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GOP calls Gov. Dayton’s move to the courts ‘unforgivable’

AFTERNOON EDITION

Gov. Dayton’s move toward the courts to at least keep a large chunk of government running during a shutdown is covered far and wide. Bill Salisbury and Dennis Lien at the PiPress write: “Gov. Mark Dayton today asked the Ramsey County District Court to keep nearly one-third of state employees on the job to perform “critical services” if state government shuts down July 1, and he also requested the court to appoint a mediator to try to broker a budget deal between him and the Republican-controlled Legislature. Under Dayton’s petition, most large state departments would remain open, although many would have only skeleton staffs. But he recommended closing 46 smaller state agencies and boards.”

For the AP, Patrick Condon says: “Dayton said he submitted the petition ‘with a heavy heart,’ as what would be the most significant government shutdown in the state’s history looms in two weeks and a day. The Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders have been unable to agree on how to solve a $5 billion budget deficit, and Dayton’s petition asked the court to order mediation that could avert the shutdown. House Majority Leader Matt Dean criticized Dayton’s petition as a ‘political document,’ and he and fellow Republican leaders said a shutdown could still be avoided if Dayton would put more energy into budget talks and less into planning for a shutdown. But on Dayton’s key demand — that Republicans agree to about $1.8 billion in new revenue from a tax increase or some other source — GOP leaders didn’t budge.”

Briana Bierschbach at Politics in Minnesota writes: “Republican leaders who control the Legislature say Gov. Mark Dayton’s actions to prepare for a government shutdown are ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unforgivable.’ Just hours after Dayton filed his petition in Ramsey County District Court to define essential services, GOP leaders held a Capitol news conference on Wednesday. They said the governor was opting to cut off funding for things like  schools, transportation and health care providers instead of working out a budget deal with the Legislature. They urged him to call them back for a special session to resolve the budget deficit before the July 1 shutdown deadline. ‘We hope the governor spends more time with legislators and less time with lawyers,’ Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel said, adding that the governor is ‘sprinting to the courts’ instead.”

The GOP leaders complaining about the governor playing politics is, of course, richly ironic. Tim Pugmire files House Majority Leader Matt Dean’s quote: “”He’s proposing not paying schools. Health care, he’s proposing not paying providers. Transportation. He’s proposing that we don’t pay for projects. In 2005, Gov. Pawlenty said these were essential services and we need to keep paying these folks. Obviously this is politics. It’s unforgivable and we need to prevent it.” The link includes video of the performance.

Dan Heinzman, writing in the abc papers (north metro chain), says it’s the northern tier’s “turn” for a big public development. Like a Vikings stadium. “Throughout the development of the seven-county metropolitan area, the northern suburbs of Ramsey, Anoka and Washington counties have been denied major facilities.The southern half of the area has got the development plums: airport and Mall of America in Bloomington and Canterbury Downs and Valleyfair in Scott County. Years ago, metropolitan leaders turned back having a new airport in Ham Lake, preferring to expand it where it is in southern Hennepin County. Sports stadiums and fields are all located in Minneapolis and St. Paul: Xcel Center for the National Hockey League in St. Paul, the Metrodome and Target Field in Minneapolis and the TCF football stadium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. … The Arden Hills site offers plenty of space for a stadium, practice fields and for bringing back the popular tailgate parties. As for developing the region, Arden Hills, Ramsey and Anoka counties will profit from an upgraded highway system.” The “it’s my turn” argument is kind of the Mitt Romney approach, isn’t it?

Meanwhile … Minnesota’s homeless population last year increased 2 percent over 2009. The St. Cloud Times story says: “The homeless population in Minnesota was about 7,900 people in 2010, about a 2 percent rise over the previous year. Wisconsin’s homeless population was about 6,300 people, a drop of about 3 percent. From 2007 to 2010, the homeless population rose about 7 percent in Minnesota and 12 percent in Wisconsin. The data comes from the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nationally, the number of homeless increased about 1 percent from the previous year, a figure HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan called ‘a real achievement,’ given the economic climate.” A few more “achievements” like that and there’ll be a run on tents.

