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Big business puts pressure on Minnesota lawmakers to fund Southwest light rail

Metropolitan Council

Janet Moore at the Star Tribune reports on large corporations pressuring the Minnesota Legislature to fund Southwest light rail: “‘Right now, there are more than a billion dollars on the table from the federal government to realize these transit projects,’ said the [Star Tribune opinion] article, credited to chief executives Richard Davis of U.S. Bancorp, Scott Wine of Polaris Industries and Doug Baker of Ecolab. … Corporate chiefs from Allina Health, Best Buy, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Mortenson Construction, Target, Wells Fargo and Xcel Energy also signed on to the missive.”

Mike Mullen at City Pages has a piece on how Minnesota Public Radio reporter Mukhtar Ibrahim is treated by security at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis: “The other reporter, who is white, passed right through and headed for the elevator. Ibrahim was stopped, and told he couldn’t go in yet. He would have to wait for the time when the court opened to the public. Ibrahim protested, pulling out a press badge showing he works for Minnesota Public Radio. Not good enough, the officer said. Go wait with the rest of the public.

Rubén Rosario at the Pioneer Press talks with youth and community advocate Enrique “Cha Cho” Estrada about the “less organized but no less problematic” gangs that have taken root in the Twin Cities: “With the help of a state grant, gang-unit members, accompanied by social service workers such as Estrada and others from other youth service agencies, paid visits to the homes of at-risk youths whom they came in contact with or who were referred to them. The goal was to make contact with parents as well as with the youth and offer wrap-around services or other assistance in as unobtrusive a manner as possible. ‘When they found out what we were there for, they ended up hugging us and wanting to feed us, Estrada said. ‘It was an amazing approach I thought was working.’ But the state pulled funding after two years.

Martin Friedman, the director of the Walker Art Center from 1961 to 1990, passed away yesterday at age 90. Joan Rothfuss at the Walker has a remembrance: “It wasn’t until 1988, when Martin asked me during a job interview to talk about my favorite Walker moments, that I learned he had been behind them all… Under his leadership, the Walker presented the best in contemporary painting, sculpture, dance, music, film, and performance.

In other news…

Sound the Gjallarhorn: Looks like the Viking Bar is re-opening and hiring. [Craigslist]

Factor in navigating a zipper merge and we drop to #38: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranks Minnesotans as the nation’s best drivers. [Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman]

Some see purple, some see green. Prince estate gets first paternity claim. [CBS News]

Gluttons for punishment: Twins tickets are dirt cheap right now. [Star Tribune]

Medium-well take: Is there a generational divide when it comes to offering quality restaurant service? [Heavy Table]

Randy Moss in, Cris Carter out at ESPN. [Pioneer Press]

Using a couple of PTO days this week: 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer begins today and runs through Sunday, with more than 175 special events and tappings. [The Growler]

James Lileks bids a final farewell to Bloomington’s iconic Thunderbird Motel. [Star Tribune]

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 05/10/2016 - 02:46 pm.

    Security gangs at the Federal building?

    Unacceptable conduct at the Federal Building? Scary sign of the times?

    Is it a matter of gang mentality and those attendant problems that exist out of fear, or ignorance or blatant intolerance at the Federal building?

    Sounds like security guards operating with gang mentality by abusing the civil liberties of the MPR reporter?

    We are living in a world that needs constant checking before we lose too much of that precious thing called freedom…without batting an eye because it didn’t happen to us?

  2. Submitted by Bill Willy on 05/10/2016 - 03:41 pm.

    Boy oh boy . . . What next?

    Big business (of all people) putting pressure on Republicans (of all people) to:

    A) Admit that light rail actually has something to do with transportation (Republicans said in a “media opportunity” a few weeks ago that transportation is what happens after we get in our cars and turn the key); and

    B) Actually DO something about it.

    Next thing Republicans know, in addition to the (outstate) common folk who voted for them last time around, organizations like cities, counties, educators, hospitals and — yes — outstate businesses big and small — will be doing the same king of thing when it comes to broadband expansion.

    If they don’t hurry up and start overriding some of P ALEC Garofalot’s progress vetoes, outstate voters are going to start thinking Republicans don’t believe 21st century broadband access and speed is as real and important to them as it is to him and the people in HIS district AND as important as light rail (and high speed internet) is to the everyone in the metro area.

    And then, if that happens, it won’t be long until even MORE gangs of regular and business-oriented Minnesotans start pressuring them to admit that something that costs money needs to be done to help small communities upgrade their water systems to help (outstate) people avoid getting poisoned by their morning coffee.

    And then they MIGHT have to have a caucus meeting to add up the costs of actually DOING something about all that.

    And then they MIGHT have to take a second look at their (so far secret) proposals for spending all of the state’s available money on $1+ billion tax cuts and a year’s worth of “road and bridge” patching and baked-in general fund deficits.

    And then . . .

    And then . . . What?

    Oh boy . . . That is always such a tough question for Republicans. And it must just get tougher when big business starts breathing down their necks and sounding like they’re more in favor of the Governor’s and the Senate’s plan.

    Obviously big business doesn’t understand that Kurt Daubt (and the rest of the Republi brain trust) has a plan. Just because no one in the state besides them has any idea what it is (besides something that seems to revolve around making sure Democrats get the blame for nothing happening if that’s what happens) doesn’t mean Republicans won’t be able to lay it out and reach agreement with the Governor and Senate in the next 12 days.

    I mean, look at how quickly they were able to figure out the Iron Range unemployment extension thing when the chips were down. That one started in early November of last year and it only took Kurt and company until the middle or end of March to get it done.

    Sure, it was 100 to 1,000 times simpler than whatever’s going on with the (Top Secret) Republo transport/taxes/bonding plan, but no one should be concerned because if there’s one thing the past two years has shown us about Republican’s ability to Get Things Done to “Move Minnesota Forward” it’s that they REALLY understand the value of being deeply concerned about everyone using the right bathroom.

  3. Submitted by Carol Flynn on 05/10/2016 - 06:48 pm.

    Big Business

    How can the Chambers of Commerce
    support transit and continue to endorse its opponents?

  4. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/10/2016 - 09:21 pm.

    How To Eat & Have Cake

    The business lobby supports a party that hates transit, then asks it to pass a transit bill.

    It also wants increased spending on roads and bridges. And yet, it won’t endorse plans to increase taxes for the roads, bridges, and transit it wants.

    Until they come up with a plan for what they want and how to pay for it, who gives a rip what they want?

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