Spectrum: Alpha Smaby of the Minnesota Populists Alliance

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On this regional public affairs program, Alpha Smaby of the Minnesota Populists Alliance, discusses property tax reform, energy problems, the BCWA, and farming issues.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

We don't have as our guests Alphas maybe on the alliance of Minnesota populist. It's a new organization started. When in June would you say last strength in June? I think we we officially came into being to being okay and the abolition of the property taxes is one of several issues that that you would like to push. I understand and perhaps we're supporting less Reliance on the property tax. Okay, that made me never listen, but what but I think we agree with in the alliance that there is too much depended on the property tax and you don't have to do anything to be a homeowner or even read her to know that these taxes increased phenomenally over the last few years and you indicate closing loopholes in the income to the mall. So perhaps you could Define the alliance for me.It is an attempt. It is not a political party. I think all the present members of The Alliance are the fl-eyes. I don't know of any Republicans have to the back to join us, but it's not a party. It's a group of Democrats who are concerned about certain issues, which we feel are not being dealt with directly and with a kind of Integrity that we think a liberal party should demonstrate in its dealings with issues. It is impossible anyway for a political party to 2 to live up to its platform probably only in a very grave emergency, but that presently the dfl party is not living up to its fate platform in a number of issues and we we are convinced that there are withinState not only the FLH but Independence and Republicans who are enough concerned about certain issues. So they would like to join with us in supporting candidates are urging certain positions are in positions upon the party what are some of the other issues the alliance is concerned with the energy issue. We feel that tempt nothing is being done Statewide or national Nationwide that is going to begin to cope with their energy problem. I came over here this morning on the freeway and I have a control in my car. I said, it's 55 and here is when I go up north to my cabin. Everyone passes me. I support the governor's 55 ml is how do you enforce it? It's one thing to say you drive 55. I don't be mean to people with shooting by me at 80, but we're not taking that seriously any more than we're taking.Seriously in a species Billboards that say stop whatever it is waste. Well at the same time that NSP and the end of the gas company and the telephone company are telling us to be careful. They're also promoting certain kinds of energy users there. They're talking out of two sides of their mouth. It's no question about it. And that in that in that area were concerned we would like to to be able to bring together a group of consumers in a kind of an improved fashion who with a check off under utility bills could raise enough money to be a viable group a group of some influence in a group with enough money to to support legislation puts his important to in the field of energy we're concerned about theWe are applying Rick Nolan for his position on the on the farm support prices. We are very proud of dawn Fraser conservation issue essay. He is demonstrating it through the bwca. We're going to give encouragement to go on that issue and try to keep him as strong-minded as we would like them to be on the on the saving of our Wilderness areas and generally controlling the kind of pollution. We're hoping to do something about other kinds of pollution causing things where you write your braids terribly disappointed that the day I found his couldn't put through the band The can billI will be working on that. We are interested in the development of solar and wind energy meters run backwards if if the if the consumer is feeding energy into is his system. I can't think of a single issue really that doesn't have to do the public good that we aren't that means that we're idealists. I supposed to be I think today is always someone who's who's willing to support the perfect position knowing that we want get it but the supporting it means that it will come closer to being accomplished. The reasons I was interested in talking to you is because I know that you are a former legislator and you and I both know that for example in the property Tang legislature will never abolish it and I'm interested in your perspective in doing things within the system in that way as opposed to outside. What which is what you're doing now to an extent. What do you think about that later the discussion which preceded this on on Saturday McCutchen send the bill Kelly is Bill. And the property tax I was mindful of the big debate on the sales tax when I was little and I heard the proponents of the sales tax say now this will meet that are property taxes as well. They'll be reduced by the use those arguments time and time again to persuade people to support the sales tax in the last 10 years old in spite of the fact that I'm paying the sales tax in addition to it. I think the I think the importance of working on issues you mean the the the role of an individual working on issues is one that just can't be underestimated that it is probably one of the weaknesses of our system that most people believe that the that there isn't much they can do they become disappointed or