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Poll: 49% tell Vikings to move to California

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: U VP Himle bows out, more bad news on home prices, and DEFCON 1 for “SnowMaggedon”? Plus a Clark Griswold nominee for Outdoor Lighting Award.
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Poll: 49% tell Vikings to move to California

Most of the time, 61percent is a landslide in terms of decision-making. But for some reason, I’m guessing “consent of the governed” won’t matter much in the end. That 61 percent represents the chunk of Minnesotans opposed to using tax money to build Zygi Wilf a new football stadium. Mike Kaszuba of the Strib posts: “[A] new poll showed there is ‘considerable resistance’ among Minnesotans to publicly financing a new stadium. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh, N.C. organization, generally reflected other polls regarding the stadium and found that 61 percent of Minnesota voters opposed using tax dollars for the project. Forty-nine percent would rather have the team move to California than get public subsidies in Minnesota, the poll reported.”

However, “the poll did find that Minnesotans were receptive to using proceeds from racino — putting slot machines at the state’s horse racing tracks — to build a new Vikings stadium. Sixty-two percent favored raising money from gaming to build a new stadium, and only a quarter of those asked opposed it.” So what about slots at Santa Anita?

Karen Himle, the U of M VP who set off a controversy by abruptly postponing the critical-of-industry “Troubled Waters” documentary … has resigned. The Minnesota Daily story, by Conor Shine and Jessica Van Berkel, says: “Environmental advocacy group the Land Stewardship Project campaigned for Himle to step down, and in a Friday statement called the decision ‘an important step toward accountability at the University of Minnesota.’ When asked whether ‘Troubled Waters’ had any bearing on her decision to leave Himle emphasized, ‘No, no, no, no.’ But said she reflected on the incident before making the decision, ‘because I thought, well, here we go again.’ ” And, you know, she wanted to explore new opportunities and spend more time with her family.

Echoing disturbing numbers nationally, the PiPress’ Gita Sitamariah reports that “The median home price dropped 2.5 percent to $165,700 last month in the Twin Cities metro and home sales declined 39.1 percent, according to Realtors’ data released this morning.”

A Huffington Post story says: “By the end of this year home prices will have dropped $1.7 trillion, or about 7 percent, according to, a real estate data provider. This decline has accelerated: Since August, home prices have fallen 7.9 percent, data from Clear Capital, a Truckee, Calif.-based real estate research firm, show. It is the steepest decline in home values since the height of the financial crisis in 2008, said Clear Capital senior statistician Alex Villacorta. Worse, home prices are forecast to drop an additional 10 percent next year, according to a recent report from Fitch Ratings, a major credit ratings agency. Americans’ grasp on their homes is weakening. Homeowners’ equity, or the stake they can claim in their homes, dropped two percentage points to 38.8 percent in the third quarter, according to the new Fed data. The drop ended five quarters of steady growth since the figure hit its all-time low of 36.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009.” Brother … thank god it’s happy hour.

Look, I was JOKING about that “SnowMaggedon” and dying thing, until I got a load of what our meteorological Chicken Littles are saying now. “All systems are go for a MAJOR winter storm in Minnesota tonight and Saturday. It looks like this storm will deserve all the pre-storm hype we can pile on, as a powerful mix of snow, wind and bitter cold locks in over Minnesota and the Upper Midwest this weekend,” says MPR’s Paul Huttner.

WeatherNation’s Paul Douglas does not disagree. “* This has the potential to be the biggest snowstorm for much of Minnesota since Halloween, 1991. * 3-5″ possible by breakfast on Saturday, another 10″ or so expected during the day. * Ice Potential: southern MN may see glaze ice and sleet for a time tonight and early Saturday, potential for significant ice build-up. * Potential for 1-2 feet of snow Saturday, with 2-5 foot drifts during the PM hours. Official prediction is 12-16″. I can’t remember the last time I predicted that much snow for the metro. We’ll see if it actually arrives … I kind of hope I’m wrong this time around.” So … call your mother and tell her you love her and put your will out where search teams will find it.

Regarded by many local politicos as one of the most effective legislative strategists in town, Tina Smith, formerly of R.T. Rybak’s staff, has been named Mark Dayton’s chief of staff. Eric Roper in the Strib’s “Hot Dish Politics” writes: “A seasoned Minnesota political operative, was formerly chief of staff for Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and is already aiding Dayton’s transition. Smith was also formerly the vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. This is not mentioned in the release, however. When Sen. Paul Wellstone died in 2002, Smith served as former vice president Walter Mondale’s campaign manager during his brief foray into the Senate race against Norm Coleman.”

Doug Grow, here at MinnPost, drops Smith’s “Velvet Hammer” moniker — “because of her strong advocacy on behalf of her boss, yet, her ability to smooth over any ruffled feathers with those who have opposing views. Those skills will be fundamentally important, given the obvious political battles that lie ahead for the Dayton administration with a Republican-controlled Legislature. In addition to the announcement that Smith would be his chief of staff, Dayton also announced others who will take on key leadership roles in his office. Most noticeable about that list is that all of those named today are women.”

Boyd Huppert at KARE-TV has an early contender for the Clark Griswold Over the Top Home Christmas Lighting Award of 2010: “You might say things got a little out of control for Chad Koosman, the 28-year-old lawn irrigation contractor who is responsible for most of the traffic down a rural road just outside of Willmar. ‘This year we’ll have a 140,000 Christmas lights on display,’ he says. Those 140,000 lights are fed by three miles of extension cords and synced by computer to music broadcast on the car radios of his visitors.” There is a feel-good Salvation Army hook to the story. But really, we gotta check this guy’s power bill next month.