The Campaign Finance Board ruling against DFL gubernatorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher will reverberate for a while in the “gotcha” world of politics. MPR’s Polinaut blog collects several of the most germane, and in the case of the state DFL office (fined $15,000 of the $24,000) the most CYA of the bunch. Said Kelliher, “We’ve corrected everything that we could do to correct that mistake and we obviously knew that we were going to face a consequence by the Campaign Finance Board.” Said the DFL office, “We also appreciate the expeditious manner in which the Board investigated and ruled on this matter, so that this inadvertent error will not distract voters …” The state GOP weighed in, too: “Kelliher and other Democrats are wrong to think they don’t have to play by the rules. These sort of schemes demonstrate Kelliher does not have the judgment to lead our great state.” The odd thing being anyone could have imagined these quotes without ever calling the parties involved.
The Strib’s Pat Doyle includes a bit of comparative history in his piece: “Kelliher’s fine is hefty but pales in comparison with the $600,000 in penalties levied in 2002 against then-gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty. It included a $100,000 fine and $500,000 in reduced campaign spending authority. The board found Pawlenty had illegally colluded with the state GOP on TV ads. The Republican Party was fined $4,000 for that violation. Gov. Pawlenty was tagged again in 2006 for $7,150 after receiving excessive campaign contributions from nine people.”
The devastating earthquake in Haiti has ripples in Minnesota. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar and Mark Zdechlik file a story in which music professor Jean “Rudy” Perrault at UMD is interviewed. “Perrault heard about the quake Tuesday and hasn’t slept since. ‘[I’ve] just been on the phone [with] at least 200 people that I know in Haiti or who have contacts in Haiti. No one knows anything,’ he said. Perrault was able to speak with his sister who lives in the hills outside of Port-au-Prince. ‘She says practically it’s the city itself downtown — it’s basically they dropped a bomb and the city’s leveled’, he said.”
The Strib continues running Twitter updates from a Minnesotan living in Haiti. Troy Livesay is a director of disaster dervices for the Salvation Army. “Church groups are singing throughout the city all through the night in prayer. It is a beautiful sound in the middle of a horrible tragedy.”
His blog, Livesay Haiti, has more info. “I cannot imagine what the next few weeks and months will be like. I am afraid for everyone. Never in my life have I seen people stronger than Haitian people. But I am afraid for them. For us.”
There were times when newspapers conducted their own polling. Today … not so much. But the PiPress has results from a poll of 625 Minnesotans taken by an outside group to give city managers around the state a better idea of the mood of the masses. The results: (Are you listening, Zygi Wilf?) 65 percent are opposed to paying for a new Vikings stadium. Most think Mark Dayton is the strongest candidate for governor, and that Norm Coleman would lose that race, too, if he got into it.
The PiPress’ Bill Salisbury reports: “In addition, Pawlenty’s job ratings are down. Only 29 percent said he was doing a good or excellent job, while 69 percent rated his performance as only fair or poor. Morris said those were Pawlenty’s lowest ratings ever. Other elected officials fared little better. U.S. Sen. Al Franken received 33 percent positive ratings and 49 percent negative. The Minnesota Legislature’s score was 20 percent positive and 75 percent negative. Only 12 percent said U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is doing a good job, while 76 percent rated her performance only fair to poor. ‘For a congresswoman from a metro district, Bachmann has amazing name recognition,’ said a poll spokesman. ‘That’s the good news. The bad news is that three-fourths of it is unfavorable.’ ” (However, take heart, Zygi: 58 percent of respondents to the PiPress online, quickie poll are in favor of paying for the stadium. But that may something about the readership modern newspapers are cultivating.)
Whenever an otherwise gray, musty paper slides the phrase “love triangle” into a headline, you know people are going read. Anthony Lonetree gets the Strib assignment on the story of the female St. Paul cop, another woman and a man they both, um, “knew.” The juicy part is where, “In one of the tamer phone messages, officer Jessica Phillips, 28, allegedly stated, ‘We had sex probably 10 times this month and I have actual pictures and digital camera to prove it,’ according to the complaint filed against her Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court.” Just for frosting, the man in question is also a St. Paul cop … so Minneapolis cops are handling the investigation.
