Governor Jesse Ventura answers questions from MPR listeners about the issues facing the state and the nation.
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(00:00:00) With news from Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Greta Cunningham Minnesota's two largest employees unions say they're hopeful this week's contract talks will end the current strike union leaders say the state will need to bring more money to the table when contract talks resumed Thursday, but Governor Jesse Ventura says the union shouldn't expect the state to give in to their demands. There have been no face-to-face meetings between the state and the two unions said September 29th. The Carlson companies at Twin Cities space travel and Hospitality firm is laying off 342 employees company officials say the move is due to the impact of the September 11th. Terror attacks about 110 workers in the Twin Cities are included in the layoffs Carlson companies officials. Say the layoffs represent only a tiny fraction of their total Workforce, which numbers more than 70,000 worldwide company. Spokesman Doug. Cody says, it's not fear that's keeping business travelers from flying. (00:00:50) They would come back if corporations hadn't cut the travel budgets, which they've done first of all because of the economic conditions before the attacks and then since the attacks each Enemy is uncertain for a lot of companies. So they're pulling in their reins and wanting to protect against the future. He says it has taken the Carlson companies a month to understand how (00:01:09) much business The Firm loss due to the Attacks of September 11th. He also says the company can't rule out more job Cuts in the future a concert featuring several Twin Cities Arts organizations has raised nearly $50,000 for victims of last month's terrorist attacks. The sold-out elegy was performed last night at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. All of the group's donated their services and the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross the forecast for Minnesota calls for Sunshine in the north with increasing clouds in the west and south some scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible highs from 65 to 75 degrees (00:01:42) right now in the Twin Cities partly cloudy and (00:01:44) 54. That's a news update. I'm Greta Cunningham programming on Minnesota Public Radio is supported by Care International Rescue committee and Lutheran World relief working to make a world of difference as members of international service agencies online at Ready dot-org it 6 minutes now past (00:02:02) 11. And good morning. Welcome to midday in Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten. (00:02:10) Glad you could join us. Well, as you heard on the news, there is at least a glimmer of hope that the state employee strike may be ending soon negotiations to try to end. The strike are scheduled to resume on Thursday, the commissioner of the state Bureau of mediation services says he is hopeful that some progress might be made says the state and both of the Striking unions have expressed a desire to resume negotiations. And he says that with the strike now in its ninth day everyone involved as been reminded just how unpleasant a strike can be however union leaders say the state still has to come up with more money. If a settlement is going to be reached and Governor Jesse Ventura says, the state is already made its best offer Governor has come by today to talk about the strike and talk about his visit to ground zero in New York City, whatever you'd like to talk with the governor about so as always we invite you to give us a call here. If you have a question for Governor Ventura. The number is six five one two, two seven six thousand six five. One two two seven six thousand outside the Twin Cities. You can reach us toll-free. And that number is 1-800-218-4243 again, hi Gary always a pleasure. How are you today? Good. Do you think a settlement is likely this week? I'm just glad they're going to get back to the table because nothing can happen unless they're at the table unless they're communicating in the less. They're talking together. And so I'm very pleased that both sides will be back at the table at Thursday. And and I'm hopeful again it's a case of if I give in to the demands and give the pay raises that they're asking for. Well, the only way I can counter that I have two choices then to either raise taxes or cut government and I've already said I won't raise taxes so I will cut government and so if indeed it gets to that level then I will look at things that government won't provide any more and I will make the cuts that have to be made in which the Balance the budget. I will not throw my budget the agreed upon budget out of balance and in light of the economy and what's happened to the economy. We could very well be facing quite substantial budget budget shortfalls in that that's a distinct possibility. And so I have to deal with that and in the case of of if I do deal with that why I will cut down the size and scope of government. So what it comes down to is the very people who are striking some of the people standing next to them may not have jobs, you know, if it gets to that point now one of the union leaders if I if I remember correctly what he said he indicated that lower level managers have been telling the strikers that you know, when push comes to shove there's enough money in our agency budgets that we could cover this and he said that message just hasn't gotten up to you yet. Do you think that's true? No, I don't because again Pam wheelock's my A finance I deal with all the Commissioners and it's up to those Commissioners to make cuts and they've done a lot of that in the past. I think we've gotten government smaller and substantially more efficient since I've come into office three years ago and indeed if there if it's available, I would ask these low level managers to come forward and show me I'm open to it sure. If they think that they that there's extra money out there that's not being used on designated funds or whatever. They might try