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Gov. Dayton 'not aware of particulars' of e-pulltab estimates

The Sgt. Schultz excuse is getting a workout. Baird Helgeson’s Strib story says: “Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration said Monday that state gambling regulators should have been clearer from the outset that they relied heavily on gambling companies themselves to estimate revenues from electronic pulltabs that would help pay for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. ‘There should have been more transparency in this part of the process,’ said Katharine Tinucci, a Dayton spokeswoman. The governor, she said, ‘was not aware of the particulars of where the information was coming from.’

A couple more Tubby Smith takes … Eamonn Brennan at ESPN notes the coach saying the team lacked leadership: “[It]was a common refrain for him this season. It has some merit: You can't be with players every second of every day. You need hard workers to instill that in their teammates, and you need players who embrace the big moment and make their teammates feel trusted and supported and one big happy family. I get all of that. But you're the coach. You get paid seven figures; your players get a scholarship, a dorm room and some free food. You're standing 15 feet from these 18- to 22-year-olds during games, you get approximately 453 timeouts per every 40 minutes of basketball, you see them every day during the season, you can work out with them in the summers — at what point do you have to admit that it's on you? That if a college basketball coach is there to do anything — after all, he can't set down screens — it's to recruit promising players and then cultivate leadership and maturity among them?”

And … Andy Glockner at Sports Illustrated writes: “[I]t appears that at least three positions of varying levels of desirable — UCLA, USC and the Gophers’ gig — are now open. Let the speculation (and the conflagration) begin! It’s appropriate that two of the three major openings right now are in Los Angeles, as that city has been the longstanding device in the NFL’s extortion shell game by which different franchises leverage better deals with their current cities. The same thing is undoubtedly already happening here. When solid programs fire successful coaches — and despite obvious flaws in both, Tubby Smith and (especially) Ben Howland were successful coaches — the pressure moves squarely onto the athletic directors and schools. They need to make splashy, popular hires in a market where there aren’t very many of those to go around, and their job openings become leverage devices for early targets.”

And … the Strib’s editorial page weighs in, saying: “Consistency, and the mental preparation for every outing that creates it, are reasonably seen as among a coach’s core contributions — and their absence as a coaching failure. Real excellence is demonstrated by how a team performs on its worst days, not on its best days, and by that measure Smith’s program was moving in the wrong direction. Add to the mix reports of waning enthusiasm among fans and donors alike, and it is hardly surprising that new athletic director Norwood Teague would seek a fresh start with a coach of his own choosing. This new beginning comes with a hefty price tag — including a $2.5 million buyout for Smith, which grew by two-thirds when his contract was extended just last year.”

Big of ’em … The AP says:Xcel Energy has reduced its proposed Minnesota electric rate increase. The Minneapolis-based utility said Monday that it lowered its proposed rate increase to 8.2 percent. Xcel proposed a rate hike of 10.7 percent in November. Xcel Energy cites changed circumstances since its original request. The revised proposals reduce the utility's requested rate increase to about $220 million, down from $285 million.”

The GleanMeanwhile, here’s a “free” power increase … Leslie Brooks Suzukamo of the PiPress says: “Comcast is doubling the download speeds of some of its most popular Internet broadband services in the Twin Cities, the cable giant said Monday, March 25. The faster speeds for its three most popular residential service tiers — Performance, Blast and Extreme 50 — became effective at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 26, and the increases won't cost more, officials for the nation's largest cable provider said. However, to get the new speeds, customers will have to ‘power cycle’ their broadband modems — meaning they must turn off the power to the device for 30 to 60 seconds before turning it back on, Comcast spokeswoman Mary Beth Schubert said.”

A tax refund scheme … from The Big House. Dan Browning of the Strib says: “According to court documents, a group of Minnesota inmates has been running a 'large-scale tax refund scheme' from behind prison walls. The focus of the investigation is Tony Robinson, 28, serving a 91-month sentence at the state prison in Stillwater for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a family member under 13. He is due to be released May 15. Authorities also are investigating various alleged accomplices outside of prison, including Carmen Rayshelle Allen, 29, of Wayzata, who works as a personal care attendant.”

It was a fait accompli, but David Hanners of the PiPress covers the civil trial involving the guy who drove up on a sidewalk in Dinkytown two years, killed a young man and badkly injured others. Says Hanners: “The physical scars of Sarah Bagley's chance encounter with Timothy Bakdash nearly two years ago are hidden beneath clothes. The emotional wounds are there for her friends to see, though. The graduate student, once an avid — obsessive, even — runner liked to go out with friends now and then. No more. She fears getting hit by a car. ‘I don't go out,’ she told a judge. ‘The risk of it happening again is not worth it.’ … the only issue left for trial was the size of the damages for past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and emotional distress and other expenses. Peter Riley, the Minneapolis lawyer representing Bagley, asked [the judge] to award at least $373,579, and as much as $523,579.”

I imagine they’re also getting a lot of calls … . At MPR, Tom Scheck says: “More than 50 organizations that rely on funding from the state are criticizing DFL legislative leaders for their plan to cut $150 million from the health and human services budget. DFL Legislative leaders announced last week that they planned to cut the $150 million shocked health care groups who were hoping Democrats would use a portion of their proposed tax increases to protect or increase funding to those programs. The groups, including the Minnesota Hospital Association, the Children's Defense Fund, Lutheran Social Services, The Mental Health Association of Minnesota, the Minnesota Child Care Association, and the Minnesota Medical Association, wrote a letter urging DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen to reconsider the proposed budget target.”

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Comments (5)


With the governor's admission that he didn't look at the particulars of the electronic pulltabs proposal, maybe it's time to ask we really had an agreement to build a stadium or whether it was nothing more than an illusory bargain that needs to to be revisited.

Dayton's stadium mania

Dayton's stadium obsession never made sense. The creation of largest state subsidy in MN history for a franchise that employes fewer than a 150 people and will generate minimal if any economic growth never made sense (compare this to this the Mayo deal currently under consideration). He quickly devolved from demanding only a deal that was a good deal for taxpayers to any deal at all that got the stadium built. We watched this happen, pointed it out, and should not be surprised now.

Suffice it to say that this WAS reason 182 why the public should not be subsidizing professional sports beyond land acquisition and infrastructure. It's not just Dayton, legislators from both parties in both houses also failed to examine the most critical part of the deal... how to actually pay for it. When it comes to these stadiums and arenas lawmakers, mayors, and governors are simply incapable of rational thought and good planning for some reason.

By the way the other shoe that hasn't dropped yet is MPLS's share of the payments. Rybak never really did explain how MPLS is going to come up with $16-$20 million a year. Whenever anyone asked he just waved his hands mumbled something about the Convention Center. How's that coming? I know they just whacked $25 million off the school budget.

Hiram is right, at what point does this deal fall apart?

Sadly, this deal never comes

Sadly, this deal never comes undone. If (when) the gambling funding fails to materialize, others will be put forward. Yes, it'd be great to re-do the public's share, and how it gets paid. But that isn't happening. The media and the sporting public have now moved on to which egomaniac they should throw a few million at to lead the gophers hoops squad to glory...

As pathetic as the stadium situation -

The Strib editorial page analysis of Tubby's departure - speaking of moving in the wrong direction or a lacking of real excellence

tony's time

Tony Robinson must have had large quantities of unsupervised time to put together a scheme involving hundreds of bogus tax returns. Supervision at the Stillwater State Prison must be very lax. It's time the bigwheels at the prison investigate their staff.