Emily Gurnon’s PiPress story on the triangle appeared this morning. It includes this choice piece of correspondence between the officer and her rival: ” ‘We’ve made love a million times,’ said one of the less-explicit voice messages Phillips left on the victim’s phone Sept. 21. Later that day, she sent the victim an e-mail that said, among other things, ‘go get a (expletive) job you stupid (expletive) and you wouldn’t need to depend on a man to support you.’ “
Tuesday Denny Hecker’s ex-wife, Tamitha, was in the news for suing Randall Seaver, the trustee in his epic bankruptcy case, for ownership of an Aspen condo, jewelry and up to $200K in cash. Wednesday Seaver was laying yet another suit on Hecker, accusing him of basically BS-ing … constantly, when he should have been coming clean about what assets he has left. Mary Jo Webster’s PiPress story reiterates a few Hecker classics. “The complaint lays out six ‘schemes’ Hecker allegedly used to conceal assets, and includes a laundry list of 20 purportedly hidden assets ranging from a luxury Aspen condo and expensive club memberships down to ‘hundreds of dollars in $2 bills held in a safe’. [$2 bills?] One of the schemes was, “Entering into an agreement with TCF Bank the day before filing bankruptcy so he could retain control and possession of the three houses on his multimillion-dollar Crosslake ‘compound,’ and then creating false leases with two friends for the guest houses.” Not to be an alarmist, but we’re thinking Denny couldn’t have cooked up all these alleged deals on his brainpower alone.
Politico.com has Gov. Pawlenty lined up to speak at the big Susan B. Anthony anti-abortion extravaganza in D.C. in March. Writes Andy Barr, “The annual event for the group that supports anti-abortion candidates is one of the largest functions for Washington’s social conservative circle each spring and represents a strong forum for Pawlenty to bolster his conservative credentials.”
The pugnacious right-wing blog Residual Forces is occasionally an entertaining read. Sometimes, unintentionally so. The current post, breaking down various state races for suitable enough “rock-ribbedness”, includes this series of dispatches: “[Pat] Anderson is going from the crowded Guv field to the cozy Auditor race. She’s up against 2 others in that one now. One with experience in the Auditor’s office, albeit not top watchdog as Anderson has, and Rep. Severson. [Correction: Severson is running for Secretary of State. Jeff Wiita who works in the Auditor’s office and Randy Gilbert are also in the Auditor mix] [[UPDATE: Tom Conlon emailed to point out I had left him out. Maybe the Auditor’s race is as messed up as the Guv one is. ]] As the former incumbent she’s going to become the instant front runner. But again, she did lose this seat in 2006 badly. She wasn’t alone, but losing an election statewide is not easily forgotten. (more on that in a bit with Norm ).” Back in college, that was called “showing your work.”
It was mildly encouraging to see the PiPress editorial page come out in favor of the Central Corridor light rail plan. But you have to have some level of amusement at the care the authors took to avoid irritating absolutely anyone connected to the project. Sample graph: “Last week, the St. Paul City Council delayed action on a proposed assessment of property owners. The $2.9 million is to be the city’s contribution to a streetscaping plan that would be part of the project. It is likely to be money well spent, but businesses are right to resist a tax hike while they face a bad economy and four summers of rail-construction hell.”
There was a time alternative weeklies were pretty much written by and for potheads. So, in a kind of nostalgic reverie (or something) the new issue of City Pages goes with a cover story on the country creeping toward legalizing marijuana, plus a slew of sidebar stories celebrating the mellowing weed. The basic message being that pot may finally be at a tipping point where consensus agrees that punishing users is a waste of time. Mainstream media attitudes are certainly changing. ” ‘The first time, nearly eight years ago, I attempted to pitch a marijuana-related story to CNN, they literally laughed at me,’ remembers Bruce Mirken, a San Francisco-based spokesman for the MarijuanaPolicy Project. ‘The person who answered the phone burst out laughing. Now they’re calling us. We’ve been on various broadcasts and cable network shows 21 times [in 2009]—at least a couple on CNN. We’ve also been on the Today show, ABC World News, really all over.’ “
As I say, for good measure, CP throws in a list of the Five Best TV shows to watch stoned. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but they may be on to something (besides being on something) when they suggest “any show on The Food Network. By that logic does chronic dope-smoking explain the obsession of silly lifestyle magazines with anything you can put in your mouth?