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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Friday, December 21, 2007

SF 607 not dead yet; Metzen & MN DFL must act

What might socialist Governor Floyd B. Olson have suggested the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party should do about.............. SF 607?

It is almost like Olson is shaking his finger at DFL Senator James Metzen asking: Why have you let these working people down?

SF 607 is legislation proposed by Minnesota State Senator Cohen which would keep the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the Hydro Dam which has powered the plant for over eighty years intact until a solution can be found to keep it operating.

The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is the majority in both the Senate and the House.

It should be no problem for a political Party which makes the claim of representing working people and of being for: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS to pass this very basic and modest legislation which would give us time to find a solution to save this plant and 2,000 jobs.

Senator Metzen should simply do what is right by Ford workers and the people of Minnesota who have a tremendous investment in this Plant and Hydro Dam and millions of dollars invested in an integrated training center.

Senator James Metzen should demonstrate leadership in seeing to it that SF 607 is brought back before this heavily DFL dominated Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs and get this legislation passed so that the full Senate and House can vote on it.

Put this legislation in the lap of this worthless Republican Governor who has built his political career on destroying the livelihoods of working people as a stooge for Bush and the big-business interests of the Republican Party.

Metzen's failure to demonstrate leadership on getting this legislation through the Committee he Chairs could prove to be disastrous for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party come Election Day.

Open and honest government requires we know how each Senator on this Committee voted... so far, they are refusing to say. It is simply shameful that this heavily DFL dominated Committee defeated this important piece of labor legislation.

This decision can be reversed; the Senate rules permit the legislation to be reconsidered by this Committee.

This is the letter I have sent to Brian Martinson who is the Committee Administrator.

Why has UAW President Ron Gettelfinger remained silent on this issue? He should join in demanding Senator Metzen and the Democrats who are in the majority on this Committee do what is right. A former President of UAW Local 879, Tom Laney, has asked this question, too.

Why is the UAW's Bob King sitting in silence?


Brian Martinson

Committee Administrator

Business, Industry and Jobs Committee

Senator Jim Metzen, Chair

322 Capitol


E-mail: Brian.Martinson@senate.mn

Mr. Brian Martinson;

As the Committee Administrator of the Minnesota State Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs of which DFL Senator Jim Metzen is the Chair, I am writing to you to obtain specific information to questions I have concerning the said meeting for which you have provided me with the minutes as copied below.

I trust that you will provide all eighteen members of the Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs with a copy of this e-mail.

Mr. Martinson, in seeking answers here, I believe I speak for most Minnesotans and the workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant whose jobs are on the line (pun intended).

I am attaching below the communication from Bob Killeen the Secretary/Treasurer of UAW Local 879 and my response to him. I trust that Bob Killeen will make all this correspondence on this issue part of the Local’s minutes from a membership meeting.

Please note: I would like for all correspondence and responses to this letter to be in writing since, in a conversation we had in your office you accuse me of “spreading lies” about Senator Metzen and his staff concerning this Committee Meeting. You then, again, in your e-mail to me make the same accusation but go even further in distorting my positions on this issue by claiming I admitted to you that I lied… a charge I most vigorously deny. Further, I think your malicious and slanderous libelous statements about me and against me require an apology, not only from you, but from the entire Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs.

Please let me remind you Mr. Martinson that we are speaking of the public’s right to know how elected public officials have voted on an issue that is of great importance to many Minnesotans as is evidenced by talk on the street, in the Ford plant among the workers and their union--- UAW Local 879, an entire committee established by the City of St. Paul--- the Ford Site Planning Committee/Task Force.

I don’t think I need to remind you that the issue of the livelihoods of two-thousand working class folks is a primary issue of concern here; a worker without a job is a worker in poverty. As a society, our objective as has been so often clearly stated is to eliminate poverty and the human misery which goes along with that poverty.

