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Over half still not on board with gay marriage

Jim Graves goes after Michele Bachmann again; Minnesota’s rivers are getting wider because of artificial drainage; Tom Bakk isn’t worried about the shortfall on electronic pull tabs; and more.

Fifty-three percent are not in favor of gay marriage in Minnesota. Baird Helgeson of the Strib writes: “A majority of Minnesotans oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, the Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found. Fifty-three percent of Minnesotans say the state statute banning same-sex unions should stand. Only 38 percent say legislators should overturn the law this year, while 9 percent are undecided. The new poll offers a fresh snapshot of an issue that has deeply divided the state.”

It’d be a surprise if by now the DNC hasn’t called Jim Graves and told him, “We screwed up.” MPR’s Brett Neely says: “After coming close to unseating Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Democrat Jim Graves appears to be inching toward another run against the state’s most conservative member of Congress. In an email to supporters on Monday, Graves noted that Bachmann voted against the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act last week (she was the only one of the state’s eight member U.S. House delegation to vote no), and he condemned the budget standoff between Republicans and Democrats in Washington. ‘I know that the work we started last year, well, it isn’t over,’ Graves wrote, in a signal that his electoral ambitions may not have passed.”

Anyone who lives next to one isn’t surprised to hear this … . Josephine Marcotty of the Strib writes: “The Blue Earth River is 50 percent wider along its entire length than it was seven decades ago, largely because a generation of artificial drainage on the surrounding landscape has doubled the flow of water coursing between its soft banks. It’s one of many Minnesota rivers that has seen a significant increase in flow, and all of which are sending millions of tons of dirt and pollution downstream to the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Those turbid rivers, in turn, are scouring their banks, accelerating a natural geological process that could fill the top third of Lake Pepin with dirt within the century.”

Tom Bakk is telling people to chill on the matter of underperforming electronic pull tabs. Tim Nelson of MPR says: “Senate majority leader Tom Bakk, the DFLer from Cook, says he doesn’t see the need for a fix for the shortfall on electronic pull tabs this session. … He says the state will have the cash to make the stadium mortgage payments, even if the pull tabs aren’t pulling their financial weight. The appropriation bonds are backed by the state’s general fund. … Senate minority leader David Hann offered a different solution as he joined Bakk on the Dailiy Circuit: Leave it to the Vikings to make up the shortfall.” What?! And watch them move to LA?

Are they calculating how many of these will be lost? The Strib’s Jennifer Bjorhus writes: “Wave goodbye to paper check refunds from the Minnesota tax man. Starting next January, the state Department of Revenue will issue income tax refunds by debit card instead of paper checks. Most individual tax returns in Minnesota are handled electronically now, with automatic deposit. However, the state still cuts about 1 million paper check refunds every year, some of those to people who don’t have accounts at a bank or credit union. The switch covers individual tax refunds, not corporate ones, and is aimed at cutting costs, reducing the chances of check fraud and helping people operating on the margins of the financial system.”

Devin Rice of the Minneapolis Charter Commission is no fan of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). In a Strib commentary, he says: “It would be extremely unwise to open the entire state up to such a suspect method of voting. Certainly no one should accept the stated reasons for using RCV as true. They simply have not been proven. Minneapolis voters adopted RCV after being told that it would save money, increase turnout, eliminate plurality winners and increase minority representation. All four claims were false. Voting ought to be clear and simple. RCV is neither.”

The Mankato Free Press has been taking flak for a poorly conceived graphic.  At City Pages, Aaron Rupar says: “Suffice it to say it hasn’t been a good day for whoever is responsible for laying out the Mankato Free Press’s food section. In today’s paper, the above-the-fold story looks to be about ‘Rapefruit,’ which is apparently ‘Good for every meal.’ Of course, the story is really about recipes using grapefruit, but how somebody thought a C-shaped half slice of fruit looks like a G is beyond us.”

Classy … . Dave Hanners of the PiPress tells the story of an Iowa woman and her guy pal. “An Iowa woman has been charged with child neglect after she allegedly left her two young nieces alone in a Bloomington hotel while she and a male friend hit a strip club and then a casino. The hotel staff first noticed the two small girls — one 6, the other a year old — wandering through the lobby and down the hallways a bit before midnight Friday, March 1. When police came to search for the two adults who had checked in with the children, they found their room ‘empty and a complete mess,’ littered with open bottles of booze and dirty diapers, a police officer later reported.”

As predictable as a March snowstorm …. Ol’ Sooch (aka Joe Soucheray of the PiPress) has heard about schemes to bail out overpaid teachers’ retirement plans with his hard-earned tax money and … well, you can guess. “At the beginning of a winter, most people lay in salt, sand, a scraper, a couple of shovels, a snowblower and gasoline for the snowblower. Then, when it snows, people go outside and clear the snow. The advanced among us have roof rakes or heating tape, too, and they are never surprised by an ice dam. Then, there are some who figure that they can get by with just a shovel and are left scratching their heads at the shovel’s inability to dig through the wake left by the snowplow or the ice that builds up on the roof or the sidewalks made slippery by the failure to have brought in some salt or sand. Help! … Why is it reasonable that growing classes of our fellow citizens expect their neighbors to shovel them out or pay for their retirements?”