Friday, November 18, 2011

ALEC / Norquist Success at the Village Level

Last night I saw what - to me – was one of the sadder things on TV – and it led the 10pm broadcast. 

One of the discouraging things about being politically informed – is you can see the underlying themes in story on the news, that no one bothers to tell the audience.  The general audience watches the news piece and says – “Isn’t that great?” and you say “How sad.” ‘cause you can see the whole story.

The first thing they put on the broadcast on the 10pm news was how a city in Minnesota was proposing saving $600,000 and cutting taxes in the city by 18%.  The TV newsperson repeated over and over again how other cities could learn from this example and implement it.  Over and over again – the background message was – Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” works – it is a success! -  and other cities in Minnesota should implement it.

In Minneapolis we only have right wing TV – and this particular news item was on Channel 5 – which is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting.  Hubbard Broadcasting is owned by Stan Hubbard – who is a regular guest at the Koch private meetings in Aspen and Rancho Mirage. 

Afterthought told me it probably wasn’t coincidence that this particular item led the broadcast.


Many of you may be unaware that the American Legislative Exchange Council has infiltrated our city governments.  During my research I have found ALEC in cities and counties across the United States.  For example, the mayor of Chandler Arizona is an ALEC member.  Another example is the Village of Howard WI where a village trustee not only is an ALEC member but was the state private sector co-chair at one point.  The list of ALEC city and county members is larger than this – but the main point is - not only has ALEC infiltrated the state and federal level, but is alive and doing well at the city and county level.


Welcome top Oak Grove Minnesota - an ALEC / Norquist success story.  Do I know thaty anyone on the Aok Grove staff is an ALEC member - No.  But I do know that Oak Grove City has drank the ALEC / Norquist coolade and the story is sad - - and yes, the mayor is a Republican.

Taxes are a big issue in the Minneapolis Metro area right now – that is a story in and of itself, so having a story about taxes lead the news would not be that odd. Having this story lead the news was disheartening.

Oak Grove Minnesota is cutting $600,000 from their budget and is lowering the city taxes to residents by about 18%. Oak Grove's budget for 2010 was $3.1 Million. Oak Grove has a little under 9,000 residents, a mayor and eight city staff. Last night on the news they announced the proposed $600,000 savings.

These savings include
  • Fire the City Manager
  • Fire the Finance Director
    • That service has been privatized,
      using the SAME person
      (based on comparison of LinkedIn and the City webpage)  – which reeks of possible FLSA violations.
  • Renegotiate public safety contract with the county
  • Reduce City Staff wages
  • Reduce City Staff benefits
  • Mayor already works as mayor AND as city administrator

And this is reported as a huge success.

The community of Oak Grove will have lower taxes.

The community of Oak Grove will also have:
  • An unemployed City Manager in their community
  • A requirement to do on-going audits on the expense incurred
       by using a privatized Finance Director service
  • Less policing (aka safety)  being done by the county in their community
  • City staff with lower wages and less disposable income
  • City staff with fewer benefits

Why not just un-incorporate the city – or merge with another village – then everyone’s head is on the chopping block.

WOW what a success! 
This is what the ALEC and Grover Norquist model of government looks like
– no new taxes and
privatization of government services
and eventually “no government”.

Oh, yeh - Oak Grove – you can remove the “Jobs” page from your website.

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