Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


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...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I am glad to see United States Congressman Keith Ellison has been reading my blog. Unfortunately, Congressman Ellison, in spite of being heavily supported by the members of United Auto Workers Local 879, forgot to mention the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and chose to talk about financing small businesses instead of public ownership of this plant which tax-payers have been subsidizing over the years in so many ways.

From Congressman Keith Ellison

Washington, D.C. -- The President’s spokesperson informed us today that the President will have no new ideas in his speech tonight. That’s unfortunate. Mr. President: Our country is in grave economic trouble. We have a housing finance meltdown going on while energy costs spiral up and down [I haven't noticed any "spiral down" ALM]. Affordable and accessible health care is out of reach to almost 50 million Americans with 6 million alone added during this President’s tenure. Our educational system has left far too many children behind, while our bridges are literally falling down in America.

Mr. President: our country needs an economic stimulus package that will result in something more than pocket change for most working families.

Mr. President: The best American economic stimulus package you could offer the American public is to end this war in Iraq.

We are currently spending $10 Billion a month in Iraq, more than $2.5 Billion a week.

Taxpayers in Minnesota alone paid $11 Billion for the cost of the Iraq War through 2007. For that amount of money, Minnesota could have provided:

· over 3 million people with Health Care OR

· over 13 million Homes with Renewable Electricity OR

· over 250,000 Public Safety Officers OR

· nearly 175,000 Music and Arts Teachers OR

· over 1.2 million Scholarships for University Students OR

· 1,300 New Elementary Schools OR

· almost 70,000 Affordable Housing Units OR

· over 3.5 million Children with Health Care OR

· over 1.5 million Head Start Places for Children OR

· almost 200,000 Elementary School Teachers OR

· over 130,000 Port Container Inspectors

The President’s $150 Billion economic stimulus package represents a little over ONE year in war funding for Iraq.

I would urge the President to work with Congress to bring our brave men and women home from Iraq now – and put hard-working Americans tax dollars to use building American schools, roads, jobs, hospitals and small businesses. That is a message on the state of our union worth giving.

My commentary:

I would urge United States Congressman Keith Ellison to add public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant to the very top of his list. Last night at a meeting of the Ford Site Planning Committee and Task Force it was announced by retired UAW Local 879 member Lynn Hinckle that a coalition of organizations had been established with the objective of saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

Prior to Lynn Hinckle speaking, members of the Gus Hall Action Club spoke of the need to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant through public ownership.

Lynn Hinckle has been a leading protagonist in insisting that since Ford workers have created tremendous wealth for the Ford Motor Company over the years, these workers have a right to participate in the decision making process concerning the future of this plant.

Members of the Gus Hall Action Club have been in the forefront spearheading the efforts to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant as has often been noted in media reports. The Gus Hall Action Club points out that since Ford workers have created such tremendous wealth in an operation that has been heavily subsidized by tax-payers for over eight decades, the time has come to bring the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant under public ownership.

If government can finance a golf course/ski resort (Giant's Ridge) on the Iron Range, and a football team in Wisconsin (the Green Bay Packers), government can sure as heck bring the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant under public ownership.

I don't see any golfers, skiers, or Packer fans complaining about public ownership... I doubt anyone is going to complain about using this same public ownership to save 2,000 jobs.

I would urge United States Congressman Keith Ellison, state Representatives Tom Rukavina, Bill Hilty, Karen Clark, Carlos Mariani, Mary Ellen Otremba and Tony Sertich along with State Senators David Tomassoni, Jim Metzen and Richard Cohen to step boldly forward and get SF 607 through the legislative process, and then immediately begin the legislative journey to bring the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant under public ownership.

Judging from the response of Minnesotans, people would rather have a plant providing two-thousand jobs instead of subsidizing professional sports teams they don't even own.

Minnesotans never wanted to subsidize the war in Iraq any more than they wanted to subsidize the profits of the Ford Motor Company. Remember, the politicians always told us we were subsidizing "jobs, jobs, jobs." And we should continue subsidizing these two thousand jobs. Any thinking person would rather subsidize a job at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant for the lifetime of a worker rather subsidize the dropping of a bomb in Iraq killing people..

And as far as the war in Iraq... Minnesotans are in unanimous agreement with United States Congressman Keith Ellison... stop the carnage now, get the troops out of Iraq now; use the money for things people need... like jobs, jobs, jobs.

We are fortunate to have a manufacturing facility in our state which can play a central role in the "greening process" contributing to ending global warming... only a fool would suggest taking the wrecking ball to the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, selling the hydro dam powering the manufacturing operation to a foreign corporation, as two-thousands jobs are flushed down the Mighty Mississippi River like so much of the pollution the Ford Motor Company so callously purged from its operation for so many years as it sought to maximize profits not only through labor and reaping free energy to power the plant, but even in the way it disposed of the waste--- proving that the "free markets" of capitalism just don't work to society's advantage, especially without regulatory agencies closely monitoring this corporation's every move (another burden to tax-payers)... after over eighty years of exploiting workers, raping the land, free electricity, dumping its waste indiscriminately creating a threat to public health and the environment, it is time to give public ownership a shot--- public ownership can't do any worse than the greedy Ford Motor Company, which like the mining companies and the forestry industries, have run off with OUR wealth.

What the heck, we can't even afford health care for people because the corporations have stolen OUR wealth; and, what wealth they haven't stolen, they have squandered on war after war. Of course one could make a good argument that they have continued to reap profits, even from wars.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day in Minnesota

St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant worker outside of UAW Lcal 879 Union Hall...

Martin Luther King Day in Minnesota is characterized by assaults and attacks on people of color, and the working class as a whole. These attacks come from employers, the banks and financial institutions as politicians of all parties sit in silence.

