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GOP leaders say, ‘We’re the ones who have compromised’

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: A request to continue care for the elderly; a GOP legislators’ survey; the Michael Swanson trial; and more.
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Through their lens the world is a place where the GOP has done all the compromising and they’re waiting for Gov. Mark Dayton to give even a little. Tim Pugmire of MPR writes, “Republican legislative leaders say that they’re the ones who’ve compromised on the budget and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has not. With 10 days until a potential state government shutdown, GOP leaders held a news conference Monday to call on Dayton to resume negotiations with a new, substantial budget offer. House and Senate leaders argue that Dayton’s most recent offer, which reduced his proposed tax increase on top earners by half, did not include sufficient details. Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said he thinks Dayton is sprinting toward a shutdown.”

A request for money to continue care for the elderly made a courthouse appearance today. Don Davis of the Forum papers reports, “Aging Services of Minnesota and Care Providers of Minnesota filed paperwork in Ramsey County District Court to allow payments for 29,000 Minnesotans in nursing homes and 26,000 others who receive care in assisted living facilities or their homes. Gov. Mark Dayton last week asked the court to let those people receive care, but he would not pay the care providers. ‘Gov. Dayton and the Legislature are approximately $20 million apart with respect to the older adult services portions of the budget’, said Gayle Kvenvold, president of Aging Services of Minnesota. ‘We continue to hope that this gap can be bridged and a shutdown can be avoided. But in the event of a shutdown, our petition is intended to protect Minnesota seniors from the potentially devastating effects of defunding their care.’ About 112,600 people who provide care for the elderly could be at risk, the providers say.”

A couple of Minnetonka-area GOP legislators surveyed their constituents and guess what? Big majorities want lower taxes, less government and something done to goose private enterprise. Oh, and they don’t want to pay a tax for a Vikings stadium. Katelynn Metz of the MinnetonkaPatch writes, “A 69-percent majority of local citizens indicate state government could most effectively improve the economy by reducing business taxes to encourage entrepreneurs to create new jobs, followed by 62 percent who favor reducing income taxes on individuals and families. Favored by 80 percent, the top choice for balancing the budget is cutting spending and government programs. Furthermore, 83 percent say we should limit state spending to actual revenue in order to prevent future shortfalls. Respondents also favor a photo ID requirement for voters (81 percent), leaving the smoking ban in place (73 percent) and oppose using state dollars for the construction of a new Minnesota Vikings stadium (58 percent) … .”

The trial of Michael Swanson began today. He is the St. Louis Park kid accused of two cold-blooded murders in Iowa last fall. The Des Moines Register story says, “Assistant attorney general Becky Gottsch asked the jury pool, squeezed into a courtroom that seats less than 100, if someone with bipolar disorder can know right from wrong, even if the person may not have a full understanding of his actions. She said the defendant’s youthful appearance may garner sympathy, and asked parents if they hold their own children accountable for their actions.”

A complicated suit over airborne pollutants has concluded with the Supreme Court ruling in a way favorable to big power companies. The Bloomberg story says, “States can’t invoke federal law to force utilities to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, shutting off one avenue for groups that advocate bolder steps against climate change. The unanimous ruling is a victory for five companies — American Electric Power Co., Xcel Energy Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co. and the government-owned Tennessee Valley Authority — that had been sued by six states, including New York and California. The justices said the Environmental Protection Agency was better suited than federal judges to assess the costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions. ‘The Clean Air Act entrusts such complex balancing to EPA in the first instance, in combination with state regulators,’ Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said for the court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor didn’t take part in the case.”

According to Sid Zygi Wilf has sweetened the Arden Hills infrastructure pot with $30 million more of his own money. “A meeting Tuesday that included Gov. Mark Dayton, Ted Mondale, Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and team Vice President Lester Bagley has given new hope that a Ramsey County stadium bill will be passed at a special session of the Legislature after the budget is settled. At the meeting in the governor’s office, the word is that the Wilfs agreed to add around $30 million more to the $407 million contribution they made from the start toward building the stadium. This additional contribution would be put toward generating funds necessary to build the roads around the Arden Hills site, one of the big factors in holding up a bill.”

So did you hear about the two women who kissed at a Twins game? Andy Mannix of City Pages writes, “Taylor Campione and Kelsi Culpepper — two lesbian women from Minneapolis — were recently scolded by a Target Field security guard for what they call a ‘brief kiss.’ After seeing the quick peck on the lips, the guard told the women that ‘we don’t play grab ass here’ and that they must ‘adhere to the 10 Commandments’ while at the stadium. ‘That ruined our entire evening’, says Campione. ‘We were super upset, we felt super uncomfortable.’ The security guard has since been reprimanded, but continues to work at the stadium, says Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the Twins. ‘That behavior just is unacceptable,’ Smith says of the biblical put-down. ‘That security guard has received both a verbal and written reprimand that will be put in his personnel file, and he understands that that is not an acceptable behavior.’ ” Yeah! And while we’re at it remind the players about that “Thou Shalt Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain” rule, too.

Apparently hookers have migrated to the Internet and the suburbs. Jessica Fleming of the PiPress files a story on 21st-century prostitution. “The Internet affords plenty of space to sell sex — and often, it’s being sold in the suburbs. That’s because the suburbs can be seen as a safe place to ply the sex trade. But police in many suburbs are eager to prove that perception wrong by ratcheting up enforcement. In Burnsville, law enforcement has been arresting seven to 12 prostitutes and johns each month for years. Last month, police conducted prostitution sting operations in which officers created or responded to ads on websites like Seven people were arrested. Other suburbs are tackling the prostitution problem, too. Last year, police in Cottage Grove and Woodbury arrested nine johns who responded to a fake online ad offering a ‘Lunchtime Special.’ The men, who agreed to meet an undercover officer at a hotel, were charged with gross misdemeanors. Police say they are trying not just to stamp out prostitution but also to reduce crimes that often accompany the activity. ‘(The stings) really started because we started seeing some trends of prostitutes being victimized,’ Burnsville’s Sgt. Dan Athmann said.”

It does feel at times that the Justice Department is where the prosecution of blatant crimes goes to die. Randy Furst of the Strib reports, “The U.S. Justice Department has decided not to prosecute anyone else in connection with the scandal-plagued Metro Gang Strike Force, the multi-jurisdictional law enforcement unit that was abolished nearly two years ago. ‘We have closed our case, and it is our understanding that the Department of Justice is not going to prosecute anyone else,’ said Special Agent Steve Warfield, media coordinator for the FBI’s Minneapolis office. … After the FBI ended its inquiry in 2010, its findings were turned over to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, for possible state charges.

Freeman announced last September he was filing no charges against the Strike Force, citing major obstacles to the investigation, including the unit’s substandard handling of records and evidence and the refusal of 29 of the former Force officers and employees to talk to investigators.” Excuse me … their “refusal”?

If you needed proof that it’s tough country out in South Dakota just ask Carroll Knutson of Birchwood. Writes Paul Walsh in the Strib, “… Knutson, 65, of Birchwood, near White Bear Lake, was one of three tourists wounded Friday night at a staged shootout on Main Street in the Black Hills town of Hill City, S.D. The shootout — in which blanks are supposed to be used — was one of many choreographed by volunteer cowboys from the Dakota Wild Bunch Reinactors as a regular summer attraction in the area and as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. … Could legal action be an option? ‘I’m not a vindictive person,’ said the recent retiree from 3M. ‘I’m still waiting for the city to contact me. At least a phone call would be in order. I think they should pay the medical bills,’ she added, noting the ‘huge deductibles’ that her insurance requires.