Not only are we speaking about the jobs of two-thousand workers; these workers have families (some extended families which rely on these jobs as a source of their income, also); we are speaking about some 10,000 people who will be directly impacted if the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant should be allowed to close without any alternative to continue industrial production and manufacturing of one sort or another. In addition, at stake are jobs on the Iron Range and a myriad of jobs people are employed at relating directly, and indirectly, to whether or not industrial production continues at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly plant which is a model of “green” manufacturing and a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse workforce that has many outstanding progressive ramifications in the surrounding communities; all of which are the requirements of a healthy democratic society.

Mr. Martinson, your attempt to try to paint me as the ogre in all of this because I am requesting answers to questions any thinking person would deem appropriate in a democratic society, thus trying to make me the scapegoat for a problem created by you and the members of this Senate Committee in intentionally trying to evade responsibility for how votes were cast on SF 607, is quite frankly, sickening.

I would like to remind you Mr. Martinson that how I choose to characterize the actions and votes of the members of this Committee is not the issue. Everyday in our country people characterize the votes of public officials. The only issue is: How the members of this Committee voted. As you are aware, how the members of this Committee voted are important for several reasons, but let me state two reasons so we are both on the same page here:

People have a right to know how elected public officials voted; why they want to know is none of your business.

How each member of this Committee voted now is of utmost importance since SF 607 is far from dead as a Committee member/s may move for reconsideration of SF 607 in this Committee based on how they voted.

I assume as the Committee Administrator you have made sure that the UAW, transport workers and rail union along with SEIU have been made aware of the procedures for SF 607 to be reconsidered by the Committee; am I correct in making this assumption? After all, knowing and understanding ALL the “rules of the game” by all the participants is a requirement and hallmark of a democratic society. Since you know the rules better than anyone, it becomes incumbent upon you to inform everyone of how this legislation can easily be reconsidered in the next legislative session set to begin in February. I assume all the members of this Committee are familiar with the rules and what they can do to request reconsideration of SF 607; again, please correct me if I am wrong in making this assumption.

Be this as it may, I do not want to obscure the intent of this letter by lecturing you about what is required of public officials and bureaucrats like yourself in a democratic society. I think you fully understand, and fear, the openness and accountability a democratic society requires.

Please provide me with the answers to these very basic and simple questions:

I would like to receive what is referred to as the “attached documents A through D;” since these documents are referenced as part of the minutes.
I would like to know how each and every member of this Committee as they are listed in the Minutes you have provided here voted on SF 607.

Here are the Minutes, such as they are, which you provided me with; I would note, that in the communication I received from Bob Killeen the Secretary Treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 879 representing the workers of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant that his description of this meeting probably should have been part of the Minutes kept by Lisa Sarne, the Committee Clerk.

While reading these minutes makes me wonder why the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) was not represented at this hearing since this union represents a number of workers in this Plant, also, is of great concern. I wonder if you even bothered to notify them of this hearing.

As a courtesy, could you provide me with the e-mail addresses for each of the Legislative Assistants for each member of the Senate on this Committee?

For the record, Mr. Martinson, anything that you think I have said or written to be false or untrue you have every opportunity to set the record straight.

I continue to believe that there is something drastically amiss and wrong when the Chair of this Committee with over twenty-five years of legislative experience can not get such an important piece of legislation through his Committee; a Committee consisting of eighteen members--- eleven of whom are DFL, and only seven Republicans. Maybe there is something wrong with my math here; but the material and empirical facts seem to speak for themselves… with all due respect to Brother Killeen attributing the defeat of SF 607 to Republicans. Believe me, Mr. Martinson, I would not be using kid gloves in pursuing this matter had such been the case. If this is now an embarrassment to Senator Metzen and the DFL members of this Committee, so be it; they know what now has to be done to set this matter straight… something justice requires.

While not everyone might be concerned about the future of the Ford Plant, I think every Minnesotan has a concern that how these eighteen Minnesota State Senators voted (or why they never showed up for this Committee meeting) expect each of these Senators would be willing to explain their votes and their actions. As you are probably aware, December 10 marked the 59th Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and so many of the issues addressed in this important Declaration are involved in this issue--- including the right of working people to be participants in the decision making processes which affect their lives; this is one such issue.

