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 Response Page - Durenberger / Pettingill  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
David Durenberger / Dick Pettingill Interview of

The Questions:

1. _9.0 average_____On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether a healthy Minnesota future will require more cooperation among organizations in the private sector as well as the public sector?

2. _6.8 average____On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether candidates for Governor should be evaluated more on their ability to broker others' ideas than their ability to generate ideas themselves?

3. Any matters missing in this summary that you wish would have been addressed?
(see comments below)

Joe Mansky (10) (5)

Rick Bishop (10) (7)

Robert J. Brown (10) (8)

Question 1: This cooperation must start with working on the political process so we have candidates for public office who represent something other than the political extremes that dominate today.

Question 2: I would hate to see a governor who had no ideas of his or her own, but the reality has always been that very few good political ideas originate with elected officials. For example, I used to ask my students whose idea was it to have a Peace Corps. They would invariably say President Kennedy, but then I would point out that he got the idea from Humphrey who got the idea from one of Richard Wilsonís columns in the Minneapolis paper.

Good leaders have some ideas of their own and even when they get ideas from others they learn to modify and shape those ideas to meet the needs of the day and to deal with political reality.

Wayne Jennings (10) (8)
Question 3: For 50 years, Iíve wanted universal health care as a matter of right and have seen almost all nations attain it. Whatís the real problem for America? Is it even rational to be opposed and to obfuscate by quibbling on details and using terms like ďsocialized medicineĒ? How would our quests have addressed those questions?

Bert Press (10) (0)

Dave Pierson (4) (4)

Vici Oshiro (10) (both/and)

Question 3: Focus on candidates useful, but a small part of the problem. A candidate too far in the lead will not get elected even if endorsed. I hope Dick Pettingill drums up the patience to go to his caucus even if it is disorderly. The issues raised are important ones, but someone(s) need to find a way to articulate solutions and sell them to the voters. And it cannot sound like a longing for the good old days, but a way to create a positive future.

Donald H. Anderson (10) (7)

Shari Prest (10) (8)

Eric Schubert (10) (10)

Question 2: No one person can come up with everything. Minnesota would benefit from a leader who is a selfless convener, collaborator and catalyst for innovation and results.

Ellen Benavides (10) (8)
Please include the nonprofit or third sector in your thinking/future discussions. This was a fascinating conversation to "listen in" on.

Rick Krueger (10) (10)
Interestingly, I believe the political process rewards (and mostly gives recognition to) those least likely to listen to divergent opinions and unable to build a consensus. For example, when the state shut down about four years ago, almost no attention went to Senator Dallas Sams (DFL) and Dennis Ozment (Rep.) who were able to reach a consensus for their finance division and averted a shut-down in the agencies that they shared lead responsibility.

Another sterling example of bipartisanship was the leadership in the Senate when Duane Benson (Rep.) and Roger Moe (DFL ) headed their respective caucuses. I have never witnessed before or after a minority leader (in this case Duane) who became an integral part of major policy. In fact the entire Minnesota Care Initiative was lead in a mostly bipartisan fashion which included Governor Carlson (the glaring exception was the House Republicans).

The challenge is how to get the recognition focused on this type of true leadership, versus the 'hand grenade lobbers' in the process.

Paul Hauge (10) (11)

Al Quie (10) (0)

Jeanne Massey
Iíve been loosely following the conversations about the 2010 governorís race. I donít see that RCV/election reform is yet a major part of the conversation, but am hoping it can become one in your interviews regarding the race moving forward. It was a lost opportunity not to seek in depth Dave Durenbergerís views on this issue. He is very eloquent on the topic.

We see the 2010 race as a pivotal opportunity to advance the case for ranked choice voting.

See op-ed I wrote for MPR. FairVote MN plans to make RCV an issue in this election, including the use of RCV straw polls (see DFL straw poll event Sept 15th) and, hopefully, ranked polling, among several other strategies (including, we hope, the civic caucus). Ellen just emailed the PiPress about doing ranked polling. I know this is an issue of interest to you and the 2010 race is another opportunity to make the case for doing ranked polling and to move this possibility forward.

Fairvote is seeking the formal support of all candidates running for governor. Most on the DFL slate are supporters ( and we hope to seek the support from some of the Republican candidates as well, now that it is in open race in the Republican party.

MPR piece:

DFL straw poll:

Larry Schluter (10) (9)
Very interesting discussion. We need leadership more than ever.

David Mooty (10) (8)

Carolyn Ring (10) (10)

Leadership is the "key." Good ideas may come from a variety of sources, and, hopefully, the Governor-elect will surround himself with the most innovative people. Then, the Gov. with leadership qualities, can take the ideas to the legislature and electorate for successful adoption. We must get more younger people interested in good government. Also, new leaders in business and industry too often are not from this area and do not have the interest of the Daytons., Pillsbury,s. Bingers, etc. Just look at the companies that no longer have their headquarters and native leadership here. Exp. Honeywell, Dain (Canada), Piper, ( Switzerland) and on and on.