The military-financial-industrial complex of state-monopoly capitalism has spun a massive web of racism, exploitation, unemployment, poverty and war.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was cut down by an assassin's bullet as he was articulating the need for organized labor and the civil rights movement to begin the march to real freedom from a system which places corporate greed before human need.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for full implementation of human rights as articulated by the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and understood within this concept words on a piece of paper meant nothing unless aggressively enforced by government mandate.

Martin Luther King Day 2008 finds working class Minnesotans of all races and nationalities searching for solutions to the social and economic mess we find ourselves entangled in as big-business dominated politicians of the Republican and Democratic parties cover their ears and close their eyes to these injustices which are the creation of a corrupt, parasitic, barbaric capitalist system which has turned into an cannibalistic imperialist beast and monster. The only thing of importance is the profits of the Wall Street coupon clippers.

Working people are being foreclosed on and evicted from their homes; people of color suffer the worst as they are now being evicted from the homes in areas where just thirty years ago they were not able to live in because the color of their skin. Where will these people of color find "new" homes? We all know the answer.

Working people are losing their jobs as plants close and the Wall Street coupon clippers pack up and move to areas of the world where they can exploit labor more intensely for greater profits; again, people of color are the first victims as they lose jobs which just thirty years ago were "off-limits" to everyone whose skin was not white.

Here in Minnesota we see politicians and the leaders of big-business piously proclaiming recognition and "respect" for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as these same greedy corporate CEO's and the politicians who are at their every beck and call scheme together to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, ignore tens of thousands of people being foreclosed on and evicted from their homes, draft phony health care reform measures like the Minnesota Health Act, sit in silence as over thirty-thousand Minnesotans go to jobs in smoke-filled casinos without any rights at poverty wages at the complete mercy of the mobsters who operate these casinos, fresh water supplies are contaminated as corporations profit by selling bottled water poor people can not afford, the poorest people live in areas with the most polluted air, the economy has a myriad of bubbles ready to burst: who will suffer the most? We all know the answer.

The racist Congresswoman Michelle Bachman tells the most impoverished suffering the worst to get second jobs; demonstrating how far out of touch from reality this rich, uncaring and insensitive Republican Bush loving politician is because those suffering the most are already working second--- and third--- jobs and now have to get third and fourth jobs just to pay for the gas to get to their other jobs as the politicians sit on their hands as the robbery at the pumps continue. All working people suffer--- but, who suffers the most? We all know the answer: people of color.

Who are the primary victims of this police violence which is beginning to take on characteristics of pogroms? Again, we all know the answer. The big-business politicians don't want to acknowledge where all of this institutionalized racism is headed because the truth leads any thinking person to conclude that it is only a matter of time before we will all be living under the black-booted heel of the fascist jackals... it can happen here... it is happening here as our Constitutional Rights supposedly protected by the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are being systematically eliminated by Bush and the Republicans with either full complicity and/or acquiescence from most Democrats.

To each and everyone of these problems there is a clear, sharp racist edge where people of color are injured first; we know people of color will be helped last--- as can be seen from what is going on in New Orleans.

This is the way this rotten "system" works; the "system" is racist to its rotten exploiting core.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was accused of being a Communist. The racist and anti-Semitic John Birch Society was allowed to plaster our highways with huge billboards picturing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sitting beside his Communist friends at the Highlander School where some of our leading civil rights and trade union leaders were educated and trained. These billboards were in fact advertisements in search of someone to murder Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These kinds of campaigns of racist and anti-communist political hate have a way of taking on a life of their own like a snow-ball rolling down a long steep hill on a warm spring day.

We see such campaigns of hate being whipped up today in our country; again these campaigns of bigotry and hate are taking aim at those, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood up without fear using his strong clear voice in the cause of freedom, peace and social and economic justice.

Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Communist like the men he most admired: W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson? I don't know, he never got around to telling us because he was murdered. Whether King was brought down by an assassin hired by the FBI or the CIA as many suggest we will perhaps never know... We do know one thing: The FBI and CIA initiated and participated in a racist, anti-communist campaign of hate against Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which made the assassin think he could murder King and get away with this dirty deed. When you have J. Edgar Hoover, the top cop along with the United States Attorney General and every state and local law enforcement agency involved in tapping telephones, opening mail and conducting around the clock surveillance as they concoct a pile of lies trying to discredit a man like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. it is no surprise when an assassin pulls the trigger thinking they can get away with murder. J. Edgar Hoover knew he was issuing a death sentence for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he ordered his "special" agents to go after King.

Today in Minnesota we see the same kinds of campaign of hate being spun against those who speak out against the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, we see similar campaigns of hate against those who oppose the war in Iraq (who can ever forget the hateful insults hurled by those waving American flags as hundreds of people marched down the street in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota as United States Congressman Colin Peterson sat in silence and the police tolerated the spewing of hate in the name of "freedom of speech" as these thugs attacked people and tore up their signs? Nazi Germany? Not yet... but it is on the way if not stopped.

Consider the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant. Where will a worker of color ever be able to go in the Twin Cities to get a job as good as that at this plant? It took decades of struggle to get the Ford Motor Company to end their racist hiring practices... then it took more decades of struggle fighting for full equality on the job once workers of color got through the back door. Now that full equality has been achieved the politicians sit and watch as they give the Ford Motor Company free reign to close this plant. There are many other issues involved; but, what sense does it make to close a plant just when full equality has been achieved; what was the struggle against racism for at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant? Just so Ford could pack up and move Ranger production to Thailand? Workers of color--- last hired, first fired; Not at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant. For once in the Twin Cities last hired--- because of the struggle against racism and for equality; for once, not first fired. But, what happens to the workers of color when the wrecking ball hits? Again, New Orleans provides us with the answer. .. as does the racism of the Ford Site Planning Committee and Task Force. One only need look at the St. Paul City Council and the St. Paul Board of education to see who is calling the shots.

