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St. Paul downtown development: dreaming (really) big

And a pony for every child … Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports: “A 400-room hotel could replace the old Ramsey County jail or the West Publishing building on Kellogg Boulevard. A movie theater, retail center and towers of offices and housing with above-ground parking could line each side of Wabasha Street. The Seven Corners, Custom House and Central Station sites would be so adorned with activity, they would be almost unrecognizable. For a downtown that saw its last department store close last year, a task force of St. Paul business leaders is dreaming big. So big, in fact, they readily admit that not all of their ambitious plans will come together.”

The New York Times sent James Oestreich to town for Osmo Vänskä’s return … as conductor. He writes: “At first glance, Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony may seem an odd choice to kick off a celebration. A probing, deeply serious, almost melancholic work, it raises many questions in its early movements but provides few answers. … Yet on second thought, maybe this work, with its dark undercurrents and its persistent questing, is the perfect complement to the orchestra’s situation at the moment, bathed in uncertainty and by no means guaranteed to end happily.”

Beware, ye tanners … . In the Strib, Cody Nelson and Danielle Dullinger write: “The pretty lights of tanning beds and the warm glow of a suntan, especially during a long, gloomy winter, can be almost irresistible — especially for teenage girls. It’s a lure that has proved deadly for many. The incidence of melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — has surged nationwide, especially in young women, in the past few years, health professionals warn. … With that in mind, several Minnesota legislators have introduced a bill that would prohibit anyone under 18 from using indoor tanning beds.”

This sort of thing needs cleaning up … Randy Furst of the Strib reports: “A man who was fired from his job as a mortgage specialist after a background check found he’d been jailed 14 years earlier can proceed with his lawsuit against the background check company, a federal judge in Minneapolis ruled this week. It turned out the man, charged with a misdemeanor, was never jailed but put on probation. The case was dismissed a year later. The suit is being litigated as state lawmakers consider legislation to revise court regulations on expunging records, including criminal histories.”

Is it Iraq or the $150,000? Maura Lerner of the Strib writes: “Student and faculty activists are joining forces to pressure the University of Minnesota to rescind a speaking invitation to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is scheduled to deliver an April 17 lecture at Northrop Auditorium. … the University Senate has scheduled a vote next week on a resolution urging the school to disinvite Rice because of her role in the wartime policies of the Bush administration. Another of the critics’ objections: her speaking fee of $150,000.” What’s Dick Cheney’s going rate?

At MPR, Laura Yuen reports on a Met Council survey asking why people of color aren’t using area parks: “According to a new study from the council, African-Americans fear violent crime, African immigrants worry they’ll lose their kids or drown, Asians wish to avoid snakes and bees (and getting lost), and Latinos are concerned about contracting viruses through the water. Of course, the study dives into other barriers to park use for minority groups, such as a lack of awareness and time.”

The GleanNo doubt he’ll be back on that “IRS scandal” as soon as he’s done with this … Says Elizabeth Stawicki at MPR: “The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee is turning up the heat on Minnesota and several other states with troubled health insurance exchanges. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of California is sending letters to 10 governors, including Gov. Mark Dayton, and the District of Columbia’s mayor, his office said. The letters seek internal documents and communications between state employees and contractors and Obama Administration officials relating to their insurance exchanges from May 1, 2013 to present. Issa also seeks audits of MNsure’s development, readiness or security back to July, 2012.” And what’s the cost of all that?

The Rangers speak! An editorial in the Mesabi Daily News says: “Gov. Mark Dayton has always expressed himself as a strong supporter of rural Minnesota. The governor has also proclaimed the ‘Jobs, jobs, jobs’ mantra of former Gov. Rudy Perpich of the Iron Range. Gov. Dayton has an opportunity to stand behind his oft-repeated pledge as an advocate for rural areas and also for jobs in Greater Minnesota by reversing his stand on $100 million in funding this legislative session for a Border to Border Broadband Fund. We implore the governor to do just that in the next couple of days. Minnesota, supposedly the land of progressivity, is a state with a canyon-like broadband divide between urban and rural areas.”

Finally, if I may, I’d like to say goodbye and many thanks to my (exceedingly) long-suffering editor, Don Effenberger, who is leaving the daily/hourly deadline grind today after … well, after a damn long time at it. The relationship between writers and editors is a constant exercise in skepticism, patience and trust, and Don, who has always brought good humor to his oversight, has been an editor with whom I’ve always enjoyed working. And I don’t say that very often.

