Very tough run for motorcyclists this month. Says Paul Walsh in the Strib: “A motorcyclist crashed in northwestern Minnesota over the weekend and was killed, extending a rash of fatalities among riders in Minnesota this summer, authorities said Monday. … His death was at least the seventh in the first 13 days of July among riders in Minnesota and the 28th so far this year. Ten riders were killed in June. The 55 deaths in all of 2012 were the most since 2008. Other statistics for 2013 from the Department of Public Safety: Of the 23 motorcycle fatalities for which details on helmets were available, 16 riders were not wearing helmets.”
There’ll be a vigil for Trayvon Martin Monday night in downtown Minneapolis. Tom Meersman of the Strib writes: “Hundreds of people are expected at a rally Monday night in memory of both Trayvon Martin, the teen shot by George Zimmerman in Florida, and Terrence Franklin, the young man killed during a scuffle with Minneapolis police officers this spring. Organizers of the rally and march are asking for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman and for the prosecution of police officers involved in Franklin’s May 10 shooting in the basement of a house in the Uptown neighborhood. The rally will be at the Hennepin County Center Government plaza in downtown Minneapolis at 6 p.m. A Facebook page for the event said nearly 2,000 people indicated that they planned to go.”
At MPR, Tim Nelson clears up a popular misperception about the new cigarette tax: “There’s a persistent myth growing this summer: that the new $1.60 per pack cigarette tax that went into effect July 1 is going — at least in part — to pay for the new Vikings stadium. … Here’s how it works. … Gambling taxes were going to pay back stadium bonds. Trouble is, electronic pulltabs are coming in WAY below projections. So the state had to come up with a fix … The Dayton administration opted for a two-part solution.The biggest part of that was a ‘unitary tax’ that would apply regular Minnesota corporate taxes to more out-of-state companies than pay corporate taxes now. The Dayton administration said closing what it called a loophole would raise about $20 million a year. That and about $10 million in taxes on the electronic pulltabs that DID get sold, should be enough to cover the debt payments on the state’s stadium bonds, if the number crunchers are right.”
Out at the Sacramento Bee, columnist Dan Walter looks at our Internet taxation idea and writes: “There’s a nasty political squabble raging in Minnesota — at least as nasty as congenitally polite Minnesotans can muster — over taxing internet sales. A familiar corporate name, Amazon, plays the central role. … What’s happening in Minnesota is very reminiscent of what happened in California two summers ago, when Amazon went toe-to-toe with Democratic politicians, unions and big-box stores such as Target and Wal-Mart over collecting Internet sales taxes. … But the efforts [for the tax] had been turned back until Democrat Jerry Brown became governor. The big-box retailers mounted a full-court political and media press, portraying Amazon as a tax scofflaw that was killing ‘Main Street’ merchants. An Internet sales tax bill tied to the 2011-12 state budget was passed and signed by Brown, and in response, Amazon severed connections with its California affiliates and spent several million dollars gathering 800,000-plus signatures to challenge the measure at the polls via a referendum.”
Ex-talk radio jock/financial guru Pat Kiley will do some serious time. At the PiPress, John Welbes reports: “Patrick Kiley, a former radio show host who helped raise millions of dollars for the Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme in Minneapolis, was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison. Kiley apologized to the court and said he took responsibility ‘for what I believed in, for which I was wrong.’ Through his radio show, called ‘Follow the Money,’ Kiley enticed hundreds of investors to put their money in Cook’s foreign currency trading scheme. The $194 million scam had more than 700 victims when it collapsed in 2009.” Fact-checkers’ heads would explode if they had to cover radio as well as politicians.
Crunch time is approaching for residents along the proposed Southwest LRT route. Brandt Williams at MPR writes: “The Met Council has proposed eight options to address this pinch point along the corridor. Two of those options would spare [Tom] Quandt’s home [next to the Cedar Lake Trail] and about 60 other Minneapolis properties — most of which are located in the complex where Quandt lives — by relocating the freight lines through St. Louis Park. However, those options are strongly opposed by residents of St. Louis Park — especially those who will lose property or have trains running past their homes. … All eight options would run the Southwest light rail line through sections of Minneapolis that contain bicycle and walking paths used by tens of thousands of people every year.”
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest to show exasperation with attorney William Butler. Randy Furst of the Strib says: The appeals court “took the unusual step on Monday of threatening to impose its own sanctions on a Minneapolis foreclosure attorney for continuing to file appeals, using legal arguments that have been repeatedly rejected by the district court in Minnesota as well as the federal appeals court. Attorney William B. Butler already faces possible discipline from the federal district court in Minnesota and the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, both of which are currently conducting investigations of him. Butler’s problems were described in the Star Tribune last Thursday. It is the third time in five days that the appeals panel has upheld the dismissal of a Butler lawsuit.” Man just likes the fight.
At the New Civil Rights Movement site, David Badash reports on the latest from Our Favorite Congresswoman … and even by her standards, it’s a good one. “[O]ver the past year, she has increasingly turned her fear and hate machine onto her new targets: immigrants and immigration reform. In this interview, Bachmann actually says that President Barack Obama last year gave voting rights to undocumented immigrants, and he will do it again next year if immigration reform passes. To be clear, that is a totally false statement, nor does the President have the power to do that — and if he did, why didn’t Bachmann do anything about it? Could she be mistaken — which would mean dereliction of her duty as a Congresswoman — or is she just lying?” With absolutely nothing left to play for, her final 15 months could be a wild ride.
Why just Maple Grove? At City Pages, Emily Weiss writes: “Construction is still underway at the highly anticipated new Whole Foods location at the corner of Hennepin and Washington Avenues, but those who live a little bit outside the center of the city can get excited about the latest finished outpost of the natural foods grocery store, which opens this Wednesday at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove. The new 32,000 square-foot store features a handful of services not yet available at any other Minnesota locations. … Unique to this location (though still planned for the downtown store) is the addition of a joint Whole Foods liquor store which will sell ‘value-priced wines and craft beer’ as well as spirits. If they have their druthers about them, they’ll stock a whole lot of the newly-released, locally-made Prairie organic gin and cucumber vodka.” For patrons on their way down to Augie’s …