Minneapolis considers making it tougher to run for office

MinnPost photo by Karl Pearson-Cater

If we really want to cut down on, um, “oddball” candidates for Mayor, this may help. Curtis Gilbert of MPR says, “It costs just $20 to put your name on the ballot for city races. The proposed charter amendment would raise that fee to $500 for mayoral candidates. Other offices would see smaller increases, although candidates could avoid paying the fee altogether by collecting at least 500 signatures. The change is designed to keep candidates like Jeff Wagner off the ballot. His quixotic run for mayor last year was built around a series of web videos showing him in varying states of undress.”

In the Strib, Aaron Brown dissects a new study on rural Minnesota. With a particular eye on northern Minnesota he says, “The Center for Rural Policy and Development issued its State of Rural Minnesota 2014 Report this week, including a number of compelling graphics about the current and projected economic status of Greater Minnesota counties. … in St. Louis County, population decreased on the Iron Range (as it has for more than 50 years), but Duluth and desirable lakeshore property more than made up for it at the county level. You really see this effect in Itasca, Hubbard, Crow Wing and Beltrami counties, places like Bemidji, Park Rapids, Brainerd and Grand Rapids. These areas become much more populous and remain attractive cities for workers and families in their prime.”

A story in this week’s City Pages by Cory Zurowski pretty much leaves Rep. John Kline a smoking cinder. “John Kline’s Descent From Patriot to the Whore of Higher Ed” says early on, “As Kline disappears behind the elevator doors, so goes the biggest obstruction to reforming for-profit colleges in America, an industry grown fat and sweaty on the taxpayers’ dime, while leaving students paralyzed in debt and working part-time at CVS. Since 2001, enrollment at America’s for-profit colleges has nearly quadrupled to 3 million students. Much of that prosperity has come from preying on unsophisticated consumers.”

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A release from the U of M touts, “A University of Minnesota-based team has been selected as one of 11 finalists in the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a global competition to develop breakthrough medical sensing technologies that will ultimately enable faster diagnoses and easier personal health monitoring. The Golden Gopher Magnetic Biosensing Team has developed a handheld device, named ‘z-Lab,’ that can detect a number of infections and health indicators with a single drop of blood or urine.”

In a similar vein, Dan Gunderson of MPR says, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expanding a program to create new habitat for bees in five states, including Minnesota. The pilot program started earlier this year with $3 million, but demand far outstripped the funding. The effort, which also includes Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, will get another $4 million.”

With IMAX all over the place, the Zoo’s theater is getting an upgrade. The AP says, “The Minnesota Zoo’s IMAX theater is getting a $1.2 million upgrade. The Apple Valley zoo’s Great Clips IMAX Theatre recently added an IMAX Digital Projection System and will be adding a cloud-based ticketing system. The theater also is installing 482 rocker seats.”

I deny making this stuff up. The AP reports, “Police in western Wisconsin didn’t have to work too hard to make an arrest in the burglary of a sporting goods store. Authorities say the 19-year-old suspect had taken a selfie of himself burglarizing the Black River Falls business, then inadvertently left his cellphone behind.”

The charge is they play it tough out there at the Lake Elmo City Council. Bob Shaw at the PiPress follows the tale of what happened close to midnight. “Whatever happened in a dark parking lot on Oct. 7, it got Lake Elmo City Council member Anne Smith in trouble. Smith had an encounter with a Stillwater Gazette reporter at 11:30 p.m., after a city council meeting. When it was over, council member Mike Reeves said, the reporter was ‘scared, frightened, shaking and crying.’ The reporter requested that for her own safety, she be accompanied to her car after future meetings. … The city council — which censured Smith on Sept. 2 for her alleged harassment of city staff — discussed censuring her again. But after a tense one-hour meeting, no action was taken.”

There’s some instability here. Maury Glover at KMSP-TV reports, “Its not unheard of for a victim of domestic abuse to switch their story, or not want to press charges against a spouse or loved one. But in a case in Hennepin County this week, the alleged victim is the one who ended up on trial for committing a crime. This whole thing started in March of last year when Jon Philips told police his wife Michele Davis stabbed him in the back with a kitchen knife. This happened while the two were arguing in their home in south Minneapolis over whether or not to move from Minnesota. Prosecutors charged Davis with assault, but Phillips soon recanted his statements and asked for the charges against his wife to be dropped. When prosecutors decided to go ahead with the case anyway, Phillips wrote a whopping 61 letters to the prosecuting attorney in two months, which is roughly a letter a day. One of them was in bubble wrap which caused the attorney to fear there was something dangerous or poisonous inside.”

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