Suburbs see boom in upscale apartments

Susan Feyder of the Strib looks at the boom in upscale apartments in the exurbs: “ [T]he building boom in upscale apartments is expanding from the urban core to the suburbs. ‘In general there hasn’t been significant apartment development in the suburbs for about 15 years,’ said Mary Bujold, president of multifamily housing consultant Maxfield Research Inc. ‘We’re seeing this building activity leapfrog into areas where there’s a significant amount of demand for new, upper-end product.’ As home ownership rates here and nationwide continue to fall, even younger suburban communities have recognized that they need to offer more choices in their housing stock. Expanded mass transit networks are also helping make suburban apartments a more attractive option.”

Neal St. Anthony of the Strib smells a significant sale in the future for a Twin Cities company: “Even with strong financial prospects and a recent management overhaul, Northern Oil and Gas Co.’s stock is trading at a significant discount to its peers rushing to extract black gold on the North Dakota and Montana plains. Analysts intimate that a sale may be the ultimate endgame. … Northern is not an oil field operator, but it buys minority interests in fields and lets production companies do the drilling. Northern pays its proportionate share of the drilling costs and gets its share of the proceeds from the sale of oil and gas. … Northern is considering switching from a corporate structure, which pays corporate income taxes, to a master limited partnership, in which profits flow to owners who pay taxes at their personal rate. The partnership units are traded like stocks. There also is industry talk about an eventual acquisition of Northern by a larger player in the oil trade.”

A dead cow is just a dead cow, unless it’s a prize cow. The AP reports: “Madison police have cited a 26-year-old woman for inattentive driving in a crash that killed a prize-winning cow returning from the World Dairy Expo. Police said the woman was reading a text message while driving Saturday night. She allegedly swerved into a cattle trailer in the next lane, causing the trailer to crash into a ditch and overturn. Inside the trailer were eight prize-winning Jersey cows from the Dairy Expo valued at about $500,000.”

Hogs don’t have it much better. Cody Winchester of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader says: “The federal government in September briefly suspended meat inspections at the John Morrell & Co. packing plant in Sioux Falls because a truck driver was beating his hogs. Because uninspected meat cannot be sold, Morrell had to shut down the kill line for about six hours after the early-morning incident Sept. 8. The plant processes more than 17,000 hogs on a typical day. … ‘As the pigs approached the ramp they appeared to balk and they stopped moving, at which point the operator escalated the use of the rattle paddle with all the hits landing on the backs of the hogs,’ according to inspection notes quoted in a letter notifying Morrell of the suspension. ‘He then started swearing and (choked) down on the rattle paddle with both hands so that he could make a complete swing and repeatedly (15 to 20) hit the back of the hog directly in front of him. This was an overhead chopping action with as much force as the operator could muster.’ ” Just so I’m clear … the pigs are going to … the slaughterhouse.

The AP also has a story on GOP Congressman John Kline’s situation in the 2nd District: “Kline, the 65-year-old House Education Committee chairman, is seen in political circles as a potential contender for Senate or governor in 2014. But first he faces Democrat Mike Obermueller, a 39-year-old attorney and former state lawmaker who says Kline’s support of a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare is out of step with Minnesota’s reshaped 2nd District. Both candidates are expected to start airing TV ads Tuesday as the race shifts into the final weeks with extra attention paid to the new parts of the district, including West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Mendota Heights and Wabasha. Those blue-tinged communities replaced solidly red areas such as Carver and Chanhassen. … Obermueller said his television commercials will give voters a better sense of who he is and what he stands for. But he lags Kline in the money chase. In late September, Obermueller said he was still working to raise $1 million, while Kline said he had collected more than $2 million.”

A Strib editorial looks at the matter of “disparate impact”: “Disparate-impact rules prohibit an institution from using policies or practices that have an unjustified adverse impact on groups that have often suffered discrimination. Those groups include people of color, women, seniors and the disabled. Plaintiffs bringing complaints in such cases must demonstrate that a pattern of behaviors or policies resulted in discrimination. About a dozen St. Paul landlords used disparate-impact arguments to sue the city of St. Paul, arguing that the city’s aggressive housing code enforcement cost them more to make repairs or in some cases forced them to sell their buildings. They claim that the city’s actions made them close their properties and force out low-income and mostly minority renters, thus having a disparate, discriminatory impact on those renters. The city counters that the property owners were slumlords who consistently violated housing codes. … Courts at all levels should recognize the continued value of holding institutions, business and government accountable for fair and equitable treatment in housing, employment, lending and voting.”

First things first. Tom Scheck of MPR reports: “State Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina, is in a dogfight of a campaign with Democrat Melisa Franzen to win a state Senate seat in the western suburbs. The race is gaining plenty of attention with outside groups spending heavily on the race. … Despite that close contest, Downey isn’t taking a run for higher office off the table. … Downey is one of several Republicans who are mentioned as possible candidates for governor in 2014. The others include former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and state Sen. Dave Thompson.”

At LeftMn, Steve Timmer takes his shots at the Dan McGrath of pro-voting amendment Minnesota Majority: “On Thursday night, there was a Debate Minnesota, um, debate between Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority (in favor) and Doran Schrantz of [ISAIAH] (and the Our Vote, Our Future campaign) (against) the so-called “voter ID” amendment. You can go to The Uptake and watch a video of the debate; we’ve embedded it here at LeftMN, too. It was a remarkable performance by Dan McGrath. Self-assured — even arrogant — in seeming command of the facts; the problem is that most of what he said is complete — I’m being charitable here — baloney.
The statement that really jumps out … is that ‘thousands of dead people are registered voters in Minnesota.’ This not mere hyperbole; it is a knowing canard. … Minnesota Majority and Dan McGrath submitted their best ‘five dead people voting’ cases to the Secretary of State’s office, and not a single one of them checked out. Each was a case of a voter signing on the wrong line in the poll book, or some other administrative error.” Although … I think I can make a pretty good case for rampant, brain-dead, zombie voting in recent elections.

