Daily Glean: N-word hurler questions Obama’s integrity at local press conference

Remember Rich Stanek, who, in a court deposition, admitted using the n-word and subsequently resigned his state commissionership? At a GOP press conference, the current Hennepin County Sheriff hurled “a question of integrity” at Barack Obama regarding William Ayers, the Strib’s Kevin Duchschere writes. Stanek regained public office after expressing contrition and doing good works; Obama — who did nothing as obnoxious as Stanek — has repudiated Ayers’ youthful actions and done good works. Find someone without high-profile sin to cast those insinuating stones, GOP.

In Minnesota, Obama leads John McCain 51 percent to 40 percent in a new Quinnipiac University poll, AP’s Brian Bakst notes. (Video of Michelle Obama’s Twin Cities stop yesterday here.)  Idle thought: With Obama riding high locally, will he stick his neck out more aggressively for Al Franken? Norm Coleman debuts his 24-city “Hope” bus tour today, Fox9 reports.

Speaking of: In the same Q-Pac poll, Franken has nudged ahead of Coleman 38 percent to 36 percent. The 1,009-person poll has a sampling error margin of plus/minus 3.1 percentage points. Dean Barkley drew 18 percent, roughly equally from each major party. The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger looks at Senate ads and how the tone might (but probably won’t) change after Coleman’s “hopeful” turn.

Last thing here: Coleman 2.0 (or is it 10.0?) is running as a bipartisan bridge builder — so why is he making a bid to head the highly partisan National Republican Senatorial Committee? On MPR’s “Midday,” Coleman says colleagues approached him and while willing to serve, he’s “not running,” Stassen-Berger writes. Hmm — Coleman waged a pretty pitched (and ultimately losing) battle with Elizabeth Dole during the 2006 cycle.

You don’t register by political party in Minnesota, but the Strib’s Mark Brunswick and Glenn Howatt say solidly Democratic areas have nearly twice as many new registrations as Republican ones. Of the 100,000 new registrants; 45,000 are in areas John Kerry won by 10 percent or more, versus 25K in similar Bushian territories. Bigger cities across the state sport the registration gap, which could help Democratic congressional and legislative candidates.

Related: The enterprising Brunswick and Howatt note there have been no Minnesota complaints about ACORN, the tacitly pro-Obama group raided in other states over registration-driver incidents. The information comes from “state and party leaders” — does that include the Republican Party? They’re the ones agitating most at the national level. ACORN has registered 41,000 Minnesota voters in the last two years.

The Tom Petters (alleged) ripoff list lengthens as Petters Co. and Petters Group files Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Strib’s Liz Fedor lists unsecured creditors, including Redstone Grill’s Dean Vlahos. Vlahos tells the Business Journal’s John Vomhof that he “made a lot of money” on his $18.8 million investment, but that principal is now gone. Vlahos’ wife has to love this — she’s divorcing the Champps founder, but will get stuck with half the loss.

More Petters: The PiPress’ Nicole Garrison-Sprenger and John Welbes quote Vlahos pegging the actual loss at $15 million; Vlahos notes Petters still owns a million Redstone shares, which have been “frozen by the courts,” but that won’t affect Redstone’s operation.

If you start smoking, your doctor might get a bonus down the road. OK, that’s not exactly how Maura Lerner framed her Strib piece about Blue Cross giving doctors and clinics up to 100 bucks for referring patients to stop-smoking hot lines. Only one in four referrals ever called the lines, and no one knows how many of those quit. But in general, hot lines can quadruple the general 5 percent success rate.

That weird Eden Prairie townhouse break-in gets weirder. Police now say it wasn’t a random act, the Strib’s Laurie Blake reports. On Monday, Fox9’s Beth McDonough reported the burglars tied up two women and allegedly did things to one “we’d rather not repeat on TV.” Today, a police sergeant tells Blake neither victim was seriously injured or required medical attention. Fox9’s Scott Wasserman now says “the extent of that assault is still being looked into.”

