doing away with adjudication for sex offenders is not "sweeping." Even California, (arguably, the most liberal state in the Country) has done away with adjudication for sex offenders! 

Sex offenders like John Pham and many others throughout the State are continuing to walk back into the shadows because of legislators like Senator Limmer who apparently do not take child rape seriously enough to pass some common sense laws. Please contact your legislators. see: www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder


The solution is in Minnesota law makers hands to make it so no sex crime against a child goes without mandated prison time and sex offender registration. Currently most child rapists rarely do more than a year in jail and no more than 10 years on the sex offender registry. See more about the solution here: Rampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

For many more examples from Washington County of convicted sex offenders still on our streets see our other posts here:
wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/

DATE: 1/24/2018 
DEFENDANT: John Duc Pham 
DOB: 1/1/1965 
CITY/RESIDENCE: Columbia Heights, 
MN AGENCY: Washington County Sheriff's Office 
JUDGE: John C. Hoffman 
CONVICTION: Prostitution - Actor Hires or Agrees to Hire and Reasonably Believes Under 18 
SENTENCE: 
Stay of adjudication and all other recommendations of the pre-sentence investigation. 
5 years of probation, complete 40 hours of community work service within 120 days. Pay fine of $500. 

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's data allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources.  

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Sierra Club Stands by Endorsement of Garbage Burning Lead Champion Karla Bigham

Letter to our environmentalist friends:

Dear environmentalist friends from across the state who have fought tirelessly against the State's obsession with dealing with municipal waste by burning it,


The Sierra Club has responded (below) that they stand by their endorsement of the garbage burning lead
Garbage Burning Lead Champion, Karla Bigham at facility
that receives and burns garbage with photo of Red Wing
Facility that burns our garbage with EPA data.
champion in the east metro, Karla Bigham. They responded that they are going to overlook the fact she was instrumental in convincing both Ramsey and Washington county to spend $170 million dollars to purchase and expand a facility that sorts garbage to burn in her district. 

see Pioneer Press article by Bob Shaw from 2017:
Ramsey, Washington counties to burn all garbage — and prices going up

This plant sends 460,000 tons/yr of it to be burned in Red Wing and Mankato. Go back to 2015 in her social media and you'll see her wearing a hard hat and touring garbage burners all over the state like in places like Hennepin County, Mankato, Red Wing, and taking a pivotal role in seeing it get done here in Washington County. She helped convince the rest of the board and got the deal done in October 2015 see: From Hero to Zero on the Environment: Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham.

Please help our friends at the Sierra Club understand that Karla Bigham's work is unforgivable as now over 460,000 tons of garbage a year is now burned and put into our skies while at the same time costing millions more do so.

-Matt Behning

If you think that I'm just saying this because I want the republican to win, that's not true see: Fourteen Years of Broken Promises. No Problem. Denny McNamara Wins Republican Endorsement  

Thank you for your time and for your support of the environment.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Joshua Davis
Date: Sat, Jan 27, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Subject: Sierra Club Bigham endorsement


Hi Matt,
Thank you for your email, and for your advocacy work. I am a Sierra Club volunteer with the Sierra Club's Minnesota political committee and Sierra Club staff forwarded your email to me.
You are correct - the Sierra Club - both nationally and in Minnesota - is opposed to waste incineration. That position remains unchanged and we have been honored to work with you and other allies on issues such as opposing the HERC incinerator expansion.
The Sierra Club chapter's Political Committee evaluates a candidate's overall performance on all environment issues we work on when considering endorsements, as well as how that candidate can help move policy forward in the legislature. This is based on guidelines provided by our national organization along with many years of past practice in Minnesota. Few of our endorsed candidate's agree with our policy principles 100%, especially in swing districts. 
In Karla's case, we see an exemplary voting record during her previous two terms in the Minnesota House and a positive working relationship with our organization. The endorsement also gives us a foot in the door to discuss issues like those our zero waste committee volunteers work on.
We recognize that our endorsement decisions sometimes disappoint allies or members. But we stand behind our endorsement decision as the best choice for the environment.
We appreciate you taking the time to connect with us. We look forward to working with you again in the future.
For the environment,
Joshua Davis
Sierra Club North Star Chapter Political Committee

From: Matt 
Date: Wed, Jan 24, 2018
Subject: Sierra Club. Bigham who you just endorsed championed the garbage burner here!
To: mary.blitzer@sierraclub.org
Cc: alexis.boxer@sierraclub.org, devon.cupery@sierraclub.org, natalie.cook@sierraclub.org, heather.cusick@sierraclub.org, scott.elkins@sierraclub.org, justin.fay@sierraclub.org, joshua.houdek@sierraclub.org, margaret.levin@sierraclub.org, karen.monahan@sierraclub.org, rick.morris@sierraclub.org, vicki.munson@sierraclub.org, jessica.tritsch@sierraclub.org, north.star.chapter@sierraclub.org
Hi,

Thank you members of the Sierra Club for advocating for the environment in MN. I email you because a candidate named Karla Bigham who's running for State Senate in SD54 said on facebook that you endorsed her in a post she made on the 22nd and I think this is a huge mistake. 

