Saturday, November 1, 2014

DFL Sharon Sund worker defaces local candidate sign

This is a Sharon Sund worker defacing a Chuck Sutphen sign.  If you don't know who Sund is you're in good company.  She's the candidate for the Third District, the sacrificial DFL lamb that will disappear on Wednesday.

This campaign worker was putting stickers on Sutphen signs, STEALING his sign location by putting her name on it.  This is, of course, illegal.  But it's even worse than just illegal, it represents Sund's campaign stealing the Constitutional rights from voters and other candidates to enjoy their free speech and political expression.

What has become of politics in Brooklyn Park.  Mayoral candidate Joy Stephens has spent $32,000, I'm told, to win a position that doesn't pay half that.  Mayor Lunde has reported the theft of dozens and dozens of signs, and I've seen pictures where numbers of them have been sliced with a razor knife.  That's not kids, kids don't carry razor knives.  That's political thug.

They say they're for "All of Brooklyn Park" but the reality is that it's about power at any cost.  It's about personal power and ego.  Shame on every one of these people for looking down at our residents like they are.  Their arrogance insults our very intelligence.

By the way, this Sund worker was approached by a Brooklyn Park resident.  The Sund clown defended his illegal actions, then called this resident a "dumbass Republican".  (He's not a Republican, he's a resident who cares about ethical and fair elections, though.)

As someone commented to me, "this is a new low, defacing a veterans sign".

Additional note:  He was wearing a Sund shirt with all the local DFL endorsed candidate names on it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When you're hopelessly down, go deep on the negativity


I guess when you can feel the momentum isn't going your way there's a need to go negative and lie about your opponent.  Once again.

Find one picture of her sweating with a shovel in her hand.  Can't be done.

See Terry Parks dedication here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Updated: Chamblis claims to have won primary she lost by 15 points

It seems each day is bringing yet another unfounded claim from East District Council candidate Reva Chamblish.  Yesterday we learned that someone in or near her campaign sent out an email simply making things up about her opponent.  Today, a claim that is so ridiculous it leads one to question whether or not she knows what truth is.

Amazingly her campaign Facebook page is claiming she won the Primary earlier this month:

Update (08/31/2014):  The former post claiming to have won the primary was edited today to add "As a winner, Reva advances to be on the ballot for the general election".   The edit, more than 24 hours following the claim to have won the primary, doesn't change the fact she made that claim.

"Good news from the Asian American Press newspaper about Reva's City Council primary election win"

It seems the Asian American Press "newspaper" doesn't check facts very well since it's clear they simply refered to the press release the campaign must have sent them.

For the record, Terry Parks won the primary.  By a lot.  it wasn't even close.

Here's a screen shot of the results:

Telling the truth seems to be a difficult for this candidate.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Anatomy of a Smear: Down by 15 points, Chamblis goes deep on the Big Lie

What do we as Brooklyn Park residents want in our city council and the inevitable politics that surround it?  For the first time in my lifetime, that seems to be the big issue facing us.

For as long as I can remember, having lived in this city for twenty eight years, and having paid close attention to city politics since 1998, it's have been largely congenial.  It's not always been true, we did have a time when there was a group we called "The Gang" because it was clear their heart, as a group, wasn't in the right place.

Once their time was up, after the election of 2008 when the final member of that group was defeated, things returned to a more cooperative kind of politics.  People will always disagree but since that short period there's been little doubt that those who have won election have had the best interests of our community at heart.

Sadly times are changing.  There is an attempt to bring Big City politics to Brooklyn Park.  It's an attempt to force Minneapolis-style fiefdom-based politics on our residents.

It started either late last year or early this year when the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) created a Brooklyn Park caucus.  They decided it was time to bring party politics into our city races along with all the negativity and under-handedness that comes with their local party apparatus.

To be fair others have sought and accepted party endorsements this year and in the past.  In 2012 I accepted the GOP endorsement for city council, doing so for "the list" (but full disclosure, received no party money that I recall, no help from volunteers and never used the list for my campaign, and an endorsement I will never seek again for this office).

Wynfred Russell, in his city council race in 2012 also sought and accepted the Republican endorsement.  In the special election for mayor a few years ago Jeff Lunde sought and accepted the Republican endorsement and this year Rich Gates is DFL endorsed.

The fear had always been that accepting such an endorsement would mean being expected to "tow the company line".  Looking at how Lunde, Gates or even myself have voted, I don't think one could reasonably make that argument.

But the newly-minted Brooklyn Park DFL caucus is different.  It brings politics in our city to a whole new level, and by that I don't mean an improvement.  What I mean by this is what we have seen this week, something that I'd have to call dishonest smear of a good candidate, an honest person who's given most of his adult life to serving people in Brooklyn Park.