Alan L. Maki

Attachments included below:

A. Minutes of the Committee Meeting/Hearing

B. Letter from Bob Killeen to me

C. My response to Bob Killeen



Senator James Metzen, Chairman of the Business, Industry and Jobs Committee, called the meeting to order at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, 2007 in room 15 of the State Capitol.

The clerk noted the roll. The following members were present:

Metzen, Chair

Saltzman, Vice-Chair













The following members were absent:





Meeting began with a quorum.

1. S.F. 607-Cohen: Motor vehicle manufacturing plant maintenance requirement (see attachments A through D).

The following people gave testimony in favor of S.F. 607:

Bob Kailleen, United Auto Workers

Don Gerdesmeier, Joint Council 32 DRIVE

Phillip Qualy, United Transportation Union

Questions and comments from the committee followed.

The following people gave testimony in opposition to S.F. 607:

Mary Culler, Director of Government Affairs, Ford Motor Company

Cecile Bedor, City of St. Paul Director of Planning & Economic Development

Mark Moeller, St. Paul Chamber of Commerce

Questions and Comments from the committee followed.

Senator Cohen and Phillip Qualy gave closing remarks in favor of S.F. 607

Senator Tomassoni moved that the bill do pass and be re-referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.

The Chair was in doubt and called for a division.

The motion did not prevail.

The meeting adjourned at 4:34 p.m.


James Metzen, Chair

Business, Industry and Jobs Committee


Lisa Sarne

Committee Clerk

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Killeen [mailto:rjkuaw879@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 10:23 AM
To: amaki000@centurytel.net
Subject: Senator Metzen Misinformation

Alan Maki. I have been reading some of the Green Party propaganda you have been been espousing. These types of attacks lend no credibility to your cause by accusing good people of bad things. Your accusations against Senator Metzen are both untrue and uncalled for. Jim has had a long standing relationship with the UAW which continued with his full support of our Ford Plant Legislation that called for the Fo Mo Co to keep TCAP in saleble condition for a period of 2 years after its' closing. This bill would have given us time to find other manufacturers to take over the property and keep good paying jobs in St Paul. If you had asked I would have told you our legislation was doomed because of pressure the St Paul Building Trades put on legislators to oppose our bill. Their goal, although shortsited, was to create short term building trades jobs by tearing down our plant and building condos. The St Paul Mayor was a huge ally of theirs in shooting down our bill. Other Senators who helped us were Tomassoni and Sparks. The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee - Bonoff, who is running for Congress in the 3rd district, and Saltzman. Murphy and Bakk got up and left the hearing just before the vote.My point is please refrain from attacking Senator Metzen. He is a good freind of the UAW and our family of members.

Bob Killeen Secretary-Treasurer UAW Local 879

Brother Killeen;

Thanks for this letter. I was by your office several times to talk about this vote. You weren’t in.

I am sorry about any confusion. I do not take back anything I have said about Senator Metzen.

I did not “accuse” anyone of “bad things.” I simply have written and spoken based upon information I received from Senator Metzen’s office. I sent several e-mails, made numerous phone calls; and stopped at Senator Metzen’s office twice before I ever wrote or spoke a single word to anyone about this. I can asure you, if there is any confusion it is of Senator Metzen’s own making.

Since I notice this e-mail from you was not Cc’ed to Senator Metzen I have not sent it to him. You may send it to him if you chose; or with your permission I will forward this entire correspondence to him.

You should also know that two members of Senator Metzen’s staff have contacted me claiming that I am not telling the truth. Again, I asked them to provide me with minutes from this hearing which would clarify things. They refused. And I am not going to go through the trouble of suing a State Senator to obtain records which should be public and provided to the public upon request to begin with.

In fact, Metzen’s Committee is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats… all of whom your local has supported.

