Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Company You Keep

Golden Valley, the city that we call home, publishes a bimonthly city newsletter that's sent out to all residents. It' s a well-designed glossy that usually runs sixteen pages. Most of the information presented is on the mundane matters of civic life: taxes, zoning, budgets, recreation activities, city services, events, etc. There's also usually some hectoring about how you can be more "green" or some other pet cause deemed good by the city's powers that be. The November/December edition included such a section on how buying locally was more "eco-friendly." This nugget caught my eye:

Minnesota2020, a local non-partisan think tank, has promoted a “buy local” campaign for the last three holiday seasons. It also lists Minnesota-owned and operated businesses at

While it's true that Minnesota2020 does technically claim to be non-partisan, if you read the organization's own description of itself it's obviously not a neutral, objective group:

Minnesota 2020 is a progressive, new media, non-partisan think tank focused on what really matters. Our daily reporting and research informs, frames and drives public policy debate on the issues that matter for Minnesota's future success: education, health care, transportation and economic development.

Minnesota has become distracted by divisive side issues, drawing public attention and support from schools, jobs, roads and health care. Conservative public policy retreats from properly investing in and maintaining these vital community pillars by focusing instead on topics that turn people against each other. We refuse to accept this decline. Minnesota is great when we have good transportation, strong job creation, universal health care and quality schools.

Minnesota 2020 delivers accurate policy proposals and smart progressive messaging by linking academic and traditional foundation research. We seek to achieve tangible and demonstrable solutions. Through our communications strategy, we've compelled legislative and executive branch policy change.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Minnesota2020 was founded by one Matt Entenza? Yes, that Matt Entenza, who just last year spent millions in a futile attempt to secure the DFL's gubernatorial endorsement. Minnesota2020 is non-partisan for fund raising purposes, but in reality it's policies are pretty much in lockstep with the DFL.

Now, I admit that is a minor irritant. But it still does bother me that a city publication--funded by my tax dollars--would promote an effort (including providing a link to their web site) by an organization with a clear political agenda. The least they could have done is included the label that Minnesota 2020 itself uses--"progressive"--to inform residents of the political leanings of the group. I also doubt if I will ever see a mention of a local conservative non-partisan think tank, say Center of the American Experiment, appear in my city newsletter.

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