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Judge tosses defamation counts in Brodkorb suit

Besides the firing, the car crash and DUI charge, Michael Brodkorb’s suit against the Minnesota Senate is also in pretty rough shape. The AP says: “U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson has dismissed three counts from Brodkorb's lawsuit over his firing, but two discrimination counts remain as the case goes forward. Brodkorb's suit claims he was unfairly treated because female Senate staffers who had affairs were not punished. Nelson left the discrimination counts, but dismissed Brodkorb's claims that he was defamed. She wrote that statements made by Senate Secretary Cal Ludeman were not defamatory because they were made in the context of ‘heated’ negotiations. Nelson also dismissed the state and unnamed Senate employees as defendants.”

Talk about a family history … Brooke Adams of the Salt Lake Tribune writes: “One of Josh Powell’s siblings apparently committed suicide Monday by jumping from a building in downtown Minneapolis. The Salt Lake Tribune confirmed that Michael C. Powell, 30, died after he jumped around 2:25 p.m. from the multi-story Centre Village, a complex that consists of a seven-story parking structure and additional floors dedicated to a hotel and condominiums. … Michael Powell was an ardent defender of his brother Josh, who killed himself and his two sons in an intentionally set house fire in Graham, Wash., a year ago. Josh Powell was the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell. She was last seen Dec. 6, 2009 ... He also fiercely defended their father, Steve Powell, who was convicted in May 2012 of 14 counts of voyeurism for surreptitious photographs he took of two girls who lived near his home in Puyallup.”

Who doesn’t want an artsy, walkable Hennepin Avenue? The Strib says: “A new public/private plan approved last week by the City Council aims to remake the two-mile stretch from the Walker Art Center to the Mississippi River into a pedestrian-friendly cultural district. … This lack of a consistently compelling urban experience is perhaps Minneapolis' greatest shortcoming. The city knows how to build public gathering spaces around lakes and in leafy residential neighborhoods. But it hasn't had a clue how to proceed in a hardened urban setting. For decades its downtown has been a festival of utilitarianism — skyways, surface parking lots, blank walls, etc. Even its artists are sequestered in ‘malls’ (Northrup King Building, International Market Square) rather than arranged in storefronts along public sidewalks.”

Someone is keeping The List of Promises, right? Curtis Gilbert at MPR writes: “Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff today promised to hire more firefighters if he's elected mayor. ‘If we don't have a well equipped, well trained, fully staffed fire department, our city can't survive,’ Schiff said as he accepted the endorsement of the city's firefighters union. … The Minneapolis Fire Department has shrunk significantly during current Mayor R.T. Rybak's administration. It has about 90 fewer firefighters than it did in 2001 — a staff reduction of more than 18 percent. The union endorsed Schiff because he fought to to block those cuts, union president Mark Lakosky said. Lakosky has clashed over past budgets with council member Betsy Hodges, who is also running for mayor.”

You gotta think the Lobbying Pack Dogs will have a tight focus on this thing. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune says: “Legislation that would create a review panel to scrutinize more than 300 tax exemptions in Minnesota sales and income tax laws passed the Senate Tax Reform Division on Wednesday. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, would create a joint legislative-citizen commission to review both existing and proposed exemptions, which cost the state billions of dollars in lost revenue annually but receive little or no scrutiny by lawmakers. Because they are reductions in taxes, and not direct spending, the exemptions currently are not part of the state two-year budget process.”

Pat Kessler at WCCO-TV adds a bit more to the minimum wage debate reignited by the president in his State of the Union speech: “Less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, Minnesota Democratic lawmakers unveiled a plan of their own to raise state pay for low income workers to $9.50. … What the president is not saying, however, is that when he ran for office in 2008, he proposed raising the federal minimum wage even higher — to $9.50 an hour. But even with a Democratic House and Senate, Obama did not deliver on the pledge. And with Republicans now controlling the House and opposing the minimum wage hike, the chances of passing it are very low.”

New federal regulations have at least one mortgage partnership calling it quits in the Twin Cities. Lisa Brown of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says: “Edward Jones Mortgage, a joint venture between Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Des Peres-based investment firm Edward Jones, is closing its office in St. Louis Park, Minn., that employs 210 people.  … Edward Jones Mortgage ceased offering mortgages on Jan. 11 ... following changes related to joint ventures in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. ‘After careful analysis of marketing conditions and the impact of the regulatory environment on business, Wells Fargo decided to dissolve several of its joint venture alliances, including Edward Jones Mortgage LLC,’ Wells Fargo spokeswoman Veronica Clemons wrote in an email.” Hmmmmm.

Adam Belz of the Strib continues to follow the governor’s business-to-business sales tax proposal: “A marketing pro named Patrick Strother wants to trademark the governor's budget proposal as the StupidTax, and wrote a scathing blog post about it to boot. It's a pointed example of the criticism the business-to-business services tax has received. ... Economic policy and budget details aside, though, Strother's campaign illustrates the caliber of the people who generally lobby hardest against a sales tax on professional services. 'They are lawyers and accountants, professionals in marketing and advertising, plus the IT and consulting communities, and the media.” “The media,” you say? That is just so surprising.

Sun Country’s boss has fallen off the radar. In the Strib, David Phelps says: “Stan Gadek, the Sun Country Airlines chief executive who flew the carrier through bankruptcy and into profitability, left the company Wednesday in a stunning and publicly unforeseen development. In a brief, late-afternoon statement, the board of MN Airlines, which does business as Sun Country Airlines, said Gadek was being replaced on an interim basis by vice president and general counsel John Fredericksen, a 10-year veteran of the Mendota Heights-based operation."

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Comments (4)

So, the bidding has begun

in the Minneapolis mayoral race. Which came first, the payoff or the promise?

Considering the Recent History of the Mortgage Fraud

Oh, sorry, "Mortgage Finance" industry, I can't help but wonder what Wells Fargo was able to get away with, or what liabilities it was able to shield itself from in the joint ventures it had with Edward Jones and other companies.

Although I feel bad for those who will lose their jobs as Wells Fargo pulls out of these ventures, I am very confident that my fellow consumers are being protected from abuse and shady dealings by the rules changes which cause these ventures to no longer be "profitable."

Of course in their announcement, Wells Fargo did their best to make it sound as if protecting consumers for being ripped off was a bad thing,...

Wow Kessler

I wonder if the financial meltdown and great recession played a part in the minimum wage issue in that time period. A cheap shot and nothing more, Pat.

In all the hoopla we'll be

In all the hoopla we'll be subjected to by business people claiming the sky will fall if we raise the state's minimum wage, we have to remember that only three or four other U.S. states have as low a minimum wage as we do: try working a 40-hour week, if you can get it, on Minnesota's $6.15 an hour -- that's $12,792 a year before Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes are taken out of the paychecks). Everyone who earns Minnesota's minimum wage lives in poverty, unless they're the occasional suburban teenager who works a few hours a week to make gas money and buy a few clothes.

Incrediblle: $6.15 an hour! That's been our minimum wage for years. It never goes up with inflation. And, there are something like 500,000 Minnesotans who get only the federal minimum wage (just above $7.00), and 90,000 who get paid $6.15 an hour--or less! (I got these figures from the Star Tribune article on the legislature's initiative to establish a higher minimum, and tie increases to inflation).

Even a "Glean" blurb on this ought to provide the base from which the minimum would rise, for context, and to see what so many years of Republican domination in St. Paul have done to the ability of people to live on their wages.