Tuesday, July 13, 2010
We are incredibly saddened to share the news that Colleen Sue Downey Morse (aka April Knight) died on Monday, July 12 at age 60 due to complications from the chemotherapy she was receiving for her brain tumor. She spent her final hours surrounded by family members who love her very much. We will gather to remember her at 10:00am on Sunday, July 18 at the Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 North Lexington Parkway, St Paul, MN. If you would like to make a donation in her memory, her preference was for Greenpeace, World Vision, or St. Jude's Hospital.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Dayton Calls on Mn/DOT to End all Contracting with Allegedly Negligent Firm URS St. Paul, MN: Mark Dayton today called on the Minnesota Department of Transportation to end all contracting with allegedly negligent firm URS. The private contracting giant has been the defendant in several closed and ongoing lawsuits alleging that they cut corners and failed to do their job because they did not determine from multiple inspections that the I-35W bridge was unsafe and in imminent danger of collapse. At the time of the tragic bridge collapse on August 1, 2007, URS had been under contract with Mn/DOT since 2003 to inspect and analyze the strength of the structure. Internal URS e-mail messages which were subsequently made public showed both alleged negligence and incompetence. In one such e-mail message, written in 2006, URS engineer Ed Zhou acknowledged that URS “will not calculate actual capacities of all the [bridge] connections since that is too much work, although that provides the most accurate results.” In another URS memo from a 2006 meeting on the bridge’s safety, the company noted that if gusset plate buckling were to occur, “it is not catastrophic.” Gusset plate failure is widely believed to be the reason why the 35-W bridge fell down. "I am concerned that Ed [Zhou] is trying a little too hard to advise MnDOT that the (I-35W) bridge is okay even though it is clearly overstressed by today's design criteria," URS Project Manager Don) Flemming wrote in another internal URS memo. In spite of several lawsuits alleging negligence, Mn/DOT has awarded 47 contracts worth over $9 million to URS since the bridge collapse. Several of those contracts related directly to ongoing bridge work, and URS even was given contracts for the I-35W replacement bridge after the previous structure collapsed. “Mn/DOT’s continuing relationship is a clear failure of state government,” said Dayton. “It’s terribly wrong that contracts would continue to be awarded at taxpayers’ expense to a firm that the State sued for such a horrible catastrophe. I call on Mn/DOT to immediately stop awarding contracts to URS. If a contractor fails to perform, it should not get another contract.” Dayton also said that the URS contracts shine light on the larger problems of outsourcing government responsibilities to private firms. Mn/DOT reported that it awarded $118 million in contracts to private firms in the FY08-09 biennium. Dayton said, “My budget proposal would reduce by half outsourcing by all state agencies, which totaled over $850 million in the last biennium. That work should be performed by public employees at lower cost to taxpayers and with greater accountability. MnDOT’s excessive contracting is the place to start.” Those contracts are far from transparent, as Dayton staff were directed first to the “Bid Letting” department, then to “Consultant Services,” and finally to “Contract Management Services.” In the end, hours of searching only yielded a short list of links to five URS contracts dating back to August of 2008. The actual copies of the five contracts were unavailable, even though they were listed under the heading, “Taxpayers’ Transportation Accountability Act Notices.”
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Dayton Campaign Releases Two New TV Ads
Today, Mark Dayton's campaign for Governor released two new television ads, which will be running statewide.
You can view the ads by visiting the following link: http://markdayton.org/mainsite/video-archives/2010/06/29/2-new-tv-ads/
Today, Mark Dayton's campaign for Governor released two new television ads, which will be running statewide.
You can view the ads by visiting the following link: http://markdayton.org/mainsite/video-archives/2010/06/29/2-new-tv-ads/
Monday, June 28, 2010
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
(I'm not playing favorites by making this last picture so large. I don't think this website takes .gif or .bitmap.)
All DFLers will have to decide very soon who they are going to vote for to be our next governor. How will each Primary voter decide? Here are the usual ways, not in any particular order.
2. Name recognition
3. Endorsed candidate
4. Voter contact on the campaign trail
5. Videos and websites
6. Personal charisma (which includes how much the voter "loves" the candidate; you hear a lot of that on Facebook and on the campaign trail
7. Past success in political experience
8. Whether the voter even wants to vote in the Primary, or whether the voter is too fed up with politics to do so. What the percentage is of voters who actually show up at the Primary makes a big difference in who gets elected.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - Kelliher obviously knows all the issues inside and out. She has no problems whatsoever there. She is gaining some name recognition but doesn't have nearly as much as Dayton. Will her DFL cohorts and supporters donate enough money for her to win this campaign? If so, they'd better get hopping.
I'll just meander down the list for each candidate. This is better than trying to walk slowly down the hallway while holding on to the wall.
Kelliher is obviously the endorsed candidate, which does give her an edge. Will it be enough? Keep tuned...
Kelliher's voter contact on the campaign trail does not seem to be as good as Dayton's. Dayton is all over the place. Not only that, but everyone already knows who he is.
Videos are excellent from the Dayton Campaign...websites not so good at all.
Personal charisma is something you never heard many people talk about with regard to Mark Dayton. He's doing something right now, though, because everywhere I go I hear people (mostly women) say "I love him!" While Kelliher's momentum is growing, she just doesn't have that personal charisma that people look for. Like R. T. Rybak has, for example.
