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MN Blog Cabin Roundup, 1/31

Campaign finance, Minneapolis’ proposed conservation districts, PolyMet and memories of a rural gas station.

All U.S. Senate campaigns should publicly release their fundraising totals Friday

from by Michael Brodkorb

Most campaigns have already announced their fundraising totals via press releases and will be filling the required paperwork online, which then can be publicly viewed. But while the FEC establishes the deadline for when campaign reports for the U.S. Senate are required to file, campaigns for the U.S. Senate actually file their reports with U.S. Senate Office of Public Records. It could be weeks or months before the reports are available online.

Minneapolis conservation districts are a terrible idea

from by Bill Lindeke

This week, Minneapolis’ density debate intensified when Councilmember Cam Gordon introduced a new idea for regulating development. The proposal is called “conservation districts,” and you should read all about them here or here or here. Succinctly described, they’re something more flexible than a historic district (e.g. Marcy-Holmes in Minneapolis, or Summit Avenue in St Paul) but with more clout than a small area plan (e.g. the 38th and Chicago SAP). They seem intended to slow down the pace of change in the city, and according to Eric Roper’s Star Tribune piece, would be particularly appealing to neighborhoods like Marcy-Holmes, Prospect Park, and Calhoun/Isles. He quotes city planner John Smoley as saying, “what we envision this regulating would be architectural styles, development patterns, scale, or landscape designs that are common to the district and notable to the district.”

If you want a charitable take on this proposal, look elsewhere. In my opinion this is a bad idea, poorly executed. Other than as an exercise in letting off NIMBY steam, I can’t fathom how how Minneapolis can be taking it seriously.

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Company men

from LeftMN by Jennifer Tuder

At the January 28 hearing on Polymet’s mining proposal, you could see this bad deal embodied again and again: union leaders (virtually all of them white, working-class men) proudly announced their union memberships and then ceded their time and their voices to multinational corporations, chambers of commerce, and mining lobbyists Iron Range politicians. One after another, those blue collar men in hardhats stepped aside for white collar men in suits who are betraying them through a combination of strategic bankruptcies[ii], right-to-work-for-less laws[iii], and tax kickbacks rebates[iv]. As a metaphor, it’s beautiful. As a reality, it’s heart-breaking.

Memories of my uncle’s service station in Vesta, Minnesota

from Minnesota Prairie Roots by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

FOR DECADES, MY UNCLE HAROLD RAN the filling station along Minnesota State Highway 19 in Vesta.