Yesterday afternoon I received a copy of an email sent by a t-shirt-wearing campaign volunteer for East District Council candidate Reva Chamblis.  It was an email sent to a long list of local DFL'ers that made wild accusations - lies - about Terry Parks.

Let me first say, candidates are required to file campaign reports with Hennepin County.  It lists their financial position including contributions and expenditures.  For the record, it seems Chamblis has had difficulties of her own filing those reports.

In 2012 she ran for city council and lost.  The final report for the 2012 campaign was due on January 31, 2013.  Her first attempt at this report was dated May 15, 2013.

On July 31st, 2013 the county received an amended attempt at this report.

And then, the report that was due this year on August 5th was received by the county on August 16th.

Why is it this candidate can't seem to file very basic reports on time?

These reports are fairly simple, who did you spend money with and who gave you money.

Over the years it's been the first place opposition researchers go looking for errors or "gotcha's".  They'll stretch the truth, they'll investigate the companies a candidate uses to find negative things about them and try to attach those onto the candidate.  They'll also investigate the donors and either try to attach negative things about them to the candidate or try to smear and intimidate them into not donating again.

That's big city politics.  It's Minneapolis politics.

Unfortunately that's what the email I received was all about.

Entitled "T Parks is a Republican and violating campaign finance laws", it made these accusations:

In his report he is Pre Primary report: 
  1.  He rec'd a check for $1,744.13 from "P2B Strategies".  They are a Republican consulting firm from Minneapolis.
  2.  He failed to list his donor in his report.  Name and Address is suppose to be included.
  3.  He is violating campaign laws by getting a check for over $600.
  4.  His message is Republican and his money is coming from the Republicans.
Gordy Aune is the treasurer.  We need to get out a letter to the editor.  Will the real Terry Parks Step forward?  Read the attached report.

This is what's called a smear in the political industry.  It takes a report, assigns their own interpretation onto the data, draws a conclusion that even they know is false, and they spread it.  It is the anatomy of a smear.

Let me show you just why it's a smear, and something they know to be a lie.

Parks used P2B Strategies for campaign brochures.  Their invoice was for $1744.13.

Whatever amount was in the campaign bank account had been given to it from Parks himself.  The entry stating "Partial Reimbursement to Terry Parks for Literature (from) P2B Strategies $1744.13" was a $444.13 partial reimbursement for that invoice.  That's why there's a $444.13 figure under "Expenditures".

The false claim that Parks had received a check for $1744.13 is not only a lie, it's an obvious lie.  It's not just an obvoious lie, it's the Chamblis campaign purposely lying about their opponent.

For the record:
- No check was ever received from P2B Strategies.
- Since there was no such check there was no requirement to list them as a contributor.
- Since there was no such contribution, and that it was an expenditure, he did not violate any campaign law.
It's also a smear on local resident and long-time city volunteer Gordy Aune.  Gordy, known by most as the man in the motorcycle jacket who shows up at every event because he deeply cares about our community, is Parks treasurer.  He's been a treasurer for seemingly dozens of candidates over the years, including mine.  He is meticulous about detail and has never had one of his campaign finance reports questioned.  He's also not a public figure and making this false accusation about a private citizen might just be actionable, if Gordy were that type.  Having known Gordy since 1998, where we first met as members of the Citizen Long Range Improvement committee, I know him to be an honorable man.  It's a shame Chamblis doesn't appreciate volunteers in our community, as she stated in her own words in last week's Sun Post article.

Regarding the last claim, one that is a shameful smear that has no place in politics at any level.  That is, the smear that you shouldn't vote for a candidate because they're a (Fill in the Party Label).

Everyone knows I'm a (r)epublican at heart.  I use a small "r" because I'm less of a party guy and more of an independent, small government, lower spending and taxes person.  I rarely get involved in party politics with the exception of this year when two of my friends were running for the GOP endorsement for Governor.

Over the years, however, I supported a Democrat.  I know, shocking.  Even though we disagreed on many things, I was one of Mayor Steve Lampi's biggest supporters.  It was because I knew his heart was about doing the best he could for all of us in the city, not any particular group or party.

That's the kind of person Terry Parks is.  I've gotten to know him over the past few years and have come to appreciate his servant's heart.  A heart of giving, of volunteering, of working hard when someone is in need to help them, and wanting the best for everyone in Brooklyn Park.  To him it's not about party, it's not about skin color, it's not about even himself, it's about what is best for every single person.

That paragraph could never be used to describe Chamblis.

