Dear Organizers and Supporters of the Pentel/Wallace Campaign For Governor,
Notes from the Trail
It was great day - I stopped at the huge Uptown Art Fair and talk to some of the masses. Then to the fundraiser at the Walker. Unfortunately, it was a small turnout but the passion of our core group of organizers proved, just like the petition drive, they can see a project through.
The band Aitas came all the way from Staples (a few of them got lost in the way) and sounded great, Erin was a natural on the mic, we ate delicious food, and raised a little over $600.
On my way to the Uptown Farmer's Market I stopped at the beaches and for the next few hours engaged in conversation with many interesting people amid the sweltering heat, creamy air, and playful sounds.
Then the storms rolled in.
I first stopped at the beaches of Cedar Lake and had a variety of good conversations. The relaxed crowd seemed excited to talk up the ecological economy and the need for decentralized political power. Let's see if it bears any fruit.
Then onto the Pizza Luce Block Party where there were many hip people in their teens and early twenties sitting in the park. I did talk to one group who were kids from coal country USA, and what started out as a friendly conversation turn as toxic as a slurry pond from a Kentucky coal mine. This, even after I turned on my diplomacy. Needless to say, we don't have their vote. One sour interaction will not taint many positive ones.
Then the rains came and I was out of there.
It was a beautiful day as I grabbed the Cedar Trail and stopped at Hidden Beach; it was a great stop with radical minds looking for change. From there it was over to the Uptown Farmer's Market for a couple of hours, then the Wedge until sunset. It was a exhilarating day. I talked to about 200 people. The rap is getting better, more focused and effective. Let's hope the ideas we plant will germinate, and if we keep up the organizing the Party should grow mighty roots.
From 11-12 our campaign got mentioned on MPR.
I did a half hour on KFAI Catalyst with Lydia Howell. To hear the interview follow the link: http://www.kfai.org/archive/08/19/2010
Kelsey met me at the Uptown Farmer's Market. It was a hot day. We worked the Market for a short time then biked over to Lake Calhoun to talk to people sitting on the shore. Most were open to our rap. After Kelsey left and I continued on to the Harriet Band Shell just as the Led Zepplin cover band was ending. It was a crowd mostly set in their political ways. One grizzled old biker insisted that we had to have a new Viking stadium over everything else.
"It creates revenue. Look at the Twins Stadium: A-Rod had to pay $300,000 in Minnesota taxes."
I explained to him that I was a sports fan but, for me, the stadium was not a priority but rather a societal luxury. He still could not come to terms with the idea of restoring our habitat or housing for the homeless being more important than feeding a billionaire's bottom line.
Go to the website to donate: www.kenpentel.org
We're now at the State Fair and Danene has the booth looking great and well organized. We have a variety of t-shirts and buttons. There's a consistent flow of people who are seeing the Party for the first time. Many political seeds are being planted.
Look for the Ken Pentel for Governor booth on Nelson Street near the DNR performance stage. I'll be at the Fair everyday.
There are some recent photos and audio attached.
Donations are needed to raise money for the booth.
Also, go to the website where you can print flyer's then go door-to-door talking to your neighbors about the campaign, post them at businesses, and bring them to gatherings.
You can contact the Media and ask them to cover the campaign, call in to talk shows or write some words to the press. This campaign is about the power of ideas.
The first day of the northern swing was muggy and I almost fell asleep riding as the water poured out of me. As I passed through the sprawl of Plymouth and Maple Grove I couldn’t help thinking about the gusher in the Gulf and how the normal condition of cities and towns, such as these in suburbia Minnesota are gushers too: Car dependent planning, long distance transport of electricity, energy wasteful housing and commercial building codes to feed the growth model. All gushing energy from flattened mountaintops, poisoned oceans, and blood soaked lands far away, out-of-sight out-of-mind, disconnected from our needed visceral response to heal the gushing wound.
I was 6 ½ hours in the saddle and arrived in Monticello just before the storm. Finally got a good nights rest.
I thought today would be an easier day of riding, no such luck, my body was struggling against a tenacious headwind of 20-30mph on a hot day. St. Cloud always seems like a mirage as if I’m never going to make it. Most of the road kill was frogs, birds and a few turtles. 7 hours on the bike.
But I made it to Nicholas Snavely’s home and had a quick drink, then off to a "meet the candidate" event at Burrito Bravo. Nicholas showed with Oliver, his 2-year-old son, and we ate a delicious meal.
The next day after getting out of St. Cloud to St. Joseph I got on the Wobegon Trail away from the car and truck traffic and it’s as if I landed in an enchanted place, where only the wind and birds were the noise and the land was plush and the butterflies and dragonflies escorted me along the way to Melrose. 8 hours on the bike.
All along the way I had a chance to talk to a few people along my path about the campaign, but I was getting anxious to get out to meet more.
The next day it was short two-hour ride into Sauk Centre. When I landed I set-up camp at Sinclair Lewis Campsite. Then, over to the Sauk Herald for an hour interview with Bryan. The article comes out on July 13th. That evening I handed out about 80 flyers at the movie theater.
The next day I went for a refreshing swim in the Sauk Lake and did laundry and went to Jitters for another "meet the candidate"-no one showed. Then it was off to flyer at Gerrard's restaurant, the movie theater then to a concert in the park where horns were playing folk music. It was beautiful day. I invited people to join me at my campsite and the only person that showed was Bob from the fruit stand who was a religious zealot and homophobic. He liked my honesty and was into the issues of the campaign, Bob took some flyers for his fruit stand. Go figure.
