Why, Mr. Brodkorb, this is so … indiscreet of you. Megan Boldt of the PiPress writes: “Ousted state Senate Republican insider Michael Brodkorb says GOP leaders put the proposed marriage amendment on the Minnesota ballot this fall not to protect family values but to drive social conservatives to the polls. … Pollster Bill Morris, who chaired the state Republican Party three decades ago, said that for any political insider, it’s no surprise that the marriage amendment could have been put on the ballot to drive voter turnout. … Brodkorb, who said he plans to vote against the amendment, wouldn’t say if he regretted helping to orchestrate that strategy for Senate leaders. ‘If it’s about providing Minnesotans a voice on the issue, then great,’ he said. ‘But I’m voting no. And a lot of my Republican friends are voting no. That’s just a reality.’ Brodkorb said the GOP strategy could backfire, especially for legislators in suburbs such as Edina, a traditionally Republican area where the city council has backed a resolution opposing the marriage amendment.”
Score one for the Taxpayers League. In the Strib story, by Rochelle Olson, she says: “St. Paul leaders reversed themselves Wednesday by deciding to put the design-build contract for the Lowertown ballpark out to bid rather than hand the job to Ryan Companies without competition. City leaders huddled for several hours late Tuesday and made the announcement of the change Wednesday. In a news release, Mayor Chris Coleman said the city acted ‘within the full authority of the law’ in giving Ryan the design-build contract. But he said that in the interest of ‘transparency,’ the contract would be reopened for competitive bids. … The decision was announced five days after the Taxpayers League of Minnesota filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s lack of a competitive bidding process for the $54 million future home of the St. Paul Saints.”
Police woman Anne Marie Rasmusson is having the last laugh at the lunkheads who were ogling … her driver license information. The AP story notes: “[The] former police officer who accused other officers of illegally accessing her driver’s license information has reached tentative settlements with St. Paul and other cities worth $665,000. Anne Marie Rasmusson, who worked for Eden Prairie and St. Paul, claimed that more than 140 officers looked at her private data between 2005 and 2012 without a legitimate reason. The lawsuit cited the demotion of one Eden Prairie officer who encouraged subordinates to look up Rasmusson because she had an attractive new look. Rasmusson, 38, said officers asked her out after she retired from the force, divorced and lost 100 pounds.” Were all those guys that hard up for something to do?
Kelly Schlicht at Fox 11 – TV over by Green Bay reports: “The new attraction in Redgranite? A controversial sign. It reads: ‘Hang in there Obama,’ next to a picture of a noose. ‘A lot of people find it offensive,’ said Rachel Kern, who lives across the street. ‘It’s definitely a very big eye catch to people driving past.’ From further away, you can really only read the larger print that says ‘HANG OBAMA’ in bold, red letters. You can see the outline of the noose. But if you get up close, you can see the smaller print that says, ‘in there.’ And this message has some people confused. … ‘That got your attention. It got you to look at the sign,’ said Thomas Savka, who made the sign. He claims he’s actually pro-Obama. He says he even put that in small print in the corner of the sign. ‘It’s my attitude for it. Everybody’s picking on Obama. It’s the attitude of ‘hang in there, buddy!’ It isn’t over ‘til you’re done kicking,’ said Savka.”
Those damned smart phones … The story by Anne D’Innocenzio of the AP says: “In the latest effort to beat Amazon.com at its game, Target says that, for the first time, it will match prices that customers find on identical products at select online competitors this holiday season. Target Corp.’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel told about 80 reporters at a company media conference Tuesday, Oct. 16, that the retailers include Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Bestbuy.com, Toysrus.com and babiesrus.com.”
Not so long ago, a certain presidential candidate was bemoaning the sluggish mortgage industry. I doubt he’ll make mention of this AP story: “U.S. Bancorp’s net income leapt 14 percent in the third quarter as the regional bank made more loans to companies and people seeking mortgages. The bank, based in Minneapolis, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, reported strong increases in fee and interest income in the quarter ended Sept. 30. Its stock rose nearly 2 percent in early trading. … Strong growth in mortgage lending helped boost the company’s fee income and expand its balance sheet. Mortgage banking revenue more than doubled, to $519 million from $245 million a year ago. The average value of residential mortgages owned by U.S. Bancorp leapt 20 percent, to $40.97 billion from $34.03 billion a year earlier. Commercial lending increased even more.” Clearly, a failed recovery.
At The Pew Center, Jake Grovum looks at the Voter ID fight around the country — and here — and says: “In recent months, courts have struck down voter identification laws in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, heartening critics who feared the laws would turn away legitimate voters in November. But because the judges declined to reject the laws as unconstitutional, voter ID opponents may be winning battles but losing the broader war. … The battle for public opinion is also playing out in Minnesota, where a voter ID constitutional amendment will be on the ballot this November. The GOP-controlled legislature saw its first attempt vetoed by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton in 2011. This year, lawmakers bypassed him to put it directly before voters. As Election Day nears, there’s evidence that increasing partisanship over voter ID has taken its toll. In Minnesota, voter ID laws once enjoyed nearly 80 percent support, University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs says, but that number has plummeted. Jacobs sees a similar dynamic playing out in other states. … ‘The debate on voter ID now is as much a referendum on which party you identify with,’ Jacobs says. ‘Party identification colors everything.’ ” True enough. But complete information and logic are also taking their toll.
I hope someone is keeping a list of all the lockouts … Graydon Royce of the Strib says: “Management of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on Wednesday said it has delivered a “voting offer” to its musicians, in search of a resolution of their contract dispute. If the union does not accept the terms by 6 p.m. Sunday, management said it will lock out the musicians and cancel concerts through Nov. 4. If that comes to pass, both major orchestras in the Twin Cities will be locked out for the first time in history. Musicians at the Minnesota Orchestra were locked out after the two sides failed to reach agreement on Oct. 1. The Twin Cities are also part of a national trend. Both the Atlanta and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras locked out musicians in September.”
Chris Stanford of WCCO-TV reports: “For the first time, solid numbers are being collected in Minnesota on how concussions really affect high school athletes. The Minnesota Department of Health is tracking concussions at 42 high schools. Through the first seven weeks of the fall sports season, 373 student athletes have been diagnosed with a concussion. According to one expert, the number seems to be on par with previous years. This study is now providing a number for the issue.”