This is the message they fear from Terry Parks, one that must be so scary for them that they have to send out a mass email lying about him:
I  am seeking to serve the city of Brooklyn Park city council. With honor and commitment, I will listen to your issues with support to the people.  I want to represent the community as a whole and not just for select groups, organizations or people. I feel we have a great community we live in, and I will work hard to address city challenges.
The attempt to smear this man who has served our community so well and with such gusto over the decades is shameful.  Frankly, it's embarrassing to Chamblis - or should be - and to our entire community.  It's not the kind of politics we need, and it's certainly not the kind of city council person we need.  If she had any kind of shame in her she'd call him today and apologize for this email, and then issue a press release disavowing it, calling it a lie, dismissing this volunteer along with admitting she knew about it.

I doubt that will happen, though, because it's part of the overall strategy of Big City politics.  Make stuff up, smear the opponents, and know the voters will never find out the truth, at least until it's too late.

The truth is, most people in the East District will never see this email and will never know what the Chamblis campaign did and is capable of.  But we know, she knows, her key supporters know.  And sadly those people, knowing the truth and knowing Terry Parks heart, will say nothing.  Sen. Chris Eaton won't say anything, Rep. Melissa Hortman won't say anything, others who've come out in support of Chamblis will remain silent, knowing the truth.

And that's the worst thing because every one of them know Terry Parks and are willing to remain silent in hopes Chamblis gets by with this smear.  Shame on every one of them for their sin of omission.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"He who is not a good servant will not be a good master" - Plato

Plato once said that "He who is not a good servant will not be a good master".  Service to others, in the form of public service, is a very special honor.  Having others give their vote to you, their trust, their very Constitutional enfranchisement to you is such a privilege.

Over the years it's been my practice to support those candidates who viewed election through the lens of public service, of being a servant-leader.  I've looked for those who viewed residents as more than their "bosses" but as people who deserved to be served by action and through an attitude of humility.

Jesus said in Luke, "....let the greatest amont you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves".

The events of the current election season has really demonstrated the differences between one who views public service as an earned honor and one who views it as owed, as bestowed for a resume over actual service and attitude.

As I stated with my last blog post regarding Boyd Morson, it has been my intention to stay out of this years election races.  The residents of our city are smart people and usually do a good job in selecting good candidates, along with weeding out those who ask for the job for the wrong reasons.  I thought long and hard about writing this before finally coming to the conclusion that the truth needed to be told, that people just needed to know what I knew.

This year we've seen some new realities, some new challenges, and some disappointing candidates.  As one who has been watching city politics since 1998 I've seen candidates who make promises and claims, often without the knowledge or history to support them.

This year I've taken note of the city council race in the East District after reading some disappointing words from one of the candidates, along with some very poor choices by her.

Following the recent primary results the Sun Post interviewed the top two candidates with the quotes from each of them offering very important insights into their souls.

The leading vote-getting was Terry Parks, a long time city resident and one I might call one of our communities biggest volunteers.  Parks was quoted as saying "Got a long way to go yet", "I don't go in confident, I don't go in cocky, I just try to do the work and see what happens.  Let the people talk."

The other candidate, Reva Chamblis, blamed her second place results to low turnout (as if a larger turnout would have automatically voted for her, or as one person suggested to me, her own supporters didn't believe in her enough to show up).

It was at this point where her comments to the Sun Post take a negative turn, one that shows a very different attitude toward her opponent, and most importantly, about how she views herself and others:
"Going into the general election race, Chamblis said her background will be well-suited for the city council seat and encourages East District residents to look at background, leadership skills and abilities before they “pick a leader over a volunteer” for what is considered a part-time position."  Sun Post
I've heard from a number of people, and I've seen the comments of others regarding this quote, and without exception there was shock.

Chamblis just recently joined the Brooklyn Park Lions Club, someone others view as having joined simply for the resume entry.  While claiming to be a "leader", I am unaware of any city commission she's been appointed to where she's actually been voted by her peers as the chair of that body.  I could be wrong and am willing to be corrected.  In short, her actual involvement in our community is razor thin and demonstrates no leadership, just the fact she applied for and got appointed to a few committees.

