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$37,000 spent in precedent-setting school board race

2 Minnesotans named Rhodes Scholars; DFL to keep hands off constitution; customers make run on Twinkies; Best Buy’s Joly and Schulze to meet; North Dakota homeless increase; and more.

Steve Brandt of the Strib looks at a possible precedent-setting school board race: “The campaign that put Josh Reimnitz on the Minneapolis school board this fall may go down as the one that brought money from national school-reform advocates to bear on a contest traditionally dominated by DFL endorsements and union money. With reported spending of more than $37,000, Reimnitz set a new campaign spending record and exceeded the combined spending of all candidates who filed for four board seats this year. ‘My fear is that what has now happened is that we have seen the nationalizing of Minneapolis school board elections,’ said state Rep. Jim Davnie, a former teacher who supported Reimnitz’s union-backed opponent, Patty Wycoff.”

Two Minnesotans have been named Rhodes Scholars: The AP reports: “One of the two Minnesotans named Sunday as Rhodes Scholars wants to become a doctor dealing with global health issues. The other wants to help develop computer technology to harness the power of a patient’s mind to control artificial limbs. Georgianna Whiteley, of Wayzata, and Clayton Aldern, of Cedar, were among the 32 American students named Sunday to the newest class of Rhodes Scholars. They both appeared Saturday morning before a selection committee in Chicago and learned that afternoon that they will get to study at Oxford University in England starting next October.”

Uh, no … that’s probably not a good idea. Martiga Lohn of the Associated Press says: “Democrats taking over the Minnesota Legislature are avoiding bold promises to change the state’s constitution after voters decisively rejected two Republican-backed amendments earlier this month. … Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers have introduced their share of constitutional amendments in recent years, including proposals to guarantee universal health care, overhaul oversight of legislative salaries and give legislators longer terms in office. Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, predicted Democrats’ restraint toward the constitution will wear off as the new majorities exercise their power. ‘They’re going to pass their agenda,’ said Drazkowski, who has pursued amendments to bar union membership as a condition of employment and to prevent the federal health insurance mandate from taking effect. ‘We’re not going to have any Republican-authored constitutional amendment proposals that are going to be passed through this Legislature, because they won’t allow it.’ ” Was “The Draz” visiting another planet on Election Day?

Well, they will last a couple of hundred years even exposed to air, light and nuclear radition … The Forum papers report: “A Minnesota grocery chain says Twinkies and other Hostess snacks are flying off the shelves as the manufacturer shuts down. Eden Prairie-based Supervalu owns 44 Cub Foods stores in Minnesota. Spokesman Michael Siemienas tells Minnesota Public Radio they’ve seen a surge in people purchasing Hostess products like Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread. Siemienas says the stores won’t be resupplied with Hostess products, so once the supplies are gone, they’re gone.”

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Following the paper’s big Sunday take-out on the Best Buy saga, Thomas Lee of the Strib is saying: “Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly will meet with the company’s founder, Richard Schulze, this week in the Twin Cities as Schulze moves closer to making an offer to buy the consumer electronics retailer. Joly and Schulze are expected to discuss ways to recharge the struggling company, according to multiple sources. While the pair have previously crossed paths, this week’s meeting will provide the first real chance for the executives to share their points of view about the company in a substantial way, a source close to the situation said. Top members of Schulze’s buyout team — former CEO Brad Anderson and former president Al Lenzmeier — also are expected to attend, a source told the newspaper.”

St. Thomas adjunct prof Lorin Robinson has some cogent points to make in a Strib commentary about campaign advertising: “It’s not widely realized, but about 50 percent of all campaign expenditures go directly into the pockets of local-market TV stations, or, in most cases, into the bank accounts of the handful of media conglomerates that own them. Thus, if $6 billion was spent on all national races this year, the tab could have been reduced to $3 billion without TV ads. … Why should broadcasters have made $3 billion in 2012 by commercializing political communication that should be offered free as a public service — a part of licensees’ commitment to serve the public interest? … Why pick on broadcast TV? Don’t campaigns also spend money on commercial cable, print advertising, billboards and lawn signs? The difference, of course, is these media are not licensed by the federal government and thus required to serve in the public’s best interest.”  Or, if not a ban, how about a 35 percent windfall profits tax to buy modern, uniform voting equipment for every precinct in the county?

North Dakota’s oil boom is …increasing …the number of homeless on the state’s streets. The AP story says: “A study set to be released this week shows that the number of homeless people on the streets in North Dakota has exceeded the number of homeless people in the state’s emergency shelters. The North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People report says the number of unsheltered people as of July 2011 was 966, and the shelters were at full capacity with 807 people. The study cites an increasing number of people who have been drawn to the state’s oil patch. Officials say that has created a housing shortage in western North Dakota that has spilled over into other parts of the state.”

The Love Doctor is getting no love in St. Paul. Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports: “The Love Doctor is getting no love from some Hamline-Midway residents over a proposed electric sign, even though the store owner maintains that construction of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line has made a new banner for his amorous curios shop a necessity. The store, which sells adult products and sexual aids, wants to install an illuminated sign with a 25-square-foot surface that projects 4 feet over the sidewalk between Fry Street and Snelling Avenue at 1607 W. University Ave. … He said the Hamline-Midway Coalition has been a constant nag and steadily opposed to his business. ‘We’ve cleaned up the pictures in the windows,’ [owner Try] DeCorsey said. ‘That store is cleaner than any store on University Avenue.’ ” How about something big, inflatable and wiggly up on the roof?

Radio station KFGO up in Fargo got a copy of the letter the Barnesville, Minn., priest involved in the flap over denying confirmation to a teenager sent out to parishioners. It says in part: “When I challenged the young man as to why he was doing this when he knew he was rejecting a central teaching of the Church, he affirmed his rejection of the teaching for personal reasons and said that he no longer wanted to be confirmed. This is in direct contradiction to what has been subsequently proclaimed by the candidate and his family. He and his family are saying that he was denied the sacrament. This is not true; the young man withdrew from the ceremony. … It is to my dismay that what should have been kept an internal Church matter has now become a public controversy. To place this controversy into the public forum was the decision of the young man and his family; it was not my intention or the intention of Bishop Hoeppner who was informed about the situation shortly after the young man withdrew from candidacy. The Bishop and I now find ourselves harassed by the media.” The media are just so … intolerant.