Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My DFL Penance

Guest post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, videos from Keith Ellison for Congress on youtube.

I ALMOST went a day without a blog post, after being quite tired from a foreclosure prevention doorknock. But "the blog" is a monster that must be fed. Plus, after my drunken dabbling with the Republican party, I figured I had some making up to do on behalf of my fellow DFLers (don't expect me to like Entenza or Dayton anytime soon, though. Just sayin').

And I have to say, knowing that John is a Green Party stalwart, using his blog to prop up my DFL party is fun in a subversive way.

A while ago, one of my favorite DFLers, Keith Ellison, waded into the 2009 NoMi political scene with a few endorsements of his own...

This was the only candidate-specific video I could find. I also want to share my personal experience with DFL-endorsed Barb Johnson. When I first started up at Hawthorne, I was not a supporter of hers. I remember one specific city council meeting where several people, myself included, were trying to get a city resolution about foreclosures passed. Barb had issues with how we were approaching this, and started to list some statistics about foreclosures in north Minneapolis. Sitting next to me was then-executive director of JACC, Jerry Moore. He started to shake is head, and CM Johnson stopped, looked right at us, and said, "No. You're wrong, Jerry."

At the time, the shameless agitator in me was just plain excited that we had ticked off the city council president. But then a funny thing happened when I did my homework on what Barb was saying. It turns out she was right. This has happened time and time again; there's been the politically expedient thing to say or do, and the right thing to do. When those two don't intersect, I've seen CM Johnson do the right thing without fail. I've got nothing bad to say about either of her opponents, but from working with her, I'm right there with Rep. Ellison. Let's get Barb re-elected.

Barb had a fight on her hands to win the DFL endorsement. Our next candidate has a fight on his hands for re-election, but won the DFL endorsement in only three rounds.

We still need your help to make sure the 5th Ward returns DFL-endorsed CM Don Samuels to represent us. For more volunteer opportunities, email goodponyz@yahoo.com.

Rounding out north Minneapolis DFL endorsements, Mayor RT Rybak and CM Diane Hofstede both had "no endorsement" take 2nd place at their respective conventions. The Board of Estimates and Taxation has DFL-endorsed Carol Becker running.

NoMi is home to District 2 of the Park Board, but the DFL did not endorse the incumbent. While no formal endorsement happened, challenger Michael Guest has received the support of Keith Ellison.

Know who else has supported Guest? Walter. Mondale.

Hopefully, all is right between me and a certain higher power now. Sure beats saying a bunch of hail mary's.


Anonymous said...

Jeff, good to see your taking Keith Ellison's astute advice. Keith has also endorsed Matt Entenza for governor.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

What the--?! Are you KIDDING ME?! And just when I thought I'd gotten back to liking pretty much everything about my party too.

I'm going to put a damp cloth over my forehead and lie down for a while now...

Margaret said...

I did not realize that the DFL did not endorse a candidate in Park Board 2. I am supporting Guest and the DFL endorsement means squat to me anyway but I did get a polling call asking me who I was supporting for Council (and mentioned Don Samuels name as the DFL endorsed candidate). For Park Board, they asked if I would be supporting "the DFL endorsed candidate." I said I did not know who that was and when I asked they wouldn't/couldn't tell me. Either the poll question was written incorrectly for our district or somebody's trying to leave the impression that the incumbent has been endorsed.

David said...

Keith has endorsed Mr. Entenza! I'm a bit surprised myself as it was very early on when he endorsed him. Nut it doesn't surprise me as they both held office together at the state level and went school together. That old boys club sure does go along way. Not to say that I don't support Keith, because I do, but as an elected DFL official I'm not sure that Matt is the right vote, especially considering the scuttlebutt I hear about him

MeganG. said...

Margaret - it sounds like the polling person sort of read it wrong - they should have asked if you were planning to vote for THE DFL endorsed park board candidates, which are Nordyke, Anderson and John Erwin - all candidates at large. No DFL Endorsement in District 2 (north minneapolis) but I'll be voting Guest as well.

I'll also be voting for John Erwin - he is top notch, I didn't know him when he was on the park board before, but meeting him this year, I can't say enough good things about him.

