The Clinton restoration continues closer to home, where U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar nominates B. Todd Jones for Minnesota’s U.S. attorney. The Strib’s James Walsh says the Klobuchar grew close to the Robins Kaplan partner and ex-USA when she was Hennepin County’s top prosecutor; it doesn’t hurt that Jones worked with current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Another gone-and-back local U.S. attorney, Republican Tom Heffelfinger, lavishly praises the choice.
Sara Jane Olson is due to be paroled in two weeks “barring unforeseen circumstance” and wants to return to Minnesota for supervised release, the L.A. Times’ Andrew Blankstein reports. Isn’t there always unforseen circumstance with the former Kathleen Soliah? She was jerked off a plane last year because a clerical error sped up her release; the L.A. cops union now wants to keep her in California until her sentence ends. She was convicted of plotting to put pipe bombs under their squad cars in 1975 and has served seven years.
First Minneapolis did it, and now St. Paul says it won’t have to lay off any cops due to federal stimulus help. The PiPress’ Dave Orrick and Mara Gottfried say the $1.9 million Band Aid will keep nine officers for three years, though 42 vacant positions will remain unfilled. St. Paul is spreading out the money rather than spending it all next year, as Minneapolis is doing. Plans to hike the Capital City’s force from 580 to 640 in 2010 are out the window.
Related: MPR’s Tim Nelson looks at the two big-city mayors and their enigmatic quest for governor. St. Paul’s Chris Coleman won’t talk about higher office, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak hasn’t raised much money for it, but both have hired bigger-arena staffers for what, so far, look like walkover reelection bids. Obstacles: a crowded DFL field and Republicans who say the urbanistas don’t understand the countryside as well as suburban Republicans do.
The Strib’s Mary Jane Smetanka says Minneapolis is trying to horn in on a St. Paul-to-Chicago high-speed rail line. The route is a long way from being funded, but is a competitor for $8 billion in stimulus bucks. Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin says it’s logical to extend it to the state’s biggest city, but others say planning for that left the station long ago. Can’t we Minneapolitans just take Central Corridor light rail to get to the St. Paul terminus?
Related: MPR’s Dan Olson says Metro Transit’s 2010-11 deficit has soared to $62 million from $45 million a few months earlier. That’s because car sales have cratered, depriving the transit system of a key funding source. Met Council chair Peter Bell says he might divert development funds into transit because no one’s building anything. He might also ask the Legislature for a new revenue stream. Fare hikes seem inevitable.
Somewhat related: Olson says Lake Street’s rebuild offers hope for University Avenue businessfolk worried about Central Corridor LRT reconfiguring. Car-dependent businesses didn’t fold even though there’s now less parking, as there will be on University Avenue. However, Lake Street businesses lost up to 60 percent of the revenue during the rebuild.
It’s hard to believe Minneapolis would close end support for a school that’s working, but an intense parent-district meeting chewed over just that, the Strib’s Patrice Relerford writes. Citing costs and desegregation failures, Supt. Bill Green wants to stop paying to send kids to the suburban FAIR middle school. However, advocates brandish a memo from a U researcher saying the school not only has a better racial mix than most, minority kids perform better there. But did the study control for minority socio-economic status?
The Business Journal’s Jennifer Niemela notes Target’s corporate bonds were downgraded yesterday. The A2 long-term and Prime-1 short-term ratings are still pretty strong, but reflect weaker sales and damaged credit-card revenues.
Nearly matching U.S. Bank’s 88 percent dividend cut, Wells Fargo will slice its stockholder spiff 85 percent, saving $5 billion, AP reports.
A rural Minnesota legislator proposes amending the constitution so a privately owned casino can fund a Vikings stadium, the PiPress’ Dennis Lien notes. Nearly everyone hates the idea except the sponsor, Rep. Tom Hackbarth; even the team is cool, the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba writes. The idea has died many times before, but leave it to Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher to deliver the killer quote: “I believe Minnesotans’ expectations are that the words ‘casino’ and ‘stadium’ not be enshrined into the state constitution.”
For the tech geeks, the PiPress’ Leslie Brooks Suzukamo looks at the area’s first Wi-Max network. It’s like wi-fi with many fewer towers, reducing cost. The Bloomington/Dakota County service is strictly business-to-business; no plans to hit the consumer realm. The local business, which competes with Frontier Communications, provides voice and data but no cellphone service.
Nort spews: The Wild won a thriller, beating San Jose 4-3 with 13 seconds left in overtime. However, Minnesota remains out of the playoffs by a single point. Sore Loser here, which terms the game a “soul-crushing” loss.