David Detert (10) (4)

Ray Cox (10) (5)

I think it is essential that a Governor provide leadership and have sound, clear ideas and goals to put forward. However, it is just as important for a Governor to be able to work with others and broker 'deals' that work for Minnesota. One should never forget President Reagan's comment, when asked about how he got things done with a Democrat congress, "I was taught that it is better to have two-thirds of a loaf (of bread), than no loaf and leave the table hungry." We cannot have an attitude of 'it's my way or nothing'.

Debbie Frenzel (4) (7)

Bright Dornblaser (10) (3)

Jim Keller (8) (10)

Fred Zimmerman (8) (5)

Ray Ayotte (10) (8)

Kent Eklund (10) (10)

Bill Frenzel (10) (10)

Question 1: When we had more private org. coop. we did better. As it has declined, so has MNís health.

Question 2: My own experience is that without ďidea peopleĒ the world is a dreary place, but they usually donít even manage themselves very well, much less the affairs of government.

David Hutcheson (8) (8)

Robert A. Freeman (10) (6)
Question 1: Itasca Project is a shining example of how this is achieved.

Question 2: The governor has the bully pulpit and he or she needs to bring a vision to the office. At the same time, they need to collaborate with the legislature to address problems.

Question 3: Would have been great to hear Pettingill and Durenberger's perspectives on how health reform is progressing in DC and what it says about presidential leadership.

Ray Schmitz (10) (8)
Missing, not necessarily missing, but I am concerned that the comments were lacking a certain level of actual experience. While I generally agree that there has been a lack of open leadership at the state, and in many local, government bodies I read nothing
that leads me to believe that he had the key to that issue. Actually, his criticism of the children hospital issue, while he did not clarify when it happened, that is, on his watch or not, was an example of private sector paralysis that rivaled the government. His area of experience is among the most entrenched and hidebound, hospital and medical practice seems to be to be the problem not a solution to today's problems. If Mayo has answers, and I think they may have some, it is not because they have been innovative recently, other than building an integrated system to funnel customers to the mother ship, but because the model that was established originally was structured soundly. Their internal
decision making is draconian in its complexity, the cost savings that they recently have been doing is only after staff had been suggesting many of them for years. Back to the issue, a major problem is that the candidates seem to be coming from the existing failed structure, that is, the leadership of the house and senate are high on the list, they are the people who could not make it happen why should we look to them for new leadership. Some, not many, of the others may have that capability, the mayors of St. P and Mpls may be the best leaders that we have in the state.

Bill Hamm (7.5) (9)
Question 1: While I agree with the concept, the trouble comes in defining which of those two sectors is in the leadership role and why. What seems obvious is the degree to which the public sector wants to dominate and manipulate the private sector. The private sector is clearly and correctly resisting this effort. Remember, cooperation is a 2 way street that requires respect and recognition of the strengths and weaknesses of the other party. I don't see that happening yet.

Question 2: Minnesota has had several very good examples of this, perhaps the last being Arne Carlson. The ability to set ego and partisanship aside for the greater good rather than setting a strategy looking only at reelection is very important for someone in our Governor's office. Someone who can view an obstacle in there path as a challenge to be overcome or an opportunity to create dialog will serve us much better than those committed to fighting at every opportunity over partisan ideals.

The connection between the issues raised above and the federal takeover of education. Without Minnesota taking back control of our education system we will correctly see increasing resistance of the private sector to being manipulated and controlled by the ever public sector. Yes we can occasionally turn back the clock and yes we must return to our founding principles of less governmental control based on demonstrated need rather than Socialist ideals.

Joe Nathan
It's interesting to hear and read the push for political leaders who can be compromisers. Many of the finest leaders helped us make progress because they fought for good ideas and did not compromise. A few examples:

1. Rudy Perpich, who fought hard for Post-Secondary Enrollment Options and open enrollment. This took enormous courage. But if he had not pushed so hard for these programs, they would not have happened.

2. Connie Levi - She had a huge role in Post Secondary Enrollment Options being adopted. She was pushed hard to compromise, but didn't. The team of Perpich and Levi was a historic one - and more than 100,000 kids have participated in PSEO, and really gained from it (we have research on this).

3. Hubert Humphrey - pushed hard while mayor for major improvements in civil rights (including his speech at the national Democratic party).

4. George Latimer & district heating in St. Paul. There was a lot of heat (sorry) generated by this idea but it proved to be very good, and far ahead of its time. Latimer did not compromise, and history proved him right.

I'm concerned that in our push for "compromise", very good ideas will be significantly altered and never given a real chance because it appears there is so much support for compromise.

Sometimes the wise leader pushes hard for an idea, sometime she/he must compromise. But if we make compromising the only wise approach, I think we will have neglected to fully describe effective leaders.

