The best map of Minneapolis I’ve seen yet:
The new Vikings stadium has been unveiled.
About a year after $500 million in public money was approved by the Minnesota Legislature for a new Vikings stadium, the curtain was pulled back Monday, May 13, to let the public see what the $975 million facility will look like.
The new design was unveiled at a 90-minute event Monday evening at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
The building will be asymmetrical and multisided. The roof will slope to ensure snow doesn’t pile up atop it.
It looks like a microwave that fell out of a truck on the freeway.
But at least it’s being paid for by
electronic pull tabs oops. It’s going to be paid for out of your taxes.
The least the Strib, WCCO, KFAN and KSTP could do is give away some free tickets, since this is our “present” to them and their long-term viability.
Yesterday, we looked at the changes in voting in the 4th Congressional District after redestricting, and tried to give some context to what were, at face value, disappointing election results. As I noted yesterday, the Tony Hernandez for Congress campaign had some big handicaps – fundraising was as terrible for him as it was for every other Republican, and a redistricting that was pretty benign for Betty McCollum – and a huge one, an epochal DFL turnout against the Marriage Amendment.
Most of those issues were writ larger across the river in the 5th Congressional District, covering Minneapolis and most of Hennepin County. By all accounts, Keith Ellison was the biggest beneficiary from redistricting; the 5th CD became, on paper, even more strongly DFL than it was before. And if anything, the 5th CD’s Republican party was even less functional last year than the 4th’s was.
But Chris Fields, the GOP-endorsed candidate in the 5th, brought the kind of game the GOP hasn’t seen in Minneapolis in way longer than I can remember. Fields was a great candidate; he was elected Secretary of the State GOP last weekend, so hopefully he’ll be in a position to be one again soon. He worked the district hard, had a small but highly-motivated staff, and raised a lot more money than Republicans normally do in the dismal 5th.
And so what happened?
Here are the vote totals and percentages going back to 2000:
But what does this mean in a larger historical context?
As yesterday: the top two rows show how many more voters each party turned out in 2012 than in the year shown below. The additional turnout for the DFL – and Ellison – in 2012 was staggering; 33,000 more than in 2008 (a great DFL year by itself), 43,000 more than in 2004 (a decent GOP year), 85,000 more than in 2000 (an excellent GOP year, outside the 5th anyway).
And as yesterday, the bottom two rows show a “rematch”; the DFL’s numbers in the listed year against Fields’ 2012 numbers. Fields turned out over 30,000 more Republican votes than in most presidential off-years (2002 was a great year for the MNGOP), and 30,000 more than even in 2000, which was a very good GOP year throughout the US.
So what do these numbers mean?
Simply this: the 5th remains a difficult district for Republicans. But the combination of a strong GOP candidate, a motivated campaign that knows how to message the district (as Fields most certainly did, although the Minneapolis media was an even more bald-faced Praetorian Guard for Ellison than it was for McCollum) and raise money makes it possible for the district, as badly as it was gerrymandered, to edge closer to being a 60-40 district than a 75-25 one. And as dismal as that seems, that’s at least within striking distance; Chip Cravaack overcame a 60-40 district in 2010. It’s difficult – but not impossible.
And that is the mission for the GOP in both the 4th and 5th CDs; take their turf from “Impossible” to “Herculean”, and thence maybe to “Difficult”.
More candidates like Fields, like Tony Hernandez and Teresa Collett, will certainly help.
Better-organized District committees will also go a long way, as will a functional state party capable of raising money and – this is important – not undercutting the messaging of the 4th and 5th CD candidates.
And this last year, top-line percentages aside, was a decent start.
…don’t get far from a radio.
Or a computer, or a mobile device. You get the idea.
Big Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast tomorrow. We’ll have Cam Winton on to talk about the Minneapolis mayor’s race, and Senator Sean Nienow will be with us to talk about his call for an investigation into the Vikings Stadium funding fiasco.
That’ 1-3PM tomorrow, on AM1280 The Patriot!
So the “debate” among the DFL candidates for the non-partisan Minneapolis mayor’s race took place yesterday.