to indicate that could do this. Why aren't they coming forward with it? Why aren't they bringing it to us saying look I can cut this out of my department where you know fat and Sassy over here we can get rid of that. They need to come forward if they if that's indeed the truth. Wayne Seminole well-respected long time legislator was worked for your administration's labor negotiations work for the Carlson Administration. He said in an interview with Lorna Benson here week or so ago that he thinks as Governor. What would be really helpful is if you got the negotiators together, sat down over a cup of coffee and and and tried to work out something with these folks using the power of your office your persuasiveness and so on you you've been planning to do anything like well, that's a possibility. But again, I'm scheduled I'll be out of town Thursday and Friday. I'll return Friday afternoon was something that was scheduled long before the the the that we were told these talks would resume, but hopefully they'll still be talking. I'm willing to meet with them on Saturday and Sunday. But again, I find it kind of interesting because everyone's crying out for me to step forward and personally do it. Well, you know, that's I have people that Do that and then they're professionals at doing that that's their job to do that in the private sector when you negotiate a contract you don't negotiate with the CEO of the company you negotiate with his or her representative. It's like I was over at the Jason Lewis show and Jason pointed out that when he negotiates his contract. He doesn't sit there with Stanley Hubbard. He sits with the representative of Stanley Hubbard when he negotiates the contract, so it's not my expertise to negotiate a contract settlement. I'm not a professional at doing that and I rely on the people who are the professionals on my staff and for the state of Minnesota to do that. We can't you wouldn't win and help to get get people together not to work out the nitty-gritty details of whether or not a percentage should be added here taken away here, but now to get people on the same page. Well, I'm willing to do that. I don't know why they wouldn't be on the same page explain to me why they wouldn't be there differences right now are strictly monetary you I can't create money unless I raise taxes. I can't create it. We either have it or we don't right now with our current offer. We've made we're going to have to eat about 40 million internally. We're going to have to find 40 million dollars internally. And if I go if I meet their demand that 40 million will be up to a brown doe well over. I'm not sure the exact figure but it will be it will be well into the hundred million Mark that we would have to go out either that or raise taxes and especially in light of where the economies had now predictions Tom Stinson's being predicted all over town now, he's our main Economist. He warned me of it the last budget session that the that the economy was definitely going to stagnate for a period of time and now it's going to do more than stagnate we're looking at because of the events of September 11th a recession then and it's one that Minnesota is not going to be held separate from we indeed are going to be included with it with the rest of the You just turned on your radio show your news just moments ago. The Carlson company laying off what 345 people right now from their Northwest Airlines had to lay off people. You've got people being laid off left and right and it's all due to the unsettling unstable economy that we're facing right now. It doesn't look very good setting aside the strike and looking at that bigger budget issue. It's Sunday does sound like you're going to chew up the reserves pretty fast budget reserves. And then what are you looking at is your focus going to be on balancing the budget with budget cuts raising taxes or a mix budget cuts that will be looked at first. I think Minnesota has been highly overtaxed for far too many years. We've just got the taxing in what I think in line to what it should be. We fallen out of being one of the top ten States now and being taxed which we've held that position for. I don't know how many years and So I will look at cutting down the size and scope of government first. Governor. Jesse Ventura is our guest this hour and we have a full Bank of caller. So let's get to some listener calls, but you might want to jot the number down and try us in a few minutes here as some of the lines clear like to get your question on 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight (00:10:19) Jane your first go ahead, please. Hello. Hi. I am not a worker for the state of Minnesota and yet every issue that affects me through this strike is pertinent. My husband works for the state of Minnesota has since 1984 in plant management over in St. Paul the issues that deeply concern me are those of healthcare and be and their connection with pay Uses when I want is for you and your the committee backing you who looks after all the finances to meet and understand that every time a pay raise is given since we have worked and been involved with the state of Minnesota. None of them have ever matched the cost of living decides that there has been a pay freeze that state workers in the afscme and Mapes unions accepted willingly in 1993. It was promised to be made up to these workers at never ever have the more. Well one other piece to that is that health care costs for us are wanting you know, you're you're suggesting that they be higher therefore any raise that has been given to state workers eat more and more out of the Money that is in their pockets. So, okay. Well, let's get well, (00:11:57) first of all the state is about the only thing that up until now has not had a copay every other industry out and in in Minnesota. You have a copay. Do you have insurance here Gary? Yes, we'd health insurance is yours copay? Yes, if I understand what co-pays are. Hope a means that when you go to the doctor, you have to pay a small amount of money to be there out of your own pocket. So the rest of the state of Minnesota