David Broden (8) (5)
Question 1: I agree that more cooperation or real verified cooperation is a must. The question I ask is --isn't this cooperation happening and yet the results are unclear. Perhaps a better question is to make the cooperation and coordination more relevant and results oriented to make some real things happen and not end in discussion only. Bottom Line is it the lack of cooperation or is it the topic and how the topic is addressed. I would argue it may be the latter suggesting the process is very broken but the resources remain available in some degree.
Question 2: The ideas must come from across the board --no one person or group should be viewed as having the only and complete solution. The governor of the campaign in 2010 and the elected individual must accept others ideas as well as promoting his own agenda. Achieving this approach on a bipartisan basis must be the key. This will require state political parties to be lead by personnel not clearly visible at this time.

Terry Stone (8) (3)
Question 1: One must wonder why the partnership between government and corporate participation has broken down. Itís well known that the 19 Fortune 500 companies that are based in Minnesota do not manufacture here. Thatís a problem.

Minnesota takes longer to provide permits for projects and businesses than any state in the Midwest. After this springís flood of the Red River, Fargo and Moorhead saw a need for a flood control project. North Dakota was able to act upon permits within a couple months. Minnesota is still giving the situation careful consideration.

A company that manufactures in Minnesota, and has a real connection with working Minnesotans, has a bigger stake than a company with just an office and executive staff in the core city.

Itís not a stretch to believe that Minnesota government has set up a hostile relationship with business. Our state alienated business with incremental policy creep in the form of nanny-state legislation, over-regulation, obstructionism and tax policy deterioration.
We canít beat up the businesses of Minnesota and expect them to return the favor with a policy of full and productive civic engagement. There is a mentality in the Legislature that seems to think that jobs are good but the businesses that provide them must be pounded into submission, taxed, regulated, delayed and restrained. This will need to change before organizations in the private sector return to their full productive role in a healthy Minnesota.

Question 2: I am unaware of any metrics for measuring the ability to broker the ideas of others. We need a man with his own workable ideas. The brokering of ideas injects a number of variables into governance that may yield unpredictable and unintended consequences. Just once, it would be attractive to vote for a man and his ideas and get the man and the ideas for whom we voted.

Question 3: To understand what happened to Minnesota and how to get it back, it would be useful to explore the extent to which extraneous ideas have contaminated Minnesotaís intellectual gene pool and its elections.

I see a view of the environment-over-people that looks imported from the United Nations Committee on the Redistribution of Wealth, 1996 Executive Summary. A nonferrous metal mining operation is being held hostage to environmental interests; right here in Minnesota. Polymet has been jerked around now for about five years. The Minnesota we all knew and love wouldnít allow jobs to be hijacked by l. canadensis and its confederate crowd of California-class climatic crackpots.

There appears to be a good deal of land-use trends in Minnesota that are styled from the United Nations Sustainable Development stratagem. These ideas seem favored by people with little land (Metro folks), but those with significant tracts of land (rural folks) suffer the preponderance of their impact. There is a lot of partial regulatory takings going on in Minnesota for which the land owners are never reimbursed.

It appears that in the past, city folks and country folks each had a role to play and respected each otherís unique contributions to Minnesota. Now it seems that the city folks, having paved over their seven-county area of native prairie grasses, now want to instruct the country folks on the fine points of environmental management.

When 3.5 million people feel the need to live within an asphalt mile of each other, certain environmental and social strains occur. Traditionally, the city folks have taken care of their over-sized problems of pollution, transportation and crime themselves. These days, the city folks have their hands out to the federal and state governments to support their colorful fantasies of subsidized transportation and social policies. So the country folks are asked to revisit the glory days of the trolley car--- but this time on their dime.
This Metro-rural dichotomy increasingly stresses the social fabric of Minnesota in ways not seen in the past.

The most reasonable solution is probably to move some borders around giving Rochester, the Metro Area (and it must include St. Cloud) and Duluth to Wisconsin. The rest of Minnesota would then be free to join North Dakota with which it shares a frugal respect for governance principles, an enthusiasm for business, a reverence for the rural lifestyle and the rugged individualism with which we formerly prospered.

A bonus will be the salvation of Lake of the Woods County that now has less than the 4,000 people required to be a county under Minnesota law.

Peter Hennessey (0) (0)
Question 1: It all depends on what the meaning of "cooperation" is. Industry hacks populating oversight / regulatory bodies? "Deals" showered on politicians after they leave office? Laws being written to benefit the "connected" and punish their competitors?

Question 2: Leadership is NOT being the source of new ideas. It is NOT being a policy wonk. Leadership is the ability to attract, inspire and motivate the people with the right ideas. It is the ability to set a tone of moral clarity so people will understand which are the right and wrong ideas, and why. It is the ability to articulate principles, rather than just mouth slogans and banalities.

Question 3: They did not address the problem of the politics of personal destruction, which has the dual purpose of eliminating political opposition and scaring off promising new candidates.

They did not address the problem of false dichotomies and deliberately blurred choices -- except inadvertently, by giving a few examples.

They did not address how wrong ideas are causing all the problems -- except inadvertently, by speaking approvingly of several of them.



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;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

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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