Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


House DFL one-ups Dayton with a surcharge above $500k

Three Minnesotans disappear in Laos; three convicted in
Native Mob drug-and-guns case; Denny Hecker relocated to another prison — again; and more.

In a move aimed like a dagger at the hearts of our job creators … . Tom Scheck of MPR says: “Minnesota House Democrats say they want the state’s wealthiest residents to temporarily pay an income tax surcharge to eliminate a funding delay to the state’s schools. The Democrats released a budget outline Tuesday that also includes a permanent income tax increase similar to the one proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton. They are looking to increase taxes by roughly $2.4 billion to restore delayed payments to schools, erase a $627 million budget deficit and spend more on a variety of state programs. …  ‘There’s an old saying that there’s nothing more permanent than a temporary tax,’  GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said. Daudt says the DFL plan to increase income taxes would make Minnesota’s income tax rate one of the highest in the nation. He warned the tax hikes will prompt business leaders to relocate.” Please tell me he actually said, “… to South Dakota.”

Three Minnesota men have disappeared in Laos and Laotian authorities are not be cooperative in finding them. The New York Times says: “The three men, all from Minnesota and of Laotian origin, were last seen in the southern province of Savannakhet in January. Karen B. Stewart, the ambassador to Laos, said in a telephone interview that officials in Savannakhet had barred access to a team of U.S. investigators sent this month to gather details in the case. … The disappearance of the three men, Twin Cities residents who were reportedly in the country to attend a funeral, followed the disappearance in December of an U.S.-trained agriculture specialist, Sombath Somphone, in the capital, Vientiane.”

The Native Mob will be doing some hard time … again. Dan Browning of the Strib says: “Jurors in Minneapolis convicted three men of drug and gun charges in a racketeering case targeting the Native Mob, a notoriously violent gang that started in prison and spread through Indian Country in the upper Midwest. The investigation into the gang began in 2004 and has resulted in the convictions of 30 people. Jurors returned a mixed verdict against the three men who went to trial Jan. 22, finding each guilty on some charges but not others. … The verdicts reflect the seriousness of the Native Mob’s racketeering activities and the havoc the gang has caused from south Minneapolis to reservations in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter.”

A month without Denny news is like spring without buckthorn. Dee DePass of the Strib tells us: “The disgraced Twin Cities auto mogul was bused to yet another prison this month, making it his seventh move in 14 months. According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, federal marshals relocated Hecker, 60, on March 8 to the Canaan Penitentiary just 20 miles outside Scranton, Pa. Since June, Hecker was incarcerated in the low-security facility in Loretto, Pa., 90 miles east of Pittsburgh. Prison officials declined to say why Hecker was relocated yet again. … Whatever security level Hecker currently has, he is not likely to stay at Canaan for the rest of his 10-year sentence. The penitentiary is frequently used as a transit stop over for prisoners on route to other destinations.” So, no return to Cross Lake anytime soon?

Article continues after advertisement

The GleanSenate Majority Leader Tom Bakk got a call from the Veep recently. Kyle Potter of the AP writes: “Vice President Joe Biden has called officials in Minnesota, New Mexico and Colorado to discuss legislative efforts to reduce gun violence, said an aide, who would not disclose which officials he had called. The aide was not authorized to discuss the calls publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Minnesota’s Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Biden called him Friday … .” So it’s some big secret, or something?

Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom has thoughts on the state’s statute of limitations on sex abuse. In a Strib commentary he says: “We have done a good job in the last 20 years of expanding the criminal statute of limitations in cases of this nature, so that perpetrators can be found and held accountable for their crimes. Today, in Minnesota, the criminal statute of limitations for a child sexually abused before age 18 is the latter of nine years after the offense or three years after it is reported to law enforcement. In other words, it is nonexistent for practical purposes. Sadly, the same is not true of the civil statute of limitations. Today, in our state, court interpretation of existing law prohibits the filing of a claim for damages by a victim of childhood sexual abuse more than six years after the trauma was last inflicted.”

This is a situation where you call in just about anyone from Wisconsin … . The AP says: “The University of Minnesota lost almost $16,000 last year on alcohol sales at home football games, despite selling more than $900,000 worth of beer and wine. The school released the figures to The Associated Press after a records request, which showed it incurred significant expenses from its first season selling alcohol stadium-wide at TCF Bank Stadium. Those include hiring additional police and security officers, setting up tents and other facilities, and equipment rental. Roughly half of its revenues went directly to Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp., which had the contract to sell beer and wine.” … Aramark!

No doubt their lobbyists can work this out … . Corey Mitchell of the Strib says: “Schools on Minnesota’s American Indian reservations are already suffering from the across-the-board budget cuts of the federal sequester, taking a hit months before the rest of the country’s classrooms will feel the effects of reduced funding.         The White Earth Reservation could cut the school year short at its federally funded tribal school. The Red Lake School District, where the high school was the site of a shooting that left seven people dead in 2005, has scaled back its security staff.”

City Pages’ Aaron Rupar picks up on a tweet from the Strib’s Chao Xiong about a guy collared for getting a wee too freaky during the St. Patty’s Day parade. “Confronted by police after he was seen masturbating in downtown St. Paul around the time the St. Patrick’s Day parade was going on, 39-year-old Steven Young offered an imaginative explanation. He was simply picking a scab on his penis, Young told police, adding as an aside that he’d been smoking loads of meth during the previous handful of days.” Worse yet, “Young” sounds more Scot than Irish.