I'm shocked by this because you've stood along side myself and my friend Alan Muller, Anne from no-burn.org, those at Eureka Reclycling, MNNOC, Neighbors against the burner (NAB), and more against garbage incinerators. Dozens of articles are out with your position on this subject ie:
http://midwestenergynews.com/2016/04/26/in-minnesota-waste-to-energy-debate-firing-up-once-again/

I email you because Bigham helped champion the County spending $170 million dollars to purchase and expand a facility that sorts garbage to burn in her district. This plant sends 460,000 tons/yr of it to be burned in Red Wing and Mankato. Go back to 2015 in her social media and you'll see her wearing a hard hat and touring garbage burners all over the state like in Hennepin County and taking a pivotal role in seeing it get done here in Washington County. She helped convince the rest of the board and got the deal done in October 2015 see: From Hero to Zero on the Environment: Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham.

Please retract your support of Washington County Champion for garbage burning Karla Bigham. Her record doesn't lie regarding the irreversible damage she has done to the air in MN by having 400,000 tons of garbage a year from our county burned and put into the atmosphere of MN.  It's unforgivable no matter what BS she feeds you. And if you think that I'm just saying this because I want the republican to win that's not true see: Fourteen Years of Broken Promises. No Problem. Denny McNamara Wins Republican Endorsement  

Thank you for your time and for your support of the environment.

Please respond on your actions regarding this endorsement of a key player in Washington County burning garbage for decades to come.

-Matt Behning

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Emily Mellingen, a Strong Contender for State Senate in SD54

Emily Mellingen.
Photo from her site 
Emily Mellingen, announced on January 11th that she is running for the vacated State senate seat left by Democrat Dan Schoen who resigned after numerous allegations of sexual harassment. Emily raised the required number of local signatures to be put on the ballot for the February 12th vote in SD54 in south Washington County.

Mellingen is the endorsed candidate for the Libertarian Party. This 3rd party option has dozens of currently elected representatives across the Country from Alaska, to California, to Florida, and in MN. With this party decision she is providing a strong choice between the two extreme establishment picks in this SD54 race. Those being the far left wing democrat Karla Bigham, who out of 87 democrats in the legislature in her final 2010 year only 6 others had a 0% career rating from the Tax Payers League who rates legislators based solely on their voting record without bias. Fiscally responsible voting legislators get up to a 100% rating from the non-partisan Tax Payers League. Most republicans get about a 75% rating and most democrats get 30-40% rating. Nearly all politicians understand that not every single tax and spending measure is a good idea. To Karla Bigham, and her 0% rating for every year of her four years in office, it's clear there is no tax increase, spending measure, or growth of government that Bigham would vote against. Denny McNamara was nearly as disappointing in his 14 years in office failing to represent his constituents with his own horrible voting record, not to mention his time facing an ethics violation. see: South Washington County Will Decide if they want McNamara, his Baggage, and Terrible Legislative Record

On Mellingen's page she explains she is a mom, nurse, and tax payer. That she's running because she's fed up with the "dysfunctional" government in Minnesota with legislators fulfilling their self interests instead of the voter's. On the key issues tab of her page she says "I am a conservative on taxation and spending while at the same time being liberal on social and civil practices." This is a great way to summarize the Libertarian platform, and frankly the views of most Minnesotans who simply want to live their life free of an overbearing government. Lastly, unlike politicians in other political parties who can seemingly sway as far from the party platform as they'd like without question, Libertarians absolutely stand by their party values. 

To let voters know more about her she answered the following questions we sent her on the biggest issues we think face Washington County and the State based on the volume of views with these topics.

1.) What are your views on the un-elected Met Council spending billions of MN tax dollars on failed mass transit lines that don't relieve congestion or serve nearly as many riders as they forecast? Especially knowing that both parties are funding this problem see:
GOP Senate Passes $5.8 Billion Transportation Bill with $180 Million to Met Council & Mass Transit a Huge Raise
"The Met Council is unconstitutional because it is appointed by the Gov, and not elected, yet they issue a surtax upon us and overrule community decisions. (ask your mayor of Oak Park Heights, he hates them!). The people in the southwest metro are fighting a $2 billion dollar extension and in the east metro a $500 million dollar exclusive 'gold' bus road. The SWLRT was not funded in the Legislature, yet the Governor issued money to pay for it with a trick like an emperor, which we object to. Rail transit serves 5% of the people and not the 95% who drive, yet is paid for completely by those who drive cars. If it was a good idea, then private companies would get it on it too."

