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 Response Page - Civic Caucus Internal Discussion 10-08   

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Civic Caucus Discussion of 10-10

The Questions:

1. _8.4 average___
On a scale of (0) not at all helpful, to (5) neutral, to (10) extremely
helpful, how do you rate the work of the Civic Caucus for yourself?

2. _9.3 average___ On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong
agreement, should the Civic Caucus continue its role of offering information and
involvement without requiring participants to attend meetings?

3. The primary audience of the Civic Caucus appears to be: (Please check as
many as you like.)
a._6___ General public
b._22__ Elected and appointed officials in state and local government
c._23___ Non-governmental organizations involved in public policy
d._41___ Persons deeply interested in public policy

4. The Civic Caucus should: ( Please check only one.)

a._1___ Concentrate exclusively on providing information and involvement on
public issues while specifically refraining from making recommendations.

Concentrate mainly on providing information and involvement on
public issues, while being open to making occasional recommendations.

c._8___ Concentrate chiefly on making recommendations, with information and
involvement as by-products.

Dan Loritz (10) (10) (b-c-d) (b)

David Broden (10) (10) (b-c-d) (b)

Jody Hauer (8) (10) (d) (b)

Keep up the good work! I don't know where you find the time and energy to do everything the Civic Caucus appears to be doing.

Terry Stone (10) (10) (d) (b)
Notes on points made by core group members
• The general agreement that there are too many topics, seems incongruous with the idea of making the Caucus a go to organization. The necessary narrow tailoring of limited, but diverse, topics would seem to preclude the organization's role as a go to organization.
• To the list of things to which structural change is an over-riding theme you might consider adding communications and the concept of community (the Caucus being an example of a new genus of community). New definitions of community will have an impact on governance.
• It occurs to me that the production of public policy development facilitates the pigeonholing of the Caucus. My concern is that public policy styles are closely associated with political party philosophy by many.
The requirement of physical attendance at meetings tends to foster metrocentricity.

Warmest regards,

Carolyn Ring (8) (10) (d)

Tim McDonald (9) (10) (b,c,d) (c)

Norm Carpenter (7) (9) (a) (b)

I think the major topic for the next few months will be, what is in store for the Legislature (and local governments) in light of diminishing revenues? Glad to see you have Jay Kiedrowski and John Gunyou on the schedule: two guys who know the public finance issues!

Roy Thompson (8) (10) (b,c,d) (b)

Shirley Heaton (10) (10) (b,c,d) (a)

While inadequate participation hampers pro/con discussion, the Caucus is valuable thru information it imparts to others via its guest speakers.

Vici Oshiro (7) (7) (d) (b)
I would be in favor of occasional meetings where all would be invited to attend.

Re Peter Hutchinson: His power point presentation is compelling. Information is on web site, but I think it would be useful to have the power point itself available for circulation to any Civic Caucus members who have the appropriate software. This probably applies to some of the other speakers too.

Charles Lutz (9) (9) (b,d) (b)

Gerald Simonson (5) (9) (d) (c)

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (a,b,c,d) (b)

Ann Berget (8) (10) (b,d) (b)

Bob White (10) (10) (b,c,d) (b)

Clarence Shallbetter (8) (8) (c,d) (b)

Donald H. Anderson (7) (10) (b,c,d) (b)

As a long time retired government employee, I feel that the information is valuable to me, Unfortunately I feel I can't contribute any new perspectives. One major problem is getting currently employed persons to become involved, which is the case with so many organizations today.

Marina Lyon (8) (10) (b,d) (b)

Robert A. Freeman (9) (9) (a,b,c,d) (b)

Question 4: This is my understanding of what the Civic Caucus does now and I would like to see it continue.

Donna Schmitt (10) (9) (d) (b)
Question 1: This has been an amazing resource of information and very helpful at many different levels

Question 2: I am running for a local office so I don't have time to come to these meetings (sometimes haven't had time to answer the email-sorry) but making this information on-line has been a unique way to be somewhat of a part of this program. I still believe you should try to arrange an annual or semi-annual fundraiser/meeting/interview for this group so we can meet some of the other individuals who participate in this on-line discussion. I assume this group would be quite a wide variety of people but all of them would be passionate about their city and state government.

Question 3: Anyone that is participating in this discussion is interested in public policy. It doesn't matter if they are just a stay at home mom or a state rep, they all are interested or they wouldn't bother with this.

Question 4: This group should feel free to make recommendations. But it should also continue to post the recommendations of its participants.

Chuck Slocum (8) (10) (c,d) (b)

I think that while some progress has been made by the CC, objective #8 intimates a special role for selected veteran thought leaders, including potential leaders in office, and would urge that more focused attention be given on how that can be accomplished. CC can be a kind of purposeful “mentoring” organization leaving a legacy reflected in the kind of leaders we grow here in Minnesota. It’s the kind of thing that wise and experienced people do in honor of the generations that follow them.

Jan Hively (6) (10) (d) (b)
I feel ambivalent about the fact that you take on the "same old" topics. Others are not covering those bases, and therefore it's good that you are bringing them to our attention. On the other hand, there is a huge sea change going on and it feels as if your work is missing that fact. The question is whether working through the morass is going to get us farther than leapfrogging over it.

Follow up comment by Hively, when asked to elaborate:

Read "Capitalism 3.0" by Peter Barnes, Capitalism 2.0 is very close to being over. The consumer society is falling apart.

