Former Gov. Wendell Anderson dead at 83

Courtesy of Sam Stern
Former Gov. Wendell Anderson

On the passing of former Gov. Wendell Anderson, the AP says, “Anderson, who was a member of the silver medal-winning U.S. hockey team in the 1956 Olympics, was first elected governor in 1970 at the age of 37. The next year, he pushed through an overhaul of school aid and taxes that became known as the ‘Minnesota miracle.’ In a special legislative session that stretched more than five months past normal deadlines, Anderson outmaneuvered the conservative-dominated Legislature by rejecting an alternate tax plan he called ‘the old way of doing things.’ The victory gave him latitude to pursue Democratic priorities such as environmental safeguards, a minimum wage increase and programs for housing, seniors and drug abuse.”

In the PiPress, Bill Salisbury adds: “Enormously popular, he was re-elected in a landslide in 1974. ‘He was the only candidate for governor to carry all 87 counties,’ said David Lebedoff, a close adviser, speech writer and campaign chairman for Anderson. ‘The politics of the Anderson years were the opposite of politics today, which are polarized and angry,’ Lebedoff said. Anderson strove to build bipartisan consensus on issues, and both parties were dominated by moderates who believed government could improve people’s lives.”

The Strib editorial board says, “Few governors of any state can claim a larger state policy legacy than could Wendell Anderson, who died Sunday at age 83. He served in statewide office for just eight years, six of them as governor. In that brief span, he presided over changes so sweeping that they can fairly be said to have invented modern Minnesota. … .” Did anyone get a quote from Tim Pawlenty?

But now, Taylor Gee at Politico (in a story titled, “Something’s Rotten in the State of Minnesota”) writes: “The Twin Cities, it turns out, are also home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board — household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates and education attainment — the gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. … Now, with the death of Philando Castile in a Twin Cities suburb last week, and the shooting death of Jamar Clark last fall — also at the hands of police officers — people are starting to ask: What’s going on in Minnesota? It seems illogical that inequality could thrive in one of the country’s most liberal states, home to past progressive icons like Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey.”

Indentured servitude. Richard Chin of the PiPress writes, “A Woodbury, Minn., resident beat, starved and forced a servant she brought from China to work for up to 18 hours a day for almost no pay, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Washington County District Court. The complaint charged Lili Huang, 35, with five different felonies including labor trafficking, false imprisonment, second- and third-degree assault and unlawfully taking another person’s passport. The 58-year-old woman was held in a state of ‘slavery or indentured servitude’ at a house on the 9700 block of Wellington Lane in Woodbury, according to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput.”

There’s enough weirdness in this case to suit pretty much every taste. Says Karen Zamora in the Strib, “The jury trial of a Lakeville mother accused of hiding her two teenage daughters from their father for more than two years begins Monday in Dakota County District Court in Hastings. … Before they disappeared, the sisters, now 18 and 16, repeatedly accused their father of abuse, but a court-appointed psychologist concluded that Grazzini-Rucki had brainwashed them, and a judge granted full custody to the father.”

Also from Zamora, with Paul Walsh: “Just an hour before protesters planned to gather and shut down Rosedale shopping center, organizers called off the event as dozens of security officers took up positions at mall entrances late Sunday morning. Black Lives Matter St. Paul had said it would target the mall in response to the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile earlier this month in nearby Falcon Heights with a protest at an undisclosed location inside the mall. … Business seemed normal Sunday afternoon, but several stores and restaurants opened late.” It was too nice a day for protesting.

An inevitable niche. Says Jim Buchta in the Strib, “With more than 6,500 videos in its archives and hundreds more being uploaded daily by drone users around the world, the founders of AirVuz hope it will become the YouTube of aerial video by monitoring those posts and making them easy to search. ‘We want people to see the best of the best,’said Mike Israel, a co-founder and Twin Cities investor whose interest in drones inspired him to launch the site about a year ago.” I’m not sure what I’d do with it, but I want one.

