1. Are you, like
Sturdevant, bullish on Minnesota's future?
2. Is the
Internet likely to play a significantly greater role in fundraising
and campaigning in the 2010 Minnesota Governor's race than ever
3. Should more
emphasis be made on utilizing volunteers in helping deliver public
services in Minnesota?
8.9 %___qualified no
When the Civic
Caucus looks at "big issues," I'm hoping that you will include aging.
It impacts everything from state budgets to community planning to the
workforce to volunteerism and beyond. If you'd like someone to talk
about it, Kathryn Roberts and I could come by.
1. I am bullish
if we have more creativity combined with more collaborative leadership
and desire to collectively achieve. "No new taxes" is not
collaboration, it is not creativity, nor is it sustainable in an
ultra-competitive global world. No new taxes and the line it has
drawn is a complete cop out; just as "all new spending" is a cop out.
The issues are far too big, we're far too small of a population in too
cold of a place, and the world is moving much too fast for
Minnesota to in-fight, rest on history and not be innovating like
crazy with a laser-like focus on moving this state measurably and
2. It will for the
person who wins.
3. Yes. But to
be successful in that we also have to have people in the bully pulpit
who can inspire and motivate people to join a cause larger than
themselves - the future of Minnesota. Minnesota has taken the last
8-12 years off. And we're paying the price by a fragmented,
weakened society at a time we need all muscles flexing.
Question 2: Yes
Question 3: I
Question 1: I
think Minnesota can have a big impact on the future of this nation.
We are a state of people who desire to see the best in people. We
are optimistic, how else could we live through a cold winter? It is
only because we know spring will come. We have an outstanding pool of
volunteers. We have a history of people who are hard workers, and new
ethnic groups that are calling Minnesota home also prove that they
pride themselves in working hard to make a living.
Question 2: There
is no doubt that the internet will determine the winner in the coming
election. No matter what party you represent, the Obama campaign has
'set the bar' for any future elections. All parties have seen how
campaigns can be won or lost on the merits of their internet savvy.
But it also proves again, that races are also won by 'looks'. How
young a candidate looks compared to his opponent could win or lose an
It also means that
any little 'flub' will be on the internet in less than an hour and up
on YouTube for eternity! YouTube has to be used by any campaign to
get its own message out. Getting people to give you email addresses
and cell phone numbers will help any campaign. Obama's campaign was
the master of everything from controlling the news stories to
Question 3: We
are dependent on volunteers throughout many public venues. Volunteers
help read books to students in libraries and schools. Volunteers
assist police at special events through the police reserve program.
(Columbia Heights uses them in many situations.) Many cities or
communities still have volunteer firefighters. Columbia Heights
utilizes a youth volunteer program in their fire department and has
been able to mentor young people and seen many of those youth grow up
and become firefighters or police officers. Volunteers sit on city
commissions. Volunteers help clean up our highways several times a
year. Cities, such as Minneapolis, are asking citizens to adopt an
abandoned home by helping to cut grass, pick up garbage and just watch
for criminal activity. Columbia Heights is even looking at utilizing
volunteers to supervise activities in their new community gym.
Because of budget cuts, we are asking other groups to help with
sprucing up our local playgrounds and ball fields and have several
groups come forward to help. Every year we have a number of
volunteers who care for our city flowerbeds.
So when you ask if
we should have citizens assist in public services, they already are.
Can they do more? Definitely yes! We have not even reached our
potential. People do want their communities to be inviting to others
and they want their communities to look good. The best way to do that
in these times is to utilize local youth, civic and faith groups to
fill in needs.
We have many needs
and we have many people that could be helping but they may not know
where to start. We also have a number of people who are spending days
without work and to fill in that time between looking and waiting for
an interview they could be volunteering a few hours a week to help
give them some purpose through these tough times. Websites like
can connect people
with needs to those who can help fill those needs. Cities can take
the same idea and do things on a very local level. If the city
decides it needs something in spite of budget cuts, get the word out
and if it is really worthwhile, volunteers should come forward to fill
Carolyn Ring (yes) (yes) (yes)
Press (no) (no) (yes)
Question 1: I am more concerned than bullish. We still have not
solved the educational issue for our next generation of workers. I
worry that our public sector finds expenditures only as expenses and
not investments. Without a people resource, we really have no
Question 2: Yes
Question 3: You should visit with LaRhae Knatterud of DHS. She has
done a lot of thinking about this. The positioning of volunteers in
the public delivery of services is a huge opportunity and an equally
huge set of issues.
