SIDEWAYS THUMB:The Minnesota DFL is trying something new this caucus season. Due to fears of spreading COVID-19, the DFL is holding what it calls contactless caucuses on Feb. 1. In Brown County, instead of DFLers gathering with their neighbors at some neighborhood church hall or school cafeteria to discuss issues, debate resolutions and vote for delegates, they will be logging in to a web site, downloading forms to submit resolutions or sign up as possible delegates, and then dropping them off via email to local party officials, or put them in a drop box set up at what would have been the normal caucus site.
We will be very interested to see how this works. Will it increase participation, especially among the younger, more tech savvy voters who may not have time to spend an evening in a caucus hall? Will it drive away older voters who have been faithful caucus attendees for years, but aren’t very good with computers?
We’ve long felt caucuses were sliding into irrelevancy. Will this revitalize them? We’ll see.
THUMBS UP: The New Ulm City Council gave its approval this week to a slight change in the plans for a Vietnam Veterans memorial in German Park. Instead of locating it near the flagpole in the center of the park, it will be located closer to the Third North Street side of the park, in an area presents fewer topographical challenges. It will still be in a high traffic area, and is closer to the all-inclusive playground, so kids might be more likely to see and appreciate the history it presents.
Why not checks?
THUMBS UP: Gov. Tim Walz has made what could be a popular proposal on what to do with the state’s gigantic $7.7 billion surplus. Walz on Friday proposed paying some of it back to the people with checks of $175 per single household, or $350 for married tax filers. The checks would be sent to 2.7 million households, and would cost the state about $700 million of the $7.7 billion surplus.
Republicans are calling it a “gimmick” and prefer to fix the tax system instead to prevent such huge surpluses. Guess what, GOP. You can make a one-time payment with the surplus and still reform the tax system. Just don’t let them be called “Walz Checks,” like the “Jesse Checks” sent out by some other governor.