But really, how bad can things be if the strawberries are looking good? The AP reports: “Cool, wet weather this spring has delayed the growing season across Minnesota. Growers expect the strawberry harvest will start about three weeks later this year. But experts say the strawberry crop is looking good. Thaddeus McCamant of Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls consults berry growers statewide. McCamant says it’s unlikely that many berry farms will open for picking much before June 20. In central Minnesota, grower Julie Townsend of Dassel Hillside Farm says last year’s strawberry harvest began around June 10. But this year she expects berries to ripen toward the end of June and continue into the first two weeks of July.”

Some things are so very close to unintentional parody … The PiPress editorializes about Michele Bachmann’s entrance into the presidential race: “Her knowledge, qualifications and record will all be fodder in the months ahead. So will her solutions, and her plans for working with those Americans she disagrees with. But the nation needs to hear a range of views. Bachmann widens that range.” After all, her end of the spectrum has been so cruelly muzzled.

And then there’s stuff like this, from the Superior Telegram: “Matthew Douglas Bonney, 28, faces misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy and criminal trespass stemming from the June 5 incident. According to the criminal complaint: Officer Erick Flood responded to a Hill Avenue apartment at 9:10 a.m. June 5 for a report of a man in a woman’s bathroom while she was taking a shower. The woman told him she had come home from running and was taking a shower. She heard someone in her bathroom, pulled the shower curtain back and saw a man standing in the bathroom looking at her. She chased the man, who lives in the same apartment building, out of her apartment, locked the door and called 911. Bonney walked up to Flood’s squad car when he arrived at the apartments and said: ‘I suppose you are here for me.’ He later told Officer Brad Esler that he woke up that morning, checked his mail and decided to do some laundry. Bonney said he ‘had his dumbest idea ever … and checked his neighbor’s door.’ It was unlocked, so he went inside to get some quarters, not planning to ask for them. He told Esler he heard the shower running ‘so he decided to sneak a peek at the neighbor.’ She was scared and startled, so Bonney left.”

Denny Hecker and “absurd” in the same sentence! MaryJo Webster of the PiPress writes: “Hecker tried again this morning to get a pot of cash. And once again, he failed. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel called Hecker’s attempt to derail a $4 million settlement between Hecker’s bankruptcy estate, GELCO Corporation and two of Hecker’s creditors one of the most absurd things he’s seen in his 20 years on the bench. Hecker, 58, had objected to the settlement, claiming that 75 percent of the money was rightfully his — and exempt from bankruptcy — because it represented his earnings from providing consulting services to GELCO after selling part of his leasing business to the Eden Prairie-based company in 2005. Hecker’s lawyer barely had a chance to make his case in this morning’s hearing in Minneapolis before Kressel bellowed, ‘What do you want? Is Mr. Hecker looking for money?’ ” Uh, is that a trick question, Your Honor?

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/15/2011 - 04:30 pm.

    Unforgivable? Really? I suspect the MNGOP are just genuinely upset that they have probably been thoroughly outmaneuvered. People say stupid things when they’re surprised and upset. What’s unforgivable is that they’re not moving toward a workable budget. I read elsewhere that the MNGOP are supposedly upset that Dayton has read the term “vital” as being narrower than T-Paw. Well, here’s the deal–you guys didn’t want to fund that stuff in the first place. We’re not buying that you think it’s a horrible thing if the poor don’t get healthcare. In fact, that you assume that it will happen indicates that you’re not willing to work toward it not happening.

    Really, guys, if you’re going to be disingenuous, please at least try to be more covert about it. I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if Dayton sadly shook his head and said that if the MNGOP force a shutdown, there could be no abortions. And then the MNGOP would get all red-faced and sputter “WHAT! That’s unforgivable! What about those poor women that can’t have abortions!”

  2. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 06/15/2011 - 04:31 pm.

    Regarding the northern suburbs turn, anybody notice where the North Star commuter rail goes? Before Republicans decided they hate trains, there cold have been a new passenger train connecting the Twin Cities and Duluth. The downtowns have the sports facilities because the people are here and the infrastructure was mostly already here. They didn’t need big freeway development. Reusing the Dome site for a new stadium means using existing infrastructure, which makes it a lot cheaper. Why not use the Arden Hills site as public park? Then the existing infrastructure will be enough.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/15/2011 - 05:12 pm.