What happened? Probably nothing all that newsworthy; it was a debate of DFL candidates.
For a non-partisan race.
Of course, Cam Winton – who is running as a fiscal conservative and social moderate – was left out of the debate since he’s not a DFLer (anymore).
There’s been a flurry of emails between Winton and the Humphrey Institute. And I personally wrote Dr. Larry Jacobs and the Humphrey Institute to get clarification on the debate about the debate.
The debate looks a little like this – and I’ll paraphrase both sides, since the email trail is a long one:
Winton: The Humphrey Institute should not be running partisan debates for a non-partisan race. It violated the Humphrey Institute’s mission. And shunting him to the separate “losers debate” with the likes of Leslie Davis and, I dunno, Howling Cat LeLouche and Fancy Ray McCloney and having a DFL-only debate is a straight up sign of bias.
Jacobs: The Humphrey Institute is aware that there is intense competition for the DFL endorsement – and this debate is analogous to the intra-party debates in the run-up to, say, the Presidential or Gubernatorial primaries. The Humphrey Institute invites plenty of Republicans to marquee events, and Winton is going to be the subject of a separate event with plenty of media coverage [other than the "Losers' Debate"]
Perhaps Jacobs’ explanation – that the partisan debate is a nod to a traditional endorsement process - makes sense, in and of itself. Maybe. The Minneapolis mayor race is officially non-partisan, so the “endorsement” should be meaningless – but we all know that in Minneapolis, it’s not. It’s an important bit of PR in Minneapolis, a city full of people who vote party first and foremost.
And that’s the part that sticks in my craw.
So here’s a question for Dr. Jacobs: since the DFL-only “debate” is designed to inform voters in advance of an endorsement that is…
- officially meaningless, but…
- worth much in terms of intra-party public relations,
then it follows the entire exercise of the debate is a DFL PR event.
Yes, kudos to Dr. Jacobs and the Humphrey Institute for doing the “make-up” appearance with Dr. Jacobs. It was the right thing to do, certainly.
But I’ll stifle my endemic snarking about the DFL mien of most regional pseudo-government institutions (like Humphrey) and ask, seriously – why does the Humphrey Institute carry on with an event that the changes in Minneapolis’ electoral system has turned into nothing but a DFL campaign event?
As I noted yesterday, there’s going to be a debate among the candidates for Mayor of Minneapolis.
The DFL ones, anyway.
Cam Winton – a former DFLer who is running a fiscally-conservative, socially-moderate campaign with backing from Republicans and DFLers who get that Minneapolis is rapidly going broke and frittering scarce resources away on “nice-to-haves” while the necessities go begging, has a murder rate three times the state’s (and double Saint Paul’s), and the city careens toward a pension meltdown – wrote to Dr. Larry Jacobs at the Humphrey Institute to ask why.
The letter is below the jump.
Cam Winton is running for Mayor of Minneapolis.
Winton – a former DFL activist who told of seeing the economic light after going into business – is running as a fiscal conservative and social moderate, and not as an endorsed Republican, per se. I attended his kickoff rally a few weeks back in Minneapolis, and had a pretty singular experience for a GOP activists, standing in the same room and cheering along with people who’d opposed the marriage amendment (which Winton also opposed) and listening to Ashwin Madia, a couple of lesbian marriage activists, and Winton’s business partner extolling the candidate’s virtues.
And it was in that crowd, I thought, that one might see a successful challenge to DFL hegemony in Minneapolis; a candidacy that attacks the DFL’s weak spot in Minneapolis – its incompetence at running a city – while ignoring the GOP’s big weaknessses in places like Minneapolis.
Now, some – including my friend John Gilmore – have asked “is Winton Republican or conservative enough?” He, and they, point to the fact that Winton is a former Democrat, and was in fact a prominent enough activist through 2008.
As a former Democrat myself, I’m pretty forgiving of Road to Damascus conversions. And if you want to grill a candidate to assess the sincerity, or at least integrity, of their beliefs, then a debate could be a fine place to do it.
