Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 56 min 3 sec ago

What the hell is wrong with people?

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 6:23pm

Photo from STrib of woman hit when guy drives car through protest.

In Minneapolis, a guy drives into demonstrators, a couple jump up on the hood to keep from being run over, and one isn’t so lucky, he hits her, pushes her a ways down the street — a miracle that he didn’t run her over.  Watch the video.  Crowd pictured trying to lift the vehicle off her, get him to back up, somehow she’s pulled from underneath, and then he hammers down, almost running over a couple more people.  What the hell is wrong with people?

VIDEO – Peter Lang – STrib – street video and KSTP helicopter video and more street video

STrib: Car plows through protesters during Ferguson rally in south Minneapolis

STrib: Mpls. police: Driver who hit protester was fleeing ‘the mob’ but is considered suspect

VIDEO- KSTP report: Man who drove into Mpls. protesters was trying to get away from crowd

That KSTP piece has been updated to note that the driver is now “suspect” and not “victim” as was stated in previous police report, and are looking for victims and witnesses:

The man drove away from the intersection. Police eventually caught up with him and questioned him. No charges have been filed and the man was not taken into custody. Police are now calling him a suspect in the case.

The Minneapolis Police Department Traffic Unit is actively investigating. Police are asking any injured people or witnesses to call the Traffic Investigations Unit at 612-673-2981.

On the good news side, the STrib has also updated its article, and notes that the MPD announced it is now referring to the driver as the “suspect” and not the “victim” and has referred the matter to the County Attorney (important because the County Attorney handles the larger, heavier offenses).  Not only that, but about the perp,  Jeffrey Patrick Rice:

Rice’s driving history in Minnesota includes three drunken-driving convictions, with the most recent coming in 2003. He’s also been convicted of driving with an open liquor bottle, and driving after his license was canceled and also in violation of restrictions placed on his license. The most recent of these convictions came in early 2008.

From the state’s site (click it for a larger version):

And from the Police Department:

In another incident, later yesterday, a van rams through two groups of demonstrators and the second time, right in front of the cops who go after him, and at the end of this, he’s taken out of the van, into the cop car.

Video of white van driving through protesters and getting arrested

What the hell is wrong with people?

Categories: Citizens

This Thursday and Friday: Buy Nothing Day!

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 4:34pm

    IT’S BUY NOTHING DAY!
    DON’T GO SHOPPING TOMORROW OR FRIDAY!

One of the things I love about Alan Muller is his arrest record, he walks the walk.  That’s Alan and now Rep. John Kowalko objecting when the public was not allowed to speak at a Delaware legislative energy committee meeting on proposed legislation:

Seven Arrested in Buy Nothing Day Protest at Delaware Mall (2007)

And on to trial:

Two Sisters and ‘Santa Claus’ to Go on Trial for ‘Nothing’ A jury trial for three of the seven people arrested at Christiana Mall on Black Friday, aka Buy Nothing Day, in November 2005 is scheduled in the Court of Common Pleas on Monday, February 12, 2007, in Courtroom 5A. Sisters Anna and Rachel White and Alan Muller decided to challenge the charge of ‘criminal trespassing’ instead of paying a fine. They are represented by Wilmington attorney Michael Modica. At the time of the arrest, Anna and Rachel White were wearing Santa hats and t-shirts that said “NOTHING – What You’ve Been Looking For!” and “Ask me about NOTHING” and carrying bags labeled “FREE SAMPLES – NOTHING.” Alan Muller was dressed like Santa Claus. WHAT: Jury Trial (State of Delaware vs. Anna White, Rachel White, & Alan Muller) WHEN: Monday, February 12, 2007 – 8:30 a.m. WHERE: Court of Common Pleas, 500 N. King St., Wilmington, Delaware

And they were convicted:

‘Buy nothing’ activists fined, banned from mall Ruling supports Christiana center’s ‘humorless’ stance

By SEAN O’SULLIVAN, The News Journal

Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2007  

WILMINGTON — A trio who promoted “nothing” at Christiana Mall on Thanksgiving weekend 2005 will have to pay fines and stay away from the shopping center for six months to a year.

On Monday, Anna White, her sister Rachel White and Alan Muller were convicted by a Court of Common Pleas jury of third-degree criminal trespass, a violation.

Anna White and Muller, who is also executive director of Green Delaware, were each fined $75 and banned from the mall for a year by Chief Judge Alex J. Smalls. Rachel White was fined $25 and barred from the mall for six months.

Anna White said she was disappointed by the verdict and is considering her appeal options, saying the case raises questions about freedom of speech and the limits that can be set on people in quasi-public places such as a mall.

“I think it is a slippery slope when you ban people like us, who were not doing anything wrong. Where does it go next?” said Anna White.

The White sisters were arrested Nov. 25, 2005, by Delaware State Police. The women, who were wearing red Santa hats and white T-shirts with the phrase “Nothing — what you are looking for,” had refused to leave when ordered to do so by non-uniformed mall officials. Muller was with them, wearing a Santa suit.