The racist Ford Site Planning Committee and Task Force is hard at work paving the way for a "green," yuppie, upscale, racially segregated community to be created where the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant now stands; Ford Motor Company, forced by the peoples' struggles, is now forced to hire without racial discrimination. One would think listening to Ford CEO's that racist hiring was never part of its corporate agenda.

Will the workers of color employed at poverty wages by Lund's Supermarket find homes in this new "green" upscale community the Ford Site Planning Committee and Task Force wants to create when the rubble from the Ford Plant is cleared find affordable homes here? Again, New Orleans provides the answer.

It is ironic that one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most important issues was that all people have access to health care... yet today, there are those who are using this occasion of celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to push something they call the Minnesota Health Act under the guise of single-payer universal health care when all that it really is, is a scam to dump the full cost of health care directly onto the backs of the working class when the burden of health care costs should fall most heavily on the employers. How many people of color were consulted in drafting this mis-named Minnesota Health Act?

What is State Senator John Marty thinking when he brings forward a health care program which creates huge premiums for people to pay who are now losing their homes and can't even pay to heat their homes and probably won't be able to afford the price of gas to get to work much longer?

Here we are; living in the richest country in the world... living in Minnesota one of the richest places on earth with vast forest and iron ore deposits which the robber barons have been allowed to steal for years as trillions upon trillions of dollars are squandered on war after war while this present dirty imperialist war for oil and regional domination is costing us trillions of dollars more and the politicians tell us we can't have free health care because there is no such thing as a "free lunch." They never tell United States Steel, the Ford Motor Company, casino managements or 3M there is no such thing as a "free lunch" as they are doling out our tax-dollars to these corporations to fully subsidize their operations.

Imagine, the Ford Motor Company was given free electricity to power its St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant while people shiver through this cold without heat?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--- he taught us nothing comes to working people--- black, brown, red, yellow or white--- unless we unite and fight.

On this day we are celebrating the life and struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. there are those still trying to figure out if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a "Communist."

Does it make any difference if he was a Communist, or not... Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. locked arms with his Communist friends as he led the march to freedom for an end to racism and for full equality, for a world of peace where working people could live with dignity and respect... providing us with the real lesson of how to win our struggles.

Today leaders like Cynthia McKinney heroically take up the struggle where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left off, just as Dr. King picked up the struggle from W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson, who before them picked up from where Nat Tuner and Frederick Douglas left off.

Here Cynthia McKinney campaigns for the Presidency meets with a St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant worker discussing the plant's closing and her support for the struggle for Public Ownership as the solution to the Ford Motor Company's abandonment of the Twin Cities.

Something to discuss and think about around the dinner table...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Minnesota Senate File 607; First step in saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant

SF 607, or Senate File 607, has become one of the most controversial issues in the State of Minnesota; why?

SF 607 is also known as: "Motor vehicle manufacturing plant maintenance requirement"

Workers are for SF 607; big-business is opposed to SF 607.


Because it takes the power out of the hands of the corporation: The Ford Motor Company.

SF 607 is the legislation that was brought forward at the urging of United Auto Workers union Local 879 representing the two-thousand workers employed at the huge, sprawling St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant which has long been the foundation on Minnesota's industrial base, a major contributor to making the surrounding communities of St. Paul and Minneapolis along the Mississippi River thriving communities.

Ford announced plans to close this Plant and UAW International President Ron Gettelfinger,

together with Bob King who heads up the UAW's National Ford bargaining unit,

colluded with company management to exclude Ford workers and the people of the Twin Cities from the decision making process.

Workers who created the wealth which Wall Street coupon clippers banked were without a voice at work in the decision making process.

For over eighty years Minnesotans bank-rolled Ford Motor Company's entire operation with tax-abatements, tax-credits, and outright subsidies for the manufacturing plant and the hydro dam which completely powered the operation for free creating two-thousand jobs; and, this wasn't even enough for the Ford Motor Company, which insisted the tax-payers create a super-modern, state-of-the art training center to the tune of over thirty-million dollars which still isn't paid for.

Real-estate speculators, architects, contractors, bankers and a variety of investment firms have moved in like vultures over road-kill all wanting a piece of the action when the wrecking-ball hits.

Red Lake Gaming Enterprises has even indicated they want to place a huge new casino, the largest and most elegant in Minnesota, along the River Front as part of the "green, upscale, yuppie, racially segregated community" which the Ford Site Planning Committee and Task Force is calling for.

Heading up the efforts to bring an end to over eighty years of industrial manufacturing at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant now manufacturing Ranger pick-up trucks is the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and the "Summit Hill Crowd" along with the "Business Caucus" of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party.

Mark Moeller of R.F. Moeller Jeweler, Inc. from the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce is their lead spokesman in opposing SF 607.

Here is the information on SF 607:

Legislative Session number- 85

Bill Name: SF0607

Requiring a closed motor vehicle manufacturing plant (Ford) and related facilities to be maintained for a certain period of time after operation discontinuation for purposes of finding a new owner and operator



S.F. No. 607, as introduced - 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008)

Posted on Feb 06, 2007

1.1 A bill for an act

1.2 relating to economic development; requiring a closed motor vehicle

1.3 manufacturing plant and related facilities to be maintained for a period of time;

1.4 proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 116J.




1.8 When the owner or operator of a motor vehicle manufacturing or assembly plant

1.9 determines to discontinue the operation of the plant for any reason, the owner or operator

1.10 must maintain the plant and any related facilities [this includes the hydro dam--- ALM]in salable operating condition for at least

1.11 two years after it discontinues operation in order to allow the state of Minnesota and other

1.12 interested public and private bodies to seek a new owner and operator. This requirement is

1.13 enforceable on all owners and operators and successors of owners and operators and shall

1.14 be enforced by the state in any action in bankruptcy or other litigation that may affect it.

