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Politico: ‘The Disastrous Minnesota GOP’

ALSO: Brooklyn Center’s triple homicide; huge doings in tiny Minnetrista; the latest in Wisconsin politics; and more.

Joe Kimball has already spotted this, but still … . At Politico Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns first look at the GOP’s weakened state organizations across the country. Then Burns files another story zeroing on the most “disastrous” of the disasters: Minnesota’s Republican party. He writes, “Of all the state GOP organizations mentioned in our story today, none is as financially distressed as the Minnesota Republican Party, which is carrying seven figures in debt thanks to mismanagement by the party’s former leadership. Mentioned in the story, but not yet posted, was a confidential treasurer’s report outlining the Minnesota GOP’s dire financial position. That report is now accessible here, with this blunt paragraph perhaps best summing up the contents:
There is nothing unusual to report here other than what has already been discussed except that we continue to be in a precarious working capital position. Consequently, please note that we are not paying our office lease rent payment currently (but have been in discussions with our landlord) and have not yet negotiated long-term payment schedules and/or negotiated settlements relating to most of the vendors on the accounts payable …

“Minnesota was always unlikely to be a presidential or Senate battleground, but there are several congressional seats up that may end up being unexpectedly problematic for Republicans, and the state Legislature is also at risk.” Is the state GOP still offering speakers on sound fiscal management?

The Strib team covering this morning’s triple homicide in Brooklyn Center are saying, “Communication between police near the scene and dispatch indicated that a struggle between a male and a female preceded the shooting at the day care and that a male on a bicycle wearing gloves fled the scene. The suspect is described by police as a black man in his mid-20s and riding a BMX-style bicycle. He was wearing blue jeans, a navy blue sweatshirt with a gray hood and two 1-inch stripes down the back. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 763-493-8222. ‘At 6:28, I heard screaming,’ said neighbor Hakeem Hughes, 18. ‘I didn’t know if it was arguing. I thought it must be kids playing in the back yard, but it’s kind of early for that. It was a girl that was screaming. I don’t know if it was a woman or a kid.’ “

At age 68, 18 years in prison pretty well closes the book. Abby Simons of the Strib reports, “A former head of the Minneapolis Park Police was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison for molesting a teenage boy over a three-year period. William Allan Jacobs, 68, of Lutsen, Minn., pleaded guilty last month to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of possessing child pornography. The sentence was the maximum Jacobs could get under the plea deal.

The case began when the teenager, then 15, came forward to police in January 2010. He told them Jacobs, a family friend, had been molesting him on camping trips and visits to the man’s house and cabin.”

The Glean

This thing is massive … . Tom Meersman of the Strib reports on a huge new development in tiny Minnetrista. “The Minnetrista City Council is on the verge of approving a master development agreement for Woodland Cove, a massive residential project with 1,071 housing units to be built over the next decade near Lake Minnetonka. Officials say it’s the largest development of its kind in the metro area in at least two decades, and it’s expected to boost Minnetrista’s population by about half — 2,700 more people — in the next decade. The development at Hwy. 7 and Kings Point Road will transform 490 acres of farm fields, forests, wetlands and rolling hills on the western side of the lake into a mix of 11 housing types, from custom lake homes to row townhouses and multi-family units.”

Christian Schneider, a Senior Fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, writes in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the current recall isn’t at all what those who wrote the bill had in mind. “Recall supporters defended the sudden use of recalls as simply part of the democratic process.  ‘The exercise of the constitutionally guaranteed right to force a recall election is a just and proper tool to force accountability upon those elected officials who act as if there is none,’ explained the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s website.

“But a review of documents and press accounts from the time the recall constitutional amendment passed shows that the current use of the recall is far different from what the original drafters had envisioned. For instance, it was never expected that the recall would apply to governors. When the recall amendment passed in 1926, all state officials except state senators had two-year terms. For the same reason, current two-year term Assembly representatives are not the subject of recall attempts; it wouldn’t have made sense to hold a recall election against a governor in May when he was up for election in November. … at the time the recall amendment was adopted, supporters believed the threat of recall would keep elected officials representative of the people. As the argument went, officials would be more responsive to the public than to special interests if their constituents could pull them out of office for corruption.”

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In Forbes, Rick Ungar wonders if Wisconsin’s public employee unions are going to “self destruct.” “Hopes that the Democratic primary to choose a candidate to challenge Gov. Scott Walker in the upcoming Wisconsin recall election could remain a dignified affair were dashed last week as some of the state’s public employee unions decided to get down in the mud in an attack on one of the leading Democratic candidates. The unions, who are backing former Dane County Executive, Kathleen Falk, circulated a video to members attacking Falk’s leading opponent for the nomination, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. The video suggests that Barrett is a supporter of Scott Walker’s anti-collective bargaining legislation. The false and misleading attack has led to the state’s largest public employee union, AFSCME, recanting the effort by acknowledging that the video was ‘over-the-top’ ” … like herding feral cats.