I have in fact noted numerous times Senator Tomassoni’s support for this important legislation; in fact, the record of this hearing clearly shows that he was the one and only Democrat to support this legislation… The record clearly shows one thing: Tomassoni moved for support of this proposed legislation and the record states the motion failed. If you have any written record of the proceedings from Sen. Metzen’s Committee Hearing in question to substantiate what you are now saying, please provide me with the official minutes of this hearing as recorded by the Committee Clerk/Secretary. The only Senator’s name I find in writing from the minutes of this hearing, such as they are, is that Senator Tomassoni was the lone, sole supporter of this legislation. This is based upon the records I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.

I have charged that the minutes of this particular Senate Hearing were probably kept in such a shoddy fashion so that no one would be able to tell from reading the minutes what went on in this hearing. If this is the case it raises an even larger issue which goes right to the heart of attempting to subvert democracy and the right of people to expect honest and open government from those whom they elect. Again, I stated all of this in an e-mail to Senator Metzen to which he never responded.

I find it strange that, at this late date, you are providing an account of this Senate Hearing that the clerk should have noted in the official minutes from the hearing at the time she provided me with the minutes.

Please feel free to request that Senator Metzen provide you with all correspondence I made with his office and that which was sent to me. I give him the right to release all such documents to you provided he releases everything without any omissions.

For the record, I have not been espousing any “Green Party propaganda.” Nor do I support the Green Party, even though I am strongly leaning towards supporting who I consider to be the best Democrat in the Presidential race, Cynthia McKinney; who, as you know was forced from Congress largely by the same grouping of business oriented Democrats who are pushing for the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

The St. Paul mayor you refer to is a Democrat. Representative Paymar is a Democrat. Murphy is a Democrat. Rod Skoe is a Democrat.

There is something seriously wrong with a Democrat who you say is a big supporter of the UAW when he is the Chair of the Committee and he can not control his own Caucus members when it comes to such an important vote. In fact, the UAW has supported every single DFL member of this Committee. I do not have to draw any conclusions from this; the facts speak for themselves.

I have worked in the Democratic Party in several states over a period of some thirty years--- since I could vote, in fact; never have I seen such betrayal except over these “Compacts” creating casinos sending 20,000 Minnesotans to jobs in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any of the rights your own members enjoy protected under state or federal labor laws.

You can call me when ever you like about any issue or concern you have; I have been to the Plant often. I have left every leaflet I have distributed at the Plant at your office.

I am a member of the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee, not a member of the Green Party. You will not find anything that I have written contrary to this. In no way, shape, or form have I distributed anything in the nature of “Green Party propaganda;” nor anything which approximates such.

I do not understand how you can say the “The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee…” when all the evidence in the minutes of the meeting as recorded by the clerk of the Committee clearly shows it was Democrats who are the culprits. In fact, even if all Republicans had refused to attend the hearing and refrain from voting, the Democrats would not have voted for this legislation.

Again, what I write and what I say is based upon the minutes I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.

In fact, the building trades unions provide Metzen with more campaign contributions than does the UAW. I am very concerned about the role of the building trades unions in all of this; however, I know from experience that their position on this issue can easily be reversed should your local clearly articulate the issue involved here in a way that people understand. If you choose to do this, by the time you are done, the building trades leaders will be hanging their heads in shame; seen by everyone as very pathetic as they pander for jobs by taking away the jobs of other working people.

I have tried to speak with Senator Metzen about this prior to the Committee Hearing, the day after the Committee Hearing, and as recent as yesterday. Senator Metzen, if he is concerned about anything that I am saying or writing can call me, sit down and talk with me, or send me an e-mail just as you have done.

I would be more than happy to sit down with you and Senator Metzen to discuss where we go from here.

I talked with Senator Cohen’s Legislative Assistants on several occasions, including yesterday; she tells me Senator Cohen plans no further legislative action. This is not right that the Democrats are dropping the ball in trying to save the Ford Plant.

As long as this Plant is still standing this will not be a “done deal” no matter how loudly the proverbial fat lady sings. Working people never give up, and working people never give in to corporate domination and greed; if they do, they lose.

