Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota Fortune 500 firms mum on marriage amendment


Only one of 13 Minnesota Fortune 500 companies will take any public position opposing the so-called gay marriage amendment heading to the ballot next November. Patrick Condon of the AP reports: “Opponents of the marriage amendment on the 2012 ballot see natural allies in the state’s prominent companies, long seen as integral to preserving the state’s fabled quality of life. But the symbolic and financial firepower of companies like Target, General Mills and others with a history of supporting gay causes may not be so forthcoming. The Associated Press contacted representatives for the 13 Minnesota-based Fortune 500 companies that offer domestic partner benefits — nearly three-quarters of the state’s complete Fortune 500 roster — and only one, a spokeswoman for Little Canada-based medical device maker St. Jude Medical, said the company would publicly oppose the amendment. That’s not what amendment opponents might have hoped for.”
A commentary by DFL Sen. John Marty, he of the sell-Zygi-the-Metrodome-for-$1 idea, includes this: “Zygi Wilf and the Vikings are attempting to make their Ramsey County stadium deal sound like a run-of-the-mill, routine proposal. It is not. The Vikings are asking for the #1, all-time, biggest taxpayer subsidy of any sports franchise anywhere in American history! … I joined with Rep. Linda Runbeck to offer a bipartisan alternative: give the Metrodome to the Vikings in exchange for a 25 year contract to play in Minnesota. This proposal does not require any public funding. No Ramsey County sales tax, no Ramsey County automobile tax, and no state taxes or ‘fees’ or ‘other revenues.’ Taxpayers would be fully compensated for the value of the Metrodome through property taxes, from which the Vikings are currently exempted.”

Did you catch Stribber Lori Sturdevant’s not-so-veiled plea for someone in Minneapolis to step up and grab control of this Vikings stadium deal … before something crazy happens, like construction in Arden Hills? “[Mayor R.T. Rybak] plans to meet with Gov. Mark Dayton about the issue this week, presumably to make the case that a Minneapolis location fills Dayton’s personal bill for a ‘people’s stadium.’ But it’s not clear that the governor, or any elected official, is truly in the driver’s seat on stadium siting. So far, it has appeared that the team is. That’s troubling. The investment of upwards of $600 million in public money is at stake, in a publicly owned facility whose location will affect many of the region’s residents in ways great and small. The public interest ought to carry more weight.” But then the public’s voice would have to carry more weight, right?

It is a drought over a big swath of Minnesota. Jim Adams of the Strib reports: “Despite some drizzle over the weekend, much of southern Minnesota still is experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions, the National Weather Service said Sunday. Concerned about parched conditions, Minneapolis officials have asked residents to water yard and boulevard trees, especially any planted this year. The Twin Cities area is in its eighth year of drought, which has put even healthy trees at risk of damage, city officials said.”

Bill Bleyer of Newsday reports on the sale at auction of a letter from Minneapolis Titanic survivor John Pillsbury Snyder. “One year before the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking, a letter written by a prominent Minneapolis businessman on Titanic stationery the day it sailed is one of more than 100 items of the doomed ship’s memorabilia sold Friday night in New York for $100,570. … Even more important in historical terms is another letter in the collection that Snyder wrote his father after returning to Minneapolis: ‘We were both asleep when the boat hit. … When we reached the top deck, only a few people were about and we all were told to go down & put on our life belts. … We were almost the very first people placed in the Lifeboat. Only a very few people were on deck at the time and they thought it much safer to stay on the big boat than to try the life boat.’ “

A Strib piece by Corey Mitchell reports on Minneapolis struggling to reopen closed schools to accommodate a new tide of students: “Twenty public schools in Minneapolis have closed since 2005, rivaling the per-student closure rate of Chicago and Detroit, some of the nation’s most troubled urban districts. Yet 29 Minneapolis schools are popular enough to have waiting lists, most of them in parts of the city far from any of the shuttered classrooms. The contrasting trends represent an unexpected shift in the district’s enrollment brought about by new students from middle-class neighborhoods and a growing Latino population, mainly from working-class households. That change, coupled with a loss of state funding, is forcing Minneapolis Public Schools to reopen schools, shuffle attendance boundaries and re-evaluate its commitment to integrating each school.”