Speaking of Gov. Walker, on the conservative website The Daily Caller Matt Lewis blogs about interviewing the Guv on the topic of his college experience.

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently appeared on my podcast to discuss the recall effort against him. During our brief conversation, we discussed which Democratic primary candidate he believes will face him, how his reforms have improved education in Wisconsin, and how his family has been targeted by his political critics. But I’ve always believed the most interesting interview answers often come from unexpected questions. And so, I asked him about not being a college graduate — and whether or not that has been used against him. His answer, I thought, was a pretty good one: ‘[I]n the end, I think, [the attack] kind of backfires. I mean, in my case, I left my senior year to go work full-time. I had a job offer. Like a lot of people then — and even more people now – in a tough economy, if you have a job offer, you jump at it. I mean, ultimately, that’s one of your goals in going to college in the first place. … I always find it mind boggling for people to make that an issue when guys like the founder of Microsoft and the founder of Facebook and others did something very similar. They left to pursue their dreams — in their case, it was much bigger than just the things I did … .’ ”

PiPress tech guy Julio Ojeda-Zapata likes a gizmo that gooses up your car audio. “If you plug your phone or portable music player into your car’s sound system via an auxiliary-style audio jack, this post is for you. Chances are you do not have the most-tricked-out sound set-up on the planet, but a clever device from JBL can make your car audio a lot better if you don’t mind a bit of cord clutter. The MS-2 ‘digital processor’ or ‘car-audio optimizer’ is a pocket-size device with an assortment of sound settings (treble, bass, ‘impact’ and more). To avail yourself of the settings, plug your phone or music player into the MS-2, which connects to your car’s auxiliary port via another audio cable. Then, you’re ready to play (in both senses of that word). Fire up music with a bit of extra kick – I chose a merengue – and start fiddling with the audio settings, each of which have three positions. I made my car cabin vibrate nicely (surely to the dismay of my neighbors as I did this on my quiet street), with both the bass and impact settings on high. I could not perceive much difference in the treble regardless of position, though.” There are a lot of cords … and it cost $200. But it’d be worth it to hear my entire Tijuana Brass collection as it was intended to be heard.

The key phrase here is “could be moot.” But John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune writes that Minnesota is doing a better job of setting up an “Obamacare”-required health-insurance exchange than many other states. “ ‘There are a couple of states that are out ahead of us, but we are fairly close to the front of the pack,’ said Phillip Cryan of the labor union SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. ‘California and Connecticut are further along, but Minnesota has done a great job of catching up incredibly quickly on this.’ Under the federal Affordable Care Act, every state must have a health-insurance exchange, which is intended to help consumers make advantageous choices for insurance plans, by Jan. 1, 2014. To reach that goal, states will have to make most of their big decisions by the end of this year, Cryan said. … Several other states are working out their insurance exchange plans without enabling legislation, Cryan said. If the state does nothing at all, the federal Department of Health and Human Services will impose its own version. ‘You would think (Republicans) would be even more concerned about the federal government setting up an exchange for us having foregone their ability to shape it at the state level,’ he said. The exchange is expected to be used by between 500,000 and a million Minnesotans who aren’t covered through workplace health-insurance plans, or Medicare or Medicaid, Cryan said.

… All of this could be moot, though, if the Supreme Court declares the entire Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional. A ruling is expected in June. Cryan said he believes the court might throw out the individual insurance mandate, but it’s much less likely to throw out the entirety of the act.”

The AP follows the weekend’s sailing tragedy up in Clearwater County. “Family members were asking for prayers Sunday for an 8-year-old boy who remained hospitalized after a sailboat accident that claimed the lives of his two brothers. Isaiah Risland, his two brothers and their father were sailing Friday on Clearwater Lake in northern Minnesota when their boat capsized, throwing them into the frigid water, the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office said. … Two-year-old Jacob and 6-year-old Zech died of hypothermia, the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office said. ‘They were able to bring the oldest one back,’ Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp told the [Bemidji] Pioneer. ‘It’s kind of a miracle the oldest one survived. They had no signs of life.’ … Gadget Soule, Risland’s sister-in-law … watched the boys leave to go sailing, and they were thrilled to take their new sailboat out for the first time. ‘They were all excited to go out and sail with Daddy,’ she said. ‘They lived for him, and he lived for them.’ ”