Survey du jour: Minnesota ranks as ’12th sanest’ state


The next time you think, “Everyone in this state is out of their mind,” console yourself with the knowledge that according to the specious list du jour, we are the 12th sanest state in the country. Amanda Chan at The Huffington Post writes: “Nearly 20 percent of Americans — 44.5 million adults — experienced some sort of mental illness over the last year, according to a new report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA). The report details state by state the percent of the population who has suffered a mental illness. … The report shows 19.1 percent of Minnesota residents experienced some form of mental illness.” See … it’s only one out five. Don’t you feel better?

And no, you’re not crazy if you think the traffic lights are out of whack. Paul Walsh of the Strib is saying: “A power failure has thrown off coordination of many traffic signals around Minneapolis, an inconvenience for motorists that the city’s traffic director said began Sunday and could last ‘for several more days.’ The power failure struck the signals’ central computer system, which operates about 700 of the city’s 800 controlled intersections. Busy Hiawatha Avenue’s signals operate independently of this system and are unaffected.”

Burl Gilyard of Finance & Commerce offers the latest sense of where Minneapolis is in the Vikings’ stadium drama: “ ‘I think the Arden Hills proposal has to run its course,’ Hennepin County Board Chairman Mike Opat said Wednesday. Opat was a key player in assembling the deal for Target Field for the Twins. The ballpark’s financing was anchored by a 0.15 percent sales tax in Hennepin County. But Opat is keeping a close eye on the latest stadium game. ‘We’re still on the sidelines but watching very intently what happens. Personally, I think the best place for a new stadium is downtown, Hennepin County, in order to take advantage of the infrastructure that’s already built here,’ Opat said. Opat won’t single out a favorite site but is clear about his least favorite. ‘I don’t support the Metrodome. I’m not willing to work on the Metrodome site. That’s where I’m at,’ Opat said.”

No doubt plenty of Kremlin-watchers read the Strib’s editorial on that Ramsey County feasibility study with gimlet-eyed interest. Said the Strib: “Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale, who serves as stadium point person for Dayton, said no “unknown time bombs” remain in the Arden Hills proposal. Try explaining that to the taxpayers of Ramsey County, who might have been unaware that the proposed 0.5 percent county sales tax ‘may compromise the county’s and the region’s ability to finance other projects.’ It would also leave St. Paul with the highest sales tax of any city in the state. We also learned that the cleanup and site acquisition timetable put forward by the team and county for the state’s largest Superfund site might have been a bit hopeful — by at least a year and possibly two. And each year means another $46 million in costs. There’s also the matter of a separate, unexplained $39 million funding gap in the current proposal that, until we hear otherwise, we’ll blame on the lack of a functioning calculator in the county’s offices.” Heh, heh, heh.

It seems “radical environmentalists” (TM Our Favorite Congresswoman) have influenced Target’s corporate thinking. The AP reports: “Target Corp. plans to sell only sustainable and traceable seafood in its stores by 2015. Sustainable seafood efforts make sure species aren’t being overfished and that they are harvested with methods that don’t endanger other fish and seafood. Companies such as Target, Safeway Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Whole Foods Market Inc. have worked to change their seafood policies as concern continues to rise about overfishing and the environmental effects of certain fishing methods. Target said Thursday that its latest action will apply to all of its fresh and frozen seafood.”

Today in Bachmannia: Speaking of Our Gal, she was on … FoxNews … today talking up her latest economic panacea. Says Kevin Diaz in the Strib: “Bachmann, now in sixth place in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, told a Fox News audience Thursday that she wants to reinstitute the Reagan tax plan. ‘For my tax plan, I take a page out of one of my great economists that I admire, Ronald Reagan. And under my tax plan I want to adopt the Reagan tax plan. It brought the economic miracle of the 1980s.’ … One potential problem for Bachmann is that tax rates under Reagan were generally higher than they are today (until the last year of his presidency), and, like President Obama, he acknowledged that wealthy Americans sometimes avoided paying ‘their fair share’ of taxes.” Maybe next time she should consult Nancy Reagan’s astrologer?

