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David Schultz on the 2015 Legislative Session - Westside Progressives PDF Print E-mail

 

Professor David Schultz on the


Outcome of the 2015 Legislative Session



Church of the Epiphany

Schmidt Lake Road and Nathan Lane, Plymouth

(Take 49th Avenue/Schmidt Lake Road  Exit off Highway 169)

Tuesday, May 26

                             .                               The doors will open at 6:00 p.m.

Lasagna/Salad Dinner at 6:15 p.m
Program at 7 p.m.

 

Please join Westside Progressives  to hear Professor David Schultz review (what we hope to be) the final results of the 2014-15 legislative session

david schultz office photoDavid Schultz teaches classes in American politics, public policy and administration, and government ethics in the Hamline University Department of Political Science.. He's a regular guest on TPT's Almanac, as well as a political analyst on KARE-11. He has authored more than 28 books, including his most recent, American Politics in the Age of Ignorance (2013) and Election Law and Democratic Theory (2014). A two-time Fulbright scholar who has taught extensively in Europe, Professor Schultz is the winner of the national 2013 Leslie A. Whittington Excellence in Public Affairs Teaching Award. (His accomplishments are too many to list here, but you can see them at http://davidschultz.efoliomn.com


The Westside Progressives, a non-partisan educational forum that encourages civil and thoughtful discussion about progressive issues, meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Church of the Epiphany

 

$10 Lasagna/salad dinner
Please RSVP to Kelly Guncheon at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Hope to see you May 26th

 

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Dane Smith Interview on Education PDF Print E-mail

 

Community Empowerment

Northwest Community Television, Channel 12

 

community empowerment interview of dane smith 2915 

 

Roberta Martin, host of Community Empowerment, recently interviewed Dane Smith, President of Growth and Justice, on G&I's recommendations for Education in Minnesota and on prospects for the legislative outcomes on education.  The interview covered a broad range of education issues, including the momentous shift toward reducing inequalities in the 2013-14 legislative biennium, steps Minnesota can take to insure progress toward greater equality in education and income for people of color, and the prospects for lower costs and better jobs for college students.

The Channel 12 broadcast was produced by Think Again MN.

Watch the one hour interview with Dane Smith on YouTube or listen to it on mP3 or an iPod.

 

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Workforce Equity Requires Top Priority - Dane Smith PDF Print E-mail

 

Dane Smith complements his interview on Community Empowerment in a recent St. Paul Ledger Capitol Column which reinforces the importance of coordinating workforce training with higher education policy reforms.  He notes that a recent policy brief by the Itasca Project, which includes some of the brightest leaders of our state's largest businesses starts with a clear statement:

"Our regional Competitiveness depends on broadening opportunities for a more diverse and inclusive workforce."  Mr. Smith points out that among 25 major cities, the Twin Cities is near the top in the employment rate gap between white workers and workers of color.  Read about the eight education policy reforms and investments that Dane Smith thinks the legislature should make in "Workforce Equity Requires Top Priority."

 

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The Changing Face of the Heartland, Brookings Essay PDF Print E-mail

 

Preparing America's Diverse Workforce for Tomorrow


Jennifer Bradley, Brookings Essay


The Brookings Institute recently published an essay in which the Twin Cities is viewed as a microcosm of the growing diversity of the United States.  White children under 10 are already a minority in the U.S., and other Caucasians in other age groups will become a minority as the decades pass.

 

tipping points when age group becomes minority white 


While Minnesota has traditionally been a more white state than other parts of the country, Minnesota has fast become more diverse due to immigration from a wide array of Asian, African, and Latino nations. Minneapolis and St. Paul have been hubs of refugee resettlement for decades.  Minnesota has twice the share of immigrants from Southeast Asia as the United States as a whole (21 percent versus 10 percent of the immigrant population), and five times the share of immigrants from Africa as the nation as a whole (21 percent versus 4 percent).

Since Minnesota's immigrant population is younger than its white population, most of the future growth in the labor force will come from people of color.  The challenge Minnesota currently faces is preparing its new immigrants for the job market.  Currently they graduate from high school at a much lower rate than the white population.  Both business men and women and educators realize that meeting this challenge requires both high quality education in early childhood and innovative work/study programs in our high schools and colleges. 

Read the Brookings report on the racial disparities in education, employment, and income in Minnesota and the opportunities collaboration between ethnic, government, business, and nonprofit groups in Minnesota present for "Preparing America's Diverse Workforce for Tomorrow."

 

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Transit Travel Time Has Racial Divide PDF Print E-mail

 

According to a Study of the Twin Cities


The Twin Cities’ public transit system has a racial divide when it comes to how long it takes to get to work.   A study by  Take  Action Minnesota, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, ISAIAH, and the  Center for Popular  Democracy reported that white transit riders, who use transit at half the rate of minority riders, spend three weeks longer per year getting to work than white car drivers.  Black,  Asian. and Latino transit riders spend an average of 4 weeks longer to get to work than white drivers.

 

tc racial transit disparity


Infrequent service, indirect routes, delays, overcrowded vehicles, and insufficient shelter at bus stops contribute to the transit time penalty.

Watch  Bill  Sorem's highlights  and read Michael McIntee's summary of the press conference.

 

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The Rapid Growth of Solar Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail

 

At the Think Again Brooklyns forum last week, Lynn Hinkle, Policy Director for the MN Solar Energy Industry Association, noted that nationwide just 20% of homeowners have roofs appropriate for solar panels. However, anyone can invest in solar energy through Community Solar Gardens in which Minnesota is a leader. In the last five years, Minnesota's solar industry has expanded from $150 million to a billion dollar industry. 