And there’s the problem.
The Minneapolis mayor’s race is an expressly non-partisan one. Party identification doesn’t appear with candidates on the ballot.
The Humphrey Center – the U of M’s Poli-Sci think tank and, if you ask conservatives, DFL hatchery and retirement home – is hosting a debate of these candidates this coming Wednesday.
The DFL ones.
Let’s rephrase that for impact; the Humphrey Institute – a public institution whose mission is at least ostensibly not “furthering the DFL’s interests and hindering their opposition” – is hosting a debate for a non-partisan office in the city in which the Institute resides. And they’re only inviting DFL candidates to it.
According to the Winton campaign, he has been invited to a second debate. At this second debate – which will have virtually no media coverage – Winton will appear on a panel with Bob Carney and Leslie Davis, a couple of perennial candidate who are shunted into a side-debate to isolate the comic relief from the “Real” race…
…which, the Humphrey Institute has decided in its infinite institutional wisdom, is among the DFL candidates, who will get the “real” debate.
This brings up a couple of questions:
Is the Humphrey Institute serving as a DFL campaigning tool?: Why the seemingly arbitrary cutoff at “DFL”, in a race where every candidate goes to the final ballot (Minneapolis uses “ranked choice” balloting, resulting in slow, unreliable elections with no need for party endorsements or primaries. Having a fully-partisan “debate” is not only against the Humphrey Institute’s stated mission – it’s supposed to be irrelevant to the contest at hand.
Is this a debate or a DFL campaign rally?: The Humphrey Institute’s planned event will include five DFL candidates who differ on policy only in the most tangential incidentals. That’s not a “debate”, it’s a support group meeting.
“Debate” implies “difference of opinion”: But this “debate” – the one the U of M will actually publicize, the one the media will attend – studiously ignores a sharp, articulate candidate who sharply differs from the DFL on some issues where the DFL itself knows it’s vulnerable – spending, taxes, regulation, public safety, infrastructure.
I asked the Humphrey Institute’s Dr. Larry Jacobs about this last week.
I’ll have that part of the conversation tomorrow.
Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talkradio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!
- I’m back! I’ll have Senator Julianne Ortmann to talk about the raft of gun-grab legislation the DFL is spooling up. Plus Cam Winton, conservative candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis.
- Brad Carlson is back on “The Closer” from 1-3 tomorrow. Tune on in!
(All times Central)
So tune in to all four hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:
- AM1280 in the Metro
- Streaming at AM1280’s Website,
- On Twitter (the Volume 2 show will use hashtag #narn2)
- Check out our new UStream video and chat – hopefully.
- Send us an SMS text message - 651-243-0390
- Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!
- Podcasts are now available; for my show and for Brad’s
- And make sure you fan us on our new Facebook page!
Sic Transit Gloria Rock et Roll
The 400 Bar is likely an ex-bar. It’s pining for the fjords. It’s no longer nailed to its perch.
A message newly posted on the club’s website — which has been devoid of show listings or any updates since November — was the first confirmation that the building at 400 Cedar Avenue S. would be changing hands. It reads:
“After 17 years of presenting shows, we’ve closed the old building on the West Bank. Thanks to all the great music fans and artists who’ve worked so hard to make the 400 what it is. An online auction featuring some of the club’s memorabilia starts this weekend at www.400bar.com. See you in 2013.”
The bar’s operators for those 17 years, Tom and Bill Sullivan, are staying mum on the changes and letting O’Brien do the talking. And he’s not saying much. He did say that the building has been bought by Abdighani M. Ali, who is an assistant director of the south Minneapolis charter school Banaadir Academy and a Somali and Muslim community leader. Ali, however, could not be reached for confirmation.
I only played the 400 once, back in the eighties, back when its stage was about the size of a pool table. But I always loved the place’s dingy vibe.
Oh, well – with the Uptown, the Union, MacReady’s and (the unlamented) Fernando’s gone, the Mitch Berg Nostalgia rock and roll tour has pretty much three stops – the First/Seventh, the Turf, and the Cabooze.