is virtually on copay. You can't find a business out there. I'd be hard-pressed to find one that doesn't have health insurance. That isn't a copay while the state of Minnesota gives you options. None of them that have been copay in the past now because of the problem with Healthcare and it's rising escalating prices, and I'm certainly not an expert on it and I fall under the same insurance policy is every Minnesota state worker. Does you you will they will still See if the option to choose what level of copay they'd like to do. If they take the lowest option. It's five dollars. Every time you go to the doctor five bucks. That's how much it would cost you on a copay. Well the norm out there in the private sector is much higher than that. And again when the lady talked about none of the raises equaling the cost of living going up while she goes back into 1985 will and afscme and 85 got four percent eighty six four percent eighty seven three percent 88383959259312 + and a half a percent increase on January 1st. 92 2 percent plus a half a cent on December 30th, then she's correct 93. They took no raise 94 3.25 percent ninety-five two-and-a-half 96 two-and-a-half 97 398 399 two-and-a-half and 2003. And so they've got they get raises. Year and I would just like to State my father-in-law works in the private sector. He hasn't gotten a raise in 12 years. He's working for the same money that he worked for 12 years ago, and I'm not saying that's right or correct, but they get raises every year they get across the board raises every year that dot to me. If you look at these percentage that that percentage the cost of living isn't going up the cost of living in the last few years has not gone up very much. And I are question, please. (00:14:26) Hi. I have a comment and then a question. I'm Governor. I respect that you were saying people are crying out for you to be more involved at you're relying on your experts and my impression has been because of your very strong language regarding the strike that you will not negotiate that there's no room. You've given all you can I think that's where the impression comes from and that's the frustration and you say you're relying on other people yet. We hear your language. So that's all I have to go on and we die. (00:14:58) I rely on other people to sit at the bargaining table, but rest assured I've been involved since day (00:15:03) one, right and I respect that they (00:15:05) report to me Julian Carter who is my lead negotiator and the other people involved report directly to me. (00:15:12) Okay. My question actually for you was the union my understanding is were offering arbitration and the state would not Now for arbitration, I was wondering (00:15:26) that's not true afscme is never supported (00:15:28) arbitration. Okay, maybe it actually has though and they have offered arbitration and then the state denied it and I'm wondering all of the made strike anyway could have been averted if the state would have agreed to go into arbitration. (00:15:44) Well arbitration can be a dangerous thing to get involved in. I think that you can do it without it. But well then should we go to should we then just simply go to arbitration from now on let me get her back on. Yes. Should we then just go to arbitration from now on for all our (00:16:00) unions. Well, that's not really the point. I'm talking about this specific strike that's going on prior to the strike the union offered arbitration (00:16:09) One Union did the other Union did (00:16:11) not exactly and so arbitration could have actually deferred the strike for a very substantial portion of (00:16:21) Strikers. Well, you know they chose To strike. I didn't tell them to strike. No one makes them strike. They made the decision on a vote in early August that they would go out on strike, which I might add was a bit misrepresented by the media when they said 90 percent voted to strike. Well that was 90% of the 60% to actually voted 40% of the Union didn't vote at all. So you had 90% of the sixty percent that voted which comes out to about 53 percent of the actual Union number of people who voted to strike and then Union leadership took it on from there and they've never give them an opportunity to vote again on the contract. They were offered they were simply going off of that early August vote. They've never allowed their unions to vote again, you know, whether they on whether they wanted to accept our last offer or not, you know, especially after September the 11th, the Union's do seem pretty United on this though. I mean the union workers Bob. Yeah, I guess they do. I I don't know I've heard different I've heard different. In fact, I heard one. Particular I was listening to a radio show where one lady said that she was very upset that they hadn't been offered but that one vote back in early August. She felt they should have been offered to vote on what our final offer was especially in light of what happened September the 11th and what it's doing to the economy in everything all things considered because she said she would like to go back to work but she's afraid to she's afraid to cross a picket line and do it, but she wishes she could and she'd like to see another vote of the rank-and-file Josh here a question, please (00:17:57) good morning, Gary Gilmore and Governor morning morning Josh. I just have a comment. I never voted for you Governor, but I agree with you going to New York. I don't agree with this strike at this time. There's no sense in this with everything that's going on in our country. And I think that our state workers need to get back and do their job. We need to put our state patrolman back out on our highways. And we need to get back to our normal. See that's pretty much all I have to say (00:18:28) thanks for the comment. We should clarify the state troopers are out for the state troopers are out. I think prob maybe what he meant to is getting the National Guard back into their normal work because you know, there were workers that walked off the job in certain places left certain people very vulnerable. And so I called out the guard not