1.15 Sec. 2. EFFECTIVE DATE.

1.16 Section 1 is effective the day following final enactment.

DFL Senator Jim Metzen, a vice-president of Key Community Bank, failed to get SF 607 through the Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs which he Chairs where there is a DFL majority (11 Democrats; 7 Republicans).

Senator Metzen and his DFL colleagues on this Committee now have the opportunity to revisit this issue and bring it forward for reconsideration in the upcoming Legislative Session scheduled to begin February 12, 2008.

During the first vote where the DFL members of this Committee shamefully voted down this very simple and uncontroversial--- to working people--- piece of legislation aimed at saving two-thousand union jobs, there was no ACCOUNTABILITY; there was no roll-call vote so there is no record of how these Senators voted.

Senator Metzen as the Chair of this Committee should now have a very intense discussion with his colleagues on this Committee and explain to them that this is an election year.

The local leadership of the United Auto Workers union has been abandoned by their International Union, its President Ron Gettelfinger and the head of its Ford Bargaining Unit Bob King. As a result, the UAW Local 879 leadership will have to bring the membership into full action in support of SF 607 which it encouraged Senator Cohen to draft and support.

The UAW Local 879 leadership made a fatal error the first time around in ignoring the very first rule of trade union political activity: Always Bring A Crowd.

This time around the Local 879 leadership must see to it that every active member, every retiree together with their family members turns out when SF 607 comes up in the Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs so these bankers and lawyers can look into the faces of all those who are being hurt by the callous decision of the Ford Motor Company to abandon the Twin Cities and take the wrecking ball to the plant as they try to sell the hydro dam to add to their profits.

The Ford Motor Company is intending to give Minnesota tax-payers one more "kick in the ass" before leaving the Twin Cities as this money-grubbing company leaves the rubble of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant behind--- millions of dollars of debt yet to be paid, for a Plant which will no longer exist.

It is clear for all to see: Minnesota Legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to the tax-payers to see to it that our investment is protected by passing SF 607.

Here are the names and telephone numbers of the Senators on the Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs... they need to hear from YOU.

Here are their names and phone numbers (direct calls to their offices insisting on a written response is best--- they all have voice mail so you can call them day or night):

Please tell them you would like a written response to these two questions:

1. How did you vote on SF 607?

2. Will you consider moving to reconsider SF 607 in the upcoming legislative session as is being recommended by Chair James Metzen?

Attaining the answers to these questions will be a real eye-opener and education for everyone as to how these people conduct the peoples’ business on such an important issue.

Senator James Metzen, Chair: 651-296-4370 ; Home: 651-451-0174

Lisa Sarne is Senator Metzen’s Legislative Assistant: lisa.sarne@senate.mn

United Automobile Worker Local 879 helped initiate this legislation… contact: Bob Killeen, Secretary-Treasurer: rjkuaw879@yahoo.com

Senator Kathy Saltzman, Vice Chair: 651-296-4166

Senator Tom Bakk: 651-296-8881

Senator Terri Bonoff: 651-296-4314

Senator Jim Carlson: 651-297-8073

Senator Ron Latz: 651-296-8065

Senator Steve Murphy: 651-296-4264

Senator Linda Scheid: 651-296-8869

Senator Rod Skoe: 651-296-4196

Senator Dan Sparks: 651-296-9248

Senator David Tomassoni: 651-296-8017

Here are the Republican members for what its worth…


Senator Dick Day: 651-296-9457

Senator Chris Gerlach: 651-296-4120

Senator Joe Gimse: 651-296-3826

Senator Amy Koch: 651-296-5981

Senator Geoff Michel: 651-296-6238

Senator Thomas Neuville: 651-296-1279

Senator Julie Rosen: 651-296-5713

Let me know how these Senators respond to your calls to them. Our movement to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant/hydro dam and two-thousand jobs also requires accountability.

Mark Moeller of R.F. Moeller Jeweler, Inc. has been the lead spokesman for the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce in opposition to SF 607. After selling engagement and wedding rings to Ford workers for over fifty years, making millions of dollars from Ford workers, Mark Moeller now has the audacity to call for the destruction of this Ford Plant and two-thousand jobs because he sees an even more lucrative market coming from the upscale, yuppie community planned to take the place of the Ford Plant. A boycott of Moeller Jewelers, Inc. is definitely something which should be considered. R.F. Moeller Jewelers, Inc. is just a few short walking blocks up the hill from the Ford Plant on Ford Parkway.

Perhaps during the Republican National Convention there should be a picket line stretching from the gates of the Ford Plant to R.F. Moeller Jewelers, Inc. Something to consider. A picket line from 2 pm to 6pm.

This is the listing of the officers of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. A number of people are now suggesting that their businesses--- or a selected business like R.F. Moeller Jewelers, Inc.--- should be boycotted. What do you think?

Executive Committee; St. Paul Chamber of Commerce

Ted H. Lillie
Lillie Suburban Newspapers

Mark Mishek
Chair Elect
United Hospital

Dan Foote
Immediate Past Chair

Kristofer Johnson
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce

Bonnie Bennett
Adventium Labs

Alex C. Cirillo Jr.

Mark Ellson
Ergotron, Inc.

Song Fawcett
Kelly & Fawcett

Paula Howard
Goff & Howard, Inc.

Lisa Humphreys
UBS Financial Services

Sanjay Kuba
GCI Systems, Inc.

Diane Thormodsgard
US Bank

Jim Westerhaus
Ecolab Inc.

Pam Wheelock
Minnesota Wild

Bill Wright

Board of Directors; St. Paul Chamber of Commerce

Tanya Bell
Wellington Management

Shane Boyd

Mark Dienhart, Ph.D
University of St. Thomas

Gerald Faletti
Lethert, Skwira, Schultz & Co.

