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Frey jumps into the fray as GOP legislators make issue of crime in Minneapolis, St. Paul

What does crime in the Twin Cities have to do with bike lanes and plastic straws?
Either a lot or not much at all, depending on whether you’re the leader of Republicans in the Minnesota House — or the mayor of the state’s largest city.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
Monday, a group of House Republicans gathered to announce a batch of bills they said would address growing crime in Minneapolis and St. Paul. “Minnesotans are worried about the increase in crime, and, unfortunately, there’s been a reluctance by our city leaders to take meaningful steps to address it,” said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.

“This is not just an issue for residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul,” Daudt continued. “We all represent constituents who travel to the cities to visit family and friends, who work, who go to sporting events, who go to concerts. And they all worry about their safety.”

While it isn’t uncommon for one group to follow another to the podium at the state Capitol after such events, the latter usually wait for the former to finish talking. 

Not this time. Almost before Daudt could complete his opening statement, Daudt was interrupted — by someone sitting among Capitol reporters.

“Not true,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey of Daudt’s claim that both city mayors had rebuffed requests by their police chiefs to add officers to their forces. 

Tying LGA to ‘adequate’ law enforcement

Joining the GOP House members at the Monday news conference was someone who has feuded with Frey in the past, someone who is a frequent political target of left-leaning residents of the city Frey leads: Minneapolis Police Officer Federation President Bob Kroll.

This time, Kroll was not part of the fireworks. Kroll, who made a prominent appearance at President Donald’s Trump Minneapolis campaign rally last year, made only brief and rather tame remarks, calling for bipartisan responses to crime.

“There’s a reason that the police chiefs of both Minneapolis and St. Paul have asked for additional resources and additional officers,” he said. “Increasing crime means officers spend more time responding to 911 calls and less time developing positive interactions with the communities that they serve.”

Minneapolis Police Officer Federation president Bob Kroll
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minneapolis Police Officer Federation President Bob Kroll made only brief remarks, calling for bipartisan responses to crime.
“Public safety should be a bipartisan issue here at the Capitol,” said Kroll, who is a lieutenant in the MPD. Among other things, the House GOP bills, which have yet to be introduced, would:

  • boost criminal penalties for gang members who use firearms in commission of a crime;
  • increase funding for the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to combat gang violence and drug trafficking;
  • require cities with regional sports and entertainment facilities to have adequate law enforcement near those venues or risk losing local government aid;
  • increase the number of sworn officers for Metro Transit police, increase enforcement of fare evasion, and install interactive cameras on light rail platforms.

Addressing the proposal to tie Local Government Aid to the presence of law enforcement at sports and entertainment facilities, Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, said: “Minnesota taxpayers should be able to attend the facilities they have helped build and pay for without fearing for our safety.” 

Demuth added that her family attends day games at Target Field, “partially out of concerns with being downtown late into the evening.”

A 2020 election issue

Republicans are in the minority in the House, and the proposals are unlikely to get much traction there. But GOP lawmakers control the state Senate, where “violence prevention” is one of the planks of their 2020 agenda. 

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said that agenda includes boosting pay for state troopers, and also stiffening penalties for what are called straw purchases of firearms — when someone who is not prohibited from buying a gun transfers a firearm to someone with a felony conviction.

But Gazelka said his caucus will also use its “bully pulpit” to ask the question about police staffing in the two biggest cities in the state. “Their police chief said, ‘We need more police,’ so what are you doing about it,” Gazelka said. 

He also didn’t rule out legislation related to how Local Government Aid money is spent. “LGA began as a resource for police and fire but it’s become much broader than that,” he said. “We don’t want them to miss the core function of it.”

Running against big cities has long been a chapter in the Republican campaign playbook. It is especially potent when there are no Republicans elected from those cities, as in the case in Minnesota. 

On Monday, Daudt objected to the suggestion that there were partisan political implications of the GOP proposals. “We have been talking about this issue for some time,” he said. “We passed some of these bills in the past. I don’t think that people’s safety when they visit Minneapolis and St. Paul is a partisan issue. We think everyone has a right to feel safe in these cities whether you live here, work here, visit here. You have a right to be safe.”

State Rep. Matt Grossell
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
State Rep. Matt Grossell offered a bill that would prohibit cities from disarming police officers who are in good standing.
There were, however, messages that served to portray Minneapolis as out of touch with the rest of the state. Daudt even cited bike lanes and plastic straw bans as examples. “When people want to talk about plastic straws and plastic bags and closing down lanes of traffic to put in more bike paths, those things are all great when your streets are perfect and your streets are safe and when your kids are educated,” Daudt said.

When he was asked whether bike lanes come from the same pool of money as police, Daudt said: “Nope. But it will make a good sound bite on the news tonight.”

Frey: ‘an attempt to divide urban and rural voters’

As soon as the GOP news conference ended, Frey went to the podium and directed TV videographers to stay put; he had something to say. “It was stated just a moment ago by Rep. Daudt that he was just trying for a sound bite on the media, and that is exactly the case,” Frey said. “They were right about one thing: Safety is not a partisan issue. The sad state of politics right now, especially with the Republican Legislature, is they are trying to make it into one.”

