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Minneapolis City Council to hold hearing and stadium vote April 24

April 24 will be an interesting day at Minneapolis City Hall. Eric Roper of the Strib writes: “Council Member Gary Schiff announced in a newsletter Monday that a public hearing will be held on April 24. It will include a key vote on whether the Council endorses redirecting convention center taxes to fund a stadium as a legislative priority. Rybak has taken his proposal to the Council’s Committee of the Whole twice, but not since the bill was introduced at the State Capitol. Neither of the previous hearings included a vote or public testimony. Schiff said each speaker will have two minutes to testify before the Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee, which includes all members of the Council. The committee will then decide whether to amend the city’s lobbying agenda to include formal support for the plan. That will be the first test of whether Rybak’s seven letters of support translate into seven votes.”

At least one Minnesota Republican finds President Obama’s statement lamenting this state’s gay marriage amendment “unfortunate.” At the Strib, Pam Louwagie writes: “Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, one of the House supporters of the marriage amendment, said he was ‘disappointed’ in the Obama campaign statement. ‘Frankly, I think it’s unfortunate that the president of the United States is getting involved in a state issue,’ Gottwalt said, ‘but that’s certainly his right.’ Gottwalt said he objects to the idea that the amendment is being framed as anti-gay marriage. He said the amendment simply would enshrine the idea that marriage should be a union between a man and a woman. ‘The idea that this is an attack on anyone is just incorrect,’ he said. ‘It’s called the marriage amendment. What this really is about is marriage, and Minnesotans ought to have the right to say what that means to them.’ ” I’ll give Mr. Gottwalt the benefit of the doubt and assume he actually knows someone who believes that.

What’s the line about no good deed going unpunished? It comes to mind reading John Lundy’s Duluth News Tribune story about a program to steer more doctors to rural areas: “A medical residency program in the heart of Duluth that trains future doctors to work in rural areas is being squeezed by decreasing funding and increased regulation, its director said. … State Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, tried last week to steer money toward the Duluth program and similar programs in St. Cloud and Mankato but was unsuccessful. Reinert offered an amendment on the Senate floor on Thursday to appropriate $6.4 million to Medical Education Research Costs, which helps pay for the programs. Reinert would have used a portion of the $73 million in health-care savings returned to taxpayers because of a voluntary 1 percent cap on 2011 profits agreed to last year between Commissioner of Human Services Lucinda Jesson and four major insurers, he said in a news release. The federal government would have matched the appropriation dollar for dollar, Reinert’s news release said. Reinert’s amendment to the Health and Human Services Finance bill was defeated. … The program, which has a $6 million budget, has a staff of six doctors, a social worker and a diabetes educator, but also uses faculty from the community, some of whom serve without pay, [Dr. Roger Waage, program director of the Duluth Family Medical Residency Program] said. People apply for the program because they are interested in serving away from cities, and about 80 percent ultimately do, he said. The residents learn skills that are particularly in demand in rural areas, such as the ability to perform Caesarean sections.”

The devil is always in the details with these ideas … The AP story says: “Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he plans to revive a contentious proposal to require police to collect DNA samples from suspects upon arrest in at least some felony and sex cases in his next state budget. Walker offered few details on the plan, including what specific crimes would trigger DNA collection, saying only ‘some felonies and serious sex-related offenses.’ He said he would ask Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to develop the logistics. Depending on the number of qualifying offenses, the plan could add tens of thousands of DNA profiles to the state’s database. Walker said the move would help identify suspects quickly and save money by shortening investigations. But it also could cost millions of dollars and raise new questions about government invasion of privacy in Wisconsin.” We would also like to know, for example, if Wisconsin has upgraded loudly protesting union-busting to a felony?