"Volunteer" Terry Parks (photo used by permission)

I thought I'd do some comparisons between the "leader" and the "volunteer".
  • Terry Parks was a Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball coach from 1981 to 2007.  Twenty six years of serving our children.
  • He was a hockey manager for four years, hockey board member for two years, District 10 hockey director for four years.  He's been part of varying hockey committees since 1988.  Serving our children.
  • He's served as an umpire for Little League and softball from 1989 to 2007.
  • He was a football coach for four years.
  • He served on the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast committee from 1999 - 2002.
  • He served on the Brooklyn Park Human Rights Commission from 2005 to 2011, four years as their Chair.  As their leader.
  • He's served on our Park and Recreation committee as well as our Charter Commission.
  • He's served on the Tater Daze committee since 1988.  This includes having been the chair of the Parade from 2007 to now.  Chair, the leader.
  • He's been an Election judge since 2000.
  • He's been a Breast Cancer Aawareness volunteer, as a medic, since 1999.
  • He's been a member of the Brooklyn Park Lions since 2009 as well as the Elks where he will be the President in 2015.
  • In 2009 we was awarded Brooklyn Park's Mayor's Citizenship Award.
Should I continue?
  • He's the past President of the Aqua Jesters.
  • Past President of the Shriners Drum Corps.
  • 1st and 2nd Vice Commander of the American Legion.
  • First Vice President of the Nortk Dakota Chapter of Arson Investigators, 2004-2005.
  • Volunteer EMT for various sports events including the Special Olympics form 1977 to now.
  • Brooklyn Center Fire Department - 1987 to 1990.
  • Brooklyn Park Fire Department - 1990 - 2000.
  • And he served our country as a Navy Seebee.
Terry Parks - "Leader" or someone willing to get their hands dirty? (Photo used by permission)
And this isn't even close to the entire list I have.  It also doesn't consider the extremely long and distinguished career where he served as a professional firefighter as well as fire investigator, a career where he risked his life to save others.

Joel Osteen said "People of excellence go the extra mile to do what's right" and I think it's pretty easy to tell who's done what is right."

To me, a servant attitude and a track record of it is so much better than an attitude of thinking they're better than someone else simply because they say so.

Terry Parks has lived this quote from Martin Luther King -

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

An attitude of being owed, or an attitude of "it's all about me" can be best demonstrated in two recent events. One was a recent Ebola meeting where Chamblis came with a volunteer wearing her campaign t-shirt.  It was a meeting about people dying and she came ready to campaign.

The other is an event yesterday at a local church who was offering activities for kids and parents free to the community.  She and her campaign volunteers showed up with brochures and t-shirts, parked two cars at the entry area of the church parking lot with her signs on them, and was ready to start campaigning.  Security personnel for the event saw them and intercepted them, telling them they could not hand out campaign literature at the event.  Like Morson, she comes with her photographer tagging along.

This event wasn't Tater Daze, it was a church event.  It wasn't an event for politics.  But like every event she tries to interject herself into, what's appropriate doesn't seem to matter.  What matters is campaigning.

I don't know Chamblis well but from all accounts she's a nice enough person.  But not only do words matter, actions do. One shows leadership by serving, by washing feet over directing it.  Attitude matters and I think it's pretty easy to see who would be a better servant-leader.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lesson from the 2014 Brooklyn Park primary election

Update (08/19/14):  On your way home, please pick up your campaign signs.  It's a week after the election and they're still all over the city.  

It's the day after the primary election and there is one clear message Brooklyn Park voters passed along to us.  Not just one, I suppose, as there were a couple of races and some interesting dynamics.

Given those dynamics, especially in the mayors race, one might expect me to say something about the significant win by Mayor Lunde, or the fact the two DFL-endorsed candidates (one in the mayor's race, one in the East District) ran largely based on Minneapolis-style politics, hoping to move our city toward that kind of urban system.

While that is part of the message taught to us last night, it's not the most important lesson.

Last night, voters told Boyd Morson to go home.  Take care of your family.  Get a job.  Your kind of power-hungry politics isn't wanted here.  Just stop running for office, here or in Detroit.  With just 10.75%, voters spoke very loudly about who should not be their mayor.

Boyd Morson has run for office several times.  In 2006 he lost in the primary, a distant third place, with 22.48% of the vote.

In 2008 he came in second place in the primary with 25.6%, and then lost to Mike Trepanier in the General election by 63.08% to 36.30%.

In 2010 he tried again coming in second place in the primary with 26.54%, losing in the General election to Rich Gates 58.95% to 40.55%.

In 2011, in the special election for mayor after the untimely passing of Steve Lampi, with twelve candidates running, Morson gained only 6.06%.

Of course, in 2005 he ran for the Detroit City Council, coming in 33rd place.

There comes a time when someone needs to face reality, to see that the voters just aren't buying what you're selling.

Abraham Lincoln lost four times before becoming President.  Boyd Morson, you are no Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln didn't run for personal power or self-aggrandizement.  It wasn't about being "the most credible person in Brooklyn Park", it was about serving others.

Figure out your life.  Find gainful employment and succeed at it.  I really do wish you the best in those ventures because I know your family has suffered greatly over the past few years.  And one of the best ways you can help your family is to stop putting them in the spotlight by you running for office every two years and losing badly.

