A more minimum minimum wage: Ricardo Lopez of the Strib reports, “Aiming to reduce labor costs for restaurants, the Republican-led House on Monday night approved a measure that would create a lower minimum wage for tipped employees. Sponsored by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, the bill passed 78 to 55, with seven DFLers supporting it. The bill is an effort to revise the minimum-wage law passed last year by a DFL-controlled Legislature. It faces stiff opposition from Gov.Mark Dayton, DFL leaders in both the House and Senate and labor union allies, making its passage by the DFL-led Senate unlikely.”
Trust me. Someone will give you a loan at a great discounted rate, Bill. Mike Kaszuba and Dennis Brackin of the Strib report, “Major League Soccer executives are coming to Minnesota on Wednesday to make it official — or at least as official as an expansion bid can be without a stadium in place. But on the very day MLS announced that Commissioner Don Garber was coming to Target Field in Minneapolis for ‘a major announcement,’ the odds of prospective owner Bill McGuire getting significant public help for a new soccer-only stadium dramatically decreased. Gov. Mark Dayton, reinforcing comments he made last year, strongly signaled that he would close the door on any state financial help for an outdoor soccer stadium.” What? Not even a cut of the e-pulltab booty?
Adds Patrick Reusse: “The McGuire group has a powerful enemy and that’s the Vikings. Pre-emptively, the Vikings folks spent weeks twisting arms at the Legislature to speak out against a soccer-specific stadium. The idea was that, thus discouraged, the MLS would zero in on awarding the expansion franchise to the Wilfs and it would play in the new dome. The Vikings have no more loyal pal at the Legislature than Tom Bakk, and he also happens to be the Senate Majority Leader. Bakk has been so willing to do the bidding of the Vikings and the Wilfs that he called up Don Garber, the MLS Commissioner, and said the McGuire group would not receive a dime’s worth of assistance from the state. Bakk has done a fine job making this sound as if he’s protecting the taxpayers, but the folks he’s really been trying to protect are the real estate developers from New Jersey.” No one, of course, has afforded those developers better protection than Mr. Reusse’s primary employers themselves.
Susan Du of City Pages reports on the Minnesota House killing off the latest attempt to lighten the student loan debt load. “House Republicans killed a proposal that would have covered tuition and other fees that typically stand in the way of high-achieving students attending college, like room and board. The plan also granted a tax credit of up to $5,000 per year on student loan debt. Rep. Jon Applebaum (DFL-Minnetonka) and Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls), the Republican chair of the higher education policy and finance committee, co-wrote the bill. But it was aborted by fellow Republicans before it could reach a vote by the full legislature. ‘There really wasn’t a reason given,’ said a frazzled Applebaum on Friday.” Hmm. So who benefits from student debt?
Brad Tuttle at TIME on why Target improved its return policy (on some items): “At a discussion of Target’s new return policy over at the industry publication Retail Wire, one retail insider noted that the company was all but asking for ‘wardrobing’ and other kinds of abuse to take place:
I expect Target will get flooded with returns as a result of this policy—especially by Millennials who want to rent rather than own. Upscale retailers have had to limit the returns of expensive dresses because women would wear them for one night and return them using the store’s liberal return policy.
So what’s behind Target’s change to a more flexible, potentially abused return policy? The short answer is that shoppers buy more stuff when they know returns are easy.”
The Adrian Peterson soap opera churns on. For the PiPress, Chris Tomasson writes, “The agent for disgruntled Adrian Peterson said Monday the preference is for the star running back to no longer play for the Vikings. It has become clear in recent weeks that Peterson, who missed 15 games last season because of a child-abuse incident, would prefer to play elsewhere next season. His agent, Ben Dogra, made the strongest statement yet regarding that. ‘I don’t think it’s in Adrian’s best interest to play in Minnesota,’ Dogra told reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. ‘Why would it be?’”
Eeeew. At The Huffington Post Simon McCormack tells the distasteful story. “A man was cleared of sex charges even after he admitted to ejaculating into a female co-worker’s coffee cup. John Robert Lind was charged with sexual assault but a judge said the Minnesota man’s conduct didn’t qualify as such because of a loophole in Minnesota law that doesn’t consider his behavior a sex crime. Pat Maahs, the victim, told WTVR she’s intent on closing that loophole to make sure the man’s conduct would require him to register as a sex offender. The Huffington Post doesn’t usually name the victims of sex crimes, but Maahs went public to tell her story. Maahs, who works at Beisswengers hardware store in New Brighton, Minnesota, said she worked with Lind for 14 years. She said her coffee sometimes tasted funny over the course of six months.”
And even worse, a bit more on last week’s mugshot poster boy. Paul Walsh of the Strib: “Newly released details from Sherburne County authorities paint an increasingly bleak picture of the conditions that two starving toddlers endured for many weeks, sometimes while alone for long stretches, in their filthy home south of Princeton. … The petition said Michael S. Gunderson would routinely lock his sons in a bedroom for more than 12 hours at a time while he went to work 35 miles away in Maple Grove. During one stretch, the petition continued, the father left the boys alone in the Baldwin Township home, which smelled of urine and dog feces, for ‘two to three days while he left the state to attend a funeral in Wisconsin.’”
Chutzpah award winner. Peter Cox of MPR says, “Convicted of killing a Mendota Heights officer last summer, Brian Fitch Sr. now wants police to return the $2,993.43 he had on him as he shot at them. … During his trial, Fitch’s defense had argued that he was not a murderer but was a busy drug dealer collecting money from clients on the day Patrick was killed. In a motion filed Monday in Dakota County District Court, Fitch attorney Laurie Traub asked that the money seized during Fitch’s arrest be returned.”
Not bad ching. Kristen Leigh Painter of the Strib says, “United Properties offered to pay the City of Minneapolis $10.4 million for the Nicollet Hotel Block, according to city documents. The sale price, previously not disclosed, was a key reason city officials cited for selecting the Bloomington-based developer over the three other bids last month.”
Not quite Exxon merging with Mobil. Frederick Melo in the PiPress says, “Two St. Paul-based nonprofit groups are merging to form the largest provider of basic needs service in the east metro. On April 1, Keystone Community Services will merge with the West 7th Community Center, a private nonprofit organization that offers youth and senior programs as well as tax and food assistance and legal referrals to the neighborhoods along West Seventh Street. The community center, which will keep its name, is at 265 Oneida St., south of St. Clair Avenue.”