Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Despite advice, Bills’ TV ad attacks Klobuchar on Petters

New marriage amendment ad; money pours into amendment fights; Twins happy  in Fort Myers; electricity use drops; wolf hunting licenses below expectations; and more.

GOP Senate candidate Kurt Bills is operating on a fraction of Amy Klobuchar’s campaign budget, hence the choice of subject matter for his TV ad is kind of  a critical one. Tom Scheck at MPR writes: “The ad alleges DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar did not pursue charges against convicted swindler Tom Petters because he gave her campaign contributions. Klobuchar’s campaign said the allegations are false and are being pushed by a desperate candidate who is behind in the polls. The ad says Klobuchar decided against prosecuting Petters even though she had evidence of his crimes. … [Petters] trustee, Doug Kelley, said the allegations in Bills’ ad are preposterous. ‘To base a serious ad on testimony which has been so thoroughly discredited is irresponsible,’ Kelley said. ‘I would expect a serious candidate for high office in this state to go out and be careful about allegations such as that.’ Kelley, who said he is a lifelong Republican, said Osskopp approached him earlier this year to see if he had anything the campaign could use against Klobuchar. Kelley said he told Osskopp he was barking up the wrong tree.” In other words … probably not the best choice of material.

On another ad front … Sasha Aslainian of MPR reports: “A new television ad from supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment on marriage claims that if marriage is redefined, children could be taught about same-sex marriage in school. … This fourth ad from Minnesota for Marriage, the main group working to pass the amendment, features a Massachusetts couple, David and Tonia Parker. Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. Two years later, the Parkers sued their son’s school after his teacher read a book to second graders that featured a prince marrying another prince. … Fact-checkers, including Minnesota Public Radio’s Poligraph, have labeled the claims in the ad ‘misleading,’ since the Massachusetts school was using the book as part of diversity curriculum which pre-dates the legalization of same-sex marriage.” Do you detect a theme?

Even more cash is flowing at the two amendment issues. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “According to public records, two big donors have given Minnesota for Marriage, the main effort to pass the amendment to define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman, $550,000. Grace Church in Eden Prairie gave the group $50,000 and the Minnesota Family Council, which works in conjunction with Minnesota for Marriage, transferred over $500,000. … The campaign to defeat the voter ID amendment, called Our Vote Our Future, also [saw] a large influx of cash in the last few days. St. Paul’s TakeAction Political Fund, which has been working closely with the anti-voter ID campaign, transferred over $23,000 on Thursday; America Votes, out of Washington, DC, ponied up $100,000 and the national arm of the AARP donated $12,000 on Tuesday.” The slide in enthusiasm for the voting amendment has been kind of amazing.

Apparently the Twins like Fort Myers. David Dorsey of the News-Press down in Florida writes: “The Lee County government and the Minnesota Twins are on the verge of extending their lease by 30 years. … details of the agreement, including plans to revamp the concourse, add seating sections and build a new gift shop and concession area will be released in full Friday. The cost is expected to be about $45 million, Lee County Commissioner John Manning said, with $15 million being contributed by the state of Florida in $500,000 increments over 30 years. The Twins also are contributing $13.5 million to the project in the form of $500,000 per year in rent, an increase from the current $300,000.” Dang. With that kind of money, they might be able to buy a decent pitcher.

Come on, people! Plug in! Keep those plasma sets burning! Use more juice! Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “Minnesota’s largest electric utility is still making money. But its customers in the Midwest aren’t demanding more power the way they used to. Xcel Energy Inc. reported a 17 percent jump in earnings per share for the third quarter but warned that electricity sales remain slack and that it will seek a Minnesota rate increase. … So far this year, the company’s Minnesota region, which includes parts of North Dakota and South Dakota, saw power sales drop 0.3 percent when adjusted for year-to-year weather variations and the leap year. One customer, the Verso paper mill in Sartell, Minn., which shut down after a fire on Memorial Day and won’t be reopening, accounted for 1.3 percent of Xcel’s Minnesota-region electric sales, and 0.6 percent of all Xcel power sales, Madden said.”

Article continues after advertisement

Unsold wolf hunting licenses will go back on sale bext week. Tom Robertson of MPR writes: “More than 600 early season wolf hunting licenses will go up for sale next week after going unsold to winners of a lottery. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say 2,985 lottery winners purchased wolf licenses by the midnight Wednesday deadline. The remaining 615 will go up for sale at noon on Monday for people who applied for this fall’s lottery but were not selected. If there are any wolf hunt licenses left after that, they’ll be made available to the public on Nov. 1.”

Strib business columnist Lee Schaefer comes to Best Buy’s defense against all the doom-and-gloom-sayers: “[C]ritics are pounding Best Buy for even small steps that seem common-sense positive, like selling a Best Buy house brand of tablet computer. … One investor commentary ran with a headline ‘Best Buy’s Worst Idea Yet,’ and another read ‘Best Buy’s Chance of Survival Just Got Worse.’ … there is another case to be made as well, and if not exactly bullish at least it is something other than apocalyptic. Here are some things to consider, gleaned from analyst reports. This holiday season Windows 8 and the new Wii U game console may bring more shoppers back to categories that have been under pressure. In mobile devices, Best Buy may continue to take market share. Best Buy should be able to internally generate all the capital it needs to implement a new strategic plan.” I believe the word is “wishful.”

As campaign chicanery goes, this one is kind of like illegal parking. Megan Boldt of the PiPress says: “The Minnesota DFL party claims a Republican staffer posed as a Democrat in a letter to the editor, urging readers to cast their ballots for a write-in candidate over the DFL-endorsed contender in a legislative race. In the complaint filed with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings on Thursday, Oct. 25, Democrats argue Stephen Sundquist submitted a letter to the Brainerd Dispatch calling for fellow DFLers to vote for write-in candidate David Strand instead of endorsee Joe Radinovich in the House District 10B race. … House Majority Leader Matt Dean said Sundquist no longer works for the HRCC and Republican leaders take the claim seriously. ‘It’s not something that we condone and it’s not something we stand by,’ Dean said. ‘We will continue to look into the complaint.’ ” To paraphrase President Muffley in “Dr. Strangelove,” “Gentlemen, there are no dirty tricks in a political campaign!”

Blogger Bruce Murphy analyzes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s decision to not make political endorsements: “I’m not shocked by the decision. Amid the bitter partisan divide of 21st century America, it has become increasingly difficult for a ‘mainstream’ newspaper to find the middle of the road. There’s not much middle left, and that seems all the more true in Wisconsin, which became ground zero for partisanship in the dispute over collective bargaining rights. … I think it’s an inevitable and probably smart decision by the newspaper, but it does present it with a big challenge: to reinvent the editorial page. The fact is that policy editorials, the kind listed by [Chicago Tribune editorial page editor Bruce] Dold, typically get very little readership, whereas candidate endorsements get much more discussion and exposure, including in ads by candidates. Will the newspaper continue to devote the resources, the staff time it takes to write thoughtful, policy wonk editorials that get low readership? Once you dump editorial endorsements, isn’t the whole editorial page up for grabs? … It probably didn’t help the Journal Sentinel that the newspaper first announced it would make no endorsement in the recall race, then argued against the recall and finally endorsed Walker. It was a monumental flip-flop that stoked additional outrage from liberals, with some calling for a boycott of the paper.” So remind me again, other than the CYA-ad revenue issue, what’s important about “finding the middle of the road”? Isn’t “better” or “right” good enough?