Talk about sobering numbers. Rupa Shenoy’s MPR story on new statistics out of the Centers for Disease Control says: “Nearly half of Minnesota women experience some kind of sexual abuse, says a new national survey by the Centers for Disease Control. About 22 percent of Minnesota women have been raped in their lifetime, and more than 48 percent of Minnesota women have experienced sexual violence other than rape, the CDC estimates. About a third of Minnesota women have had partners who stalked them or were physically violent, also according to the report. The study also estimated about 24 percent of men in Minnesota have had partners who were sexually violent.”
OK. Place your bets. Who wins in a showdown among Zygi Wilf, the mayor (with an assist from the Strib) and aligned downtown Minneapolis business interests? Sasha Aslainian at MPR writes: “A new vision for downtown in 2025 unveiled by the Minneapolis Downtown Council Wednesday includes doubling the number of urban residents, increasing green spaces and mass transit, and a sports district that includes a new Vikings Stadium.The council wants a critical mass of sports venues, entertainment and hospitality built around the transportation hub created to serve Target Field. Council president and CEO Sam Grabarski said two spots on the west end of downtown, near the Farmer’s Market and Target Field would work well for a new Vikings stadium. ‘There’s a great opportunity there,’ he said. The Council’s Viking’s stadium plan is at odds with that of Mayor R.T. Rybak who favors using the Metrodome site. Grabarski said the Council is open to option but prefers using that site for residential development.”
Brian Johnson’s story at Finance & Commerce adds: “During a Wednesday press event, most of the focus was on conceptual plans, not budgets or funding sources. But it’s safe to say that the plans would require a generous mix of private and public funding, including city, county, state and perhaps some federal money. Phil Krinkie, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, said it’s great that community leaders are getting together to talk about redevelopment and promote their community — as long as taxpayers aren’t forced to subsidize private business. If the plan is to ‘pick the taxpayers’ pockets to subsidize the Vikings and other businesses to make it happen, that is where the disconnect comes,’ Krinkie said. ‘There is no such thing as a public-private partnership where the public wins.’ ”
Here, Doug Grow says: “It’s easy to wonder if these plans don’t simply end up in some closet gathering dust, after they’ve been unveiled. ‘They will never be followed verbatim,’ said [Hennepin County Commissioner Mike] Opat of these futuristic plans. ‘But they let you dream. Especially now, there’s not a lot of dreaming going on.’ Grabarski pointed out that the Downtown Council has existed since the mid-1950s and came up with its first long-range plan in 1959. That initial plan, he said, led to the creation of the Nicollet Mall and the once wow-inducing skyway system. The most recent 15-year plan, he said, included light rail, a new library and a new baseball park. All of those things have come to pass.” Infrastructure, a full, interconnected “sports entertainment complex” and big-biz political muscle? Trifecta for the west side.
In Duluth, Peter Passi of the News Tribune reports that an experienced developer is considering taking on a restoration of the grand old NorShor Theater: “George Sherman, founder of Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates, has been in discussions with the Duluth Economic Development Authority about possibly acquiring and redeveloping the historic theater in Duluth’s Old Downtown. Brian Hanson, the authority’s executive director, said he hopes to have a memorandum of understanding ready for consideration in January. A more detailed development agreement with Sherman Associates would be the next step. Hanson characterized the developer as ‘very serious’ about tackling the project. ‘They’ve already made a huge investment in our Old Downtown, and they want to know it’s going to continue to grow and prosper,’ he said. Sherman opened the $40 million Sheraton Hotel in 2007 and purchased the neighboring Greysolon Plaza building.”