Frey noted that the GOP did not reach out to him or St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter or other cities represented by the League of Minnesota Cities in creating their proposals. “This speaks to a lack of collaboration in government, this speaks to the lack of transparency in the facts, and this speaks to an attempt to divide urban and rural voters against each other,” he said. 

The first-term mayor also said Daudt was wrong in saying that there was no money for additional police in Minneapolis’ 2020 budget. And in regard to concerns raised by the professional sports franchises about safety around stadiums, Frey said the city is working with the Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves to address their concerns.

Frey also said that how cities spend money should be decided by city elected officials, not state lawmakers. “This is called Local Government Aid,” he said. “This is not called state dictated aid.”

Frey has taken political heat from both his left and his right on the issue of policing. During his 2017 campaign, he called for hiring more beat cops and was criticized by other candidates for doing so. 

And while his 2020 budget request did include some additional officers, it did not come close to the staffing suggestion by his chief, Medaria Arradondo, who sought to increase the force from 880 commissioned officers to 1,000 or more. Even so, during his most recent budget presentation, Frey was heckled by activists who want less police presence in Minneapolis, not more. 

The city budget does include a third recruit class for new cops, up from two. But many of those will replace retiring police officers rather than grow the force. While some might help to add to the force, it won’t surpass the approved level of 880 officers.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: “This speaks to a lack of collaboration in government, this speaks to the lack of transparency in the facts, and this speaks to an attempt to divide urban and rural voters against each other.”
In St. Paul, requests by Police Chief Todd Axtell for more officers, as well as the installation of Shotspotter, a system to locate and detect gunfire, were rebuffed by Carter. In a statement released Monday afternoon, Carter said “the future we deserve can neither be built on failed strategies from the ‘80s nor on cheap and misleading political games.”

Carter said the city’s overall crime rates are at a 25-year low, but added, “Clearly we have more work to do; particularly in light of a heartbreaking series of gun-related homicides last fall.

“To meet these challenges, we have increased our number of police officers to its highest point in city history while investing in proven community-based interventions that connect residents to stability,” Carter said. “I stand ready to work with any legislator earnestly interested in improving public safety outcomes and look forward to discussing common-sense legislation, like universal background checks, that will help stop the flow of illegal guns into our communities before a crime is ever committed.”

Frey ended his impromptu press conference by responding to a bill offered by Rep. Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook, that would prohibit cities from disarming police officers who are in good standing. That bill, House File 698, was drafted in response to a comment that Rep. Raymond Dehn made to a questionnaire during his run for Minneapolis mayor in 2017. While Dehn later tried to clarify his comment, the two-words that stuck were “disarm officers,” and there have also been student campaigns to disarm officers at the University of Minnesota.

“I have never advocated for that. That’s just silly,” Frey said. 

As he was leaving the conference, though, Frey ran into Grossell, a retired police officer, in the hallway. Video captured by KARE 11 reporter John Croman showed a walking debate between the two.

“The people deserve to hear the truth, so next time do that for me,” Frey said, patting Grossell on the shoulder.

“Don’t touch me,” Grossell said as Frey walked away. 

Grossell then circled back. “Stop lying to your community and stop putting your community in danger,” he told Frey. “Stop tying the hands of your law enforcement. Talk to your officers on the ground.”

 

Comments (81)

  1. Submitted by Keith Nordeen on 02/18/2020 - 10:57 am.

    The GOP needs to put up canadiates to run in Minneapolis elections. I am a resident of Minneapolis and need a real choice to choose leadership.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/18/2020 - 11:37 am.

      Nah, we have a big enough problem from Republican legislators coming to the cities to commit crimes. We don’t need them here year round.

      http://m.startribune.com/minn-gop-leader-kurt-daudt-breaks-silence-about-montana-arrest/241543541/

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 12:21 pm.

      It’s a vicious circle: Republicans write off the cities as unwinnable, so they run candidates with the most dubious positions. They lose, because who would vote for them, and that reinforces the Republican narrative.

      Once upon a time, before the Republican Party lost its collective marbles and decided to focus on social issues, Republicans could and did win elections in the core cities. Arne Carlson represented a neighborhood in Minneapolis throughout his legislative career.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 02:56 pm.

        Arne Carlson was a Republican in name only. He was hardly a Conservative let alone a limited govt guy. But then most Republicans aren’t for limited govt anymore either. Republicans don’t win in big blue cities because they don’t promise freebies like Democrats do.

        • Submitted by Tim McCarthy on 02/18/2020 - 03:09 pm.

          “Republicans don’t win in big blue cities because they don’t promise freebies like Democrats do.”
          That’s either very insightful or just vacuous.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 09:03 pm.

            How many Republicans have you seen running on a platform of giving out more welfare, reducing requirements to get it, giving out more food stamps etc etc??? none. That’s why Republicans don’t win in big blue cities.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/19/2020 - 09:43 am.

              I lived in a little red town in rural Minnesota for a number of years. That was where I met most of the people I have known who were on SNAP, living in Section 8 housing, or working only a few weeks out of the year, spending the rest of the time quaffing cheap booze and smoking weed.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 03:15 pm.

          Republicans don’t win in big blue cities because they have aligned themselves with retrograde social movements that are anathema to many or most who live in the cities.

          Minneapolis is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the country. Why would the party that gave us Michele Bachmann get any traction there? Given the racial diversity of the cities, why would a party that is so in thrall to a racist demagogue like Donald Trump expect to do well there?