Gary Gilson, former executive director of The Minnesota News Council, reflects, in the Strib, on the passing of news icon Mike Wallace, saying: “Unlike most powerful figures in the news business, he came to embrace public accountability for the news media. That’s why he agreed to help raise money for our News Council. His normal speaking engagement brought him as much as $50,000. For us, he did it for no fee. … Mike told me privately that if the complaint Northwest Airlines had filed with the News Council against WCCO-TV’s I-Team report on airline safety ever came to a public hearing, ‘60 Minutes’ would come out to cover it. That did happen, and Mike’s report ran for about 14 minutes. Months later I found out that to get the story on the air Mike had to battle with the program’s executive producer, Don Hewitt, who didn’t want the story; he didn’t believe in the idea of a news council. But Wallace fought hard — even against his old friend the boss — because Mike did believe, passionately, in the news media’s responsibility to live up to the same standard of accountability that they insist upon from the people they cover.”

A few college kids had the opportunity to take their tuition complaints to the top. Jenna Ross at the Strib reports: “[Jinaa] Lane was one of a dozen students who told their stories Monday to local officials and a U.S. senator during a roundtable on college affordability at the University of Minnesota. Together, their tales underscored the increasing indebtedness of students, many of whom are turning to parents, private loans and long work weeks to pay the escalating cost of college. … Student loan debt is swelling, and Minnesota students are among the most indebted. The state’s college students who graduated in 2010 and borrowed had an average of $29,058 in student loan debt — the fourth-highest average in the country, according to an annual report by the Project on Student Debt. Minnesota also ranked fifth in the proportion of students with debt, at 71 percent. Those numbers do not include students at for-profit universities. The average debt load at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus is closer to $ 27,500 — a number that is ‘too high,’ said U President Eric Kaler.”

Experiencing a hot flash? Reach for the soy. Elizabeth Dunbar at MPR reports: “Certain soy supplements could help menopausal women experiencing hot flashes, according to new research from the University of Minnesota. The study published in the journal Menopause looked at 19 past studies on soy isoflavone supplements and summarized and analyzed their results. Individually, those studies didn’t prove the supplements could reduce hot flashes, but researchers say the summary results from 1,200 women show a positive link. ‘The main take-home message is that soy supplements and isoflavone supplements in particular — these are the extracts — do exert some benefit on hot flashes, that women should try it and see if they feel some benefit’, said Mindy Kurzer, a U of M food science and nutrition researcher.”

If you’re skeptical that the Vikings could easily pack up and get to a shiny new stadium in Los Angeles, Neil de Mause is following the machinations in LaLa Land and says: “AEG owner Philip Anschutz now says he’s willing to buy an NFL team if that’s what it takes to get a stadium built in downtown Los Angeles. Which isn’t really big news given that his original plan was to buy 50% of a team, and that his offer is still contingent on getting a “reasonable” deal with the NFL — read, something that lets him pay his stadium bills and still turn a profit — which would likely mean getting a team at a cut-rate price, which is what the NFL (and team owners) have been objecting to since last fall. Anschutz lieutenant Tim Leiweke threw out a stick to go along with the carrot, as well, saying that AEG is exploring plans to just expand the Los Angeles Convention Center without a stadium if no NFL deal can be reached. Which means one of two things:

  • The whole NFL stadium thing was a dodge to get the city of L.A. to go along with redevelopment near AEG’s L.A. Live complex, as was rumored last week.
  • Or, this is all just a negotiating ploy to get the NFL to cave on its demands and cough up a team on the cheap, in exchange for … forcing football fans in the lucrative L.A. market to watch the local team no matter how crappy, and face blackouts if they don’t buy enough tickets?”  When it comes to the NFL selling anything, the words “on the cheap” never apply.

“Mr. D” at Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood amuses himself with other purely symbolic actions Gov. Dayton might take, as he did in vetoing the GOP’s Voter ID bill: “He’s a deeply silly man, our governor, but considering this is the state that elected a professional rassler to be governor not that long ago, it’s hardly surprising that we now find a man at the helm who is exercising imaginary power. In fact, in order to add greater fairness, social justice and goodwill to the commonweal, Gov. Dayton has decided to also use his imaginary power to handle a series of other issues that have heretofore proved intractable. …
12.  Providing a posthumous pardon to Johnny Cash for “shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die.”
11.  Issuing a symbolic executive order changing the name of Dayton, Ohio to Prettner Solon, Ohio, in order to appear self-deprecating. Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon will then appear in the newly renamed Ohio city, marking the first time she has been seen in public since November, 2010. …
3.  Appearing in a production of ‘Cabaret’ at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater with ex-wife Alita [sic] Messinger, with the highlight being a show-stopping performance of the ‘Money Song.’
2. Directing Zygi Wilf to give naming rights to the new ‘People’s Stadium’ to Education Minnesota honcho Tom Dooher.”

