Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Airport officials want passenger fee increase at MSP

How about they just add another $5 to every drink and sandwich they sell out there? No one would notice. Because Allison Sherry of the Star Tribune says, “Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport officials have two pieces of news to members of Congress this week: We expect security lines to worsen this summer and we’d love a passenger fee increase. … to pay for infrastructure, ramps for parking lots and to expand the Humphrey terminal. … The airlines vociferously oppose any fee increase.” Now that last bit is rich.

Stillwater. Always a leader. Mary Divine of the Pioneer Press writes, “Chris Kohtz, the owner of the Wedge & Wheel artisan cheese shop and cheese bar in downtown Stillwater, has an ambitious goal: He wants his shop to be zero waste by the end of the year. Kohtz is one of more than a dozen downtown business owners enrolled in a new recycling and composting program called the Stillwater Eco-Empowerment Directive, or S.E.E.D. … As part of the program, Kohtz received a grant of $1,000 to train employees and buy recycling bins and compostable bags.”

Said Michael Brodkorb yesterday in the Strib, “Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who served as the chair of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign will announce later today he is supporting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president. Johnson decided to move his support to Cruz after Rubio suspended his presidential campaign last week after losing to Donald Trump in Rubio’s home state of Florida.” And is Johnson prepared to jump to Rick Perry if the convention swings that way?

Aaaaaaand the meter drops yet again. The AP says, “The University of Minnesota will use a 16-person committee to search for and hire an athletic director, one response to the mistake made four years ago. President Eric Kaler carefully assembled the mixture of faculty members, current and former Gophers athletes, statewide business leaders and one head coach, a deliberation rooted in the debacle that unfolded last year with the resignation of Norwood Teague. Finalist interviews will be conducted by a group four times as large as the one that sat down with Teague.” $150,000 this time around.

Sorry. No. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune reports, “The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday formally denied Minnesota Power the authority to raise homeowner and business electric rates in order to lower rates for taconite plants and paper mills. … Under the proposed shift, most of Minnesota Power’s residential customers would have seen their monthly electric bill go up 14.5 percent in order to pay for a nearly 5 percent cut in electric costs for paper mills and taconite plants that are foundering under foreign competition.”

Hmmm, I think the bottom line here is that Constitution absolutely protects your right to reveal yourself for what you are.  Says Maya Rao in the Strib, “A ‘Muslim Day at the Capitol’ event in St. Paul took a fresh turn Wednesday when Minnesota GOP Chairman Keith Downey took the stage to address controversial remarks about Muslims by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. He said that while any proposal from presidential candidates to explain their approach to terrorism must not violate people’s freedom of religion, it’s also important not to squelch debate by violating candidates’ right to free speech.”

Elsewhere, a peaceful gathering. Riham Feshir at MPR says, “Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger has called a meeting Thursday with Muslim leaders from across Minnesota to show support and address concerns in the aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks. Several law enforcement officials, including Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis FBI division, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and other sheriffs and police chiefs from across the state plan to attend.”

Well, this would be a road trip. For The Daily Norseman, Christopher Gates says, “For nearly a decade now, the National Football League has been playing an increasing number of regular season games each season in the United Kingdom. Enthusiasm for the games has been significant, and the league is looking to expand to other locales … and the Minnesota Vikings, reportedly, already have a chance to be in one of the games. The league is, apparently, going to be playing a game in China in 2018, and the Los Angeles Rams have already volunteered to be the ‘home’ team for that game, according to numerous sources, including CBS Sports. Well, guess who already has a road trip to Los Angeles scheduled for the 2018 season?” I say bring all those e-pulltab machines along. The Chinese are big gamblers.

Stribber Chris Riemenschneider writes, “A rather bright national spotlight has finally been cast on Minnesota’s booming American Indian hip-hop scene. Vice Media and Apple Music have teamed up to create an ambitious new documentary series called ‘The Score, which will feature music-related stories from Brazil, Iceland and Vietnam. The first installment, however, is a powerful one from right here in Minnesota titled ‘Reservation Rap’ about music being made by native rappers Baby Shel, Tall Paul, Thomas X, Left Field and many more. The episode debuted today and is streaming via Apple Music.”

