Left to their own devices by the Legislature, several school districts are asking local taxpayers to pay more. Dave Aeikens of the St. Cloud Times says: “As many as nine area school districts and as many as 120 in Minnesota will have at least one question on the Nov. 8 ballot. Many will have two, and one will have three. The requests for residents to raise their property taxes come as schools try to maintain their programs and services while state funding has not kept up with costs, school officials say. Schools also are dealing with costs from having to borrow money because of delayed aid payments from the state. ‘We’ve had flat funding for so long. The hole is deep. In order to get out of the hole, you have to do something. You can’t continue to cut all the time. We have been cutting for 10 years in a row,’ said Gerry Arndt, superintendent of Upsala, a district of about 420 students in Morrison County.”
Speaking of T-Paw … Sam Stein of the Huffington Post says our once courageously standing presidential contender may have been as much as $500,000 in the red when he shut down his White House dreams: “[S]everal Republican sources tell The Huffington Post that the former Minnesota governor was confronted by a far more intractable obstacle than leapfrogging the first two finishers — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul — or facing the newest entrant to the field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Pawlenty, the sources say, was out of cash, his campaign having spent heavily in the lead-up to Ames, hoping for a better score than what he got. It’s not clear, however, how much debt Pawlenty has actually accrued. Requests for comment to former Pawlenty aides were declined. One source suggested the campaign’s debt was as high as $500,000, but another source with closer knowledge of the campaign deemed that figure far exaggerated. The official tally will be revealed on Oct. 15, when Pawlenty must deliver another filing to the Federal Election Commission.”
There are now four PACs up, running and pushing money toward passage of the (anti-) gay marriage referendum next fall. Andy Birkey at The Minnesota Independent writes: “The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the policy wing of Minnesota’s Catholic bishops, and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have registered political action funds (PACs) with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. The two funds join the Minnesota Family Council Marriage Protection Fund in hopes of raising money to convince voters to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The PACs will allow the groups to raise money for political activity surrounding the 2012 ballot initiative. NOM’s PAC is registered in Washington, D.C., under the name of the group’s president Brian Brown. The Minnesota Catholic Conference was registered by that group’s head, Jason Adkins. In addition to NOM, MCC and MFC, the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign has registered a fund to defeat the amendment.” Someone, call Stephen Colbert.
And speaking of anti-gay issues … also at The Minnesota Independent, a report from Jon Collins about a boycott of a prominent local business in Edina because of … Bradlee Dean: “An online boycott of an Edina car wash that’s allowed a controversial youth ministry that activists say has taken anti-gay stances to fundraise on their property has spread to three of the company’s other locations. The boycott movement was kicked off last week when 17-year-old Gabe Aderhold saw members of You Can Run But You Can’t Hide ministry, which is run by Bradlee Dean, tabling at the Edina Car Wash on France Avenue near his house. ‘I’ve just recently become familiar with Bradlee Dean. That table has been there many times over the past couple years,’ Aderhold told the Minnesota Independent. ‘When I finally was driving by and saw that a couple days ago I realized this is the table, that the gas station has been supporting Bradlee Dean and their messaging.’ Dean has been connected to a number of controversial issues and statements, including criticisms of President Barack Obama at an opening prayer at the Minnesota Legislature, for which Republican leaders who invited Dean apologized. Aderhold was the first to go into the gas station to complain about the presence of the You Can Run But You Can’t Hide ministry. Aderhold said the management at the Edina Car Wash wasn’t sympathetic to his complaint and told him they support the ministry.”
Maybe next time … try the house next door. An AP story says: “A burglary suspect apparently didn’t notice that the Minnesota house he was targeting had a sheriff’s squad car parked outside. Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand says his wife called him Thursday to say someone was trying to break into their home. Brand says he rushed home and found a man reaching through a broken glass door.”
It seems like a pretty weak reed, but when you’re desperate for signs of life … Annie Baxter of MPR reports: “[I]n Minnesota, the job market is generally holding up, and temp hiring — an important bellwether — reflects a bright spot in the state’s economy. … Employers who have more work than they can handle but are nervous about hiring permanent employees can turn to temp workers to expand their capacity to provide goods and services without making expensive long-term commitments in a dicey economy. If business slows, employers can easily ditch those temp workers. ‘That is part of the reason it’s such a good leading indicator,’ state labor market analyst Steve Hine said of temp hiring. ‘It responds very significantly to changes in the economy.’ Hine said temp jobs account for about three-quarters of a sector called employment services. In the last decade, changes in that sector have reliably signaled recessions and recoveries with a lead time of eight to 18 months. He notes the employment services sector is still showing healthy year-over-year growth in Minnesota.”
It wasn’t exactly a shaggy dog story … Dan Nienaber of the Mankato Free Press reports: “A Mankato resident called 911 at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday to report two very young girls, who turned out to be under the age of 10, were walking along Carney Avenue north of Riverfront Drive. They were in their pajamas and had a goat with them, the caller said. When an officer arrived, the girls were walking south and had crossed Riverfront Drive. They told the officer the goat belonged to them and they were just taking the animal for a late-night walk. As the kid questioning continued, the girls kept stretching their tale. The goat lives in their bedroom closet, they said. Mom bought it a couple weeks ago, but dad didn’t know about it. So they had to keep the goat thing quiet to keep dad from suspecting anything.” And … uh yeah, they swiped the poor critter.
The Strib’s Susan Hogan takes umbrage at Our Favorite Congresswoman’s biblical view of earthquakes and Hurricane Irene: “Bachmann said God stormed into northeast to let politicians know they better open their ears. ‘Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now,’ she said. ‘They know the government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.’ In other words, God unleashed a violent storm that killed at least 27 Americans in eight states because politicians weren’t listening to regular people — like those who died. … Given that logic, should we believe that Texas is suffering from a drought because God wanted to warn Americans about Rick Perry, who just held a big rally pleading for the Almighty to send rain? That’s not just bad theology, but cruel and irresponsible political rhetoric. The public outcry over Bachmann’s words prompted her handlers to issue a clumsy statement that went something like this: Just kidding.”
Bill Salisbury at the PiPress notes an initiative by Larry Jacobs and Common Cause Minnesota to draw a better redistricting map than your average politician: “Today they launched a ‘citizen mapping contest,’ inviting Minnesotans to draw new legislative and congressional districts for the state. They will submit the best citizen maps to the state Supreme Court panel that will decide the new political boundaries. Here’s their press release:
Saint Paul, MN –August 29, 2011 —Today, Common Cause Minnesota and the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs are launching a citizen mapping contest. The contest is designed to encourage citizen participation in the process of drawing legislative and congressional boundaries so that more Minnesotans can have a say on how we map Minnesota’s future.”
I mean, really, how could we do any worse?