Even in a recession, the rich get richer. The New York Times’ Dealbook section reports Pepsi will pay $6 billion for two main bottlers, one of which is PepsiAmericas, owned by the Pohlads. The offer represents a 17 percent premium over the stock price and reverses an earlier spinoff strategy. No word from Carl’s boys on how they feel about the offer.
The Strib’s only-in-the-paper lookback at a Minneapolis police corruption investigation continues. Today, reporters Tony Kennedy and Paul McEnroe detail the six officers fingered by a drug-dealing informant, how two failed integrity tests, and one supervisor “possibly” and inadvertently tipped off a cop suspect. This won’t be your typical Pulitzer series that sends someone to jail; it’s more explainer about why no one went there. Among the juicy (but unelaborated) parts is that the Strib did a story on a brothel raid — but the incident was an investigation-obscuring “smokescreen.”
Fivethirtyeight.com’s Nate Silver offers a mathematical rejoinder to Norm Coleman’s talking point that the Senate election was so close we’ll never know who won. (A “let’s have a revote” cudgel picked up nationally by the Wall Street Journal and locally by Carleton polisci prof Steven Schier.) Silver says in the end, this is a legal, not arithmetic argument — and the courts are well equipped to judge the former.
AP’s Brian Bakst offers a nice in-depth look at the Minnesota Supreme Court’s election-law track record, noting an Alan Page 2002 dissent that might give the Coleman forces hope. None of the quoted experts think pre-judicial Coleman campaign contributions will force recusals, and a Republican ex-chief justice thinks judges’ politics won’t play a part. It hasn’t so far.
Local governments spent nearly $35 million to lobby the Legislature between 2003 and 2007, MPR’s Tom Scheck reports. The number hit nearly $8 million in 2007. Gov. Pawlenty implies cities could do without lobbyists even as he tries to knife local-government aid; municipalities reasonably point out all the things the state does for/to cities and says that’s ridiculous. One legislator notes the governor has $520,000 worth of lobbyists. The $8 mil amounts to less than one-tenth of what one city (Minneapolis) receives in local government aid.
Not that it had much chance of happening, but the PiPress’ Jason Hoppin says a state plan to end long-term homelessness by 2010 won’t. Gov. Pawlenty blue-skied this one in 2004 but, amid the budget crunch, isn’t pushing for a bill to spend $43 million on necessary services for 4,000 folks, including 1,400 kids. One advocate says the spirit is willing but the private and public finances are weak: “We’ve got everybody aboard the train, and we’ve actually started toward our destination. We just need more coal.”
Are you ready to spend $1.07 for music downloads instead of 99 cents? The PiPress’ Bill Salisbury takes a deeper look at the $1.4 million headline-grabbing tax. One legislator asks why online purchases should get more favorable tax treatment than in-store purchases, but the Senate Tax chair doesn’t want to deal with the grief. Way to go, whiners! Digital lobbyists say it will kill high-tech in the state, or some such. But 20 or so states have already waded into the high-decibel zone.
A day after the St. Cloud Times editorial page loudly washed its hands of hometown Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Smart Politics’ Eric Ostermeier charts the stately upward march of her local fundraising. Despite her ballooning national profile, “many fail to appreciate her substantial base of support — both district and statewide,” Ostermeier writes. The circus is good for everyone’s business.
Apparently one step from hobohood, cash-strapped Minnesotans are taking out campsite reservations and fishing licenses in greater numbers, the Strib’s Dennis Anderson reports. State parks saw 8 percent more campers in 2008, fishing licenses hit a three-decade high and BWCA use was up 15 percent from two years earlier. Only 5 percent of camping spots are still available for Memorial Day.
Although this doesn’t appear to be a big problem, the Strib’s Bill McAuliffe says the profusion of wind turbines shows up as storm activity on some weather radar. Expect a technological solution on the radar side. Sorry Michele, they won’t shut the turbines down!
Nature injuring the stupid: Drunk 23-year-old pretends to fall off bridge; actually does it. AP says the dope fell 30 feet from a Highway 77 bridge into a marsh but survived with serious injuries. WCCO says urination was involved; good humor!
Congratulations to Minnesota News Photographer of the Year Jim Gehrz, but boo to the Strib for not providing an online slide show of its star’s work.
Nort spews: The Twins sweep the depleted Angels 3-1 as Glen Perkins again shows himself to be the staff ace thus far; Minnesota is a game out in the Central. There’s also word Joe Mauer could return from injury rehab May 1. By the way, no team in baseball has played more home games. The Strib’s Jerry Zgoda says Wolves owner Glen Taylor’s imminent general manager hiring will likely end Kevin McHale’s coaching tenure.