He’s back! Ventura’s nemesis resurfaces for a battle of the books

Recent news on Jesse Ventura’s book deal — “Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me,” coming to bookstores in April — elicited excitement from fans of the former governor and derision from those who thought that Ventura’s term at the Capitol was like an extended WWE pay-per-view performance orchestrated by Vince McMahon.

But no one responded to the book news more passionately than Leslie Davis, the environmentalist, activist, thorn-in-the-side of many politicians and avowed hater of James Janos, aka Jesse Ventura.

(FYI, I don’t cover the book beat or Jesse Ventura, but I came across the previously unreported Jesse book deal two weeks ago, when my wife, Julie Kramer the novelist, found a brief announcement on a limited-access publishing industry list serve. The two newspapers followed with stories about the book a few days later.)

Davis bringing back anti-Jesse book
Davis, who’s currently battling Hennepin County on an environmental lawsuit involving the new Twins Stadium, sent me this e-mail, announcing the re-release of his 2002 book about Ventura: “Always Cheat”:

“In response to Jesse Ventura announcing another book of garbage for spring 2008 release, Leslie Davis has scheduled a spring 2008 re-release of his book that knocked Ventura out of office.

Davis’ book appeared at book stores such as Barnes & Noble, and many libraries, in April 2002 and Ventura announced his retirement in June 2002.

“Davis said today, ‘In addition to a special “Always Cheat” website set for February 2008, I plan to do several interesting promotional events surrounding my book’s re-release around April 1, 2008, that will get Ventura the attention he craves and identify his network of slime.”

Never one to mince words, or avoid naming names, Davis said he expects to get his book back into bookstores in April to compete with the Jesse book. “Always Cheat” is still available on Amazon.com, $12.95 new for the 168-page paperback. (Used copies are available for 1 cent, plus shipping.)

Many libraries have it, too.

He lists many Jesse “highlights,” including:

· “Killed caged birds at a game farm with Maria Shriver in 1998.

· “Told single moms that they were on their own regarding government help.

· “Told University of Minnesota students to ‘win if you can, lose if you must, but ALWAYS CHEAT.'”

· “Mismanaged state finances. The economic downturn was apparent before 9/11, but Ventura was too busy promoting his private money-making ventures to see it. The tax cuts and rebates he promoted and endorsed broke the State of Minnesota and contributed to our lower credit rating today. The State Investment Board also suffered incredible losses while he was on the Board.

· “Insulted people who were religious, overweight or mentally ill. He called U.S. Army personnel ‘pukes.’ He called retired Army Master Sergeant Dick Franson a puke, When SEAL Commander Salisbury said Ventura was a phony SEAL, Ventura called him a puke.”

Gadfly Davis busy buzzing around
Some call Davis a gadfly, but he certainly keeps busy. Davis is pursuing the stadium lawsuit, claiming the air quality issue wasn’t adequately addressed in planning for the new ballpark, which will be next to the county’s garbage-burning plant. He was preparing a 25-page motion Wednesday in his attempts to keep the lawsuit alive. So far, it’s been an uphill battle, and he was required to post a $45 million bond by Friday afternoon, to keep the suit alive.

In another e-mail, Davis writes: “There are significant constitutional issues involved in blocking me from going to trial with Hennepin County for failing to perform an ‘adequate’ environmental impact statement (EIS) as required by the Ballpark legislation and other state laws controlling EIS’s.”

And that’s not all he’s up to:

“I’m swamped with work on judicial reform, supporting HF 1261 and working with citizens who proposed it,” he writes. “Sewage Plant in St. Paul is guilty of so many things that it’s taking me months to prepare the complaints, etc. I need the Justice Dept. and USEPA with me. I’ve been speaking with EPA Region 5 attorney Mary McCauliffe in Chicago but I can’t get into that right now.

“My Earth Protector group is completing a test on a product that will reduce emissions, improve engines and increase gas mileage for diesel trucks and buses … If the tests are satisfactory, we will endorse this product that puts a ceramic coating on metal parts of engines and such. Spectacular results so far with Rochester City Lines and Richfield Bus Company.”

Meanwhile, Ventura, who spends the summer in Dellwood, is now at his winter place in Mexico.

John Wodele, who was Ventura’s communications head at the Capitol, said he won’t comment on the Davis book re-release. Wodele and his wife, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, were savagely skewered by Davis, too. Wodele says he’s found it’s best to not even dignify the book with a comment.

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