It's just time to go home.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I could no longer stay silent: What you need to know about Boyd Morson, Candidate for Brooklyn Park, MN Mayor

It was my intention to get past the Brooklyn Park mayoral primary without making comment about the candidates.  But in recent days one candidate, the perennial candidate (in both Brooklyn Park and Detroit) Boyd Morson, has been so unethical in his candidacy I could no longer stay silent.

He is without ethics.  And if you see what he continues to do here (things he's done every time he's run here so he knows the law), along with the incredibly unbelievable (but backed up by letters and public documents) lawlessness you'll see at, you will wonder not only how he keeps running but does so with a straight face.

The fact is, he's a man desperate for the taste of power.  He is willing to do anything, to tell you absolutely anything to get your vote.  He bullies people for sign locations.  He puts campaign literature on mailboxes (against the law).  He puts signs on fences, violating Brooklyn Park ordinances.

Don't believe me?  Here's the USPS code on mailboxes:

Use for Mail
Except under 3.2.11, the receptacles described in 3.1.1 may be used only for matter bearing postage. Other than as permitted by 3.2.10, or 3.2.11, no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. Any mailable matter not bearing postage and found as described above is subject to the same postage as would be paid if it were carried by mail.

I very much encourage you to visit and read through the documents.  There you will find the following:

Boyd Morson attempted to take the state registration of the legal name of a nonprofit organization, the League of Human Rights Commissions.  

Boyd Morson showed up at the League's bank, represented himself (according to the bank) as their new "president" and demanded to be added as a new "authorized signer" on the account.  He wasn't their President, never had been.

Boyd Morson filed a mail forwarding request for the Leagues mail to be forwarded to his sisters address in Minneapolis.  This was done without the knowledge of the League or it's board.

Boyd Morson was removed from the board of that organization for malfeasance. 

Boyd Morson was arrested for "Theft by Misrepresentation", a warrant for his arrest was executed upon a traffic stop in 2001.  

All the documents and letters are at that website.  It is so important for people to know what kind of, in my opinion, con man he is.  I use that term very carefully and knowing the weight of the term but do so with the knowledge of what he's all about.

He's run for city council in Brooklyn Park several times and in between ran for the same office in Detroit.  Where does he really live?  

Where does he work?  If you ask him and if you get an answer, I'd love to know.  I've been asking for years and he's refused to tell anyone.  UPDATED:  He's now telling people he's "unemployed/disabled veteran".   He's never told people in any previous campaign where he worked and he's never used the "Disabled Veteran" claim.  Given his other misrepresentations, ask him to prove it.

How does a man who lives in a house once valued at upwards of $450,000 not be able to pay his property taxes or water bill?  He's had those troubles in the past several years.  Public data.

He makes a big deal of something called being a "Navy Honorman".  It's like being the MVP for a month in boot camp, thirty plus years ago.  When it comes to being mayor, it's 100% irrelevant.

For the first time this year he's claiming to be a "disabled Vet".  Please ask him to verify this.  

His homeowners association has filed a lien against his property for non-payment of homeowner association dues.  They had once filed a police report about Morson attempting the same thing with their registered name at the Secretary of State's office as he did with the League.  The man has no shame.

He's been a faithful Democrat all these years, a leader in the local Brooklyn Park DFL, but suddenly, because it's popular and he thinks it will get him votes, he's against Light Rail down West Broadway. He is a political opportunist.  Do not believe him.

The man wants to be the Mayor of our city and in a mayor we expect someone who will obey the law, who will revere the law and cherish it and it's history.  In Boyd Morson we have a man who thinks the law is something to skate by, to skirt in order to get power.  If elected you will see such disfunction on our city council nothing will get done.  It would send us back twenty years on the progress we've made on bringing new jobs and business to our city.  

He is wrong for our city.  If you cherish the city we are and the progress we're making, please do not be fooled by this guy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Facebook Update

Today we talk about last night's council meeting, leadership and vision for our future.  If you would like to keep up with things happening with our Brooklyn Park city council, at least from my perspective, "like" our page:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Facebook Page

If you're interested in keeping up with things happening in our city from my perspective, feel free to "like" my new Facebook page.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

District 33: Looking for a quality barber?

I don't know about you but I've been going to the same barber for 36 years.  36 years!  For most of that time a great barber by the name of Myron was the only person to do so since my mom cut my ear trimming my hair in our Robbinsdale garage.  A few years ago Myron retired and my hair was taken over by his business partner, Keith (who's been with this barber shop the entire 36 years).