Question 1: Much
turns on the outcome of the next governor's race.
Question 2: Yes -
especially for fundraising, and communicating info about meetings.
But candidates still need direct exposure in winning voter support.
Question 3: As
much as possible, but not a substitute for services that are basic and
needed. Volunteer help should be supplementary.
White (conditionally, yes; a short-horned bull) (yes) (yes)
Question 1: Yes.
Question 2: Only
because folks don't read the paper or news magazines. It bothers me
if we get bad journalism distributed by supposedly convenient
technology. If we cannot support good reporting we will pay the
price. From what I read on the internet that is a problem.
Question 3: Not
necessarily. After all volunteering does not create the jobs which
everyone says we need. One of my pet peeves is that professional
sports does not create lower level jobs because volunteers man the
food booths at the ball parks. The price collected for items goes
disproportionately to the owner of the sports arena and not to those
who provide the service. I am convinced that the greed of those who
control economic opportunity in our society often works to the dis-benefit
of society as a whole. The more we rely on volunteers the less we
value fair return for service rendered.
Question 1: Maybe
- Minnesota is a changed state/environment. Some businessw entities
will prevail, others will die. Quality of education needs serious
Question 2: yes
Question 3: I keep
harping on this same issue. We have money to spend worldwide and
lack money for our needs. We who have been around a while continue to
be amazed at government spending and asking us for endless fees in
addition to high taxes and volunteering. I volunteer because I want
to, not to substitute for state and federal responsibilities.
Robert J. Brown
The change in the
management of our leading businesses from local people who developed
them and had a commitment to the community to professional managers
who do not have the sense of commitment to our state is a problem and
it has to be dealt with in new creative ways.
The decline in the
print media will mean we will not have thoughtful people Like Lori,
Steve Dornfeld, Dane Smith and others being employed and given the
opportunity to comment with fairness and some depth to help the
citizens understand major policy issues.
Question 1: yes
Charles Lutz (yes) (yes) (yes)
Question 1: yes,
but we need to fund required services even though it may require
Question 2: yes
Question 3: yes
But we must find a way to recruit knowledgeable volunteers.
Question 1: No.
Unless we beef up education and look/demand more from state
government for investment in infrastructure, including education, I
Question 2: Yes,
but with older population and greater Minnesota not so
computer-friendly candidates will still have to travel, use local
media--radio and TV--and get out and meet voters. Governors' races
are different from presidential. Look what happened in Virginia this
week. The less well-known, less financed won.
Question 3: No.
Volunteers should stick to helping non-profits and become more active
in politics and community organizing. We have to accept we will have
to pay taxes for decent public services.
Question 1: No.
It's a nice thing to say, but where is the evidence?
Question 2: Yes,
although I wonder how much greater is "greater"? It already plays a
very big role. An interesting consequence of this change could be a
reduction in the role played by older voters, many of whom have not
adopted newer technologies for these activities. Especially
interesting at a time where these voters represent such a large share
of the population and use of public funds (health care, social
Question 3: No,
this is not a stable way of delivering services. Volunteers are not
accountable to the public. Public services are usually essential
services and are paid for with public dollars. We cannot afford to
depend on the good will of volunteers to provide essential services.
Dillon (10) (8) (8)
Lori has an
editorial writer’s skill and awareness for presenting political
neutrality. Only the occasional slip makes her political subtext
obvious to the attentive policy wonk. “We need to get past the notion
that government is the problem, and get good, efficient government.”
This makes Lori the princess of paradox; the queen of the
quintessential oxymoron; the matron of the mutually exclusive.
Reality and propaganda are increasingly blurred in Minnesota. Our
state is buying into climate change along with other environmental and
social philosophies that are both imported and owned by special
interests. Much of this junk science is intellectually entertaining,
but financially unsustainable as government policy. California
provides a budgetary sneak preview of the fruits of quaint
environmentalism and naďve social policy. That guy on the California
quarter is not Johnny Apple Seed; it’s the founder of the Sierra Club.