All three testified that mall officials refused to provide identification, give their names or explain why they had to leave. Frank Kaleta, director of mall security, testified that he did not give his name or identification, but said he did clearly identify himself as mall management.

A second security officer, Nicholas Shovlin, now a state trooper, said he gave his name and showed a badge.

During his opening statement, defense attorney Michael W. Modica wore a Santa hat, telling the jury, “This is a case about Christiana Mall getting worked up about nothing.”

He said the trio were engaged in a lighthearted attempt to get people to think about consumerism.

Deputy Attorney General Natalie Haskins said it was “a very simple case.” The trio were asked to leave by the owners of a business, they didn’t, they were arrested and were guilty of trespass.

The three never shouted slogans or accosted shoppers, but only walked, answering questions from shoppers when asked, according to testimony. They said they planned to leave if asked by authorities. Kaleta testified that the three were involved in “political action” and that violated the mall’s ban on solicitation or demonstrations.

Modica said later they would not have been confronted if they’d had “Shop Till You Drop” on their T-shirts: “I think it’s a ridiculous case. I think the mall overreacted and was just humorless.”

The lone alternate juror, Dan Weigman, who did not participate in deliberations, agreed. He said mall security did not properly identify themselves and police never asked the group to leave, so he would have voted to acquit.

As for the upcoming holiday shopping season, Anna White said, “I guess we won’t be going to the mall this year.”

 

 

Categories: Citizens

Outrage! Grand Jury says no charges!

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 11:04am

“A hallucination of your worst fears” : Legal scholar Patricia Williams on what Darren Wilson’s testimony reveals about racism in America

One of the functions of a prosecutor is to prioritize, to make a case that there is reasonable cause. McCulloch didn’t do that. He chose to present a mess with no attempt to persuade. That’s what prosecutors are supposed to do, and he didn’t do that. He emptied several bales of hay and told the jury to go sort through it. Relevance and focus is absolutely what you need to create a case. He didn’t try to create a case.

If you don’t understand why people are really pissed off, take a look in the mirror and at society and confront white privilege, privilege of race and privilege of class — think honestly and deeply.  Then do something about it in your world — within your family, at work, at church, in your community, take steps toward justice and equality.  If you do understand and are working toward change, keep at it with perseverance and patience.  The struggle won’t be over soon.

Yeah, I’m an attorney, sworn to uphold the Constitution.  What a concept!  I spend my time helping regular people exercise their freedom of speech, association, and protecting their property in their efforts to participate in a legal and administrative system that’s stacked against them, daring them to stand up for themselves.  The legal training I have, and the rudimentary experience and knowledge of criminal law and police procedure has me tied up in knots, sick at the Grand Jury decision… but I’d not expected Wilson to be charged.  Everything leading up to the start of Grand Jury deliberations pointed up to last night’s release of their decision.  But this is not about the law, it is not about justice, it is not about police procedure, it is not about appropriate or legal use of deadly force.

Ferguson’s Trial – Sarah Kendzior

12 things white people can do now because of Ferguson

Why It’s Impossible to Indict a Cop

If we presume the facts are as stated by McCulloch, and note what facts were not stated…

McCulloch said that Wilson knew about the reported theft at the store, and yet in the transcripts it’s said that he repeatedly stated he did not know, he was not responding to that call.  McCulloch said he had called for assistance, but the transcripts say he did not until after the shooting.  In his statements, he said he got out of the car and chased Brown.  In what world is it police procedure for an officer to, without backup, get out of his car and run after and shoot at someone who is running away after an altercation and where two shots were already fired from inside a police car?  How far away was Wilson when Brown stopped and turned around?  Reports and transcripts say about 20 feet… a couple of car lengths.  Why didn’t Wilson carry a taser?  How far away was Wilson when he fired the final shot?  How many shots should be fired at an unarmed man?  When shooting an unarmed man, what’s your target?  When his immediate supervisor questioned him after the incident, why wasn’t that recorded, why were there no notes taken?  When is use of deadly force acceptable?  Justified?

Here are the GRAND JURY TESTIMONY & DOCUMENTS.

A chart from PBS (Click for LINK), click image for larger version:

A transcript that jumps out – other officers and Darren Wilson’s testimony.

The federal investigation is ongoing about civil rights violations, and there’s the civil suit, but neither will do much, if anything, to alter the systemic mindset in Ferguson, or in this country (look no further than the police killings in Minneapolis).

Will this provide an opportunity for whites to examine the meaning and impact of white privilege and racism?  Will we look at class stratification in our society?  Is this a teaching moment?  Hardly.  It’s necessary, but I’m not holding my breath.  From what I’ve observed, so far it’s “circle the wagons” in the onslaught of virulent protests.  What will it take to reach an understanding of why people are so pissed off and do something about it, do something different?  We have made some progress in the last 50 years, what I’ve seen in my lifetime, but there is so much further to go.  I so distinctly remember that day in 4th grade when saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school on a cold winter morning, red stretch pants and a multi-colored red based shirt, when I realized that we don’t have “liberty and justice for all.”   Now it’s ~50 years later.  We’re not even close.  Change of the magnitude necessary is never easy, particularly where so many people believe that equality means less for those with privilege.  Change of the magnitude necessary is never easy, particularly where spewing racial hatred has become recreational sport.