Frederick Melo at the PiPress reports that the City Council knocked another half a percentage point off the property tax bill Mayor Chris Coleman offered up last week: “The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday wrangled cash out of nooks and crannies in the city budget to soften the blow on taxpayers and hold the increase in the 2012 property tax levy to 4.98 percent. Mayor Chris Coleman this week proposed a 5.5 percent increase, down from a planned 6.5 percent in August. … The council funneled another $300,000 toward general spending from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, effectively reimbursing the general fund for HRA work hours performed by council members and their secretaries. Other funds came from bond refinancing and greater-than-anticipated revenue from Tax Increment Financing districts, which are business districts that are allowed to use their own property taxes toward development and improvements. The new property tax levy will be $99.3 million — about $4.7 million, or 4.98 percent — larger than the current year.” That sound you hear? Joe Soucheray moving to Coates.
It was a fungus … not a miracle. Nick Ferraro of the PiPress reports: “A fungus — not a miracle — caused a Communion host to turn red this summer at a South St. Paul church, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Wednesday. The archdiocese began an ‘exhaustive biological analysis’ of the consecrated host after it was found on the floor of St. Augustine Church after Holy Communion. The Rev. John Echert reported to archdiocese officials that it turned ‘blood red’ after being placed in a cup filled with water. In addition, it did not fully dissolve over several weeks. ‘It appeared to be like the blood red of tissue,’ Echert told the Pioneer Press in July. ‘If I had not known what it was, I would have thought that there was maybe a small, bloody piece of tissue. It was striking enough that there was no way I could have disposed of the remains of the host at that time with good conscience.’ The wafer caused Catholics to speculate on Internet blogs and led the archdiocese to turn it over to an independent scientific laboratory for examination.”
The Tom Emmer v. Hamline controversy churns up an opinion from Hamline senior Natalie Cook on the MPIRG website: “The fact of the matter is that Tom Emmer would bring very little to Hamline’s robust academic community in terms of scholarly work or expertise. Instead, he would bring a lot of liability. … For a small, private college in St. Paul, Minnesota, looking to attract a diversity of students from across the country, hiring a controversial political figure is probably not the best way to attract potential students. While Emmer was candidate for governor his budget plan included reducing higher education funding. Many of our students, including myself, receive state grants which would have been at risk of greater funding cuts leaving students to bear a larger financial burden. Regardless of a professor’s political beliefs it is important that they value higher education; this includes understanding the importance of adequate funding for institutions and students. … Emmer has set himself up as a lightning rod for hot button social issues and is a mouthpiece for social conservatives. That’s fine for talk radio and cable news networks, but there is no place for that in an academic community.”
Frankly, I was wondering what the state’s top conservative bloggers thought of the Emmer dust-up … when I came across this. From “Nihilist in Golf Pants”, aka one of the “Fraters Libertas”: “I disagree with the characterization of a weak Republican field. In fact, I would suggest that this Republican field is the strongest slate of candidates the party has seen since 1980. Each candidate brings unique qualifications to the table. Let’s take a quick look: Speaker Newt Gingrich was the architect of a Republican revolution that significantly changed the course of American government. Under his strategy, the party took over Congress after decades as a minority party. Then under his leadership, the federal budget was balanced, welfare was reformed, and America entered into an era of growth and prosperity. If Gingrich doesn’t capture the party’s nomination, then the nominee will likely be one of two governors. Governor Mitt Romney is a Republican who won election in a deep blue state, proving that he can garner the votes of moderates and some liberals. Governor Rick Perry is entirely different, the chief executive of a deep red state that has had been strong on job creation and economic growth. Additionally, Romney boasts extensive private sector experience. Congressman Ron Paul offers Republicans a real libertarian choice that has been missing from many presidential campaigns. Love him or hate him, one must acknowledge that Paul represents an ideology that holds influence over significant thinking on the right side of the political spectrum. While Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are not likely to win the Republican nomination for President, they represent powerful factions of the Republican party whose ideas merit consideration. … In summary, the field is deep and talented. I believe that any of the losers of the nomination would make excellent choices for cabinet posts, and I didn’t even mention erstwhile candidates Herman Cain or Tim Pawlenty. So why do so many Americans that aren’t liberal partisans long for the next Reagan instead of embracing the riches before them?” How is it that I’ve forgotten to thank Speaker Gingrich for the economic boom of the 1990s?