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Daily Glean: St. Paul to lose 12 percent of its cops?

“Goodbye to St. Paul city government as you know it.” The PiPress’ Dave Orrick and Mara Gottfried have a way with a lede, detailing the “likely scenario” resulting from Gov. Pawlenty’s proposed $44 million Capital City aid cut. Among the details: 67 of 580 cops gone, half the street lights turned off, eight of 33 rec centers shuttered, library hours slashed. Oh, and 4 inches of snow, not 3, would trigger a plowing emergency.

Minnesota’s budget will get at least $2 billion from the stimulus bill, but the PiPress’ Bill Salisbury provides the necessary caveats. The governor has already included $920 million in his month-old plan, and the deficit is expected to grow by a billion or two. That would mean we’re no better off than we were in January — and maybe a bit worse. Still, the Strib’s Pat Lopez notes there’s another $1 billion outside the general fund budget, “and possibly more once competitive grants are included.” (MinnPost coverage here and here.)

Related: MPR’s Tim Post teases out the stimulus impact on local higher ed. Administrators are bummed there’s little for brick-and-mortar, but there’s also the biggest expansion of Pell Grants ever and other financial aid spiffs. People, not buildings, right?

Reporters can barely hide their chortles at the Senate election contest’s Bizarro World, where Republicans argue for loose interpretations of voting laws and Dems are the sticklers. The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger details a judge’s poorly concealed disdain for one Coleman extra-legal claim. The invaluable Uptake has the priceless video here. MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki highlights a loophole-laden contradiction in Franken’s argument. A ruling narrowing the ballot pool could come any minute. (MinnPost coverage here.)

Logical sign of the times: day-care providers are sucking wind as un- or underemployed Minnesotans find less reason to offshore their kids, the Strib’s Jean Hopfensperger reports. There are even infant spots available! One agency says placement calls are down 37 percent from January 2008.

Apparently, Twin Cities law firms got together and decided Thursday was the day everyone would do layoffs. The Strib’s David Phelps documents the carnage: 27 lawyers at regional giant Faegre, 33 staffers at Merchant & Gould, and a handful at two other firms. Bubble business has evaporated, though Merchant’s managing director kicks his ex-employees in the ass by noting cuts were performance-related. One observer says big firms with fancy offices are most in danger.

At Georgia-based Delta’s behest, Northwest’s flights are switching to peanuts, and kids will apparently die. The Strib’s Suzanne Ziegler has an excellent rundown on the issues with allergies; we all thought Northwest was being cheap when they dumped goobers years ago, but there are 1.5 million Americas with nut allergies, requiring complex notification and seating logistics. All this to please the Peanut State.

TCF gets to take a bigger bite out of customer wallets by moving its charter to South Dakota, which has no usury limits. Jobs-wise, it’s a nothing-burger: Bill Cooper’s employees will continue to enjoy Minnesota’s quality of life, the PiPress’ Nicole Garrison-Sprenger reports. The Strib’s Chris Serres says lower taxes and regulatory costs were factors; Minnesota coffers will suffer. SoDak-based banks can blow past Minnesota’s interest-rate limits, which should hit TCF’s blue-collar base.

MPR’s Bob Collins offers a pointed data point on hospital finances: North Memorial had $1 million in unpaid patient bills in 2007; last year, it was $8 million. I’m betting that amount won’t decline this year. Finance and Commerce’s Scott Carlson has a rundown on deteriorating numbers; in the third quarter of 2008, the hospital system’s net loss was 2.5 percent. That’s before an estimated $690 million in state budget cuts.

Collins also has a fascinating report on a meeting between media reps and local Somalis. The script will be familiar to other minorities: Please stop anointing people our leaders (secular source Omar Jamal’s ears might be burning), why don’t you report the good news, where are people who look like us on your staffs?  An MPR reporter cops to sourcing problems, a TV reporter complains of too little time for reporting, and National Public Radio — gasp! — gets bashed.

For the ninth year in a row, DFL legislators voted down a Voter ID bill. According to Forum Communications’ Scott Wente, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he polled local clerks and found no reports of identity fraud. Smart Politics’ Eric Ostermeier, who champions the popularity of such legislation, notes the relevant House committee is stacked not just with DFLers, but ones from safe districts. The Dem with the tightest race voted with the Republicans.

