Minnesota Sports Facilities Chair Kelm-Helgen resigns

MinnPost file photo by Terry Gydesen
Minnesota Sports Facilities Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen

Frees up one seat in the suite. Rochelle Olson at the Star Tribune reports Minnesota Sports Facilities Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen abruptly resigned Thursday from the U.S. Bank Stadium oversight panel amid legislative pressure: “Kelm-Helgen, appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to the $135,000-a-year post, has been scrutinized since the Star Tribune reported in November that she, executive director Ted Mondale and other commissioners had used two 18-person luxury suites at the stadium to host many friends and family for Minnesota Vikings games and concerts. Now a key legislator says the suite use was just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of questionable management of the stadium.”
Make that two seats: Ted Mondale resigns as executive director of U.S. Bank Stadium panel [Star Tribune]

Professor of ethics and political philosophy. City Pages’ Susan Du has an update on the University of Minnesota-Morris professor who posted an anti-immigrant screed on his Facebook page: “Dan Demetriou is a tenured professor who specializes in ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. Two weeks ago, he posted a rambling statement on his personal Facebook page, which seems to have been written to resemble a series of absolute facts about immigrants and refugees… the Morris administration did not address it until Tuesday, when Chancellor Michelle Behr sent a vague email blast reminding everyone on campus to express differences of opinion in a respectful way… Morris students and faculty have planned a rally on Monday in support of their immigrant peers.”

Daring anti-seat-warming stance. Mike Henderson at the Minnesota Daily has a brief on Minneapolis mayoral candidate and city council member Jacob Frey: “Jacob Frey is clear on why he’s running for Minneapolis mayor. ‘I’m not about keeping the seat warm,’ Frey said. ‘We need a visible leader who is willing to use the position as a bully pulpit, delve into controversial issues, build a coalition and get things done.’ In an age of political divisiveness, with a gridlock at the state and federal legislature, Frey said the city of Minneapolis needs a different leader than incumbent candidate Mayor Betsy Hodges.”

Tell us more about your safe, responsible sports environment. Michael Rand at the Star Tribune delves into the issue of why U officials are putting the kibosh on tailgating at Minnesota United matches this fall: “Tim Busse, communications director for the U, explained the decision via e-mail. ‘The University promotes tailgating on Gopher game days as a community-building activity for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Tailgating certainly enhances the Stadium event experience within a safe, responsible, and controlled environment. However, tailgating for events unaffiliated with the University mission does not serve a similarly important purpose for the University. With eight years of experience, the tailgating culture of Gopher events has been pretty well established. Unaffiliated, third party events bring a great deal more uncertainty.’ ”

Keep Lowertown weird. KSTP reports on the downside of Lowertown development: “Tom Reyen, president of the Saint Paul Art Collective, says about 50 artists have left Lowertown over the last year, forcing many studio closures. ‘Some have to give up their art, just try to work out of their home, and do remote art fairs,’ Reyen said. ‘They couldn’t have a studio.’ ”

In other news…

Quite a list:These Minneapolis-St. Paul restaurants are closed today for ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ protest” [City Pages]

Kudos:Twin Ports broadcaster Lew Martin turning 100” [Duluth News Tribune]

More winning:Trump’s NEA cuts threaten Minnesota music” [City Pages]

Hanging up the jersey:Tom Kelly’s absence leaves a ‘void’ as Twins open camp” [Pioneer Press]

Crossing more lines:Pipeline exec compares Dakota Access protesters to terrorists” [MPR]

Make ’em fly:MnDOT digs into driverless bus technology” [Finance & Commerce]

Fact check:Is violent crime on the rise, or isn’t it? A look at Trump and Sessions’ math” [Star Tribune]

Update:Minnesota man shot by Amtrak police officer in Chicago dies” [MPR]

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by James Norquist on 02/16/2017 - 02:17 pm.

    Suite use at Target Field

    So Michelle Kelm-Helgen has resigned. Good.

    Now let’s have an audit showing who has used luxury suites at Target Field, and how much they paid, if anything, for the privilege.

    Funny how those in power seem to think they are entitled.

  2. Submitted by Dan Berg on 02/16/2017 - 02:31 pm.

    Day without Immigrants

    I was living in LA many years ago when they had a large similar protest. One thing that was especially interesting was that unlike here many of the restaurants decided to stay open but do so short staffed. What that did was give the other restaurant employees and the patrons an real understanding of what is capable without those people in the work force. My wife and I walked over to a local restaurant where they had a sign on the door saying the menu for the day was grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and you could have beer or wine but no mixed drinks. It really ended up being a bit of a party honoring the employees who weren’t working. Many local places actually had the protesting staff in their restaurants as customers and were laughing along with the other folks about the limited menu and slow service. There was a lot of camaraderie between owners, staff of all types and the customers in the community.

    To me it was a much more powerful and memorable experience than simply shutting your doors.

    • Submitted by Julie Barton on 02/16/2017 - 03:13 pm.

      yes but…

      I think that it was memorable because of the way it was presented.

      At lunch today, I went to a place in the Mpls Skyway that is about 95% immigrant staff. They were open. The manager kept apologizing for the slow service because she had so many employees out due to the Day Without Immigrants. Most of the customers patronizingly thanked the employees who had come in for “doing the right thing.” And quite a few customers made very disparaging remarks – very loudly – about all of the workers’ ethnicity, including racial stereotypes. I and one other person in line during those 15 minutes took a few of them to task for their comments and their privilege. I suggested to one woman going on about “lazy” immigrants that maybe she shouldn’t patronize places who hire what she doesn’t consider to be “American” help – and good luck finding such a place.

      So, your way may have worked, but what I saw today at that deli with just reduced staff only fueled certain people’s bias. Yes, it was not helped by the way the manager presented the information to us (instead of apologizing for our wait, she should have thanked us for waiting – words matter), but it still became a matter of privilege and patrons mad because their meal took 2 extra minutes to fix.

      • Submitted by Dan Berg on 02/17/2017 - 03:25 am.

        Fair point

        I guess I was thinking of the employers who closed in solidarity with their workers. They had an opportunity to present it in a positive way. The owners of the places in the skyway you mentioned either didn’t support the idea or weren’t interested in presenting it well.

  3. Submitted by Richard Hodges on 02/16/2017 - 08:16 pm.

    Luxury Suites

    Just who are the people “authorized” to use the luxury suites?

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