16 law firms vie for Vikes stadium work

And you thought a billion-dollar football stadium was going to be a boon to the construction industry … David Phelps of the Strib says: “At the height of Target Field’s construction, the legal tab for the stadium’s oversight body, the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, ran in the neighborhood of $400,000 to $500,000 a month. Hennepin County, another player in the development of the $545 million home for the Minnesota Twins, spent $2.7 million for counsel to sort through a maze of property records, handle easement issues, and interpret the legislative language that made the project doable. And that doesn’t include the undisclosed legal fees paid by the Twins’ owners — the Pohlad organization — to the five firms it retained for the project. So when the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority sought applications for legal help in the construction of a new $975 million stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, it was not surprising to see 16 law firms toss their hats into the ring.” Like fresh kill on a hot highway …

While the new DFL-controlled Legislature may prefer to handle a number of other matters first, gay marriage activists are in a “carpe diem” kind of mood. At MPR, Rupa Chenoy and Tom Scheck write: “Organizers who led the successful effort to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage want to sustain momentum from the election. They gathered more than 500 people on Saturday at the Equality and Justice Summit in Minneapolis to discuss next steps, including legalized same-sex marriage in Minnesota. The people who attended the summit were clearly enthusiastic; they paid $75 each to be there, or $25 for students. More than 100 people showed up for a session on potential same-sex marriage legislation.”

But, of course, the usual base-pandering in D.C. is having an effect on those “other matters” here. Brian Bakst of the AP says: “Deliberations over a long-term debt fix in Washington are casting an enormous cloud of doubt over the economic forecast in Minnesota, which in turn complicates Gov. Mark Dayton’s task of assembling a two-year budget proposal. A fresh analysis of the state budget outlook is due Wednesday, Dec. 5, but Minnesota finance officials acknowledge their economic forecast will have a shorter shelf life than usual because the federal outcome of so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations will determine whether things here are likely to improve or deteriorate. At last check, another state deficit loomed but it was modest by recent standards.”

Mary Ann Grossmann of the PiPress gives a glowing review of the posthumous memoir of journalist Paul Gruchow in an article reprinted on the Forum Communications site: “When Paul Gruchow died by suicide in 2004, he left seven eloquently written books that link humans with nature in an almost spiritual way. Now this native Minnesotan’s award-winning literary legacy is completed with publication of ‘Letters to a Young Madman,’ a new memoir about Gruchow’s nearly lifelong struggle with depression. ‘This is one possible definition of mental illness,’ he writes. ‘It is the sickness of unborn pain.’ “

The Strib’s Claude Peck files a report on the televised face-to-face between Minnesota Orchestra board member Doug Kelley and orchestra member Tony Ross: “Kelley disagreed with veteran cellist Tony Ross about nearly every point the two debated Friday night on TPT’s ‘Almanac’ program. At issue is the labor dispute at the orchestra that has locked out musicians since Oct. 1 and caused cancellation of all concerts through the end of the year. Ross renewed the musicians’ call for an independent financial analysis to clear up with he called ‘fuzzy numbers’ in the orchestra’s annual reports and public statements. Kelley said the board has been ‘as transparent as can be’ when reporting on its annual budgets, including in its lobbying of the Minnesota Legislature in 2010 for $14 million in bonding authority for its renovation project at Orchestra Hall. Kelley refuted the musicians’ claim that they were largely unaware of the orchestra’s dire money crunch in the last few years. ‘We told you exactly what we were doing, and you guys know every bit about that,’ Kelley said, referring to a meeting between management and musicians in May, 2010.”

The GleanBeloved hometown airline Delta is in an expansionist mood. The AP is saying: “Delta Air Lines Inc. is mulling the purchased of a 49 percent stake in British airline Virgin Atlantic Airways from Singapore Airlines Ltd., according to media reports. The remaining 51 percent of Virgin Atlantic is owned by billionaire Richard Branson, who founded the airline in 1984. Singapore has been considering selling its stake in Virgin for several years and has talked with Delta about a sale in the past.”