Past success in political experience was exceptionally good with Margaret Anderson Kelliher. She knows an incredible amount about Minnesota politics. As far as knowledge and experience, she can definitely get the job done.
It sure seems that there are a lot of people who are disillusioned with the world of politics. The best thing to do is to get out there and get your people to vote!
Matt Entenza - Matt is very good on clean, green energy. He has some great ideas in that area. He's also excellent on GLBT and equality issues. He's good on creating new jobs.
As far as name recognition, I don't see Matt as having much of that. It just isn't there. Oh, I'm sure it is in many circles, but a lot of people still don't know who Matt Entenza is. I don't know how he's going to change that.
As we all know, Matt is not the endorsed candidate. That distinction belongs to Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
I'm pretty sure that Entenza has a lot of voter contact on the campaign trail. But where are his particular campaign trails? I don't hear much about him at all from my non-political circle of acquaintances (yes, folks, I do have a lot of friends who are not political!) When I ask if they were going to vote for him, they didn't even know who he was.
Matt Entenza probably has the best collection of campaign videos. I would rate his website as the best of all three of the candidates.
Personal charisma is not one of Entenza's strong points. He's very soft spoken, which means he's a nice guy, but not exactly your top charismatic person. Of Minnesoa politicians, that honor would definitely have to go to R. T. Rybak.
Entenza has a lot of political experience. Unfortunately, some of it is considered distasteful by many people. I wish these people would learn the truth of the matter. I stuck up for Matt when someone was saying rotten things about him. The guy called me a liar. Go figure. Some people just don't want to listen to truth.
Mark Dayton - Mark is very good on almost all the issues. After all, he was a U. S. Senator and had to know a lot about a lot of different things. He's big on Senior issues, of course. Remember how he took busloads of seniors to Canada so they could get the prescription drugs at lower cost? He's always been an advocate for seniors. He's always been a friend of GLBT, as well. He stood up on the Senate floor in favor of the right of two people who love each other to get married, no matter what their gender. Another issue that he is very interested in is education.
Name recognition? Mark Dayton? That's almost funny. There's probably only a handful of people in Minnesota who don't know who Mark Dayton is, and those are no doubt under the age of twelve. They're just too young to know.
We all know that Mark is not the endorsed candidate. Margaret Anderson Kelliher is. Still, there are plenty of examples over the years where the endorsed candidate did not win.
Mark has been all over Minnesota on the campaign trail. He drove 9,000 miles across Minnesota. He stopped in towns all over and met people in coffee shops and other interesting places. He has successfully reintroduced himself to Minnesotans.
Mark is starting to get some pretty good videos. There's one called "9,000" miles, which you can find on his website.
Personal charisma is not an area that Mark excels at. He's an introvert; standing up in front of a lot of people is difficult for him, especially during the question/answer portion of a forum. I give him a lot of credit, though, for doing something that doesn't come naturally to him. I've also noticed that he's made many, many improvements as a public speaker. I was surprised, proud and happy to see that he made a huge effort to improve in this area.
Obviously Mark Dayton has the most political experience of any of the candidates. He ran three Minnesota State Commissioner offices. He was U. S. Senator. The list goes on.
So now it's up to you, dear voters. The best thing you can do to ensure we get a DFL governor is to pick a candidate and then campaign for that candidate. You can door knock, do mailings and other clerical work, attend Meet and Greets, have a house party for your candidate, or have a fund raiser for the candidate. There's a ton of ways to help out. Call your candidate's office to volunteer. You can also volunteer on their websites. So let's all rally round one of these three candidates and make sure out next governor is DFL.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Colleen Morse at Round Two Chemotherapy
One Week at St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Paul, MN
So many fluids makes me "puffy."
My lovely daughter-in-law, Rebecca Downey, without
whom I would probably be dead by now. She has been so
incredibly helpful and kind during this entire ordeal.
HealthEast St. Joseph's Made Us Feel Welcome!
HealthEast has the Latest Equipment!
This was a very nice hospital bed, but I much preferred
the loveseat back against the window because it was a
lot more firm.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Mark Dayton and Yvonne Prettner Salon
Press Conference in Room 125 State Capitol Building
Presentation of "Serve Our Seniors 5-Point Plan"
When I went to the press conference today, the audience was given a 3-page synopsis of the plan. Since I don'r feel like typing it all out (hey, I don't feel good, remember?) I decided to just let you call his office and see if they'll send you your own copy.
The first part of Mark's speech, the memorized part, was excellent, as it always is these days.
The second part, in which the audience got to ask questions and Mark got to answer them, did not go as well. This is the "thinking on your feet" part of the speech. Mark doesn't do as well with that, He stumbled quite a bit with his answers. At one point he paused about 30 seconds to figure out what to say.
Some of the questions he didn't seem to know the answer to. When that happens, the speaker should just say, "I don't know, but I'll get back to you on it." No one is going to know all the answers to all the questions they are asked.
Does this mean that Mark Dayont wouldn't make a good governor? Of course not. Mark is an introvert, which means that he's rather shy at the off the cuff portion of his presentation. I personally believe that he would be the best governor Minnesota ever had.