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Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Walt Cygan on 04/10/2012 - 07:29 am.

    Rep. Gottwalt, like all of our GOP legislators, has truly drunk the Kool-Aid. How does preventing committed Minnesotans from marrying not constitute an attack on them? I can understand why some people don’t approve of gay marriage (even if I don’t agree with them), but singling out a specific group for a Constitutional ban is clearly an attack.

    I’m a Minnesotan. Here’s what marriage means to me: I would welcome the marriage of any gay and lesbian committed couples who would otherwise be legal to marry.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/10/2012 - 09:34 am.

      Hey Walt!

      I posted on an older thread and you may have missed it. But if you go to CafePress, you can get the “No-No” logo made available (doesn’t cost you anything) on T-shirts, bumper stickers, etc. You could even add aditional text (the URL, some brief additional slogan, etc.). Then you can offer this stuff on your website.

      Just didn’t know if you were aware of CafePress or not. (And no – I have no affiliation with them.)

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 04/10/2012 - 09:06 am.

    I wouldn’t be so quick to judge

    It really makes me giggle when some goofball can be amused at “imaginery vetos”, yet firmly believe in “double pinky swear no-new-tax promises”.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/10/2012 - 10:08 am.

    Put student debt in context.

    A few points:

    The $5100 in student debt I carried out of the U of M in 1975 is equal to approximately $22,185.00 in today’s dollars. (Less than today’s avearage at the U of M, yes, but the U of M Minneapolis has phased out many lower cost programs “in search of excellence”.) Those who were around at the time will recall that the economy was in bad shape and the unemployment rate more than 8% at the time. It wasn’t easy to repay then and I’m sure it isn’t now. However, today’s students do not appear to be in any significantly greater financial straits than at least some of the students of almost 40 years ago. Was there some kind of Golden Age in the intervening decades, when graduates carried significantly lower debt?

    NPR reported last week that the average price of a new car in the U.S. has topped $30,000. (Average cost in 1975: $4,250.00 or $18,487.00 in today’s dollars.) Clearly, the cost of education has risen faster, though one has to wonder whether the quality and features have improved to the same extent.) I hope I can be forgiven for believing that an education is a better long term investment for most students.

    If Jinaa Lane, a St. Kate’s student, is any indication, the Strib’s student debt numbers appear to include students at private non-profit colleges and universities. With alll due respect to those who choose a private education, greater cost (and most likely debt) is a burden they assume when opting for a private school. I’d very much like to see the numbers for public colleges and universities only.

    The bottom line is that paying for a post-secondary education has never been easy. I’m not convinced that it’s really any more difficult today than 40 years ago or even 10 years ago. Articles which provide only generalities and which fail to put the issues in any historical context are rarely worth the electrons used to read them.

    • Submitted by Jim Odden on 04/10/2012 - 01:50 pm.


      But technical schools trained police etc for NO tuition and tuition for a quarter at UMM in 1968 was $125 (for unlimited credits) + a $6 activity fee and a quarter of room AND board was $232! The proof is when you figure out how many hours one must work a week to pay for the U now compared to when we went… is MUCH worse!

      • Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/10/2012 - 02:49 pm.

        Yes, wages are a problem

        but our efforts are better directed at increasing wages for the community as a whole than indirectly subsidizing low paying employers.

        The minimum wage in 1975 was $2.10 or $5.15 in 2011 dollars. ($1.60 and $5.15 for 1968.)

        There has been some real growth in the minimum wage, but it and wages generally have not kept pace with the increase in educational costs over the past 40 years. Perhaps we need to focus more on containing (reducing?) those costs rather than simply loaning students more money at higher interest rates.

        Good to see you’re still with us, Jim.

        JMH UMM 1975

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/10/2012 - 10:16 am.

