Just for fun, we’ll lead with a kerfuffle this a.m.: St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune sent a longtime antagonist an email consisting of “f— you you little p,” KSTP’s Bob McNaney reports. (Yes, just “p” — use your imagination.) The constituent suggested Thune resign after seeing him in an RNC protest march. Thune — he of the “puking Republicans” comment during the 4 a.m. bar-close debate — sounds typically unbowed. Since Thune launched the invective from a city email account, a complaint will be filed.
Memo to self: Don’t get union pension funds mad. That’s what ex-UnitedHealth boss Dr. Bill McGuire will dictate; he’ll fork over a record $30 million to settle a stock-options backdating suit by the California public pension system. The Strib’s Chen May Yee notes this is McGuire’s third, and largest payout. McGuire didn’t admit guilt. The PiPress’ Julie Forster says a second UnitedHealth ex, general counsel David Lubben, will pay $500,000.
BushCo will cut medical coverage for 18,000 low-income Minnesotans, the Strib’s Kevin Diaz reports. All 10 Minnesota congressfolk have protested the $135 million, three-year cuts. The Bushies don’t want to use so-called SCHIP funds to cover low-income parents, which state officials say is a way to cover more low-income kids. Even conservatives Michele Bachmann and John Kline asked the administration to reconsider, though more mildly than colleagues. Wonder what they would do in a non-election year.
A Kinko’s worker may have purloined police docs that ended up on an anarchist website, the PiPress’ Emily Gurnon reports. The man has not been charged, but allegedly forwarded materials from Defense Technology, a Wyoming company that “sells chemical grenades, ‘distraction devices’ and a ‘less-lethal instructor certification.’ ” Police searched the man’s apartment and found disk drives, a laptop, hard drives, a digital camera and pot. Guilty!
Larry Craig’s lawyers attempted to re-argue the toe-tapping facts before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. They said they’re fighting for the rights of Minnesotans who plead guilty by mail, the PiPress’ David Hanners writes. Judges sounded pretty skeptical; the Strib’s Rochelle Olson says they questioned Craig’s attorney far more often and he “appeared to fumble for answers.” Craig’s side argued mail-in pleas don’t create enough evidentiary record for judicial review.
A frequent Catholic Church-suer alleges the local archdiocese helped an Ecuadoran priest flee the country after allegedly molesting a 4-year-old Minneapolis girl, the Strib’s Herón Márquez Estrada writes. The priest was having an affair with the girl’s mother. The archdiocese says they had “absolutely no role” in his leaving. The lawyer, Jeff Anderson, says the church should’ve known the priest wasn’t living in a rectory and could’ve asked him to stay for the open investigation.
A judicial/corrections study group says Hennepin County should leave more juvenile offenders in homes rather than putting them in the Home School, the Strib’s Mary Jane Smetanka reports. Offenders would still get daytime rehab. The group “seriously considered” closing the Minnetonka campus, which houses about 60 kids. Other local counties have more effective day programs, studiers argue.
Minnesota’s chief federal judge ordered two Texans accused of RNC Molotov cocktail-making held without bail. That reverses a magistrate’s order, the Strib’s James Walsh notes. Judge Michael Davis said he couldn’t ensure the two would show up post-indictment. Prosecutors say there’s video and photographic evidence showing the men’s danger; KSTP’s Tim Sherno displays some, but the PiPress’ Mara Gottfried indicates there’s ambiguity. Defense lawyers say there’s no evidence of flight risk.
Related: Minnesota Independent’s Anna Pratt compiles a definitive list of journalists arrested during the RNC. She counts 42. Police say there were so many arrests because too many people claimed to be journalists, MPR’s Tim Nelson notes. Collleagues would note many had valid credentials and didn’t need to be held. WCCO’s Liz Collin says many on the Marion Street Bridge — where lots of journalists were nailed — won’t be charged.
The average St. Paul home will pay 40 bucks less in city property taxes next year, the PiPress’ Dave Orrick notes. That’s because of falling housing values, even though property tax rates are being hiked. Commercial property owners, whose values aren’t falling, will bear the brunt.
Pending home sales were up 15 percent in August over 2007, “the largest year-over-year rise since November 2004,” the Strib’s Jim Buchta writes. The PiPress’ Jennifer Bjorhus highlights a double-digit median price slide, down a staggering 13 percent to $200,000. Distress sales still clog the market, but active listings are down nearly 10 percent, reducing supply to its lowest level this year. The market is balancing, Finance and Commerce’s Brian Johnson reports.
Cleveland-Cliffs will partially power taconite plants by burning “cornstalks, switch grass, oat hulls, soybeans and forest waste,” the Strib’s Dee DePass notes. The plant will employ 25 workers and offset some coal-fired power. MPR’s Bob Kelliher says that even though there aren’t may jobs created, locals believe it could signal a new industry on the Range.
Who’s received more earmarks so far in 2008: Sarah Palin’s Alaska or our own humble Minnesota? You guessed it — the North Star State, MPR’s Bob Collins writes. While Alaska is usually the Pork Kingdom, Minnesota wins out this year because of 35W bridge cash. Collins features some of Alaska’s most picturesque pig-outs, though.
It’s the seventh anniversary of 9/11, and the PiPress has a nicely lyrical editorial reminding us of the feeling of unity we had in the immediate aftermath. In the heat of an election, presidential candidates make nice for a day, which will probably only be a counterpoint to the bilge to come; the Strib is more hopeful. However, the make-nice still provides us with a reminder: fear is not our friend, people.
Nort spews: The Twins continue to imbibe the Kansas City cure, beating the Royals 7-1 to remain a game back of Chicago. Sore Loser here.