I feel very fortunate to have been a near-suburban white teenager who transferred into the Magnet program at Minneapolis Central H.S., when the public school system was trying to avoid a segregation lawsuit. This was a time where part of my education was exposure to race and racism first hand.  After high school, I lived in Prestigious East Phillips for 20 years.  It was impossible to ignore the impact of race-skewed education funding, racism and death threats in Harry Davis’s Mayoral campaign, the gutting of Minneapolis neighborhoods with a freeway, housing segregation and covenants, and awareness of white privilege.  That awareness shifts my perspective, but it doesn’t wash me clean, nope, we all carry those biases.  We are all racists, and we each need to look at that.  Over the last 50 years, the balance has shifted some, but white privilege remains.

People tend to be innately afraid of “other,” which often manifests in anger and hate.  How do we deal with this other than systemic changes from birth — little kids playing together, going to school together — so it’s “us” and not “other.”  How do we move away from parental and societal lessons of racism when it’s so deeply instilled?  When it’s everywhere we look?  When it fills the airwaves and internet?

This is not the world as I want it to be…

Categories: Citizens

Saying good bye to Kady

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 3:12pm

Today we said good bye to our Kady.  Above, there she is on her “Gotcha Day!”

           K-K-K-Kady…  January 28th, 2010

And here she is in our “new” house a few years ago:

And this morning:

She’s been our dog for five years, the first dog that Alan and I got together, found on Petfinder not long after Krie, the doggy with the winglet ears, died unexpectedly.  That was January 2010.  I was in the middle of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project hearing in Newark, New Jersey, camped out officing at the R.Treat Hotel and I saw this photo and knew she was THE dog:

That’s Kady, and her “pup” in the background, peering out.  She was no spring chicken, a middle-aged grrrrl found as a stray in Georgia, with her young pup, and was spayed down there, and headed up the  I-95 dog underground railroad to 6th Angel German Shepherd Rescue, where she was treated for heartworm and then fostered out on Long Island.  She was there for a year before we saw her listed for adoption.

Kate was then “Lady,” and we were told that she was extremely dog aggressive and shouldn’t go to a home with another dog.  Sure… whatever… we filled out the application, went to meet her after the hearing in Newark, and took “Lady” and our Kenya for a walk.  They fussed a bit at first, but when we got back to the house and put Ken in the van, “Lady” jumped right in.  No doubt about it, she wanted to be our dog.  So a week later, after the house visit, we went back to Long Island to pick her up.

“Lady” is no name for a dog of mine, and no name for a German Shepherd, so given all our grrrrrrrrls were “K” grrrrrrls, she became “Kady.”  And getting to Delaware was kind of a rude awakening for our new grrrrl, she arrived just in time for FOUR feet of snow:

And she was clearly dog aggressive:

After Kenya died, we were inexplicably drawn to our Little Sadie, and life with Sadie was quite an adjustment for our shep grrrrl, but they became fast friends (one faster than the other!):

And then there’s the day that we brought them east to Co. R. E near Oconomowoc, WI to pick up a third sister, the irrepressible Summer!

Next thing she knows, Kady and the big galoot are headed down to St. Louis for BaronFest I for some GSD bonding, and that did it for these grrrrls:

And these grrrrrls got along famously, when they weren’t being bitches and drawing blood:

And then a year later, BaronFest II:

And then the next year, she was on her own for BaronFest:

(where are the rest of those BaronFest photos???)

Kady was a quiet grrrrrrl, a good match for her rowdy sister Sadie.  She loved the neighborhood kids and was oh-so-gentle, and loved to be loved up.  She was my constant companion every day, spending most of her time under my desk or behind in her spot with her toes curled around the wheels of my chair — YEOW!

It was time… she’d checked out and was just existing, no fun for her.  We will miss her every day.  Sadie seems to be pissed at us, and when we got home and she smelled us over good, she ran into the living room, jumped up in “her chair,” and was cowering and shaking, so I guess we need to convince her that we won’t be taking her to the vet any time soon.

Categories: Citizens

State Rail Plan – Meetings & Comments!

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 9:23am

There’s a “State Rail Plan” and it’s up for comment NOW! But I’m wondering just what it is that they’re trying to do, and it seems like the goal is to secure public spending for necessary private infrastructure.  If not, what’s the goal here?

MN DOT has been holding meetings all over the state, Alan went to one in Red Wing last week, and there’s a couple more coming up:

Nov. 24: Moorhead, MN
Hjemkomst Center 5 – 7 p.m.

Nov. 25: Winona, MN
City Council Chambers 5 – 7 p.m.

What’s up for comment?

Start with this 2010 Report from the DOT website:

MN Rail Plan Final Report Feb2010

And updates to consider:

Now check this, from last February:

BNSF Announces $5 Billion Capital Commitment Program

Why is this news?  Isn’t it their job to keep the rails in decent shape, to invest in their own infrastructure, not just to put money in Warren Buffet’s pockets!