to actually replace state workers because of a strike they're doing that but only in certain specific spots like we're in the healthcare where there are people who are very susceptible to dying or whatever they have to have care and that's what the that's what the National Guard is doing is providing that care while the normal State Workers are out on strike. Jen's a year next year question, (00:19:13) please hi Gary. Thanks for taking my call and hi Governor. How are (00:19:17) you? I gen Z I'm doing fine. Thank (00:19:18) you. Great. Great. It's good to talk to you as always and I basically want to Second what Josh the last caller had to say and especially focusing on your trip to New York. I was in favor of it from the start but I feel especially strongly about it after having heard your wife talk about it on another local radio show last Friday what she had to say about what it was like to be at Ground Zero and to see the devastation and to comfort the rescue workers and especially to hand out all the cards and letters that you guys brought from minnesotans moved me so much that I was even in tears listening, but I also found myself getting just absolutely furious with the people who criticized you guys for going out there and said, this is the wrong time. You're just trying to give yourself a pat on the back Etc. I mean this was so obviously a humanitarian Mission and you guys brought such comfort and support to the folks in New York. Don't be Realize that and it just made me so angry that people were angry with you for going but to end on a positive note. You guys really really really made me feel proud to be a Minnesotan. So thanks. Well, (00:20:36) thank you gents. I appreciate it. And you're absolutely right. You know, that was a trip that was part of the rally that we did that following Sunday after the September 11th attack. We had those cards where people could send their personal handwritten messages and I promised at that point in time that I would hand deliver those out to Governor Pataki in the New York people that were working and not even just the New York people when we got out there there were people from all over the United States helping with this Cleanup. In fact, the story that I like to say is that one gentleman from Oklahoma had been carrying an American flag in his back pocket and when the first lady a presented him with this card, he reached into his back pocket and gave her that American flag and said here ma'am. I would like you to have this and it Was very emotional out there. And the reason there's negative to all of this for the most part is simply because our local media was not allowed to go to ground zero and that was a call made by Governor Pataki and the security people of New York and they felt that they you know had been abused in some manner because they weren't allowed to go down there even though we held a full press conference for all of them immediately upon coming back and that was a call made by the security people in the people in charge in New York, and I'm not about to overrule the Judgment of Governor Pataki in his own home state. I don't have the power to do that and I would find that offensive if a governor from another state came in and tried to overrule me in my home state of Minnesota. And so really what all of this came from was that the media got snubbed they didn't like it and now they're attacking back and claiming that I somehow made a deal with the good morning and my forget the morning show. We did the next day with the governor because they paid for my flight out there. Well, that's a normal thing. When I do the Tonight Show. When I do any of these entertainment shows, they always pick up your trans and they put you up at a hotel. Also, it's a normal thing to do but at had nothing whatsoever to do with any exclusivity, I didn't have any idea on any of this. All I knew is what I was going to ground zero and getting an opportunity to pass out these cards that Minnesota and to show that Minnesota's behind the New Yorkers and I'm just kind of ashamed of our media in The Stance. They've taken given the fact that you were representing Minnesota. Do you have any regrets about the fact that you had ABC pick up the tab for the trip? No, why would I have regrets about it? Yeah, I saved Minnesota money did niacin everyone always hollering and screaming that my security costs too much when I go on these trips and all these big expenses that I'm costing the state of Minnesota, which really and truly aren't big. Is Gary what a hard for why would I feel bad that they paid for me to go out there? Well because in as it turns out it turns out it was difficult for those of us in the media here to share with minnesotans. What was happening on this trip and that was a call Pataki made again. I thought I explained that clearly. We got out there the governor and their security people made the call of who was allowed to go to Ground Zero. I even had people on my own staff that were not allowed to go. They hand-picked who was allowed to go in and I honored its their state its Governor Pataki State they made the call and we accepted that and the first lady and I and I think Woodley was allowed to go and my security people and those were the only people of my staff who are allowed to go down to ground zero and and when the first lady and I passed out these cards, aren't we losing Act of what the mission was Gary the mission was I could have cared less if there had been no coverage. I wasn't there to get television coverage. I was there to deliver a message from the people of Minnesota on those cards to the workers out there. It was one of the greatest things I've had an opportunity to do in my life and the media's twisting it around because they got snubbed and and they're losing sight of the fact of why we were there. Well, no, well, I'm not going to sign up in Ida paid my own way to go there if I would have gotten down to that but the point would be a governor as gen Z points out of me. This was a terrific sharing moment for all minnesotans and it would have been nice if if we all would have