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 09:01 pm.

            LGTBQ or whatever is roughly 3% of the entire population. People who believe in limited government believe in freedom for all so there’s no need to pander to a group like that. Govt wouldn’t be involved in their lives or yours. (why people want govt in their marriage is beyond me… wait no it’s not, you want your place at the govt trough is all).

            The Democrat party has been the party of “free stuff” promises since at least LBJ. In reality, your policies make people poorer, destroy the family unit and lead to lower overall prosperity. You tax everyone and give it to those who don’t/won’t work (minus a big chunk for the people in the middle) instead of just allowing charity to take care of the truly needy while everyone else takes care of themselves. The “Welfare State” has never worked. It always leads to more poverty and less freedom (see Venezuela as the latest example).

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/19/2020 - 09:41 am.

              “People who believe in limited government believe in freedom for all so there’s no need to pander to a group like that.”

              Giving equal rights and recognizing fundamental human dignity is not “pandering,” unless you’re one of those who doesn’t want to do it.

              Is it “pandering” to gun owners when a county declares itself a Second Amendment sanctuary? I’m pretty sure I know your answer, but the reasoning you use to back it up will certainly bring a smile to my lips.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/19/2020 - 10:47 am.

              We should definitely cut back on freeloading rural Republicans who are being subsidized by the taxes of hard-working Democrats in the Cities.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 02/18/2020 - 03:04 pm.

        Exactly, I agree with the GOP and Kroll on virtually nothing, but when they speak of crime in Minneapolis, they’re 100% right. Frey is the antithesis of Trump, but just as dangerous and incompetent.

    • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 02/18/2020 - 04:27 pm.

      If you aren’t happy with your council member, then run.

  2. Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/18/2020 - 11:17 am.

    Part of the increased crime appears to be from Republican legislators visiting from out of town. Maybe start by dealing with criminals like Matt Grossell.

    https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/05/05/minnesota-lawmaker-cited-for-trespassing

  3. Submitted by Jason Walker on 02/18/2020 - 11:31 am.

    Don’t forget the time Kurt Daudt’s associate pulled a gun on a family during a Craigslist sale. If he’s truly against crime he needs to pick better friends.

    http://www.citypages.com/news/mngop-leader-kurt-daudts-truck-purchase-ended-with-daudts-gun-being-pulled-on-seller-update-6546647

  4. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 02/18/2020 - 11:41 am.

    This sure looks like an act of desperation by Daudt, Gazelka, et al. Polling looking bad guys?

    In reality, it is a typical cheap shot from rural Minnesota about the Cities. They never pay residents of the city for their use of our parks, streets, stores, etc. as to the public monies threat, I think most of the taxes fall on residents of the cities, not rural Minnesota.

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 02/18/2020 - 12:49 pm.

      About 1/3 of the state’s taxable income comes from Hennepin County alone.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 02/18/2020 - 01:13 pm.

      In all fairness, it is an issue. That said, it also falls on the Met Council and state legislature and counties–they pushed LRT and should have thought this out before spending money to expand it. For starters they chose the SW LRT, not a great route to waste money on. And the city/county is given lots of money as well as taxes. Although other counties need to pick up the slack on some of the social issues. Yes other areas have crime, but people need to own our own issues. For those of us at night taking public transportation, its an issue. Stop the squabbling and work to solve it now that a mess has been made. And Frey and some others need to stop with the thin skin. He does have a point, some Republicans own some responsibility in this in terms of problem solving, simply screaming tough on crime and dragging out Kroll is not an answer.

  5. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 02/18/2020 - 11:55 am.

    Looking at the actual data it appears Brainerd, Virginia and Bemidji have at least as serious of a crime problem as St. Paul, especially when property crimes are included. Are rural legislators really suggesting that resources should be diverted from those communities to St. Paul so people can feel safe when they go to a Wild game?

    https://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-minnesota/

    To answer my own question, of course they aren’t. This is just a dog whistle to their own constituents and a way to smear their opponents.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/18/2020 - 08:15 pm.

      Of course, in a city of 10,000 people, two crimes look like a large percentage compared to a city like St. Paul with more than 300,000 people. It is true that statistics can pretty much prove anything as long as nobody looks too closely.

      • Submitted by Alina Trukhina on 02/19/2020 - 08:12 am.

        Of course the number of crimes in smaller towns will not be as high as the cities. Proportionally, though, the crime is the same, which is what counts. Logically, you wouldn’t expect 10,000 crimes to happen in a town of 30,000 people, just like you would expect to have more than 2 crimes in a city of half a million people (an a metro of 3 Million!).

  6. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/18/2020 - 11:57 am.

    Well to our rural Republicans, jump right in! Suspect your gun values align 100% with the local gang-bangers; always packing, got 1 in the chamber, as many as you can stuff in the clip, always ready to drop anyone that looks at you strange, or dis-you, or challenges you on your turf! (castle doctrine) I’m sure things will improve over night! On a second point, Rep. Daudt, have you ever asked minorities, why they don’t travel, much less move into the rural areas, or even deer hunt? FEAR of the locals! Maybe us city folks should come out there and teach you folks how to be hospitable, and tie state funds to your hospitality rating.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 03:01 pm.

      If the people of the cities were armed, there would be a lot less crime. The criminals aren’t afraid of the people because they know almost none of them are armed.