When the DOT predicts this level of service (LOS) with or without improvements, are they including improvements such as the $5 billion of BNSF?  The DOT seems to be cheerleading for PUBLIC spending on PRIVATE infrastructure!  These are private for-profit companies (well, some may be “public” in the corporate sense) and they are responsible for their infrastructure.  What is the DOT doing to force the rail companies to upgrade to keep their Level of Service (LOS) at an acceptable rate, SAFELY, so they’re able to handle all the freight that they’re wanting to ram through our communities?  It’s not the job of government to subsidize the likes of Warren Buffet!

Here’s a freight survey from their site — note it’s called “Metroquest” so go figure.

Something I found interesting when considering rail is this testimony from the Sandpiper pipeline case (go HERE and plug in dockets 13-473 for Certificate of Need and 13-474 for Routing):

Rennicke_Direct_20148-102135-05

They’re framing this Bakken BOOM! as binary, either rail or pipeline, and whenever something is framed that way, that’s a big red flag to take a closer and more thoughtful look.

DOT says there are going to be “stakeholder” meetings — meetings that should be well attended by people like us!  From their site:

  • Three major stakeholder meetings are also scheduled, coinciding with the November 2014 Passenger Rail Forum, the December 2014 Freight Summit, and the January 2015 Passenger Rail Forum. A second round of open houses will be held in early 2015.

So when are these meetings?  Passenger Rail Forum meetings are supposed to happen monthly but don’t.  Just this last Monday, Gov. Dayton’s “Rail Summit” was supposed to have happened. MPCA Commissioner Stine mentioned it at yesterday’s meeting and said there would be another next month, and Frank Hornstein’s fb post, but there’s very little about it in the news other than announcements 10/31 that it would happen, in St. Paul, and of course we all weren’t invited:  http://hometownsource.com/2014/10/31/gov-dayton-to-convene-minnesota-rail-summit-on-nov-17/

Here’s how it’s framed by our good friends at KSTP — if you click on the link, it’s pipeline promotion:

Dayton Hosts Governor’s Rail Summit to Discuss Rail Safety, Backlog KSTP.com-Nov 17, 2014 Railroad, agriculture and political leaders will be attending the Governor’s Rail Summit to talk about increasing railway safety, addressing the …

Back to the DOT — look at this “Passenger Rail Forum” and how that’s been “working” — meeting after meeting canceled:

Forum meetings

All forum meetings are held from 10 a.m. to noon at the State Office Building unless otherwise specified below. Meetings will be canceled when there are insufficient topics to merit a meeting.

State Office Building, Room 5
100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Date

Location / Time

Jan. 6, 2014 Canceled Feb. 3, 2014 Canceled March 3, 2014 Conference call April 7, 2014 Conference call May 5, 2014 Conference call June 2, 2014 Canceled July 7, 2014 Canceled Aug. 4, 2014 Conference call Sep. 8, 2014 Rescheduled to Sept. 15 via conference call Oct. 6, 2014 Canceled Nov. 10, 2014 State Office Building, Room 5, 10 a.m. to Noon Dec. 1, 2014 State Office Building, Room 5, 10 a.m. to Noon

Check out their site.  What are they really doing here?  What’s really at issue?  I think we’re looking at a scam to get the public to pick up the tab for infrastructure updates that haven’t been made over the last few decades:

These slides are from this presentation — note the date: November 12, 2009… presented at the November 12, 2010 meeting (That’s what the date is on the site, and the 2009 date matches up with the properties date.)  ???

PTACPres20091112

And another thing… why is the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce interested in Bakken BOOM oil and why is DNV-GL top-heavily loading the panel coming up here on December 4th?

Categories: Citizens

Permits amended for Black Oak/Getty Wind

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:02pm

The Orders are out!  On October 30, 2014, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered that the permit for the Black Oak (10-1240) and Getty (11-831) wind projects be amended.  This is the one where they were “NOT” talking about “layout.”  Or so the Chair most emphatically said (despite the meeting notice, staff briefing papers, and their order options saying layout was at issue).

PUC Chair: This is not about layout…

The written order came out today — note that the term “layout” is used 27 times in the Order… and then there’s the attached permit for a total of 41 times… oh, and the part about ownership:

Black Oak Wind Project_Amended Permit_WS-10-1240

Getty Wind Project_Amended Permit  WS-11-831

And on that note, here are Comments filed yesterday in the Certificate of Need docket:

Comments, Petition to Intervene, and Petition for Contested Case on behalf of Residents of Getty and Raymond Twps_11-17-2014

Categories: Citizens

KSTP & police union retaliate for exposure of bad behavior

Sat, 11/08/2014 - 9:54am

.
Defamation laws and truth be damned — KSTP helps police union slam Minneapolis Mayor and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. Sounds like actual malice to me!