So even if we want to, the Feds won’t let us? Stribber Josephine Marcotty says, “The Environmental Protection Agency says that the state’s refusal to enforce a decades-old pollution rule could undermine its authority to enforce the Clean Water Act in Minnesota. Laws passed in 2015 and 2016 that exempt taconite and other industries from a pollution rule aimed at protecting wild rice may ‘strike down’ the state’s authority to ­implement federal environmental laws, the EPA said.”

Another reason to avoid human contact. Says the AP: “Health officials in southeastern Minnesota are working to contain an outbreak of whooping cough. Since January, Olmsted County has recorded 127 cases of pertussis — the highest number since an outbreak four years ago. The bacterial infection, which causes uncontrollable, violent coughing, originated in teenagers. Schools posed the highest risk for spreading the disease. Officials hoped cases would decline after the school year ended.”

Sadly, a now-weekly event.  A KMSP-TV story says, “Minnesota leaders and law enforcement agencies are reacting to the news in Baton Rouge, where three police officers were killed in shooting Sunday morning. Three other police officers were injured. Governor Mark Dayton released the following statement: ‘The terrible murder of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge shocks the conscience of every decent-minded American. I renew my plea for all Minnesotans to engage only in peaceful and lawful ways to exercise their First Amendment rights. This is our opportunity to help lead the nation away from this wanton, mass violence and toward a reconciliation and healing.’”

Still got some gas in the tank for another stadium wrangle? Mark Aug. 3 on your phone app. Says Frederick Melo in the PiPress, “On Aug. 3, the council will host a public hearing on three major components of the proposed Snelling-Midway redevelopment — a master plan, a stadium site plan and zoning amendments. The master plan lays out the general long-term vision for the 35-acre Snelling-Midway site, including the future 21,500-seat soccer stadium and the eventual redevelopment of the neighboring Midway Shopping Center. That vision, which spans new housing, offices, retail and green space off Snelling and University avenues, could take 10 years or more to complete.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/18/2016 - 09:23 am.

    Is Anyone Aware

    of an economic analysis which evaluates the effect on “racial disparities,”…

    of the influx of large numbers of Hmong and Somalian immigrants,…

    to the Twin Cities Metro area?

    I suspect there was a time in the previous century that similar “economic disparities,”…

    could have been measured in New York City with respect to the well being of Irish and Italian residents,…

    within the first half century of their arrival in the US.

    Is Minnesota’s admirable willingness to welcome new immigrants from war-torn and/or economically stressed regions of the globe,…

    now being willfully warped into a club which is being used to attack the same people who have been largely responsible,…

    for those admirable, warmhearted, and very Christian policies?

    I’m absolutely convinced that, although it may take another generation or two for it to be accomplished,…

    the economic well being of those who are now Minnesota’s newest immigrants,…

    will parallel those of the German, Norwegian, Swedish, Irish and Italian immigrants of the past.

    Perhaps we can help that happen faster,…

    but it will STILL take substantial time for these newcomers to get on their feet economically,…

    just as it did for the generations of our own families who arrived here from other places in the world.

    This is NATURAL and NORMAL,…

    and Mr. Gee is revealing his ignorance of history,…

    very likely, purposefully warping the perspective on current reality that he’s presenting,…

    and pursuing a completely different agenda from concern for those whose difficulties he describes,…

    by claiming otherwise.

    None of which is meant to say that economic disparities in Minnesota are not a problem,.

    especially in the metro area,…

    but that, without our fairly recent influx of immigrants,…

    we would be average or better in that area.

    As the old saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished,”…

    especially by those who would NEVER perform such deeds themselves,…

    despite the tenets of the faith and/or philosophy they claim to hold,…

    (unless, of course, they worship Ayn Rand),…

    and, feeling unconsciously guilty about their own lack of good deeds,…

    seek to make sure those who do perform such deeds,…

    are made to look foolish and suffer pain,…

    thereby making their own “no good deeds” policies seem wise.

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