been able to share in this earlier. What don't you think what in be accompany me to Ground Zero. Well, at least I'm and just what the heck, you know, why worry about safety precautions right Gary. Why worry, let's just open the gate and let any visitors go down there whenever they want to is that what you're telling me. We should just you know, anybody from the Press should be allowed full access to go down there whenever they feel like it to film anything. They want you got five thousand dead bodies laying in there. You know, but I guess the press the power of the press is more important than all of that. Well, I don't well, I don't think that's the issue. I think it's precisely the issue the issue was I would have gone down there if there'd have been no, press I went there to deliver cards and I could and I reported back to a full press conference cards are delivered. The workers have received them. That's what we were there to do. We weren't there to give a press junket to the local Minnesota media that are Jesse Ventura is our guest this hour. And again, if you have a question for the governor, let me give it a phone number dont call right now. You'll just get a busy signal and you get frustrated, but trying a few minutes we'll get through some calls, six five. One two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities 1-800 to for 22828 programming on Minnesota Public Radio is supported by eagle lab dedicated to improving cleaning and sanitation standards for leading Hospitality Health Care. And food processing customers worldwide on the web at Ecolab.com. This is a test of the emergency alert system. And that was a test of the emergency alert system quick reminder support Minnesota public radio's commercial free community service by becoming a member today. Click on join at Minnesota Public Radio dot org, and we thank you in advance. Here's got a Cunningham now with some headlines Greta. Thanks Gary. Good morning. A senior Us official says bombs are once again falling on Afghanistan as air strikes are underway for a third straight night. The latest strikes are reported in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar the headquarters for the country's Taliban rulers. The US Supreme Court is turning down an appeal from a convicted killer in Tennessee. The man's lawyers had hoped his case would test the claim of death penalty opponents that the people who end up on death row often have incompetent legal help the court instead left the man's death sentence in place in another US Supreme Court ruling today, the justices refused to get involved in a dispute over whether cities can sue gun companies over crime costs without comment. The high court is refusing to review a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling. Upheld Louisiana's prohibition of such lawsuits New Orleans had been the first city to sue accusing gun makers of selling unsafe products dozens of cities and counties followed suit, but Louisiana lawmakers block the case passing a law that retroactively ban such lawsuits another 26 states have passed similar laws. The US Supreme Court's rejection apparently ends City's efforts to sue gun companies despite State bans in Regional news the state and its two unions are getting ready to resume talks on Thursday. A mediator has called a new round of talks even though it's unclear whether either side is willing to move state workers struck last week after talks broke down over disputes about wages and health benefits. The two sides have not held face-to-face talk since September 29th a reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set the fire at Southwest State University last Saturday, the fire caused widespread smoke damage to the building that houses the University's education department. Forecast for Minnesota today calls for partly sunny skies in the north increasing clouds in the west and south with the possibility of scattered showers and thunderstorms high temperatures today ranging from 65 to 75 degrees right now in Rochester report of a thunderstorm in 55. It's partly cloudy and Worthington and 57 overcast in Thief River Falls and 57 clear in Brainerd and 58. And in the Twin Cities partly cloudy skies with a temperature of 59 Gary. That's a look at the latest news. Thanks Greta. It's about 24 minutes now before 12 and this is midday on Minnesota Public Radio Our Guest this our Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and lots of callers on the line with questions for the governor. Steve your next go ahead, please. (00:29:33) Yes. I picked up by a good number of people questioning the patriotism of our fellow state workers when I say fellow state workers. I mean fellow workers who are state workers on strike. And I find that very very dubious. We live in a country that is supposed to be free Democratic and in which workers supposed to have the right to go on strike and it's also one form of civic participation that should be affirmed by both fellow citizens and fellow and our and our leaders, especially in these times of Crisis where we've been asked to express our Unity as a nation. When wave I've expressed. My Unity has whenever I've come to a strike line if I can get to a nearby 7-Eleven I buy some cups of hot coffee for the people on strike. I just bring it over to them and let them know that you know II support them. I understand that they're doing something which is their Democratic right as US citizens, and I just hope that Governor Ventura doesn't stoop to the kind of low tactics to some people have been stupid to buy talking about the ill timing of our state workers as though they're ill timing is a matter of there not being patriotic or loyal (00:30:47) Americans. I haven't said a word to that effect. I real I'm a vested Union member Two unions and nah, I appreciate the right to strike and will never deny a union the opportunity to strike. It's a party as the caller said it's part of America, but I am also part of management now. I'm the leader of management. So I have to withhold up the management end of the deal too. And so but I don't step in the way of them