Predominantly black churches are getting a special push from the pro-marriage amendment crowd. Baird Helgeson of the Strib says: “A number of conservative black churches have lined up in favor of the amendment, but NAACP President Ben Jealous on Monday said that “the notion that this state would create an amendment to its constitution to revoke a human right should send a shudder down the spine of all of us.” In other states, supporters of traditional marriage have relied on strong backing from blacks to pass measures against same-sex marriage. Minnesotans for Marriage, the primary group backing the amendment, has worked hard at recruiting churches and has particularly targeted blacks with billboards around the Twin Cities that feature a handsome young black bride and groom, along with a plea to vote for the amendment. The Rev. Jerry McAfee, president of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention, said the plea is one he’ll relay to his followers. ‘My plan today is to vote yes, direct my people to vote yes,’ McAfee said. The irony is not what you’d call digestible.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar was talking down accusations she gave soft treatment to Tom Petters. Tom Scheck’s MPR story says: “Klobuchar’s re-election campaign is calling allegations made in a story published by a conservative website ‘inaccurate.’ The Daily Caller reported last week that Klobuchar ‘helped keep a multibillion-dollar Ponzi schemer out of prison in the late 1990s when she was the County Attorney in Hennepin County, Minnesota.’ The report also said Klobuchar had enough evidence to prosecute Tom Petters but declined to prosecute. … In a statement released today, Bills also wanted to know why Klobuchar didn’t prosecute Petters in 1999, demanded to know where additional evidence went and why she contributed political contributions from Petters to charity instead of returning the money to the victims of Petters crimes.” Based on previous reporting, it seems unlikely the charges will gain much traction.
As beloved hometown airline Delta steadily drains employees out of the state, bankrupt Pinnacle Airways is thinking of moving in. John Welbes of the PiPress writes: “The Memphis, Tenn.-based airline holding company, which flies regional jets for Delta Air Lines, started looking at potential sites for its headquarters as it “explores every opportunity to reduce costs,” said Joe Williams, a Pinnacle spokesman. The final report still is several weeks away, Williams said Monday, Oct. 22, as the bankruptcy process continues. Once the headquarters study is done, Pinnacle’s board of directors will review it. The airline’s unsecured creditors and the bankruptcy court judge also are expected to weigh in on a decision. Pinnacle’s Memphis headquarters employs about 600 in finance, accounting, corporate communications and information technology jobs.”
You can bet this one will get national coverage. Abby Simons of the Strib reports: “Rebecca Rachelle Hill told police she and her pre-teen daughter regularly liked to do the same things. Their shared interests included a heroin habit that left the 12-year-old so addicted she was hospitalized for drug withdrawal last week, according to felony charges against Hill. She told police she regularly gave the girl heroin and marijuana and brought her along on shoplifting trips. ‘I’ve been working narcotics for two years, and this was one of the worst ones I’ve dealt with,’ Bloomington Police Detective Christopher Yates said Monday. ‘I’ve seen cases with kids involved, but never where the mother was ever actually getting the kid high.’ “
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting money into Minnesota’s fight against the marriage amendment. Jennifer Peltz of the AP says: “Bloomberg is poised to spend $500,000 of his personal fortune on gay marriage campaigns in Maine, Minnesota and Washington state, he said Monday, following up on a major political spending push the billionaire businessman-turned-politician announced last week. … Monday’s move deepened Bloomberg’s involvement in the issue outside New York, and it reflected his vow to give at least $10 million by Election Day to moderate candidates and to ballot initiatives supporting gay marriage and other issues around the country.”
They’re playing it like the big boys up in Ramsey. Paul Levy of the Strib says: “City officials in Ramsey recently found themselves scrambling to solve an unusual problem: how to pay $1.1 million to relocate a fellow council member’s liquor store to city-owned property without violating a just-discovered state law preventing such deals. The solution — to route the money through a different city agency — unraveled when one of their colleagues, mindful of Ramsey’s troubled recent history, worried about angering residents. … Mayor Bob Ramsey and other council members defend their actions to develop the land, which include paying $15,000 a month to a private firm to market the site to prospective tenants and providing an apartment developer with an $8 million subsidy. But past and current council members, developers and key Ramsey staff who left the city in recent months say the council has little to show for decisions that have cost taxpayers millions.”
There’ll be no long wait to get a wolf-hunting license. A PiPress story says: “As of Friday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had sold about 2,000 of the roughly 3,600 licenses available. That’s about 44 percent who still have yet to buy. ‘I’m not sure what to make of it,’ said the DNR’s Dan Stark, who’s overseeing the state’s first regulated wolf hunting season. The 3,600 names were selected in a random drawing from about 23,500 total applications for the state’s first regulated wolf hunt. Stark noted that nearly 20 percent of applicants applied the last day. He also noted that, under an old system, bear hunting lottery winners often failed to purchase their licenses, although not at rates close to the apparent procrastination rate seen in the wolf tag pool.”
St. Paul’s crime lab is taking another hit. Madeleine Baran of MPR reports: “The work of the troubled St. Paul Police crime lab has come under question in yet another drug case. The case is one of more than a hundred in which evidence was sent to the state-run Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab for retesting after the St. Paul crime lab suspended drug testing in July amid allegations of shoddy science. The case marks the second time the findings of the St. Paul crime lab have been contradicted by the BCA’s retesting. The latest case began when Dakota County authorities asked the St. Paul crime lab to determine the identity of a pill confiscated from a suspect, said Dakota County prosecutor Phil Prokopowicz. Even before the lab tested the pill, law enforcement officials assumed it was a commonly abused medication, based on the pill’s color and markings, and the defendant was charged with fifth-degree possession. Much to the surprise of law enforcement officials, the St. Paul lab found the pill was not an illegal drug or a controlled substance, Prokopowicz said.”
Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib puts up a piece on the state’s “bundlers,” the well-connected characters who score big money for campaigns. “Heavy hitters in Minnesota are bundling massive amounts of cash for President Obama’s re-election battle, with a handful of well-known names raising more than $100,000 apiece, much of it to be spent elsewhere in the campaign’s crucial final weeks. Meanwhile, groups outside Minnesota are flooding the race between freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack and DFL challenger Rick Nolan with so much cash that the Eighth Congressional District contest is fast becoming one of the most expensive in the country. So far, according to the Federal Election Commission, outside interests have spent more than $6 million, dwarfing what the candidates themselves have spent.”
As for Monday night’s final presidential debate, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line says, without a great deal of enthusiasm: “I assume that Romney’s approach was based on his reading of polls and focus group results. He and his team must believe (1) that Romney is ahead and (2) that what undecided and independent voters most want to hear from him when it comes to foreign policy is that he is knowledgeable, peaceful, and presidential sounding. Is this belief correct or was Romney being too cautious? I don’t know. But Obama sounded like a candidate who fears he is losing, so perhaps his team is reading things the same way Team Romney is. Moreover, as the debate went on, Obama seemed to betray some frustration. Maybe it was the frustration of a man who was winning the debate contest he thought he had entered only to realize that he might be competing in a somewhat different contest that wasn’t going quite so well. Who won? It would be reasonable to score the debate a draw. But the kind of draw that, if anything, may well have helped Romney move another small step toward the presidency, assuming his reading of the current status of the race is correct.” OK, I give. What was the “somewhat different contest”?