Both of those gentleman are gonna be great commissioners for our northside parks.

Oops said...

Jeff Skrenes - Hawthorne Housing Director, Please read very carefully the IRS 501(c)3 rules and regulations as it pertains to non-partisanship.

You have stepped over the line - I knew you would.

I will copy you on my formal complaint.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ "oops" aka Don Allen:

Don, you've been making these threats to me via facebook for the past few days. I knew when I waded into political speech that I would have to balance that with my professional role so that my organization would not violate its tax-exempt status. Why would I be so foolish as to put that at risk? It's simply not worth it.

I even explained how I would deal with that moving forward once it was clear that perception could come back to negatively affect my organization.

This post was done on my own time at 10:00 p.m. and was not in violation of Hawthorne's tax-exempt status. Furthermore, my comment on the Minneapolis Issues List was done away from work as well. And even that comment does not indicate support for any specific candidate.

At this time, I will be checking with John Hoff since it is his blog, but I will not be publishing further comments from you on this topic. You have indicated a desire to file a formal complaint and therefore communication can take place only through those channels.

I'm disappointed it's come to this, since even when we've differed on political and neighborhood issues we've generally been civil about it.

AnnonyousToAvoidPettyLawsuits said...

Don "Whatever party will give me and my goofy, incompetent, self-serving buddies a hand out" Allen... Go play "business man" in your own neighborhood, why don't you?

While you're at it, why not try to generate a decent traffic level to your OWN site. Oh, that's right... You're useless there too.

Better yet. Maybe you shouldn't leave. Personally, I'm looking forward to your next (half-cocked-coyote-going-after-roadrunner) failed scheme... and your little buddies too. You're always a good laugh for us all.

You spend so much time and effort being a pitiful neighborhood bully that your only success will come in the form of a socialist paycheck (GOP, YEAH right). You're a whore to the community and a nuisance. Why don’t you go mind your own neighborhoods business? What’s that? They won’t stand for a bully there either? Scared? Challenge to big?

Anonymous said...

Jeff, that may not be Don. That may be his side kick Lennie Chism.

Anonymous said...

Dyna notes:

Don, your complaint is as bogus as the one you just threw up on mpls-issues list where you tried to make spoiled ballots sound like some kind of DFL conspiracy. Don, you might want to note that Jeff (and R.T. and all the other DFLers you despise) work only 40 hours a week. They are free during the other 128 hours of the week to express their opinions, political and otherwise, to their heart's content. Sorry, but that's the way democracy works.

MeganG. said...

Jeff, you know as well as I do that we have become close neighborhood revitalizers because we stand for alot of the same values and ways to achieve our goals.

Rest assured that your northside friends and neighbors will not stand by while you are personally attacked.

We have so much negativity to deal with: drugs, violence, bad business owners or slummy landlords, etc. We WON'T tolerate hateful and divisive tactics used to intimidate, bully and hush.

I believe Don Samuels called that the "Boogeyman" tactic, and Don Allen seemed to have agreed with that "boogeyman" theory a few months back.

Isn't it funny how Don Allen has changed his tune... hmmmm, I wonder if it's because Don Samuels wouldn't purchase the "walking sheets" that Allen claimed were so crucial to victory in the 5th ward.

Funny how it all comes back around to $$$$$$$$$$.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ anon 5:04 - Thank you for reminding me how, well, ANONYMOUS the internet and this blog can be.

For one thing, the preponderance of evidence would indicate that Jeff Skrenes is indeed "the Hawthorne Hawkman," but is every single post and/or comment made actually done or even endorsed by me? Maybe someone had access to my account(s) and said things in my name without my permission. Just saying, that's not an open-and-shut case there.

When someone signs on and comments as "Don 'GOP' Allen," it gets even trickier as ther is no profile linked to that name. Under the blogspot format, that could literally be anyone, and such an occurrence becomes even more possible with "oops."

That being said, two things remain: First, Don Allen (or at least whoever has access to Don Allen's facebook account) has claimed on separate occasions in facebook messages to me that he will target me for such activities. (Even though a post on the issues list that he referred to was responded to away from Hawthorne and did not endorse any specific candidate.)