and their right to strike. They have every right to strike. Although some states in the United States do not allow state workers to strike. There's a great deal of states that don't allow that Minnesota course not being one. We do allowed. It was also brought to my attention Gary that a caller earlier talked about the arbitration and and one of my staff people said mape did offer arbitration last spring but withdrew the offer before we responded to it. So the arbitration was offered and then withdrawn before we got solidly into the talk, so I would like to just clear that up. And and the other thing I'd like to clear up to is the fact that John would lie my communications director. Tried for an hour and a half to almost two hours to get the Minnesota media to ground zero and Governor Pataki and their security people would not hear of it after we fought for two hours and I'd like to finish that statement by saying to that. I went to New York the our news media chose to go there. It was their free will to go there. They weren't guaranteed they'd get to ground zero or anything like that and but they chose to go out there to cover it. And what happened was a call of New York City and Governor Pataki was his call to make and I honor what he did arbitration should we had suggested at one point that the teachers should give up the right to strike. And and if they have a salary dispute get it resolved through arbitration. Do you think well all public employees ought to essentially be moved to an arbitration system as opposed to it's it's something certainly we could look at but then it course they'd have to be called essential employees. Then they would have to fall under the term like my Troopers can't strike because they're deemed essential so things that are essential to to government and the safety of our public are deemed essential employees. The reason I say that about teachers is because our state constitution says that our children shall receive a k through 12 education and if teachers go out on strike that means in my opinion the children's constitutional rights are being violated because they're not receiving an education that our constitution is guaranteeing to them. George your question, please. (00:33:30) Yeah, you don't Governor Jesse. Good George. How are you? Fine? Thank you, sir. Okay, and I'm so tired of hearing everybody whine and cry in this state and pick on you and everything else when you got the majority to vote and everybody was so happy to have you now everybody's whining and complaining Ivan truck driver for 19 years and state of Minnesota at my wages. Haven't gone up a lick. My Freight charges are the same. They was was 19 years ago. I have copain I can tell you right now. I don't pay no fat hours walking at hospital. It cost me a lot more than that and up to tell you right now let him strike because I scraped I've scraped my girlfriend and I have scraped and I'm almost 40 years old and we finally bought our first house that I don't feel like painting more taxes. So the guy that works for the State Road next door can live a better life to me and my kids when I'm just barely making it by myself and you just keep being straightforward way you are because I remember when you first got into office. When you enter your first things was you said something about well reason people are fast because it can't push away from the table or something like that and I tell you yeah, that's fine. You know what I did take it. To it. I learned I started pushing away from the table and in nine months. I've lost 74 (00:34:40) pounds good for (00:34:40) you. Don't you let these people are you and bullcrap? You just keep being the way you are because if there was more of you I'm just going to sit back and listen. (00:34:56) All right, thank you. There's not much I can add to that Gary. I'm just saying no, he's a citizen and I hear that often people always telling me be who you are. And that's who I am and who I am offend somebody. Well, that's that's their problem not mine that I can only be who I am and and feel the way that I feel Carlotta your question. (00:35:18) Hi. I have two separate questions for the governor. Sure. I'm actually an epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health in some represented by mape and you know, we we you you have been focusing on the economic uncertainty caused by the September 11th attacks. But you know, our unions have been negotiating with your people for since the beginning of the year. What was your justification? What was your thought process when you were working very hard to get a tax rebate for all minnesotans while on the other hand your people were negotiating with the (00:35:50) unions. Well, first of all a tax rebate is one-time money, that's over. Taxation of a past budget and you can't use one. It's not good fiscal policy to use one-time money for a continuing cost many I was just out the other part of my trip to New York was to meet with the bonding agents when I was out there Moody and I forget the other Standard & Poor's I met with their bonding agents and they told us in Minnesota. We've done it a fantastic job that our bond rating is going to stay AAA because we did a great job and looking at the situation of the economy. And that's one of the things that you have to do in my position is look to that look to the economy and what's going to happen and we've done that and so what was the rest of her question? Well now she's got a second. Okay, (00:36:44) and like I said, I'm an epidemiologist. And our health department is one of the best if not the best house apartment the country even though we are so good. Actually I make a lot less money than people in the county level. I make less money than people in other states with health departments are not nearly as good but in any case, you know, I heard Harry Hall if they have been me listen to the radio on Friday. He said that the health department right now is hurting because so many people epidemiologist and other staff are out on strike now also, how can you justify not making more of an effort to get us back to work when