Gridlock may stall Capitol renovation

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Gridlock on renovation? In the PiPress, Doug Montgomery reports, “Much of the Capitol renovation work could grind to a halt because of disagreements between Gov. Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt over how space inside the building should be allocated. Those leaders, along with Attorney General Lori Swanson and Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, are required to sign off on the internal design of the building. But as of Wednesday morning, those top leaders have not signed off on the project. Dayton said the primary disagreement is among him, Bakk and Daudt.”

No doubt full resolution is now at hand. Sasha Aslanian of MPR tells us, “The Bloomington City Attorney has charged 10 people in the Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America in December. … Charges are pending against 25 others. … City Attorney Sandra Johnson has said the Dec. 20 protest on a busy weekend before Christmas created unsafe situations.” More unsafe than the parking ramps?

There are a lot of hands grabbing for the pie. MPR’s Catharine Richert says, “Just a week into the 2015 legislative session, the state’s $1 billion budget surplus is getting gobbled up. … But so far, here’s a list of who wants what and why. As you can see, $1 billion just doesn’t go very far. …

Transportation: House Republicans want to use $200 million of the surplus to pay for road and bridge construction.

Nursing homes: Advocates will ask the Legislature for $200 million over two years to effectively increase reimbursements for their costs.

University of Minnesota: The school’s $1.3 billion budget request would include $127 million in new spending, with about half of that money going to a two-year tuition freeze.” … and on and on.

Can’t control how much you eat? There’s a device for that. The AP says, “Federal regulators have approved an appetite-suppressing implant designed to treat obesity by zapping nerves that connect the stomach and the brain. Roseville-based EnteroMedics’ Maestro Rechargeable System uses electrodes implanted in the abdomen to stimulate the vagus nerve, which signals to the brain that the stomach is empty or full. Patients and doctors can adjust the device settings using external controllers. Shares of EnteroMedics were up almost 18 percent in trading Wednesday after the Food and Drug Administration said it approved the device for certain patients who are severely obese.” Obesity. A growth stock.

This sort of thing kind of defeats the purpose of cop body cameras. For the Forum News Service, Tom Olsen says, “Citing the threat of a lawsuit, the city of Duluth has declined to publicly release body camera footage of an August incident in which a Duluth police officer shot a man inside a residence. The city has been served with a ‘notice of claim’ from an attorney representing Joseph Zontelli, the man who suffered nonfatal wounds when he was shot by a Duluth police officer. While the state already has ruled that such video should be classified as public, City Attorney Gunnar Johnson cited a state statute that allows otherwise public data to be withheld in certain instances, such as pending legal actions.” So can we assume the footage is not supportive of the cops’ case?

In that Waseca bombing plot that has gone through several legal redefinitions, Josh Moniz of the Mankato Free Press says, “The two Waseca teens charged in connection with the John LaDue case have both entered a guilty plea in Waseca County District Court. Austin Walters and Colby Radke were each originally charged as juveniles with two felony possession of explosive material charges. Both pleaded guilty late last week to one of the charges in exchange for the other charge being dropped. Walters and Radke were charged with helping Waseca teen John LaDue detonate several small ‘test bombs’ around Waseca. Some of the bombs resulted in damage to school equipment. LaDue is accused of plotting to kill his family before attacking the Waseca Junior/Senior High School with firearms and homemade explosives.”

Better brakes, more airbags, fewer drunks. Stribber Tim Harlow reports on yet another decline in traffic fatalities. “It was a safe 2014 on Minnesota roads as the state was expected to record the second fewest traffic-related deaths since the World War II era. Preliminary data from the Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety indicate that 356 people died in traffic crashes last year, equal to the all-time low of 356 recorded in 1944. When final numbers for the year are in, the number of fatalities will likely be around 370, the safety department predicts. Still, that would be the second fewest in state history. And it continues a downward trend that over the past decade has seen the annual number of traffic deaths fall from 655 in 2003 to 387 in 2013.”

A legislative response to sex trafficking. The AP story says, “Democratic U.S. senators from Minnesota and North Dakota are reintroducing bipartisan legislation in an effort to crack down on sex trafficking across the country. The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act is modeled after Minnesota’s ‘Safe Harbor’ law, which protects sex trafficking victims from being prosecuted as defendants. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota say the bill would allow prosecutors to better handle minor sex trafficking cases and provide support to victims.”

Ten hut! In Stars and Stripes Steven Beardsley writes, “The first woman to serve aboard a Navy fast-attack submarine has reported to the USS Minnesota. She is one of six officers expected to join fast-attack crews in the months ahead. Two more women will report to the Minnesota by the end of January, with three more slated to join the USS Virginia in the spring, said Lt. Cmdr. Tommy Crosby, a spokesman for the Navy’s Submarine Force Atlantic. Integration of Virginia-class submarines comes three years into the Navy’s effort to gradually bring female officers and enlisted into its undersea service.”

Mortenson is going solar. In Midwest Energy News, Frank Jossi says, “SunShare LLC has announced a strategic alliance with Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction to develop solar gardens in Minnesota. SunShare, which has offices in Minneapolis and Denver, has become one of Colorado’s leading solar garden promoters since that state passed a 2010 law allowing for their development. Mortenson is a family-owned construction company that manages a variety of projects locally and throughout the country, among them the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, the Denver Art Center, The Walker Art Center and many others. SunShare will develop, finance, own, operate and market the projects.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/14/2015 - 03:20 pm.

    Civil disobedience

    comes at a cost. I have no problem with the prosecution of the protesters. They knew or should have known what they were signing up for.

    I do have a problem with the prosecutor’s decision to seek what she calls restitution. If merchants feel they lost money, let them sue. As for costs of law enforcement . . . bah.

    One has to wonder how much Mall of America contributes to he campaign fund.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/14/2015 - 04:11 pm.

    Gridlock on renovation

    A rhetorical question: Does anyone who does not work in the capitol building care who gets what office space? Sit down at a table, gentlemen, and come to an agreement like grownups. It seems to be 2 against 2. Dayton and Baak vs. Daudt and the purse strings…

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