This is all about police harassment of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, police harassment of Navelle Gordon, and slapping up the Mayor of Minneapolis to divert attention. Very naughty…

Seems #pointergate is missing a big part of the story. It’s not just that the KSTP “story” just absurd, but it’s it’s worse… the public flap is focused on gang signals and the Mayor, but is avoiding the point that KSTP is complicit in their promotion of the police union party line. Does KSTP not know or care that the guy in question, Navell Gordon, is one of the Neighborhoods Organizing for Change workers that police harassed arrested for canvassing? Does KSTP know or care that police have been harassing Neighborhoods Organizing for Change? Why isn’t that the news? The STrib did link the KSTP story to Gordon’s arrest this morning in a buried paragraph, saying, “Activists also stood up for Gordon in September after cops allegedly tackled and handcuffed him while he was collecting signatures outside Cub Foods.” But folks, shouldn’t that arrest be the headline when discussing the backstory of why this is front page news?

The Mayor and Chief of Police were out with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change canvassers doing GOTV. And the police union and KSTP put this twist on it? The police chief has been under fire for police behavior, video cameras are now part of the uniform, and it’s good she’s getting into the neighborhood, out in public on the streets. There’s a systemic problem here with police harassment of Neighbors Organizing for Change.

In the #pointergate blather, I’ve yet to see FOCUS on the retaliation by police for the challenges to their roughing up and improper arrest of NOC organizer Navell Gordon when he was canvassing outside of CUB foods on September 14. Police also improperly arrested NOC’s Wintana Melekin when she was checking up on her organizer’s arrest. Pre-election, police were called on NOC by School Board candidate Don Samuels for handing out hotdogs!!! — and those cases winding through the court system are going to expose this harassment. NOC’s

Wintana Melekin of NOC is the one here leading the Pledge of Allegiance when Michelle Obama was in town:

 

 

Here’s the video of Melekin’s arrest when she was interviewing witnesses to her organizer’s arrest, an eyewitness who was told by police to leave or they’d shoot her. They told her she was trespassing and arrested her, the witnesss challenged police:

MPR’s Explaining #pointergate: The missing context misses the main point!  SO bizarre, when MPR reports about the “missing context” they don’t even mention the bogus pre-election arrest of Gordon or the harassment of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change:

Minneapolis officer accused of strong-arm tactics with canvasser

 


Minneapolis officer accused of strong-arm tactics with canvasser

Article by: Libor Jany
Star Tribune
September 15, 2014 – 11:28 PM

Community activists said Monday that a Minneapolis police officer used excessive force when arresting an outreach worker and then threatened to shoot witnesses to the incident.

Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) officials said that Navell Gordon, 22, of Minneapolis, was collecting signatures for a petition to restore felons’ voting rights outside Cub Foods at 701 W. Broadway on Thursday when an employee asked him to leave.

Officials claim that Gordon was approached by an officer, identified in a police report as Tyrone Barze Jr., who, after a brief exchange, tackled and handcuffed him.

When several witnesses protested, Barze reportedly threatened to shoot them if they persisted, said Wintana Melekin, NOC’s community engagement director.

Melekin said she rushed to the scene after learning of Gordon’s arrest and was arrested after confronting Barze.

A three-minute YouTube video, at tinyurl.com/o3za4wv, purportedly of the exchange showed an officer repeatedly asking Melekin to leave the store or face arrest. After escorting her outside, it appeared that Melekin tried to go back into the store, at which point the officer arrested her.

The incident happened about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Both Melekin and Gordon were charged with trespassing and released at the scene.

Police spokesman Lt. John Elder said he couldn’t comment, because the investigation is ongoing.

“Generally speaking, people have the right to do political canvassing, to talk to people, to hand out literature on what are known as public forums, which are public streets and public sidewalks,” said Teresa Nelson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

Melekin said Gordon was standing on Cub property at the time of his arrest, but said she believed that the officer’s use of force far exceeded what was needed.

Barze, a five-year veteran of the force, has been named in at least two recent lawsuits, including one in which he was accused of using a “neck restraint” to control a combative high school student, causing the teenager to lose consciousness. Barze could not be reached for comment.

Categories: Citizens

Photos found cleaning out the office

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 7:50pm

One of those great memories things about cleaning out the office.  Photos from my law school graduation reception and dinner.  Food by Jay Burlison, music by Dave Ray and Tony Glover.  Great time at the Gunderson House in Kenyon!

Categories: Citizens

From NISLAPP – Green Electricity or Green Money?

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 11:04am

Released yesterday by National Institute for Science, Law, and Public Policy (NISLAPP) (never heard of it before, need to do some checking):

Green Electricity or Green Money?

Why is this a question?  We know it’s a problem. But this report focuses on things like “Smart Meters” and doesn’t dig into the the even worse toadying for coal gasification and other harebrained promotional schemes of these orgs.

Here in Minnesota, the money goes to Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Fresh Energy f/k/a ME3, Izaak Walton League and its former program now independent 501(c)(3) Wind on the Wires (conveniently separate since just after election, when Bill Grant was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Commerce in charge of all things energy)(oh, and Nancy Lange appointed to Public Utilities Commission).  And then there’s RE-AMP.  There’s so much money flying around for promotion of transmission and coal gasification.

