John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chris Tiedeman: Habitual Liar?

After my earlier post, I thought I'd google Chris Tiedeman, chair of Minnesota's Future, and discovered that he's almost a job creator in his own right -- if the jobs in question are those of fact checkers debunking bogus claims in his mountains of false and misleading campaign material.

Apparently Mr. Tiedeman thinks that Peter Fischer is not the only person with a supernatural ability to impose his will on elected bodies of which he is not a part.  Tiedeman has also claimed that Peter's opponent, Stacey Stout, "helped turn a $6 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus."  Setting aside the argument over whether that's a fair characterization of the state's budget, it's a remarkable thing to credit to someone who was not even a candidate at the time, let alone an incumbent office-holder.

Tiedeman's work is spread all over the state.  In a letter to the editor, one voter in Windom complained about "a big metro Political Action Committee with boatloads of money is sending out attack piece after attack piece," and noted that "In fact, with a different picture and name, the very same nasty flyers are being used to attack lots of candidates." From Brainerd to Bloomington to Brandon, Tiedeman's work gets described by phrases like "telling lies," "frustrating to anyone seeking the truth," and "distorting the truth."

Sadly, our mailbox is going to have to suffer another week of crap from this jerk and his pals before the election is over.

Tennis Sanitation Wins Hastings Contract

Congratulations to Tennis Sanitation for winning a 3-year contract for trash hauling and recycling in Hastings starting next year.

While Tennis opposed Maplewood's effort to organize trash hauling, they did still participate constructively in the process and submitted a solid, competitive proposal.  The year before, they had won Maplewood's recycling contract. When I was on the council I received many comments from residents expressing satisfaction with their recycling service.  As a resident who uses their services every week myself, for that matter, you can count me among the satisfied.

I'm glad to see Tennis pursuing contracts like Hastings, and demonstrating -- as they did with recycling in Maplewood and other cities -- that the smaller local firm can compete head to head with the big players in bidding/proposing for organized recycling and trash contracts and earn a piece of the business.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More Companies Behind the Lies - even Big Tobacco!

Today's mail brought the latest attack from Minnesota's Future.  This time, they flat-out lie by asserting that Peter Fischer "tricked all of Maplewood by imposing single-payer, government-run trash collection."  Their source?  "Maplewood City Council Hearing, November 28, 2011."

As it happens, I was at that meeting, and as I recall Peter was just one of dozens of citizens who got up and expressed an opinion for or against the plan we on the council then voted on -- and passed 4-1.

So it's not too big a stretch to say that Minnesota's Future -- and its principle figures, Chris Tiedeman (chair) and Gregory Johnson of Weber Johnson Public Affairs -- are liars, political hacks paid to say any old thing they think will serve the needs of their corporate masters.  If you like to work with people who have integrity, I'd recommend avoiding them and their firm.  If on the other hand you lack morals or character, and are looking for a sleazy front to do your political dirty work, they may be right up your alley.

Speaking of their corporate masters, this latest mailing prodded me to check for recent filings, and I see that we can add some more out-of-town and even out-of-state corporations and organizations to the list of underwriters of Mr. Tiedeman's sleaze:

Anderson Trucking
Box 1377
St. Cloud MN 56302

New Horizon Feeds, Inc.
319 N. Hiawatha
P.O. Box 708
Pipestone MN 56164

Northern Oil & Gas, Inc.
315 Manitoba Ave Suite 200
Wayzata MN 55391

RAI Services Company
P.O. Box 464
Winston-Salem NC 27102

1201 F Street NW
Washington DC 20004

Interestingly, I think RAI and Northern Oil & Gas (ticker symbol NOG) are the first publicly traded companies to show up on the sleazebacker list.  NOG even has a "Code of Business Conduct and Ethics," which perhaps they need to amend to make it clear that their executives may choose to spend shareholder money on dishonest political attacks if they feel like it.

RAI Services is a branch of the RJ Reynolds tobacco empire (makers of Camel, American Spirit, Pall Mall, Doral, Kool, Winston, and Salem), so I suppose lying comes as naturally to them as coughing.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Today's Postcard from the Plutocrats

According to the latest two mailings in my box from the wealthy businesses and right-wing interests behind "Minnesota's Future," Peter Fischer -- who had the audacity to express a personal opinion in favor of organized trash hauling at some hearing a year ago -- has been retroactively promoted to being "a powerful political boss who helped impose a government takeover of Maplewood's trash business at the expense of the free market and the taxpayers."

Let's remember: The contract was awarded through a competitive RFP process, very much according to free market principles.  Just like the free market principles that, say, allow the government to sell the exclusive rights to a section of electromagnetic spectrum used for the broadcasts of Hubbard Broadcasting (owner of KSTP among other stations) -- one of the companies that is funding these attacks on Peter.  Or the government mineral leases to the natural gas companies that buy the products of Great Plains Sand, another one of the firms looking to buy this election for their anointed candidate, Stacey Stout.