A prostitute who got 10 years for setting up Howard Porter stated that he died trying to save her — even though she set him up. Tonya Johnson’s two buddies got life and 45 years, respectively, in the death of the ex-basketball star and Ramsey County probation officer, writes the Strib’s Rochelle Olson. In the story’s final paragraphs, Porter’s widow offers some heartbreaking statements about compassion.

Minneapolitans get to fight in public tonight over a southwest metro light-rail line, the Strib’s Jim Foti writes. Some cake-eaters oppose a faster route between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles; inner-city merchants worry about an alternative tunnel down Nicollet Avenue’s Eat Street. (Stops only at either end of the 10-block-long zone? Really?) It’s a chance for train-haters to laugh at transit-lovin’ city folk going NIMBY. Some in Uptown love the deal. A 2015 opening is forecast.

Having covered the birth of St. Paul’s World Trade Center, I’ve always cast a skeptical eye at the downtown St. Paul office market. Now, the Strib’s Susan Feyder reports that the supply is shrinking — a market triumph if ever there was one. The 1 percent loss is mostly attributable to housing conversions.  St. Paul has a puny 1.6 million square feet of Class A space, compared with 13.2 million squares in Minneapolis, and the Capital City’s supply isn’t going up anytime soon.

Also in my checkered a career, I covered a happy event: when Hennepin County stopped placing homeless people in the seedy Drake Hotel. Now, sadly, homeless families are moving back in to find the place extra-crappy, the Strib’s Patrice Relerford observes. Families get rooms with a single twin bed, plus “a dingy shower curtain that looked as old as the 80-year-old hotel itself.” More homeless families have sought help this year than in all of 2006.

The local AAA says even though gas prices are down at least a buck, Minnesotans aren’t driving more, WCCO’s Liz Collin reports. Before, we had money but high prices dissuaded us. Now, we have less money.

Theater de la Jeune Lune has a deal to sell its marvelous downtown Minneapolis space, the Strib’s Graydon Royce writes. The buyer is Rea/Hall LLC, whose offer “came out of the blue.” No intentions are revealed. The building, appraised over a year ago at $3 million, fetched enough to at least pay off the theater’s $1.2 million debt. The sale closes in December. Will there be anything left over for a founding artists’ retirement plan?

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/14/2008 - 09:39 am.

    Re: the AAA data, the amount of gasoline sold in Minnesota has declined for four consecutive months this summer (usually the peak driving season). Use of public transit has gone up by double digits, as has sales of E85, which is usually 60-80 cents cheaper than regular unleaded and can be used by 200,000 vehicles in Minnesota. It is on track to set a new record this year.

  2. Submitted by Max Ross on 10/14/2008 - 09:51 am.

    Norm Coleman’s ‘Hope’ tour, huh? Why do I get the feeling that two weeks from now Norm Hussein Coleman will be a proud member of the democratic party (again)?

  3. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 10/14/2008 - 11:37 am.


    Rich Stanek did not hurl epithets in a deposition. He was asked in a deposition whether he had ever used that word or told racial jokes. I wonder which person could answer such a “have you ever” question in the negative.

    In short, you are saying that no one may question Obama’s association with a currently unrepentant terrorist. Does that “people in glass houses” standard apply to journalists?

  4. Submitted by David Brauer on 10/14/2008 - 11:53 am.

    Peter –

    The point isn’t whether we have failings or make mistakes. We all do. Some are “flesh wounds,” others are fatal.

    But in a case like this – when Stanek has nothing but “questions” (i.e. insinuations – and by the way, “do you deny that you support radical terrorism?” is about as beat-your-wife as it comes), one bit of solid ground for the rest of us is the accused’s professional and public actions.

    Stanek’s “n-word” utterance was clearly not the measure of the man. Obama, too, has nothing in his professional/civic recent past or present to indicate this “charge” is anything but trumped up.

    Stanek is trying to make hanging offense out of what so far is at best a completely innocent relationship and at worst a clueless one. As a guy with rope burns on his neck, he of all people should have a bit more humility.

  5. Submitted by H. Lewis Smith on 10/14/2008 - 12:28 pm.

    Anyone that you happen to know who uses the n-word please send them the following info:


  6. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/14/2008 - 12:38 pm.

