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Pool of prospective pot producers keeps growing

The pool of prospective pot producers has gotten pretty big. Jesse Marx of City Pages reports, “Friday’s cannabis meeting has been moved to accommodate a larger-than-anticipated pool of potential producers. So large, in fact, that the Minnesota Department of Health has reserved the 3M Auditorium at the Minnesota History Center. … The number of RSVPs is close to 220, according to a spokesman for the health department. … Anyone who’s interested (and has a spare $20,000) should file a notice of intent with the health department by September 19 and be sure to turn in the application by October 3. After presentations and site inspections, the state is supposed to name two finalists on November 17.”

The four GOP gubernatorial candidates went face-to-face (again) at MPR yesterday. Tim Pugmire writes, “[Kurt] Zellers is pledging no tax increases as governor, although his running mate Dean Simpson described himself earlier this summer as a tax moderate and said he would be willing to look at a broader sales tax. Simpson has since signed the same anti-tax pledge as Zellers. [Jeff] Johnson and a group of supporters gathered near the state Capitol Thursday where construction on a new $90 million Senate office building began this week.”

As long as it keeps generating heat we’ll keep running it out there. The Power Line boys offer their perspective on the Stillwater cafe’s “minimum wage fee.” Says John Hinderaker, “In the Democratic Party, where magical thinking reigns, this is regarded as dirty pool:

‘We believe that the industry is overreacting,’ Wade Luneburg of the MN State Council of UNITE HERE Unions told the Star Tribune this week. ‘Putting [minimum wage] fees on tickets and passing the cost on to consumers directly is strange at best, and creates an ‘us against them’ mentality while ordering dinner.’

It is ‘strange’ for businesses to pass costs on to their customers? Who, exactly, does Mr. Luneburg think pays those costs? No doubt he has no clue why low-wage workers are being laid off in Minnesota, either. That’s what happens when costs can’t be passed on. Every now and then, it is good to be reminded how dumb liberalism is.”

As far as I can tell, Sally Jo Sorensen, on her Bluestem Prairie blog, is the only reporter thus far to make this connection: “A reader sent us to Minimum-wage bill would deal a blow to Minnesota restaurants, a February 2013 opinion piece on Minnesota Public Radio by Michael Saltsman, research director of the Employment Policies Institute, which describes itself as ‘a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth.’ In the piece, Saltsman describes the woes that the [Oasis] restaurant owner would have to endure.” Sorensen notes that Saltsman’s boss is a guy named Rick Berman. She connects to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW] website where Berman is described as, “a longtime Washington, D.C. public relations specialist whose lobbying and consulting firm, Berman and Company, Inc., advocates for special interests and powerful industries. Berman and Co. wages deceptive campaigns against industry foes including labor unions; public-health advocates; and consumer, safety, animal welfare, and environmental groups.” So it was pure coincidence Saltsman used the Oasis as an example, right?

Got your sturdiest shoes cleaned and set by the door? Some 100 sun-block? A bib to catch most of the grease? In the Strib, Don Jacobsen writes, “The creators of a new, $15 million neighborhood at the Minnesota State Fair say the coming of the West End Market will give fairgoers a welcoming new front door that references state history through its attractions and architecture. As crews from McGough Construction worked this week to put the finishing touches on the 22.5-acre area in time for the fair’s Aug. 21 opening day, architect Brian Tempas and designer Andrew Tisue of the Cuningham Group hosted a hard-hat tour to explain the design vision behind the biggest expansion of the fair since the 1930s.”

State regulators have taken a position favored by Xcel on the so-called “value of solar” compensation matter. Frank Jossi of Midwest Energy News says, “Minnesota regulators on Thursday unanimously decided to take a pass on using the ‘value of solar’ (VOS) to calculate how to pay community solar garden developers. … The PUC established a rate of roughly 11 to 15 cents per kWh to developers of solar garden, a sum that includes compensation for renewable energy credits. Those sums — called ‘applicable retail rates’ (ARR) in the regulatory parlance — are paid to solar garden subscribers, who in turn pay developers to manage the installations.”

The Fond du Lac band wants the Feds to guarantee cleaner air. Dan Kraker of MPR says, “The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency for increased air quality protection on the reservation. Band officials want the EPA to give the reservation a Class I air quality designation under the Clean Air Act. The designation, which applies to national parks like Voyageurs, and also wilderness areas like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, requires the strictest air standards in the country.”

