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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 

Speaker Kurt Daudt's MN Republican House Mafia Plans to Primary Against the GOP Endorsed Candidate

picture of Jeremy Munson from
his webpage 
Letter submitted to Washington County Watchdog and written to Speaker of the MN House Kurt Daudt regarding the 23B race to replace Tony Cornish who resigned. This is relative to Washington County because here too we've seen candidates that Kurt Daudt and his "Republican House Mafia" of establishment MN Republicans want elected pushed on us. Here the delegates chose the more fiscal conservative Jeremy Munson over the establishment pick and yet still they attack him and plan to primary against him January 29th before the February 12th vote. See more from the Alpha News MN article by John Gilmore: 
Jeremy Munson, The Republican House Mafia & The Primary Race In 23B

----------------
Dear Kurt,

I have heard from several folks that you have been actively campaigning
for a candidate to "primary" Jeremy Munson, who won the GOP endorsement
overwhelmingly for Tony Cornish's vacated seat. Is that true?

While I don't know Jeremy Munson at all, or the challenger, it is about
principle. I have always believed that ALL republicans should support
the endorsed candidate, period.

The Speaker of the House, in my opinion, should be a person who unifies
the party and STANDS BEHIND the delegates' choices. Supporting a
candidate to "primary" the endorsed candidate is a slap in the face to
every delegate in Minnesota, it seems to me, and results in division
within the party and severely harms election efforts.

If you have so little respect for the delegate process, why do you
continually seek the GOP endorsement for yourself?

Your regrettable action reminds me of John Kline's recent support for
the candidate who "primaried" Jason Lewis, after the delegates supported
Mr. Kline for over a decade. How pathetic.

Do the right thing now, Kurt, consider the damage that this causes to
your party and get behind the endorsed candidate and show some much
needed leadership. It will benefit all of us. Isn't GOP supposed to
mean "Grow Our Party"? How can the party grow when its leaders display
contempt and disrespect for the choices of delegates?


Andy Cilek
Eden Prairie