Second, a threat to file a "formal complaint" has been made. In response to that, I will not be approving comments that continue with such threats. "Don 'GOP' Allen," "Oops," and others can expect to have other comments published that meet previously stated JNS standards. But once a threat of this nature has been raised, protective measures must be taken.

One measure that WON'T be taken, though, is that I WILL NOT back down from my right to political speech.

Don Allen Funt said...

New name for Don Allen - Dononymous

Don Allen, I have a special message for you at my url, feel free to put it on that "one step above angelfire" webpage of yours.

Adrian H. said...

Jeff Skrenes aka Hawthorne Hawkman said at 1:38pm (a late lunch break?):

"I knew when I waded into political speech that I would have to balance that with my professional role so that my organization would not violate its tax-exempt status. Why would I be so foolish as to put that at risk? It's simply not worth it."

Jeff, can I assume that you believe this to be a rhetorical question that has an obvious answer for all of us? The issue I have is that it is not obvious, let alone logical.

You are employed by a neighborhood association that has been granted federal and state non-profit status. As such, it is clear that you can not legally endorse candidates while conducting business or working under your title. However, you are reading comments, approving comments, and commenting on comments during your standard 9-5 working hours as Housing Director. You may not currently be writing posts during your work day, but you very obviously were, until it was made clear by your employer and others in the community (more than a few) that there was a SERIOUS conflict of interest occurring.

So, to answer your not-so-rhetorical question:

I don't know Jeff; why would you be so foolish?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ Adrian H. I'm responding to you under the assumption that you have not been the one threatening me. If accusatory rhetoric heats up, I may have to refrain from such open remarks, but I hope that will not be the case.

As I explained before, I DON'T have a traditional M-F, 9-5 workday. There are times when my working hours begin at 7 a.m. or end at 10 p.m. or later. I often work a full day on a Saturday or Sunday. I work 40 hours a week and build up comp time when I exceed that total, and may take vacation time as well. As Dyna rightly pointed out, I am free to do what I wish during the time I am NOT working under the employ of Hawthorne, even if that time is when most people are working and might assume I am as well.

Approving comments simultaneously gets trickier. This blog has a mixture of political posts and non-partisan neighborhood discussion. And even a non-partisan issue could have a political statement attached to the comment thread.

One of the faults of blogspot is that when someone posts a comment that the administrator must approve or reject, there is no way prior to approval for one to see what post that comment is attached to (or at least none that I am currently aware of). It can reasonably be assumed much of the time what comments belong to what post, but one is never 100% sure until approval.

Furthermore, once I go in to approve a comment that appears to be related solely to a neighborhood issue, let's assume there is one brief comment that says simply "Candidate A is great!" Clearly that's political speech. Does the fact that such a statement passed before my eyes rise to the level of a violation? I'd argue that it does not.

But the time linked to that comment remains the same regardless of when I click "publish." So approving one non-partisan statement about neighborhood issues and holding off on the second comment could in theory allow one to say that even the holding off on approval in the second case is a form of political speech.

I suppose the simplest way to do this would be to just create another blog that completely separates the political and neighborhood issues. But even that solution does not prevent a commenter from writing something political (especially given how politicized neighborhood issues can get) and then opening up the administrator to accusations regarding publication, rejection, or even temporary approval of said comment.

What can I say? Free speech is messy.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Sorry, meant to say "temporary suspension of the approval of said comment."

An even more antiseptic solution would be to create a neighborhood blog and set a standard that all political speech wil be rejected by the moderator, under the sole basis that such speech cannot even be viewed by a neighborhood employee while working.

Frankly, I don't see a way to run a blog in a politicized environment in a way that keeps out political speech entirely. In my humble opinion, the best way to approach that is to follow the rules to the best of my ability and particpate in substantive discussion like this when it arises.

Don "Republican" Allen said...

Jeff - First of all I'm shocked that you would point to me for an anonymous comment when I leave my name all the time. Secondly, its good to watch assume things...keep it up.

By the way, it wasn't me.

Anonymous said...

OK, I see what's going on here...This is sort of like the Mayor's challengers this year.