After literally years of being ignored as “just a blogger,” Karl Bremer’s cred as a valid perspective on Our Favorite Congresswoman is getting … even local notice. Bob Shaw of the PiPress profiles Bremer, of the “Ripple in Stillwater” blog, saying: “Bremer has attracted national attention for his two anti-Bachmann Internet blogs. He co-wrote an upcoming book, ‘The Madness of Michele Bachmann: A Broad-Minded Survey of a Small-Minded Candidate.’ He even offers tours to Bachmann-hungry reporters. ‘I am the expert on Bachmann-alia,’ Bremer said. ‘I run so many tours, I should get my own trolley.’ The latest tour was Tuesday, when police were called to shoo him and a French TV cameraman away from the charter school Bachmann helped start — one of many stops on the tour de Michele. … ‘Every reporter has a beat, and my beat happens to be Michele Bachmann,’ said Bremer, who does marketing for a local manufacturing firm. He says he uncovers stories that the mainstream media miss.” And some of the stuff he “uncovers” are the size of boulders.

Speaking of … Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times believes Our Gal’s problems with, you know, facts and accuracy are catching up with her. From Iowa she offers (still more) examples of what goes on almost every day: “Bachmann was laying out a tough immigration policy recently when she veered off script to make a point that she said underscored the national security implications of a porous border. “Fifty-nine thousand this year came across the border, as was said in the introduction, from Yemen, from Syria. These are nations that are state sponsors of terror,” the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate said, citing a report she had heard. “They’re coming into our country!”There were two problems with Bachmann’s passionate assertion. Yemen is not a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department. And the Border Patrol report to which Bachmann referred said that although 59,000 apprehended illegal immigrants came from countries other than Mexico, only 663 had ties to countries with links to terrorism. Voters here frequently say they are drawn to support Bachmann’s presidential campaign by the litany of statistics and facts that stud her speeches. Yet what she says is often inaccurate, misleading or wildly untrue.
All politicians occasionally shade the facts to their advantage. The danger for Bachmann is that her misstatements are so pronounced and so numerous that they erode her effort to regain footing in the presidential race. (Asked for reaction, a campaign aide provided information unrelated to the statements in question.)”

That ultimate Minnesota icon, Target, continues to take a vicious ripping on the Gawker website. The latest piece(s) up, under the title “ Life at Target: Hard Knocks Off the Clock,” includes a long list of mostly unflattering stories from members of Team Target: “It is simply not possible to refrain from publishing constant new stories about the indignities of working at Target, America’s most clean and attractive union-busting big box store. There are all too many current and former Target employees anxious to send us stories of exploitation and generally disgraceful workplace conditions! Earlier this week we told you about a former Target manager suing the store for being fired for working off the clock (though he essentially had no choice). Target veterans sent us their own stories of similar situations. After these posts ran, we were contacted by a private investigator working on behalf of a law firm to investigate similar labor abuses at Target, and by a nonprofit organizer interested in starting a campaign on behalf of Target workers.”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (16)

  1. Submitted by William Souder on 10/24/2011 - 07:35 am.

    Public input on a public subsidy for zillionaire Zigi Wilf? It’s already been duly noted and ignored.

  2. Submitted by jim fillmorre on 10/24/2011 - 07:58 am.

    What is the automobile tax Sen Marty is refering to in your article. first i have heard of this twist on things……more details please

  3. Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/24/2011 - 08:55 am.

    Also in Bachmannia, on one of the Sunday talk shows, she said that Iraq should pay us for the cost of invading their country, which — by the way — resulted in the deaths of at least 150,000 Iraqi civilians.

    Actually, she didn’t mention that bit about those civilian deaths. Must have slipped her mind.

    But she did mention that Iraq is a rich country, and so should have no trouble paying us back about $800 billion or so.

    Words cannot express …

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/24/2011 - 09:34 am.

    #3: In MB’s own words, “”I think that they need to do that [pay us], because what we will be leaving behind is a nation that is very fragile and will be subject to dominance by Iran and their influence in the region, and that’s not good,” Bachmann said.