A protest whose time has come: Minnesota Independent’s Paul Schmelzer chronicles an activist’s plan to have the homeless occupy Minneapolis foreclosures on Valentine’s Day. Cheri Honkala, who was behind a Harriet Island encampment during the Republican National Convention, notes that shelters are becoming overwhelmed, so why not go where the roofs are?

Minnesota State University System profs have tentatively agreed to eschew raises through June 2011 2010, the PiPress’ Brady Gervais writes.

Development, ho! Finance and Commerce’s Burl Gilyard says Opus Northwest and Greco Development are teaming for a fourth big apartment complex in Minneapolis’ Lyn-Lake area. Don’t get too excited; financing is “something we’re still working on,” says one partner.

Proving again that it’s the Saintly City, St. Paul outdoor rinks remain open as Minneapolis closes its outdoor ice sheets, the Strib reports. Minneapolis blames rain and damage to underlying athletic fields. KSTP notes the advantages of St. Paul’s refrigerated rinks; does the artificial freezing survive the budget cuts?

Nort spews: The Wild were peppered by Detroit 4-2, falling to seventh in the Western Conference. The Strib’s Jim Souhan offers a marvelous take on the Vikings’ recent stadium rant here.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/13/2009 - 10:05 am.

    I wish I could enjoy my decision to move two blocks outside the limits of the debacle instead of experiencing the intense sadness I feel every day as I drive through St. Paul.

    There is no denying that the fool’s junta occupying city hall has set the city back a decade, and that’s nothing to celebrate.

    I wonder, seriously, if any of the petulant children that voted for Chris Coleman to punish Randy Kelly for having the audacity to express his opinion have noticed the the hole where their noses used to be.

  2. Submitted by Tricia Cornell on 02/13/2009 - 10:59 am.

    Come on, David: “offshore their kids”?

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 02/13/2009 - 12:38 pm.

    The Governor’s Budget and How It Will Harm St. Paul and All of Minnesota:

    In last Sunday’s StarTribune, Nan Madden of the Minnesota Budget Project and Dane Smith of Growth & Justice wrote an op-ed in which they note that “Minnesota currently forgoes about a billion dollars a year, just in income taxes, as a result of the cuts in 1999 and 2000.”

    That means a billion dollars in revenue per year for eight years, or $8 billion dollars, lost from just those tax cuts. If we had maintained our progressive tax system, we would still be running a surplus instead of a $4 billion (and rising) shortfall.

    The governor’s refusal to raise revenue, in light of the harm it does to our most vulnerable residents and to all Minnesotans except the very rich, is not just unwise but utterly immoral.

  4. Submitted by Mark Snyder on 02/13/2009 - 12:52 pm.

    “offshore their kids” = awesome!

    It’s Friday, people – relax a little!

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/13/2009 - 02:30 pm.

    Bernice, with all due respect, I invite you, Dane Smith, Nan Madden and every other big government liberal that is clamboring for tax increases to send in any amount you feel appropriate.

    You see, many of us have recently received some rather significant cuts in our salaries, for some of us, these cuts come on top of a couple of years of 0% pay increases….and we are the lucky ones, many more have received pink slips.

    None of our expenses have gone down. Our mortages and rent payments remain as they were, food hasn’t gotten any cheaper. As a result, our finances are severely, and negatively impacted already.

    I am at a loss to explain how people that claim, always, to be looking out for “working families” can be so utterly insensitive to what is happening.

    If protecting government’s never ending appetite for a larger slice of our paychecks is everything you say it is, please prove it by leading the way; we “working families” will watch.

  6. Submitted by Michael Ernst on 02/13/2009 - 07:12 pm.

    “Minnesota State University System profs have tentatively agreed to eschew raises through June 2010”

    That’s 2011, I believe.

  7. Submitted by Laura Yuen on 02/16/2009 - 10:09 am.

    Just a small clarication, David: I wouldn’t say I was “copping” to sourcing problems at the News Council forum on Somali media coverage. I mentioned how my list of community contacts has grown since the story of the missing men first broke. I truly have found the Somali community in Minnesota to be extremely forthcoming and helpful since I’ve been working on the story. My only regret is that I hadn’t made these inroads into the community earlier.

    That aside, thanks for your interest and for picking up that item. It was a really robust discussion.

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