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Brodkorb huddles with GOP leaders

Downtown shooting latest incident; state collects $1 million in mortgage settlement; Delta tests self-service turnstile; Southdale  influence cited; and more.

Oh, the lucky fly on the wall for this one … . The AP reports that Michael Brodkorb had a private meeting with two GOP senators: “Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said Monday that he met for about 20 minutes with Michael Brodkorb. Fellow Republican Sen. Julianne Ortman was also present. …  Brodkorb has taken steps to sue the Senate, some senators and various staff members. It has been a sore point for the GOP because the Senate has already racked up $85,000 in legal bills. Senjem and Brodkorb refused to disclose what was discussed at the meeting.” And, according to City Pages, Brodkorb’s lawyers were surprised and miffed by the “unsanctioned” meeting.

Four gunshot victims … downtown … is big news. Matt McKinney of the Strib adds to the tale of the 2 a.m. shootout in front of the Gay 90s club: “The shootings occurred on a night that has brought intense police scrutiny in the past: The late Sunday to early Monday night crowd often draws younger people out for “18 and older” nights hosted by some clubs. It’s also a night that’s seen a fair number of shootings and violence. Violent crime is up 60 percent downtown so far this year; it’s up 16 percent citywide so far this year, according to police statistics.”

The state added another $1 million in penalties from giant banks involved in various mortgage problems. The PiPress story says: “The Minnesota Department of Commerce collected $1 million in penalties this week from a $25 billion national mortgage settlement announced in February. Under the settlement, distressed Minnesota homeowners are eligible for up to $280 million in mortgage relief. Forty-nine states including Minnesota joined the settlement which involves the nation’s five largest national mortgage lenders: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and GMAC/Ally Financial. The negotiated settlement is aimed at helping homeowners who were harmed by the housing bubble and the national foreclosure wave. … According to state law, penalties retrieved by the Commerce Department through the settlement are deposited into the state’s general fund. Up to $41.5 million in penalties collected by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office will be delivered directly to borrowers who harmed by the banks’ practices.” But …I was told Barney Frank caused the mortgage problem. Isn’t he paying penalties?

We are getting one step closer to flying without interacting with a single Delta employee. Wendy Lee of the Strib writes that our beloved hometown airline has yet another new high-tech cure for human interaction. “Delta Air Lines recently tested a self-service turnstile that lets fliers scan their own boarding passes. If implemented, the device could make it possible to bypass all interaction with airline employees, from the time travelers enter the airport until they’re on the plane. ‘We’re into the age of speed. We’re into the age of trusting technology,’ said Mary Tabacchi, a professor who teaches airline management at Cornell University. ‘Airlines will find it a very useful tool.’ At least 17 airlines in Europe and Asia use self-boarding machines and several U.S. carriers are testing the devices, according to the International Air Transport Association. The experimentation comes as airlines search for ways to cut down on labor costs, a large part of their operations.” Are you telling me airlines are still paying employees?

I think about this every time I shop at Abercrombie & Fitch … Tom Webb of the PiPress reports: “Southdale Center has been named one of “Ten Buildings That Changed America,” joining a distinguished list that includes masterworks by Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright and others. The list was assembled in preparation for a PBS series airing in 2013. The 10 buildings were chosen by a panel of architects and historians. Southdale’s claim to fame is being the first enclosed shopping mall in America. When the Edina mall opened in 1956, it created a sensation, and became the prototype for hundreds of shopping malls throughout the country. … Southdale was designed by Los Angeles-based architect Victor Gruen and was the brainchild of the Dayton retailing family. In the decades since, the enclosed mall has been expanded and altered and is currently undergoing a renovation aimed at restoring some of its faded luster. The PBS series will feature 10 buildings, mostly masterpieces by legendary architects.”

Set your timer … for the first “So why don’t you require helmets in cars, moron?” email. The Strib runs the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial on motorcycle helmet use. “[T]here is clear evidence that mandatory helmet laws result in more motorcyclists wearing helmets. That’s reason enough for Wisconsin to reexamine its partial helmet law. Here’s another: Helmet laws save money. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month estimated that in 2010, more than $3 billion was saved because of helmet use nationwide. Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. … When motorcyclists are hurt, everyone pays through higher insurance premiums — or in the case of uninsured riders (and unhelmeted riders are more likely to be uninsured than other riders, the CDC says) — the government pays. Under Wisconsin’s law, only motorcyclists under age 18, or those holding an instructional permit, are required to wear a helmet. In the state last year, 92 percent of those killed in motorcycle crashes were not wearing a helmet.” But, I mean, really, who didn’t already know that?

Sarah Horner of the PiPress reports that Maplewood is now on record opposing the GOP’s marriage amendment: “The number of Minnesota cities opposing the proposed marriage amendment is in the double digits. Ten cities statewide have gone on record against the November ballot question, which seeks to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state constitution. The number represents a small fraction of Minnesota’s roughly 850 cities. Maplewood was among three cities to recently join the ranks of those opposed, along with Robbinsdale and Crystal.”

The judge cuts the guy a break on his murder conviction, in part for showing remorse, and the guy laughs through the sentencing? Emily Gurnon of the PiPress says: “Adrian Flowers laughed and smiled throughout his sentencing in the murder of Dekota Galtney. … In the end, [Judge Thomas] Mott sentenced Flowers, 22, of St. Paul, to about two years less than what had been agreed upon by the prosecution and defense in the plea deal. The judge said he gave Flowers the lower sentence because of his early guilty plea, his waiver of a potential self-defense or defense-of-others claim, his expression of remorse and his lack of a serious criminal record. Mott noted that he received a letter from Flowers, via his attorney, that was unusual compared with communications he has received from other defendants. ‘It’s much more articulate, much more thoughtful, with a much more positive approach to your future in terms of what you hope to accomplish,’ Mott said.” Doesn’t murder count as “a serious criminal record”?

The Court of Appeals was not swayed by fears of “shadow flicker.” Madeleine Baran at MPR writes: “The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a wind turbine project in Goodhue County, over the objections of an advocacy group that argued noise and ‘shadow flicker’ from the 397-feet-high turbines could harm the health of nearby residents. The Court’s ruling, issued Monday, upheld the earlier decision of an administrative law judge and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to approve a permit for AWA Goodhue Wind to install 50 wind turbines about 1,500 feet away from homes.”