Which, as much as I get out these days, is probably going to still be pretty grueling.
Tim Dolan is retiring as Minneapolis’ police chief.
He plans to become an advocate for making honest, law-abiding citizens easier victims for criminals.
Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan, who retired Friday after six years as chief, said he’ll spend some of his newfound spare time doing volunteer work for “reasonable” gun control groups.
“It’s always been a passion of mine,” he said of gun control. “I worked at it quite a bit as chief, and there’s a lot of work still to be done.”
It’s tempting to say “there’s no such thing” as a “reasonable gun-control group”. Of course, that’s untrue. This is one group that advocates for gun laws that stress keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
It’s the National Rifle Association.
Is that the “reasonable gun control group” that Chief Dolan is talking about?
Dolan said he plans to help the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C., the Joyce Foundation in Chicago and a local group, Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence.
The Brady Campaign and the Joyce Foundation are famous for trying to drum up junk “science” against civilian firearm ownership. As to “Protect Minnesota” – a group that has to change its name every five years when even the media start realizing what they are. Their leader, Heather Martens, has never, not even once, said a substantial true thing about the subject of guns. Not a single one.
Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota, said she met with Dolan on Wednesday at his office to discuss what he will do for her group.
“I think, basically, he will be a resource on gun policy … and give feedback on legislation,” Martens said. “He has always been a voice for preventing gun violence.”
Given Martens record, one might conclude Dolan has personally committed dozens of murders. But we won’t go quite that far.
Sorry, Chief. Your post-retirement activities will enable, not prevent, crime.
According to generator of meaningless statistics Bundle.com, Minneapolis children are among the most spoiled children in the US:
Bundle “examined spending by households with children at stores that sell toys, clothing and other services for tots, kids, and teens.” Parents in Manhattan and Brooklyn had the most spoiled kids (by far). The next up on the spoiled list were kids in Miami, Fla., Minneapolis and Tulsa, Okla.
While right across the river…:
But on the list of least spoiled kids, St. Paul came in second…
Clearly, Saint Paul’s politicians were raised in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak has been nominated for the “World Mayor” context:
Based in London, the [World Mayor] group says it is an “international think tank for local government, organizes the World Mayor Project and awards the World Mayor Prize.”
If Rybak wins, I think it’d be just deliciously ironic if a flash mob descended on the award ceremony and robbed and beat everyone there.
As far as the award itself? Looking at the field…:
Rybak is one of five mayors in the North America category.
The other N.A. nominees are:
Régis Labeaume of Québec City, Canada
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore
John F Cook of El Paso
Cory Booker of Newark
…it looks like it might be as accurately tired “Toilet Mayor”. Which may be why I’m not in public relations. \
It was a year ago today a tornado skittered through North Minneapolis, killilng one, injuring 30, and spreading damage throughout a neighborhood that didn’t need any more damaging.
Government sprang into action…
…and a year later, the neighborhood is still pocked with damage, with some damaged buildings still scattered about the place.
Congressional candidate Chrs Fields, writing in the Strib, takes Keith Ellison to task over the government’s response:
A continual lack of focus by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat representing the Fifth District, led to a failure in making the case for the North Side in Washington. Who else is there to make the case? Instead, Ellison focuses on issues in the Middle East concerning Palestinians, Syrians and Egyptians. They are not the 99 percent of constituents, are they?
To be fair, at least North Minneapolis is free of Syrian tanks, so far.
To be honest, an Israeli bombing raid would probably get Representative Ellison’s attention better than his constituents’ calls.
Fields (with emphasis added):
We live in a political age when, if you live in a politically one-sided congressional district or state, an administrative department can afford to ignore you. Why? Because if a member is from a “safe district,” voters cannot punish the congressman for his neglect.
But if we were one of those “hotly contested” congressional districts or “swing states,” we not only would have gotten federal assistance promptly, it probably would have come with a marching band and a presidential visit.
Behold the exposed id of liberalism, and of the DFL. As with the gay marriage debate – where one week liberal pols solemnly intone “we don’t play politics with civil rights”, and the next week they whinge about the President’s politics of civil rights harming their poll numbers – government is all about doing what it takes to get and keep power.