2.) Very few republicans voted against the $1.6 billion dollar bonding bill last session that was filled with unprecedented amount of pork. How would you vote, if elected, if the GOP again writes a $1.5 billion dollar bonding bill? see:
$1.6 BILLION 2017 Bonding Bill. Legislators Say They Refuse to Cut Any Pork.

"Excessive bonding, which is where the government essentially takes a loan from the people, on top of the tax they already take, to fund 'pork' projects that are outside of the need of everyday citizen services, is wrong in itself. While not being in the Legislature full time to know the details of the spending, we know are the 4th highest taxed state in the nation, and yet are forecasting a budget deficit of $188 million. The logic points to wasteful, irresponsible spending, which needs to be put in check."

3.) Both Karla Bigham and Denny McNamara are strong supporters of the proposed Red Rock Corridor Bus Rapid Transit line from your district up to St. Paul. What are your thoughts on the transit line? Consider the fact the one piece that has been built (the $6.45 million dollar bus stop) is a huge failure and likely the rest of the proposed line: Red Rock Corridor Faces Delays as 7 Facts Become Undeniable

"Some public transit is needed in congested areas, some is non-congested areas is nothing more than 'pork'. (pet projects to award money to corporations that support a politician). Such projects need more transparency, analysis, and partnership between public and private entities to assess the common sense of it before execution by government alone, which is all we currently see."

4.) There is a big problem with Child rape and under punished sex offenders in Washington County and across the State. Neither candidate you face will respond on if they plan to address this issue. Would you actively support or author bills to work on this issue? See: 
and

"Rape, and that of children, is one of the worst offenses imaginable. If proven to be true they deserve the harshest punishment imaginable. (I would need to examine the current system to see how the system is broken and how to fix it.) There has been a lot of controversy surrounding MN MSOP program that is utilizing civil commitment to keep sex offenders at risk of re offending out of the public.  I see this as the State of Minnesota's  way of keeping the community safe from offenders that show little promise or commitment to their treatment program. There needs to be tougher sentencing guidelines from the start when the accused are convicted and have had their due process. Recidivism rates, especially for those level 3 sex offenders are extremely high. "

5.) What are your thoughts on the The $170 Million Dollar Washington/Ramsey County Plan to Take Over Private Sector Garbage Processing? A hauler who lives in your district has said this government over reach is killing his business, not to mention the negative effect of burning garbage. Note Karla Bigham's stance on the topic: From Hero to Zero on the Environment: Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham

"I believe in protecting the environment AND business, it's doesn't have to be one or the other. Private trash haulers are efficient, affordable, and responsible, or they wouldn't be in business. Government taking over this private sector service is over reach and will eliminate jobs, totally unnecessary for something that is working fine already without government intervention. Free market choices work better."

6.) Is there anything else you'd like to tell voters about how you'd legislate if elected? 

"I am conservative on spending AND taxation, so if there isn't a clear win for the people of Minnesota and there isn't a transparent explanation of to whom and to where the money is going with projections I will always vote NO! Our legislature needs to provide more transparency and honesty when they author bills that affect the Minnesota tax payer. I am against lobbying, corporate inside influencing and swayed voting with backhand deals. I have had enough of it! Nobody makes a large purchase without looking at the return  I am a nurse so healthcare is something that I am passionate about. I would like to see a better mix of private and public healthcare options. We need safe staffing levels in our hospitals for not only the overworked nurses, but also for the safety of our patients while also being cost effective. I work for the correctional system and I would like to see more support for our correctional officers, officers, EMT's firefighters and our veterans. Our legislature denied a 2% cost of living increase for corrections officers, yet gave themselves a 45% pay raise by putting on the ballot a clearly misleading question.  I want to see felons be able to have the chance to truly rehabilitate from their past and earn the opportunity to have a clean back round check and become contributing members of society that will be able to find housing and jobs to support themselves, their family and contribute to society. We need affordable higher education so students graduating don't have as much debt as a traditional mortgage. We need to treat drug problems as a health problem instead of policing problem. While we are at it, lets legalize consumption of marijuana and pay for some of all that! "

Washington County Watchdog does not endorse any candidate or party. We keep all sides in check. All comments are my own and do not reflect the views of all the volunteer contributors to Washington County Watchdog. This is not an ad or campaign material and is not funded by any campaign or committee. -Matt Behning