    By Bob Fertik, posted 10/13/2008 at http://www.democrats.com:

    “As every FOX viewer knows, FOX News has spent weeks smearing ACORN for registering 1.3 million low- and moderate-income voters.

    “Fox insists ACORN is deliberately filing bogus voter registrations to allow ineligible voters to vote. ACORN admits a small number of employees have filed bogus registrations to keep their jobs, but ACORN also insists it reviews every registration and flats bogus ones for election officials so they don’t get added to the voter rolls. ACORN also encourages law enforcement to prosecute employees who commit such fraud.”

    FOX is falsely smearing an organization that has been of inestimable help to poor Americans for decades.

  7. Submitted by David Brauer on 10/14/2008 - 01:26 pm.

    Peter – slightly reworded the first sentence to make it clear Stanek admitted using the n-word responding to a deposition question about the matter.

  8. Submitted by Thatcher Imboden on 10/15/2008 - 07:11 am.

    A couple of things on Southwest LRT:
    (1) The stations on Eat Street are between 27th and 28th and within a half block or so of Franklin. That’s not 10 blocks, as it’s between 5 and 6 blocks (there’s no 21st Street or 23rd Street). Some have argued that the station should be at 26th since that’s the center of Eat Street. I’d argue that where they are proposed is better because it forces people to walk the corridor a little bit more.

    Riding in to go to the Black Forest? Get off at 27th/28th and walk the block to the restaurant. Along the way you may see a new storefront you haven’t noticed before. I’d argue that it’s better for non-destination businsesses because instead of driving straight to the parking lot and going inside, you get to experience the Eat Street district, not just the Eat Street business.

    (2) Both the Star Tribune and others state as fact in their article that the Kennilworth (3A) is faster. I have yet to see any data to support that. The SW Transitway Alternatives Analysis did not even model 3A’s ridership or travel time (they did estimate the ridership though). The AA modeled 1A, 4A, 3C, and most the other C routes. If you look at the times it takes for 1A and 3C to get from 4th/Nicollet to West Lake Station (the first station that they both serve), the travel time for 3C is faster by almost two minutes (13 and change vs. 11 and change). The only way 3A would be faster is if they cut out one or two stations between West Lake and Multi-Modal.

    (3) There have been some who have stated that the Streetcar proposal could serve Uptown, Lyn-Lake, and Eat Street, and therefore 3A (Kennilworth) should be chosen for LRT. I think that taking that viewpoint is missing the point of regional transit. The question of these alignments is a choice between connecting three regionally-siginficant locations to the rest of the region. Streetcars that run in mixed-traffic are devices of economic development and increasing ridership by getting those who won’t ride the bus to take the streetcar. The streetcar minimally improves travel time, as its only time-improving aspect is potentially paying before you get on and boarding through all doors. But that is not even a given.

    Streetcars will work great for those north of 26th Street. Those people, generally, don’t mind the length of their bus ride now. But those who live further out (ie. Lake Street or slightly south) have 20-30 minute bus rides now and probably wouldn’t see it improve under a streetcar. The streetcar will likely do very little to get suburban visitors to these nodes to take transit and not their car. Uptown and Lyn-Lake are congested and have parking issues. As development continues, we’re going to see those issues become a bigger deal. Regional transit (via. LRT) will allow us to have a larger mode conversion from car to transit. Since there is no plan on how to implement streetcars, there’s no reason to think that a streetcar couldn’t serve Eat Street if the tunnel is under 1st or Blaisdell, why a streetcar couldn’t go down Chicago and then east along the Greenway or Lake Street, or one along Lake Street anyway, etc.

  9. Submitted by B Maginnis on 10/21/2008 - 09:49 am.

    Brau, you are truly off your rocker.

    “Obama — who did nothing as obnoxious as Stanek…”?

    How about sitting in his “spirtual advisor” Rev. Wright’s pew for 20-odd years of anti-American, anti-white, anti-Semitic ravings?

    Realy man, do you believe your own writing?

    Are you that far down the PC rabbit hole?

    I swear, liberalism IS a mental disorder!

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