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5% vote in St. Paul primary, but Sooch did his duty

PLUS: lots of investigative intrigue; also fiery crashes and tardy Capitol repairs.

With only 5 percent of eligible voters bothering to show up, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman coasted through the primary Tuesday and will face businesswoman Eva Ng in November. Dave Orrick and Doug Belden do the election roundup for the PiPress. The low turnout was expected, but the contrast with Coleman’s 2005 race against Randy Kelly is still striking. Kelly — who can forget? — was the DFL incumbent in DFL-dominated St. Paul who felt compelled to campaign for George W. Bush. Not exactly a shrewd career move.

To little surprise, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, will announce her candidacy for governor today on her family farm near Mankato. If you’ve lost track, Anderson’s announcement makes a total of 19 in the race for Tim Pawlenty’s job … as of this morning. Here’s the MPR brief.

Obviously stung by David Brauer’s revelation here on MinnPost that he in fact has not voted in every primary since dinosaurs roamed the earth, Joe Soucheray writes this morning about his experience voting Tuesday. Basically, Soochie doesn’t like instant run-off voting, (which might spare 2 percent from bothering to show up in a real tight race). The old boy doesn’t go all Joe Pesci on the impertinent Mr. Brauer, but anyone who knows Joe’s act has to smile at his reference to “a guy named David Brauer” who is “a local blogger.” (Image: Angry guy in boxer shorts pounding out manifestos from his parents’ basement.) Not that we’re hyper-sensitive to this stuff, but “a local blogger” implies a wee bit less credibility than, say, “media columnist for MinnPost.com.” In the newspaper game, that’s disparagement through inference.

One of the better reads produced by either local daily in recent months was Dan Browning’s piece the Sunday before last on Pat Kiley, the self-styled spiritual investment manager/ talk radio host. Browning continues to follow the story this morning in the Strib with news that there is a federal grand jury investigation sniffing around Kiley’s partner, Trevor Cook. Kiley, who had a radio show on KSTP-AM and played most of the usual rhetorical cards to pull in an audience — God, fear of big government, yadda yadda — probably sees no humor in Cook’s attorney indignantly arguing that “As a result of simultaneous investigations … the United States is seriously threatening Trevor Cook’s constitutional rights and is otherwise taking advantage of its vast powers to obtain an unfair advantage over Cook.” This one isn’t on a Petters scale yet, but it shows promise to build.

On the topic of Tom Petters, Strib columnist Jon Tevlin, who has followed Petters closely, has a good read this morning on the now-revealed identity of Petters buddy, “Larry Reynolds.” Writes Tevlin, “our reporters, through dogged legwork, were able to show that Reynolds is in fact Larry Reservitz, a convicted drug dealer and swindler with mob connections from Boston. Reservitz turned snitch and was rewarded with a new identity, a new name and the freedom to make a nice little lifestyle for himself peddling tennis shoes: $2 million homes. A Ferrari and a Bentley. A voracious and public gambling habit. Oh, and the ability to engage in a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.” Add this to Petters’  buddy from California and you have another reason to wonder about basic due diligence on the part of Petters’ investors.

If you’re getting a root canal in Duluth, you might want to check your dentist. The PiPress runs a Duluth News Tribune story about the “explosive” collision of a Subaru Legacy driven by a very intoxicated Duluth dentist and a highway patrol car … parked on the median. ” ‘A car came over the hill and all of a sudden his lights just shined right in my eyes and it didn’t make any sense,’ [the trooper] said. ‘I knew something was wrong as soon as I saw that. … Before I knew it, he was already into my car.’ The rookie trooper described the collision as ‘crunching and exploding glass.’ ” The dentist was 0.28 at the time of the crash. No needles or gas, if you don’t mind.

Very nasty accident up near the I-35E/35W split north of Centerville last night. Neither paper has much in the way of details, other than at least six cars were involved, one burst into flames and the freeway was shut down. But fiery crashes are why we have TV news. KSTP runs DOT video and reports that one person died.

OK, that’s a cheap shot about TV news and fiery crashes. FOX 9 does have the story of the guy who rolled up to a stop near one of those war/militarism/jerks-in-D.C. demonstrations usually populated by nice old ladies and began honking his horn. Not once, according to the cop who eventually ticketed him, but 50 times. (The cops have camcorders, you know.) In this case, the honker, a guy named Bob Palmer, is a also a regular protester, the story leaves you wondering if he was honking in support of other protesters or just, you know, pounding out  “Smoke on the Water” while waiting for the light to change? Whatever, the guy has another court appearance coming up and could, according to FOX 9, face $1,000 fine or 90 days. We wouldn’t want to be the judge who actually fines a guy for something like this.

Vikings star Adrian Peterson is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, a result of his impressive performance in Cleveland last Sunday. Strib beat writers Chip Scroggins and Judd Zulgad file a brief, with a clip from the feature piece by SI writer, Damon Hack, “With Jim Brown in attendance and Brett Favre making his first start for Minnesota, it was Peterson who displayed the greatest star power, toughing out 180 rushing yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns, including a 64-yard dash down the left sideline that included five broken tackles and two stiff arms.” And yes, we all know about the SI cover curse.

Reviews on the Gophers new football stadium continue to flow in, with the Strib’s Curt Brown filing the latest. The sight lines are fine and, face it, a K-Mart parking lot would be more comfortable than the Metrodome, but those speakers … “Sherman Eagles and his wife were enjoying an 80-degree Saturday evening walking to Jay’s Cafe near their home in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park neighborhood, 2 miles from the Minnesota Gophers’ new TCF Bank Stadium.

That’s when they heard “FIRST DOWN FOR THE GOPHERS” booming out of the stadium’s nearly 800 speakers into the late-summer sky.” The U is promising to re-aim the speakers, open gates earlier and do something about the 45-minute lines for a hot dog.

Restoration work on the dome of the state Capitol is expected to finally begin, according to Brian Johnson of Finance and Commerce. while the entire building now has need for repair work estimated at a whopping $110 million. After years of deferrals and procrastination, a $4 million tuck-pointing and clean-up job on the dome should be finished by the spring of 2011. Writes Johnson, “The price tag for the Capitol’s overall needs has continued to rise. In early 2005 … the Capitol needed $60 million worth of repairs over 10 years. By August 2006, that number was up to ‘at least’ $100 million. Department of Administration officials say there’s currently about $15 million in funding for Capitol restoration work, and $110 million in deferred-maintenance needs.”