Bill Foussard
Best Western White Bear Country Inn

Lori Fritts
Midway Chamber of Commerce

Archie Givens
Legacy Management and Development Corporation

Sherry Hastings
Frauenshuh, Inc.

Bill Kaphing
Xcel Energy Inc.

Susan G. Kratz
Moore, Costello & Hart, P.L.L.P.

Gloria Lewis
Big Brothers/Big Sisters Greater Twin Cities

Jaci Meyer
State Farm Insurance -- Jaci Meyer

Mark Moeller
R.F. Moeller Jeweler, Inc.

Tom Nardini
Nardini Fire Equipment Company, Inc.

Chuck Paton
Morrissey Hospitality Companies, LLC

Altin Paulson
Marketplace Productions, LLC

Gino Pitera

Joe Richburg
Keystone Computer Solutions

Ernie Scroeder
Schroeder Company, Inc.

Tony Schwartz
Beacon Properties

Daniel Scott
Larson -- King, LLP

Bruce Shay
Securian Financial Group

Joan Siewert-Cardona
Ideal Printers, Inc.

Steve Snelling
T.K. Hill Companies

Mark Stutrud
Summit Brewing

Brian Melendez, the Chair of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party does the dirty work for the "Summit Hill Crowd," the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, and the MN DFL Business Caucus

MN DFL Chair Melendez has yet to suggest to Senator Metzen and the MN DFL Legislative Caucus that they tour the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant to ask workers how they feel about losing their jobs, and asking if they think the Plant should remain open.

Melendez has refused to initiate discussion of Public Ownership among the MN DFL.

AS has been pointed out, repeatedly, there is no other alternative to keeping the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant in operation and saving two-thousand jobs.

Simply put: Free enterprise has failed Ford workers, the Twin Cities and the State of Minnesota... the heralded "market forces" do not work.

Let us remember in previous elections how DFL State and Federal Legislators boasted that their bailouts and subsidies to the Ford Motor Company saved these jobs... then DFL Gubernatorial Candidate Roger Moe boasted, "The St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant has been an important part of Minnesota's industrial base... Under my leadership as the Senate Majority Leader we saved two-thousand good paying union jobs; because of my leadership this Plant and your union jobs will be here for another seventy-five years."

Today, Roger Moe is supporting Mike Ciresi for United States Senate as is Senator James Metzen... what has happened to the talk of jobs for two-thousand workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant "for the next seventy-five years?"

Today United States Senate Candidate Mike Cerisi talks about the Ford plant, on occasion, when campaigning among working people. However, he hasn't spoken to his friend and supporter James Metzen about getting SF 607 through the Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs which Metzen Chairs. Nor has Cerisi confronted the idea that Public Ownership is the last remedy for consideration if two-thousand good paying union jobs are going to be saved.

How can it be that tax-payers' money was invested under the guise of keeping this Plant in operation for another "seventy-five years" as these same legislators refuse to protect the investment Minnesotans have made in this Plant? Where is the "fiduciary" responsibility of these public officials?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Let Kucinich Debate in Las Vegas

Organizers of the January 15, 2008 Democratic Candidates for President debate in Las Vegas, Nevada have excluded Dennis Kucinich from the debate. This is my response advocating for his inclusion in this debate.

Debate organizers have also solicited questions from Americans; this is my question...

First of all, please allow me to object to your excluding Dennis Kucinich from the debate on January 15 the way African-American school children were denied and excluded from attaining a public education in Parma, Ohio for so long while their parents were denied the right to purchase homes in Parma, Ohio because of the color of their skin for over 100 years after the North won the Civil War.

With that said, please allow Dennis Kucinich to participate in this debate on January 15, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada so all of America can hear his answer, along with the other candidates’ answers, to my question:

What do you intend to do to end the injustice of some two-million casino workers being forced to work in some four-hundred smoke-filled casinos strung out across our country all of whom are employed at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws in the Indian Gaming Industry created under the terms of “Compacts” negotiated with so-called “sovereign” Indian Nations who need the approval of the Federal and state governments to operate casinos?

I think Las Vegas would be a great and appropriate venue to have this question asked from since many of these Indian casinos are managed very profitably by Station Casinos and the infamous and illustrious Fertitta family and their equally illustrious business “associates.”

As you know, second-hand smoke in the workplace has become a very important health concern. The majority of casino workers employed in these smoke-filled casinos are women of child-bearing age who the American Cancer Society and the Heart and Lung Association say are placed at greatest risk in such a working environment.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing, Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


Elected Member, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (Democratic Party) State Central Committee

Contact info:

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Letter To Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 6:27 PM

To: 'Kathleen Blake'

Cc: 'gdubovich@usw.org'; 'DLONG@uaw.net'; 'nnosal@uaw.net'; 'rgettel@uaw.net'; 'Bob Killeen'; 'Charley Underwood'; 'Gary Garbarino'; 'rep.tom.rukavina@house.mn'; 'rep.david.dill@house.mn'; 'rep.dave.olin@house.mn'

Subject: RE: Support for Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and casino workers

-----Original Message-----

From: Kathleen Blake [mailto:Kathleen@jackforsenate.org]

Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 3:49 PM

To: Alan Maki

Subject: RE: feel free to call me anytime

Good talking to you, Alan. I will pass your concerns on to Jack.


From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Wed 1/9/2008 6:45 PM

To: Kathleen Blake

Subject: feel free to call me anytime

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


Kathleen Blake and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer;

Per our phone conversation this afternoon.

Here is the situation:

30,000 Minnesotans go to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages with NO RIGHTS under state, federal, or tribal labor laws. When I say NO RIGHTS I do not exaggerate; none, zilch.

This is a result of casino “Compacts” negotiated by the DFL government and approved when Humphrey was the Attorney General and Perpich was Governor.

I would endorse Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer if he were to provide a statement, in writing, that this is a completely unacceptable situation which needs to be addressed and corrected.

