Farmers’ Market stadium sneak peek
By Brian Lambert | Friday, Nov. 4, 2011
KSTP-TV’s Jay Kolls has pictures of what a Farmers’ Market stadium site and Vikings stadium might look like. The latter is modeled closely on Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, one of the most dreary and Gothic in the NFL … IMHO.
With well more than 100 school districts asking for levy increases next Tuesday, Phil Krinkie of the Minnesota Taxpayers League offers a commentary on why voters should turn them down: “The tax increases being talked about for a Vikings stadium would pale in comparison to the total of the school levies being proposed. For example, a proposed Ramsey County stadium sales tax would raise an estimated $11 to $12 million per year. In contrast, the school levies would raise more than $150 million a year from local property taxes, and most would be in effect for 10 years. … Some other key questions to ask local school officials:
What will the money be used for? Be sure to ask for specifics. What is the current budget? Be clear on where the money is spent. Has the school district approved teacher contracts? Without an approved contract, the district doesn’t have a firm budget. What is the increase in total compensation? Will the tax hike be financing significant pay raises in the K-12 field, at a time when most workers in Minnesota will see no increase in compensation over the next two years?”
The ACLU may sue to allow the OccupyMN protestors to stay where they are, weather be damned. Randy Furst of the Strib writes: “Charles Samuelson, the state ACLU’s executive director, told me today, ‘It is possible we may file suit over this.’ The ACLU believes the restrictions violate the protesters’ First Amendment rights. Samuelson said his office has met with several OccupyMN activists and he said the protest group will be discussing whether the state ACLU should represent them at its general assembly meeting that it will hold tonight. He said the state ACLU has contacted a number of major law firms and two are interested in representing OccupyMN ‘if it gets that far.’ The firms are checking to see if they have conflicts of interest.”
The controversy over the parole of a cop killer isn’t going away any time soon. Tim Pugmire at MPR reports: “There are currently 150 offenders in the corrections system who were sentenced to life before 1993. The committee chairman, Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, took issue with [Corrections Commissioner Tom] Roy. He claimed the commissioner still has discretion under the old law to deny some paroles. Cornish, who is also a police chief, said [convict Timothy] Eling deserves no favors. ‘If this person would have passed all the litmus tests and been the model prisoner, would have mentored other prisoners and gotten rave reviews, and even if I was convinced he was rehabilitated, I would still rather see him sit his life in prison,’ Cornish said. ‘And the fact that he has cancer, I’m sorry, brings no sorrow from me.’ Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, also opposes the parole. Gruenhagen suggested that Minnesota should have a death penalty for the killing of a police officer.”
Robb Murray at The Mankato Free Press files a story on Minnesota’s booming “bicycle tourism” industry: “[Tim] Blumenthal, from a bicycling advocacy organization called Bikes Belong, said Minnesota already has established itself as a leader. ‘I believe that in Minnesota, which is already the No. 4 ranked state in the category of bicycle-friendly states, you have huge potential here,’ Blumenthal said. ‘I think you’re doing the right things and you have great people here. There’s a level of civility and politeness and openness that I don’t find many places.’ More people than ever are biking recreationally. And more government funding has been put into biking programs and trail-building projects in the past few years than has been spent in the previous half century. Twenty years ago, the federal government spent about $20 million. But in the last few years, that number has grown dramatically. In 2009-2010, because of stimulus funding, $1.4 billion was spent on bicycling and trails projects. Last year, a non-stimulus year, the funding was at about $791 million and funded roughly 3,000 projects.”
Collect five “no” vote pledges and make $100? Andy Birkey at the Minnesota Independent covers the latest twist in Minnesota’s gay marriage fight: “Minnesota for Marriage, a coalition advocating for passage of a 2012 vote on a constitutional same-sex marriage ban, launched a campaign Wednesday that will award people prizes for obtaining pledges to support the ban. The campaign asks each person to obtain five pledges to support the ban in order to be considered for a prize drawing. Drawing winners will receive a $100 Visa gift card. The drawing will be held daily through the month of November. … The campaign led bloggers to question whether such activity is illegal. Minnesota prohibits purchase of votes in elections, according to state statute:
Bribery, advancing money, and treating prohibited. A person who willfully, directly or indirectly, advances, pays, gives, promises, or lends any money, food, liquor, clothing, entertainment, or other thing of monetary value, or who offers, promises, or endeavors to obtain any money, position, appointment, employment, or other valuable consideration, to or for a person, in order to induce a voter to refrain from voting, or to vote in a particular way, at an election, is guilty of a felony. This section does not prevent a candidate from stating publicly preference for or support of another candidate to be voted for at the same primary or election. Refreshments of food or nonalcoholic beverages having a value up to $5 consumed on the premises at a private gathering or public meeting are not prohibited under this section.”
Sounds like someone spent too much time around the Ames Straw Poll.
Today in Bachmannia: I’m not sure where this ranks on the list of 100 Most Critical Issues of Our Time, but Our Gal and colleague John Kline are all over it. Birkey, again, reports: “Bachmann and John Kline were among the signers of a letter to the U.S. Senate urging that body to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit gay members of America’s Armed Forces from using military facilities for marriage ceremonies. The Department of Defense, in the wake of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, has indicated that it will allow chaplains and same-sex couples to use facilities on a ‘sexual orientation-neutral basis,’ something Republican members of the U.S. House oppose. The letter was authored by Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri and was signed by 86 members of the House.”
DFL Rep. Kelly Gauthier writes a commentary for the Duluth News Tribune disputing GOP Rep. Pat Garofalo’s school finance math: “[H]e has presented misleading figures to the public about the extent of state support for education from 2003 through 2013. The 30 percent increase in new revenue Rep. Garofalo said the Duluth district received was taken from the Minnesota Department of Education fiscal analysis for all school districts and is on the department’s website. However, had Rep. Garofalo looked down two lines further, he would have seen that the actual increase, including inflation over those 10 years (Implicit Price Deflator index) was minus 7.2 percent. Even more telling was that state aid for that same period of time was minus 15.3 percent for Duluth. Garofalo further failed to note that a large percentage of that revenue was restricted to specific programs and not necessarily available to the general classroom. The new revenue for Duluth was primarily made available by an increase in the per-pupil education funding formula of $50 each year for the new biennium. The school district did acknowledge this increase and through this funding was able to reduce its cuts for the current school year by $500,000, which it used primarily to manage class sizes.”
GOP Sen. Mike Parry has begun his campaign against Tim Walz down in the 1st District. Elizabeth Baier of MPR reports: “Parry is a business owner serving his first full term as a state senator. He was first elected in a 2010 special election. ‘I would not do what Congressman Walz did. I would not have voted to increase the debt limit,’ he said. ‘I just don’t believe we have a revenue problem. I still believe this country has a spending problem. We’re out of control with our spending.’ “
Upon closer examination, all is well and as it should be on Planet Earth. The AP reports: “Wisconsin is still the cheese capital of the nation. Statistics released this week show that the Dairy State produced 219 million pounds of cheese in September. That was a 1 percent increase over its production in the same month last year. Wisconsin’s September output accounted for one-fourth of the nation’s production. California was in second place with 181 million pounds. Idaho was a distant third with 70 million pounds. Wisconsin leads the nation in production of Italian cheese, boosting its output 8 percent in September compared to September of last year. Its mozzarella production also rose 6 percent.”