Bill Clinton toadying for transmission WOW’s devil we know… ummm… WOW!!! Walton’s Bill Grant – Deputy Commissioner of Energy? Wind up to ELPC Transmission Strategy Meeting

AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH… back to work…

Categories: Citizens

MISO request to FERC to terminate GIA

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 2:54pm

Yes, MISO is at it again, no, not the good MISO as above, but the other MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.  Once again, they’re asking FERC for termination of a Generation Interconnection Agreement (GIA) for the failed and revoked Goodhue Wind Project, the part with MISO queue number H062 (it’s been assigned Docket No. ER15-254-000).

2014-10-30 Docket No. ER15-___-000-1

This is the docket that never ends, but keeps inching toward the cliff.  For all intents and purposes it’s over, but here’s another housekeeping detail.  It’s permits are revoked, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has closed the docket… but wait… didn’t they already do this in August?

Mastic’s H061 & H062 Interconnection Agmts TERMINATEDAugust 18th, 2014

Here’s the FERC Order in docket ER14-1684-000, about H062 from then:

20140606-3034(29458634)_OrderAcceptingNoticeOfTerminationH062

I’ve asked the MISO attorney for clarification.  Will report back on any response.

Has Peter Mastic cleared out his office?

 

Categories: Citizens

Do you have a Living Will?!?!

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 11:47am

Yes, that’s a headset — don’t be using a cell phone without one, DOH!

It’s almost winter, plants are shriveling up, we’ve just celebrated Dia de los Meurtos, and now is the time!  Make or revise your Living Will, your Health Care Declaration.  Just do it!

It’s my belief that having gone through this with parents, and so many times with our dogs and cats, and with clients, it’s a lot more clear how I’d like to wrap up this life and what I want to avoid.  It’s easier to talk about it because we’ve had to make these decisions, look at quality of life, what a “good life” and a “good death” mean, what efforts and torture we’d want to go through, and I’m pretty clear: ALAN, CALL THE VET!!!

Recently an advocate activist cohort, Jan Greenfield, died of lymphoma.  Most people have also heard of Brittany Maynard, who at 29 was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and opted out of treatment and life a couple days ago.  Ted Kennedy, Lee Atwater, Janet Johnson… The list goes on, cancer is everywhere, particularly as we get older.  And dear Kady, well, I found another tumor on her yesterday…

There’s an editorial in the STrib that I recommend, “To treat or not to treat a brain tumor,”  about a couple’s journey through brain cancer, and it’s important particularly for this one section on how doctors view treatment and death:

“What’s unusual about [doctors],” Murray wrote, “is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little.”

Physicians are much more likely than the general public to sign a living will, specifying what, if any, treatments they want in the event of serious illness, according to a 2003 study.

In a recent Stanford University School of Medicine study of 1,081 doctors, 88 percent said they would choose a do-not-resuscitate order for themselves. Further, this group agreed they did not want treatment if they had an “incurable and irreversible condition that will result in … death.”

Doctors are more familiar not just with death but with the foibles of trying to flout it.

“Of course, doctors don’t want to die,” wrote Murray. “But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits.”

Think about that… “They know enough about modern medicine to know its limits.”

Here’s some information on Living Wills, a/k/a Health Care Directives.  Don’t wait — take time before year end to wrestle with your mortality, your thoughts and choices, so that those around you know what you want and won’t have to guess.  Talk with your “decider” so that you are confident they understand your wishes, and more importantly, can and WILL advocate for you if necessary — not everyone can do it.  Make provisions for your animals, line up a guardian and let the neighbors know — they’re the ones on the scene — and set aside a little fund for their care.  And clean the house so they won’t have to!!! (no really, figure out what to do with all those files and books and tools!  That’s too much to dump on anyone.)

Questions and Answers about Health Care Directives – Minnesota Dept. of Health

Here are some examples, and your health care provider may have their own version.  Talk to your trusted medical minds and go over options.  Make some decisions so that others can know and act.  From the Twin Cities Medical Society:

 

Categories: Citizens

David Schultz on Risk Management for Nonprofits

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 9:23am

Risk Management for Nonprofits David Schultz, Hamline Professor Tuesday, November 11, beginning at 6 p.m.

Fiesta Mexicana

2918 North Service Drive, Red Wing, MN

Free and open to the public

Bring your appetites to learn and for Mexican food (cost on you)

I first became aware of David Schultz’s expertise in nonprofit fiduciary responsibility when I read his op ed in the STrib when the misdoings of Community Action of Minneapolis came to light.  This was a major issue recently on the Mpls. yak-yak list, and reminded me of several experiences I’ve had on various Boards, and in nonprofits and others, and have unfortunately seen in other community and client boards as well. After reading his commentary, the tip of the iceberg of information that a board member needs to know, I extended an invitation to Schultz to come to Red Wing for area nonprofit board members and anyone interested on learning about what it means to be a member of a Board.  A big thanks to David Schultz for his willingness to come to Red Wing and share his expertise.