Jamez Staples, President and CEO of Renewable NRG Partners, told us about his program for getting people from marginalized communities prepared for solar energy careers averaging $50,000 a year through combined work and study at Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other Technical Colleges.  Mr. Staples noted that growth in the use of renewables could eventually keep the $18 billion dollars currently sent to other states for coal and gas in our own state.

              The Growth of Solar Energy in MN, Think Again Brooklyns, 4/21/15 - Linda Freemon

For additional information on MN's clean energy progress, see the articles below.

 

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Bright Future for Renewable Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail

 

wind turbine field

 

The Wind Energy Foundation’s “Powering Up Minnesota: A Report on The Benefits of Renewable Electricity Development” suggests Minnesota could supply more than 50 percent of its power needs through renewable energy by 2030 while creating more jobs and meeting federal carbon targets.  Wind project costs have dropped 50 percent in the last five years, while solar prices decreased 40 percent since 2010,  

However, the Wind Energy Foundation's report vastly underestimates solar’s potential contribution.  The report includes only the current 81 megawatts of solar energy in Minnesota.  Dustin Denison, president of Minnesota Solar Electricity Industry Association notes that the state’s new requirement that investor owned utilities produce 1.5 percent of their retail electricity sales from solar by 2020 will add a minimum of 450 MW by 2020.

 

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MN's Remarkable Progress in Clean Energy - Will It Continue? PDF Print E-mail

 


The
Minnesota Way

The passage of the Next Generation Energy Act in 2007 began the rapid expansion of clean energy in Minnesota.  It resulted in billions of dollars in private investment, millions paid in county tax revenue, and thousands of new jobs across Minnesota. How did it happen?

Fresh Energy presents the story of what led to Governor Tim Pawlenty's  signing one of the most far-reaching and bipartisan bills in a generation:

http://fresh-energy.org/2015/04/the-minnesota-way/



Will Minnesota policymakers follow the corporate commitment to clean energy?

Brianna Murphy, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy at Trillium Asset Management,  reports in MinnPost that corporations' investment in clean energy "is not only environmentally altruistic — it’s a way to boost corporate profitability while addressing the risks of climate change."  (The two branches of the MN legislature passed energy bills that have opposite goals.  The MN Senate passed an energy bill that would increase the percent of electricity produced from renewable sources to 40 percent by 2030.  The MN House, in contrast. passed a bill that would roll back the requirements of the 2013 energy bill.)  Read Ms. Murphy's article:

https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2015/03/will-minnesota-policymakers-follow-corporate-commitment-clean-energy


 

Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota

 

John Farrell is a top expert on distributed energy  in our state and the nation.  He has shown how the shift from fossil fuel based to renewable energy can contribute to the economic growth of communities throughout the U.S. because renewable energy does not have to be centralized as do fossil fuels and nuclear power.   Farrell is the Director of Democratic Energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.   He also publishes the monthly Think Again MN newsletter and is a past Vice-President of Think Again MN.

Farrell is  the author of
Energy Self-Reliant States, a state-by-state atlas of renewable energy potential highlighted in the New York Times,  showing that most states don’t need to look outside their borders to meet their electricity needs.  He’s also written extensively on the economic advantages of Democratizing the Electricity System, published a rich interactive map on solar grid parity, and refined policies (like Minnesota’s solar energy standard) so they support locally owned renewable energy development.

Listen to John Farrell's webinar, "Unveiling the Five Pillars of Energy Democracy, " especially the first 20 minutes.  Follow the slides below the audio presentation.  Read his 2014 article "Community Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota" to find out how Community Solar Gardens work.  Read Farrell's recent article "Why Minnesota 's Community Solar Garden Program is the Best" to discover why Minnesota will soon have more solar gardens than all other states combined.   To keep up with the latest developments in renewable energy in Minnesota, the U.S.,  and Europe,  subscribe to his weekly email newsletter at the top or bottom of the webpages for the above webinar and articles.


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Why Is the U.S. Electorate So White? PDF Print E-mail

 

Because Our Voting System Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.

 

By Stephen Wolf, The New Republic, December 24, 2014

 

"Elections lack democratic legitimacy when they do not reflect the wishes of the citizenry. In the case of the United States, we're carrying a legacy of an electoral system that was designed and built to favor white voters. That it still works that way isn't a shock. What's shocking is that we know how to fix it, and still haven't done so."  Read the article.

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Don Fraser and Al Quie Focus on Future Generations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lori Sturdevant   

 

The Quie-Fraser Example

 

don fraserquieSondra Samuels said aloud what others had been thinking Wednesday at a salute to two of Minnesota's favorite nonagenarians, former Minneapolis Mayor Don Fraser and former Gov. Al Quie: "I am so honored that we are not here doing a eulogy!"  Quie and Fraser were undoubtedly glad about that too.

But it was more than longevity and past accomplishments that were being praised as the two former elected officials, one DFLer, one Republican, were honored as part of the Citizens League's annual meeting and the sixth annual observance of the "Common Quest for Common Ground" series established in honor of the late Humphrey School dean John Brandl.

Samuels called attention to the work Quie and Fraser are still doing, today more together than apart, to spur organizations such as the one she heads, the Northside Achievement Zone, to lift families out of poverty via improved education for their children. With a voice thick with emotion, Samuels called them "my brothers" because "they love children and they love justice."

Read more at Startribune.com

 

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voter id laws discourage voting narrow

Bernie Sanders Graphic

 

A recent General Accounting Office study revealed that turnout was at least 1.9 percent lower in 2012 in Kansas vs 2008 and 2.2 percent lower in Tennesee as a result of new Voter ID laws.  That means it's likely 34,000 more Kansans and 88,000 Tennesseans would have voted if the new laws weren't in place.  Young people, black people, and newly registered people were the groups that saw the biggest drop in turnout.

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