      Your claim about minorities fearing rural people is beyond absurd. Cite your sources.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/18/2020 - 06:22 pm.

        PS: Absurd? Really? than perhaps you can explain why minority folks aren’t congregating in the rural areas, just rushing out to embrace our rural brethren! Out sate MN is like Ivory soap my friend, did you already forget the article on “immigrants” and invisible fences, and counties like Beltrami, vs. folks like you complaining about “sanctuary cities” you thinking all those immigrants are coming from where; Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Scotland, UK?

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/18/2020 - 08:57 pm.

        Guess you’ll have to get me that study you got supporting more guns makes us safer, sounds more like lots of gasoline, paper, kindling and matches around the house leads to fewer fires!

  7. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 12:24 pm.

    “[B]oost criminal penalties for gang members who use firearms in commission of a crime . . .”

    Not boost penalties on anyone who uses a firearm in the commission of a crime, just gang members. You know, those bad city people who, completely coincidentally, I assure you, tend to be people of color.

    Sometimes, you don’t even have to think too hard to catch the racist overtones.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 03:03 pm.

      Go look at the FBI data on crime. You might be surprised. The extreme majority of all gun crimes are committed by criminals and gangs. Law abiding gun owners aren’t the problem and your gun control laws won’t do a thing to lower the violence and crime rates.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 03:17 pm.

        Targeting gang members – or saying that you’re going to do so – is also a not-so-subtle way of introducing race into the question.

        Are you going to tell us next all about how the media ignores black-on-white crime, or is that a bridge too far?

        • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/18/2020 - 08:20 pm.

          Criminals deserve to be caught and punished and it is not racism if most of the criminals are green or blue. Instead of asking what color criminals are, why don’t we look at their net worth, or education, or the number of parents they had, or what brand of car they drive? Everything is not always race related no matter what all the woke people say.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/19/2020 - 09:14 am.

            “Everything is not always race related no matter what all the woke people say.”

            That’s not baloney, but the moderator will not approve the more accurately descriptive term.

            There is no question who is meant when a politician refers to gangs. The only time anyone troubles to deny it is when the obvious racial dog-whistling is pointed out (“Gosh, I never said anything about race when I talked about urban gangs. It’s what I meant, but . . . oh, shoot, did I say that last part out loud?”).

            And if you sincerely think that race has nothing to do with criminal “justice” in this country, you have gone far past naive.

  8. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 02/18/2020 - 12:36 pm.

    Gazelka needs to clean up his own backyard. They’ve had a drunken cop driving around Nisawa for how long before he was finally caught? Caught is a relative word, he came into the police station to start his shift totally hammer, some “sharp eyed” fellow officer noticed. And don’t get me started on the Meth heads stealing anything that isn’t nailed down all over Northern Minnesota,

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/18/2020 - 08:23 pm.

      Was it MC Hammer? The Senate Majority leader’s backyard maybe covers an acre. Big city politicians deal with many more victims (remember them?) and need to keep them safe.

  9. Submitted by Scott Walters on 02/18/2020 - 12:46 pm.

    Just like nationally, the demographic trends in Minnesota are bleak for rural and Republican areas. Not only are the suburbs growing, but now each of the core Twin Cities themselves are adding significant population, while outstate continues its decline. Ten years of urban growth and rural stagnation at best, often decline, will be reflected in the 2020 census and 2021 Minnesota redistricting. Minneapolis and Saint Paul combined will gain one state senator and two representatives. The Twin Cities ‘burbs will gain even more. If the game is urban/rural divide, that’s increasingly a losing hand for Republicans. Maybe the Republican Party needs to move toward the center and begin to try to appeal to independents and conservative DFLers who have been forced out of an increasingly out of touch Republican party.

  10. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 02/18/2020 - 12:54 pm.

    Of course there are so many who want to blame the Republicans for all this. It doesn’t matter that Frey just wants to do things his way and consistently lies. He expects the Legislature to come to him when all he does is ask for more and more money from the Legislature. So arrogant. The comment that he gets to spend the LGA as he feels is a complete joke. That is taxpayer money supplied by the Legislature. Of course they get to have a say. If you don’t want them to have a say, don’t keep begging for money.
    He has always been against more police and has always been dishonest about the number of officers there are in the ranks. He hasn’t wanted to pay for more in the past. He’s being dishonest now as not all the newbies in the academies will get a job.
    And you don’t have to be from the rural areas to know that people don’t like going to the downtowns anymore. And you can’t blame the Republicans for that because they’ve been run by liberals for decades who do nothing about making the downtowns safer and more open.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/18/2020 - 01:16 pm.

      Its bad enough that hard-working taxpayers in the Cities have to subsidize rural Minnesota, but when these freeloaders start in with this kind of criticism, its too much. Good for Frey.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/18/2020 - 08:25 pm.

        Freeloaders, deplorables. The concept of a liberal elite is just so much bunk.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/19/2020 - 10:43 am.

          Just stating the facts. The metro heavily subsidizes outstate Minnesota. For all the complaining about the cities, rural Minnesota would die off without their money.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 02/18/2020 - 02:14 pm.

      I spend quite a bit of time downtown and after reading Mr. Petersen’s rant, I can’t help but think of the great Yogi Berra who once said “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 02:49 pm.