Having said that, there are a lot of people who are turned off by those who can't answer questions in a viable manner. I've told Mark before that he should attend Toastmasters. There is a whole manual on speaking off the cuff.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The current GOP video that slams Mark Dayton doesn't have a chance of accomplishing its purpose. Not only has Dayton made a huge comeback in the DFL party; he's also become quite popular in Minnesota politics in general. Sure, he's cashing in on a few things, such as his well-known name that's long been associated with Dayton's Department Store. There's also the fact that Minnesotans really like Dayton for his long-time service to Minnesota. We'll never forget the good things that Mark Dayton did when he was a Senator, when he was the State Auditor and the two times that he was a Commissioner.
Nothing that such low-caliber people as Tony Sutton, Michael Brodkorb or Luke Hellier could say about Dayton would ever be enough to detract from his popularity among Minnesotans. Dayton is a favorite son. Everyone likes him and everyone remembers how much he has always cared about Minnesota. No one will forget about the excellent work he did as Senator on behalf of Minnesota seniors.
I totally disagree that this GOP video is damning for Dayton. On the contrary, it's damning for the GOP. It's damning for Brodkorb and Hellier. It might say some negative things about Dayton, but who cares? We all know that Mark Dayton was a good Senator because he truly cared about Minnesotans and because he did so much for Senior issues. It's easy for the GOP to say negative things about Dayton or about any other candidate, but will what they say hold water? No. There is no water to be held. On closer scrutiny, it all seeps away. Scrutinize this GOP video and see for yourself how many holes it contains.
More on Michael Brodkorb.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
The Minnesota DFL party has three great candidates for governor. Most DFLers would be happy with any one of them as our next governor. There are some differences between them; their platforms are not exactly the same. Yet any one of them would be such a better governor than any of the choices from any of the other parties. We thus all need to get together and make sure that whoever wins the DFL Primary gets voted in as the winner in November.
Will buying ads help one of these candidates win the governorship? Certainly. Ads help get the name out to the voting public. Who can buy the most ads? No doubt it will be Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton, who both have deep pockets. Kelliher's ability to buy ads will depend on how deep her supporters will reach into their own pockets. She's the endorsed candidate, so hopefully she'll get a lot of financial support. Even as the endorsed candidate, she'll still need money to work with.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton is scheduled to start running TV ads very soon. Public records show Dayton bought at least $354 thousand worth of ads on Twin Cities TV stations.
Dayton's campaign manager, Dana Anderson, confirmed the campaign bought time through the August 10th primary but public records show purchases at most stations only through the end of June. Records at KARE11 show Dayton bought $239,075 of ad time between June 15th and August 10th.
Governor Pawlenty signed a bill last month that allows political committees to accept and spend corporate money on independent expenditures like TV ads and campaign literature. Minnesota continues to ban corporations from giving directly to candidates. The law had to be changed after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations can spend money on independent expenditures.
Campaign ads are certainly very important for the gubernatorial race. They may be considered the most important of all campaign stategies. However, there are also other things to look at, such as the past political record of the candidate, name recognition and what voters think a particular candidate can do for Minnesota.
Besides current ad campaigns, I'll also be looking, in future blogs, at past political experience and what each candidate has done that will arouse the voting interest of Minnesota voters.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Endorse Mark Dayton for Governor
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen announced their endorsement of Mark Dayton’s campaign for Governor today.
David Brown, Chairman of the Minnesota State Legislative Board, said to Dayton, “I recognize the commitment that you have made to improve the lives and protect the jobs of all workers and their families. You have established a distinguished record of voting for the improvement and rebuilding of Minnesota’s infrastructure of railroads, roads and bridges.”
On receiving the endorsement, Dayton said, “I am very grateful for the endorsement of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. They recognize that, if elected, I will be committed to protecting rail safety for railroad workers, and all Minnesotans.”
The support of the BLET adds to other important endorsements for the Dayton campaign, including the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, the United Steelworkers, Teamsters Joint Council 32 and AFSCME Council 5.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Matt Entenza, Mark Dayton, Tom Horner, Margaret Anderson Kelliher
2010 Gubernatorial Candidate Questions
MGEC is surveying candidates running for governor. Responses received so far are posted below, arranged alphabetically. All Republican and Independence Party candidates have been contacted as well and their responses will be posted if they choose to respond.
This is a very good website on how each candidate stands on the issues important to Minnesota. These are .pdf files that are in each candidate's own words.
Check back later for updates of other candidates who may post their information.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Mark Dayton: Back in the Classroom
Mark Dayton at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Mark Dayton's first ad campaign is currently under production. Footage is being shot on the farm of DFL activist Harold Eklund of Stanchfield, Minnesota. It will hit the airwaves during the next couple of weeks. This is great for Dayton's campaign, as it adds to his appeal to rural voters.
Harold Eklund and his brother Roger are longtime Minnesota Farmers Union members and Democratic supporters. Their farm has also been featured in a campaign commercial for 8th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar.
Dayton's medica consultant Mike Donilon helped create ads for Dayton’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. He’s also an adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, who was a colleague of Dayton’s when they served in the Senate.
Dayton appears to be the only candidate who is currently making sure that he has strong rural ties. To rule out rural Minnesota would be a disaster. Dayton has been a key figure in Minnesota politics since the late 1960's. He has seen things that most of us can only guess at. He knows what works in Minnesota politics, he knows what doesn't work, and he knows how to make Minnesota work for Minnesotans again.