    An arrest is not a conviction,

    so why is Walker talking about DNA collection at the time of arrest and then only for felony and sex cases? It can’t have anything to do with the recall election, because true conservative are not going to support increased government collection of DNA from those we assume are innocent. Are they?

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/10/2012 - 11:28 am.

    How Is It That Rep. Gottwalt Fails to Find His Way Into Reality?

    The reality in Minnesota is that,…

    each and every straight Minnesotan has the right say what marriage means to them on the day of their own wedding. Their choice of a mate is freely made and without restriction.

    His desire is not to have the constitution protect that freedom by extending it to ALL Minnesotans, but rather,…

    to enshrine what “marriage” means to himself and those who agree with him while denying gay and lesbian Minnesotans the ability to express what marriage means to them.

    For him to experience what our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters experience each and every day in the realm of marriage, there would have to be laws that restrict his own choices such as these:

    Blond-haired people can only marry brown haired people, or

    Curly-haired people can only marry straight-haired people, or

    Germans can only marry Swedes, or

    Blue-eyed people can only marry brown-eyed people, or

    People can only marry others within five points of their own I.Q., or

    Catholics can only marry Catholics, and Lutherans only marry Lutherans (with Wisconsin Synod, Missouri Synod, ELCA, LCMC, etc., each being separated into their own exclusive marriage groups.

    Each of these restrictions is every bit as arbitrary as is the genetic factors that determine the responses that causes a person to be attracted to his/her own gender or the opposite gender, or to feel comfortable in the gender of body in which they were born.

    Some of them even used to be carried out with considerable rigidity a couple of generations ago.

    Our ancestors did not see fit to put the religiously-based restrictions on marriage that they practiced into the constitution. Neither should we.

  6. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 04/10/2012 - 12:10 pm.

    Debt at private schools

    I always advise students to look into the average debt at graduation at ALL schools in Minnesota, public and private.

    Guess which schools have the lowest debt at graduation, Carleton or the U of M?

    2010 Data: U of M: $27,958 Carleton: $19,436

    Project on Student Debt

    There are a number of private colleges that have lower debt at graduation than does the U of M. Caveat emptor.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/10/2012 - 03:10 pm.

      To what extent

      do you attribute Carleton’s (and other private institutions’) lower graduation debt to greater family resources?

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 04/10/2012 - 07:41 pm.


        I attribute it to endowments that allow a lot of financial aid for students/parents of modest financial means. Again careful reading of the link provided illustrates that some of the state’s private schools have lower than average debt in comparison with the U and other state schools.

        It is difficult to make generalizations but the statement made by an earlier commenter with respect to debt at graduation and private schools was, I believe, not quite accurate.

  7. Submitted by Brad Robinson on 04/10/2012 - 12:41 pm.

    Student debt is different now

    I too graduated with some student loan debt. In 1980 it was a little over $4000. That was a lot for those times. But the difference is that double-digit inflation came along and increased my salary, but my loan stayed the same and was paid off in “cheaper” dollars. It became a proportionally lesser % of my income. Today inflation is negligible, and in 10 or 15 years, those salaries will likely not have increased significantly, at least as compared to my day. My daughter’s debt of close to $50,000 will still be roughly the same % of her current income. Her car has over 200,000 miles on it, she cannot pay over $300 on rent so she lives with other girlfriends in the same dilemma (and survives on boundless optimism and love for her family, community, and God).

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/10/2012 - 03:03 pm.

      Good point,

      but I wouldn’t be so sure that we won’t be seeing ’70s and ’80s inflation again while your daughter retires her debt. Inflation was 4.08% in 2007 and only .09% in 2008. The worst years for inflation since 1960 were 1973 to 1982. Since then, the highest inflation was 5.39% in 1990. In the past 21 years, the highwater mark was 4.25%, in 1991 and was often half that.

  8. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/10/2012 - 12:45 pm.

    How did you miss this, Brian?

    Brian, I know that you pay attention to what happens in Wisconsin? Am I missing something? I haven’t seen anyone pick up the news that Gov. Walker just signed a roll back of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act.

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