The history of the Bachman’s family and their vegetable farm in south Minneapolis goes back well over a century. Currently their family-owned business is the host of notable events like the Upper Midwest Koi Show and the Winter Farmers Markets. But for ten of the family members, the prospect of legally growing a previously banned ‘medicine’ has placed a whole new range of media attention upon their collective surname.
The Twin Cities have been rocked by more than an arctic blast this November, the now infamous “#Pointergate” scandal has drawn national attention.
Questions have risen to the surface: How did KSTP (one of our local news stations) think it would be sensible to run a story indirectly accusing Mayor Betsy Hodges of standing in solidarity with North Minneapolis gangs? How is it acceptable for police officers to directly accuse the Mayor of standing in solidarity by pointing with her hand? As the momentum of outrage wilts away, I think the public is going to be forced to make a choice on the matter. Will the push be to get KSTP to apologize or will, as Hodges’ response itself has indicated, the lion’s share of the pressure go towards pushing for change in the policing of Minneapolis?
Minnesota Connected was recently given the chance to interview the gubernatorial governor candidate Jeff Johnson (GOP) — the interview took place hours before his first debate with Mark Dayton (DFL) in Rochester (available to view here). Our conversation focused on a variety of policy issues, but we found a number of non-political tangents to wander down as well.
Minnesota Connected: Obviously the debate today is a big deal, what are three of the major points you want those viewing to take with them?
Jeff Johnson: Mark Dayton is out of touch with the middle-class and his interest is more in government bureaucracy and special interests than in serving the middle-class. That’s my overall theme, but I can break that down into three pieces: first, we aren’t growing good jobs in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week we’re dead last in the Midwest for job growth rate in the last year and we’re 41st in the country. We may be growing jobs, but we are growing them at a slow rate and we aren’t getting the good wage jobs that the middle-class needs to survive.
Some Minnesotans might be surprised to hear that we’re at the brink of a major political storm. A slow stream of articles have touched on some of the races sprouting from the August primaries, but a full-scale clash (annoying TV ads, smear campaigns, debates, etc.) between the parties is still on hold. The building pressure will likely result in short but sharply negative contests.
Tuesday had its share of winners and losers in the world of Minnesota politics. The big story was the sub 10% turnout of eligible voters (which is low for our state); but for me the excitement was found in the genesis of full-fledged autumn campaigns. A notable few are actually quite interesting.
For the fourth straight month Minnesota has taken a significantly lower amount of tax revenue than expected. Back in February, budget officials announced a projected $1.23 billion surplus for the fiscal year 2014-2015. This forecast, which helps to inform lawmakers on tax and spending issues, is not quite holding true to form; though officials urge caution in drawing conclusions for how it will surface in the budget.
The design for the new Viking’s stadium calls for a large open plaza. It will include a transit station for the light-rail, a wonderfully glassy entrance to the venue itself and a not so glassy view of the (also newly constructed) Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center (which will be directly across from the doors). Yet a large question mark remains: what will this plaza be called?
Most of the time I have to settle for covering stories that involve beer or politics, but once in a blue moon these two cosmic bodies (that I spend way too much time thinking about) align into something distinctly interesting. Yet somehow an under-reported sleeper of a story involving such things almost missed my attention. Unfortunately the scoop isn’t good: in short, the influential Teamsters Union has entered the “Sunday Liquor Sales Debate “on the wrong side.
The surface of politics in Minneapolis appears rather placid and predictable. This week will likely see Linea Palmisano’s moratorium recede into a simple regulation change and a rather powerless Betsy Hodges inch closer and closer to finalizing the proposed (and stupid) plan to dig the light rail through the Kenilworth Corridor. These are (of course) important issues with consequences, but there is no united opposition that will actually translate such flaws into election problems; at least not yet. The recent gridlock at the DFL Senate District 60 Convention between Phyllis Kahn and Mohamud Noor could be the bellwether of coming turbulence.