Mark Dayton also knows exactly how to fix our budget crisis. He knows where the money is and he knows how to get it. He has promised to raise taxes on the richest Minnesotans, who can afford to pay their fare share of taxes. He has also promised to not rasie taxes on those who can't afford it. Dayton has a long history of keeping his word. He's of the highest ethical and moral standards. If he says he's going to do something, you can bet that he will do it. That's just the kind of person he is.
I can't think of anyone I'd rather have for the next governor of Minnesota. Mark Dayton has a long history of caring about the people of Minnesota. We haven't had a governor who truly cares about Minneotans in over twenty years. It's definitely time.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE FORUM AT CONTINUING EDUCATION AND CONFERENCE CENTER, 1890 Buford Avenue, St. Paul MN June 24, 2010 1:00 p.m.
I attended a gubernatorial forum at the Continuing Education and Conference Center at 1890 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 on June 24, 2010 from 1:00 - 2:30. Present were four gubernatorial candiates. They were:
Mark Dayton (DFL)
(pictured here with sons Andrew and Eric
and dogs Mesabi and Dakota
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
(DFL Endorsed Candidate)
Matt Entenza (DFL)
Tom Horner (IP)
For opening statements, each candidate was given two minutes to speak. Here's what each candidate had to say during this allotted time.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She believes that it's very important for our most vulnerable Minnesotans to have someone on their side. She understands what it means to have a strong vocal voice in Minnesota. She wants to fight against the demons of substance abuse. She wants a fair and progressive tax system.
Tom Horner - He's here because no one else would step forward. (What about Rob Hahn?) Horner believes that we need a Minnesota that we create. He stated that hope dies last and that we can't afford to let hope die at all. Horner stated that he would be a one-term governor. He doesn't want to be governor any longer than that. This blogger doesn't think that's good enough. We need a governor who is in it for two terms, not just one. We need a governor who is committed to Minnesota. Tom Horner asks two questions of voters: What kind of Minnesota are we willing to live in? What are we willing to do to get it? I think that Tom Horner needs to work on his platform a lot more.
Mark Dayton - He's not interested in government to affect funding and policy. His main concern at this time is to make Minnesota work again. Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's Dayton thought, as did many of us, that government would always be a very positive experience. He has never before seen such devastation in politics as he has seen in the last decade. Dayton definitely knows how to fix this and will do so when elected governor of Minnesota. Do Minnesotans want a government of compassion or one of devastation? This blogger would hope that most of us want a government of compassion. We want the things that Minnesota has always wanted. We want the things that have made Minnesota great. We have learned that we cannot cut ourselves to greatness. If we could, Mississippi and Alabama would be number one states. They are not. We want our Minnesota back. The Minnesota we had twenty years ago. It's horrible that today's kids don't know what it's like to have a DFL governor. All the current generation knows is a policy of no and a GOP governor who is full of trickery and deceit. Mark Dayton is the best candidate for governor because he knows where the money is and how to get it. He will tax the rich but not the poor. The rich can afford it. He will implement a progressive tax system like Minnesota had back in its glory days.
Matt Entenza - He grew up in Worthington, MN. He's very good on community opportunities. He's appalled that Tom Emmer wants to elimate health care and have charity care instead. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Matt Entenza stood up to Governor Tim Pawlenty in the legislature and won. Because of Matt Entenza, our health care system was saved. Matt Entenza has good solid legislative experience. He's been working for Minnesotans for a long time. He's got Minnesota's best interests at heart. He's also well versed on the new clean energy economy and is making it part of his basic platform for a successful Minnesota.
Question #1: Minnesota Health Care Act - What is your level of support?
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She's a very strong supporter of it. She firmly believes that everyone in Minnesota needs universal health care.
Tom Horner - We have a big budget deficit. We need to do all we can to expand health care in Minnesota. We need to allow MA to take place in Minnesota. Finally, we need to take personal responsibility for our health care. (Yeah, but Tom, what are you actually going to do? All I hear from you is a bunch of rhetoric. I don't hear an actual plan. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.)
Mark Dayton - As governor of Minnesota he would champion health care and make it affordable. Do I have any question about whether he can actually do this? No, I don't. None whatsoever. He's been active in Minnesota politics since the late 1960's. He knows exactly what he's doing and how to make Minnesota great again. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever about his expertise or his ability. And I certainly have no doubt at all about his integrity or his ethics. He has a reputation of always holding himself up to the highest ethical and moral standards. This is exactly what Minnesota needs in our next governor. Make no mistake: Mark Dayton could easily be the best governor that Minnesota has ever had.
Matt Entenza - With a 5 1/2 billion dollar deficit, how will we proceed? We must work toward a more affordable health care system.
Question #2: What is your record and what will you do as governor?
Tom Horner - Invest in education. Make sure that jobs stay in Minnesota. We must grow our new jobs here in Minnesota.
Mark Dayton - We need to provide jobs for people. Welfare rates need to go down. Every able-bodied person should have a job.
Matt Entenza - He's a passionate Norwegian. We had a state that was excellent. We need to state clearly and emphatically how much we love Minnesota.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She will definitely stand up for Minnesota. As governor, she will not make any cuts in basic health for Minnesota's poorest citizens.
Question #3: No discrimination. Describe your history in supporting civil rights for all.
Mark Dayton - Everyone has the right to marry the person they love.
Matt Entenza - Chose Robyn Robinson as Lt. Governor. She fully supports civil rights.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She fully believes in the Golden Rule. Don't discriminate against anyone, not even Abby, the GOP tracker in the back of the room.
