Anti-Minneapolis levy group says it has Iowa consultant's help

  • Updated: October 31, 2008 - 11:17 PM

With just days left before the election, an anti-levy group claiming to be affiliated with an Iowa consultant who helped torpedo Robbinsdale schools' levy last year has surfaced in Minneapolis.

So far, Citizens for a Quality Education Minneapolis has used a website and a mass e-mail obtained by the Star Tribune to urge city voters to oppose Minneapolis public schools' $60 million excess levy.

The e-mail the group sent to some city residents said they're working with a consultant who helps taxpayers defeat "wasteful spending proposals" and asks residents to donate 10 percent of their proposed new tax bill to defeat the proposed levy on Tuesday.

Gabe Petersen, whom the e-mail lists as the group's treasurer, didn't return several phone calls seeking comment Friday.

Levy supporters, however, doubt the group's claim that it is working with Iowa consultant Paul Dorr because it didn't file campaign finance reports earlier this week for the period between Aug. 27 and Oct. 21 as required by law. According to Hennepin County elections manager Michelle DesJardin, the anti-levy group is registered with the county but isn't required to submit a report until after the election.

"I just question the assertion on their part that they've hired a consultant like Paul Dorr," said Paul Rohlfing, co-chairman of Strong City Strong Schools. "The appeals to fear and racism that he used in Robbinsdale wouldn't work in Minneapolis anyway."

Robbinsdale's $22.8 million, 10-year levy was defeated last fall after residents received last minute anti-levy mailings and phone calls from Dorr that district officials said had racist overtones.

PATRICE RELERFORD

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