This past Saturday we had an appointment for Keith to work his magic, such as it is with my less-than-stellar, thinning head of hair.  Dutifully we got up early and trekked down to Crystal to clean this mop up so I'd look half-way decent for the upcoming swearing in photos.  When we pulled up his red truck wasn't already in the parking lot - we knew something was wrong.  On the door was a sign stating Keith was sick and wouldn't return until today.

Today, Thursday, January 3rd, was too late.  No one wants the "fresh cut" look, it requires a few days of natural growth to make it look, well, natural.

What does a guy do who has had only two people cut their hair for 36 straight years?  This was a traumatic experience!  Panic set in.

I took to my Facebook friends and with the plea of a desperate man asked for advice, for recommendations.  They came from many - barbers from various parts of Brooklyn Park.  I've seen most of these and knew I just couldn't trust myself to just any barber, I needed someone special, someone who'd understand how difficult this entire episode was going to be for me.

Then a recommendation came from someone, a recommendation that surprised me because I'd never heard of this barber.  I had seen the building, but a barber shop named "District 33" didn't ring a bell.

"Call Dave from District 33, he'll take good care of you."  I looked up District 33 and there they were, on the corner of 101st and Jefferson Highway, in the old School House right on the west edge of Brooklyn Park.  I remember lit dropping there the night before election day but didn't recall seeing a barber shop.

So I called Dave and set off to have him take care of me. 

District 33 is in a very old school house that Dave bought in 1980.  This old, abandoned building was in very poor repair.  Dave and his wife bought it, moved it back about 50 feet and completely re-built the building.  Looking at pictures he had it was quite the change.  In the upper level, a house.  In the lower level, a fully operational barber and salon.

I told Dave the story as he got to cutting my hair.  He understood and did a great job.  The best thing was that he put this nervous old guy at ease.

Need a barber?  In a similar situation as I was?  I'd recommend Dave from District 33. He's a great barber and has great history in our city. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Transition: January 7th is Coming Fast

Over the past month it's been my pleasure to meet with all department directors at City Hall and their various locations, along with other members of our city staff.  Not that it was a secret, but we have some fabulous people running the various areas in our city. These people know their stuff and have a real heart for wanting to do what's right by our residents and council. 

With every meeting there was a robust discussion about their departments, along with the goals and ideas I've gained from meeting with our residents.  In addition to our main goals of "Good Jobs, Lower Crime and Better Image", we were able to talk about some big ideas, some visionary things that our current council has not had the time to discuss over the past few years.

January 7th is coming fast and I'm looking forward to serving the wonderful people of our city.  Some may not know how all of this has worked once an election takes place.  Immediately after the election the city put me on the delivery list for both council emails but also weekly packets (the full detailed packet of information each council member receives toward the end of every week).  I read them "cover to cover" to make sure I'm up to speed.  I think my wife thinks I'm sort of wonk because I enjoy it too much.

On the issues in those packets I'm usually up to speed on them already, having been involved in our city for several years.  Many on our council have been very gracious to me, allowing me to share my opinions on some of the items with them.  (Not that they all wouldn't be, I just haven't gone to all of them.)

Speaking of a gracious council...  I've had the pleasure of either speaking to or meeting with every council member.  I've known most of them for a while, save for two.  My coffee meeting with one of them was invigorating and encouraging that we'll be able to work together well.  We share similar family experiences (similar aged children, etc.) and other things.  It was a pleasure to get to know this council member for the first time and look forward to working closely together on a variety of issues facing our city.

As one reflects on life and it's experiences, and the plan God has for our lives, it's interesting to look back from where one is to see how things have happened for a reason.  Ten years ago I was a State Representative and then lost re-election.  Losing as an incumbent is very hard, both for the candidate and the family.  For that reason I said back then I wouldn't likely ever run again but, if I did, it would require permission from my entire family.

Over the past ten years I've stayed involved.  Sometimes from afar, sometimes as part of an organization or committee.  I fought and led some battles on behalf of residents, I've been a watchdog for our residents on issues and sometimes candidates, and learned a lot of things along the way.  Some of those lessons were hard and they shaped me in different ways than I expected.

In the end, 2012 was the right time and my family knew it.  As I door knocked I think the people saw that, too.  It is an honor and incredible privilege and will use those experiences and lessons to do the right thing for our city and the residents that make us what we are.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Positive Campaign Over: Time to Come Together for a Better Brooklyn Park

The campaign is over - thank goodness. :)   Below is what we've posted on our Facebook page and campaign website.   With a wonderful team behind me, we ran a 100% positive campaign about ideas and hope for our city.  Never once did we mention our opponents name as we campaigned, here, on our Facebook page, our website or in person.  Why?  Because we were determined, as a team and as a candidate, to make this the cleanest, most transparent, most idea-driven campaign in the history of our community.  Mission accomplished.