      “That is taxpayer money supplied by the Legislature. Of course they get to have a say.”

      We could apply that logic to a lot of things (charter schools or vouchers for private schools, for example), but let’s stick with LGA. Minneapolis and St. Paul each receive less on a per capita basis than a lot of smaller cities (Eveleth and International Falls, to name but two). Can we demand that they open their books and show us where the money is going?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/18/2020 - 03:29 pm.

      “Frey just wants to do things his way and consistently lies.”

      Frey is a rank amateur compared to our “Liar in Chief” President who clocks in at about 35% truthful.

      Nice to see a person from the right having a problem with lying though:

      “Here’s today Ray of Hope”

  11. Submitted by kurt nelson on 02/18/2020 - 02:31 pm.

    “boost criminal penalties for gang members who use firearms in commission of a crime”

    You’d think they would want to boost penalties for anyone using a firearm in the commission of a crime, not just brown folks.But for the pearl clutchers, that would smack of gun control, so you know that’s never going to happen.

    But those wacky Republicans, and their institutional racism wouldn’t have it any other way I guess.

  12. Submitted by Richard Adair on 02/18/2020 - 02:38 pm.

    “People from rural areas don’t want to go to the downtowns anymore.” Gee, the farmers in my family from the Zumbrota area are nuts about the Twins (especially this year). They drive to Ft Snelling, take LRT to Target Field and back, and are home by midnight. They’re savvy in the ways of the big city. They also grow beans and corn, raise calves, hunt deer, etc.

    Enough with the stereotypes. We’re all Minnesotans.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 02/18/2020 - 04:26 pm.

      A lot of folks on the North Star corridor do the same. I think we need to get past Daudt and Gazelka’s fear monger in and pandering, (and vote them out!), and get down to real issues. There has been a spike in crime late at night on LRT, maybe we need to require some of the monies sent their way for regular security and/or cops on trains after a certain time, determined by statistics, so we can expand public transit with less opposition. It is going to be the future, whether we like it or not.

  13. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 02/18/2020 - 02:40 pm.

    We don’t need more cops. We need more prosecutors and jails, to put an end to the current catch and release justice system. The focus should be guns. If you get caught illegally possessing a firearm, it should be an automatic 5 year sentence. No plea bargaining, probation, etc…. That would put a quick end to the endless gun fights that we are seeing in St Paul and Mpls.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/18/2020 - 03:34 pm.

      “If you get caught illegally possessing a firearm, it should be an automatic 5 year sentence.”

      What is “illegal possession?”

      Are you advocating for stronger laws identifying legal possession from illegal possession?

      I could not agree with you more: we need a registration system that defines legal possession:

      “Here is my permit proving legal possession”

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 09:22 pm.

        Illegal possession would be a felon with a gun (under current law).

        No need for registration since everyone that’s not already a felon has the right to own guns.

        What we need is elimination of all gun control laws so that the citizens can defend themselves and that would put a quick end to most violent crime.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 02/19/2020 - 01:08 pm.

          Dude, even the old west had gun control. How big of a coward does one have to be to feel they need to pack a Glock to grab some groceries at Target? Housewives have done this for decades and managed to make it home unscathed.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/20/2020 - 01:30 pm.

          Mission accomplished:

          “The average sentence length for all section 922(g) offenders was 75 months; however, one-quarter of these offenders had an average sentence of 24 months or less while one-quarter had an average sentence of 96 months or more”

          So; it looks like you are soft on crime, calling for a 60 month sentenced, when the current norm is 75 months.

          https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/quick-facts/Quick_Facts_Felon_in_Possession_of_a_Firearm.pdf

          • Submitted by Mike Schumann on 02/23/2020 - 06:30 am.

            I can guarantee you that 90% of felons caught in possession of a firearm plea bargain a for a lesser charge, which is why they don’t show up in the statistics..just read the stories every day about shootings in St Paul and the rap sheets of the perpetrators and victims. That tells the real story.

  14. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/18/2020 - 03:37 pm.

    Sigh. There was a time – an increasingly long time ago – when I was a Republican. I even voted for Republicans. But that was when I was much younger. Now I see people, claiming to be Republicans, whose rhetoric and policy positions are so toxic I want nothing to do with them, and would certainly never vote for them.

    I should add that, at least in my household, “Republican” and “conservative” are not synonymous. Most of the people I know who like to call themselves “conservative” have no idea what genuine conservatism is, or means. What they’re really advocating is a kind of half-thought-out neofascism, largely drawn from right wing media sources and a variety of discredited authors and economists whose thoroughly debunked views don’t pass muster with the general public.

    I’m also acquainted with a couple of people who seem to be genuine Republicans. They’re somewhat more socially and politically cautious than I am, and I’m hardly a wild-eyed radical, but they’re thoughtful people who don’t assume everyone who disagrees with them is evil incarnate. It’s a mind set that makes for more pleasant and informative conversations, for one thing, but it’s rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth in the current right wing universe.

    My irony meter gets broken fairly often by come of the commentary here on MinnPost by some of the people who claim to be “conservative.” Today’s example was Mr. Barnes’ critique of Dennis Wagner: “Your claim about minorities fearing rural people is beyond absurd. Cite your sources.” It naturally left me wondering what sources Mr. Barnes will cite to show just how “absurd” Mr. Wagner’s assertion might be. Citing reputable sources is not something I readily associate with Mr. Barnes’ claims, but I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 05:19 pm.