Tom Horner - He grew up in a household where gay marriage was not discriminated against. That's where he formed his values.
Question #4: Every child deserves to grow up in a safe environment. How will you nuture our children to do so?
Matt Entenza - We must confront it and talk about it.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - We must make sure that we have strong points in place for childhood early screening. We must not allow these precious childhoods to be robbed.
Tom Horner - ECFC is very important. So is the Minnesota Reading Corps. We must make sure that kids are literate and can read.
Mark Dayton - Mark Dayton doesn't usually talk about personal issues, but he did briefly here. He emphatically stated that domestic abuse in Minnesota is unacceptable.
Question #5: Revenue - What's your take on a progressive tax system?
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - We must fight for the poor and middle class in Minnesota. We must build a more progressive tax system. Margaret will do this from day #1 of her governorship.
Tom Horner - He will raise taxes because he knows that we do need more revenue. We have to set priorities.
Mark Dayton - He will only raise taxes on the rich and wealthy who make over a certain amount of income. He will not rasie taxes on everyone, particularly not the poor and middle class. He will only raise taxes on those who can afford it.
Matt Entenza - He believes that taxes should be progressive.
QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE:
Tom Horner - Wants to see investments in diversity.
Mark Dayton - Believes that the Arizona Law is vile. It's a test between compassion and a lack of compassion. Mark Dayton is all for compassion. He's been compassionate for the needy since the late 1960's. He knows that to move forward into the future, we must understand our commonality.
Matt Entenza - We must break out of negative diversity.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - Immigrant citizens need to be fully engaged. We can all have a brighter Minnesota because of embracing diversity.
Mark Dayton - He will expand the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program. This was his program in the beginning back when he was U. S. Senator.Dayton has always been excellent on veterans issues.
Matt Entenza - The Back Door Draft into the National Guard is becoming a critical issue. There is flooding ever year in the Red River Valley. We don't have the Guard here anymore to take care of it. They're all being sent to Afghanistan and Iraq. We need our National Guard for internal protection.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - We need a strategic reward for active duty military personnel. She's a strong supporter of the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Tom Horner - We must acknowledge that we need to do more for homeless veterans and other homeless people. (No kidding, Tom. What do you suggest? Do you have a plan?)
2-MINUTE CLOSING STATEMENTS
How do you differentiate yourself from the other candidates?
Matt Entenza - He's the tallest. He's 6'5". His mother worked until age 74. We can't cut our way to greatness. We have to grow our way to greatness.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - It's very important to have a governor who will stand up and fight for Minnesotans every day. Kelliher states that she is a proven and effective leader.
Tom Horner - He's not a politician. He's into community service. He's been very active in Catholic Charities. He thinks MN needs an independent voice for the next four years. He has no intention of running for two terms.
Mark Dayton - He offers highly experienced and effective leadership in Minnesota state government. He knows that we must raise the necessary revenue that Minnesota needs. He has an excellent plan for that. He knows where the money is and he will get it if he's our governor. Mark Dayton is no doubt Minnesota's best choice for the next governor of Minnesota.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Charles and Becky Downey
(my wonderful son and daughter-in-law)
As most of my dear readers know, I'm fighting a serious health issue. It's a CNS lymphoma, which is a tumor in the brain. I've been at home this past week waiting for my chemotherapy to start. I have an appointment with the neuro doc on Tuesday. My current treatment is oral steroids to reduce the tumor. Soon I'll start intravenous chemotherapy. I understand that it will probably make me feel sick. The protocol is to be in the hospital with intravenous infusion of methotrexate for a week on, then a week off, for about eight weeks.
Chemotherapy plays a very important role in treatment. High doses of methotrexate are used, often along with one or two more chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy is given before radiation to the brain. The total duration of chemotherapy is 3-6 months.
Part of me is thankful for this delay in the chemotherapy protocol in order to give the steroids a chance to reduce the tumor. Another part of me is anxious to get going on the treatment so I can get it over with and get my life back.
Meanwhile, since I probably have a couple of days to a week before the chemo starts, I'm planning to do a few things if I feel strong enough. I currently feel pretty weak. Some of that is probably because the steroids greatly reduces my ability to sleep. I'll have to ask the neuro about that on Tuesday.
Monday afternoon I promised to volunteer on phones at the Entenza campaign. I always have a lot of fun doing that. Plus I'm usually very productive. I'm good at talking to people and getting them to come to events.
Monday evening is a gubernatorial forum sponsored by A Minnesota Without Poverty. Ending Homelessness and Poverty: What do the Candidates have to say about Health, Housing, and Jobs?
Gubernatorial Candidate ForumMonday, May 24, 2010
2324 Emerson Avenue South
I'm looking forward to seeing many friends there.
On Tuesday afternoon is my appointment with my neurological oncologist in Woodbury, MN. I'll find out what happens to me next from him.
Tuesday evening I plan to attend a roast for my friend Thomas Snell. I graduated from White Bear Lake High School with him in 1968. I ran into him several months ago on Facebook. Now we're great Facebook friends. I've also seen him in person several times since then, mostly at political events and Chamber of Commerce events. Tom has been with MetroNorth Chamber for quite a few years and is now leaving to go on to other things. The Chamber is giving him a roast. I have got to see that.
