Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Daily Glean: Cities, hospitals get their dose of TPaw pain this week

Governor to detail — but not finalize — unallotment cuts. Also: Local Iranians react to disputed election.

MPR’s Tom Scheck says Gov. Pawlenty will announce unallotment cuts this week. However, he’ll also “consult with others before he takes action in July.” Date uncertain, but the guv will run his plan by legislators and other stakeholders before bringing the cleaver down in July. (There’s a legislative committee meeting Thursday.) Mankato officials say Pawlenty gets pissy when talking about local-aid cuts, the Mankato Free-Press’ Mark Fischenich notes.

Related: Scheck also chronicles TPaw’s national travels, quoting Vin Weber saying a presidential bid requires setting up a “leadership” Political Action Committee soon.

Also related: Another Republican who can sell affable, Steve Sviggum, told a GOP weekend meeting he is running for governor, Scheck adds. The former House Speaker and current Labor and Industry commissioner is a proven fundraiser and Pawlenty pal. State Rep. Paul Kohls is also in.

Minnesota cities are getting infrastructure bids 10 to 20 percent under budget, MPR’s Mark Steil reports. What’s great news for taxpayers isn’t good for contractors, but at least some are getting work. One water treatment plant expected to cost $95 million bid out at just $61 million. If only these places had all of their state aid to take advantage of all the deals …

Local outlets talk to Iranian expats and students who voted in Iran’s now-disputed presidential election. Fox9 finds a split verdict on election chicanery,and KSTP quotes one man likening Tehran protests to those outside the Republican National Convention. However, KARE’s Joe Fryar talks to more than a dozen U students — all of whom voted for reform candidates — and finds lots of skepticism. A peaceful rally is planned there today.

Related: Fryar quotes Congressman Keith Ellison, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, saying he’s suspicious of the Iranian election results, but the United States is powerless to do anything about it.

Alert Michele Bachmann and Joe Soucheray! The Strib’s Bill McAuliffe says most forecasters are predicting a cool Minnesota summer, though the story is much less dramatic. Early June was 7 degrees below normal, but the Climate Prediction Center has the region just 0.1 to 0.6 degrees below normal for the summer as a whole. That won’t stop opportunists from conflating weather with climate.

Speaking of climate change, Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson is at the forefront of decoupling ethanol from climate change legislation, the Strib’s Eric Roper writes. Basically, cap-and-trade would hold farmers responsible for carbon churned up as other land replaces food production. Peterson, the House Ag chair, has threatened to kill any legislation, and House Speaker NancyPelosi is listening. Advocates say deforestation is indeed linked and won’t be slowed if Peterson gets his way.

On what by anyone’s definition is a slow local news day, drunk drivers get lots of coverage. One Lake Street pedestrian was left unresponsive after being hit by an alleged souse just after midnight Sunday, the Strib’s Chao Xiong reports. A few hours later, another alleged drunk crashed into a Shoreview strip mall and busted a water main, WCCO notes.

Related: Both incidents occurred in the wee hours, but the PiPress’ Frederick Melo profiles daytime drunks. Only nine of 354 drunk driving incidents last year occurred between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., but a “disproportionate” number involved accidents. Voyeurs can enjoy the tale of the mom who blew a 0.39 after attempting to pick her daughter up from school. The sensible kid refused the ride.

The Strib’s Alex Ebert details the Hail Mary defense of accused songnapper Jammie Thomas, who’s being retried after a judge botched jury instructions. Her attorneys quit three weeks ago because of non-payment, replaced by Houston lawyers who will argue that all music copyrights are bogus. They’re “citing technicalities in copyright law that they say mean the true rights to songs belong to the artists.” Uh-huh. Shoulda taken the $3,000 settlement offer two years ago, Jammie.

Strib editorialists say Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak shouldn’t give in to Gov. Pawlenty’s hectoring and abolish the city’s civil rights investigative unit. The $300,000 to $400,000 the city spends plowing through its backlog isn’t a big number. What should be cut? Editorialists don’t specify, urging Rybak to wait until a task force on department operations reports back in July.

The Southwest Journal’s Cristof Traudes looks at the war chests of various Minneapolis City Council members; they’re up for re-election this year. As usual, downtown Council Member Lisa Goodman is sitting on a haul, finishing 2008 with $105,604 in the bank. That’s enough to scare off serious challengers. No. 2 is northeaster Diane Hofstede, with $28,483 on hand. (Conflict note: I have a piece in the current SWJ on a farmers’ market I volunteer for; I didn’t get paid for the story, either.)

The Strib’s Warren Wolfe has a nice piece on the Volunteers of America’s $100,000 state-funded program to “befriend” so-called “elder orphans.” The orphans have outlived their support network, and the theory is that “friends” will be a lower-cost, less-invasive alternative to court-appointed guardians. While anyone with aging parents knows advocacy is hard work, Volunteers of America will try to find the “friends” as well as those who need them. There are an estimated 8,000 orphans in the state.

KARE’s Allen Costantini makes employment interfaith, chronicling local congregations’ job-assistance outreach. One Eden Prairie congregation, which has been holding weekly networking meetings for 20 years, has seen attendance soar from 20 to 120. There are Muslim mentors, and the group Jewish Community Action has organized in north Minneapolis, once the epicenter of Minnesota Jewish life.

If you’re a cat lover, the Animal Humane Society is having a two-for-one adoption “sale,” AP reports. If you’re a cat hater, enjoy the “First prize, one cat; second prize, two cats” joke. Summer brings an upswing in AHS supply, and I’m betting the deepcession doesn’t help.

Nort spews: Jesse Crain proved the balm the Cubs needed to salvage a Wrigley weekend series 3-2; the Twins, who went 5-5 on their first big road trip, have a rare off day today. Garbo — er, Brett Favre — speaks tonight on Joe Buck’s HBO show. I’ve raised the Favre Threat Level to orange — high threat of Favre signing. WCCO has a nice tribute to ex-Gopher star Billy Bye, who drowned at age 82 on Friday.