      “Now I see people, claiming to be Republicans, whose rhetoric and policy positions are so toxic I want nothing to do with them, and would certainly never vote for them.”

      The Republican Party has been a national force since 1860. Up until 1980 or so, the GOP took positions in favor of environmental protection, gender equality, federal protection of voting rights, etc.

      The last 40 years has seen a dramatic reversal. Now, any Republican who deviates from the current orthodoxy of Republicanism is branded as a RINO. Never mind that he or she is holding many of the same positions as the Party had for most of its existence. The only true Republicans are those who rose to the surface after the Reagan ascendancy.

      It makes you wonder who has the legitimate claim to being a Republican, doesn’t it?

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/18/2020 - 07:13 pm.

      I’m deeply conservative. I believe we should work very hard* to conserve norms of moral reflection and self-regulated morality formed haltingly over several millennia of human cruelty. I believe we should work very hard* to conserve social capital, in the form of mutual trust and mutual regard, made possible (in Marxian fashion) as the beneficial consequence of three bludgeoning centuries of industrial development. I believe we should work very hard* to conserve the planet on which human civilization depends, and the natural pace of adaptation established over several hundred million years. All of which puts me well off the left end of polite society’s continuum.

      The left is the community of conservatism. The Right, and its authoritarian fellow travelers in other lands, constitute the community not of conservatism, but its opposite – nihilism.

      * “should have worked very hard”

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 09:44 pm.

        Charles, how can you say the Right is authoritarian when it’s the left that is pushing Communism so hard? (Yes, Bernie is a Communist, he has praised violent Communist regimes for many decades and there’s plenty of video of him doing so).

        Need I remind you that it was “the left” that committed every major genocide in modern times (Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot et al)? That’s hardly conservative by any stretch of the imagination. The most authoritarian regimes have all been LEFT wing.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/19/2020 - 01:56 pm.

          Fascism is right wing
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism
          I’ll defer everything else to Ray’s comment: ”
          “Citing reputable sources is not something I readily associate with Mr. Barnes’ claims, but I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise.”

        • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/19/2020 - 06:56 pm.

          Mr Barnes – There’s no common definition of “left” and “Right.” You can define them, and then you can describe how power was exercised under the regimes of Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot, and what you mean by “Communism.” Then we can decide whether, by your definitions, those regimes were on the left or Right. Then we can say whether that exercise was useful in any respect.

          I define left and Right (heuristically) on a scale of 0 to 1 (see Gini index). The left terminus, 0, is capital collectively held, and political decisions reached through unanimity; the right terminus, 1, is economic and political decision-making authority vested all in one person. Because the mythology that serves as objective reality in our society obscures the concentration of power, we operate much closer to 1 than to 0. Those popularly defined as the “left” (including me) may hover somewhere around the midpoint of the continuum. The Democratic and traditional Republican establishments are much closer to 1, and the newly unbound nihilists of the Republican base are right up on it. No one is very close to 0, except perhaps some small intentional communities and Marianne Williamson. It’s a tough sell to argue that Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot propagated his genocide to implement the democratic consensus of those slaughtered, so on my scale, it’s beyond laughable to characterize these regimes as leftist.

          By fairly accepted definition, authoritarianism is the shift of power from the many to the few, by any means that are effective – from undermining collective civic engagement, to creating internal enemies and divisions, to the threat of force and force itself. The Right – and the Republican party as its organized vehicle – is authoritarian because any dissection of its trajectory over the past 40 years, its accelerated course over the past 19, and its open and headlong rush to shed democratic pretense over the past three, nakedly reveals authoritarian means and authoritarian advance at every step.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 09:36 pm.

      I never made the claim so I don’t have to cite any sources. I don’t see any evidence to suggest minorities fear rural white people.

      As for your comment about Republicans.. what exactly is so toxic about their platform? Today’s Republican Party is basically what the Democrats used to be around the time of JFK (in most policies and are hardly what I would call “right wing” ). They actually tend to favor big govt, just their brand instead of yours. When you throw around words like Fascist, you start to lose credibility. Fascism, Socialism, Communism are all the same thing.. totalitarian in nature. This idea that one is left wing and the other is right wing is ludicrous. That only works if your view the left/right paradigm as a horseshoe that morphed into a tear drop shape where left and right meet at the top with totalitarianism.

      I prefer to look at it on a linear scale from 0 to 100. 0 being Anarchro Capitalist and 100 being Dictator/Communist/Fascist/Socialist/Marxist etc. Today’s Democrat Party would be in the 85 to 90 range (moving quickly up with people like Bernie and AOC). The Republicans would be in the 75 to 80 range and moving up (with people like Romney, Rove, the Bush family, Cheney et al). The Libertarian Party would be somewhere around 50. (I’m one of the few on the 0 end of that scale … as I see all forms of govt as bad no matter how big or small they are).

      I really am curious to see what you consider to be toxic though.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/20/2020 - 07:25 am.

        Hmm..

        Let’s look at the world leaders Trump has an affinity with, expressed kind words for or opened a rapprochement with:

        Putin
        Un
        Xi
        Erdogan
        Duterte
        elSisi

        And you think the Democrats are farther along on the road to dictatorship?

