A serious question for GOP legislators has been how they’ll reconcile consenting to a tax for a Vikings stadium after the display they put on last spring. Now we know that Majority Leader Amy Koch at least wants Ramsey County to take its own vote. The AP says: “Koch said she considers the Vikings a key state asset and sees the benefits to Ramsey County of being home to a stadium — ‘but I just think a referendum is in order,’ she said. A referendum likely could not be held until November 2012 — long after the Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires. As the top-ranked Republican in a Senate controlled by that party, Koch’s pronouncement could hold considerable sway over a crop of conservative freshmen new to stadium politics at the Capitol. Stadium supporters have predicted that Ramsey County voters would kill the sales tax proposal and scrap the entire stadium project.”
It turns out the Mercedes SUV involved in the hit-and-run death of a man just off I-94 last week belongs to ex-Viking Joe Senser. Emily Gurnon’s PiPress story says: “An affidavit for a search warrant filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court said that an attorney called the Minnesota State Patrol the day after the accident to notify them that the Senser family was going to turn over the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SUV. A state trooper went to 416 John St. in Edina, where Senser lives with his wife and children. ‘(The trooper) noted that the vehicle had damage to the front passenger side, including the fender,’ the search warrant affidavit said. ‘What appeared to be a blood-like substance was also observed on the vehicle’s hood’. … Attorney Eric Nelson of Halberg Criminal Defense said Thursday that the Mercedes is registered to Senser. The Senser family attorney declined to say who was driving the car the night of the accident.”
Consider the source here, but the AP has a story from Mason City, Iowa saying: “A recently fired Mason City police officer is saying police may have been involved in the 1995 abduction and possible slaying of missing Mason City television anchor Jodi Huisentruit. The Globe Gazette reported that Maria Ohl made the allegations after a Civil Service Commission hearing Thursday. A hearing on her termination has been set for Sept. 13. Ohl said she received information that police may have been involved in the disappearance of Huisentruit and they may be covering up what happened to the Minnesota native by failing to act on the leads. Ohl was placed on paid administrative leave last year. She says she was told she was fired last month because of her handling of the Huisentruit information.”
Ewwww … Gurnon again at the PiPress has the very sick story of, “Gary Wills Brown, 58, [who] told a woman he’d be interested in having sex with a child, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday and made public today in Ramsey County District Court. The complaint, written by Special Agent Jan May of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, gives the following details: ‘The woman, referred to as an informant, reported to police that Brown had expressed his wishes to her. It was not clear from the document how Brown and the woman knew each other. Police set up a sting in which the informant called Brown and recorded the conversations. She told Brown she would find a family that could ‘supply’ a girl for sex in exchange for money. ‘Brown was asked to pick between a 5-year-old, (an) 8-year-old or (a) 12-year-old. Brown picked the 8-year-old girl,’ and agreed to pay $300, plus $100 if he were allowed to video-record the abuse. He was told to bring candy for the child.” … And it gets worse.
I believe blogger Karl Bremer at “Ripple in Stillwater” deserves at least a mention in this story. Kevin Giles of the Strib reports: “The city of Stillwater made an improper $80,000 donation to a nonprofit coalition formed this year to promote construction of a four-lane bridge across the St. Croix River, the state auditor’s office has determined. The donation of public money, which Mayor Ken Harycki and three other City Council members approved in a July vote, was made without a contract that would keep the public informed about how the money would be spent, attorney Nancy Bode wrote in a letter to city officials this week.”
Bremer has been on this one for weeks. His post on the auditor’s decision includes this: “The ruling was in response to a complaint filed by myself and other citizens with the OSA over improper use of taxpayer dollars to promote the proposed freeway bridge across the St. Croix River, aka the ‘Bachmann Boondoggle.’ The Office of State Auditor (OSA) chastised the City for its sloppy contracting procedures with the Coalition and stated that ‘If the City decides to contract with the Coalition for services directly related to one of the City’s authorized functions, the City should use proper contract management procedures to protect public funds,’ which it did not in this case. … When the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board last month dismissed my complaint regarding the registration of The Conach Group’s ‘legislative consultant’ as a lobbyist, [Stillwater Mayor Ken] Harycki sniffed that it was ‘much ado about nothing.’ Perhaps Harycki and his legal advisors will listen to the OSA instead.” Good God! What’s next? Bloggers making more cogent political analyses than mainstream journalists?
Fear not for the big red bull’seye. Thomas Lee says in the Strib: “The Minneapolis-based retailer said Thursday that sales at stores open for at least a year in August — the heart of the key back-to-school shopping season — rose 4.1 percent, matching Target’s performance in July. (In August 2010, Target same-store sales grew only 1.9 percent).”
Our Favorite Congresswoman — getting steadily more flattened in the polls by Rick Perry, even among ardent Tea Partiers — has her, or rather a completely separate and unrelated Super PAC has its, first anti-Perry ad up and ready for South Carolina. Jeremy Herb of the Strib writes: “One of the Super PACs supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann plans to air TV ads attacking her newest presidential rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Keep Conservatives United, a Super PAC headed by North Carolina GOP activist Bob Harris, will begin airing TV ads in Columbia, S.C., next week, Harris told Hot Dish. The ad will run for five days, he said, though he would not disclose the size of the ad buy. The ad attacks Perry over increases in spending as Texas governor, citing a Fort Worth Star-Telegram story. ‘He’s supposed to be the Tea Party guy?’ a narrator says. ‘There is an honest conservative, and she’s not Rick Perry.’ ” Or, put another way, “Rick Perry. Not nearly conservative enough.”
Are you kidding me? Another incident of a Wisconsin Supreme Court judge clocking a fellow high-bencher? Eric Kleefeld at Talking Points Memo writes: “Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a conservative, is responding to criticism from the court’s liberals, regarding his allegation to investigators that liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley hit him during a court meeting on September 18, 2008 — a date when the court did not meet. Gableman’s answer is that he is correcting a lapse of memory: It did happen on September 18 — but in 2009. Gableman made the allegation during the investigation of a physical altercation in June, about which Bradley accused Justice David Prosser, the leader of the court’s conservatives, of grabbing her neck in a ‘chokehold.’ ”