we have a situation right. Now, for example, the anthrax cases in Florida is something like that what happened here right now and we chose not to cross the picket line. I think the health department will have a real hard time dealing with that (00:37:31) well, and and I can't do those studies. I guess that would be to me that falls on your shoulders. That's your job. I can't walk in and do your job. There's no the and I'm not capable of doing that and let me say this according to the Star Tribune news story. Minnesota has the Fifth highest average state employee pay only California, New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio have higher averages than Minnesota does. So we're the fifth highest right now and what we pay our employees state employees. Isn't that what the mostly though the result of the lower classifications of workers getting paid at partially more as opposed to the you know, like the epidemiologists. Maybe I don't know it's a case to and that caller brought up that the Surplus and all that. Well, let me remind people something that and they don't like to hear this but every state worker got it got three rebate checks. They all got them everyone in Minnesota did every person in Minnesota has gotten their property taxes lowered every person in Minnesota's got their income taxes lowered and every person in Minnesota that drives a car has gotten their license tabs reduced ladies and gentlemen, that's a pay raise. If you're not paying the government as much as you used to pay them then that means you've gotten a A raise now my argument is this much like with special interest? Why should only certain people get these pay raises in other words, I should deny income tax relief to to Minnesota as a whole and give it to one particular group or I should deny license tab reductions and give that money to one specific group rather than letting the whole Minnesota share in it. It was the whole Minnesota that made our economy so good. It was the private sector of Minnesota that made the economy as powerful as it's been just as right now is the private sector that's stumbling which is going to have a direct impact on the state of Minnesota because it's the private sector stumbling not the state government of Minnesota again setting aside the contract negotiations carlotta's talking about the state epidemiology Department the broader question of Public Health. There's been a lot of talk about that what with the threats of mild Residents up and wondering for your next budget. Are you thinking about any substantial increases in state spending on the public health system in Minnesota, you're way ahead of me Gary. I've got to go through a bonding session. We agreed upon a biannual budget just a few months ago. How quick you forgotten the special session went and let me ask this question. Why did state employees come out and pick at the legislature when there was going to be a government shutdown and yet two months later, they're doing the shutdown something to think about isn't it? Because remember how all the state employees came out during the special session and picketed and said don't shut down the government. We want to work we need to work and then, you know two months later now the shoes on the other foot and and so you're way ahead of me. I have I'm not even I may not even be part of the next budget year E. I have to run again to be part of the next state budget. And I haven't made a decision whether I'll run again or not. My focus F the end of this strike will be too prepared to get this strike over with and then my focus will be on the bonding budget coming up in February. But no emergency type legislation connected with the well terrorists. What I would have to do is cross that bridge when I get to it, but again, you know, I'm not sure what you're asking me to do here declare them essential employees in light of the terrorist attack and in light of this Anthrax situation should they then be declared essential employees to where they cannot strike? No, no, bring them back in and that time about two-strike. I'm talking about financing for the broader public health system in terms of perhaps adding additional people or changing some laws regarding quarantines. I guess I would have to do that type. I would have to bring the legislature into a special session Bob your question. (00:41:38) Yeah. Governor has thanks for taking my call. Concerns mostly the World Trade Center visit and the Minnesota press issue and I have already explained that your press secretary. Mr. Woodley stood tried to stand up to the networks and and get Minnesota, press in there. I think it was really unfortunate that he was not able to Prevail because given that you were on a mission of thanks and mercy from the citizens of Minnesota. I think we absolutely deserve to have at least one or two, press people represented there and security considerations are or not aside Governor Pataki somehow or the other found it found at able to get the network people in there if they could get security clearances for the network people. There is a way that they could have secured one or two Minnesota press representatives in there. And really I think so far. You've been getting too many softballs from the callers on this. I think the way you and mr. Woodley handle this stinks and the biggest issue here and (00:42:41) so wait so They didn't allow the Press I should have refused to go. (00:42:44) You should have said that's not good enough. I here's the cards. Thank you for letting me come here. I'm here representing the citizens of Minnesota and they gone holy have a right to be here (00:42:56) because the Press wasn't allowed I shouldn't have gone to ground zero and shook hands (00:43:00) with those workers. Hope well, you did not have (00:43:03) well, then you can disagree because I'll disagree with you because to me the most important thing of this mission was bringing the cards personally to those people down in the pit of ground zero. So you and I will beg to differ on that way. Well will respect each other's opinion. You can side with the press and I'll