        Let’s make at least a little effort towards introspection here. We all know if President HRC had done 10% of what Trump has done to exert executive supremacy you and yours would be at the gates with all the rakes and pitchforks you could muster…

  15. Submitted by Michael Hess on 02/18/2020 - 08:12 pm.

    Hmm. Divisive politics to pit groups against each other based on lies and misrepresentation. Where could the MN GOP have learned that tactic from.

    • Submitted by Alina Trukhina on 02/19/2020 - 08:14 am.

      The tactic as old as time! It is surprising, though, that Frey is taking the bait and trying to engage in earnest.

  16. Submitted by Sheila Kihne on 02/19/2020 - 08:56 am.

    Frey and Daudt both love the attention.

  17. Submitted by William Duncan on 02/19/2020 - 10:28 am.

    Maybe if economics were about taking care of people instead of taking care of corporations, banks, billionaires, war profiteers, monopolists and elite graft, maybe there would be a lot less crime?

    There is so much important, meaningful, dignified work to be done. Instead we say that work is not economic, instead providing half the population low-wage, no-benefit, part-time, go nowhere, grinding, soulless employment. I blame Republicans and democrats for that.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/19/2020 - 03:58 pm.

      “Maybe if economics were about taking care of people”

      For reference:
      “Economics is the social science that studies how individuals, organizations, and societies manage the scarce resources under their control for the satisfaction of their needs and desires. Economics focuses on the behavior and interactions of economic agents and how those interactions work particularly and as a whole:”

      Maybe your real question is: What is government suppose to do?

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 02/20/2020 - 03:57 pm.

        Economic policy is a choice, it is not some unbiased study of social behavior. We choose to tax the rich at a lower rate than working people. We choose to give tax breaks to Amazon but burden small business and working people with the defecit. We choose to bail out bankers but not homeowners. We choose to keep the minimum wage at starvation rates. We choose to crush unions and keep wages and benefits stagnant. We choose to let the wealthy profit from polluting, socializing the mess. We choose to let big money control the land, forcing people into the city to work.

        We could choose to do the opposite of all these things, but we are too busy blaming the “other”, divided and conquered. As for government, every government that ever existed devolved into protecting the wealthy and their “property” at the expense of the vast majority. The people either learn to rule themselves, or they will always be ruled.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/21/2020 - 07:11 pm.

          Your hero’s the “we republicans” just sent $1.5T down the road to the richest of the rich. If you want to argue with the definition of economics have at it until the cows come home. Not sure who you are ranting at or why, for months you have been an adamant Trump supporter out here, now you look like a Bernie supporter, so looks like, you are either working for Trump or the Russians to support Bernie in order to get Trump to win, which is a ticket to increased pollution, more wealth to the richest of the rich, more power to business, less to unions, and a continued degradation of our near dead democracy. .

          • Submitted by William Duncan on 02/22/2020 - 11:26 am.

            It sounds like you are saying, if I question income inequality, systemic pollution, species extinction and eternal war profiteering as a consequence of the policies of BOTH Republicans and Democrats then I must be a Russian agent. So to when I lay out the detail of it, you call it conspiracy theory.

            I have never supported Trump. I have only ever said, it doesn’t serve America to take down Trump by disengenuous means, to then replace him with more income inequality etc status quo pathology.

            You know, it was McCarthy who made a living, destroying people by calling anyone who opposed him agents of Russia. And it was the CIA that coined the term conspiracy theory, as a rhetorical pejorative to undermine any argument that questioned American imperialism and militarism. So if you get to imply that I am a Russian agent, do I get to imply you are a CIA authoritarian imperialist and militarist?

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/22/2020 - 06:49 pm.

              Looks like the Dems although not in power are responsible and Trump is free of all guilt? Your post not mine.

              Posted on 02/09/20 at 9:48 am in response to Not only Ukraine call, but entire presidency now deemed by Trump to be ‘perfect’

              • Submitted by William Duncan on 02/23/2020 - 10:19 am.

                If you are going to supposedly quote me you don’t get to paraphrase, put your words in place of mine and imply that I think Trump’s presidency is perfect.

                What I have said repeatedly in these pages, Dems getting in bed with the totally unaccountable intelligence community and corporate media to over inflate Russiagate and Ukrainegate was a disengenuous and ill conceived means to get rid of Trump. Just like yesterday, when on the day of the Nevada caucus, on the front page of every corporate media outlet in the land, the Headline (paraphrased) “The Russians are Helping Bernie!” I’m pretty sure I said in these pages too, six months ago, if it looked like Bernie might win, the knives would come out and he would be accused of being a Russian stooge, among other things.

                The media gave Trump 2 billion of free media trying to take him down in 2016, and then blamed his election on Russians and Bernie. This takedown of Bernie didn’t work either, he pretty much won every demographic in Nevada convincingly. Methinks Americans are increasingly sick of Trump’s madness, moderate Dem neoliberalism and corporate media shenanigans. Bernie doesn’t need any help from Putin to win.

                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/24/2020 - 03:26 pm.

                  Looks like the perfect SMEAR campaign form here. Everything to make folks lose confidence in our intelligence community, and support the rise of a totalitarian regime. Got something to support all that, other than Trump quotes? . .