As a 21-year combat veteran of the Marines, I know that our community needs a combination of focused leadership and policy changes.
And again to be fair: Ellison’s leadership is focused – on keeping Keith Ellison in the national media: posturing intently over the Middle East, furrowing his brow at “Occupy” meetings, seeing his mug on MSNBC.
Dear North Minneapolis: Are you better off the you were two, four and six years ago?
Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result – in this case, sending Keith Ellison to Washington.
You want bipartisan action that actually benefits the taxpayer?
Here’s your chance.
There is one more chance to stop the Vikings Stadium and send the bill back to the Legislature; convince the Minneapolis City Council to vote against the larceny of their Convention Center budget.
There are two votes that are considered swing-y on this issue:
Ward 1 – Kevin Reich
Ward 10 – Meg Tuthill
Call ‘em. Politely ask them to reconsider the organized pillaging of the state Constitution and the Minnepolis city charter by Zygi Wilf and his well-heeled friends.
If we can win this, then we can get this back to the Legislature…
…where we can then tell our GOP legislative leadership to grow some cojones and tie the tax reform bill to the stadium, or not bother coming back to work in February.
There is opportunity, here. Let’s make the most of it.
From January through April of 2012, the Sheriff’s Office took in 1,875 applications for permits to carry. In comparison, the department netted 1,220 applications during the same time frame in 2011– an increase of nearly 54 percent.
Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek said the increase surprised him because 2011 was the busiest year for new gun permit applications since 2003, which is when the permit law took effect.
If 2012 stays on pace, it will dwarf the previous year.
It is, in fact, good news to see more Henco residents taking their moral civic duty to be proficient with firearms seriously.
The funny part?
Two, really. When Fox9 was presenting the report last night, in their little clip of putative analysis, they noted (by way of intended irony) that it’s odd so many people would get handgun permits since crime in Henco is down 38% this year.
Now, why would that be?
No, not entirely due to gun permits – to claim it would be wrong, and to demand it would be a straw man. But every time a citizen gets a permit, the deterrent value of the statute grows – and Minnesota’s number of permittees is on the higher end of the national average.
Now, criminals aren’t known for reading newspapers. And yet violent crime in Henco has dropped.
Why could that be? Why, oh why?
Bonus: Kudos and Brickbats: Kudos to Henco Sheriff Stanek, who has by all accounts run an honest shop in re handling permit applications, even though he works for a government that gives Berkeley a run for his money.
And a kudo and a brickbat for Channel 9 News. When wrapping up the story last night, anchorette Heidi Collins asked the reporter (Eric Runge, I think) if all these permits in the hands of law-abiding citizens were a cause for “concern”.
The reporter, to his credit, noted correctly that carry permit holders tend not to commit crimes, more or less. It’s not a big reach; at any given moment in Henco, there are probably 15-20,000 people with post-2003 carry permits; since 2003, they have committed exactly zero murders, two homicides ruled justifiable, and countless defensive gun uses that deterred countless (because literally – nobody counts them) crimes.
A little bird in Minneapolis sent me an invitation.
Not, it’s not to me. It was to someone else – for a $100/plate fundraiser for Minneapolis’ Ward 3 Councilcritter Diane Hofstede, featuring Governor Dayton, Rep. Phyllis Kahn,City Council president Barbara Johnson, and a galaxy of Minneapolis DFL stars.
Not my kind of crowd.
The interesting bit, though, is the stationery.
That’s City of Minneapolis stationery.
For an election fundraiser, this coming Thursday night.
Is this kosher?
Or is this just another of the petty little bits of corruption that attend life in a one-party city?
UPDATE: I’m informed that the letter and the use of the letterhead is kosher. It says “not printed at taxpayers expense” in the lower left corner.
That answers that question…
A shooting by reported carry-permit holder in South Minneapolis may just illustrate the problems facing the law-abiding citizen.