Instead of putting all time, energy and attention into actually campaigning to the people, the challengers are whining about the Mayor not engaging in debates with them.

So, here, instead of putting time, energy and attention into campaigning about their chosen candidate, the disgruntleds are whining that another citizen is giving publicity to a candidate(s) that isn't the chosen candidate of the disgruntleds.

Isn't Kenya employed by a non-profit? Isn't Marcus Harcus employed by a non-profit? Isn't Lennie Chism "employed" by a non-profit? Isn't NJL employed by a non-profit? But don't they have the freedom to do what they want when they are off the clock?

Point being... get over it. There's nothing there to chase. Go put your time and energy into campaigning for your candidate.

@Adrian H. - Kenya could use some more lawn signs at vacant houses and vacant lots. Get busy.

Anonymous said...

This is the best blog spot EVER! Goooodness Gracious, I Love Politics.

Anonymous said...

So I noticed that Marcus Harcus recently sent an email to the Minneapolis Issues List outlining his challenges to the 4th ward incumbent and why people should vote for him as a candidate.

Marcus Harcus works for at least one non-profit, and perhaps 2.

Should we file a formal complaint with the AG and IRS regarding Marcus campaigning for himself??

Ummm, no, we shouldn't, because we don't have full access to Marcus Harcus's time sheets to show that he is 'on the clock' while he is campaigning.

We should probably give him the benefit of the doubt and we should probably grant that same benefit to Jeff Skrenes.

Vikings said...

@ Adrian

You are quite pathetic, first, you want everyone to comment with real identity, so Jeff revealed his identity, and now you are threating him with rule violations? And did Jeff write blogs comments under "housing director title?" Nopem, the last time I check, he is "Hawthorne Hawkman" here. And what This is a private blog, a blog is where opinions are voiced, nothing is official here, you need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

Opps Said:
Jeff Skrenes - Hawthorne Housing Director, Please read very carefully the IRS 501(c)3 rules and regulations as it pertains to non-partisanship.

You have stepped over the line - I knew you would.

I will copy you on my formal complaint.

Dennis Plante Responds:
I'd be interested to see the content of the formal complaint if and when it ever materializes.

Whereas it's not clear at all what exactly "Opps" is threatening the formal complaint about, I can only surmise that it's because they believe that if you hold an official position for a 503C corp, you're not allowed a distinct personal opinion on matters such as this. If that's the case, they're incorrect. One only needs to make sure that they are not violating the terms of their employment, and they are not professing to represent their employer in their personal political views. Clearly The Hawkman crossed neither of those lines in this particular blog.

I can only wonder which group(s) within the community would be litigious enough to offer-up such a threat. hmmm....

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

In fairness to Adrian H:

Accusations have been made here about him and/or the Kenya McKnight campaign improperly placing yard signs. He or others are free to refute that if they wish, but we should not contribute to false rumors.

It is also my opinion that Adrian's or the McKnight campaign's decision NOT to refute such claims on this blog should not be considered an admission of guilt.

Now if there was PROOF that this was happening, it would be worth pointing out.

Adrian H. said...

Anonymous 8:34am:

No, I do not post lawn signs for any candidate, nor would I ever. I've always found them to be an unsightly annual ritual that just wastes more resources. In this age of technology and information especially, it would be nice to see something more intelligent than thinking someone is going to cast a vote based on their preference in signs, or who has the most signs. Unfortunately, some people probably do just that.

You mentioned Marcus Harcus. I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible amount of work and sincerity this man has put into his campaign. If the disciplined, hard work and positive intentions Marcus exhibits are any reflection of what he would do once elected, I'd say the good folks in his ward should strongly consider voting for him.


I never wrote that everyone should use their real identities. I questioned the double standards of those who use aliases while criticizing others who do the same. I also never threatened anyone with any action; you have confused me for someone else. I merely questioned the rationale given for what I believe is a clear conflict of interest. And no, this is not a private blog where nothing is 'official'.

Anonymous said...

Adrain - you are wrong - this IS a private blog - not sponsored by any official organization. Just a private citizen who started it and another private citizen who joined in the blogging efforts.