FFM Bulletin 2/10/12

A sign of the times? Government trying to regulate everything

Residents in Little Falls are fighting to keep a “We Support Our Troops” banner hanging on a local bank building, but the city’s own sign ordinance may force it to be removed.

Local residents of the central Minnesota city circulated a petition to keep the sign on display on the American National Bank building. That petition was in response to an earlier petition started by local resident Robin Hensel, who was recently forced by the city to remove signs from her yard. Neighbors had previously complained to the city that Hensel’s yard had too many signs. She now displays the signs, which are primarily Occupy-related, in her home and car windows in order to satisfy the city’s vigilant lawn sign regulators.

“I have a right to free speech, and a right to decorate my van in whatever fashion I wish,” Hensel told the Brainerd Dispatch. The city, she says, should have to follow its own ordinances, too.

Some residents aren’t happy with Hensel’s point of contention, and several of them argued against the possible removal of the sign at a city council meeting this week. The council has not yet taken any action.

Disregarding the political nature of the debate in Charles Lindberg’s hometown, Ms. Hensel is right to stand up for her free speech and property rights, even if that offends a few overzealous local government bureaucrats.

Plans for a Cupcake bakery crumble due to St. Paul red tape

A Cupcake café and wine bar may seem like a perfect fit for Grand Avenue in St. Paul.  But the owner of the shop that was slated to open in March is scrapping his plans, saying he no longer has the time or money to fight with the city.

Kevin Vanderaa, owner of Cupcake restaurant in Minneapolis, signed a lease in July to open a 32-seat bakery, café and wine bar on Grand Avenue. The Summit Hill Association, (regulatory agency #1) however, appealed the City of St. Paul Zoning Board’s (regulatory agency #2) decision to approve the shared parking agreement with one of the nearby businesses. The appeal was upheld by the City of St. Paul (regulatory agency #3), leaving Vanderaa out thousands of dollars and with no intention to open shop in St. Paul.

“It makes me really sad and angry because the neighborhood was totally jazzed about it, and it was a good thing for the economy and for Grand Avenue,” Vanderaa told the Pioneer Press. “But apparently Cupcake was not good enough for the Summit Hill Association.”

“I just don’t think it should be this hard to open on Grand Avenue.”

Entrepreneurs already take huge risks and encounter enough government regulations and obstacles in trying to build a successful business, especially during these tough economic times.  Perhaps they should have approached local regulators with plans to build a sports stadium instead of a restaurant. 

Reminder for high school students: Participate in our Reagan Essay Contest

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota recently announced details of its 2011-2012 Ronald Reagan essay contest for Minnesota high schoolers. In its second year, this contest encourages Minnesota high school students to explore the leadership, legacies and values of America’s 40th President, Ronald Reagan.

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota has supersized this year’s essay contest and will provide  $5,000 college scholarships to two grand prize winners! Entries must be submitted by February 29, 2012.

For all of the contest details, visitwww.freedomfoundationofminnesota.com/Reagan.

Minnesota's history of constitutional amendments offers perspective for current session - MN State News

This November, Minnesotans will see at least one constitutional amendment question on the ballot. But with legislative leaders seriously discussing bringing several other questions to voters in November, the ballot could get a lot longer.

While it’s still early in this 2012 legislative session, eight House bills containing proposed constitutional amendments have been introduced, along with 11 in the Senate, including a photo ID requirement for voters that was vetoed by Gov. Dayton last year. Republican legislative leaders have alluded to further amendment proposals that may be introduced this session, including one to prevent state shutdowns and a supermajority requirement for raising taxes or increasing spending. A right-to-work constitutional amendment was also introduced last week in St. Paul.

While many of the bills are unlikely to ever see a vote at the legislature much less at the polls, most Capitol insiders expect a handful to make it onto the ballot in November.  

Read the entire article on Minnesota State News.

Jason Lewis: Here's what happens if the popular vote is made prime

Nationally syndicated talk-show host Jason Lewis wrote a powerful column for the Star Tribune this week on why National Popular Vote is a bad idea. 

From the column:

“A republic does not rest on pure majority (mob?) rule. It incorporates various checks and balances to filter the majority and protect the minority. The Senate, for example, accomplishes this through unlimited debate, and unless a supermajority can break the filibuster, why, slim majorities do not prevail. National policy requires a broad consensus, hence the complaint that one small state can bottle things up misses the point entirely.”

Be sure to read the rest of Jason’s column at the Star Tribune.


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