The (Cayman Islands-based) hedge fund vs. Edina-based Regis hair keeps getting juicier. Tom Webb of the PiPress writes: “The activist hedge fund targeting Edina-based Regis has released a slashing attack on the board-approved perks and pay of retiring Regis CEO Paul Finkelstein. The hedge fund is casting a harsh light on Finkelstein’s lucrative retirement package, which carries an estimated value of $33 million, even as the company makes millions in budget cuts. Regis is the world’s largest haircare company, with 12,700 outlets. Starboard Value earlier attacked Finkelstein’s pay as ‘excessive.’ But its latest presentation, filed late Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, went well beyond that. After noting that Finkelstein was paid nearly $15 million between 2008 and 2010, the Starboard presentation asks, ‘Where is the benefit for shareholders for:
‘The Board to approve paying (retiree) Paul Finkelstein a minimum of $800,000 each year for the rest of his life?
‘The Board to approve paying Paul Finkelstein’s wife a minimum of $400,000 each year for the rest of her life after Paul dies?…
‘The Board to allow the company to buy life insurance from Paul Finkelstein’s son?
‘The Board to allow the company to buy capes and towels from Paul Finkelstein’s brother?”  For what it’s worth, it was Finkelstein who built Regis into what it is today.

Generally speaking, mid-afternoon on a Sunday is not the usual time to be thoroughly drunk and allegedly flashing a knife. Emily Gurnon of the PiPress reports: “Claros Bonilla was at Erick’s Bar at 949 E. Seventh St. in St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. He was drunk, the complaint said, so bar owner Gary Erickson refused him alcohol. ‘He never got a drop to drink in here,’ Erickson said in an interview. He also had no identification, Erickson told police. ‘(Erickson) told Bonilla it was time for him to leave and grabbed his arm to assist him outside,’ according to the complaint filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court. ‘Bonilla turned toward (Erickson) and then (Erickson) felt a poke in his stomach but did not know he had been stabbed until he saw noticeable blood on his shirt,’ the complaint said. … A breath test showed Claros Bonilla’s blood-alcohol level was 0.26, more than three times the legal limit to drive.”

Hamline professor David Davies is a cyber phenomenon for his Facebook post supporting the “We are the 99%ers” uprising. He says: “I am a college professor increasingly frustrated by the incredible debt I see college students taking on. Rather than spending their time learning how to creatively solve the problems of the future, their debt forces them to think of education narrowly in terms of ‘what they can do with it.’ Education was once considered a public good and not narrowly as a personal investment. As a society we need to return to more public investment in education. Education in the U.S. was once considered to be for the 99%.”

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/13/2011 - 04:16 pm.

    Given the contents of this afternoon’s Glean, it’s clear that the sanity survey substantially misrepresented Minnesota’s mental health.

  2. Submitted by John N. Finn on 10/13/2011 - 07:02 pm.

    “Hamline professor David Davies…. says: “I am a college professor increasingly frustrated by the incredible debt I see college students taking on. …”

    I realize that my college student rental neighborhood population might not be representative of students in general, but they sure drive some nice cars that I wish I could afford. And my freshman niece was provided with a SUV to replace her high school Ford Focus. Back in my day, we walked to class or bicycled. And we LIKED it that way!!!

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/13/2011 - 08:22 pm.

    I would suggest that the professor look at his pay and benefit package as to the cause of their enormous debt.

  4. Submitted by kay smith on 10/13/2011 - 09:07 pm.

    I didn’t know Reagan was an economist. Thanks, Michele!

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/15/2011 - 12:07 am.

    Mr. Finn–
    As a retired professor at a state institution, I knew a lot of students in my 40 years tenure.
    Some of them were obviously well to do; many more rode buses or drove cars to their overcrowded apartments.
    Hamline is a small private school — most college students (I would guess at least 90%) attend public institutions like the State Universities.

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