In 2006 the Roseau County DFL convention passed a resolution calling on the Minnesota DFL including its state and federal legislators to convene a special conference aimed at addressing this issue in a way which would provide smoke-free workplaces and provide casino workers with all the rights other workers are protected by under state and federal labor laws.

I would point out that the present “Compacts” provide for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (MNDPS) to check and test slot-machines to assure compliance and provide for the MNDPS to insure illegal gaming and other illegal activities like loan sharking do not take place; the FBI and Treasury Departments also are responsible within their jurisdictions concerning things like counterfeiting and receiving counterfeit money, drug dealing, weapons on premises, acts of violence and destruction, etc. So, it is not like the state and federal governments have no roles in regulating these casino operations under the terms of the “Compacts” with so-called sovereign Indian Nations. In fact, the Minnesota and Federal governments INTENTIONALLY excluded protections of workers under the terms of these compacts. Any legislators and public officials were fully aware that thousands of workers would be required for the operation of these casinos… just like in any other industries.

The New Democratic Party majority government agreed to the demands of casino workers that the only two huge Provincially owned and operated casinos in Manitoba located in the City of Winnipeg be smoke-free. After tremendous pressure, the Provincial government informed tribal authorities that their casinos would not be receiving any further permits for expansions (more slot machines, table games, etc) unless they agreed to go smoke-free… the first Indian owned/operated casino in Manitoba (The South Beach Casino) went smoke-free after requesting a permit to expand its inventory of slot machines… the tribes did not contest this; but, rather, did the right thing and agreed that an environment filled with second-hand smoke was not healthy for employees or patrons and went smoke-free.

The question has to be asked why the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has not pursued the same strategy here in Minnesota.

Now, Red Lake Gaming Enterprises has one more license to operate a fourth casino. I have to ask why no MN DFL candidates or federal or state legislators have served notice on the Red Lake Tribal Council, Red Lake Gaming Enterprises, and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association unless the “Compacts” are brought into compliance with all state and federal labor laws including the right of workers to be employed in smoke-free work environments.

I would point out that State Representative Tom Rukavina has told me on numerous occasions that this is a problem for the federal government to resolve (I do not agree with this). If this is the case, It certainly becomes an issue that Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer would be confronted with, and expected to work for a solution, as a United States Senator.

I was happy to see that the real Norma Rey has endorsed him although she never consulted with our Organizing Council first. I wonder how she would have felt if casino workers would have ignored her organizing efforts by endorsing candidates which refused to take the side of her and her fellow workers as they battled for union recognition. I say shame on Norma Rey.

One can only conclude that because of tremendous campaign contributions being received from tribal governments and casino managements that the Minnesota DFL and each and everyone of its elected public officials has ignored the plight of 30,000 casino workers here in Minnesota because of campaign contributions from the casino industry.

I can assure you that Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer would object to his children working at a McDonalds under the Draconian terms casino workers are forced into employment.

Below is the letter I wrote which was published in response to Rep. Tom Rukavina and David Dill crying about a playing field not being level:

Link: http://timberjay.com/current.php?article=3361

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 Volume 18, Issue 22

Legislators should show concern for casino workers.

Over twenty thousand Minnesotans go to work in smoke-filled casinos everyday. State legislators don’t care about casino workers or casino patrons who are the same people they say they are protecting from second-hand smoke everyplace else with the new “Freedom to Breath” legislation.

If state legislators would show some concern for these 20,000 casino workers employed in an industry making money hand over fist, which subjects casino workers not only to the health hazards of second-hand smoke, but leaves them completely at the mercy of managements that have no respect for working people and their right to be employed in a healthy and safe workplace to begin with, Reps. David Dill and Tom Rukavina would not have to be complaining of an “uneven playing field.”

People sit in bars by choice; people work in these casinos because they need a job. There is a big difference; both Dill and Rukavina should be able to understand this. Workers have a right to expect that state legislators will not throw them into situations where they have no rights under state or federal labor laws and now without the protection of “Freedom To Breath” legislation, something state legislators have done with casino workers.

Who has allowed such an “uneven playing field” to develop in the first place? These legislators should look in the mirror.

It is up to Dill and Rukavina to stop crying about this smoking ban and the “uneven playing field” they created in the first place and continue to tolerate... their concern should be for the health of all workers, including casino workers, and Dill and Rukavina should take the appropriate measures to “level the playing field” by making sure all workers, including casino workers, have the right to be employed in safe and healthy work environments protected by the same state and federal labor laws that protect all other workers.

I have a great deal of respect for Rep. Rukavina and support just about everything he does as a state Legislator, but on this issue he is all wrong. Rep. Rukavina is concerned about a few bar owners when he should be concerned about the people working in these bars for eight, ten, and twelve hours who breathe in this second-hand smoke.
I am quite sure I speak for all of organized labor on this; I know I speak for most working people who want to be employed in a healthy and safe working environment.
Mr. Maki is Director of Organizing- Red Lake Casino, Hotel, and Restaurant Employees’ Union Organizing Committee and serves on the DFL State Central Committee.

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541

I have a number of blog articles on the topic of casino workers and their problems on my blogs; I would call to your attention the current problems we are having in Michigan (if you scroll down the right-hand side of my blog you will find the Michigan issue which is very relevant, and similar, to the Minnesota problems:


I am very open to further discussion and dialogue on this issue.

We do intend to “make political hay” on our issue throughout the upcoming elections. During the last election we distributed over one-hundred thousand leaflets explaining our problems in Minnesota asking people to vote for all Democratic candidates except for Mike Hatch for governor. Maybe we had some impact, maybe we didn’t, but many people were made aware of our concerns.

We would rather work in a more positive way with the MN DFL and its candidates and public officials, but creating these “Compacts” then refusing to correct the injustices after more than 18 years leaves us little choice… like all other campaigns for justice for working people we are going to win; unfortunately it is the DFL and its candidates which will ultimately suffer.