To the few detractors, and there's always a few, come join us for a better Brooklyn Park future.  Come join us for Good Jobs, Lower Crime and Better Image.  Come join us as we bring bold ideas and new innovations to our city.  The people of my district spoke - they want real change at City Hall and in their community.  Change, not for the sake of change, but for the betterment of their neighborhoods, their safety, their property values and the community as a whole.  Some have used the word "negative" and I say truth is not negative, facts needs to be faced head-on before we can fix the problems.  One can sit back and complain about perceived slights, or you can move forward and join the race to better our community.   Join us as we begin our journey to fix those problems and go forward into a future of more good jobs in our community, lower crime (not just statistics but where residents actually feel like they're safer), and an image changed.  This is an open invitation to friend or perceived foe (a position no one has to be), to anyone who wants a better Brooklyn Park - join us.  There's a large group of community leaders ready to do the big things, be part of it.  I am willing to work with anyone who has the same goals for our city.  My email is

My comments from earlier this morning:

It was a long, hard journey that began almost two years ago having lunch with my friend, Steve Lampi. Over the next year or so we assembled an incredibly diverse team of community leaders to join us. Frankly, a team unlike I’d ever seen in local politics. I am so thankful to them for their incredible help, we could not have done this without them.

Our victory is not about me or our team, it’s about the wonderful people of Brooklyn Park. It’s about Good Jobs, Lower Crime and Better Image – ideas and goals that will affect every resident of our city. I will spend this entire term working on improvements and innovations for those three important themes.

I want to thank my opponent for running a clean campaign. Other than this forum, I don’t have a way to communicate my heart-felt and sincere thoughts for him as one who recently lost his spouse. It’s something I cannot imagine. Rarely have we been on the same side of issues, but we have to remember that we were opponents, not enemies. I have no doubt he has always had the best interests of our community at heart.

The most important person I need to thank is my wife, Michelle. Since the last day of eight grade, when we first met, she has been my best friend through life. In this campaign she was with me – literally – every step of the way. As we “lit dropped”, she and I went to over 5000 doors ourselves, me on one side of the street, she on the other. Warm or cold, good weather or bad, she was with me every day. When I was discouraged, she was there for me. When I was tired but knew we had to keep going, she was there (and just as tired). This win could not have happened without her.

It’s time to get to work. The sleeves are rolled up and we’ve already been discussing ideas to bring forward next year when I’m sworn in. I’m not big on campaign “promises”, but I make this one: I will not be your average council member. I will not just show up to vote. Things will get done, changes are coming, and I will be bold, visionary and innovative in helping to make Brooklyn Park a better place for all of us.

Thank you to the people of Brooklyn Park for this honor. I will not let you down.

- John (11/07/12)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just Five More Days

Today is Thursday, November 1st - five days to Election Day.  Since our family meeting in December 2010 to now, twenty two months, we have planned, strategized, recruited volunteers, had several meetings, hundreds of phone calls, hundreds of doors knocked, thousands of homes "lit dropped", lost two notches in my belt and wore out my right knee (which is screaming for me to stop walking).

All of this started at lunch with my friend, Steve Lampi, following the 2010 election.  We actually talked about results right after every election since he became mayor a decade back.  Every year he'd ask me to consider running for city council and every year I'd decline, thanking him for asking.

But in 2010 something was different.  I'm really not sure what it was but there was something in me that said "consider it".  So when he asked me again to consider running my answer was different, it was "let me think about it".  He was a bit surprised but pleased.

A month later I held a family meeting in my son's room where we discussed the idea.  Running for office is hard, very hard work.  Not just for the candidate but also for the entire family.  It takes the candidate away from the family.  In my case, my beautiful bride Michelle has also been a very hard worker, going with me lit dropping every day.  So a decision for a family to give their blessing is an important one.

At that meeting my family gave their blessing, December of 2010, and I called Steve.  He and Kathy were my first contributors that month.  The next month he called me with the news of his cancer.

Like I said, I knew there was a reason I had to consider running this time over all the other times he asked.

My campaign is dedicated to the memory of my friend and our mayor Steve Lampi.  While we didn't always agree on policy, we did agree on the need for a better Brooklyn Park.  That's why I helped on his campaigns and will always consider him my good friend.

Twenty two months later - over 10,000 pieces of campaign literature distributed, dozens and dozens of lawn signs, hundreds of doors knocked - and it's almost over.

As I told my Facebook friends the other day, my bones are screaming "for the love of everything hold, please stop!"  There comes a point where one is just exhausted.  At the same time I was raised to run all the way through first base.  Never stop, never give up, run hard until it's over.  So we do, and will.