She should have used Uber. Abby Simons of the Strib reports, “Michelle MacDonald, the Republican-endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, was ticketed last week for violating the terms of a limited license as she awaits trial for alleged drunken driving and resisting arrest.”

Minneapolis is #6 — in beard friendliness! Jon Collins at MPR says, “Wahl, which makes gadgets designed to trim facial hair, wants us to believe that furry faces are once again in style. The company released the results yesterday of a market survey from the Opinion Research Corporation of the most facial hair-friendly cities in the United States. Minneapolis, which has hosted a beard-off for the previous five years and boasts a Minneapolis Beard and Mustache Club, was ranked sixth in the country. St. Paul apparently didn’t make the top 20.”

A heretofore unanticipated side effect of light rail: Frederick Melo of the PiPress: “Eager to take advantage of the proximity to the new light rail, a microbrewery is moving from Wisconsin to the St. Paul-Minneapolis border. An events company hopes to pull a profit selling a Rails and Ales tour of the Green Line. And St. Paul taprooms can now serve on Sunday with a license. On Thursday, Lake Monster Brewing announced that it will open a microbrewery and taproom next year in a newly remodeled Vandalia Tower at 550 Vandalia St, near the Green Line’s Raymond Avenue station.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 08/08/2014 - 07:02 am.

    Employment Policies Institute

    It sounds like Michael Saltsman is engaging in a little astroturf operation.

  2. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/08/2014 - 07:18 am.

    “It’s Working”

    Lambert missed an opportunity to point out that a big gubmit social engineering project (the Green Line) lured a private business from job Walkerstan to the Land That Hates Job Creators?

    Must be time for a week at the lake. With a growler of micro beer.

  3. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/08/2014 - 07:35 am.

    common sense

    It is common sense that higher wages to employees will make costs go up and I accept that as the cost of fairness. An extra fifty cents isn’t going to stop me from going out to eat once in a while. What I object to is the way that Oasis guy added the charge. It was disrespectful to his employees and designed to make customers resent their servers. Wouldn’t want to work for a jerk like that.

    In Michelle MacDonald news: ha ha ha. She’s a fun story. Of course she disagrees totally with the police officer’s description of the events. I wonder if she’ll be wearing an ankle bracelet at her concession speech.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/08/2014 - 08:09 am.

    Common sense

    Bill Schletzer is right on target regarding the Oasis. Of course higher costs have to be passed on, but it’s not necessary to go out of one’s way to point the middle finger at the low-wage workers at the restaurant in doing so. The Oasis guy could increase his prices proportionately – presumably his competitors are also now paying their own low-wage servers the higher minimum wage, too – and move on with his life.

    Someone that hostile to the concept of his own employees making something closer to a living wage could stand to do a little reflecting on the source of his hostility.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 08/08/2014 - 11:22 am.


      You make a good point, Ray. The Oasis owner could have simply raised his prices a dime an item–hardly something that would be noticed by his customers and it wouldn’t put him out of line with his competitors.

      Instead he’s taken a very public stance that’s sure to alienate a large portion of his customer base. He’s obviously against raising the minimum wage no matter how much it helps people at the bottom of the economic scale. Unfortunately he not only alienated liberal Democrats who support the minimum wage, but also people of all political stripes who have ever worked in a restaurant. That’s a pretty sure-fire way to make sure your business goes belly up.

      I have to wonder if he has or would be willing to break out the price increase of other items on his receipts, such as a hike in the cost of beef, coffee, sugar, or tomatoes. My guess is all of those modest cost increases get a pass in his mind, whereas a modest increase in minimum wage is perceived as a business-killing disaster.

  5. Submitted by Pat Brady on 08/08/2014 - 08:11 am.

    Reporter Sally Sorensen

    Thank you for your work connectiong the dots in the Oasis story. Follow the money leads to a DC lobbyist firm, not the first time I am sure.

    Thanks Minn Post for providing me with a new blog to check out.

  6. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 08/08/2014 - 09:18 am.


    Just prefers to take money from schools to fund the govt. Any “Grover lover” is not fit to govern.

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