    One would almost think that if our Republican friends in the legislature were to actually ask for sacrifices to assist with the state budget deficit from those who have gained the most in income and assets over the past 30 years: our state’s wealthiest citizens,…

    (While the rest of us have seen our incomes and assets stay the same if not actually shrink,)…

    That hit squads would be sent back in time to wipe their grandparents from existence, and thereby be sure that those Republicans who compromise never existed either.

    Lacking the assurance of something as catastrophic (for themselves) as that, I can only ask

    “What’s wrong with these people that they will cause a massive shutdown of the state government and inflict tremendous damage on our state and its citizens, all to protect those who neither need, deserve, nor (in the case of many of them) want such protection?”

    What is wrong with them that they believe it is more important to cut the thread by which so many of our state’s citizens lives currently dangle in this very difficult economy in order not to raise taxes on those whose lives will not change in the least if they have to pay a bit more?

  4. Submitted by Ralf Wyman on 06/15/2011 - 05:14 pm.

    Google “Overton window” and see what the PiPress probably means when they say Michele’s run “widens that range.”

    She’ll move the GOP even further to the right, thus making what appears to be the midpoint of national politics even further right than it’s been shoved, pulled and down-right Foxified already.

  5. Submitted by will lynott on 06/15/2011 - 06:06 pm.

    “He’s proposing not paying schools. Health care, he’s proposing not paying providers. Transportation. He’s proposing that we don’t pay for projects…Obviously this is politics. It’s unforgivable and we need to prevent it.” ”

    Shoot, for a minute there I thought Matt Dean was talking about himself.

    Whatever. Hearing Matt Dean get all pious about not funding programs for the needy is enough to make me throw up on my shoes.

  6. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/15/2011 - 06:23 pm.

    …‘unnecessary’ and ‘unforgivable.’…

    How about “prudent”?

    …‘We hope the governor spends more time with legislators and less time with lawyers,’ Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel said…

    He’s hoping that no one remembered that he is a lawyer.

    …sprinting to the courts…

    Two weeks to go, certainly some structure needs to be decided on, and two weeks is damn little time for that.

  7. Submitted by John Olson on 06/15/2011 - 06:32 pm.

    Pot, meet kettle.

  8. Submitted by Bob Benke on 06/15/2011 - 09:27 pm.

    Mr. Lambert: Your lame comparison of the Arden Hills/Vikings Stadium proposal to Romney’s “my turn” strategy is off base. If one looks forward 20-50 years and agrees that the Minneapolis/St.Paul inner core should remain strong,as I do, then we should work toward a balance regional investment from all directions, not just south, east and west, to ensure equal access/opportunity/transit options, etc.

    In that regard, the north Ramsey/southern Anoka County area has been left behind for geologic, financial, demographic and political reasons. The TCCAP/Vikings Stadium proposal is not “our turn” logic. Without a ‘mega project” such as proposed by the Vikings and Ramsey County, Ramsey County and neighboring citizens will likely be unfairly burdened by lost opportunities from an unusable, worn out eyesore site for another generation.

    TCAAP is a relic of past public needs and once employed over 20,000 daily workers to provide munitions for our Nations wars. The workers got there on 1940’s road and transit systems. Now, we are left to clean up the site and “Repurpose It” in current political speak, but we are arguing about who should pay for the transportation improvements.

    In the longer term view, in my opinion, we’re better off offering attractions and opportunities to live, work, recreate and enjoy life closer to, not just in the inner core. How else can we accommodate the anticipated hundreds of thousands of new neighbors that are expected to join us? The Vikings at TCAAP provide an opportunity to help balance our regional economy for the next generations to come. Let’s get it done!

  9. Submitted by David Greene on 06/16/2011 - 09:42 am.

    @Bob

    The Arden Hills proposal is a relic from the 1960’s. It’s suburban sprawl thinking. The only thing it will do is kill retail in St. Paul and the inner-ring suburbs surrounding it. Mayor Coleman should be screaming about this.

    We accommodate the millions expected to join our region by changing how we do things. We must build with more density, build closer in to the job centers (the core cities) and provide excellent public transportation. Honestly, people figured this out decades ago. We just haven’t been smart enough to actually do it here.

  10. Submitted by Bridget Helwig on 06/16/2011 - 10:05 am.

    I find it interesting that it’s an Anoka County paper deriding the lack of decisive action towards getting a stadium in Ramsey County, whose citizens and legislators have shown very little interest in paying for it.

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