To make matters
worse, we are almost certainly seeing the end of a period of
devolution in federalism that began about 1995 when the states took
back control of their highway speed limits after 21 years of federal
mandates. About the same time, President Clinton signed a bill that
gave responsibility for welfare to the states. Contemporaneously, a
number of Supreme Court rulings favored the authority of the states.
The states have taken a firm lead in the control of illegal
toward federal control has been developing since the Bush
Administration solidified federal authority over national security
with the Patriot Act and over education with No Child Left Behind. The
Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended, has been a consistent and strong
countercurrent toward federal control of all navigable water. Jim
Oberstar’s Clean Water Restoration Act would exponentially expand
federal control to mean all water and everything that affects all
water. The Obama Administration’s proposals for cap and trade schemes
significantly provide unfettered federal dominance over climate
In view of the vast
departure from the culture of independence that made Minnesota what it
is, it strikes me that only a Minnesotan well left of center can be
bullish on the future of any state. As Governor Pawlenty stated on
national television June 4th, 2009, “Minnesota just doesn’t
have the look and feel of the state we knew and loved.” Pawlenty is an
There is no doubt.
that the public services referenced are neither public safety nor
highway maintenance. Welfare is an area where volunteers have
delivered meaningful, if uneven, public services at local, state,
national and international levels.
My experience with
church and civic groups involved in helping the needy is that these
groups are typically more emotionally engaged with the recipients of
the services. This sets up the individual volunteers, and the
organizations involved, for exploitation by a small, expensive and
tenacious subclass of individuals who have honed the milking of the
system to an art form.
If government is
an incompetent and inefficient conveyor of services, it aspires, at
least, be to an equal opportunity offender. It is more colorblind and
politically equalitarian than, say, an ACORN or a Hamas chapter.
Hamm (yes) (yes) (yes)
I must say I was
quite impressed with that interview and her suggestion for what the
civic caucus should do until it grows up.
1. Yes if we look
to the past to see what worked and why. Then we can begin to unwind
this central planning model we have fallen into and put local citizens
back in control of creating more positive outcomes based on ownership
2. Yes, but I
predict advertising revenues won't decrease.
3. Yes again,
especially where children are concerned but not under the thumb of
social services feminist overtones.
Question 1: For
Minnesota’s future to be positive means putting to rest the social
issues which are the basis for the partisan politics, true reform in
education(year round school) and health care reform where the state
guarantees everyone basic health care but plays a very limited role in
expensive high tech health care.
Question 2: Yes
Question 3: No.
Ms Sturdevant mentioned that one use of volunteers would be attending
to the many children who do not receive proper care and supervision.
Volunteers are not a substitute for asking why any child in these
times is not planned for or born out of wedlock. In 2009 there isn’t
any excuse for this to be happening and is destroying the next
generation. No amount of volunteers will fix this. The sexual
revolution of the last 40 years has been based on the right of women
to control their own bodies. I support this change but we need to
hold women responsible for their actions just as we do men.
Question 1: Yes generally, but the challenges of energy and lack of effective political leadership is concerning.
Question 2: Yes, but the issue is lack of balance, sources such as the MN Post news have to mature.
Question 3: That is difficult, speaking as a volunteer government does not do a good job with volunteers, there is a lack of confidence that goes both ways.
Question 1: Yes,
but not with the current governor's lack of leadership for education,
health and business. We have great resources but need forward thinking
and imaginative legislators working in a less partisan matter.
Question 2: I am
sure that it will as it has with the recent presidential campaign. I
would like to see the availability of videos of candidates on various
issues via the Internet.
Question 3: Yes,
we have barely scratched the surface of volunteerism. One example:
every student in the K-12 system is itching to be useful and
productive. It's a tremendous force for making better schools and
Doubtful. Do not see the leadership from govenment or the business
community; some from foundations and of course the CL. Partisanship,
special interests vs. a culture and processes to reach agreement on
the common goods, on the facts about the impact of taxes on our
economy, on how to restructure to reduce the large state expenditures,
on the common values
Question 2: Yes if
somehow people can be drawn to position papers and explanation about
them vs. repetitive sound bites in the internet medium. Obama had
good position papers and people were drawn to look at them, because of
interest in him. Can that be replicated?