Today I set off to Browerville to stay at Greg and Marcia’s place. It was beautiful tailwind on a hot day.
I stopped in Long Prairie and had a good talk with Kay at the Co-op. The town of Long Prairie had many empty buildings.
As I was getting close to my destination for the day my bike broke down. Fortunately, Greg was on his way to pick me up and hauled the bike to his place. It is a beautiful place to stay--an off the grid, local sustainable business.( http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/res_detail.cfm?id=718 )
We ate a beautiful meal with most of the food grown either on Marcia and Greg’s land or within two miles.
That evening they gave me a thorough education on sustainable forestry.
The next day we headed to the Brainerd Farmers Market. With Marcia, Greg and their daughter Sunny. Greg and Marcia described to me the care people at the Market take to produce high quality food and maintain the integrity of the land and water. The weight of this experience moved me to tears. Not only was it moving to see the product and hear the practices, but to learn that many of the people there (Including Marcia) do not make enough money to pay, or get paid very little for what they produce. This sickens me. While those who rape the land with destructive uncaring farming practices make billions of dollars not paying the whole cost, and what they do is crushing the local farmers of the land.
Then we dropped my bike at the shop. While Allen and Jeremy at the shop were working on the bike I spent some time flyering in town and had some good and very sad conversations; while securing some votes.
At the bike shop they said they have never seen a bottom bracket so broken. (I pull too much weight.) With an addition of a new cassette and chain it was a $160 bill. Ouch! I guess a small price for all the benefits/value the bike has given.
We headed out at 6:30 AM for the Little Falls Market. Marcia is selling mixed greens, maple syrup, whole grain bread and muffins. Sunny is selling flowers, homemade dog biscuits, and jewelry. It was a slow day. I walked into town and talked with local business owners, as well as the vendors at the market.
Today we all headed to the Brainerd the 4th of July parade. We joined in with the Brainerd Coalition for Peace. It was a hot day with a big crowd. The Coalition had a big puppet (about 15 feet tall on one wheel.) holding up a peace sign. And they struggled with mighty strength to keep it from falling. Kelsey and Marcia held the campaign banner and I worked the crowd. This was a tough crowd, many of them were hostile to the peace signs and expressed themselves in a variety of ways and some were very supportive. Kelsey and I handed out about 200+ flyers.
This evening I went to Camp Hill Village where I made my case to be Governor. Camp Hill is a non-profit in Sauk Centre ( http://www.camphillvillage-minnesota.org/ ) inspired by Rudolph Steiner and founded by Karl Koening. where co-workers work with villagers with special needs on 500 acres where they grow food using biodynamic farming practices. It is a very inspiring community. About 10 people showed. Kelsey Miller (Co-coordinator of the Pentel/ Wallace Campaign and Chair of the Ecology Democracy Party.) gave a thoughtful and inspiring opening statement, then we had a very lively conversation. Afterwards new relationships were formed among people who are already living the ecological life.
This campaign is starting to build an organizing formula, take shape, and build momentum. It is an opportunity for us to learn how to work together at the state and local level. And biking and canoing for Governor allows us a rare chance to magnify the vision of the Party and the passion for that vision.
“ Do you think you can win?”
When people ask me “ do you think you can win?” My response is, “if that is the criteria then this campaign should not have to take place. Because if winning where the standard and all the promises by all the people who have won elections in the past where kept, our species would be in harmony with the non-human and human world. Obviously that is not he case. Winning in a dysfunctional political and economic system can only lead to dysfunctional outcomes. So, I consider this the criteria to be Governor:
1. Do the initial judgments, structural pathways and/or mandates meet the standards of relevant policy for the times we live?
2. Am I prepared to fulfill the role of Governor?
In response to #1: I will measure and debate our mandates against any or all of the candidates seeking to be Governor of Minnesota, anytime, any-place, any-where, and I feel ours are the strongest by-far. It's not even close.
In Response to #2: With every campaign for Governor since 1998 I have been prepared to take responsibility where others have obviously not: Erin and I are ready to Govern the challenging and beautiful State of Minnesota.
Now, if the person asking the question agrees with the mandates, then it is up to them to vote accordingly and mobilize beyond the vote to build the cultural courage, as well as offering their organizing abilities and skills so Erin and I have the needed cultural strength to literally achieve the mandates.
But, if this campaign is about the ability to raise millions of dollars; chasing money and not preparing to solve vital problems or, emphasizing style over substantive policy, then this will continue the political philosophy and corruption that has lead us to such rapid ecological decline.
An independent Party like the Ecology Democracy Party can empower the citizen who feels excluded by their own government, to take literally the role of “citizen”: mother, teacher, farmer, laborer, student, etc., and bring clarity of vision, and action, to end the corruption in the people's Government.
Communication keeps the organizing body active, aware, and strong. Trust grows through communication at a variety of levels. As we reach out to the general public we build our individual powers of persuasion. Within the Pentel/Wallace Campaign, open communication helps to build trust with each other as we learn to rely on each other. This is why we require active participation in the Campaign. No matter how many people are in the Campaign, when all of us are participating, trust will grow. Out of this trust, individual confidence will grow and that will lead to a more courageous Campaign. We will develop into a Campaign of individuals who are ready to take on the great challenges that lie ahead and who are ready to assume the responsibilities of decision makers.
To the tastiest mouth-watering organic strawberries in Browerville, salude!