Polls are just snapshots, but sometimes a snapshot turns to gold … if the press likes the story the picture tells and starts delivering free, positive publicity. Tom Horner’s hoping that’s true after last night’s latest KSTP-TV poll, which showed the race tightening with Mark Dayton slumping from 46 percent to 38 percent, Tom Emmer up 6 points and Horner doubling his support from 9 percent to 18 percent. Tom Hauser notes that Jesse Ventura was only floating around 10 percent at the same stage of the ’98 race.
So you there in the aging Yukon talking on the phone … listen up. If you’re in the right lane … you have to … take 394. That’s the new rule coming out of the Lowry Tunnel westbound, starting Friday, reports Paul Walsh in the Strib. “The right lane departing the tunnel will become ‘exit only’ to I-394. The left lane will be exclusively for westbound I-94 motorists. The middle lane will split into two lanes at the tunnel exit, with the left lane designated for I-94 and the right lane becoming a ‘decision lane’ between I-94 and I-394.” This is all fine and good, but it does nothing for the 18 hours of bottleneck eastbound around Dunwoody and into the tunnel.
Are you kidding me? A district attorney in Wisconsin “sexts” the domestic abuse victim of a guy he’s prosecuting? “The 26-year-old woman complained last year to police after receiving 30 texts from Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz in three days, according to the report obtained by the Associated Press. ‘Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA … the riskier the better?’ Kratz, 50, wrote in a message to Stephanie Van Groll in October 2009. In another, he wrote: ‘I would not expect you to be the other woman. I would want you to be so hot and treat me so well that you’d be THE woman! R U that good?’ ” The story goes on: “In a combative interview in his office Wednesday, Kratz did not deny sending the messages and expressed concern their publication would unfairly embarrass him personally and professionally. He said the Office of Lawyer Regulation found in March he did not violate any rules governing attorney misconduct, but refused to provide a copy of what he said was the report clearing him. That office cannot comment on investigations. ‘This is a non-news story’, Kratz shouted. But he added, ‘I’m worried about it because of my reputational interests.’ ” Your “reputational interests”? How about your “cloddish interests”?
What do the pros say? “One for the thumb”? Our guy and serial committer, Denny Hecker, is tying the knot … for the fifth time. The lucky gal is longish-time girlfriend, Christi Rowan, of serious-legal-problems-of-her-own-fame. A short KSTP-TV story says: “The convicted Twin Cities auto dealer confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS via email that he and his girlfriend, Christi Rowan, picked up a marriage license application. ‘No date set,’ Hecker wrote to reporter Mark Albert on Wednesday; he also indicated the couple would not have a formal wedding ceremony when they do sign the license. ‘Nothing planned,’ Hecker said.” Other than that pesky jail term, he means.
Speaking of the family-sustaining sanctity of heterosexual marriage … Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent reports on the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis gearing up to put an end to all this gay marriage talk in the Legislature. Birkey writes: “Michael Bayly of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, a group working to reform the Roman Catholic Church so that it is more inclusive of LGBT Catholics, said the campaign isn’t a shock. ‘I’m not surprised that the Minnesota Roman Catholic bishops are planning an anti-marriage equality campaign,’ he said. ‘The good news is that unlike five years ago, they’re now on the defensive, not the offensive.’ He said the bishops are reacting to marriage equality legislation in the last legislative session and the possibility of Minnesotans electing a governor who supports same-sex marriage. DFLer Mark Dayton and Independence party candidate Tom Horner support it, while GOPer Tom Emmer is opposed.” I’m trying to remember, doesn’t the Catholic Church have a glass-house problem with this homosexuality stuff?
With Tea Party-inspired Republicans talking about repealing “Obamacare” if they regain control of Congress, it’s worth reading U of M prof John Bryson’s Strib commentary on his experience with British health care while abroad last year. Needless to say, it bears no resemblance to the usual American proponents of the status quo. Writes Bryson: “For us, the NHS worked quite well. One example: The week we arrived in London we went to the NHS Choices website, punched in our postal code and immediately got a listing of local clinics. We chose the closest one, stopped by and filled out two short forms, let the reception staff make copies of our passports and visas, and that was it: We were covered. None of this business about needing coverage by an employer’s plan, no concerns about preexisting conditions (we both have them), no rationing by what we could afford, and no excessive paperwork. All that mattered was that we were in the UK. We had a right to be taken care of by the NHS.” If you informed yourself during last year’s absurdist siege, you already know this. But it does beg the question of how it is the know-nothings have any standing at all in the public forum?
Skepticism has dogged a mega-project outside Rochester. That happens when we’re talking $1 billion for what amounts to a new city. Now, says Wendy Lee of the Strib, the money man says he’s pulled in the entire amount from one sovereign fund. “Officials involved in the project said the timing of the deal will not affect plans for the groundbreaking for the first building in October. The 2,325-acre development would eventually include the bio-business park, housing, a wellness community as well as other commercial space.” She notes: “Burrill said there has been an underlying current of opposition in Minnesota, and he feels as if some people wish he would fail. He said he has been surprised at some Minnesotans’ ‘lack of support, instead of [them] wrapping their arms around us.’ ” In other words, the guy needs a hug.
Pretty much everyone files a story about the founder of the business to drive partiers home from bars dying in a head-on crash with a semi yesterday afternoon. WCCO-TV’s report notes that he was not wearing a seat belt.
For the Petters File: Robert White, the so-called documents guy, the guy who complained he was this close to ratting out Petters before Deanna Coleman beat him to it (and got off with a light sentence), was handed five years in the slammer Wednesday. The Strib story, by David Phelps, says: “During the sentencing hearing, White took the witness stand and testified that he and Coleman had discussed turning themselves in multiple times over the years. He said they were making plans to meet with a defense attorney together when Coleman went to authorities on her own and cut a deal for a reduced sentence. But federal prosecutors said simply talking about turning himself in was insufficient motive for White to get the same sentence as Coleman. But [White’s attorney, Joe] Friedberg argued that federal prosecutors impeded White’s ability to become a government witness and cut a deal while instructing Coleman to remain quiet about her informant status.”
And while I’m at it, let me praise the can-do, entrepreneurial spirit of Minnesota’s laid-off, beer-loving slackers, because without them we wouldn’t be enjoying a craft beer renaissance, as described in Jeremy Zoss’s City Pages feature. The story is essentially a breezy history of the boom in garage suds, but the characters are recognizable dudes and dudettes who were either pushed or jumped from their corporate hamster wheels. Writes Zoss: “There’s a huge shelf of vinyl records in Jason Sowards’ living room, with even more stacked on the floor in front of his turntable. Downstairs in his garage is a thick metal turbine magnetically attached to a refrigerator that houses several kegs of beer. Sowards made both the turbine and the beers himself. ‘I got laid off in June 2009, and I started Harriet Brewing and my other business, Advanced Process Consulting, within 24 hours of each other’, Sowards says. ‘And I immediately started working on this turbine project with a guy through Advanced Process Consulting, but in the meantime I’m brewing like a madman. And I was entering competitions and winning.’ Long-haired and tattooed, Sowards’s first brewing experience was part of a college project.” Hey, we were all part of that project.