Question 3: It
should be a "no brainer". But it needs imaginative leadership from
both the public and private leadership to develop incentives and
processes to make it really feasible and meaningful.
I am bullish on
Minnesota's future- provided we create a business friendly climate
which includes LOWER taxes and fewer regulations for business. If
Sturdevant's current ideas are anything like the liberal ideas she
usually espouses, she would have a socialist utopia that will strangle
business and drive it out of our state. I could write you an entire
essay on this one. I dispute the claim that Sturdevant's reporting is
probably won't work with everything but the concept would reduce taxes
provided the program is administered by a politically neutral
Hively (no) (yes) (yes)
Frankly, I prefer
the 1 to 10. I have difficulty in answering Yes or No to anything.
It's always "Yes, but" or "No, but". Gene Cohen's book, "The Mature
Mind" explains that our thinking is more complex now that we are using
both hemispheres (a shift that occurs in midlife). Maybe that
explains my "shades of grey" attitude.
Question 3: Yes, but only on terms that are acceptable to boomer
volunteers. Boomers want to do meaningful work, paid or unpaid,
that matches their interests and skills and "gives back" to the
community. They prefer project-based volunteering and are not likely
to show up for a regular weekly schedule because they want to keep
their schedules flexible. Also, they want some incentives -- perhaps
a stipend or scholarship, or at least money to cover expenses --
contractual relationships -- opportunities for teamwork -- and the
same respect provided to regular employees. Many boomers will never
see "retirement" because they have no savings and will need to
continue to earn enough to supplement SS and purchase supplementary
health care. We need to find the middle ground -- part-time
employment, stipended volunteer jobs, etc.
Question 1: No,
at- risk children need to be motivated to learn; the corporate tax
needs to be reduced (better would be to eliminate it); need less
redundancy in state regulation.
Probably, but most of the potential candidates will not know how to
use it effectively
Question 1: Given
Minnesota's history, yes! However, there needs to be consistency and
leadership that is authentic and not self-serving. We need some good
old prairie populism and vision to keep moving into a prosperous
Question 2: It
appears that may happen as it has happened nationally.
Question 3: It is
an idea however, everything costs something and people need to eat.
Question 1: No! Minnesota is resting upon economic laurels which no
longer exist. The State must improve its efficiency, lower its cost,
and more effectively manage its education system so that students
learn what students in other countries are learning. Education in
Minnesota is a giant rip-off.
Sturdevant decries the decline of corporate leadership, and
justifiably so. However, Minnesota has lost its substantial technical
edge in computer. Honeywell has been acquired by a less capable
company. Northwest Airlines was plundered by incompetent financial
jugglers with neither experience nor money. Our once strong
agricultural equipment businesses are mostly gone. Other companies
have moved much production out of Minnesota because of costs. The two
largest banks have undergone mergers, poor judgment, and ill-guided
speculation. Yes, we have a decline in corporate leadership -- perhaps
because we have fewer corporations.
suppose, but shouldn't we be able to find higher quality candidates
who emerge because of solid character and relevant abilities rather
than internet fundraising prowess?
Why? We pay an arm
and a leg for state and public services -- much more per capita than
Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, the Dakotas, and many other states. What we
get for these very high costs is early retirement for public
employees, lucrative pensions, and mediocre performance. We do not
need more volunteers, even though their efforts can be useful. What we
need is a dramatic overhaul of how Minnesota delivers public services
-- in education, social services, and other areas. Minnesota has an
enormous managerial gap -- not a staffing gap.
The Minneapolis Community Development operates out of a refurbished
flour mill with a newly minted indoor waterfall -- no doubt at
enormous cost. These nice people do seem to want to attract
manufacturers to Minneapolis, but it seems doubtful that either the
waterfall or the new landscaping for the incinerator will provide a
sufficient draw to attract any industry. There are many other examples
of both Minnesota's staffing and Minnesota's proceeds being misspent.
Question 1: Ask
me this question again in January 2011. I think the upcoming election
for governor could be a watershed event. As Lori noted, this state has
been on the wane in recent years, but that need not be our future.
Leadership and vision is key – that’s why we have the political
parties. Let’s see if they – and the voters – are up to the challenge.
Question 2: Yes,
it’s a game changer.
