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Koch-affiliated group blasts stadium supporters for ‘siding with corporate special interests’

Canterbury-Mystic Lake deal approved; confusing community names; Ventura vents; a new Lowry Hotel plan; St. Paul ballpark wrinkle; and more.

Put down your coffee, it’s spit-take time. David Koch — that David Koch — is putting a political hit out on Minnesota legislators who supported the Vikings stadium. Catharine Richert of MPR reports: “Americans for Prosperity Minnesota, the local arm of the conservative Americans for Prosperity, is targeting three state Senate incumbents for supporting the new Vikings stadium. In an unusual twist, two of those targets are Republicans: Sen. Julie Rosen of Fairmont who is running in SD 23 and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria who is running in SD 8. The third, Sen. Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka, is a Democrat running in SD 44. ‘We simply don’t agree with publicly funded stadiums,’ said John Cooney, who is state director of Minnesota’s branch of Americans for Prosperity (AFP). It’s a message made clear in these fliers sent out in Rosen’s, Ingebrigtsen’s and Bonoff’s districts. ‘A nearly half a billion dollar boondoggle taxpayers can’t afford. Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen sided with corporate special interests and his policies are costing taxpayers,’ an example of the flier reads. It calls the Vikings stadium deal a ‘give away’ to corporate special interests.” This has to be some prankster’s brilliant, twisted joke.

Who knew road construction work was THIS dangerous? Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “A road construction worker was struck twice Wednesday morning in Mendota Heights by what authorities suspect was gunfire. The worker, whose identity has yet to be released, was hit first in the wallet he kept in his back pocket and immediately after in his left arm, said State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. Based on X-rays taken at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, the worker was most likely hit by ‘a metal or lead bullet’ twice while directing traffic in a closed lane near Hwy. 110 and Lexington Avenue, Roeske said.”

The Racing Commission has given the Canterbury-Mystic Lake deal a thumbs-up. Jennifer Brooks of the Strib writes: “A divided commission signed off on an offer from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux to pump $75 million from its casino into the purses at Canterbury Park over the next decade. In exchange, Canterbury officials agreed to drop their long running campaign to legalize slot machines at Minnesota racetracks and to join with the tribes to block future racino proposals. The money starts flowing when the horses start running Thursday night. Instead of the expected $100,000, Thursday’s purses will increase by a third and continue to increase all year until Canterbury can hold its place among the top 20 tracks in the nation. The deal, along with an $8.5 million marketing partnership with the tribe’s Mystic Lake casino, is a staggering windfall in a state that has struggled with meager purses and a steadily declining population of racing stock.” Horse people have a right to be jazzed about this one.

I’m with Gregg Cavanaugh in his beef with Twin Cities town names. In his Strib commentary, he says: “As a resident of Maple Grove, I frequently come across people who confuse my city with Maplewood. I’m forced to patiently explain that I am northwest of Minneapolis, not northeast of St. Paul. I’m sure people would also confuse Maple Grove with Maple Plain, if anyone actually lived in Maple Plain. … placing similarly named cities next to each other doesn’t eliminate confusion; it only lessens the consequences. Just ask anyone who lives or works in Brooklyn Center or Brooklyn Park. Now I’m sure that, when the settlers came west in covered wagons from the Brooklyn in New York, they wanted a place to call home. But did they really need two cities? This is not just a suburban problem; it’s endemic to our major cities as well. North Minneapolis is actually northwest of downtown; Northeast is north, and Southeast is northeast. On the other hand, south Minneapolis really is south of downtown, which makes absolutely no sense in context.” I say we start from scratch, but no one gets ‘Edina Center,” “East Edina” or “Edina Plain.”

If you watched — in slack-jawed horror Wednesday’s Senate Banking Committee “questioning” of Chase boss Jamie Dimon, our man, The Body, starts making sense. Tom Crann of MPR interviewed Jesse Ventura. A snippet:

Crann: But you do make an argument in the book for stricter financial regulation?
Ventura: Absolutely. We saw what happened when the Republicans took them off. Wall Street went amuck. These guys were allowed to swindle. Not one of them is going to jail. And yet, get caught with a bag of marijuana and it’s ‘Hasta la vista, baby.’
Crann: In your time here as governor, you certainly spoke to the Chamber of Commerce. You took a trade mission to China, to Cuba. Is it the system here that you are decrying when you’re decrying the big banks, or just the extremity of it?
Ventura: Government’s role is to contain them, otherwise you’re going to have rampant crime. Let’s face it, money is a very good thing, but it can be very, very evil. In the case of Wall Street, I think it’s become very evil there. And I’m all for Wall Street, I’m a capitalist. I just don’t like the people that are the criminals out there that get away with it. CEOs of these health care places are getting paid millions upon millions of dollars, where our health care rates are jumping 38 percent to the average person. I have no problem with government-run health care. In fact, my viewpoint is this: I believe that every citizen in this country should be entitled to the same health care that congressmen and senators get. Aren’t they hypocrites when John Boehner sits out there and derides government-run health care? And what do you think he has? In fact, he has five choices of health care made available to him and his family.”

