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GOP floats idea of tapping Legacy money for Vikes stadium

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Police plumb Roto-Rooter problems; a skeptical judge; redistricting plans; Bachmann on Gaddafi; Walker’s graphic design show; and more.
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The state GOP’s dilemma of how not to appear to be the crowd that “loses the Vikings” … without appearing to raise, you know, t-a-x-e-s has them floating the idea of tapping The Legacy Fund for the team’s stadium dream. Tom Scheck and Tim Nelson at MPR write: “There isn’t an organized effort by legislative leaders to tap the Legacy funds yet, [Assistant Majority Leadert Kurt] Daudt said. But there is increasing talk among members and GOP staff that this may be the only way that the Republican-controlled House and Senate pass a Vikings stadium bill. Daudt said the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund could generate about $50 million annually to finance the stadium. He said that would be enough to pay both the state’s and Ramsey County’s share but is unsure if that would be the plan. ‘You certainly can’t argue that the Minnesota Vikings and these sports teams in the state of Minnesota aren’t a part of the state’s heritage and certainly part of the state’s legacy,’ Daudt said.” Oh, I think there’s a way to do that.

Roto-Rooter’s problems aren’t going away any time soon. Nicole Norfleet and Anthony Lonetree at the Strib write: “Minneapolis police are investigating plumbing giant Roto-Rooter on suspicion of fraud after numerous Twin Cities customers accused the company of suggesting thousands of dollars’ worth of unnecessary sewer repairs. On Oct. 3, police searched the Plymouth office of Roto-Rooter and seized 14 DVDs of drain lines, 32 customer files, the personnel file of Roto-Rooter employee Josh Lillquist and correspondence between the company and a subcontractor, Pipeline Industries Inc. … In February, the Star Tribune reported that numerous Minneapolis residents had accused Roto-Rooter of misleading them and using unfair tactics to pressure them into big-ticket repair jobs. Homeowners would summon the plumbers for a routine drain cleaning and then were told they needed to replace entire sewer pipes at a cost of $12,000 or more.”

The judge’s skepticism is probably warranted. Stribber Dan Browning’s continued focus on the $150 million Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme went to court this week: “Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis authorized the receiver, R.J. Zayed, to hire high-powered attorneys in Texas, New York and Georgia who specialize in recovering money from enterprises such as banks, law firms and the like whose actions or negligence may have facilitated fraud schemes. The attorneys said they’d work on their own nickel and only get paid if they recover money for the 700 or so investors who lost more than $150 million in the Cook fraud scheme. Many of Cook’s victims are retirees who are now nearly destitute. ‘We pay all the costs, bear all the costs,’ attorney William T. Reid IV told Davis Wednesday, when seeking permission to sign on to the case. ‘Say it louder,’ Davis responded, prompting laughter from the courtroom full of attorneys and a handful of Cook’s scorned investors. Reid said his firm — which has offices in Austin, Texas, and on Wall Street in New York — would get 17 1/2 percent of any pretrial settlement, or 30 percent of any recovery if a case goes to trial. ‘These are the lowest percentages I’ve agreed to,’ Reid said.”

Along with Doug Grow’s piece here at MinnPost, other journos are reporting on the redistricting plan created by the “Draw the Line” coalition and now moving — with other plans — toward the five-judge … deciders. Says Bill Salisbury at the PiPress: “The group didn’t set out to intentionally defeat — or protect — any incumbents, commission chair Candi Walz of Lindstrom said Thursday. Instead, it attempted to take partisanship out of the map-making process by not considering where incumbents live, Walz said. The map the commission produced is not intended as a rock-solid guide for the judicial panel, said commission vice chair Kent Kaiser of St. Paul. Instead, it’s an example of what a map would look like based on four key redistricting principles that the group recommended to the judicial panel. One of those principles is: ‘Do not intentionally protect or defeat incumbents.’ The group contended the needs of politicians shouldn’t outweigh the interests of voters. The commission’s map ‘basically came out neutral,’ Walz said. About one-third of the legislative districts would lean Democratic, one-third would lean Republican, and the remaining one-third would be competitive between the two parties. The group’s No. 1 principle is to ‘preserve communities of interest.’ They defined such communities as ‘a grouping of people in a geographic area that share common economic, cultural, demographic or other interests. Cities, counties and sovereign nations are also important communities of interest.’ ” Redistricting without the basic principle of building or protecting partisan fiefdoms … I mean really, how democratic is that?

In the wake of the death of Moammar Gaddafi Thursday, Republicans were, universally, generous in their praise for … everyone but President Obama. In San Francisco, Our Favorite Congresswoman went on record saying, according to the AP: “Republican presidential primary contender Michele Bachmann said Thursday that the world is better off without Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. But she said she stands by her position that the U.S. military shouldn’t have gotten involved. … ‘It is my hope that Gadhafi’s reign of terror will be replaced with a government that respects its people in Libya and one that will be a good partner with the United States,’ Bachmann said. ‘Hopefully, today will also bring to an end our military involvement in Libya, something that I have opposed from its beginning.’ “

Our Gal is included in Jon Stewart’s appraisal of GOP reaction to Gaddafi’s long-overdue demise.

MPR’s Euen Kerr gives some time to the Walker Art Center’s new show: “Few art forms have changed and expanded as much in the last decade as graphic design. Home computing and the Internet have opened the field to just about everyone. This weekend the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis launches a graphic design show surveying the best work over the last decade. … The show exhibits pieces by 250 artists. To keep it from getting any larger, the curators focused on traditional areas such as posters, typography, books and magazines. Nonetheless, the walls and display tables are crammed with graphics, logos, and pictures. It’s a visual feast, and hard not to gorge. There are newspaper graphics, music posters, Technicolor graphic visualizations of statistics, and crowd sourcing. There’s even a bright orange safety vest covered with warnings about the dangers of computers.”

At Power Line, John Hinderaker sees only a downside for Democrats associating themselves with the “Occupy” rabble: “The New York Post reports on a ‘chaotic’ Community Board meeting in which residents who are unfortunate enough to live in the vicinity of Zuccotti Park unloaded on the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters: ‘They are defecating on our doorsteps,’ fumed Katherine Hughes, a stay at home mom who has the misfortune of living one block from the chaos. ‘A lot of people are very frustrated. A lot of people are concerned about the safety of our kids.’ … The Democrats are crazy to align themselves with people–bums, essentially — who will annoy if not enrage the vast majority of voters. That Democrats are willing to take a chance on being the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ party is the clearest possible evidence of how desperate they are, and how much they fear next year’s elections.”

Our Guy, T-Paw, has recently picked up some board work. If the products, services and back stories of the companies involved kind of escape you, read through Sally Jo Sorensen’s post at her “Bluestem Prairie” blog. She quotes: “Following his election to the Miromatrix Board of Directors on Oct. 17, Pawlenty said, “I am extremely excited to join the board of a company that has the potential to improve human health in an historic way within its reach. In my view, Miromatrix likely will be Minnesota’s next medical and business miracle.” The company’s tissue regeneration technology grabbed headlines in the New York Times in January 2008, but pioneering scientist Doris Taylor was soon shown the door as the government subsidized Miromatrix moved her discovery toward the lucrative biomedical marketplace. Med City News reported in May: Even as Cohen prepares to raise capital and figure out a new product, he has had to deal with some dirty laundry being aired involving the ouster of Taylor from the company’s board. Cohen declined to comment on the matter, but said that her absence will not hurt the company’s prospects and fundraising efforts. The co-inventor remains on the board.”