We have organizing committees in each casino in Minnesota; these organizing committees could be more useful electing candidates like Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer than working to defeat those like Mike Hatch.

We expect something in return like a statement acknowledging the problems casino workers are experiencing and making a commitment to work to find solutions is not too much to ask of any candidate in return for working to elect him/her.

The Minnesota DFL is, and has been fully aware of these problems, and continues to do nothing in the face of what everyone acknowledges to be a very serious injustice.

Our Organizing Council is probably the most politically active of any union in this state, having taken a stand against the war in Iraq before it began (we were among the founding unions of United States Labor Against the War); we have tirelessly advocated for single-payer universal health care; we have advocated for reforms in other unfair laws affecting working people, etc…

We wish Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer well in his endeavors; unless he provides a written statement as I have outlined here this is as much as he, or any other candidate from the MN DFL--- or any other political party for that matter, will ever receive from us… as you know, best wishes in politics do not make for much political success… but, we return just what we receive… I wish we could do more, especially in this situation with Jack’s campaign. Our support in the areas outside of the Twin Cities which he needs could make a campaign which is faltering because of lack of this support.

Our position in these elections is just what that of organized labor has always been: we punish our enemies; reward our friends; and meet indifference with the same.

I am forwarding this letter on to George Dubovich of the United Steel Workers Minnesota organizing department as his union has indicated they possibly intend to get involved in organizing casino workers here in Minnesota and I am Cc’ing this letter to the UAW’s Dick Long and Ron Gettelfinger whose union is involved in organizing casino workers. Hopefully these unions will join with us providing progressive candidates with their best wishes and nothing more until this entire matter surrounding these very corrupt, racist and anti-labor “Compacts” is resolved. The UAW just won the right to be recognized out east as the bargaining agent for casino workers; they will never attain a union contract for these workers until the “Compacts” are brought into line with all state and federal labor laws protecting all other workers.

I have also “Cc’ed” this letter to Robert Killeen of UAW local 879 representing the workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and Minnesota State Legislators Rukavina and Dill since I have mentioned their names and they may want to respond. I have also “Cc’ed” this letter to Brian Melendez and Andrew O’Leary.

If anyone has any questions concerning the health of casino workers employed in an atmosphere filled with second-hand smoke day in and day out every single day of the year for 5, ten, fifteen years, I would suggest they talk to any medical doctor or the American Cancer Society or the Heart and Lung Foundation. I notice there are billboards up all over the Midwest pointing to the health hazards of second-hand smoke. Perhaps we are being lied to about the health hazards of second-hand smoke like we have been lied to about the war in Iraq; but, I don’t think so.

I would also point out that a majority of casino workers are women of child-bearing age including many pregnant women. As you are aware, the organizations I mentioned previously have noted the increased risks to women in both categories. Something Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer may want to contemplate. I would be willing to bet that Bob Killeen and the UAW would never tolerate such conditions in any plant under UAW contract. And, I would bet that the USW would never tolerate such conditions in workplaces under USW contracts. In fact, Wal-mart management would never even consider allowing its employees to work under such Draconian conditions--- now, things in the casinos have to be pretty bad when Wal-mart management will not tolerate such conditions. Why then are Minnesota legislators and MN DFL politicians tolerant of such gross violations of the rights of casino workers?

I will close by telling you that I did bring to the attention of Brian Melendez and Andrew O’Leary that a clickable link was not made from Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer’s heading on the DFL web site as had been done for all other candidates and I was happy to find after three weeks they finally corrected this intentional “oversight.” So, not only does the official DFL leadership play dirty games with casino workers; this same leadership strives to wreck any movement towards real progressive politics in many small and bigger ways just as they have relentlessly tried to quash the voice of casino workers for justice… so, we aren’t the only losers here.

Let me assure you that we will continue to work tirelessly to end this dirty war in Iraq, and to bring about single-payer universal health care as we struggle to attain our rights and a voice at work for casino workers; although, it looks to me at this point, that a Nation and a State which can not solve such a simple problem as the rights of casino workers by inserting what anyone would agree is very basic and needed language into these “Compacts” which presently deprive some two-million casino workers employed at poverty wages in smoke-filled casinos at some four-hundred casinos spread out across this country, we will have a very difficult time ending this war for oil and regional domination, or attaining a health care system approximating the humane system of health care they have in Canada.

Thank you for taking the time to call… again, in writing this letter, I speak as Director of Organizing for the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council with union organizing campaigns presently underway in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. I would also point out that our organizing campaigns were the very first in the Nation in the Indian Gaming Industry… and we intend to persevere and win our struggle for justice regardless of what politicians get elected… or don’t get elected; it would be much easier and beneficial to everyone if we could all work together.

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Friday, January 4, 2008

St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant: What Needs To Be Done

Brother Greg Shotwell,

I am forwarding you this communication I received from Brother Bob Killeen, the Secretary Treasurer of UAW Local 879 in St. Paul, Minnesota along with my response.

This is the resolution we will be placing before the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (Democratic Party) precinct caucus delegates on Feb. 5, 2008:

Resolution 0n the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant/Hydro Dam and 2,000 Union Jobs:

Whereas Ford Motor Company has stated its intent to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, sell the hydro dam to a foreign corporation, and displace two-thousand workers in the near future without consultation from the workers, the community, or local and state governments;

Whereas this plant, its operations, and the hydro dam have received continued support from every level of government including tax-payer funding, tax-breaks and tax abatements under promises to maintain manufacturing operations and with assurances workers would have job security in St. Paul, Minnesota;

Therefore be it resolved public ownership should be used to save this plant, hydro dam, and two-thousand jobs.

Perhaps there would be a way for you to place this resolution before your meeting in Flint, Michigan on January 26, 2008?