If the Democrats snooze; working people lose. If the Democrats acquiesce, working people lose. There needs to be accountability here; there is no accountability; not from Senator Metzen, not from Representative Paymar; not even from Ron Gettelfinger or Bob King.

I would encourage you to invite the leadership of the Minnesota DFL and all DFL legislators and the U.S. Senate candidates to tour the plant with you so they know exactly what is at stake; and, encourage them to talk with rank and file workers about what a job means to a worker and his/her family. I think one of the very big problems is that most of the politicians with the power to save this Plant are so far removed from the life of working class families and their daily struggles to survive that they can look the other way, and then later say, “I didn’t know.”

I would also encourage you to insist that the Minnesota DFL take a position in support of public ownership of this plant; there is simply no other way to save it. This is not a “far out idea” as some of those looking for excuses to take the wrecking ball to this plant have stated. Public ownership has been very successfully used as a tool by the labor movement to save plants and jobs all over the world, including in Canada… the huge bus plant in Winnipeg being one very good example. I would also encourage you to talk with Bob King and Ron Gettelfinger about supporting public ownership of this plant… we can’t do any worse than the legislation which failed.

WE haven’t even explored the possibility of a joint China-Minnesota government venture to save this plant. Why not? Your Local supported Mark Dayton, you mean to tell me that Mark Dayton can not broach this issue with the Chinese; the Chinese aren’t afraid of public ownership. What about George Lattimore? Your local supported him for years; he has all kinds of connections in China.

As long as we are talking about some differences of opinion we may have over this entire matter of what happened in Metzen’s Committee where this legislation was defeated; I am of the opinion that you should have mobilized your entire membership including those working and those retired to turn out for this hearing in support of this legislation since you knew there was going to be strenuous opposition. Large numbers do not always assure legislative victories over the well-heeled, corrupt Summit Hill crowd; however, it never hurts to bring along a great big crowd… your dad must have agreed with this concept as he was a big supporter of the demonstrations aimed at closing down the Schools of the Americas… something that really should be shut down.

Yes, close the “School of the Americas”--- this killing machine--- and fund the continuing operation of the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; tax-payers would be the real winners and humanity would be the better for it.

I think if we sat down and talked about all of this and tried to work out a common strategy aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant we would be further ahead.

In case you missed my letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on saving the Plant (Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007; Page OP 4), here it is:

Your excellent editorial (Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007) on saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant missed one important point.

For all practical purposes there is little chance of saving this plant unless it is brought under public ownership; free enterprise has failed to save the plant and the jobs.

Tax-payers already have a huge investment in this plant. More tax-dollars should be invested to save this plant and these important manufacturing jobs.

What tax-payers finance they should own.

Minnesota legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to see to it that this plant survives through public ownership.

Alan L. Maki

Warroad, Minnesota

Our approach to saving the Ford Plant is that we are willing to work with anyone and everyone towards this end; this includes you, your local, the Greens, the Democrats, the Reds, Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists and those who have no party or organizational affiliations at all.

Saving this Plant is an issue dear to many, many Minnesotans; not only the members of your local.

As a result of my activities I have had people contacting me from all over Minnesota, the country, Canada and other parts of the world wanting to know how they can help. Just last week I heard from an eighty-seven year old former St. Paul resident, now retired and living in Arizona, who broke down and cried when she told me what this plant meant to her family and her family’s friends--- a lifetime of a decent life won through struggle. And our conversation ended with her saying: “Why did our families fight so hard; just to end up losing it all.”

We are working with very limited resources in order to encourage dialogue, debate and discussion on this issue while working towards creating the greatest possible unity on this issue; it is not my intent to burn any bridges; I would much rather build bridges of open communication… towards these ends I would be happy to sit down and discuss this issue with you, Senator Metzen and any other interested parties, and adjust tactics as called for.

I will be in the Cities early next week if you would like to meet.

Yours in the struggle to save the Ford Plant through public ownership,


Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

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