Don assures me he won’t be wasting his free time with The Devil’s Game (golf), but instead has “lots of interests,” including grandchildren, travel and volunteer work to keep him busy.

Good luck, Don, and thanks for your work. I’ll miss you.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/28/2014 - 03:59 pm.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but

    didn’t we hear the same song and watch the same dance in downtown St. Paul before we built Galtier Plaza? The World Trade Center? Banished 7th St. to the northern reaches?

    With all due respect to those who have run our city in the past and do so today, how do you expect to convince others to invest in the same boondoggles? (Didn’t we just manage to offload the last of the hotels?)

    • Submitted by Pat Brady on 03/30/2014 - 09:40 am.

      the dreams of the task force of busniess leaders

      These same busniness leaders can put their money in downtown St. Paul if they want. But city officials should be aware of the history of the flim flan artists that all want taxpayer’s money for their dreams.
      Meanwhile, St. Paul is ready for real development along University Ave. with the opening of the LR.
      And the rubble that was once the Ford Motor plant will be hauled away. This site, in the heart of a city, will be a new area of growth for our city for generations. Lets do it right!

  2. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 03/28/2014 - 04:14 pm.

    I must have missed a post

    I thought if anyone in MN media would pick up on this morning’s Romenesko item about Glenn Taylor being in the process of closing a deal for the Strib, it would be you.

    I will miss Effenberger. I didn’t send him as many emails of complaint as I meant to, but I’m sure he didn’t mind.

  3. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/28/2014 - 08:53 pm.

    How did the liberal U of M “activists”

    Find a liberal professor on their campus to help push their request?

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/29/2014 - 09:29 am.

    Same Stuff, Different Day

    I suspect the U’s R.O.I. for having Condie speak will be pretty much the same and the US’s R.O.I. for the pathetically mismanaged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were begun by Condie and Bushco,…

    lots of time and treasure spent by regular folks for what is clearly turning out to be no good purpose but filling the coffers of those providing logistical services and hardware to the military (i.e., Bushco’s old friends and cronies),…

    (Iraq descending into a Sunni/Shiite civil war which will likely only prepare them for the arrival of the next Saddam Hussein-type strong man ruler to take over,…

    and the Taliban waiting with baited breath to make their move on the population of Afghanistan and Hamid Karzai as soon as the US makes the complete exit that Karzai, himself is demanding).

    Condie speaking at the U will do nothing but pad her already well stuffed pockets while providing no useful information to the U or to its students.

    Opposing such a useless and wasteful boondoggle of political correctness (i.e. making sure even the most delusional “conservatives” feel as if their voices are being “heard”) is realistic and pragmatic.

    If being so realistic and pragmatic is now seen as “liberal,” it’s no wonder so many of us are proud to wear that label again.

  5. Submitted by Steven Bailey on 03/29/2014 - 07:18 pm.

    Bow before the Goddess!

    Tim Russert got Cheney to admit that there were no WMD’s in Iraq and that none were ever found. Days later Condi was confronted about the lie she had done so much to perpetuate. When asked what she had to say about the fact that Iraq never had WMD’s she, without a second of hesitation stated “He had aspirations of ambitions”. “Aspirations of Ambitions”, off the cuff and alliterative. That is all she had to say. The question was dead, the issue was dead. Author Peter Michaelson wrote a great piece on Carl Jung during the run up to the Iraq debacle and stating the at the end of the Undiscovered Self Jung believed that Americans had become so superficial that within a generation they would be unable to recognize evil or their participation in it. In our surreal world Condi wins every time.

  6. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/29/2014 - 07:48 pm.

    Condoleezza Rice

    “She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Denver in 1974; her master’s from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies in 1981. That same year, she joined Stanford University as a political science professor—a position that she held for more than three decades.

    In 1993, Rice became the first woman and first African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University—a post she held for six years. During that time, she also served as the university’s chief budget and academic officer.

    Rice was appointed national security adviser by President George W. Bush, becoming the first black woman (and second woman) to hold the post, and went on to become the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State.

    In August 2012, Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore became the first women to (simultaneously) become members of the Augusta National Golf Club.”

    (Stolen from

    I’m guessing that she might be able to provide just one tiny morsel of useful information to someone in the audience–and for less than half of the cost of Pam Borton’s buyout!

    • Submitted by chuck turchick on 04/14/2014 - 09:18 pm.

      …and she authorized torture

      David Halberstam’s “The Best and the Brightest” had fine credentials too.

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