We’ come back to that. First, the reported details:
A man was fatally shot Thursday night in south Minneapolis in what may have been a case of self-defense by another man who interrupted a robbery, police said.
Just before 10 p.m., police got a 911 report that someone had been shot in a parking area behind the Super Grand Buffet restaurant about a block west of Cub Foods near the intersection of Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenues, according to police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer.
Among all the shootings that have plagued that neighborhood – which is, by the way, my old neighborhood – over the decades, this one is distinguished by one factor:
When police arrived, a man with a gun who said he had a valid concealed-weapon permit told them he had interrupted the robbery of a woman in her 60s. The man said that he chased the robbers, a male and a female, exchanged fire and killed the male robber.
And if you’re a normal person with a living soul (and, of course, all the facts check out), that’s all it takes; guy interrupts two pieces of vermin not just robbing but (according to some media reports) pistol-whipping an older woman; and gives chase. Robber turns to shoot the good samaritan; samaritan shoots first.
But the Hennepin County Attorney’s office aren’t people – they’re prosecutors. People who not only focus on the letter of the law, but the letters of the law that their bosses want empasized; they work for an office whose tacit purpose, run as it is by a DFL elected official, is to enforce DFL social policy, which is that only
urban thugs and the police should have guns, and that we, the law-abiding, should be disarmed and docile.
Police took both the alleged female robber and shooter into custody while they investigate his account of the shooting. Two guns — one from the slain man, one from the shooter — were recovered, Palmer said.
On the one hand – especially if you’re a resident of a long-blighted neighborhood, or have ever had a grandmother – you can sympathize with the guy chasing the scumbags down. You might even root for the guy – I sure would.
But there are two problems here:
Self Defense Law Starts Our Shooter Out With Two Strikes - The problem with self-defense is that it is an “affirmative defense” – you’re saying “Yes, I killed the guy, but I have an excuse”. In other words, you essentially plead guilty to murder, and spend the trial process fighting that admitted guilt by proving four things:
- You had reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm. No problem in this case (as reported): scumbag, who had just pistol-whipped a defenseless woman, points a gun at the samaritan. It’s reasonable.
- Lethal force was justified under the circumstances - Hello? It’s a gun. Two down.
- You weren’t a willing participant in the incident - This is intended to prevent people from claiming self-defense after, say, bar fights. This wasn’t (reportedly) a bar fight. Any rational person gets this. But some pencil-necked dweeb with big political ambitions who is trying to parlay a U of M Law degree into a political career, sitting in a nice warm office with metal detectors and cops protecting him, can decide “the letter of the law is you can not be involved in the scuffle first”, forcing the samaritan to spend his life’s savings defending himself at trial.
- You made reasonable efforts to avoid using lethal force - And that same pencil-necked lawyer can say “he made NO effort to avoid shooting the alleged robber! He chased the poor disadvantaged fellow!”.
This – if all the facts are as reported, as I am assuming they are – is why we need more reforms to Minnesota’s self-defense laws like those proposed in the past several sessions by Tony Cornish. A key reform would be to do what many states do, with great success; give self-defense the presumption of innocence until proven guilty; make the Assistant County Attorney prove the self-defense shooter didn’t meet the criteria of a self-defense shooting.
“But that’ll make it easy for people to shoot each other over fender-benders! Or because someone thinks they got the stink-eye!” Nope. Think of every non-justified shooting – like, second-degree murder – that you can remember. Find one that that meets the four critera above. Good luck with that.
I’m going to hope that saner heads prevail in this case. Of course, the Henco Attorney’s office has a long record of not having many of them, when it comes to the law-abiding citizen’s right to self-defense.
Joe Doakes from Como Park writes:
Bridges deficient. Millions needed for repairs. No money in budget because . . .
Priorities, people. Focus on priorities.
Speaking of which, I wonder if they ever got that little problem with the Washington Avenue Bridge – as in, “is it and its old-fashioned truss construction, not too different from the old 35W Bridge, strong enough to handle trains zipping over it” – resolved?