I have also attached a leaflet distributed at the Ford Plant in St. Paul.

Cynthia McKinney the former Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia who is now seeking the Green Party endorsement for President visited the Twin Cities and supported our campaign for public ownership of the Ford Plant.

At present we are pressing DFL State Senator Jim Metzen [and the other 17 members of this Committee] who Chairs the important and heavily DFL dominated [11 Democrats; 7 Republicans] Senate Committee on “Business, Industry and Jobs” to reconsider SF 607 aimed at saving the Ford Plant. This legislation had been pushed and supported by UAW Local 879. It is unclear at this point why the UAW Local 879 leadership has not joined the push for this Senate Committee to reconsider moving this legislation out of Committee in the upcoming Legislative Session as was done with the House version for consideration by the Minnesota Legislature where in both the House and Senate the DFL has clear majorities. The UAW has campaigned for, and contributed to, almost all of these Democrats, some for many years… now when help is needed many of these same Democrats have joined with the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and the Ford Motor Company in wanting to take the wrecking ball to this important plant where the ever popular Ford Rangers are produced; it is proposed that upscale housing will replace this plant.

Here is the link to info on SF 607:


Thursday, April 19, 2007
Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs
Audio (01:19:46)
Chair: Sen. James P. Metzen
3 p.m. Room 15 Capitol


Motor vehicle manufacturing plant maintenance requirement.

What you can do:

Please contact the following Minnesota State Senators and request that SF 607 be reconsidered.

The following Democrats are on the Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs:

Senator James Metzen, Chair: 651-296-4370; Home: 651-451-0174

Lisa Sarne is Senator Metzen’s Legislative Assistant: lisa.sarne@senate.mn

Senator Kathy Saltzman, Vice Chair: 651-296-4166

Senator Tom Bakk: 651-296-8881

Senator Terri Bonoff: 651-296-4314

Senator Jim Carlson: 651-297-8073

Senator Ron Latz: 651-296-8065

Senator Steve Murphy: 651-296-4264

Senator Linda Scheid: 651-296-8869

Senator Rod Skoe: 651-296-4196

Senator Dan Sparks: 651-296-9248

Senator David Tomassoni: 651-296-8017


Senator Dick Day: 651-296-9457

Senator Chris Gerlach: 651-296-4120

Senator Joe Gimse: 651-296-3826

Senator Amy Koch: 651-296-5981

Senator Geoff Michel
: 651-296-6238

Senator Thomas Neuville: 651-296-1279

Senator Julie Rosen
: 651-296-5713

I have raised the question that if we can’t get these Democrats to pass a very simple piece of legislation like SF 607 aimed at keeping the Ford Plant and Hydro Dam intact as a unit until it can be decided how to continue the operation of this plant and save two-thousand good union jobs which are the result of many years of struggle and sacrifice, what good are the Democrats?

Perhaps if these Minnesota State Senators start getting phone calls from autoworkers and others concerned we can get this legislation back on track as a first step towards saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

Minnesotans have long supported public ownership as a means to save and create jobs… one most recent example is Giants Ridge, the resort on the Mesabi Iron Range, where tens of millions of tax-payers dollars have subsidized this publicly owned facility which has done extremely well:


There is no reason why the Ford Plant and its employees should not be given at least the same amount of consideration as the development of a ski/golf course resort. In fact, saving the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant will save more jobs on the Mesabi Iron Range than what were created at Giants Ridge because it requires massive amounts of steel to build pick-up trucks.

It all boils down to priorities. Where do workers, their families and their communities stand on the list of priorities as established by the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and its Legislative Caucus.

-----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

My response:

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:48 PM
To: 'Robert Killeen'
Subject: RE: Senator Metzen Misinformation

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,


I hope you can find a way to make the participants at your meeting in Flint, Michigan aware of what is going on in St. Paul and encourage them to actively find a way to participate in this struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

I was provided with the following information by several auto workers planning on attending your meeting in Flint, Michigan who felt I should ask you to see what involvement you might be inclined to consider:


4 Jan 2008 15:05


Autoworker Activists Gathering


January 5, 2007

Autoworker Activists Gathering
by The Solidarity Education Center

Saturday, January 26th 2008

Flint, Michigan

From the Ashes of the Old...

The Center for Labor Renewal & The Solidarity Education Center in conjunction with Soldiers of Solidarity, Future of the Union, FactoryRat, Labor Notes & numerous rank & file committees of resistance:

…Will sponsor a one-day meeting for all autoworker activists on the recent concessionary Big Three Auto Contracts. The session will be an opportunity to analyze the economic & structural impact of the negotiations, to share experiences from the effort to mobilize opposition, and explore strategies and tactics for reclaiming unionism’s direction and rebuilding rank & file solidarity.

Location: University of Michigan-Flint

Harding Mott University Center - Michigan Rooms A & B

On Circle Dr. off Kearsley Street (Bldg # 10 on campus map)

9:00 am - 5:00pm


For those coming from some distance and needing overnight accommodations, reduced rate rooms are available at the Holiday Inn adjacent to the campus. For reservations at the discounted rate of $69 per room, single or double occupancy, call:

Jerry Tucker at 314-968-5534

There is no cost for the meeting. A small donation for lunch will be at participant option.

Download The Handbill: Flyer Available Here

Holiday Inn Map: Available Here

For more information or questions, contact:

Gregg Shotwell, SOS


Phone: 616-485-8176

Jerry Tucker, CLR/SEC


Phone: 314-968-5534





Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


Looking for good book to read about a rank and file activist from Wisconsin Steel in Chicago who looked for a leader to lead the struggle for justice for working people and found no leader around, so he decided he would take the initiative to lead… check out:

“Always Bring A Crowd; The Story of Frank Lumpkin--- Steelworker” written by his wife Beatrice Lumpkin