I'm looking forward to helping out as much as I'm able with SD53 activities this summer. I hope I have the energy to do as much as I'll want to. It's so important for us to get our DFL candidates elected. In SD53 we have Senator Sandy Rummel, who is up for reelection this year, as well as Representative Paul Gardner from SD53A. We're working hard to get Chris Knopf elected over the current Representative in SD53B, Carol McFarlane (R). Chris is working very hard to obtain the seat. He'll be a wonderful Representative. He'll accomplish all kinds of good things for SD53B. McFarlane doesn't do much and her priority seems to be agreeing with everything Tim Pawlenty says. She's a very nice person; indeed, I graduated from high school with her. However, she's not what SD53B needs as far as representation.
I'm also hoping that I'll feel well enough to help out more with the gubernatorial election. I have no idea who will win it, as we have three outstanding candidates. I like each one of them very much. They are, of course, Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza, and Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Each of them has many excellent qualities.
It would be great if some of you would come to see me in the hospital. I'll be at St. Joseph's in downtown St. Paul. You can also see me at my apartment in White Bear Lake every other week. Just email me to let me know when you can come.
My home telephone number is 651-777-3464. My answering machine died and I haven't been to the store to get a new one yet.
I hope to see many of you soon.
aka April Knight
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Banning Avenue Clinic
Family HealthServices Minnesota, P.A.
White Bear Lake, MN
When I moved from Moundsview MN to White Bear Lake MN, I changed medical clinics so I didn't have to drive all the way from my old clinic in Coon Rapids. I had been using Allina for years. I was very happy with them but it was just too far to go. I looked for a new clinic near my new apartment complex. I found Banning Avenue Clinic in downtown White Bear Lake. It's housed in a nice new office in a nice building. I thought I would be happy with it. It's run by Family HealthServices Minnesota. I haven't had any prior experience with them. I now intend to find a different clinic. I'm completely appalled and disgusted by their lack of proper administrative work. I've been given the run around and have not been treated well. I've made numerous phone calls trying to get satisfaction. All I wanted was my medical paperwork. I'm trying to get it in the midst of dealing with a brain lymphoma and getting ready to go into the hospital for extensive chemotherapy.
I was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital on May 5. They thought I was going to die. They thought I had a very aggressive brain tumor. Finally biopsy results showed that it's a CNS lymphoma, which is better than having what they thought I had.
It took quite some time for all the paperwork to get to my primary care physician. Apparently the hospital didn't know who that was. I have no idea why not. By the time I was temporarily out of the hospital and living on steroids to reduce brain swelling, I was spending a lot of time trying to get the paperwork in order. The hospital and clinic should have been the ones to do that. Banning Avenue Clinic was just terrible. I couldn't get any satisfaction at all. They kept putting me off and telling me it would get done. In actuality it didn't get done at all. It's still not done.
Banning Avenue Clinic has a lot to answer for. My doctor might be good, but the administration is totally unacceptable. I called again today but to no avail. I was transferred to their central processing department. They had no records of my lymphoma. None. Zilch. I was so stressed by then that I started crying. Then I screamed at the lady I was talking to on the phone. She transferred me back to my clinic. Then I was transferred a couple of more times. Finally a lady said she would look into it and call me back.
Look into it? They've been looking into it for two weeks now. What do these people do with their time all day? They certainly aren't helping patients to resolve these issues. This is unfathomable!
The lady from the clinic finally called me back a little while ago. She said they would need to see me before they could fill out my paperwork. I was previously told that they would fill it out. I expected it to be all completed by now. I'm waiting on my Vacation Donation, my short term disability from Hartford and a couple of other important papers. The Minnesota Department of Health, where I work, is waiting to get them. They can't do their part until they get all the paperwork from my doctor. The clinic is not cooperating at all. I have never in my entire life had such a terrible experience at a clinic before. There is no way I should have to be going though this while dealing with a CNS lymphoma and getting ready for an intense course of chemotherapy that will last eight weeks, followed by radiation therapy for about five weeks. After that I might have to have the Cyberknife treatment. Paperwork and administrative work is the last thing I should have to worry about.
Not only that, but the Central Processing Dept of this clinic told me that they don't even have a release form from me. I only completed about five of them. Such incompetence!
I was just told that the doctor can't complete my paperwork unless he sees me for this condition first. I have to go to the clinic tomorrow at 11:30 and see him. It's my understanding that the Primary Care Physician is supposed to be the one who deals with all the paperwork, which he or she often gets from any other hospitals and clinics that are involved in the care process. When dealing with a neurological problem, that includes my neurosurgeon, my neuro oncologist and others on my team. The Primary Care Physician is supposed to coordinate. He's supposed to complete the paperwork and send it to the proper place, in this case MDH Human Resources and Hartford Insurance. I was told that the FMLA papers have been submitted. I hope at least that part is true.
I might call my State Senator Sandy Rummel and let her know about this. This kind of runaround should never, ever happen. I've got enough to deal with regarding my health itself. A couple of weeks ago I didn't even know that there was something large growing in my brain that did not belong there.
It's my biggest hope that this kind of incompetence does not happen too frequently at other clinics. It should never happen at all. It's unthinkable!
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
DFL Endorsed Candidate for Governor, 2010
Margaret Anderson Kelliher was born on March 11, 1968. She grew up on a dairy farm in Blue Earth County, Minnesota, and graduated from Mankato West High School. She then earned her B.A. in history and political science from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. After that she worked hard to earn her M.P.A. from Harvard University in public administration. She does indeed have all the necessary qualifications to be an excellent governor.