Good Jobs, Lower Crime and Better Image isn't just a good slogan.  It's our campaign theme because you gave it to me.  As I door knocked this summer these were the issues you told me were important to you.  So we adopted them and will be the main issues I will focus upon if honored to become your next council member.

Thank you to every person who's given me a few minutes at your front door, open garage or front yard.  I am hopeful you will join me in reshaping our community in ways that will improve our city.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Verizon's response to month delay

I am one of those people who adopts new technology early.  Often I'm the guy buying that new cell phone the day it's release knowing that I'm paying more but that I'm also staying on the "cutting edge".  Given what I do for a living, being ahead of the curve is necessary.

For months I've been waiting for the new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 "phablet" to be released.  It's a large cell phone that will also act as my tablet, replacing my 7 inch Galaxy tab.

Since I'm with Verizon I've been most anxious for them to release the phone.  Last week T-Mobile and Sprint released the phone where I was able to go and play with it for a while.  Then Verizon decided to offer it in "pre-order" mode with a November 27th ship date.

Why the delay?

I decided to ask them and along with letting them know of my frustration with a month-long delay while others already have it in stores.  This was Verizon's response:

Good afternoon! I can certainly understand the desire to have this phone; it's going to be a fantastic device! I really appreciate your enthusiasm for it and can completely agree with how it can sometimes be trying to wait for something you know is just around the corner. Normally, I would have called so that we could discuss this together, but I also wanted to respect your request to not have us contact you by phone.

John, when we make a deal to release a phone with a manufacturer, we want to make sure that our customers are getting the best product possible, and sometimes that means undergoing some slight delays if it doesn't meet our expectations. If we find a bug in the software or something that just isn't working quite right, we do work with the manufacturer (in this case, Samsung) in order to correct it. While it can mean that you may have to wait a little longer, please believe me when I say that it isn't to upset you or any customer, but only to make sure that we are giving you the best there is. I do see that you have a preorder for this device already and that it's scheduled to ship on November 27th, so just in time for the holidays! I ask that you please be patient with us. I know it's hard, but I promise it'll be worth it.
I have to be honest, I'm not buying it.  What they seem to be suggesting is that the others have a bug or imperfection.

The reality that they won't discuss is that Verizon is the only company requiring Samsung to imprint their logo on the "Home" button.  That's what I believe is the delay.  So Verizon customers are all having to wait a month to get a button imprinted with a logo, which will wear off within a year anyway.

As I've been reading discussion forums about the topic I'm seeing so many frustrated Verizon customers.  Ugh.

For technology people like me, check this phone out.  It is going to revolutionize the entire smartphone industry.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brooklyn Park: Good Jobs, Lower Crime, Better Image

Good morning.

Today is Primary Day in Brooklyn Park and we woke to a new line of campaigning in our city:  This website was hacked.

We have so many issues facing our city that are important to each of us and know that those who want to continue the status quo.  They don't much like our positive message of Good Jobs, Lower Crime and Better Image.  Some are invested in keeping things the same as they are, some want to continue talking about improvements without true advancement, and some simply don't like the messenger.

Despite some of the negativity we're already hearing, we will continue to talk about the message.  It's a message that will bring more good jobs to our community by getting City Hall out of the way.  As that succeeds it will spin off additional business creations like restaurants and other support businsses.  That brings jobs to young people and those with less experience.

With those successes we help to take kids off the streets, we give them something positive to do and we help lower crime.  It also helps stabilize hurting families in our community.

Once we start to see real successes in crime reduction, not just cold statistics but also the perception by residents that it's being reduced, we'll see talk of a better image.  That better image, along with the other two issues of good, expanded jobs and lower crime, will mean even more growth in our city.

Some don't appreciate that message but I am here to tell you our residents do.  As I have been out meeting you, hundreds so far, the message has resonated well. I have been very well received with our positive message, one that offers hope to people who've grown tired of just hoping.  It inspires them to the possibilities of a future in our city that removes the fear some live in today.  And as the one candidate in our race who can be a cheer leader for this future, the one who has actually seen both failure and success, who has built two multi-million dollar businesses in the last five years, I intend to continue to work toward these goals.

Despite what we've seen here today on this website we are not deterred but instead challenged and motivated even more. 

I absolutely love being out meeting our residents.  I begin my work day very early and begin thinking about how many more doors I get to knock tonight.  Thank you, Brooklyn Park residents, for the opportunity to chat with you every night.

If you'd like more information about me and our campaign, or would like a yard sign, please visit us at

Good Jobs, Lower Crime, Better Image.