I'll side with the fact that delivering these messages to those workers was the most important thing not whether the press or minnesotans got to visually see it or not. Minnesotans can hopefully accept my word that they were all delivered. (00:43:35) I think it's the mission was great. I think the way it was executed was poor and one other comment you made two collars back. I am the way I am. I'm in a are people who love that and people who don't love that. I have to be the way I am. Let me tell you this when you were criticized by the Press. You did one of your classical pouts. I'm not going to give any more press conferences. You clammed up and acted like a petulant two-year-old and that is inexcusable Behavior. You have to find it within yourself. Well, (00:44:06) I'll tell you what, what's your name? Again? Bob Bob? Why don't you run for governor? And then you can win (00:44:12) voted for you and I'm here to criticize and if you can't take Chris to take it (00:44:15) bad I can take it. I'm not worried about it now worried at all about it Ruth your question. (00:44:23) Hi. Yes, I think for taking my call - Buena Ventura. I'm actually a New York resident full-time residents. Of course along with the rest of the nation was horrified to have witnesses events on September 11th out my apartment Window and just I just want to let everyone know that I'm offended by those citizens of Minnesota and especially the middle. The media for not supporting your visit to my town and on behalf of all New Yorkers. I just wanted to thank you for sticking to your principles and your priorities of this nation because really that's what's important and I that's all I really need to say. Thank you. (00:44:55) Thank you. I hope Bob heard that all right think Bob heard that or do you think you turned it off? Mic your question? (00:45:05) Hi Gary. Thanks for taking my call. Hi Governor. (00:45:08) Hi Gary. How are you? Or I mean, I'm sorry. I'm looking at Gary one of them days today. (00:45:13) That's okay. I understand. You know, it's just it I become so Furious when I see I'm going to go back to the state strike here when I see picketers and you know, the biggest subject that that I am thinking about is okay. It's they're talking about benefits and pay raises, but me and the private sector IP o-- I pay three times as what three times as much annually or for coverage than what they pay and I do not make more I'm going to put this on record. I do not make more annually as far as a salary I make less than $25,000 a year and my insurance benefits for a family coverage is is three hundred and eighty dollars a month. Now. I know it's my choice to work in this in the private sector, but I mean, okay, so I choose not to work in the state now that just that (00:46:15) Mike work running out of time, you know, and I'd like to add to Mike and I don't want to seem harsh but again everyone chooses the jobs that they want to choose and if were so unfair, you know, certainly people are eligible to go look for other employment and you know to go in the private sector if they can get a better deal out there. I lose. Is all the time, well not all the time, but I've certainly lost my number of Commissioners to the private sector because they're offered better deals in the private sector and that's all part of the part of what working for the state and working for the Public Services about Steve quick question before we wrap (00:46:51) up. Stevie there Yeah, you're on the air. Go ahead. Yeah, well, okay (00:47:05) governor before we quit here Steve sounds like he's fishing down at the river here in touch with minnesotans got got your finger on the pulse. How are minnesotans how have we responded to the attack on the 11th? And the aftermath I think minnesotans are as patriotic certainly as the whole country. There's no separation. I think from one state to another and patriotism. I'm getting nothing but positive response the first lady and I everywhere I go to the trip to New York very few Bob's out there who have come up negative on it other than Bob and a few people in the media the majority that I hear the overwhelming majority is that people are happy with the job of taking those cards out there. People are a bit frightened they as they should be but they need to be alert over the results of see. Number 11 people need to understand. This is a war like no other War we've ever fought before because traditionally Wars are fought between the military with military targets while they've proven. This war is not going to be military Targets in the United States. It's going to be innocent civilians which means civilians are going to have to play a much bigger role in the fighting of this War. I ask people to be alert to pay attention to what goes on around them to continue to live your life because remember something if they change your lifestyle and how you live your life than their winning. That's what they're ultimately out to do. So live your life do the things you normally do but just do them on an alert status. If you see something you don't think is quite right make that phone call bring it to the attention of someone because this war will have to be fought by each and every one of us citizens included. We can't just sit back and say well the military is going to take care of it or the Police departments or the National Guard are going to take care of it because this is a war that that's all Sama. Bin Laden has proven. He doesn't care who he kills here. He just wants to kill Americans and that's all weather civilians whether women children anybody else. He doesn't care who dies as long as there are Americans and we have to wake up and I put this message out we must wake up to the fact that we are indeed in the midst of a war Governor. Thanks for coming in to thank you Gary. Always my pleasure. I guess this our Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura thanks to all of you who called in or try to call in with your questions and comments. Of course our conversation about state issues continues on our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot-org.