After sending preliminary info out, a board member from another Red Wing organization contacted me and said, “Is the presenter the same David Schultz who appears on Almanac as a political analyst?  If so, he’s one of the best!”  Yes, indeed he is!  One of her board had brought Schultz’s STrib piece to their last board meeting, and they’re ramped up and ready to go.  There’s a need here — let’s get informed!

Here’s Schultz’s view on Board responsibility and the Community Action case:

Nonprofit boards are no place for light duty

Being a board member is an active task, not for the faint of heart.  There is a duty to show up — to assure the operation has adequate funding, that members be informed, and if there are problems, to stand up and correct the problems.  Here’s the pamphlet from the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General on Board Fiduciary Responsibility.

Schultz is a Professor at Hamline and has a C.V. that shows he’s got intense experience in many areas, far beyond the political analysis and issues I’d known about.  His work teaching and training for nonprofits is part of a wide ranging career including housing issues (just ordered a copy of his book “Evicted!” on eminent domain) and ethics.

And, yes, David Schultz is coming to Red Wing!  Join us at Fiesta Mexicana, for “Risk Management for Nonprofits.”  Tuesday, November 11, starting at 6 p.m.

From the STrib:

Nonprofit boards are no place for light duty In the case of Community Action of Minneapolis, oversight broke down at personal, internal and external levels.

The troubles of Community Action of Minneapolis are a textbook study in what can go wrong with nonprofits, both from the point of internal governance and external regulation. CAM’s story is a warning to other nonprofits and governmental agencies on what not to do and what reforms are needed.

I have taught nonprofit law for 15 years, have done training sessions for hundreds of nonprofits, and have been an executive director, officer and board member for many others. These experiences have shown me that the root cause of so many problems with nonprofits starts with bad governance and the failure of boards of directors to take their duties seriously.

Many view nonprofit board service as a line on a résumé. Others think it’s a great idea to place rich, powerful or famous people on the board, asking no more from them than simply to give money or add prestige to the organization. If that is what you want from individuals, place them on an advisory board, not on the board of directors. Minnesota law is clear: Being a board member brings with it serious legal responsibilities. Board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of a nonprofit. They have a duty of care, obedience and loyalty to it. They are expected to support the nonprofit, be active participants in its governance and take seriously their duties. At the very least, CAM board members should be pressed to say why they let an organization dedicated to the poor spend almost none of its money on serving its constituents.

Minnesota law imposes the business judgment rule on nonprofit board members. This rule says “do your homework”: you are required to attend board meetings, read the minutes and be informed about the operations of the organization. Other state laws demand that you attend meetings and speak up if you think something is wrong. Silence is considered assent to decisions. It is no excuse that you did not attend board meetings or had no idea what was going on. That, or sending surrogates in your place, is negligent behavior, running the risk of personal legal liability for what the nonprofit did wrong. No-show CAM board members should have been removed. The failure to do that raises the question of how complicit all were in enabling bad governance.

If there was a real governing board, there should have been an audit committee and a yearly review of CAM’s books with an outside auditor. These annual audits, along with following other good practices as dictated by the Sarbanes-Oxley law, should have caught CAM’s problems.

Internal governance is only part of the problem. External governance and oversight failed, too. The legislative auditor pointed to $4.7 billion per year of state money — dating to 2007 — that was awarded to 1,900 nonprofits with either no-bid contracts, little oversight, or minimal or no auditing. In 2010, a similar study by the legislative auditor again found little accountability with billions of dollars in state-awarded contracts. There is little oversight for much of the money the state gives to other third parties such as CAM, violating generally accepted accounting principles. Stories in this paper also have reported how the city of Minneapolis for years structured contracts to escape competitive bidding, and it is unclear how much it has audited groups such as CAM.

Finally, as a nonprofit, CAM is supposed to file yearly Form 990 tax reports with the IRS. At best, the IRS has been lax in oversight. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has been sharply critical of this, along with the growing trend of nonprofits of all political stripes to abuse their tax status and engage in questionable political activities. Thus, several governmental agencies should have caught what was happening at CAM, and why they did not is a story of overlapping jurisdictions and lack of coordination.

The point is that the Community Action of Minneapolis debacle was a combination of personal failure, internal governance breakdown and external regulatory negligence. Some of this was illegal, perhaps even criminal. What happened here is not typical of most nonprofits, but it still serves as a warning to others about what can go wrong and what needs to be fixed.

 

David Schultz is a professor of political science at Hamline University and editor of the Journal of Public Affairs Education.

 

Categories: Citizens

Look what AWEA wants for us!

Sat, 11/01/2014 - 12:33pm

There’s the Forbes article about American Wind Energy Ass (AWEA) advocating for this massive mess of new 765 kV lines.

Experts: Reducing Carbon Emissions and Increasing Grid Reliability are Doable

Experts?  Ummmm, AWEA?  No, they are NOT transmission experts, they are only expert in doing what their masters pay them to do.  Here’s their “vision” from a couple of years ago:

Green Power Superhighways

Report - Update to the Superhighways report that AWEA’s Michael Goggin wrote in fall 2013.