Mike Mullen at City Pages says, “At long last, Minnesota’s elected officials have found something they agree on: High school kids are dumb. Last week, the state’s four legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton all signed off on an idea of students passing a mandatory ‘civics test’ to receive a high school diploma. The test would be modeled on the exam given to immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship. Immigrants pass that test at a rate of 97 percent. Natural-born Americans aren’t nearly as good. About one-third fail. Three-quarters can’t state the function of the judicial branch. (Correct answer: to subsidize the powerful robe seamstress and gavel-maker industries.)” Find out how many of those kids yearn for a “strongman leader.”

WCCO-TV story says, “A 55-year-old Eden Prairie woman was arrested last Friday for driving drunk while dropping two children off at their elementary school in Minnetonka, according to police. Kelly Ann Belanger was arrested on suspicion of second-degree DWI and child endangerment. According to a police report, she was dropping off two children at Scenic Heights Elementary School just before 8 a.m. … . Belanger had slurred speech, was disoriented and confused after she couldn’t find her son’s teacher. She also couldn’t remember the teacher’s name and was yelling at her two sons because she thought they had forgotten something.” Damned kids.

So not exactly “The Tree of Life”? Colin Covert of the Strib has seen the new Batman/Superman movie. He isn’t happy. “Running 153 minutes, with a swollen budget of $250 million, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is pure overpriced, overproduced, overlong pulp. … this film is to [Christopher Nolan’s] “Dark Knight” trilogy what a black velvet Elvis is to the Mona Lisa.” 

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 03/24/2016 - 06:50 am.


    The airlines oppose the airport imposing a fee increase because that would cut into the fee increases the airlines can get away with imposing.

    (And yes – in case anyone reading this is in any doubt – this IS snark.)

  2. Submitted by Mike Worcester on 03/24/2016 - 08:21 am.

    You Know Who Else Should Have To Take That Test?

    Anyone who is already, or wants to become, an elected official. I get such a kick out of these “feel-good” measures that accomplish next to nothing other than making the same elected officials look like they are *doing something* about the allegedly sad state of our youth. (Dare ya to say ‘youth’ ala Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny.)

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/24/2016 - 08:45 am.

      A Good Proposal

      A few years back, a legislator in one of the western states (Montana? Wyoming?) introduced a bill that would have made candidates for state office take a test on the state and federal Constitutions. They wouldn’t have to pass it in order to run, but their scores would be public information.

      It’s an idea that deserves more consideration. It’s not just the yoots who need to know citizenship.

  3. Submitted by Roy Everson on 03/24/2016 - 08:44 am.

    Beware the yuck factor

    It’s going to look very foolish for MN Republicans who attach their names to Ted Cruz. By summertime the mainstream view of Cruz will make Mr. Yuck look like Santa Claus. People who think they are getting someone preferable to Trump will be ashamed. How many Minnesota supporters of George Wallace do we remember?

  4. Submitted by Kate Brown on 03/24/2016 - 08:53 am.

    Oh those airlines . . .

    I think there was part of a sentence missing in the first item. Shouldn’t it read “The airlines vociferously oppose any fee increase *that they haven’t initiated*?”

  5. Submitted by Dan Berg on 03/24/2016 - 08:56 am.


    Hire the private company to replace the TSA and do so with a contract that has incentives for shorter wait times. At least then the local airport officials have some control over the experience they are providing. If there is a fee increase fine, at least we would be getting something of value out of it. There is no incentive for the TSA to do anything properly or respond to public needs. Also, as we have seen just this week airport security isn’t really very effective anyway. The funniest suggestion I heard after the attacks in Belgium was that maybe we need security check points before getting to the security check points. I thought I was hearing something out of a Kafka novel. There will always be large gatherings of people and targets for the people who want to take others with them as they blow themselves in to nothingness.

