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Come Saturday Morning: The Power of Local Shoestring Journalism, Minnesota Edition

We sure did!

Back in the spring of this year, there was despair among many persons in the Minnesota branch of the reality-based community. Both the marriage restriction and voter restriction Amendments were leading in the polls — the latter by huge margins. It seemed that, in addition to having the redundant marriage restriction amendment “bounce the rubble” when it came to playing off antigay bigotry, the North Star State was destined to lose the voting system that had made it a model of efficiency, equality and quantity.

But even as the “Voter ID” vote restrictors were gloating and the institutional money folks on the left decided that it made no sense to spend money on fighting something with an 80% approval rating, Sally Jo Sorensen was in the vanguard of the resistance right from the get-go. Furthermore, she was keeping tabs of the growing dismay of various county governments across the state, as the costs of the voter suppression amendment were tallied.

Lo and behold, in four months’ time, support for the voter restriction amendment had dropped twenty-eight points — and that was without a single radio or TV ad. It was only after those polls showing a twenty-eight point drop appeared that the ads started to appear for both sides of the questions. The pro-amendment folks scrambled to win back the advantage, but it was too late: It would go down in defeat along with the marriage restriction amendment, and principled Minnesotans breathed a sigh of relief.

As Sally Jo Sorensen was letting the various county auditors and clerks know that they were not alone in their fears over the Voter Restriction (and County Budget Destruction) Amendment, Stillwater-based Karl Bremer was collecting well-deserved kudos from his peers in the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists:

The “Best Use of Public Records” award–the second year in a row Ripple in Stillwater has won in this category–was for my series “Lawyers, Guns & Money: An Inside Look at the Political Pardon of Frank Vennes Jr.” The
“Best News Portrait” award was for my photo of convicted money launderer and GOP donor Frank Vennes Jr. on the run through the streets of St. Paul trying to flee from my lens after a federal court appearance in September 2011.

Speaking of portraits, Karl’s also a pretty good photographer. Check it out.

As long as Minnesota can produce people like Sally Jo and Karl, we’re doing OK.

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