The DFL retains two absurdly-safe Senate seats in special elections last night:
In Brooklyn Center, registered nurse Chris Eaton won the seat formerly held by DFL Sen. Linda Scheid, who passed away this summer after a six-year battle with cancer. Rep. Jeff Hayden, an incumbent legislator who represents south Minneapolis, will take the Senate seat of DFL Sen. Linda Berglin.
Hayden and Eaton will now enjoy a one-to-four-year vacation, as they join Tom Bakk’s do-nothing Senate DFL caucus.
A few weeks ago, when I was in Minneapolis to speak at the SD61 special endorsing convention, I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Fields, who is running for the GOP endorsement to run against Keith Ellison in the Fifth.
And as Nancy at True North discovered, Fields is an imposing guy with a compelling story:
Fields grew up poor in the South Bronx and said he made “horrible choices” in his youth – including accidentally burning down his home while playing with matches at 5, and taking up smoking at 13.
And a conservative grew in the Bronx:
He lived in Section 8 housing and during that time his 24-year-old stepfather bought 3 buildings for $1 each, creating a co-op with the help of donations and volunteers. Fields says that investment now holds over $45 million in assets. He learned a valuable lesson from his stepfather — that anyone can make a positive difference.
After working on Wall Street, Fields joined the Marines and retired an officer after 21 years. Having served in the Middle East, he offers first-hand knowledge and perspectives of the complexities of fighting terror and maintaining a military presence.
It’ll take a confluence of several things to unseat Ellison in a district like the Fifth:
- A wave of discontent with the Democrats and DFL so immense that nobody, not even Ellison, is invulnerable.
- A GOP organization that goes against decades of history and gets hordes of volunteers out on the street.
- A solid outreach to the minority vote that has become so important in both of the Twin Cities (an area where the DFL has been falling increasingly short, as they basically assume those votes are in the bag from the word go).
- More fundraising than any Republican has managed in the Fifth in forever.
- A Fifth District that’s been diluted (possibly)
- A really good candidate.
Dan Haugen, who we last ran into a few years back when we taught him a little about research, writes for “Midwest Energy News” – which is funded by an alt-energy pressure group – about Minneapolis’ new biking director, which recently survived a challenge in the Minneapolis city council even as the city lays off firemen.
The rationale is – well, both typical and mildly troubling (emphasis added):
‘An investment, not an expense’
Across the country, cities like Portland are hiring bicycle and pedestrian coordinators to help attract not only federal project dollars but also to make their cities a more attractive place for workers who want the option of living without a car, says Joan Pasiuk, director of Bike Walk Twin Cities, which promotes non-motorized transportation.
In other words, you have to spend taxpayer money to get other taxpayers’ money:
Chicago has had a bicycle coordinator for a decade and a half. Omaha hired its first bike coordinator last year. Even cities like Miami and Phoenix that probably don’t come to mind as major bicycling hubs have hired for similar positions in recent years.
“Cities are seeing this as an investment, not an expense,” says Pasiuk.
And there you see the spread; cities that are broke, or cities that are doing well enough that they can afford some of the petty luxuries like, well, biking coordinators.
It’s an odd set of priorities for a city that’s flirting with “broke”.
I had to mention this:
And then there’s the health savings. Researchers in the Netherlands found that despite being at higher risk for injury, cyclists enjoy “substantially larger” health benefits compared to drivers.
But if you read this blog, you knew that two years ago.
UPDATE: I changed the reference to MN Energy News in the first graf; it’s “Funded by”, rather than “a front for…”, the pressure group. It was pointed out to me – civilly, mind you – that the phrase “front” casts an unnecessary aspersion. I’ve reworded accordingly.
Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak shows that deals with the city’s fiscal woes with the aplomb of a Gabor sister;if you take care of life’s luxuries,the necessities take care of themselves:
The day after Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak vetoed a City Council effort to prevent 10 firefighter layoffs, the city sent out a new job posting: a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
Which just goes to show that no matter how much Minneapolis and Saint Paul carp about losing (part of) their subsidy from the parts of the state that work, they can always find the money to take care of their pets and their pork. The bike and pedestrian director will make betwen $61-84K.