    The TSA, like so many federal programs, is more about make-work jobs and a facade of effectiveness than it is about actually solving a problem. The chances of being hurt by terrorism is tiny and barely worth mention among the pantheon of risks we take every day.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/24/2016 - 09:36 am.

      Privatizing TSA will ONLY Do a Few Things

      Make it more expensive (as privatizing government services ALWAYS does over time),…

      and make it LESS accountable to the the public AND the government (which is, after all, US).

      The real problem with the way the TSA currently operates,…

      other than that it is staffed and managed by fallible HUMANS,…

      is that the airport security segment of it is GROSSLY underfunded,…

      because our conservative friends can’t get past their “yuck” factor when it come to paying taxes,…

      and those who write the checks for the campaigns of the “conservative” politicians all fly in their own private jets,…

      and are thus completely unaffected by what happens to the rest of us at the airports we use.

      • Submitted by Dan Berg on 03/24/2016 - 01:49 pm.

        Cliched and shallow

        Underfunded by what measure? What known value do they add since the thing they are supposed to be protecting us from isn’t actually much of a threat. By your logic if the government does it it must be worth doing at any cost. Not a position that seems well thought. Yes, it is run by naturally fallible human but the system has been built in a way that provides not accountability for those failings and as such collects and nurture them. The TSA uses their position of authority to extort payments from the public while providing little to no benefit. They protect their position through the use of fear and by building a constituency, both individuals and security businesses, which rely on them for salaries and sales.

        The federal government has almost zero accountability to the general public because only the largest and most powerful groups have leverage. Mainly because of the concentrated benefits and defused costs. The security services or union representing the TSA staff is motivated to band together and make a concerted effort to secure funding. For the general voting public 1-4 extra hours a year waiting in line won’t sway their vote. It is the fundamental problem with democracies the larger they get and one that nobody has every addressed meaningfully much less solved.

        Almost all national politicians are in their own class of people so claiming it is only those of a certain party is disingenuous or naive. We have a political class that enriches themselves at the cost of the population and if you think it really matters which team they are on you haven’t been paying attention. One of them will likely be the nominee for the Democrats. Putting the local airport commission in charge and allowing them to control security allocation increases the accountability to a massive degree since they are much closer to the actual people using the service and have a much more limited scope for which they are responsible. They can’t control the TSA but could with a private security group.

        In this case I don’t really care if the costs go up if the wait times drop substantially. An extra $10 on a $800 ticket is inconsequential but wasting an 2-3 extra hours every time I travel is. I would pay more than $10 to add to hours to a day whenever it is offered. If your time isn’t worth that much to you then I guess you can drive across the country.

    • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 03/25/2016 - 09:45 am.

      Shortening wait times

      I think I’d bid on a contract that incentivized short wait time. Just have one guy there to wave everyone through and collect the incentives! For more than 99% of the flights you would be just as safe. There would be some unfortunate consequences but you won’t have to wait in line at security anymore.

  6. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 03/24/2016 - 10:30 am.

    Airport Fee increase

    To pay for infrastructure, ramps for parking lots and to expand the Humphrey terminal?

    What infrastructure?
    Ramps should be paid for by parking fees.
    The Humphrey Terminal seems underutilized as it is.

    None of this will effect waiting times (and if you read the article, they aren’t claiming it will). Per the article:

    In the past three years, MSP has lost 60 screeners and airport traffic is up nearly 15 percent since 2011, serving more than 35 million travelers in 2015.

    If we need to spend more on inspectors and inspection equipment, fine.

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/24/2016 - 10:46 am.

    How about they just add another $5 to every drink and sandwich t

    Hey, if there’s $5 on the table, the airlines want first shot at it!

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/24/2016 - 10:49 am.

    Mr. Downey needs a lesson on the First Amendment.

    People, including government employees and elected officials, are free to shout down demagogues. It’s government that must stand aside.

Leave a Reply