                  “What I have said repeatedly in these pages, Dems getting in bed with the totally unaccountable intelligence community and corporate media to over inflate Russiagate and Ukrainegate was a disengenuous and ill conceived means to get rid of Trump.”

                  • Submitted by William Duncan on 02/25/2020 - 09:56 am.

                    Well, the IG report on the FBI’s wholly inappropriate misuse of the mostly fraudulent Steele Dossier and the FISA process. CIA torture and black sites in recent years. FBI forensics lying on more than a thousand cases a few years before that. NSA spying on regular Americans. How far back do we want to go…CIA assassinating democratically elected Patrice Lumumba? CIA monstrosities all throughout Central and South America. Cointelpro? Mockingbird? Iraq?

                    What do we need 17 intelligence agencies for? How many private contracting spook companies in association? What are we spending on war, intelligence and security every year? 3-4 trillion? That is rich, you saying I SMEAR them.

                    My hope this fall is, Trump loses, and Bernie dismantles a lot of this madness.

  18. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/19/2020 - 05:58 pm.

    I am retired from politics now, but back in the day, I used to as my state legislator why he thought the DFL didn’t run well in rural Minnesota. There are an assortment of reasons for that, some better than others. But something I rather doubt is that my political opposite number in rural Minnesota was asking his Republican legislator, why Republicans don’t run well in cities. I think that answer is obvious. Republicans run anti city campaigns, in ways that Democrats do not run anti rural campaigns.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/20/2020 - 09:24 am.

    I would just point out the fact that these divisive political tactics that attack our urban core and it’s politicians are a huge mistake. Republicans have no idea how to govern much less address crime, and the fascist impulse to put more boots on the streets never ends well.

    These Republican are also revealing again their REAL agenda of simply capturing power and using it to compel obedience. Here again we see that “local” control is all well and good… until the locals step out of line and don’t do what Republican leadership want’s them to do. Nullifying elections on any level from the White House to City Hall has become normal politics for chomping at the bit to tear up our Constitutions.

  20. Submitted by richard owens on 02/20/2020 - 09:52 am.

    Politicians fomenting fear: Fear is always present where there is ignorance or mistrust. Heck, it’s the best sales technique there is!

    That said, many folks will remember the last time Metro crime became “a thing” to promote politicians’ causes and excite the forces of Law and Order.

    The resulting Metro Gang Strike Task Force devolved into a mini-mafia complete with shakedowns, cops stealing TVs (“we know you got it from selling drugs!”) and horrible police behavior– an evidence locker filled with loot– all in the name of Law Enforcement.

    Remember our mistoakes? They even got off scot free: http://www.citypages.com/news/metro-gang-strike-force-gets-off-scot-free-6537957

    Daudt and his 24 year-old friend pulling a gun on a family should be enough for him to be very very quiet about “feeling safe” and law enforcement. (Same with “take your hands off me” Rep. Matt Grossell.)

    I’d like to see the pugilistic Republicans at the Legislature dial it down a few notches, The national drama has enough “us v. them” for the duration of the campaign. Get some work done for all the people.

  21. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/22/2020 - 07:07 am.

    Crime is a political wedge issue of this best kind. It’s a genuinely serious issue without any comprehensive solution. This makes it ideal for Republicans whose political strategy is dependent on division.

  22. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/22/2020 - 01:25 pm.

    Just like Grossell and Daudt grandstanding on an issue outside their districts, we now have Ilhan Omar telling Sherburne county how to manage the Northern recycling fire.

    Right of left, self promotion has an irresistible appeal to politicians lacking the basic knowledge and competence needed to serve the constituents who elected them.

    • Submitted by Paul Juhl on 02/25/2020 - 12:41 pm.

      I read Rep Omar’s official statement and all she said was that Northern Recycling should be held criminally liable.

  23. Submitted by Joe Musich on 02/22/2020 - 07:21 pm.

    The commentary is evidence that nothing god will come of the rural attempting to legislate in the backyard of others. Daudt and Gazelka have their own backyards to protect. Let them do that. This is the first I have ever heard that LGA was primarily created to help with police and fire. Those are not the only services a political entity provides when receiving LGA. Much of the difficulty with cities to provide services comes from the the total tax base. That being said more tax money flows out of the cities then into them wether the big two or other smaller Minnesota urban areas. If these two are successful with their efforts local homeowners in the big two cities will end up paying the bills. This in turn could drive people from the cities away for affordability reasons. Then where will outstate Minnesota financing come from after the money generating engine of the big two is “brought down?”

  24. Submitted by Robert Ahles on 02/23/2020 - 09:22 am.

    My wife and I use to enjoy going to the Cowles Center to watch community dance programs and performing arts. Most theater performances are scheduled for the evenings. We no longer travel to Minneapolis for these programs and try to avoid the Twin Cities altogether because of the crime with shooting being reported by the new media almost daily.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/24/2020 - 08:36 am.

      It is important to note that the “almost daily” crime reports are heavily skewed by events right around 2 AM club closings.

      I can think of no incidents involving a patron of the Orpheum, State, Cowles, Guthrie, Brave New Workshop, Twins or Vikings.

  25. Submitted by Ellen Brown on 02/23/2020 - 06:30 pm.

    Gov Pawlenty created part of the problem for cities when he stole LGA money to balance his budget. If LGA were fully restored to past levels, the cities would have the money they need for enforcement AND prevention.

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