In Minnesota, there’s one paralleling the CapX 2020 line, then another cutting the state in two from Big Stone to the Metro, and another from Split Rock to Adams along I-90.  Who the hell do they think they are to advocate for this overkill of transmission?  And note that in the Dakotas, as always, they start at the big coal plants.  Infrastructure like this is the best way to assure coal never shuts down, adding capacity instead of shutting coal down and using that capacity.  And if they do it this way, then they can run our coal plants forever.  Oh, right… this is the plan AEP supports.

First and foremost, remember that this is about economics — money and profit from building transmission and providing transmission service — the grid IS electrically reliable, so says NERC in its latest State of Reliability 2013 Report:

And here’s the NERC Report (one should be due out soon, used to be October, but they’ve pushed it back):

2013 NERC Reliability Assessment

What strikes me is that so many are willing to believe that the electric grid is not “reliable” and are willing to attribute economic issues like “congestion” to claims that the system is not reliable.  And then there’s their successful effort to shift cost allocation so that the generators no longer pay for transmission necessary to access and safely operate the grid.  In the past, generators paid, but then in the gas plant surge over a decade ago, so many were built without transmission upgrades that we were in transmission deficit, evidenced in the 2001-2004 SW MN 345 kV Four Certificates of Need (MN PUC Docket 01-1958).  Check this TLTG Table, click for a larger version:

For their 1-H option, the one that the enviros agreed to in this project, acquiesced to (remember, this was the project where they got a group together and asked “What would it take to support this project?”), the system starts out with a 1475 MW deficit.  It’s not until they’ve fixed some long standing problems, such as the sagging Wilmarth line, and the FT. CALHOUN INTERFACE which is in the base case (!!!!), and after spending over $138 million including their wide ranging “base case” of necessary fixes, that they start actually adding some system capacity.  DOH!  Give me a break…

The real problem is failure to make those added generators pay for fixing the system impacts, and then the desire to add wind projects without making them pay for system impacts, and more importantly, of wanting to add wind on top of the existing coal generation, without removing the coal which would make plenty of room for wind.  The price of their wanting to “find a way forward for coal.”

American Wind Energy Ass, how dare you.  This one’s for you:

From AWEA’s 2012 IRS 990 (the most recent one on Guidestar), p. 25 and 29:

AWEA_2012_IRS990

 

Categories: Citizens

West Avenue, almost done, and parking changes?

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 2:44pm

That’s tonight!  West is almost done.  The final layer of asphalt is now down, and they’ve dumped black dirt behind the wall and sprayed the boulevards and dirt bordering the sidewalks with that green stuff.

Here’s the new yard, with two new trees (with aftermarket bird nest), and the wired-for-light post for the Little Free Library next to the Neighbors Against the Burner sign:

Categories: Citizens

PUC Chair: This is not about layout…

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 11:57am

Not today’s photo, this one from September 11, 2014.

Today at the PUC, the Black Oak and Getty Wind Project was on the agenda. For the full docket, go to PUC SEARCH DOCKETS, and search for 10-1240 (Black Oak) or 11-831 (Getty), and for the Certificate of Need, 11-471.

I’d been retained late last week by project neighbors to address the Commission on their behalf.  They’d been participating throughout, and are frustrated that they’re not being heard, that issues that had been raised by their group, their neighbors, and the DNR were not being heard.  Well, so much for that… Chair Heydinger said that they, the Commission, were not there to discuss layout of the turbines, that it’s only about size, that the notice was about size.  Well, we did get that statement on the record, and I asked again, to be clear on the record, and she repeated that the layout was not at issue, that it’s all in the footprint.  There’s no where to go at the Commission with that kind of statement from the Chair!

Here’s the notice for that agenda item, the issues for Commission decision.

And more importantly, the Applicant filed a Petition For Extension of Certificate of Need on Tuesday, two days before this meeting!  The Commission is making decisions on this siting permit when the Certificate of Need is in limbo?  When the Applicant by their own admission is not going to meet its in-service deadline?

Anyway, layout not at issue today?  Here are the decision items presented to the Commission:

From the Briefing Papers, here is the DNR take on the layout, and note the reference to “previous layouts” because there have been several, and it’s very confusing

Here are DNR comments over the years — the September and October, 2014, comments are regarding this new layout — can you tell if the Commission, Commerce, or anyone paid any attention to the DNR Comments?

DNR_Oct92014_201410-103718-03

DNR_Oct92014_201410-103718-01

DNR_Sept292014_20149-103427-01

DNR_Sept292014_20149-103427-02

DNR_Sept292014_20149-103427-03

DNR_Nov22012_201211-80359-01

DNR_Aug 24 2012_20128-78117-01

DNR_Bat_Feb 22 2013_20132-83757-01

DNR_Feb112012_20112-59451-01

Did the Commission make any attempt to determine whether the DNR concerns were addressed?  Nope.  They just voted.

But this “wasn’t about layout,” so what does it matter…

And worse, knowing of the just filed Petition For Extension of Certificate of Need and that the project would admittedly not be built by the claimed in-service date, they rammed through approval of this new siting arrangement.

 

 

Categories: Citizens

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