The mayor’s office argues that the new coordinator will make the city safer for cyclists and pedestrians, but council President Barb Johnson said it is a “tempting” target for extra revenue to save firefighter jobs.
“We’ll look at that. We’ll look at all the general fund positions that we have currently,” Johnson said. “Because a majority of the council wants to maintain these 10 firefighters and not lay them off.”
Those 10 firefighters, of course, have less to do with balancing the city’s budget than they do with serving as a battering ram against the GOP in the legislature, giving Dayton, Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen a chanting point when the GOP attacks “Local Government Aid”.
Speaking of which, here’s what the city’s hiring:
In addition to the bicycle coordinator, the city is looking to hire a database engineer, a stationary engineer, an internal auditor and a manager of intellectual properties for the police department.
Intellectual property in the police department?
Cops are getting patents? Or are so many of them writing books (I guess that reference dates me) that the department needs to be administering copyrights and trademarks?
Can anyone ‘splain me that one?
35W Bridge Memorial vandalized two days after opening:
Construction worker Rob Bailey went to the Mississippi River on Monday evening, as he had every Aug. 1 for the previous three years, to remember his co-worker and friend Greg “Jolly” Jolstad.
He watched as a new memorial to the 35W bridge collapse was unveiled about a quarter-mile upstream from the site of the tragedy.
“I go down there to pray every year at 6:05 p.m.,” said Bailey, who had just stepped off the bridge moments before it collapsed.
Two days after making his pilgrimage, he was stunned to hear that the memorial had been vandalized, with 22 stainless steel letters ripped out of a message affixed to the memorial’s granite wall.
The vandals in the Twin Cities are getting out of control.
On the one hand, it’s just plain depressing.
On the other hand, it’s tempting to buy two walls on a high-vandalism street, like University or Lake or whatever. Paint them both a pristine white. Post one of them “Free Public Graffiti Mural”, and the other one “No Graffiti”. See how many people go out of the way to deface the “No Graffiti” wall.
And maybe taze them.
President Obama denies individual aid for Henco storm victims:
Rybak and state officials learned Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Minnesota’s request for individual assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the tornado. In its decision, the agency said “the damage from this event to dwellings was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the combined capabilities of the State, affected local governments and voluntary agencies to warrant the designation of Individual Assistance for Hennepin County.”
In search of other options for federal help, Rybak called the White House on Tuesday. The response: an invitation to meet with President Obama and other federal officials on Monday to discuss possibilities for federal help for the tornado-torn North Minneapolis neighborhood, which has one of the city’s highest concentrations of poverty and unemployment. The request for individual assistance from FEMA was meant to help homeowners, renters and businesses lacking insurance to cover the damage.
As David Strom noted on Facebook:
We have Dayton, who was a Democrat Senator. We have two Democrat Senators, one who served with Obama. We have Rybak, who supposedly a favorite of Obama’s. We have a tornado hitting one of the most economically depressed areas in the state.
Result? Minimal help from Washington.
When the Party of Pork can’t even deliver the pork when it’s needed, what do we keep them around for?
An afternoon tornado shredded North Minneapolis, a neighborhood that hardly needed shredding.
The storm left one dead, with two critically injured.
Rybak as ordered a curfew for a huge stretch of the Northside:
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Tim Dolan said early Sunday night that a large section of north Minneapolis — roughy 4 square miles — was being put under a curfew to help emergency personnel move around and to combat potential looting of damaged homes and businesses.
The curfew was scheduled to run from 9 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday and cover from Interstate 94 west to Penn Avenue and from Plymouth Avenue north to Dowling Avenue. Anyone trying to enter that area will have to show identification first, the mayor and the police chief said. Also, residents within that perimeter must stay in their homes “for their own safety,” said city spokesman Matt Laible.
“We don’t want any looting,” Dolan said, explaining the need for the curfew. “There’s property strewn all over. There are wires down. There’s not much lighting. It’s for people’s safety and for the safety of people’s property.”
The KARE11 Facebook page has a jarring photoessay on the damage, taken earlier today.