Maybe and to get citizens to do more of the work of government
Robert A. Freeman
employer) is a member of LifeSciences Alley, which is a trade group
representing many of the bio-tech, pharmaceutical and device companies
in the upper Midwest, one of the most important and innovative areas
of our economy. If the Civic Caucus is still interested in having a
session on the future of bio-tech, I would strongly recommend that you
contact Phil Griffin (who represents LifeScience Alley) and Frank
Jaskulke (who staffs the organization) to find someone who has unique
expertise in this area of public policy and can come in to talk with
you. I have also copied both these gentlemen on the email.
Donald H. Anderson
Question 1: Yes,
to a certain extent. Namely, can we get over this extreme partisanship
that exists currently.
Probably, although there still are a lot of people that don't have
internet access or savvy.
Definitely, if we can get the baby boomer generation to volunteer.
Lowther (yes) (yes) (no)
Volunteers are tapped out. Volunteers come from the 20% of the
population who are active contributors to society, helping everything
to operate from churches to non-profits. Government cannot push on to
this group obligations that the entire society should rightfully
Question 2: Yes
Question 3: There
needs to be much greater emphasis on community groups, religious and
otherwise, not just on "volunteers". In fact the use of the term
volunteer does not do justice to the concept of an emphasis on groups
that form because of a community of interest.
this must have been fun!
Slocum (yes) (yes) (yes)
Question 1: How
can one from any state in the union not be? But it's the volunteerism
that concerns me. As an active, 80-year-old retiree, living in a
retirement community, there is need to re-evaluate the training and
productive use of volunteers in areas not considered before; e.g.
public services in addition to hospitals; mentoring, in addition to
educational programs. In our days in the work world, we were not all
teachers or nurses' aides. I hate to think we have to wait until the
retiring 'Baby Boomers' come aboard to put a new 'spin' on the
wonderful world of volunteerism for those beyond 65 or 70.
Question 2: I
suggest waiting for a report from some PhD genius subsequent to
his/her evaluation of Obama's election campaign to answer this query.
Broden (yes) (yes) (yes)
Question 1: Bullish because serious people
and organizations are seeking to find solutions and recommendations
for the future of Minnesota. The underlying Minnesota strength remains
and the need is to bring that energy back to the top and to turn the
ideas into action. The various dialogues in process and the
2010 Governor's race set an appropriate stage to make the vision
clearly and to get public endorsement.
Question 2: Yes, and appropriately. It is
incumbent on the candidates, the parties, and the various media in the
state to make this happen in a way that encourage all citizens to
become engaged in the process and the dialogue.
with the following comment--the term volunteer is overused and is
often not accepted--there is a definite need to change the reference
to mentoring or some other key word. With the expanding number of baby
boomer retirees and other available to mentor and or participate there
needs to be a focus on this approach by both government and industry
with appropriate incentives.
Question 1: I am
not as bullish as Sturdevant, but I am still positive about Minnesota
Question 2: Yes
Question 3: No,
but volunteers are important to make non profit and other
organizations work well. Many retired citizens are ready to
I am bullish on Minnesota's future as well as in the future of the
U.S. I wonder, though, if we haven't been living in a bubble for the
last decade or two. I think perhaps the future for all of us will be
a little more pragmatic, a little closer to reality.
Look at how the Obama campaign used the internet and used it
successfully. Pandora's box is open and the Internet is a great tool.
It seems as though there is a great big pool of possible volunteer
workers in our retired population. How do we connect them to where
they are needed?
Question 1: Yes
Question 2: Yes
As long as the
participants are independent of religious, and political
Question 1: No.
Our natural resources may still be there but utilization, management
and vision has changed dramatically. Education provided the basis for
continued development, world wide education has advance while MN has
been more static.
Question 3: Yes,
but a committee won't help. There has to be a population change in
attitude toward community betterment.
Question 1: Absolutely
Question 2: Already is doing so - i.e. see Entenza, Ritchie, Walz,
house caucus!_Will certainly build on this - with the Obama operation
as a model.
Question 3: Instead of flooding caucuses, people who care about ideas
in government ought to flood the next Citizens League annual meeting
and take back the board and get the organization to being involved in
proposing good ideas and working at the legislature and with the
governor to enact them._The legislature judges proposals that are
brought to it; that is its role. It does not come up with solutions -
so instead of bemoaning this reality, the Civic Caucus ought to
develop some good proposals - thinking concretely about them, not in
general terms like "utilize volunteers". But working out what exactly
can be done with this idea and where can it be implemented. Probably
takes more resources and staff than CC has, hence my revolution pitch.