Perfect. Another bar directly across from St. Paul City Hall.  Says John Welbes in the PiPress: “The Lowry Hotel building in downtown St. Paul has new owners, part of a deal that’s bringing three prominent John Rupp-owned properties out of bankruptcy. Madison Equities, a St. Paul-based real estate firm, bought the Lowry at Fourth and Wabasha streets and plans to open a street-level restaurant and bar in the building across from City Hall by year’s end. Additionally, the entire 11th-floor roof of the Lowry Hotel will open next spring for outdoor dining, tied to the as-yet-unidentified restaurant, said Jim Crockarell, president of Madison Equities. ‘It’s a fabulous outdoor venue’ that will overlook the downtown riverfront, Crockarell said Wednesday, June 13. ‘We look forward to bringing (the Lowry Hotel) back to being a downtown landmark.’ ”

The idea of taking $1.5 million from a neighborhood program … to pay for a stadium … has some opponents. Frederick Melo’s PiPress story says: “St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune is as big a fan as anybody of the idea of bringing a new St. Paul Saints ballpark to downtown St. Paul, but he’s frowning at one of the proposed financing methods. The current idea is for the city to take $1.5 million from its Neighborhood STAR grant program. Thune, who helped launch the ‘sales tax revitalization’ program in the 1990s, said he’s confident the city will find the money elsewhere. The program directs a few hundred thousand dollars each year to neighborhood development projects, and $1.5 million — even spread over time — is bound to be missed. ‘I was the author of the Neighborhood STAR program, and we promised we would not … balance the city’s budget with it, and we’ve started to do that, and it’s absolutely wrong,’ he said.” What Dave needs is a visit from a commissioner.

The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal got its hands on details of the infamous incident where one Wisconsin Supreme Court justice (David Prosser) was accused of doing something with his hands around another justice’s neck. Patrick Marley and Allison Bauter write: “Meeting minutes show the commission voted 6-0 in January to file the complaint against Prosser. The commission subsequently received a letter from Prosser’s attorney, Steve Meyer, that noted justices who witnessed the altercation between Prosser and [Justice Ann] Bradley gave conflicting accounts. … The matter has been stalled ever since as Prosser has tried to force justices off the case because they witnessed the incident or for other reasons. … Much of the formal appearance centered on a separate incident, in February 2010, when Prosser during a closed meeting of the court told Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson he would ‘destroy her’ and called her a ‘bitch.’ In his testimony before the commission, Prosser said he believed the judicial ethics code does not apply to justices when they are in such closed conferences. ‘If you (on the commission) are going to assume the role of kind of oversight and review and criticism of things that are said confidentially in closed conference … you are assuming an enormous power and you’re completely unraveling the freedom of speech,’ he testified. ‘It will have a chilling effect on discussion. It will be contrary to our rules.’ ” You know what chills a thoughtful discussion? Calling someone a “bitch.”

Steven Hayward at Power Line is very upset … today … about liberal editors and their double standard. He writes: “I suppose I shouldn’t repeat the axiom that if liberals didn’t have double standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all, so I think I’ll start using this title, ‘Editorships and Double Standards,’ which gimlet-eyed readers may recognize as an homage to Jeane Kirkpatrick’s famous essay, ‘Dictatorships and Double Standards.’ What prompts this reflection is the following obvious media double standard: we have been told repeatedly in recent weeks that we shouldn’t – or can’t, or something – ‘re-litigate’ President Obama’s ties to the Rev. Wright, or anything else from his past.  (Strange, too, that the formal legal term ‘litigate’ has suddenly become a common usage for political vetting.)  But when it comes to media coverage of George Allen, who won the Virginia primary yesterday to face off against Tim Kaine for the U.S. Senate in Virginia, it’s ‘all Macaca all the time.’ … And I predict it will be ‘widely reported’ in this election cycle, too. So watch for how many times Allen is asked how he will overcome his ‘Macaca’ moment, and how many times Obama is asked about anything from his past.” So … if we tell you you can’t say something, you won’t. Is that right?