Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Inevitable redistricting battle is already in the courts

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Two more Dayton appointments, Catholic schools learn their fate, Wall of Shame lunkheads, armored car robbery, potential budget cuts and missing a movie “Contagion.”
Read Friday Morning Edition


The redistricting battle is already starting to employ lawyers. Brian Bakst of the AP reports: “Four Democrats, including a former legislator, have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking to involve the courts in the redistricting process. Every 10 years political district boundaries are redrawn to conform to population changes revealed by the census. Minnesota retained all eight of its congressional seats, but the lines of those and the 201 state legislative districts will certainly shift anyway.” He adds in colossal understatement: “Plaintiff lawyers raise concerns about the ability of politicians to do the mapmaking fairly.” D’uh.

Paul Walsh and Rachel Stassen-Berger write that Gov. Dayton has picked Maple Grove’s police chief for commissioner of Public Safety: “Ramona Dohman will head the agency responsible for state law enforcement, emergency management, driver licensing and vehicle registration, fire and traffic safety, and alcohol and gambling enforcement. She will succeed Michael Campion. Dohman has almost 30 years of experience in law enforcement, having served in police departments in both the metro area and greater Minnesota. She also was appointed chair of the Police Officer Standards and Training Board by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2010.”

Meanwhile, Ted Mondale will lead the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission during what will be a very interesting time. Says Stassen-Berger: “Mondale, now the vice president of software company Nazca Solutions, [has] some deep connections to those who were in Dayton’s kitchen cabinet and went to school with Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner. He will have a hefty job at the sports facilities post. The Vikings’ lease on the Metrodome expires this year and the team is pushing for a new stadium.”

Jason Hoppin at the PiPress quotes Mondale saying, “ ‘My central focus is to represent the governor on the potential for getting this done.’ “

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is notifying schools under its supervision about which of them will be closing at the end of the school year. Sasha Aslainian reports for MPR: “The archdiocese will name the specific schools later today. Ten schools were asked to take part in an ‘urgent review’ late last year as part of a broader reorganization of the archdiocese that also merged and clustered parishes. The archdiocese is a major player in education. The archdiocese has 98 schools with 33,000 students. Parochial school enrollment in the archdiocese has stayed relatively constant over the past 20 years, but what has changed is families’ ability to pay.”

Fox9 is reporting that the lunkheads who are believed to have stolen those mounted heads from the DNR’s traveling “Wall of Shame” poaching exhibit have been arrested: “St. Paul police were able to recover some of the stolen items from an address on the 700 block of East Conway. Among the items stolen were trophy bucks, antlers, walleye and a bear head. Power tools and snowmobile ramps were also stolen.”

Did you catch Bill O’Reilly and one-time Anoka resident/”commentator” Gretchen Carlson debating the “gender bias” against Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin on FoxNews Thursday? Basically Ms. Carlson was having it and O’Reilly wasn’t. “ ‘You think the attacks on Glenn Beck aren’t as bad as the attacks on Michele Bachmann? Come on,’ O’Reilly said, claiming that if anyone is vilified in attacks, it’s Beck. [Commentator Margaret] Hoover further argued that Palin endured a lot during the 2008 presidential election, when Palin ran alongside Sen. John McCain as his vice presidential candidate. ‘Well, she was running for vice-president then, so it’s a different thing,’ O’Reilly said. ‘But I don’t buy the gender bias because I know what Beck has been through, and what a lot of other people, including me, have been through. The attacks are the attacks.’ ” Or, in other words, Bill is the victim of bias.

An armored truck guard was robbed at a SuperAmerica station in St. Paul this morning. Mara Gottfried and John Brewer report for the PiPress: “Police were called at 5:43 a.m. to the SuperAmerica at 950 N. Lexington Pkwy. A Dunbar Armored car worker was filling an automated teller machine at the gas station when a man approached him and pulled out a handgun, said officer John Keating, a police department spokesman. ‘They got into a physical altercation in the store,’ Keating said. ‘During that time, the suspect took the driver’s gun and some cash.’ The robber fled the store and got into a dark sports-utility vehicle thought to be a 2000-2005 model and drove away.”

I guess if the outbreak of some hideous disease has to happen in Edina, it’s better using Illinois as a movie double. Chris Hewitt of the PiPress writes: “ ‘Contagion,’ directed by Steven Soderbergh (‘Erin Brockovich’), is filming in several cities, including the Chicago area, taking advantage of Illinois tax breaks and a vacant hospital in suburban Elgin, Ill. Although none of it was shot here, ‘Contagion’ is set in the Twin Cities area, where patients show up at Fairview Southdale and the U Medical Center with symptoms of the disease. ‘Contagion’ was written by Golden Valley native Scott Z. Burns, who also wrote Soderbergh’s ‘The Informant!’ “

Blogger Jeff Rosenberg at MnPublius continues digging into what he sees as likely cuts if state Republicans succeed in pushing through a so-called “all cuts” deficit remedy.

  • Health and Human Services: $3.2 billion cut (24 percent)
  • Education: $2.9 billion cut (20 percent)
  • Higher Education: $113 million cut (4 percent)
  • Environment: $37 million cut (11 percent)
  • Transportation: $15 million cut (8 percent).”