Consider the fact that brain cells renew themselves through the last breath, that people without seriously negative habits are likely to live to be 100 with few disabilities because of transplants,etc, and that the strong majority of the millenials and gen xers and younger boomers (those still in their 40s) expect to have to earn income all their lives. "Retirement' is close to being over. Ted Roszak's new book, "The Making of an Elder Culture" is significant (See

Read "The Extreme Future" by James Canton. It's time to avoid getting stuck, like most of this society is, in dealing with suffocating bureaucratic rules rather than shifting your eye to where the goal is and working back from there.

A good example of the problem lies in Linda Berglin's wonderful work with health care. She is so focused on delicate changes to specific programs that she's not paying attention to the fact that the groundswell of support for universal health care has probably grown to be a majority of the voters. Senator John Marty's bill is where the action is. That's different from last year.

As said by Stanley Kunitz, "Live in the layers, not on the litter."

John Nowicki (7) (9) (c,d) (c)

Robert J. Brown (10) (9) (b,c,d) (b)

Question 2: In my business (education) there is a great division between those who think the work can be done only by face-to-face meetings and those who think everything can be done electronically. As usual, some of each may be necessary because we all have different learning styles. The Civic Caucus provides a useful service by using technology to bring people together, but there may be occasions in which people need to “press the flesh” to further build relationships and understanding.
Question 3: Don’t forget educational institutions. Get the colleges involved and those who are doing civic education in the schools.
Question 4: Your approach seems to be reasonable – primarily providing information, but making some recommendations, Particularly with respect to government structure and process (e.g, the judicial selection or the stupid Constitutional amendment now on the ballot.)
A couple of other questions – What are you doing to build your relationship with communities of color, including getting some representation on your core group? And why not include the Mitch Pearlstein’s center to your potential collaborators? Also, our Graduate Program in Public Policy at St, Thomas would be willing to collaborate with you.

Alan Miller (7) (10) (d) (b)

Sara Amaden
If you are going to concentrate on process, I suggest you investigate the proliferation of task forces and working groups here at the legislature. I am aware of members who participate in as many as 15 of these ad hoc committees. As a conservative Republican, I am, first, concerned about the expanding reach of government and the excessive meddling of legislators. For example, Sen. Day was assigned to a task force that is attempting to determine how MNDOT can be more efficient. Second, legislators collect per diem for every one of these meetings that they attend, at the rate of $96 per day.

David Alden (9) (9) (d) (b)

Ed Dirkswager (9) (10) (b,d) (b)

Ray Schmitz (8) (10) (b,c,d) (b)

The assembly of 1000 folks to look at a topic monthly or more often would be amazing if done in person, but the virtual meeting is a fact of life and is replacing the face to face meeting. Perhaps going live, that is, having a blogger at the discussion reporting for that select audience with a greater interest or expertise would add to the value. If that is a success the ability to use internet video is expanding which could allow for live viewing, both of these technologies also allow for interaction with listeners able to ask questions through their computers.

Lyall Schwarzkopf (8) (9) (b,c,d) (b)

Austin Chapman (7) (7) (c,d) (c)

Jim Weaver (5) (5) (d) (c)

Wayne Jennings (9) (5) (b,c,d) (c)

Pat Davies (9) (10) (d) (c)

What gov't needs now are defined goals - I envision something like the full CL report attached to an easy-to read, easy-to-understand set of recommendations that will be the most that most policy makers will read. There are so many voices at the Legislature these days and so few that represent a fact-based set of proposals on important issues without self-interest. The CL is invisible at the session! I am a member of a voting rights group as one of the state LWV's reps and that strange little group has been surprisingly effective because they get over there and lobby, they enlist other groups with same desired outcomes, they help draft leg - really, the old CL model!!

Bill Frenzel (10) (10) (c,d) (c)

Bob and Jackie Olson (10) (10) (a,b,c,d) (b)

Ray Ayotte (10) (10) (a-d) (b)

Clint Schroeder (8) (1) (c,d)(b)

Eric Schubert (10) (10) (a,b,c,d) (b)

I think there's great potential for Civic Caucus and other "think tank" organizations to build "information sharing" collaborations rather than recreating a whole new internet based organization. I also would focus on collaborating with other think tanks to create an "Innovation Agenda" for Minnesota e.g., Pre-K-12 education, affordable/accessible college, health care, personal financial security, age wave/long-term care, bio sciences. Give something for policymakers to grab unto.

Right now we have such huge issues facing us, 2 million scattershot ideas, limited partnership, fragmented leadership and no shared blueprint for Minnesota. Aristotle talked about the common good. We need to update it for the 21st Century. Otherwise, in a global marketplace of ideas, commerce and action, our cold weather state could become a relic.

Jennifer Armstrong (6) (10) (d) (_)

Question 4: I'm torn between b and c. In either case, I want your policy recommendations.

Bright Dornblaser (10) (10) (b,d) (b)

Jim Keller (10) (7) (b,c,d) (b)
My input should be very limited, as I am a very new member and does not see the big picture. My impression thus far is that the organization sees itself as a group of intellectually honest and thorough members. This being the case, you should not limit agenda, but remain open to the major issues as they arise. Similarly, as a go to source, I believe it is incumbent upon you to make recommendations, when the situation dictates a position, as in the recent Constitutional amendment. I will look forward in the future to the informed interviews that you provide.

Sheila Kiscaden (6) (10) (b,c,d) (b)



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  Lee Canning,  Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel, 
Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and  John Rollwagen.  

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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