Anderson Kelliher is a DFL member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. She represents District 60A. She's the current Speaker of the House as well as the endorsed DFL candidate for Governor of Minnesota. Kelliher is only the second woman to hold the position of Speaker of the House and the first woman to earn major-party endorsement for a gubernatorial election in Minnesota.
Margaret was the Minority Whip from 2003 to 2006. In January 2006 she became the first Assistant Minority Leader of the Minnesota House. In June 2006, she was selected by her caucus to succeed Rep. Matt Entenza as Minority Leader. After the Democrats won control of the House in the 2006 election, she was selected by her caucus to be Speaker starting in January 2007. She succeeded Rep. Steve Sviggum in that position. On January 6, 2009, she was re-elected Speaker for the 2009-2010 biennium.
Although Kelliher was not my first choice to win the endorsement (I was a big Rybak and Thissen supporter), I find that she does have some excellent leadership qualities. I don't think that her trouble in standing up to Governor Tim Pawlenty should make us feel that she's not very capable. That trouble belongs entirely in Pawlenty's lap for his complete unwillingness to work with the legislature. His nickname became Governor Veto. His presidential ambitions have been far greater than his concern for Minnesota and its people.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher has a good plan for Minnesota. Her goals are to grow Minnesota businesses; invest in Minnesotans; institute a new approach for economic growth; and position Minnesota for the future. She is determined that as soon as she is elected governor, her administration will work hard from the very beginning to create jobs and get people working again.
Margaret also has a plan to win this election. Here is her statement:
While I have been at the Capitol standing up to Tim Pawlenty and radical Republicans like Tom Emmer, my opponents have been spending their own personal fortunes to get a head start in this race.
But I know that’s not how you earn the support, or the votes of Minnesotans. Paul Wellstone taught me at a young age how to organize Minnesotans around a cause, and inspire communities to achieve something better.
That’s why I am building a people powered campaign for governor. We're going to win this election door-by-door, voter-by-voter. Together with Minnesotans, we are going to win. Because this campaign is about more than one person, it’s about one Minnesota.
That’s what I'm fighting for. That’s how we will close the chapter on Tim Pawlenty, and build a better Minnesota.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Mark Dayton with Dogs Mesabi and Dakota
The Humphrey Institute poll released information that Mark Dayton leads the DFL race for governor over both Matt Entenza and Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
The poll included 701 Minnesota adults. It was taken May 13 - 16, 2010. Some think that the result is a slap in the face to the DFL party, since Dayton is not the endorsed candidate and since he did not pursue the endorsement at all.
On the other hand, Mark Dayton has always been very popular among Minnesota Democrats for his 34 years of public service to Minnesotans. He has a very strong history of truly caring about Minnesota and the issues we face.
Dayton has served Minnesotans as a legislative assistant to Sen. Walter Mondale (1975-76), on the staff of then-Governor Rudy Perpich (1977-1978), and was the Commissioner of Economic Development (1978). Next he served as Minnesota Commissioner of Energy and Economic Development (1983-1986) and was Minnesota state auditor from 1991-1995. He was elected to the Senate in 2000, defeating Republican incumbent Rod Grams.
Connie Lewis, who ran Dayton's 1982 campaign, was quoted as saying that Dayton is truly committed to helping people.
"I don't know if people know how passionate he is," she said. "When he tells citizens that he's going to work for universal health care coverage or that he's going to work on prescription drug coverage for seniors, he will dog it and work it, and he really will. When he makes a commitment like that, he takes it very seriously."
Dayton summarized his current gubernatorial 10-point jobs plan at a recent Capitol news conference. One of the main points of it is an "energy savings fund" that would finance energy-conservation and alternative energy renovations in every public building in the state over the next 10 years. Dayton said he would issue up to $300 million in bonds to pay for energy improvements first in state buildings, then later, with the repayments from their energy savings, in public schools and city and county buildings.
He claims that this plan will transform government's use of energy, save taxpayers' money and stimulate the economy. It will also create up to 50,000 construction jobs.
Another of Dayton's plans is to raise Minnesota revenue by making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
David Schultz, Candidate for Ramsey County Attorney
David Schultz was the first candidate for Ramsey County Attorney that I met in the 2010 campaign. He came to a Senate District 53 meeting. I was very impressed with him right from the beginning. He will bring a wealth of experience to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office not only in superior litigation but also in obtaining justice and fairness for all.
Schultz has superior skills as a trial lawyer. These skills have earned him the designation of Certified Civil Trial Specialist from both the Minnesota State Bar Association and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. His high integrity and reputation for fair advocacy have won him the recognition of his peers as a Super Lawyer® every year since 1997. He has a very deep commitment to justice; thus he does quite a few pro bono death penalty cases.
In addition to his work on the Innocence Project of Minnesota, David has served on the Council on Crime and Justice, and the Minnesota Advocate for Human Rights. In 2001, when civil strife threatened the very existence of law in Kosovo, David was selected by his peers in the ABA to co-author the criminal law bench book for judges.