  5. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/24/2011 - 09:39 am.

    The Target gripe site is simply that, a gripe site. If these issues are really going on, a call to OSHA and/or states departments of labor is the answer, not a thousand public whines.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/24/2011 - 09:47 am.

    With a dysfonic political “conservative” like Steinhafel in charge at Target, we can only expect that its personnel policies will move, more and more, in the direction of Walmart.

    In operating style and spirit, Target proves every day that it is no longer a “Minnesota” company. (i.e. it now values PROFIT above all other considerations and, therefore, feels no responsibility toward the neighborhoods in which it’s located, toward those who work for it, nor toward the customers who shop there).

    Next thing you know, they’ll move their headquarters to Arkansas.

  7. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/24/2011 - 09:59 am.

    I’m guessing no one will be happier when Bachmann returns to just a local leader than the St. Croix Sheriff’s, and Stillwater Police Dept’s.

    Nine years of “shooing” kooks away from Michele’s home has got to have gotten old.

    Time for a job, Karl?

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/24/2011 - 10:01 am.

    Actually I think this $600 million (over a billion with debt service) may be the biggest MN subsidy period. MOA got $400 million, and NWA got $300 or so. I can’ recall a bigger subsidy for any company of any kind ever, can anyone else?

  9. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/24/2011 - 10:50 am.

    Kooks have been shooed away from the Bachmann home? Then where’s Marcus residing these days?

  10. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/24/2011 - 11:43 am.

    I can’t help but wonder how those calling for corporate opposition to the marriage amendment feel about Citizens United.

    (I oppose the amendment and think SCOTUS got it right on Citizens, although one can certainly argue with how they got to the issue in the first place.)

  11. Submitted by William Levin on 10/24/2011 - 12:39 pm.

    #6: You claim Target “…feels no responsibility toward the neighborhoods in which it’s located, toward those who work for it, nor toward the customers who shop there….” Really, now. I find that biased opinion difficult to square with the easily demonstrable fact that management continues the Dayton corporate legacy of donating 5% of pretax profits, with a great emphasis on giving locally.

  12. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/24/2011 - 03:18 pm.

    Is there some reason the Vikings stadium has to be on the same piece of land as the development that Mr. Wilf wants to surround it with?

    Getting the Dome for $1 would be a fantstic gift. So what if it doesn’t have room for a whole bunch more executive suites?

    With all the money our Zygi would save by buying a stadium for $1, he could buy some acres with his own money somewhere and develop it to his liking. Perhaps on the plains of western North Dakota where there is a tremendous shortage of housing and probably of surrounding shopping and entertainment, too. He could call it “Wilfville.”

  13. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/24/2011 - 05:13 pm.

    Target’s 5% giving? Window dressing.

    Give Mr. Steinhafel a bit more time to pack the board and he’ll take care of that little problem,…

    or he’ll stack the foundation board with like-minded people to be sure their “local giving” will be strictly limited to supporting “conservative” ideological causes.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/25/2011 - 09:00 am.


    Obviously the stadium isn’t Wilf’s only plan. He’s getting a chunk of land that much larger than he needs to build a stadium. Furthermore, the NFL and Wilf are not keen on sharing their revenue with anyone else. The problem with the MPLS sites is that they don’t have space or all the additional development Ziggy wants and they don’t funnel all the money into his pocket. The MPLS sites have all kinds of other players behind them precisely because they hope to benefit as well, Ziggy isn’t interested in doing anything for anyone else.

  15. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/25/2011 - 01:46 pm.

    I know, Paul (#14), but why on earth should the cost be paid by Ramsey County and/or Minnesota tax-payers just because he wants the stadium to be part of his dreamed “village?”

    He would, of course, want extended infrastructure to serve the village as he develops it and would want that to be provided by taxpayers.

    That stinks.

  16. Submitted by William Levin on 10/25/2011 - 04:51 pm.

    #13, calm down. How about facts and not fuming. The Dayton brothers started 5% giving of pre-tax profits in 1946, and that’s not window dressing. Look at where it’s given. I’ll let you do that yourself.

Leave a Reply