George Pillsbury (somewhat) (yes) (yes)
It's hard to see
much evidence to support the sense that (affirmative)government can
now save us. Mostly we see 'government', the elected officials,
unwilling to offend; unable to contain expenditure, continually
fudging hard choices. Would you bet against Congress (a) expanding
medical/hospital insurance while (b) not acting effectively to
control costs in the system? Pawlenty might be an exception, but note
how the role he played doesn't meet test of 'strong government' that
many of its advocates favor.
Earlier it was
left to private individuals and families to face-reality,
accept-necessity. Now we've made that a responsibility of the
political system. And there's little indication the political system
will be able to handle that responsibility. We need to do all we can,
especially here at home. But it's naive to be optimistic.
Question 1: Yes.
There are many problems, of course, but we must always be hopeful. I
prefer a stronger word like "hope", rather than "bullish." There is a
theological meaning to hope. Without it, we can do nothing. With it,
so many things are possible.
Question 2: I am
not an expert on this but I think so. Probably all compaigns will be
different and will, in different ways, follow Obama's example.
Question 3: Yes.
I am a volunteer in many causes and glad to be one. One
cautionary thought is that volunteers cannot do it all. Volunteers
cannot be expected to follow a regular work day. For example, I will
be willling to work hard for our causes, but when Wendy and I decide
to go to our vacation home in Bayfield, WI, we go. So we, like most
volunteers, are not strongly disciplined in our schedule. Repeating,
volunteers can be most helpful and association with good causes beyond
their own direct interests enriches the lives of thousands of
volunteers, most of them older people, in Minnesota.
Bullish is too strong a word...but I think we have the human capital
and the social conscience to continue to seek to be innovators and to
recreate the will to invest in our communities, our children, the
Question 2: Without question.
Question 3: At
this point we need to seek ways through both the public and non-profit
sectors for meaningful involvement of volunteers of all ages...and in
the private sector for more flexible work schedules that can
accommodate the work/life balance needs of employees of all ages.
Question 1: I am
not bullish on Minnesota's future. We are a small, cold state and
depended on our famous quality of life to attract and keep people
here. However, we changed our tax system in the 1990's to create a
systemic deficit in state funding until now, we have made so many cuts
in our public infrastructure that our "Minnesota Quality of Life" is
at risk. Given present demographics, I do not see an easy recovery
Question 2: The internet is already taking a larger role, so my
answer is yes.
Question 3: What we really need is a state that does not have to
depend on volunteers to do jobs that should be paid for. (Yes, I
agree that it is important to have a strong volunteer community.
However, I strongly believe our state would be much better off if we
were willing to pay for essential services, including the jobs that
maintain public and private services that we need.)
How come one of
your questions was not about banking? Banks used to be mostly, if
not all, local. It is not a good thing that they are not now.
I would love to have banks act like banks, i.e. the engines that make
the economy run. They should not be seen as corporate entities,
separate from being an active part in making our communities work.
Question 2: Yes,
but we will always need the separate eye of the
reporters/editorialists. And we need them to take the same risks that
members of the general public take. When they see something harmful
to out state or nation (whatever their focus), they are obligated to
speak out. I do it everyday in my "circle", and am expected to. I
and others need the help of those in the print Media.
Maybe. However the only ones that can really afford to do so are the
retired. Somehow I do not think that is what is envisioned.
Halstead (no) (yes) (yes)
Question 1: The most recent and current legislature, Governors and
local leaders have and are failing to make common sense legislation
and decisions in the best interests of the State and communities.
Question 2: I am very concerned about the Governor's unallotment
decision as it regards financing for individuals that lack financial
Question 3: Yes, with additional financial resources and better
Question 1: No -
at one time our largest employers were IBM, Honeywell, CDC, and 3M -
now it is the state of MN and other public entities._The current tax
suggestions appear to hit small business, where the job growth is
Question 2: Yes
Question 3: This
is a confusing question - to the extent that there is public support
for charitable organizations volunteers are very helpful - Volunteers
within a government operation usually are frustrated by rules and