As for the "expense of the taxpayers" -- the expense was in the old system, that did more harm than necessary to our environment and infrastructure, and cost Maplewood residents $1.6 million per year more than necessary.  Companies like these -- and apparently Stacey Stout -- think that no expense is too great or wasteful as long as it goes to the bottom line of a private company.

One could protest the hypocrisy of these companies and their rich owners, but I doubt any of them care about ideological consistency or ethics.  And I'm sure they don't care about trash hauling or any phony "political boss" stories they make up.  They only care about their bottom lines -- about keeping a Republican majority in the legislature, to protect their wealth from taxes and to protect their businesses from regulations that might prioritize public health and safety above their corporate profits.

If they're attacking Peter Fischer and backing Stacey Stout, it's because they are convinced that Fischer will be worrying about protecting families like yours and mine -- and that Stout is committed to protecting their businesses and wealth first.

To me, each one of these postcards from this gang of plutocrats trying to buy the election, is a reminder of how important it is to vote for Peter Fischer.  And after putting their junk mail in the recycling bin where it belongs, think about giving Peter's campaign a few bucks to help him fight back against the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars that these rich out-of-town businesses are spending against him.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

About this Website

Thank you for visiting my website!

I launched as my campaign website when I first ran for Maplewood City Council in 2007, as a place to introduce myself to voters and explain my positions on the issues of city government. After winning election, the focus of this blog shifted to the day-to-day business of the City Council and the policy issues we faced, and my own research, and the reasoning that informed my council votes. As organized trash collection became a major city issue, and I immersed myself in studying all of its details and helping develop Maplewood's plan, that also became a big topic of entries here (you can find them all through the shortcut

In 2011 I ran for re-election, and this website became more campaign-oriented.  I won the most votes in the primary election, but I lost the general election after a barrage of election-eve attack mailings from a group of trash haulers determined to punish me for opposing their business interests.

Since leaving office I have been posting here less frequently, and I'm considerably less engaged in politics and city government.  I should note that this is a personally funded website, which I now use to write whatever I feel like on any topic. If those topics are political, the contents are not approved by any candidates or candidate's committee.

If you have any questions or comments, you can submit comments in response to individual entries. Comments are moderated, so it may take some time for your comment to appear. You're also welcome to contact me at Thanks again for visiting!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Who Funds "Minnesota's Future" to Attack Peter Fischer?

Today brought another attack mailer against Peter Fischer, funded by a group called "Minnesota's Future." The theme is ooooooh, scary "job killing tax increases" because Peter is supported by "powerful special interests."

Of course, this mailing itself is funded by some of the other powerful special interests -- rich business interests -- that want the Republican candidate to win and to protect their fat wallets from taxes or regulations (for instance, those pesky environmental concerns about fracking vis a vis Great Plains Sand LLC). I was curious as to exactly which special interests, so I went to the Campaign Finance Board, to see who exactly has been giving heaps of money to defeat Peter.

This being the post-Citizens United era, of course, the funds almost all come from corporate treasuries -- a number of corporations that you can care bet little about you, and a lot about their own bottom line.

Here's a list from the latest report:

Davisco Foods International
11000 W. 78th St. #210
Eden Prairie MN 55344
6/22/2012 $100,000.00 cash contribution

Frauenshuh Companies
Creekview Building
7101 West 78th Street, Ste 100 Minneapolis MN 55439
7/20/2012 $100,000.00 cash contribution

Great Plains Sand, LLC
1242 Adrian Drive
Chaska MN 55318
2/27/2012 $25,000.00 cash contribution

HRCC [House Republican Campaign Committee, a political fund]
161 St Anthony Ave Ste 950
St Paul MN 55103
6/7/2012 $10,000.00 in-kind contribution of polling data

Hubbard Broadcasting
3415 University Avenue
St. Paul MN 55114
8/3/2012 $150,000.00 cash contribution

Micro Control
7956 Main Street NE Fridley MN 55432
7/28/2012 $50,000.00 cash contribution

Rosen's Diversified
1120 Lake Avenue Fairmont MN 56031
7/10/2012 $50,000.00 cash contribution

Senate Victory Fund [Political Fund]
161 St Anthony Ave Ste 902
St Paul MN 55103
6/7/2012 $10,000.00 in-kind contribution of polling data

If you don't care to receive these mailings, you might contact the Chair of "Minnesota's Future," Chris Tiedeman, at  As he is happy to spend a lot of money to share his views and the financial-political needs of his clients with you, I'm sure he'd love to have a two-way dialogue and hear from you in return.  No doubt all the companies listed above would enjoy a political conversation with their customers as well, since they're eager to persuade you to support their favored candidate.  Similarly, you can drill down into the links for the two political funds to see which companies in turn are funding them.

Or, perhaps more constructively, you could take this as a prod to toss a few bucks in the hat for Peter Fischer -- someone who you can be sure will focus on the needs of his constituents, not rich out-of-town businesses.  You can give online on his website.

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