David Schultz is seeking the position of Ramsey County Attorney in order to promote justice for all, including senior citizens, children and veterans. He will safeguard fair access to benefits and he will prosecute financial crime to the fullest extent of the law. In addition, he has zero tolerance for crimes against children, including abuse. David Schultz will procure justice for our entire community through vigorous, innovative, and effective enforcement of our criminal laws.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, from St. Joseph's Hospital to Cerenity Care Center - Grrrrr. Internet access has been totally unacceptable for me, first at St. Joseph's Hospital and now at Cerenity Care Center in White Bear Lake. When will everyone realize the importance of instant internet access? No wonder we are falling behind other countries in technology!
It's late at night, about 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday May 11. So far I've awoken several times in this strange room in this place I've never been before. The oxycodone makes me sleep soundly, then I wake up. The pain med is for my sciatica pain. My brain tumor doesn't hurt at all, oddly enough. I suppose it's because of the location. It's mostly on the occiputal lobe of the brain and partly on the parietal lobe. No headaches, no seizures, and I still have excellent communication skills, although felt confused and disoriented for several days because of the brain swelling. The doctors put me on steroids to bring that down.
The bad part is that the doctors are telling me that it's an aggressive tumor. On the other hand, I live in a time of great medical advancement. Still, as we all know, ya gotta die from something. Everyone does.
Now back to my hospital internet experiences or lack thereof. Of course I know that the medical care is far more important than whether patients get internet access. Still, for a hospital to be entirely up to date, it's absolutely necessary. Allina seems to be more advanced in this area than HealthEast, as Allina already has EHR (electronic health records) implemented into it's hospital and clinic system. HealthEast is working on it.
As far as my own medical issue with what I'm told is this aggressive stage 3 or stage 4 brain tumor, I'm at an excellent hospital for that. It's one of the best in the country. It houses one of the few Cyberknife Centers in the United States. It's got one of the best neurosurgeons in the United States. His name is Dr. Schwerkoske. His office is in Woodbury, MN.
I left St. Joseph's hospital yesterday afternoon about 4:30 p.m. My coworker Julie Kamrath picked my up in my room at St. Joe's and off we drove to White Bear Lake. That's where I live, but we drove right on by to Cerenity Care Center on Florence Street. I currently live near I694 and McKnight Road in White Bear Lake.
Julie drove, of course, as it was her vehicle and as I am not allowed to drive yet. I was supposed to know where I was going, as I'm very good at directions. Unfortunately, the brain tumor has made me deviate from that ability somewhat. We got lost. Julie says she always gets lost. So there we were, lost and disoriented in my own home town of White Bear Lake. Too funny. (At least I still have my sense of humor!)
We finally found the place and went on in. I'm really glad Julie was with me so I didn't feel all alone in a strange place. She's such a good friend. She really cares.
Unfortunately, Julie had to leave to go home to her family. Charles and Becky were both at work. I am now alone in an unfamiliar place where I don't know anyone and where I am dealing with a major medical issue.
My RN tonight is probably around 40 years old or so. She has only been a nurse for 15 days. She just graduated from nursing school. She's medically in charge of me on this dreary gloomy evening. Very scary for me, as she didn't seem to know what she was doing. She had to keep referring to her charts and books. She seemed to be a rather gloomy person, too, at least on that first evening when everything was coming down on me at once. To be fair, I'm sure she wanted to do a good job. On that first night I felt that she lacked the kind of personality that is so important to nursing. The next time I met her, three days later, I moderately revised my opinion.
I had to have a skin check that evening. Apparently it's a requirement in this kind of facility. I was also required to have a Mantoux test whether I'd already had one in the last ten years or not. That was the extent of my incoming medical evaluation into that facility as they had already been forwarded all of my pertinent medical records.
The most bizarre thing about the RN on last night's nursing shift was that for the first few hours she rminded me of the nurse in Stephen King's Misery. I was so frightened. Imagine the scenarios going through my overly active imagination that evening!
The best part of my stay at St. Joe's Hospital had been all the wonderful nurses. The best part of leaving was getting away from the horrible institutional food. The best part of the care at Cerenity was most of the nursing staff and the physical and occupational staff. The night LPN and nursing assistants were great. It was just Ms. Misery who gave me such a scare.
I wonder what Wednesday will bring besides hours of physical and occupational therapy. I had that at St. Joe's, as well. It wasn't my favorite thing to participate in, as it reminds me that I'm getting old and my generation is on the way out. I did learn that the swelling in my brain from the tumor has caused a short term memory loss. It's getting better everyday, though. Did I have that problem before? I can't remember...
It's now 4:00 a.m. The oxycodone has worn off. My sacroiliac joint doesn't feel too bad right now. This bed that I'm currently in is a lot firmer than the one at St. Joe's and it's not an electronic hospital bed. I think it's better for my back. That's good, because how can we be effectively politically progressive if we have to concentrate on eliminating pain all the time? That takes up far too much time and energy.
Oh, how I wish I had my own email and Facebook right from the beginning of my odeal. How much better that would have made hospital life for me. I missed it so much. At least I have my son Charles, who diligently tells me who has sent me email messages. I was so sad and devastated that some got lost in the St. Joe's system never to be seen again.
I was only supposed to be at Cerenity for two or three days. At least that's what they first told me. They ended up keeping me until this morning, May 15. I finally talked my way out of there because the physical and occupational therapists told me I could easily live on my own. Well duh!
Another good thing about my experiences involved my excellent health insurance at the State of Minnesota. I hope we never, ever lose it.