frustrated quit. There are many ways. I think of being effective other than being in public office. In fact, I found a great frustration when I was the legislature. I was in the majority. I didn't feel that I was accomplishing a great deal by holding thing in the minority is very difficult, but then I see the vfl in wrong position now and I don't know that things are any different from that position weather for the Republicans or the Democrats are in power sometimes seems to make very little difference in terms of the kinds of actually additions that that I'm interested if it's very interesting. I'll know I'm interested in in Who's in your alliance and who you're trying to appeal to I have heard comments from Young former anti-war activists new left type people that well. Maybe these are just old liberals looking for something to do or maybe they're not as left as we would like. How would you classify yourself in that respect I suppose we're left. Although I don't I don't like that term. I didn't like it when I was one of the leaders in the anti-war movement either. And I was one of the leaders in the anti-war movement. That's how I lost. My seat is moral position. And I guess that's the way I look at the positions that we're supporting today within the within the alliance. I supposed to the ultra-conservative. It is leftist to say we want to nationalize the railroads but it really makes a lot of sense. When you think of that if we could nationalize railroads restructure them so that they could take us off on a Reliance on the automobile. They are playing it certainly would provide for a better system transportation is safer when I think the cheaper one one that is less polluting. So you would not call yourself socialist or or left even maybe and we chose the populist thing because I suppose populism. Has always suggested that it is a people's movement. And we think ours is that that anyone is welcome to join us and we are interested in hearing all kinds of people on the subjects are interested and concerned who is in your movements of Farhan and are people joining. I got a flyer in the mail the other day. I haven't met people who are active in the party. We we we haven't really spent much money in in the circuit Rising people. I think our total budget is still way under $500 we have to spend and I've always held that you really don't need a lot of money if you make the best possible use when you have but we have former Governor Albert Ray Benson. We have former legislator Pap to boy. We have a signal Burkhart from the senior citizens group. We have Forest Harris from the party Nancy Allen spear senator from our district the druze from the the Ada field the green fields. Also marketsmith. Where is this year who was one of the leaders near that were moving famous young girl who has been an advocate location for years and the consumer position North Beebe Lake community. These people are some of those who have Thomas Johnson. People who have been active in the political party the blys Rodger de Robert and Carol by Carol Connelly and is supporting us Carol Flynn who does come from the labor movement. Do you have much labor support and not as much as we hoped it yet. But we are we are going to continue to try to interest individual Avery members and I think we could even get some unions to support us what have any part of our movement. I would expect where did the issues come from or are they old populist issues or or issues that you see that are very vital that are not being taken care of for Wii is I don't know that they're old populist issues. I think they are issues that few people that we have been bringing together to talk about the program platform consider important and they come from varied interests and very groups in the state. So that tempt what we're talking about. We filled our the other kinds of concerns that are troubling people and I think the meeting that we call it new and Paul Newman Center where where we had very little publicity in the Press prior to the meeting where are there was practically no circulation except for a very limited about 200 people came on a warm evening just to talk to discuss interests to find out what's going on and we are now planning a conference in November probably in which we will ask other groups. The state to join with a sin in the inviting national leaders one of our steering committee members her boy interviewed Ralph Nader last week in Washington. This tornado was very interested in our movement and we are we're hoping that we could persuade him to come back to Minnesota. We know that out in California. Tom Hayden is involved in a similar group to this and that's the one thing that we can bring in national leaders to to discuss some of these issues with us. Do you think there's a hunger for this sort of thing? I was interested in the large turnout in New Hampshire for the anti-nuclear protest indeed because of the anti-war movement or I suppose there is a tradition Now in America that demonstrations and groups coming out together a can be effective. I think it's interesting that there's much less violence and there was back in the sixties. I think we've learned something from that but I The people do believe that there is an opportunity to accomplish some goals, or at least to come closer to them if they joined with others and some kind of a movement of the alliance for Minnesota populist. Thank you very much. I wish I had more time to talk to you. I'm thank you.


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