I’m sure Ron Erhardt is delighted by the attention … Michael Brodkorb continues his analysis of state House races, saying: “I will be updating the top-20 list over the coming weeks based on developments on the campaign trail. The biggest change is in the race between Bill Glahn and former Representative Ron Erhardt.  From my conversations today, the current belief is that Erhardt is pulling away from Glahn.  A win by Erhardt to replace current Representative Keith Downey would be a pick-up for the House DFL Caucus. Two battleground areas for control of the Minnesota Legislature will be Edina and Rochester. In 2010, Republicans targeted all of the seats in Woodbury and Eagan.  The DFL will be doing the same in 2012 with Rochester and Edina, so keep a watch on all the races for both the House and Senate in these areas.”

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Max Hailperin on 10/08/2012 - 07:03 am.

    Dan McGrath is more subtle than that

    I don’t think Steve Timmer is giving McGrath enough credit for subtlety. Note that McGrath’s apparently factual claim was that dead people are registered, not that they are voting. (He has also suggested there are no safeguard against voting in the names of these dead people and that we wouldn’t even know if it were happening. As Timmer points out, these aren’t true. But that’s not what’s in the quote about thousands.)

    As Timmer points out, we’ve got good systems in place for removing people from the roster pretty quickly after they die. Tens of thousands of registered Minnesotans die each year, so if there are only single-digit thousands of dead people left on the roster, that in itself would be proof that they aren’t lingering for even a significant fraction of a year. A couple weeks of lag would be enough to get you over a thousand.

    So probably McGrath is right, and there are that number of recently deceased in the system at the moment. They’ll be gone in a couple weeks, but replaced by new deaths. This is a totally unremarkable fact that would be expected whenever you try keeping a list of millions of individuals whose ages are skewed towards the upper end.

    McGrath’s trick is to make this unremarkable fact seem much more sinister than it is by glossing over the huge distinction between being registered and voting. He also uses a number that sounds large (“thousands”) without putting it in context. What percent of registered voters is that? Or said another way, what fraction of all the registered dead individuals in the state would have had to come out to vote in order to swing even the Coleman-Franken race?

    Put in that context, it stops seeming like such a big deal. Given that no one is voting in even a single dead person’s name (as Timmer points out), the idea of someone systematically voting in the names of one-third of all the dead-but-still-registered people in the state seems truly unbelievable. That would be one heck of a zombie-master.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/08/2012 - 07:42 am.

      Measurement error

      No one ever talks about the science of measurement error, and the fact that no system of measurement (which is what an election is) is ever perfect. There is always some level of measurement error. That is why recounts are triggered when the split in vote count is within a certain percentage. And the percentage should be determined by what is the known level of measurement error.

      The trick in any system of measurement is to reduce measurement error, and in Minnesota, our post-election audits show that our vote counts are quite accurate. In other words, our measurement error is very low.

      People who think any election will ever attain 100% accuracy do not understand the science of measurement error and are chasing after a concept that is not attainable.

      Too bad we have so many legislators and members of the electorate who are automatically suspicious of anything that has the word “science” attached to it . . . . .

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/08/2012 - 07:24 am.

    Ethics and economics

    On the beating of the hogs: It’s a question of both ethics and economics.

    Economics because if meat is found to be bruised, it cannot be processed for meat. So that’s the economic argument against beating animals headed for slaughter.

    Ethical because – right up until the moment they die – they are still living beings, and we have the obligation not to subject them to cruelty or unnecessary levels of pain (and yes – this applies to their method of slaughter as well). Just because they are going to die does not give us the right to abuse them.

    Temple Grandin has done a lot of good work in the area of humane slaughter (which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but is not).

  3. Submitted by John Rollings on 10/08/2012 - 07:26 am.

    Beating of the hogs

    Your attempt at humor at the end of the paragraph on the beating of the hogs was not funny. Animals, even animals going to the slaughterhouse, should be handled in a humane manner.

  4. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/08/2012 - 09:43 am.

    Not quite…

    ..some of us did find the last paragraph amusing, in an ironic sort of way. You’re free to be offended, John. But some of us won’t join in your outrage.

  5. Submitted by Lance Groth on 10/08/2012 - 11:15 am.

    Beating hogs

    Brian, if you think it’s ok to torture animals before slaughtering them, you have some soul searching to do. Your lame attempt at humor ticked me off – thanks for starting my day in a bad humor. WTF were you thinking?

    This example is yet another reason to not eat commercially produced meat. The animals live lives of misery before coming to a worse end. It is possible for farm animals to live decent lives free of abuse before being humanely slaughtered, which is how things used to be on most family farms before corporations took over. Eat locally grown/humanely raised/cage free/organic/etc. It’s not just healthier for you, it is ethical.

    And if you think of any more jokes about torturing animals, please keep them to yourself.

  6. Submitted by David Greene on 10/08/2012 - 01:05 pm.


    The most remarkable thing Dan McGrath said at the debate was that he agreed that Photo ID would impact “a few people.” In the same sentence he defined “a few people.”

    200,000 Minnesotans.

    That really is a remarkable statement. Dan McGrath admitted openly that Photo ID could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people.

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