In a very similar vein … Patrick Kennedy of the Strib writes: “UnitedHealth Group acquired the largest health insurer and hospital operator in Brazil — Amil Participacoes — for $4.9 billion. Last week Amil announced that it was entering the hospital business in Portugal with a $108 million acquisition of seven hospitals. Andre Parize, an analyst who covers Amil for Votorantim Corretora, an equity research firm in Brazil, wrote: ‘The announcement is positive for the company, which should enhance its footprint in another country. Moreover, after the UnitedHealth acquisition, we believe that Amil has a strong capitalized partner and access to a proven know-how in the health sector.’ ”

The Strib’s Laurie Blake writes about a decade with less Local Government Aid flowing to cities who used to depend on it: “Ten years into an era of reduced state aid, many metro cities have trimmed down, wised up and stopped expecting any of the funding that used to help them pay for plowing, police, parks and other services. The regrouping is remarkable given the sky-is-falling reaction when the cuts to local government aid (LGA) first hit in 2003 to help close a state budget gap. In the years since, cities spent reserves, raised property taxes, cut services and reduced staff to make ends meet and become less dependent on aid from St. Paul. As they prepare this month to certify 2013 budgets, more than 60 percent of metro cities have stopped getting LGA entirely … City officials are waiting warily for the state budget forecast due to be released Wednesday — a $1 billion deficit has been projected — and to see what Gov. Mark Dayton will propose for LGA in the budget he will deliver in January. A legislative study group is also expected to deliver a report on local government aid in December.”

On former GOP Senate employee Michael Brodkorb’s blog, politicsmn,com, the most recent post says: “It’s been an interesting week and the political landscape in Minnesota has certainly changed.  I’ll be back up with new posts tomorrow, so check back.” That was 19 days ago.

Meanwhile on former GOP Chairman Tony Sutton’s blog, the most recent posting was of cellphone pictures of leaves, old bridges and the flag: “There are lots of people who are more technically proficient, but I know what I like and I point and click. Below are some pictures taken from my cell phone camera. The author and movie director Nicholas Meyer often says that ‘art thrives on restrictions.’ With a cell phone camera there are no fancy lens, lights, etc. Basically it requires the person taking the picture to be more aware of framing and setting up the shot due to the equipment limitations. My interest in photography comes not from an interest in cameras, it comes from an interest in pictures.” Here’s an idea for a photo exhibit: “Warriors in Repose.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/03/2012 - 07:17 am.

    Unless, in their May 2010 Meeting

    The management and board of the Minnesota Orchestra told the musicians that they intended to further pad the pockets of management and the board by massively revamping/remodeling Orchestra Hall, then liquidating the current Orchestra to reduce expenses so that there would be more money that could find its way into the pockets of management and the board,…

    They did NOT tell the members of the orchestra what they truly intended to do.

    They certainly did not tell those who donated the $Millions required to renovate Orchestra Hall that they intended to liquidate the orchestra. If they had, those folks would have given that money to support the Orchestra rather than rebuild the hall while the Orchestra disappeared.

    When the board members decide to work on a voluntary basis and management takes the same pay cuts as they’re asking from the musicians, THEN they will convince me that what they’re doing is really about cutting costs,…

    and not what amounts to the “Bain Capitalization” of one of the finest orchestras in the country for one purpose and one purpose only: to strip it of the assets provided over many decades by its donors in order to pad the pockets of those doing the stripping,…

    then to sell off that bright, shiny new venue (built by volunteer donations) to a new management team or company, in order to “save” it, leaving behind an organization that’s unlikely to survive in any form.

  2. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 12/03/2012 - 09:14 am.

    That would be the same Brodkorb blog

    with an electoral map that shows Obama eking out a win, 281-257 with eight states not yet official (all eight in fact went for Obama).

    I guess for some time stopped when the bubble popped.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/03/2012 - 09:20 am.

    Sutton’s photography

    “Art” is a broad term, and it’s true that basic equipment can create a challenge. On the other hand, blaming ones equipment for the low quality of the work is also a common phenomena. I’ve seen entire exhibits of phone photos, and frequently see good stuff shared on Face Book. Sutton’s photos unfortunately don’t even come close to even a minimal standard of decent photography. You can call your snaps “Art” if you want, but invite criticism if you do; this work is rather poor. If Sutton wants to produce good images he’s going to have to put a lot more work into it, even with a cell phone a photographer can do way way way better than this. Just to give you some context take a look at these cell phone photos and compare them to Sutton’s: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/hang-up-and-shoot/

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